It seems there’s one relationship that Oakland A’s fans still haven’t gotten over the break-up of. No,it’s not the one they had with Josh Donaldson (it could be,but that’s not the one I’m referencing for this particular column), it’s the one they had with their former AAA affiliate,the Sacramento RiverCats.
Before the 2015 season,the RiverCats had been affiliated with the A’s ever since the team moved from Vancouver to Sacramento. After the 2014 season,the RiverCats decided to affiliate with the Giants,who at that time had just won their third world championship in five years. The partnership,an original two year deal,has been extended four additional years through 2020.
Nearly two years later,it seems as though some A’s fans can’t seem to let this go and what inspired me to write this column was a comment in the chat box while I was guest hosting SportsTalk 916 on Monday night from one of their loyal listeners.
He said ,”Next time you go to Raley Field, take a look out behind the center field wall at all the RiverCats division titles and championships? What era was that in? Here is a hint: It was not as a Giants Affiliate. Do you three now regret the RiverCats being a Giants Affiliate?”
I replied in the chat box, “Not at all! It’s about developing talent to play at the big league level.” And I believe that,in the heart of it all when it comes to minor league baseball,getting talent ready to play at the next level is the most important task above anything else.
We then talked about his comments on the air about how even though yes,the RiverCats aren’t necessarily winning on the field,but they are winning at the box office. Ticket sales and attendance have gone up,merchandise sales are the highest they’ve ever been,and besides all that,a lot of people who were RiverCats fans were Giants fans to begin with.
This is the kind of thing A’s fans do now to try to needle at Giants fans any way they can. They bring up 1989 over and over as if it was the greatest World Series of all-time (Spoiler alert,it wasn’t.), they bring up that the A’s win back-to-back division championships as if you actually get fitted for a ring for achieving such a feat (you don’t),and they bring up how much success the RiverCats had when they were the A’s affiliate as if the success of those players paid off in exchange for World Series hardware in Oakland (it didn’t).
What A’s fans don’t realize is that affiliations with teams change all the time. Did they actually think the RiverCats would be their AAA affiliate forever? If that’s the case,I have some oceanfront property in Nevada to give to you. Maybe if the A’s actually had a foundation to not only grow their brand,but also a plan and a timeline on trying to build a contending team for their fans to enjoy for seasons to come, then chances are the RiverCats would’ve affiliated with them. The Giants are doing all of that, they have built a brand that’s highly popular and have built a winning team that,for the most part,has homegrown talent and a lot of those players who have come up in the organization are locked up long term. The ownership of the RiverCats realized how much an affiliation with the Giants could benefit them and it has paid off big time.
I think it’s time for A’s fans to let this one go. It’s not 1989 anymore, your team isn’t winning a division title this year,and the RiverCats are just not that into you.