A's, city of Oakland pitted in deathless struggle

A's, city of Oakland pitted in deathless struggle
July 2, 2014, 1:30 pm
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It is kabuki theatre only with puppies as the actors. They bark a lot, they piddle on stage, they even chew some scenery, but they never seem to advance the plot.
Ray Ratto

So you are probably wondering why, yet again and for what seems like the 16th time, the Oakland Athletics and the Oakland City Council cannot figure out how to sign a piece of paper that merges their interests for up to ten years. You’re probably baffled how two organizations that need each other more than they hate each other can’t figure out a way to meet the needs while saving the hatred for later.

Well, it’s easy. You have two competing sides of the dreaded Coliseum Lease misunderstanding their mutual interests by promoting their mutual antipathy. Put another way, each side believes it has leverage over the other when neither side has any.

Let’s do this another way. The city is losing the Warriors, and is better than even money to lose the Raiders too. That’s 51 dates, plus the odd playoff game, that the Coliseum will be losing within the next few years. The city needs the A’s to stay, either at the Coliseum or somewhere else.

The A’s, on the other hand, want to leave Oakland in the worst way but can’t get anyone who wants to take them except San Jose, and San Jose is suing the A’s parent company, Major League Baseball, so San Jose is essentially out.

So the A’s know the city has to crack, and the city knows the A’s have to crack. And they, of course, are both right while being spectacularly wrong.

[REPORT: City council members ordered to vote against A's lease]

Parsing out the little issues, like back rent, security, sewage and other little irritants is amusing, but it really boils down to this simple confusion over who’s . . . well, you know.

Will this idiotic stalemate change? You’d think so, but you’d have thought so months ago, just as you’d have thought that MLB would have provided a definitive answer to the San Jose conundrum within five years. That’s the third part of this sitcom – the other 28 owners do not sufficiently care about the A’s, Giants or the Bay Area to have ever tried to pick a side or offer a solution.

This stuns locals – how could MLB not want to settle a problem in the sixth-biggest television market in the country? Isn’t it logical for the company to tackle the matter of the Bay Area? Well, “how” doesn’t matter, and neither does logic. MLB has been stridently in favor of inertia, and lack of action speaks far louder than mere logic.

In the power vacuum that created, you ended with the A’s and Oakland pitted in a deathless struggle that would seem to be about a few paragraphs but is actually about whether mutual hatred can spoil an arranged marriage . . . and so far, hatred is kicking ass.

So it goes on. The A’s say they have all the deal they intend to make, and the city says it wants to deliver a new proposal anyway. It is kabuki theatre only with puppies as the actors. They bark a lot, they piddle on stage, they even chew some scenery, but they never seem to advance the plot.

The two sides need a deal. They need to move on to the next spitting contest because this one has reached dry-mouth stage.

But here, in this squalid little corner of the Internet, where corporate chaos is always to be preferred to order and lowbrow entertainment is always better than mere commerce, we have a radically different view.

What we need, it seems to us, are more puppies. And maybe a few kittens for the puppies to chase, thereby wrecking the theatre.

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