Over the last year the Oakland A’s have had the national spotlight shined on them because of the wide spread success of the movie Moneyball. Although Brad Pitt did an admirable job portraying the “great baseball mind” of Billy Beane, the current A’s organization looks nothing like what you saw in Moneyball. Instead, owners Lew Wolff and John Fisher have attempted to recreate another movie, the classic cast of has-beens and misfits who starred in the 1989 movie Major League.
Although 38th Notes and much of the A’s fan base has long recognized this parallel, the media has finally decided to advertise our depression. 95.7 The Game, the new sports station in town and the A’s flagship station, has started running a promotional commercial comparing the current A’s to the Cleveland Indians team in the Major League movies. Although the commercial is spot on in its player comparisons (Coco Crisp as Willie Mays Haze and Manny Ramirez as Pedro Cerano), it leaves out the biggest similarity between the A’s and the Indians in the movie–The fact that the ownership of both teams were/are intentionally being run into the ground, so that they can skip town.
The tight-wad era of Oakland baseball emerged under the ownership of Stephen Schott and Ken Hofmann. That era witnessed the departure of our biggest stars, most notably Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, and The Big 3. Nonetheless, we understood that losing our stars was more the result of necessary frugality, than it was a purposeful effort to dismantle our team. That has not been the case under the reign of Lew Wolff and John Fisher. As their desires to move to the south Bay have become more and more blatant, the teams they’ve assembled have become increasingly embarrassing. It seems clear that they’re seeking to assemble crappy teams, so fans won’t come to games, so they can legitimate their claims that Oakland can’t support a major league franchise, and move. Every year it takes a couple months to figure out which team in the box score is the A’s because line-ups are often filled with so many unfamiliar names
Spring Training is now in full swing, as is the measured optimism for the current Oakland team. Although we play in the same division as two of the best teams in the American League, the Rangers and Angels, this is the only time of year you can say things such as “I think Bartolo Colon is going to be a Cy Young Candidate.” We will see what Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes can do and hope that Jemile Weeks can build off of his solid Rookie campaign. Although I think the A’s will be better the most people think, their pre-season excitement would only qualify as such in Oakland.
A’s fans are worried about this season, but it’s deeper than that. We’re worried about the future of baseball in a city with one of the richest baseball histories in America. As we continue to wait for the league to make a decision on whether the A’s will be awarded the right to move to San Jose, fans are subjected to watching a team whose ownership has both feet out the door. We may have some interesting prospects and be treated to an old Manny Ramirez/ Pedro Cerano 50 games into the season, but the truth of the matter is that we’re seeing the real life Major League movie play out in front of our eyes.
Oakland is legitimately facing the threat of losing all three of it’s major sports franchises. The Raiders are exploring a move to LA again, the A’s are attempting to flee to San Jose and even the Warriors are exploring waterfront options in San Francisco, not to mention that they already have “SF” as their alternate logo. Oh, and Monta Ellis for Bogut and Captain Jack?? Really Warriors?? That smells like something the A’s would do. The disrespect that Oakland fans are treated to is ridiculous–it’s like being in a life-long abusive relationship. Nonetheless, our hope is that Oakland fans will rally and support our teams. The more we support, the harder it will be for owners to defend plans to leave. Of course it would help if the players gave a shit and started winning in solidarity.
On that note, dear A’s players, please watch the first minute and 20 seconds of the Major League excerpt below and give us something to cheer for. Thanks.