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Oakland A's to San Jose: It Was Just One of Those Things

Morris Newman on
Feb 5, 2015
The following is a fictitious letter written, by the magic of anthropomorphosis and creative license, by the Oakland A's baseball team to the City of San Jose. It stands to reason that any statement attributed to these entities is fictitious. Only the facts are real.


My dearest San Jose,

 

This is a hard letter to write. Just a few short years ago; you asked for my hand and I was ready to accept. I felt happy about leaving the mean streets of Oakland, especially that horrid stadium, which everybody agrees is the worst place in the world to play baseball, which I am forced to share with a … football team! Can you imagine anything more unbecoming? My outfielders have to watch their step, for fear of getting bits of brain and bone on their clean uniforms. You, San Jose, tried to give me, the Oakland A's, what I have so desperately long for: An exit strategy! I planned on leaving Oakland, and travelling 50 miles to live with you, San Jose, in a 32,000-seat love nest, Cisco Stadium, that was to be built just for us! Oh, it was a beautiful dream, darling, but it was fated to be only a dre—(At this point, a splattered tearstain smudges the ink on the page.)

 

Yes, darling, it was just the two of us against the world:  The hard-slugging ball club from the town that Tech forgot, and the least glamorous city in Silicon Valley. Together, we had a reason to hold our heads up: The A's would be a suburban ball club with a fan base that is rich, rich, rich! And you, San Jose, my funny valentine, could finally become a Destination, not just "whudda they call it, you know, that place with the airport." 

 

Well, we had our "trip to the moon, on gossamer wings," didn't we, darling? But there was a problem. My daddy, Major League Baseball, didn't approve of the match. In 2011, I had three suitors – San Jose, Fremont and my estranged husband, Oakland. Daddy Baseball promised to study their proposals and choose a husband for me. But before Daddy made up his mind, my younger sister, the San Francisco Giants, eloped with the City of Santa Clara. They were married and, er, consummated their union quicker that we could. As a wedding present, Daddy Baseball gave them "exclusive rights" to professional baseball market in Santa Clara County, which includes the proposed site of  Cisco Stadium, only six miles away. Despite the fact that we asked first, and that Daddy Baseball never made up his mind in a timely way about which city was going to marry the Oakland A's, the marriage of San Jose and the baseball club was a no-go. That's just a fact. And facts, my dear San Jose, are something you're going to have to accept, sooner or later.

 

Yes, we vowed eternal love. You, San Jose, vowed to fight Daddy Baseball, who was acting in a controlling way, just like the father played by Charles Laughton in Hobson's Choice. (You can see it now and then on Turner Classic Movies. I recommend it.) Oh, gallant San Jose! You went to court, accusing Daddy Baseball with racketeering and being unfair, because he never decided who was to marry the Oakland A's. And you couldn't understand why people were laughing.

 

You see, Daddy Baseball is very powerful.  He has an anti-trust exemption given him personally by his friend, the U.S. Supreme Court, back in the 1920s.  Even more than other sports leagues, Daddy Baseball is a power unto himself. He decides which teams get married to which cities, and which don't.  San Jose, you sued Daddy and lost, then appealed the case and lost again. Now San Jose, darling, you're about to ask the Supreme Court to hear the case. Beating Daddy Baseball has become an obsession for you, like a man raving in a fever. Don't you realize that suing Daddy is like a mosquito trying to sting a catcher's mitt? The mosquito is only going to hurt himself.

 

Besides, dear San Jose, I've met someone. He name is Coliseum City, and he's a developer. He wants to tear down my horrid old stadium in Oakland and build a new stadium on the same spot, just for me! Meanwhile, those dreadful footballers (what do they call them – The  Waders?  The Faders?) can get their own stadium, too, if they can ever stop losing long enough to sign the deal. In addition, Coliseum City says is going he's going to build lots of houses and apartment buildings and stores, which promises a good return on capital for the $2 billion (swoon!) he plans to spend on me. This guy is rich. I haven't made up my mind, San Jose, but I think this baseball club from Oakland is going to fall in love with Coliseum City, that is, if he can, er, perform.  We're going to have a modern stadium!  We're going to have sky boxes for every damn Fortune 500 in the Bay Area!

 

I'm sorry to let you down, San Jose. You must shake this off; you're beginning to act like a stalker. Big Daddy Baseball has the muscle and Coliseum City has the bucks. End of story. I'm sorry to lose you, sort of, but I'm going to be rich, you hear me, RICH! Oakland and I will renew our vows in our new temple in front of tens of thousands of guests – maybe we'll get a ring out of it someday!

 

Our story is just like the end of Stella Dallas, the old, old movie starring Barbara Stanwyck. I, the baseball team, am just like Stanwycks's daughter in the picture, who marries the rich boy from the high-class family.  And you, sad San Jose, are like Stanwyck, who has been rejected by her daughter and who hasn't been invited to the wedding, forcing Stanwyck to stand outside in the snow and watch her child get married through a window. Oh, the heartbreak, the ingratitude! Everybody in the audience is in tears. Thank God for Turner Classics! They don't make three-hanky movies like that anymore. 

 

Yours,

The A's

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