A Tale Of Two Cities/A Sports Parable

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”….This particular blog primarily is for American baseball fans, although of course everybody is always welcome to read it…In a way, it is a universal theme, as Charles Dickens wrote in his epic novel “A Tale of Two Cities,” but I am paraphrasing Dickens to highlight the complete and night vs day concepts of team building, the concept of winning, and the baseball strategies to reach the ultimate goal of the playoffs and World Series…

I am using as an illustration the San Francisco Giants, a world class organization and comparing and contrasting their approach with their long time crosstown rivals, the downtrodden, helpless, hopeless Oakland Athletics…These are what is known as the “dog days” of baseball, when the long wear and tear, the daily grind of a 162 game season is chewing up and spitting out baseball players due to injury, fatigue and jet lag, travel and intense, daily pressure to win enough games to reach the playoffs….Intensity is at a fever peak, with my hometown San Francisco Giants having played 113 games, with 49 games left in the season…

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The San Francisco Giants are, or course, the defending National league Champions, winners of last year’s World Series and winners of 3 out of the last 5 World Series…They of course are going for the repeat, they want to win it all again, that’s why they play the game, after all, and they have the unique advantage of each player being familiar with the players beside them….

My hometown SF Giants are doing well, once again, they are only 3 ½ game out of first place and they have the talent and the experience that can only come with winning 3 World Series in 5 years, and a genius, sure to be Hall of Fame Manager in Bruce Bochy, the man who makes all the critical calls at all the right times…

The Giants are a unique team in the transient, almost gypsy like atmosphere of being a baseball player in America today, where players are traded for salary dumps and personality conflicts because they make a concerted effort to keep their core players together…These players are all young, talented, experienced and are mostly all home grown, rising up through the ranks of the Giants farm system….

Because of the continuity of keeping their core players together, the SF Giants retain the most loyal fan base in all of baseball, playing before a packed house every single game…The beautiful AT&T park, with its breath takingly beautiful views of the bay and the city, is sold out every game….Any available tickets are snapped up immediately by their legions of adoring fans from all walks of life and personal beliefs, who feel invested in the team’s success…

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And a huge part of the fan’s loyalty to the team is because the Giants reciprocate and are loyal to their fans as well…They are willing to spend the money, whatever it takes to keep their core group of players together year after year…The fan base in San Francisco welcomes their home town team, loves them because they have the decided advantage of seeing all the same familiar faces out there on the diamond day after day, and almost every Giant’s fan is a rabid, red hot fan, we live and breathe our sport, we LOVE our team!…

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Other teams, specifically like the crosstown Oakland Athletics, with their emphasis on “Money Ball” are the polar opposites of the Giants…The management on that side of the bay is reviled by the majority of their own once rabid fan base, who won 3 World Series in a row back in the mid 1970’s but have now not even been to a World Series since 1990…

The management of the Oakland Athletics is hated because they are cheap, selfish and greedy, because they low ball every part of the organization, and they treat their fans and their players like dirt…

They bring up a fresh crop of low paid rookies every year or so and then immediately trade them away when they are in a position to make more money, and bring up a fresh crop of low paid rookies…….

They have traded away 6 of their 2014-2015 All Stars this season alone because they are too cheap to pay them what they deserve…..This completely wrecks and destroys any concept of team loyalty for the fans, but fat cat owners Jeff Fisher and Lew Wolfe and wheeler dealer GM Billy Beane still turn a profit by cashing in on revenue sharing, or “baseball welfare” as it is called by the disillusioned, heart broken Athletic fans, and by their percentage of TV and radio revenue…

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Sep 20, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics fans hold signs during the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at O.co Coliseum. The Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Oakland Athletics 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sportsbaseball27

Their stadium itself is a disaster, and the plumbing has backed up several times in the last few years, soaking the players dressing rooms and other parts of the stadium…It is an old, decrepit stadium in sad need of repairs or outright replacement…They have had to put a tarp over the upper deck so it doesn’t look so bad on TV when you see the cavernous gaping maw of empty seats….

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Frankly, my dear, to paraphrase Rhett Butler, “they (the owners) don’t give a damn” about their fans, the only thing they care about is the bottom line…To them, owning a baseball team is just another business, and they could care less about their fan’s reactions and responses…As long as they turn a profit, the rich, smug owners are happy…

The disgruntled fans are helpless, and it reflects in their poor over all attendance, which enables the A’s to cash in on the above mentioned revenue sharing or “baseball welfare” mentioned above…As a business model, the owners can rightly say they are making money, but they miss the essential point….

Because they just don’t get it….Baseball is MORE than a business, it is the national pastime and even with the escalating salaries so prevalent today, they should at least TRY to be competitive…As it stands now, the A’s are a sorry sad sack team run by incompetent, out of touch, heedless greedy owners who care nothing about the sport and everything about turning a profit on the bottom line……It must be a curse to be an A’s fan these days to see the disintegration and breakdown of a once proud, gloried franchise, but the present owners could care less…

So if you live in the Bay Area and want to see a top notch, superbly organized and well run and extremely successful baseball team, and you love baseball with the passion and fervor it demands, you simply have to be a Giant’s fan!…The proofs in the pudding as they say, and the Giants successful run of 3 World Series Championships in the last 5 years speaks for itself….We may not have the most glamorous, most athletically talented high profile “look at me” star athletes some teams have, but we have something infinitely better: Team Chemistry!

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The Giants players believe in themselves, they believe that management from the top down truly cares for and is loyal to them and that their own familiarity with each other, their overall experience and team chemistry coupled with their daily packed house full of screaming loyal fans can overcome all obstacles…Once again…

We have a motto here in San Francisco for the team and the fans: “Together, we are Giants!

Just leave it like it is right now

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