As Oakland Athletics owner Lew Wolff progresses his plans to relocate the A’s to San Jose, diehard A’s fans and Oakland residents express their contempt regarding the issue.
“They’re taking the heart of Oakland out of Oakland,” said A’s fan Jamal Lewis. “How can they justify doing this to us dedicated fans who have stuck with Oakland through thick and thin?”
Oakland fans feel betrayed when it comes to the possible relocation of the franchise.
“This is strictly a decision based on optimizing profit,” said fan Albert Jimenez. “Did they ever consider the profit they will lose due to upset fans who refuse to support the A’s because of the move?”
Jimenez was brought up an Oakland A’s fan and has continued the tradition of supporting the A’s with his own family.
“I didn’t have the best childhood, but as cliché as it seems, the team was a bright spot in some very dark times,” he said. “When my mother could afford it, she took me to A’s games every chance she got.”
Jimenez, like many other fans, grew up in Oakland and cannot imagine the team anywhere else. “The team belongs in Oakland,” he said.
Whether or not the A’s will remain in Oakland is still up in the air.
Wolff’s desired relocation rests in the hands of Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig. In a 1990 agreement, the San Francisco Giants acquired all rights to Santa Clara County and the team has no plans to willingly give those rights up.
Selig has the authority to overrule the territorial agreement and has appointed a committee to aid in the decision making process. Wolff has been awaiting the commissioner’s ruling since 2009.
While the process of relocation continues, some fans have drawn the conclusion that the decision to relocate is socially driven.
“Lets be honest; they’re taking the team out of the ghetto and moving it to an upper class location where money can be made,” said A’s fan Jermaine Douglas. “It’s all about the money. What about the fans?”
Douglas said despite their losing record, he takes pride in the Oakland A’s. “It’s not common that you find a Major League Baseball team in the center of one of the most dangerous cities in America,” he said.
“Taking the team away from Oakland is taking away one of the only good things the city has to offer.”
A’s fan Jasmine Green agrees with Douglas.
“It’s a theme we have in this world today,” she said. “Reward the rich and take away from the poor.”
The franchise is concerned about the team’s survival if they remain in Oakland.
According to the 2011 MLB Attendance Report, the A’s come in 27th out of 30 teams on the overall attendance chart, recording only 122,000 visitors to date and averaging 20,500 attendees per game.
In the 2009-2010 season, the team found itself in last place, averaging a poor 17,000 attendees per game.
“They’re concerned that they’re not selling tickets because they’re in Oakland,” said Lewis. “Could it be that their ticket sales are down because they’re not a very good team?”
The A’s were 81-81 in the 2010-11 season and are currently sitting in third place in the West.
Still, A’s fans remain certain that the franchise should reside in Oakland.
“Take the A’s out of Oakland and lose a big portion of the fan base,” said Jimenez.