For years we have been hearing about the Oakland Athletics' eagerness to get the hell out of dodge.
The city of Oakland, which once lost the Raiders (turns out it wasn't the brightest idea the late Al Davis ever had), is now another step closer to losing the A's.
According to Bob Nightengale at USA Today, somebody with strings at MLB headquarters (read: commissioner Bud Selig) has assured A's owner Lew Wolff that he will in fact be given permission to move the franchise 40 miles south to San Jose.
Up until now, it's all been speculative. And right now, it's still very much hush-hush.
Nightengale says Selig won't make anything public until February. When USA Today called Selig to inquire about the potential move, Selig toed the ol' company line, saying the league had not yet made a decision.
Usually, delayed announcements have more to do with getting your ducks in a row than anything else, so I'm curious as to what exactly might be going on behind the scenes.
I have a strong feeling the wait has to do with negotiations. With the San Francisco Giants.
In order for the A's to move to the South Bay, they are going to have to give up a huge chunk of change to the Giants, who own the territorial rights to San Jose.
As much as I personally dislike the A's, there's no denying that the team needs a major face lift. The Coliseum is dilapidated, the product on the field lacks luster, the fanbase has become disengaged. In other words, the A's have become the Montreal Expos.
It's not fair to the A's ownership group—or the 600 or so remaining loyal fans—that the club, which moved from Philadelphia to Kansas City (1955) to Oakland (1968), continue on its nosedive destination to Expos Cemetery.
In order to cheat death, however, the A's are going to have to pay up. Big time.
When the Expos moved to Washington D.C. (and became the Nationals), the Orioles were presented with—among other things, like minimum franchise value and annual revenue guarantees—a check in the amount of $75 million for letting the Nats play in their backyard.
It's been suggested that the Giants' ownership group (which finds itself in a similar situation as Baltimore's) could fetch as much as $200 million to concede San Jose to the A's. That's what the Giants say they would lose from giving up their corporate bases in the Silicone Valley, sliced up television rights and lost revenue from newly-converted (and eventual homegrown) A's fans.
Remember that conversation you had around the dinner table a couple of weeks ago when you heard the Giants couldn't afford to pay for Carlos Beltran?
Well, if you ask me, $200 million buys a lot of Beltrans, Giants fans.
Put another way, $200 million, if spent properly, could buy another World Series run. Or two. Just ask any Yankees fan.
Another championship (or two) would certainly cement the Giants' fanbase's loyalty (and their credit cards) for decades to come. You see where I'm going with this?
So I say, let the A's move to San Jose, East Bay be damned.
The Giants could take the money and sink a smart amount of it into the team's payroll (and pay off some of the AT&T Park building debt while they're at it). Then, sit back for the next 10 years while 300,000,000-plus fans walk through the turnstiles, buying overpriced beer and snatching up Giants championship merchandise like it's going out of style. Because it will be.
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