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The San Francisco Giants’ well-told magnanimity never ceases to amaze. In the last five days, the kids with the prettiest playhouse on the block have generously offered to share their home with both the Oakland Athletics, and sat quietly but approvingly while the Mythical And Undefined Space Warriors consider a Giant-based alternative to their Pier 30-32 Boondoggle on the Bay.
Which, oddly enough, has been the Giants’ stance all along -- "Come closer, me pretties," as Margaret Hamilton said in The Wizard of Oz. And even stranger still, with the Giants in the position of leverage.
In other words, they offered what they have always offered, only using the timing of failures in San Jose and a few piers up the Embarcadero as an added incentive.
The people who live in San Francisco and San Jose must decide for themselves which public services they wish to trade for a pretty new athletic, commerce and convocation center.
But as the Warriors seem to have bitten off more than they can chew via political and economic cost spikes, and the Athletics have apparently forgotten how to use the fork at all via a loss in federal court, the Giants sit quietly, happily, with the real estate advantage and the gift of other people’s misfortune, just waiting for the recalcitrants to come around to their way of thinking.
Monday’s story in the San Francisco Porch-Warmer had the same heartwarming tone that Giants CEO/front man Larry Baer’s spring training stump speech had last Wednesday. Baer spoke at some length about the A's as potential tenants, but had no comment about the Warrior story. The message was clear, though, as it has been for months -- “We know they’re in a jam over there, so here’s what we’ll do as good neighbors. We'll let them put their arena by our ballpark, and we’ll all get rich together.”
Baer did not speak on this topic, leaving it to the Warriors to “keep all avenues open.” He did, though, speak at length about the A’s, who are essentially stranded after a courtroom loss that it will take years to walk through the thicket of appeals courts.
In the Warriors’ case, relocation works greatly to the Giants’ advantage. In the A’s case, it takes San Jose off the board entirely, because the Giants’ offer seems binding only while the A’s are building a new stadium in the burgeoning metropolis of Not San Jose.
Six months ago, such an arrangement was offensive to both the A’s and W’s (we ought to call them the Root Beer Twins, only that comes too close to actual ad pandering for our comfort), because it would have been viewed as interference in the private affairs of potential competitors.
But as the signs have pointed downward on both Oakland teams’ relocation plans, the Giants by changing nothing about their offers are now the preferred Plan B – at least insofar as both Plan As seems to be dead in the sandbar and there are no Plan Cs.
Of course, this could all be public posturing for the Warriors until they figure out if sharing with the Giants beats being alone in Oakland. And the A’s, who have kept their own counsel on the joys of potential tenanthood, are still using the time-honored strategy of holding their breath until Bud Selig turns blue.
In other words, both Giants-centric offers may end up going precisely and specifically nowhere. Nothing gives off the faint air of nonsense quite like a conciliatory quote from a moderately low-lying underling. And the A’s are just standing and watching as San Jose takes its blindfolded swings at hummingbird piñata that is Major League Baseball.
But for the moment, what cards can be held are held by the Giants, who did nothing more than adhere to two important mercantile theories at once.
The first: location location location. And the second: Someone else’s failure can be your success if you wait long enough.