When it hits the fan!

Written by Chris & Steph

Open Letter to the OAFC

Even thought the City of Oakland and Alameda County last month stopped the ridiculous attempts by Major League Baseball to usurp the authority of picking the Oakland Athletics' new owners at the 11th hour, our work as Oakland A's fans is not done. Something is rotten, indeed, with this scenario.

We agree that picking the Dolich/Piccinini group was a no-brainer. The City of Oakland and Alameda County spent 10 million dollars of taxpayers on Game Plan LLC and is now seeing the entire ownership-finding process compromised - and maybe totally railroaded! - by Commissioner Selig's strange and odious request to pick the new A's owner.

The fix, apparently, is in. I don't know what wheel is being greased in New York, I don't who's being bought out and for how much, all I know is that the boards of the City of Oakland and Alameda County made a wise and intelligent decision not to kowtow the 'old boys club' machinations of the biased Commissioner's office! They followed their conscience and voted for the only group that has demonstrated Walter Haas-like class, commitment, and humility and who have shown that they will definitely keep the A's in Oakland, where no team in pro baseball has enjoyed greater on-the-field success since the A's moved here in '68 (10 division champs, 6 AL pennants, 4 World Series). The Dolich group was approved by Oakland, but that's just half the battle. Now they must get approved by Bud Selig and his band of greedy idiots in MLB and in the Owner's Committee.

As Oakland A's fans we need to make our voice and opinions heard, albeit in a respectful and productive way. For all of us much-maligned, yet very passionate and knowledgable East Bay sports fans, it's been rough since the early '90's. The A's went into the tank after '92, Schott and Hoffman took over and chased La Russa, Alderson and McGwire away. The Warriors have taken 5 years to recover from the Webber/Nelson fiasco. And the Raiders' return, as great and wonderfully unexpected as it was, hasn't exactly gone to plan. We East Bay sports fans yearn for the class and intelligence that the Andy Dolich/Reggie Jackson/George Zimmer/Robert Piccinini group would bring and we fear and distrust that not only would the Lazarus/Campbell group run the team badly, they would also move them to San Jose or somewhere else.

To the jerks in the Commissioner's New York office, San Jose might be the same (or shortsightedly viewed as better because of New Media/Internet money) as Oakland, but any passionate A's fan knows that a big part of their success has been the wonderful, underrated city of Oakland, in all of its quirky, funky, off-beat, yet successful glory. With the new stadium in San Francisco going up next year, it's been hip lately (especially amongst snobby National League fans) to call the Bay Area a one-team market. But, the facts beg to differ. If this really is a one-team market owned by the Giants, why do the Oakland Athletics own the Bay Area's baseball season attendance record at 2.9 million fans? Why have the A's enjoyed unmatched on the field success (A's=4 World Championships, Giants=0!) since moving to Oakland? Why do the Giants barely get over 1.5 million fans a year even though they've been in contention each year in the last 3 years? Those one-team market "arguments" are neat and tidy...but they have no factual basis whatsoever and border on being complete falsehoods. This is definitely a 2-team market and as soon as we get REAL owners running the team, I'm confident the A's will go back to outdrawing the Giants as they did during the '80's and early '90's. Could Larry Baer and his employers, the SF Giants, who need about 5 years of sellouts at Pac Bell Park just to break even on their investment, be behind the whisper campaign to subtly force the A's out of Oakland? I'm not saying 'yes', but it certainly is worth asking.

Where is Sandy Alderson, he in the Commissioner's office, in all of this fray to right the wrong that Selig is trying do here? I only hope that Alderson is working behind the scenes to see that his creation, the Billy Beane-led Oakland Athletics will remain just that.

by Chris & Steph

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