By Jack Rux
When the San Francisco Giants battle to stay alive Friday night in St. Louis, this Oakland A’s fan will be pulling for them to extend their season. But it won’t be easy.
I have too many friends who are Giants fans to wish their favorite team any ill will, but the ownership of the team across the Bay gives cause for mixed feelings to well up in A’s fans.
On one hand, you would like your friends who are Giants fans to be able to see their team extend its season in the NL Championship Series and perhaps to the World Series. And a few Giants players are former stalwarts for the Green and Gold: Marco Scutaro, Barry Zito and Santiago Castilla.
On a whole, they seem to be a likable bunch and very good players who earn the respect of baseball fans everywhere from their manager Bruce Bochy to Buster Posey to … Pablo Sandoval, Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Ryan Vogelsong, Angel Pagan, Sergio Romo and many others.
But unlike some other rivalries, this one is not so friendly, at least on the ownership level. This is not like the Cal-Stanford rivalry, which has its annual Big Game in football coming up Saturday. Yes, that rivalry is heated, but it is also a friendly one, with many friendships that cross school lines.
And Larry Baer (a Cal grad and top Giants executive), in even his most Cal Bear blue-and-gold moment, doesn’t have as his goal to close Stanford or at least have it move somewhere out of the Bay Area.
The Giants’ ownership would like the A’s franchise to move out of the Bay Area.
The A’s need a new stadium and sooner or later will have to go where they can get one. As an East Bay resident, I would prefer it be in Oakland near BART. But San Jose would be preferable to the team winding up somewhere else in the country.
And for a Giants team that’s pretty much sold out every home game for three years to take such an obstructionist stance toward the A’s efforts to find solution to their stadium issue to me is ludicrous.
But it is what is, and while I’d love to wish the best for the favorite team of many of my friends, it gives me pause to know that the more success the Giants achieve will create a financial windfall that will help their ownership make the A’s path to financial success even tougher.
On the field, it’s fine as far as I’m concerned for the Giants owners to make their team even better. Strive to be a dynasty. Yes. But I fear they will also be using those financial gains to hamstring the A’s chances even further to become more viable financially.
This game should be played fairly on a level playing field, out on the green grass … and where the greenbacks are counted.
Coming: How Beane-town, on the heels of the A's great 2012 season, could be made even better in the long term.