SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 22: Reliever Grant Balfour #50 of the Oakland A's reacts after giving up a two-run home run to tie the game for the San Francisco Giants in the eighth inning at AT&T Park on May 22, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The Giants won 5-4. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Oakland or San Jose? SB Nation Bay Area Editor David Fucillo and Bay Area Sports Guy wager on the Athletics' future home.
A couple weeks ago David Fucillo, the editor of SB Nation Bay Area and Niners Nation who's known to most of you as "Fooch," came over to Le Chateau de BASG to talk about the editorial direction of SB Nation Bay Area, audience demographics and sportswriting best practices. As many of you already in the blog game already know, that's code for "drink generous amounts of beer and argue about sports." And since I'm a known San Francisco Giants fan and he's a supporter of the Oakland Athletics, I started needling. I started with this question:
"So, A's fans are super bitter since the Giants won the World Series, huh?"
The answer: yes. In fact, Fooch even said it seems like the Giants are doing everything they can to jump the shark. And he's not the only A's fan I've heard make that claim. Obnoxious marketing ploys (Red Sox/Giants Alliance, anyone?) and attendance envy will do that to fans. But I knew the root of the pain, so I kept prodding like the sadistic Giants fan I am.
"I just wish the A's could get a new stadium in Oakland."
To some Athletics backers, that statement's beautiful music. When they hear someone say the A's should stay in Oakland, they react the same way I do when my iPod brings up a Curren$y song in shuffle mode. But many A's fans, especially the ones who read Mark Purdy (who sounds like he hates HWY 101 and CalTrain rides to San Francisco even more than I hate MUNI here in San Francisco), believe everything would be better for the A's if they moved where the money is.
Bitterness over the Giants' first World Series and a pretty standard post-Series celebration by Giants fans in the age of YouTube, Twitter and Facebook isn't that surprising. I understand if you're a San Jose A's guy/girl, it has to be infuriating that the Giants, a team that's no closer to the South Bay than the A's, is sticking their foot in the door with the blessing of Major League Baseball. Sure, Selig has been silent on the issue, but the Giants aren't giving up those territorial rights without a fight that would make the NFL lockout look like an episode of Judge Judy. Because as much as A's fans might hold their noses, with an active sellout streak and their recent winning ways the Giants are the model MLB franchise west of St. Louis right now -- not that there's much competition these days with the Dodgers functioning like an XFL team.
But even though I had the Will Clark half of that Clark/McGwire Bay Bridge Nike poster in my bedroom as a kid, I don't care about the Giants' territorial rights or how much money they make (how much they spend, on the other hand, is something I'm very interested in). I just think Oakland proved they can support the A's back in the late 1980's/early '90's.
First, the crime numbers are completely overblown. There are bad areas in Oakland, sure, but I walk past the damned Tenderloin every day (as opposed to Fooch, who walks THROUGH the 'Loin every day). San Francisco isn't exactly Provo, Utah. I've had many a good time in Oakland, and if a new ballpark in Jack London Square would help transform that area half as much as Pac Bell Park shaped China Basin, Oakland would be a better city. And with Contra Costa on the other side of the Caldecott, this idea that Oakland's an inner city surrounded by suburbs like Richmond and Pittsburg is ridiculous.
San Jose's nice. But everything's spread out and none of their buildings are over 20 stories high. If the A's move to San Jose and one of their home games is nationally televised, you're still going to get helicopter shots of the Golden Gate Bridge coming back from commercial. And yeah, I'd much rather have two excellent ballparks within 20 miles of my apartment, okay? Purdy isn't the only one who despises traffic.
Back to Fooch and I arguing about whether or not the Giants have officially jumped the Shark. He was so certain the A's would someday call San Jose home, something came over me. I said (and remember, this is a fictional account based on real-life events if the gambling police happens to read this):
"$100. If the A's move to San Jose, I'll give you $100. If the A's move to a new ballpark in Oakland, you pay me $100."
Aren't those bets the best? The ones so long-term that you wouldn't even care if you had to pay up, because it meant you were still friends with the other guy so many years later? If the A's move to Sacramento, Portland or New York, or even if they get contracted, neither of us has to pay up ... which is good news because SB Nation Bay Area doesn't pay very well. ZING!
Oakland State Of Mind
- Did someone say the Bob Geren watch was "officially underway" a week ago? Just checking. (And like any good member of the A's or Giants, I just tore my rotator cuff patting myself on the back.)
- People seem to be pretty stoked on Bob Melvin so far, however, so maybe some of that bitterness mentioned earlier will subside. If Brett Anderson can come back somewhat soon, the A's are still good enough to make a run -- especially if they pull off one of those ridiculous second half hot streaks that they used to be known for until the Rockies started biting their style with humidor heroics a few years ago.
- The only good news about Freddy Sanchez's shoulder injury, if you aren't Manny Burriss, Brandon Crawford or Miguel Tejada, is people will no longer take him for granted. If anything, based on the way he was playing before he dislocated his right shoulder, the fans will treat Sanchez like a superstar whenever he returns.
- If you want Cal baseball news, read the College World Series coverage here at SB Nation Bay Area. I have a full-time job, a wife and only one television. I can't watch everything.
- Along with four other
bloggers underground sportswriters, I did a 5-minute interview with Tim Roye for his "Mocking the Draft: Lottery Edition" feature. With the 11th pick of the 2011 NBA Draft, (I think) the Warriors (will probably) select ... Chris Singleton, Florida State University. Click here to hear my rationale.
- I'm cool with being wrong. You have to be when it happens so often. Jason Kidd's officially off the "top 10 bay area athletes who never won a championship" list. Congrats, Kidd.