"Honey? Great news. The A's are moving to San Jose! It's safe for us to watch baseball again!"
The Oakland Athletics have reportedly been granted permission to move to San Jose, and upper middle class white folks are all atwitter. Am I overstating the situation? Yep. Am I using race in an inappropriate manner? Most assuredly. Doesn't make what I'm saying any less true. Yes, A's fans are not strictly white. I know that. But the ones who would be willing to drive to and afford tickets to the San Jose A's would, by and large, be white. I know what you're saying, "Well, where are all the A's fans at right now? They have to move to survive!" I'm well aware of that. Here's the thing: I know that the A's playing in front of huge crowds in a city whose fans have deeper pockets is good for the franchise. I know that having a huge TV contract will enable them to keep their free agents, rather than selling them off to the highest bidder. I know playing in a nicer, potentially more hitter-friendly ballpark will make them a destination free agent sluggers will consider, rather than one they have their agents put into writing in their no-trade clauses. I will still go to 3-5 games a year, despite the extra hour of drive time each way. I'll still watch games on TV more often than not. I will still be an A's fan. But here's the thing: Just because a move to San Jose will be a game changer for my team that will enable them to drastically change the way the franchise operates, doesn't mean I can't hate it. Nowhere is it written that I can't bitch and whine about my team picking up and leaving behind the city where they won 4 World Series titles. I get that it is vital, I just don't like it, and likely never will. Why? Because now Lew Wolff has succeeded in accomplishing his one goal he's had since his first day of ownership: He's killed off the poor fan.
You see, the O.co is one of the last big league ballparks where you can walk up to the ticket window 5 minutes before the first pitch and get seats on the 3rd base line for less than $40. You and your kids can sit in the bleachers for less than $40. The downtown cookie cutter stadiums have taken over, and there's no turning back. Gone are the days of a family of 4 being able to go to a game for less than the average monthly car payment. How many working class stiffs will be able to afford a night out at the new, shiny, named after some corporate entity or another ballpark that the people of San Jose will end up building? Not many. No, instead of being the "blue collar" team in the Bay, the A's will have decided to do the right thing from a business perspective and chase the almighty dollar. They will become pale impersonators of the Giants, and be glad to sell suites and boxes to their sloppy seconds. The Coli stood firm as the last of the concrete, dilapidated shit heaps from the 60's; a remnant of simpler times. And now, her death warrant has all but been signed.
I have no doubt the A's will be successful in San Jose. I've always wondered what Billy Beane could do with a payroll, and now we're about to find out. And while I will be cheering them on, my heart will never be all the way into it, like it was at 7000 Coliseum Way.