Cheap Seats

Stay, team, stay

The Athletics today announced that they are dropping plans to move 20 miles from their current home to the suburb of Freemont.

Any maybe that means one more team will be on board with the idea of scrapping the current economic system and adopting one with better revenue sharing and a salary cap.

Like so many other teams, the A's wanted Freemont to use a huge pile of taxpayer money to build a new ballpark that that would allow the club to produce more revenue. The Cardinals, Giants, Pirates, Padres, Rangers, White Sox and Blue Jays can be counted among the clubs that needed a new stadium to remain competitive.

The Cardinals have reduced payroll and let a string of their stars go since moving into new Busch Stadium in 2006. The Giants play in one of the largest cities in the country and have a middle to low market payroll while the other clubs have seen their crowd size rise and fall with the product on the field, not the newness of the ballpark.

It's ridiculous what fans are asked to pay for tickets these days. The only thing that is more ridiculous is what taxpayers are paid to help millionaire -- or billionaire -- owners build what amounts to a machine to print money.

Revenue sharing would allow clubs to make decisions about their facilities based on real need, not on trying to keep up with the Joneses. If the Athletics moved, Oakland residents weren't the only ones who would have been hurt. California is severely strapped for cash. And people in Freemont shouldn't be held up for the cost of a new ballpark when residents there are more concerned with keeping their own homes.

The A's brass argued that they weren't abandoning their fans because they were only moving 20 miles away. But that's 20 miles in California rush hour traffic to get to the ballpark for a 7 p.m. game. It's not an easy drive. And the fact that the Athletics wanted to build a ballpark that would only hold 32,000 seems to be proof that the team wasn't too worried about making the club accessible to the masses.

It's time to draw the line with the movingest franchise of them all, the Oakland/Kansas City/Philadelphia Athletics. Pick a town and stick with it if you want fans to stick with you.