The Athletics are one of baseball’s most nomadic franchises. After originating here in the late nineteenth century and then becoming a modern club in 1901, the A’s have moved twice: first to Kansas City in 1954 and then on to Oakland in 1968, as baseball fans moved west in droves. Now the club is threatening to move away from Oakland. They’re threatening to move to — wait for it — Sacramento, of all places.
Now maybe the people of Sacramento would like a professional baseball team, but so did northern Virginia and what did they get? The Expos. How’s that working out? Have you been to a Nationals game? The crowd they claimed was starving for baseball would appear to appreciate the diet. Even with pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg the Nats struggle to draw a crowd. I have my doubts that Sacramento would be able to support a major league baseball team any better than Oakland does. Lots of love for Tyreke Evans, but even the Kings don’t rule.
Here’s my solution: let’s bring them back to Philadelphia! I’d have to double check, but I’m pretty sure Philadelphia’s the largest television market that doesn’t have two teams. Is it an impossible pipe dream? Probably, but I’m not ready to give up the slim hope that some wildly egotistical entrepreneur couldn’t embrace the romantic notion of returning the A’s to their hometown, the birthplace of professional baseball.
I’ll grant that there are many seemingly insurmountable practical concerns, first and foremost being where they’d play. Could Philadelphia even support two teams? We’re baseball rich right now, but what about when the Phillies inevitably slide? Will baseball fans retreat into their homes? Would people support both teams? How does Chicago manage?
If the A’s are planning to move anyway, why not at least try to bring them back to Philadelphia? Can’t the City of Brotherly love make a pitch to win them back?