Nerd 2: What are you going to do, Mr. Simpson?
Homer: Actually, I’ve been working on a plan. During the exam, I’ll hide under some coats, and hope that somehow everything will work out.
The preceding quote is from one of my favorite episodes of The Simpsons entitled “Homer Goes To College.” Not only is it a classic Homer moment, it also perfectly sums up the way Bud Selig has handled the A’s stadium situation. Instead of being proactive, or active at all, Selig has been content to sit on his hands while the Oakland Coliseum continues to slowly fall apart and anger and resentment tear the fledging fan base to pieces.
In fact, the only thing Selig has really done is form a blue-ribbon committee to study the team’s situation, but that was back in 2009 and we haven’t heard so much as a peep from them, whoever the hell they are (I tried searching online and couldn’t find any information on members).
What Bud has managed to do through his inaction is piss off every A’s fan on earth, regardless of where they would like to see the team build a stadium. Whether you’re on the Oakland side or the San Jose side, we just want some kind of concrete answer so we can know what to expect in the future.
Yesterday, Bud kicked the rumor mill into overdrive by suggesting that the A’s could explore relocation options outside of the Bay Area if they wish. However, Lew Wolff was quick to respond by saying that they have no intention of moving out of the Bay Area or selling the team. While there are those who are running wild with speculation about Portland and Las Vegas, many people like myself saw Selig’s statement as no new news in the long-running saga since all he was really saying is that team owners can look into relocation if they want (as long as it’s not into another team’s territory of course). So the A’s remain stuck in limbo for the forseeable future.
I’ve always had the feeling that Bud is loathe to challenge the Giants on their territorial rights to the South Bay and is secretly hoping that an ownership group would step up and announce their intention to keep the team in Oakland, sparing him the work and headaches of trying to hammer out some sort of agreement between the teams. Just like Homer, Bud is hiding out and hoping things will just take care of themselves. Now that Oakland is seemingly getting its act together, I can picture Bud crossing his fingers that a solution is found soon and he’ll never actually have to grow a pair and use his powers as commissioner to make something happen. Or maybe he’s just hoping that he can pass this issue on to his successor to deal with.
While Bud is correct in saying that this is, “A complex, complicated situation,” and, “The idea is to get it right, even if it takes a little longer,” the fact of the matter is that the A’s have needed a new stadium ever since the return of the Raiders mangled the Coliseum in 1995. Former owners Steve Schott and Ken Hofmann were being publicly courted by both Sacramento and San Jose in the late 90s. Save Mart Supermarkets CEO Robert Piccinini teamed up with former A’s executive Andy Dolich and had a plan in place to buy the team in 1999, with the intention of keeping them in Oakland, before owners tabled the vote on whether to approve the Dolich/Piccinini group. And let’s not forget how Oakland Mayor Jerry ”Moonbeam” Brown refused to commit any money or resources to helping the A’s build a new stadium back in 2002 when a stadium plan was in place (the issue of public money being spent on a stadium is another entry for another time). So how is it that all these years later a solution still hasn’t been found? How much longer are the fans supposed to wait for baseball to “get it right?” Why should I continue to shell out my hard-earned dollars for this bullshit?
Since 1996, 17 new ballparks have opened their doors, and the A’s and Tampa Bay Rays remain as the only teams in desperate need of new digs. The Coliseum is the last multi-purpose stadium to serve as a full-time home to both an MLB team and an NFL team. This is completely unacceptable. Getting a stadium built in California is a lengthy, convoluted process, just ask the 49ers. But at some point, the powers that be need to stop pussyfooting around the issue and sit down at the bargaining table to reach some sort of solution. At this point, any reason that Bud gives for not having found the answer to the A’s stadium woes is a tired excuse that only hinders the team’s future and patronizes a once proud and robust fan base. Hurry the hell up already.
- Is Selig pushing for A’s-Oakland reconciliation? (sfgate.com)
- Oakland A’s owner Lew Wolff still eyes new San Jose ballpark (mercurynews.com)
- Oakland Athletics Future Up To Lew Wolff, According To Bud Selig (bayarea.sbnation.com)