If the A's could move to San Jose, to a new stadium, the thousands upon thousands of Giants fans in that city wouldn't just flock to the American League team. Fans aren't that fickle. I mean, look at the 7,000 loyal A's fans in Oakland! They never give up on their team.
The Sacramento area is a growing—sort of like the East Bay communities surrounding the McAfee Coliseum are decaying. It's a nice clean shot to Sacramento from Stockton, portions of Nevada, growing towns like Vacaville and Davis—and an exploding bit of suburbia filled with young families and money in the southern Placer County area (Rocklin, Roseville, etc.).
Everybody raves about how the Giants' yard is right in downtown San Francisco. The Athletics could have their very own downtown ball park—just in a different, much warmer, more family friendly, town.
This isn't the time to get into market size. In fact, it's only worth mentioning because the Giants and A's are off to almost identical starts and the Giants have the Bay Area buzzing while the A's are barely making a ripple.
And, make no mistake, the young Athletics are an exciting club in the far superior American League and they should, absolutely, be just as much the rage as the Giants are.
Oh, AT&T Park...China Basin...all that?
That's not why the Giants out-draw and create more interest than the A's do. The greatest A's teams of the 1970s and 1980s didn't draw like even very average Giants teams have at AT&T Park. If East Bay fans won't fill the Coliseum regularly to see Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter, the Bash Brothers, Hudson, Mulder, Bando, Vida Blue, Billy Martin, Tony LaRussa and all those legends...who thinks they'd fill a new ball park to see far, far lesser known folks?
That leads to the idea of the Sacramento Athletics.
Raley Field is already in place in Sacramento. It seats 20,000 fans and is still in pristine condition, 10 years after it opened to become home to the Athletics Class AAA team.
And, oh, Raley Field was built so that another deck could be add on top of the existing edifice. So, it could become a stadium that seats 40,000 pretty quickly. There are no bleachers. No, just a lovely, grassy hill fans can sit on behind the fence. Add bleacher seats to a second deck and Raley Field is the ball park the A's deserve.
Best of all, East Bay fans can get to Sacramento easily enough. Nobody's going to hold the A's ownership to the East Bay given that many mid-week games are played in private. Well, they will, but once they go to Sacramento for a summer weekend series...or, even better, a night game on a warm summer evening—even diehard fans wouldn't be able to argue to keep the A's in the Bay Area.
The Giants own the Bay Area. That's it. That's all. It's not fair. It's just fact.
The Athletics, the players more than the ownership, deserve their own town. They deserve to play in front of the same rabid inland fans who made the NBA Sacramento Kings one of the most exciting franchises in the game.
The Kings, yeah, they actually play a role. Their owners, the Maloof brothers, want a new arena. Those guys have money, boy. And, if they could help lure the A's to Sacramento with the extra cash to build on to Raley Field, the A's would probably generate the city revenue that just might induce voters to pass a bond issue that would help fund the Maloofs the arena they want. (It's hard to believe, but Sacramento sports fans actually are the types who might get a big league baseball team and imagine the Kings leaving and think, "You know, that bond issue only costs me a couple bucks a year...")
The Sacramento Athletics.
Think it over.
The organization deserves better than the Bay Area gives it.
Ted Sillanpaa is a San Francisco-Oakland Bay Area sports writer and columnist. Contact Ted at email@example.com
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