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In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say, I have loved the Oakland Athletics for a long time now. I love how they are the anti-Yankees, consistently fielding winning teams despite having one of the lower payrolls in the game, and losing superstar after superstar to richer teams. I love their plucky spirit and their annual belief-defying August winning streaks. I love Billy Beane’s flair for the dramatic. I love that they wear white spikes with white pants and that their symbol is a circus elephant. I love that most seasons, their players more closely resemble a beer-league softball team that should have a keg at second base to help guys like Matt Stairs, John Jaha, and Nick Swisher continue to pad their magnificent beer guts, than a major league team.

But now I love them even more.

ciscofield.jpgBecause the A’s are going to become the first team in a decade to build a new stadium entirely financed with private funds. The plan is pure genius – get land basically for free from Cisco Systems in exchange for stadium naming rights, and raise funds for construction using private venture capital in exchange for soon-to-be-vaulable commercial real estate around the new stadium. It’s a stadium that pays for itself! It seems so obvious – why didn’t anyone think of this before?

This is the kind of creative thinking outside the box that we have come to expect from the A’s. Ever since Sandy Alderson became the first GM to realize that walks were important, the A’s have been leading the league in brains and common sense. Saddled in the mid-90s with a weak market, a lackluster fan base, a horrible stadium, and a ridiculous refusal by the San Francisco Giants to allow the A’s to move out of the East Bay area, the A’s have figured out ways to maximize their payroll, increase their fanbase, get out of the Oakland projects, and now, get a gleaming, new, FREE stadium that doesn’t cost tax-payers a dime and is 30-miles closer to the cash-laden yuppies of Silicon Valley while still being in the East Bay so no one can accuse them of running out on their die hard fans.

Did I mention that they also keep winning a boatload of games every year?

Truly, the A’s are a team to love among a league of teams to hate.

16 Responses to “The Athletics continue to lead the way when it comes to the smart and the sensible”

  1. Sarah Green says:

    Indeed, the only thing that completely sucks about the A’s is their stupid name. That apostrophe! It’s killing me!

  2. The new Fremont stadium will most likely price out the die hard fans…not to mention that the nearest BART stop is 5 miles from the stadium.

    I used to ride to the Coliseum on BART during the summer, buy a $4 ticket, and blow one of those horns you hear when you turn on Univision and watch Mexican soccer. My way of life has been destroyed.

  3. I grew up a Giants fan and hated Canseco and Mcgwire before everyone else knew it was all true. Then the A’s started to get cool. This stadium deal just broke the last resistance. I no longer like the A’s just because I hate the Yankees, I’m an actual A’s fan. Convert for the good of sports!!

  4. SteaksandChops says:

    Sarah, it is called a contraction. That tiny apostrophe is doing yeoman’s work, one little tick mark standing in for “thletic.” You should admire it, not curse it.

  5. Again..the A’s think out of the box and save money…and I for one welcome our new Moneyball overlords

  6. Coley Ward says:

    Yes, Sarah, you should get over the whole apostrophe thing. This should make you feel better about it. The Fynal Cut had a great explanation of why there is an apostrophe in “A’s” just a few days ago. http://fynalcut.com/?p=117

  7. the new yankee stadium is pretty much completely privately financed

    except for the city building a new train station

    but the city also gets to own the parking lots

  8. Nick Kapur says:

    The new Yankees stadium complex is going to cost $1.1 billion dollars (yes, billion), of which “only” 19 percent is going to be paid by the city of New York. That “tiny” 19 percent comes out to “only” 210 million dollars!

    What you need to explain to me, Mister “Yankees,” is why hardworking taxpayers should subsidize the richest franchise in American sports even a single dollar.

    The city could get a lot more out of the $210 million by spending it on something actually beneficial to the general populace. George Steinbrenner has no business dipping his grubby hands into the public purse.

  9. a ridiculous refusal by the San Francisco Giants to allow the A’s to move out of the East Bay area

    That ‘ridiculous refusal’ as you put it does not prevent the Zzzzzz’s from moving to Sacramento or Santa Rosa – it just defines the territorial rights of the Giants to San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. A similar, though more informal, arrangement exists for the two football teams.

    In the end, San Jose gets hosed on this, because the stadium (IF it gets built) will be four miles north of the county line, and will draw most of its fan base from north and east San Jose.

  10. Sarah Green says:

    I will not go quietly into that good night! I don’t buy the “it’s a contraction” excuse ponied up by Mr. SteaksandChops (what, no loins?) because I cannot think of another contraction that is shortened to a single letter. “Ath’s” would be a contraction. “A’s” is just a one-letter acronym, or something. (But doesn’t an acronym, by definition, have to be more than one letter? Hmm.)

    Nor do I buy the rationale tendered by my friend and colleague Coley Ward, via the link he posted. For one, the media department at the A’s claims that it is not a contraction but an *abbreviation*, in other words, it’s not “don’t” but “dep’t.” They claim, as Mr. SteaksandChopsbutnotLoins does, that the apostrophe takes the place of the missing letters. They FURTHER claim that if the A’s had gone by the grammatically sensical “As”, then the posessive form would have been “As’s” which looks too much like ass.

    This just proves what asses they themselves are. Posessive plurals are formed by placing an apostrophe AFTER the final s. In other words, the plural of a hypothetical team called the As would be as follows: As’. (Example: “The As’ shortstop sucks ass.” NOT “The As’s shortstop sucks ass.”)

    In fact, I have my own theory on why the Oakland Athletics have chosen to throw in this random punctuator, like a bay leaf flung casually into pasta sauce. I think they did it because “As” just looks weird. It looks like the word “as” only capitalized. Hence the apostrophe is there to add style and character, much like one of Jennifer Aniston’s 17 pieces of flair in Office Space. This is much the same reason that the New York Times, for instance, writes about “CD’s” and not “CDs.” In that case, it is clear that the house style the paper has chosen does not reflect the contraction of “compact discs” but reflects the fact that a pluralized abbreviation (or acronym?) just looks sorta funny. I accept this, but I do not like it. We are throwing grammatical caution to the winds for the sake of mere fashion and I, for one, am disturbed!

  11. If only the team had a billion dollar company that could buy them and spend lots of money. And if only they had a big TV contract where they get seen by millions of people region and nationwide, then they’d be spending money.

  12. The Giants built Pac Bell Park (now AT&T) with private funds…

    According to this article, they were the first team to do so in 4 decades.

    The A’s & Giants both privately financing their parks probably stems from the political culture in the Bay Area. They can’t get public money here, so they have to come up with alternatives.

    As a long-time A’s fan, I’m glad that they are staying in the East Bay and not moving to a place where public financing would be easier to come by (Vegas? Portland?). But I think it’s worth recognizing that private financing of the park is more out of necessity than a desire to do things differently. If they could get public money, they definitely would.

  13. Not sure if that link worked. Here’s the URL:

    http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2002/oct/22/privately_built_pacific/

    If you google “privately financed pac bell”, you get lots of good references.

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