'Triple-dealing' could cost Oakland both A's and Raiders

'Triple-dealing' could cost Oakland both A's and Raiders
July 9, 2014, 12:45 pm
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Ray Ratto: "A cranky baseball ownership group with wanderlust and a football team that churns out five-win seasons still beat the third alternative." (USATSI)

If there is a compelling reason for the City of Oakland -- which clearly has reached the point where the left hand actually doesn’t know what the LEFT hand is doing -- to deal with either the A’s or the Raiders, it is this:

Triple karma.

The city delayed the A’s-or-Raiders decision far too long and are now in a vise of their own manufacture. The A’s underplayed their hand with Major League Baseball and San Jose, and are now locked into a city they can’t escape. The Raiders have talked about staying and leaving at the same time for months now. And none of them can foot the full bill for what they all say they want and need.

In other words, it’s just a longer ouroboros -- snakes eating each other, with the best result for all of us being that they all finish the job with one final massive bite.

Both Phil Matier and Andy Ross, the noted Chronicle troublemakers, and Matthew Artz of BANG reported Wednesday that the Raiders and the city have been talking about a date to demolish the Oakland Coliseum -- the same Coliseum that the A’s just signed a flexible 10-year lease to inhabit, and better yet, the same city that runs the building specified in the lease.

[RELATED: Raiders stadium developer objects to A's lease extension]

Think of it. The city is negotiating to tear down a stadium and keep it standing at the same time. There isn’t enough medical marijuana in the state to make this make sense.

To call this idiocy is to slander idiots. To call it political cowardice is to disgust cowards. So let’s just call this what it really is.


[REWIND: A's, Oakland Coliseum Authority reach 10-year agreement]

The Oakland political culture looks like a Dr. Seuss tree, bent, threadbare and unrecognizable as living fauna. One group negotiates with the A’s, who are wedged in at the Coliseum because of the burdensome issue of having noplace else to go, while another group talks with the Raiders for the Coliseum City plan, and they all string each other along while knowing they are all being strung along, and they all end up well and richly screwed.

And it suddenly becomes clear that the unintended consequence of the Warriors leaving Oakland for San Francisco is that the Warriors never have to deal with the people allegedly in charge of running Oakland ever again.

The Oakland political structure has pushed the day of A’s-Or-Raiders reckoning down the road month after month, year after year, in a cavalcade of fecklessness that could fell a herd of moose. It has never had the leverage over or the respect of either Coliseum tenant, but neither tenant has a place to go. And while working together toward a common satisfactory goal for all involved is just passé, the triple-backstab is just too difficult a gymnast’s trick for any of the three principals to pull off.

And yet, they try.

The worst-case scenario, of course, is that both teams leave, something that cannot happen for years since the Raiders’ best option, Los Angeles, still doesn’t have a shovel to put into an as-yet-undetermined bit of dirt, and the A’s can’t go to San Jose and the rumored options of San Antonio and Montreal are utter non-starters.

But the biggest problem with both the A’s and Raiders leaving Oakland is this: We’ll still be stuck with the people who operate the city, and that is an eventuality that should horrify you down to the cellular level.

Even if you’re not a sports fan, you understand that. And even if you’re a sports fan who disagrees with the concept of cities subsidizing sports teams because the cities never get their money out of the deal, you understand that. A cranky baseball ownership group with wanderlust and a football team that keeps churning out five-win seasons may not be ideal companions for the future, but they still beat the hell of the third alternative.