One of the many things that us Brits struggle with is the concept of franchises, where a team can up sticks and move somewhere else with scant regard for those they leave behind. The MK Dons are really the only football example and we all know how well that has turned out so far. The Dons have been shunned by many, not least scores of travelling supporters who refuse to buy food, drinks, programmes etc, but in America it just seems to be an accepted part of life.
I raise the issue because it is being reported that the Oakland A’s are planning to move 27 miles to Fremont. The A’s future in Oakland has been a controversial topic for several years and Fremont has been touted as a possible home for a while. I doubt that will make it any easier for Oakland locals to take though.
You would think that a team would move to a better populated area, but in this case Fremont’s population is around half the size of Oakland. As ESPN point out however, the populace is generally wealthier than that of Oakland and as with anything, money speaks loudest. And despite the population size, the A’s struggled to fill the Colliseum and played all of last season with a self-enforced reduced capacity (they averaged a crowd of 24,403 in 2006).
Twenty-seven miles doesn’t seem that much but it’s not the travel time that fans will be concerned about, it’s the fact that the team will no longer be a part of Oakland. It’s a difficult topic for me to write about really because while I’m an Oakland fan, I’m well aware that looking out for a team’s results from another country is completely different from being a dedicated, life-long supporter.
So, while I have great sympathy for Oakland based fans, my thoughts have started to turn to the new name. I believe that Fremont is pronounced â€œFree-montâ€. â€œThe Fremont A’sâ€? â€œThe Fremont Athleticsâ€? â€œEric Chavez, Fremont’s six time gold glove winnerâ€? It doesn’t sound right to me, in fact it doesn’t even look right. I guess we will all just have to get used to it.