In one of the more classy and classic moves ever executed by sports announcers … just watch this bit by announcers Brodie Brazil and Bip Roberts following an Oakland A’s game:
Brazil yesterday expanded on the matter in his video podcast. It’s long, but well worth the view;
Although the subject of the A’s possibly leaving Oakland has been touched on here before, a more thorough examination of the subject from an actual San Francisco Bay Area resident and Oakland A’s fan is warranted.
Once upon a time, despite its design as a multi-purpose stadium designed to host both football and baseball, neither of them particularly well, the Oakland Coliseum was a wonderful, quite relaxing place to watch a baseball game with a view out past the bleachers of the Oakland hills. This ended when the Raiders returned to Oakland from their sojourn into Los Angeles and the construction of Mount Davis, a hideous eyesore that destroyed the Coliseum’s baseball ambiance and as a secondary insult ultimately failed to keep the Raiders in town. Since then, the A’s have been trying without success to get a new ballpark built somewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area. It didn’t happen in San Jose. It didn’t happen in Fremont. It’s not happening at the current Coliseum site:
Statement from MLB, provided by #Athletics incl.: "The Oakland Coliseum site is not a viable option for the future vision of baseball. We have instructed the Athletics to begin to explore other markets while they continue to pursue a waterfront ballpark in Oakland. " pic.twitter.com/oXCTIetgOh
— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) May 11, 2021
It would take a book that would make The Brothers Karamazov look like The Humility of Rick Wilson in size to detail the entire saga of the A’s pursuing a new ballpark, so I’ll skip ahead to the here and now.
Why MLB decided this juncture would be a great time to stick its nose into the matter remains a mystery. Did the A’s, decidedly nonplussed by how long the process has taken, prod MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to stir the pot, in the course of doing so trying to make it look like the A’s were innocent bystanders? And who decided the Coliseum was an unsuitable location for a new park? Yes, the A’s proposed site at Howard Terminal would be nicer in terms of closeness to downtown and Jack London Square, the closest thing Oakland has to a tourist friendly location. But the Coliseum site already has easy public transportation built-in. Howard Terminal, located in the Port of Oakland, does not.
Second, if you want a lesson in how to destroy your credibility with one tweet, we present for your consideration A’s president Dave Kaval, whom after months of stressing the A’s aren’t going anywhere, are rooted in Oakland, etc etc etc, sent out this beauty:
— Dave Kaval (@DaveKaval) May 25, 2021
Way to insult both A’s and San Jose Sharks fans there, Dave.
Now we come to the bête noire of California, otherwise known as the morons out here other morons out here keep voting into office. The city of Oakland can’t get out of its own way, this being the latest example:
Oakland city council will vote July 20 on the A's Howard Terminal ballpark and downtown development proposal — expected to cost $12 billion in total.https://t.co/ExnyOcuVu0
— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) May 14, 2021
I’m amazed they’ve actually scheduled a vote on the matter, although it would come as no surprise should the vote actually be a vote on whether or not to have a vote to decide if there will be a vote on voting. Snark aside, it will be an utter shock if this turns into an actual yea or nay on approving the ballpark project. And, to no one’s surprise, assorted city government leaders have spent their time since the MLB announcement piecing together meaningless letters to Manfred instead of doing actual work and figuring out if the plan is viable. (It is.)
Now, a personal note.
I’ve been an A’s fan since 1968, when the team moved here from Kansas City. I’ve rooted for them when they’ve been world champions and when they’ve been derisively called the Triple A’s. I’ve attended literally hundreds of games at the Coliseum over the years. The last ballgame I ever went to with my beloved father was at the Coliseum. As Brazil mentioned in his podcast, scrapbooks of memories.
There’s another memory I have of being at an A’s game at the Coliseum. It was August 11, 1994. The game itself wasn’t memorable, an 8-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners. What was memorable was sitting there for far longer after the game than normal, staring out across the field and thinking. The players would go on strike the following day, wiping out the remainder of the season. The A’s were up for sale, with no guarantee that the new ownership would keep the team in Oakland. And so I sat, and thought, and wondered if this would be the last time I would ever see my team.
I’d rather not go through that again.