So the A’s and Oakland are going to play nice now, eh? So the pressures of needing a place to have made friends of natural adversaries, has it? So practicality has trumped antagonism, you say?
Yeah, well, nice try.
In the space of four press releases over 19 hours, the two sides have essentially called each other liars, deadbeats, grandstanders and blowhards, and since the A’s won the toss and elected to defer, the last word is club president Mike Crowley’s:
“We have nothing additional to offer and as a result there will be no further negotiations.”
The middle finger is silent.
[RELATED: Coliseum Authority responds to A's, seeking 'fair deal']
How this went so bad so quickly is to misunderstand the true relationship of the two sides. The A’s don’t like the Coliseum people, and though it down on their list of reasons for wanting to leave for cheerier climes, it still is a contributing factor. And the Coliseum people think they have all the leverage because the A’s can’t go to San Jose and don’t really have a Plan C.
In addition, the Oakland political structure still thinks it has to cater to the needs of the Raiders, played by a moving fan idling in the back parking lot.
The two sides are a little right and a whole lot wrong, and now that they have decided to air their dirty skivvies publically, they have conspired to make Mark Davis look balanced and reasonable.
That is a crippling and even humiliating kind of shame they will have to share.
The cold fact is this: The A’s and the Coliseum are trapped in the same car, and neither wants to acknowledge it. They have entered the pointless shoe-squeezing stage of their relationship, where they will revisit all outstanding grievances and even fabricate a few more for good reason, all in the interest of rocking the hate. In this case the Coliseum says the A's don't pay rent and the A's say they don't owe any rent.
But they hate each other mostly because they really need each other, as revolting a proposition as that might be. The Coliseum will lose the Raiders because Los Angeles will at some point become an actual NFL player again rather than an empty threat, and Davis knows that his fate is tied to selling the club to an L.A.-based group and becoming a minority billionaire owner who gets to go to the games for free.
Meanwhile, the A’s have essentially lost their San Jose bus pass, for the foreseeable future and perhaps for good. They still maneuver and bluster (as in now), but they are Oakland’s team barring some catastrophic change in circumstances.
This represents mutually assured failure for both the hilariously misguided Oakland political structure and the inherently persnickety A’s, and though neither side likes it, it will endure the partnership, while making sure that it goes as poorly as possible.
This is why they must bicker – because they have nothing else in common. Cooler heads will prevail, of course, which is interesting since the hotheads and the cooler heads are the same heads. They may not agree on a 10-year lease but they will grit their teeth and curse the gods that made them and agree to a tiny little lease here and a tiny little lease there, maintaining their mutual animosity while knowing they cannot change their mutual indispensability.
Life’s like that sometimes, though. You may flirt with others at the club all you want, but when push comes to shove, you’re going home with your ride, and that’s all there is to it.