Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Musical Chairs by Rick Kaplan

Musical Chairs

Rick Kaplan
Staff Writer

OAKLAND – They left Philadelphia. Twelve years later they left Kansas City.

Now the Athletics are packing again. Lewis Wolff, A’s majority owner and one-time champion of a new baseball-only facility within the city, appears to be looking elsewhere for a new suburban home for our nomadic nine.

“Doesn’t anybody stay in one place any more?” lamented Carole King.

No, they don’t. Goodbye Brooklyn. Hello Hollywood. See ya’ Coogan’s Bluff. Open your Golden Gate, San Francisco. Toot-a-loo, Boston Braves, St. Louis Browns, Washington Senators (twice), and Montreal Expos.

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It’s been going on for more than a hundred years, as long as Organized Baseball itself. The same thing that is about to befall Oakland happened to Louisville, and Providence, and Rockford and Keokuk and Troy and Schenectady. They were all in the “major leagues” once upon a time, and now nobody knows their name.

I have a friend who did not set foot in a major league ball park for eighteen years after his beloved Trolley Dodgers left Flatbush Avenue. The surprise of Pearl Harbor in 1941 couldn’t compare to the shock that Brooklyn felt when Da Bums abandoned Ebbets Field after the summer of 1957, followed to the Coast by the copycat Giants. Maybe we could have put a stop to all this if the fans of LA and SF would have said during that first season, “We don’t want major league baseball if it means breaking someone else’s heart.”

But we’re too busy falling over ourselves to line up to support these mercenaries. We’re more excited about Jumbotrons than we are about improved schools or affordable family entertainment. Subsidizing $10M designated hitters is more important to us than adequate health care and accessible recreation for all.

And the old stadium isn’t the problem. Tear down Mt. Davis and the Coliseum would feel like a major league ballpark again. The players have repeatedly voted the playing field the best in the American league. The spacious foul territory promotes defense and pitching, two aspects of the game that the real fans come out for. BART and I-80 make the Coliseum among baseball’s most convenient destinations. Even the food is consistently hailed as cutting-edge ballpark cuisine. The garlic fries are nearly as good as the ones at SBC.

No, the problem is really the same one as at General Motors or the corner gas station. Major League baseball is a business before it’s a sport. Profits before sentiment. Regardless of how well the A’s have done in the past in Oakland, and no one is claiming that they haven’t made a lot of money here, if there is MORE to be made somewhere else, then that’s where they are going.

Innoculate yourself against the heartbreak of banishment from the big leagues. Support, and love, the game, not the owners. Drive to Modesto or Stockton or Sacramento. Follow college baseball. Coach Little League. Have a catch!

And, hey, you rookie A’s fans: Don’t get too attached to your new club.

Watch out, Fremont and San Jose. Because what is happening to us now can happen again.


1 Anonymous { 03.28.06 at 8:55 pm }

I’m one of those who has always loved watching baseball in the coliseum. I would love it if the Raiders left and Mt Davis did too!

Oakland is still the best place geographically and historically for the A’s…but I know the owners want to go elsewhere.

I will go to as many games as possible until they leave…if they go to a place that I can’t reasonably go to alot, I guess that will be that.

Oakland Si

2 Anonymous { 04.01.06 at 7:26 pm }

If the A’s move to Fremont, they’ll be moving 20 miles away. TWENTY MILES!

To compare that with the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn or any other franchise shift in the last 50 years is just plain ludicrous. Sure, there are those that are so fixated with the A’s playing in Oakland city limits that even if they moved a few blocks away to San Leandro they’d never watch another game.

But you know what? There aren’t enough of you. That’s why the team has to move.


3 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:13 pm }

4 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:50 pm }

5 Anonymous { 12.13.07 at 10:33 pm }

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