The Oakland Athletics have made their stadium site choice, and as expected, it was the proud halls of the Peralta College District.
Or, as it shall be henceforth known by shorthand fans everywhere, the Laney Site.
The A’s were hoping to keep it a secret until a grand and grandiose unveiling Wednesday morning, but they surely should have known that no apparent secret goes unrevealed in Oaktown. The San Francisco Chronicle’s two famed buttisnkys, Phil Matier and Andrew Ross, ferreted out the info – and by that we mean some cheery blabbermouth blew the A’s gaff by spilling the surprise. And, good reporters that they are, they produced information the A’s would have preferred to save for themselves.
All that said, the race is now on, with the A’s battling the A’s in hopes of reaching the tape at the same time.
In other words, in recreating the Giants’ happiest times, they want to open their new park in 2023 at exactly the time that they stop being sub-mediocre. The Giants actually became good before their new yard opened in 2000, but their best days coincided with the new park.
Maybe they should honor history by scandalously overpaying for Giancarlo Stanton.
Oakland’s new park will not have the same geographical advantages, given that they rejected the Howard Terminal site as being too – well, expensive seems the best term here -- but if A’s management makes the stadium construction march hand in hand with the roster construction, they will have at last a fighting chance to march the Giants blow for blow in a market that has tilted far too long to the west.
But that’s what it will take to pull this off, because the A’s are so far behind in attractions. They have in their time made fetishes out of being the smaller sub-market, of being dogged by a media conspiracy against them, of a lousy stadium, of Major League Baseball’s disinterest in their plight, of a small budget, and of the difficulty of creating sustained excellence in a market made for lowballing.
They now have to make baseball a greater priority than revenue sharing, and merging that with a baseball palace that will catch and hold the eye. In other words, it’s time to put the big boy shoes on and be what other teams need to be – winners.
They do have an advantage in that the Giants are the worst they’ve been in 30-plus years, but they can no longer rely on the kindnesses of strangers to save themselves. That’s how former owner Lew Wolff convinced himself that former commissioner Bud Selig wanted him to have access to San Jose, and that’s why Lew Wolff got shown the door.
But now the last impediment to seeing if the A’s can join the adult swim is gone. They have the site, they have the timetable, and all they have to do now is shove three camels through one needle’s eye simultaneously.
We give them a counterpuncher’s chance.