Welcome to Swingin’ A’s Triple Play where we field one subject and turn it into three possible outcomes. My gut feeling on how things may pan out is at the end of the post where you can cast your vote in the monthly poll and sound off in the comments section.
With the sale of the Dodgers apparently in the bag for a whopping $2 billion to Magic Johnson and friends (please feel free to destroy the Giants over the next decade fellas) it may finally be time for MLB Commish Bud Selig to stop paying lip service to the A’s ballpark situation and really move them to the front burner.
Seeing Magic jump into the MLB ownership game makes me dream of Run TMC swooping in and buying the A’s and keeping them in Oakland but that’ll happen the same day the late, great, beloved Manute Bol walks through my door and challenges me to a game of H-O-R-S-E.
So, without further ado, let’s dig into this month’s Triple Play.
IN PLAY: Where will the A’s ballpark situation stand in 3 to 5 years?
The current rebuild has been launched with the hope that San Jose will be home to the A’s in 2015 but at this point in time it may take a little longer to open a new ballpark which is why I’m looking at a 3 to 5 year window for the sake of argument here.
FIRST OUTCOME: Heaven — Celebrate! The A’s have a new Bay Area ballpark.
In this scenario the A’s are either in a new Bay Area ballpark in 3 to 5 years or construction is at least underway on a new venue for the team.
Maybe Lew Wolff’s dream comes true and the A’s move to San Jose and in a few years he’s kicking back at Cisco Field enjoying a full house every night with boatloads of cash rolling in. Who knows what kind of deal with the devil he’ll have to strike with the Giants to make it all happen? I’m sure a ton of money will have to be thrown at Larry Baer and his black-and-orange-clad cronies to get the A’s to San Jose.
Maybe the Giants will stick it to Wolff in the deal to relinquish territorial rights and make him work as a churro vendor at AT&T Park on weekends or make him fetch home run balls out of McCovey Cove during night games.
Whatever. It’s all good if it leads to long-term prosperity in the South Bay for the A’s, right?
Or maybe that doesn’t pan out after all. Major League Baseball tells Wolff and co-owner John Fisher to stay out of the Giants’ back yard but a filthy rich local buyer (C’mon Larry Ellison, you know you want to own a baseball team!) swoops in and saves the day, keeping the team in Oakland and working out a deal for a new ballpark. Maybe it’s a stadium in Mayor Jean Quan’s proposed Coliseum City, maybe it’s something in Victory Court.
Whatever. It’s all good if it leads to long-term prosperity in the East Bay for the A’s, right?
SECOND OUTCOME: Hell — No go for San Jose, nothing happening in Oakland, a sale and relocation is on the horizon.
Selig finally gets off his rear and sounds off on the A’s quest for a home in Silicon Valley and the answer is a resounding, “No. The East Bay is all yours, make it work.”
With the new collective bargaining agreement snatching revenue sharing away from the A’s after 2016, Wolff and Fisher decide to pull the ripcord and bail out. Instead of spinning their wheels rotting away in the Coliseum with no annual handouts from MLB they decide to reap the benefits of buying the team for $172 million in 2005 and watching it rise in value to $321 million.
A new buyer won’t want any part of Oakland or the decrepit Coliseum either so when a sale eventually goes through a move out of the area won’t be far behind. Baseball in Oakland is dead, Baer and Company pop champagne and shoot off fireworks at AT&T Park while eagerly planning to open Giants Dugout stores across the East Bay.
The Giants win and the guys in green and gold head off to a new part of the country which is in their blood considering the fact that they’ve called Philadelphia, Kansas City, and Oakland home. Yes, the A’s white shoes were made for walkin’ and that’s just what they’ll do. Maybe to Portland, maybe to San Antonio, Las Vegas, the Carolinas or any place the Giants can’t throw a hissy fit.
THIRD OUTCOME: Purgatory — Still waiting by the phone for Selig to call with a decision.
OK, this one is a total long-shot scenario since there’s no way Selig could sit on his hands for 3 or 5 years to make a call on the A’s request to move to San Jose, right? Oh yeah, he’s already sat on his hands for 3 years so why not take a moment in this post to speculate on another few years in limbo?
You have to figure Selig could easily spend the next few years dawdling around doing inane stuff like adding four more teams to the playoffs, letting the best spring training record determine home field advantage for the All-Star Game, and adding expansion teams in Korea and Eastern Europe before he prioritizes the plight of the A’s.
The A’s are allegedly on Buddy Boy’s front burner but it feels more like he’s absent-mindedly thrown this team in the back of his freezer. Is it crazy to think he’d ignore the club for a few more years? Maybe not.
If Selig continues to do nothing for a few more years that could be right around the time the A’s are finally reaping the benefits of this winter’s rebuild. But that will be right when some of the kids are about to get expensive and history will itself as the A’s deal with the uncertainty of the ballpark situation by selling off their most attractive parts to the highest bidder on the trade market. The custom made A.J. Cole jersey you ordered a couple of years ago is suddenly going to look really silly when he goes to the Yankees in exchange for a half dozen teenagers in A ball.
MY CALL: Call me an insane optimist or just flat-out insane, but I think something is going to pan out for the A’s and they’ll land in a new ballpark in the Bay Area in 3 to 5 years.
Maybe it won’t be San Jose, maybe the rumors of buyers willing to keep the team in Oakland reported by Mattier and Ross (which, for my money, has the Giants’ fingerprints all over it) are true and the team stays in town. There’s a long way to go before a ceremonial first pitch is thrown out on Opening Day in a new Bay Area ballpark but I just don’t see the A’s relocating out of the Bay Area, being contracted, or wallowing in obscurity in the Coliseum for eternity.
My gut says the A’s wouldn’t aggressively build for 2015 without some off-the-record assurances from MLB that a positive resolution to this matter is finally on the horizon and the fact that the new collective bargaining agreement keeps the A’s on revenue sharing a little longer than any other small market team also makes me think that something is in the works.
What’s your call? Click on the poll below to cast your vote and feel free to jump into the comments section with your take on where the A’s ballpark situation will stand in 3 to 5 years.