I don’t like to be fatalist, or wave a white flag to unchecked capitalism. I want to believe, at some point, that the fans’ voice matters. That the runaway chase for profits and growth that ignores and bulldozes everything around it eventually crashes into a wall. And certainly, Oakland A’s fans’ voices were heard on Tuesday, when they had their reverse boycott night to prove that it is a thriving baseball market when you give them any reason to be. When you don’t actively chase them away to chase your dreams filled with greed and self-celebration.
It’s hard to watch any of what went on at the Oakland Coliseum and think it’s completely futile. The A’s mean too much to too many people to be completely ignored, you hope. How could this kind of passion simply be tossed into the abyss? At least it would be in a just world. But of course, we don’t live in that world. Once the Supersonics were pried out of Seattle’s desperate hands, the obstacle of having a dedicated and passionate fanbase was pretty much removed forever. All owners needed was proof that one of their own and any league would simply ignore the city and fans a team wanted to leave for the crime of not paying for a new arena that all of them could easily afford to build themselves.
Even the A’s fans probably knew it was all in vain on Tuesday, but there was still some catharsis in getting to be together and scream one last time. Wednesday only proved that as the Nevada Senate OK’d the A’s proposal, even though everything about it smells like fish that has been left in the sun for a week. It doesn’t feel like it’ll work, but John Fisher will get his money when the stadium is built and then he sells the team immediately, and Manfred will only use other owners’ complaints about Vegas being a revenue-sharing-receiving team as another cudgel to try and get the MLBPA to roll over.
The one thing Manfred could do, which he probably won’t, and something that won’t cost him anything, is leaving the A’s name and colors in Oakland. Cleveland Browns it, as it were. Yes, the A’s have moved two other times in their history, but they’ve been in the East Bay for 55 years now. That is their home. They belong to the city. Make Fisher rename the team the Flamingos or something (which is what the Golden Knights should have been called instead of military-humping as they are now, but that train left long ago). Let them build something from as close to scratch as they can.
We know MLB will expand at some point in the next decade. They’ve put off doing so in order to let the A’s and Rays use possible expansion destinations as leverage to hold their cities hostage, or to just choose as the A’s have done. Nashville, Portland, Charlotte, and Montreal (Editor’s note: Bring back the Expos!) may want teams but for now, will have to settle for just being a pawn.
If MLB wants to throw a time limit on it, fine. Give Oakland three years or so to find an owner who can stump up the fee and might be content with the Howard Terminal plan without the “village” around it that Fisher kept moving the goalposts on. Or something redeveloped on the Coliseum site. If they can’t, they can’t. At least give them the right of first refusal when it comes to MLB expansion.
It’s hardly a win for Oakland, but it’s something to hold onto. Having those hats and jerseys and shirts still attached to something more than memories is more than nothing. Browns fans certainly don’t mind at this point. And Oakland and the Bay Area are still bigger than any prospective expansion site. MLB should want to be in Oakland.
Sure, Seattle is still waiting on the return of the Sonics (Editor’s note: Bring back the Supersonics!). But MLB is hotter after expansion now than the NBA is, and Seattle only recently came up with a building. Maybe it’s an empty promise that leaves fans waiting for a decade and raises a generation that never knows having the team around. But it’s something, the easiest thing Manfred could do to not look like the sniveling, evil wax monster we’re fairly sure he is.
I won’t sit on a hot stove waiting for it to happen, though.
This only has the loosest connection to sports. But it’s fitness, which is sports enough, so here’s a video of some Nazi getting absolutely clowned while he tried to intimidate a Pride parade in Lewis County, Washington.
Clearly, this bigoted fuckstick has never been to a gym, because any dude who has knows never, ever, try to outdo the gay guy on any machine or exercise. There’s no winning that.
Follow Sam on Twitter @Felsgate.