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A Tale of Two Cities Part III Conclusion
Gary Norris Gray BASN Staff Reporter
Oakland, California and San Francisco, California The Cities Images in the Sports World.
The Cities of Oakland, California and San Francisco, California are going in the opposite directions. This past week in the baseball playoffs and weekend football games they reviled another aspect of the stark differences of these two major sports cities. It’s a story of one city on the rise and the other in complete confusion.The Warriors, and the A’s have been called “recycling centers”, or “incubators”, for other teams in their respective leagues. Players leave the Bay Area to become superstars all over America. Oddly enough, it’s kind of fitting too for the kind of city that Oakland is: industrial. San Francisco is a tourist destination and the Gateway to Silicon Valley. Their teams reflect the city’s image.
San Francisco has Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, Cable Cars, Koit Tower, The Golden Gate Bridge, and America’s 2nd largest China Town.
Oakland has the only man-made lake in America, Lake Merritt, The City Zoo, Jack London Square, the Asian Art Museum & Library, and the new Korea Town on Telegraph Avenue.
Oakland is an Industrial city; a place for steel mills; shipyards, recycling centers, and manufacturing are housed.
San Francisco touts IBM, Wall Street-West, with the uptown style, which could be called Silicon Valley north.
Oakland has always had San Francisco complex and don’t like being 2nd in the Bay Area. As my BASN colleague, Tony McClean, states many times, it is old money vs. new money.
What gets manufactured here (as in the A’s) or recycled as in the Warriors gets shipped off elsewhere or has a brief shelf life somewhere else. The Oakland teams trade their most famous players time and time again.
The first big trade of the modern era, and sports fans forget was Roger Maris to the New York Yankees for Marvin Thronberry who became famous with the young New York Mets. Other trades include Joe Rudi, Rollie Fingers, and Vida Blue, Reggie Jackson, and Catfish Hunter of the World Championship A’s teams. Ricky Henderson, Jose Canseco, and The Giambi Brothers, of the Bash Brother Era. Then Billy Bean came to town and the A’s dugout became a revolving door. Mark McGwire, Nelson Cruz, Andre Ethier, Carlos Gonzalez, Gio Gonzales Miguel Tejada, Jarimine Dye, Brett Wallace, and Kurt Suzuki, we cannot forget the great pitching staff, the three headed monster of Mark Mulder, Barry Zito, and Tim Hudson under the Money Ball program.
The San Francisco Giants don’t have a list that long and loyalty was a premium at Candlestick Point. Following the 1989 World Series defeat to the Oakland A’s, a local ballot initiative to fund a new stadium in San Francisco failed, threatening the franchise’s future in the city. After the 1992 season, owner Bob Lurie, who had previously saved the franchise from moving to Canada in 1976, put the team up for sale. A group of investors from South Florida led by Vince Naimoli reached an agreement to purchase the team and move them to the Tampa Bay Area, but National League owners voted against the acquisition. Wally Haas, the owner of the Oakland Athletics at the time, agreed to grant the Giants exclusive rights to the South Bay so the Giants could explore all potential local sites for a new stadium and at least help to keep the team in the Bay Area. (This agreement might now hinder the movement of the Oakland A’s to San Jose). The Giants were sold to an ownership group including managing general partner Peter Magowan, the former CEO of Safeway, Harmon Burns, and his wife, Sue.
The Giants were saved by The House that Barry Lamar Bonds built SBC Park, Pac Bell Park, now AT&T Park in China Basin on 3rd Street.
The Golden State Warriors are the magical basketball team that the Bay Area follows no matter what happens on the floor. When they moved from Philadelphia they became the San Francisco Warriors the first seven years before the name change. They are already kind of a “Bay Area” team; they aren’t closely identified with Oakland eventho they currently play there.
They also have lost players that have become superstars elsewhere. The first was center Wilt Chamberlin who went back to Philadelphia and the upstart Seventy-Sixers. The Next big trade was The Chief Robert Parrish and Kevin McHale who won championships with the Boston Celtics. We cannot forget Run TMC in honor of the rap group, Run DMC, Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, and Chris Mullins were all traded. Hard working Joe Smith and then there was the Chris Webber episode with head coach Don Nelson which told many Warrior fans they were not serious about winning a title. Nelson wanted Webber to play small ball at center. Webber wanted out because he did not agree with this style of play. As I’ve stated many times, fans go see the players play not the coach. Don Nelson and the Warriors management did not agree and Webber was sent packing. We cannot forget the Latrell Sprewell incident with Head Coach Carlesimo choking him at practice. Again, the player left and the coach stayed. The Warriors continue the trend of being a mediocre team year after year. The Warriors traded future stars Gilbert Arenas, Vince Carter, and Jason Richardson. This summer Golden State traded star guard Monte Ellis to Milwaukee for center Andrew Bogut a fan favorite which could be the last straw.
Lastly addressing the craziness of the Black and Silver and bringing the Los Angeles Raiders back to the city of Oakland. Al Davis would come back to Oakland only if the City paid them for ten years. One cannot forget the cost of changing the Coliseum with Mount Davis in Center Field. A building that now blocks the view of the Oakland Hills. That bill was paid for by the Alameda County Board of supervisors and the people of Oakland. The Raiders did not pay a dime. After which, the people said, anything that we have to spend on needs to go to vote for the Oakland Raiders and the Coliseum renovation do it. Now the city is cash strapped and The Stadium is a mess and is not conducive for the Oakland A’s Baseball Club. It is now a football stadium which Al Davis always wanted.
The Raiders are a collection of NFL football’s misfits and malcontents over the years making them stars in Silver and Black. Unlike the A’s and Warriors only free safeties Mr. Woodson of the Green Bay Packers, and Nnamdi Asomugha of the Philadelphia Eagles, left the Bay Area for greener pastures.
The Black Hole it’s always Halloween, a fest every Sunday afternoon with Darth Vader, Chucky, Kiss, and many others characters making their voices heard, unlike the wine and cheese folk at Candlestick Point. The Autumn Wind has not blown very hard the past 15 years in the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum.
The Giants and 49ers worked with the City while the Raiders, A’s and Warriors seem to be at odds with their city.
The last aspect is that in terms of media markets the Bay Area (which includes SF, Oakland, and San Jose) are the number 6th and comparatively quite small in comparison to Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York.
The San Francisco Giants and 49ers have had the same radio station KNBR-68, Giants and KGO- 81, 49ers for years. West Bay fans know where to go to find news about their favorite team while the Oakland A’s and Oakland Raiders it’s a game of hide and seek, creating mounting fan frustration. For those who are still searching, the Oakland A’s are on KGMZ 95.7 The Game. The Raiders are on Live 105FM and The Ticket 1140 Sacramento.
Thus continues the tale of two cities.
Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian. Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove on Blogtalkradio.com Disabled Community Activist. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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