The Oakland A’s and the elephant in the room…

First off, an apology. I’m sorry for the delay in posts. I’m struggling to come up withe ideas that generate quality posts, rather than rants on the Cardinals. With that in mind…

Other than the Cardinals, I follow a few other teams actively, mainly the Oakland A’s and The Tampa Bay Rays.

Today we’ll talk a little about Oakland. Great team, run by the brilliant Billy Beane, on track for it’s 3rd straight division title and possibly a World Series title.

What interests me the most though (other than Beane’s brilliance) is their stadium situation. For those of you new to it, here are the highlights:

1) They play in the Oakland County Coliseum, an old and decrepit park that is falling apart.

2) They sought to move to nearby San Jose only to be blocked by the neighboring San Francisco Giants, claiming territory infringement, never mind that, in the early 90’s, Wally Haas, the owner of the Oakland Athletics at the time, agreed to grant the Giants exclusive rights to the South Bay so the Giants could explore all potential local sites for a new stadium and at least help to keep the team in the Bay Area. So the Giants are hypocrites. The A’s did them a huge favor back in the 90’s and the Giants are unwilling to reciprocate.

3) a few years back, Major League Baseball supposedly started a study to analyze the A’s stadium situation. The study is either still ongoing, or the results haven’t been released. Sounds like the MLB is stalling.

Those are the highlights. All of this makes me wonder: Why don’t the A’s consider a move to a location farther away? While the MLB has vetoed moves in the past, let’s just say, for the sake of discussion, that they’ll approve all moves save for one which I’ll mention below. After all, the A’s have a history of being a wandering team, with Oakland being their third home, after Philadelphia then Kansas City. Here’s a list of possible candidates, keeping in mind that MLB wants them to stay in the American League West, so the city needs to fit the definition of a western city.

1) Sacramento: Decent population, (27th overall in the U.S, with a 2013 population estimate of 2,215,770) already supports an NBA team, still in California. A little isolated, but not as much as say, Seattle. Regional rivals would include the Angels and the Mariners.

2) Portland: Similar to Sacramento: Decent population, (24th overall, with a 2013 population estimate of 2,314,554) already supports an NBA team. A little isolated, but again, not as much as Seattle. Relatively close to Seattle, which is also in the AL West, so that creates a regional rivalry.

3) San Antonio: Decent population, (25th overall, with a 2013 population estimate of 2,277,550) already supports an NBA team. Not as isolated and close to another AL West team, the Rangers, which would create a natural rivalry.

4) Vancouver: Decent population (3rd overall in Canada, with a 2011 population of 2,313,328) already supports an NHL team. Very close to Seattle, which would create a natural rivalry. One bad possibility though: Seattle might throw a territorial rights hissy fit, similar to San Francisco, making it possible that the MLB would never approve this move, or at the very least, launch one of it’s never ending studies of the move.

and the one the MLB wouldn’t approve, our elephant in the room…

5) Las Vegas: Decent population (31st overall, with a 2013 population estimate of 2,027,868) While it’s the smallest city of the bunch, that isn’t what kills it’s chances. The thing that kills it is gambling, which is very prevalent in the city. Never mind that quite a bit of gambling is done online these days, and if i wanted to bet on a team here in Texas (or Missouri or New York or…) I could. I guess it’s the idea of being in the gambling capital of the U.S that bothers the MLB (and all the other pro sports for that matter) and yet they don’t have a problem in being in the 2 Marijuana capitals in the U.S (Seattle and Denver) but like I said, online gambling is very prevalent, so why not consider a city which excels in marketing. The city markets itself well, and would spread the word about the team and definitely get it’s population interested in them. But all of this is moot, as it would never get approved.

These are the top 5 cities off the top of my head. If you think I’ve missed anyone, let me know.

All of this, of course, depends on the MLB allowing the A’s to move. Well, if the MLB and it’s commissioner Bud Selig aren’t going to step in and force the Giants to relent, they should allow the A’s to consider other cities to move to. Since Bud Selig is retiring soon, I hope the next commissioner is more decisive, like the NBA’s Donald Sterling.

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