What’s in a Name?

Posted by on June 5th, 2015  •  0 Comments  • 

The building was rocking and rolling for sure last nite, that renovated basketball arena, home of the Golden State Warriorsm who opened their championship playoff series with a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. 
Across the parking lot, the dark football stadium becomes a Mardi-Gras of sorts 10-times years, when all those fans, wearing paint, jewelry and adornments, root for the the NFL team, the Raiders.  And this time of year, you can find plenty of empty seats, and an occasional winning streak, when the baseball team plays there, the Athletics.
It struck me as odd though, in the city that all these teams play, no-one wants to use the name “Oakland” as part of their branding, and they always seem to be trying to leave.
Oakland, across the bay from San Francisco, is an economically challenged city.  Unemployment is high.  Murder rate is high.  There is an aging downtown.  And it’s franchises are always trying to flee the old facilities they call home..
The Warriors games are the in place to be right now, but it hasn’t been that way in a long time.  You think Warriors, and Rick Barry was a long time ago.  More recently it was the home of Latrell Sprewell, who said he couldn’t feed his family on 16M a year, and was leaving.  Before that it was the failed career of Chris Washburn.  Before that the give away trade of Joe Barry Carroll.  And it’s owner Franklin Mieuli, benevolent to a fault, called them Golden State.
Warriors ownership has been casting glances towards a new building in San Francisco, seemingly intent of getting out of the arena just renovated, just off the 880-freeway.
The Raiders are playing in a relic of a stadium, poorly expanded and renovated for the new Mount Davis seats, now tarped off.  It’s been a horrid product for a decade, thanks to Al Davis’ poor drafts, hideous free agent signings, and his mercurial ways.  The eras of Marcus Allen to Ken Stabler are a long time gone.
And they did vacate Oakland, leaving to go to the LA Coliseum, with the promise of riches.  Instead there was a money grab, a gravel pit, gang-bangers and their ilk, and Davis took his team back to the East Bay, where things got worse.  NFL football was passing Davis by, and the business of NFL football, he never ever grasped.  They are one of the poorest teams in existence in an era where everyone makes money in the NFL.
And they are looking to leave again, to go to Carson or Hollywood Park.
The Athletics have explored new stadiums in San Jose and Sacramento, blocked either by lack of financing or territorial rights granted by MLB to the cross-bay Giants.  The product has been good, been bad, and in a constant state of change, thanks to their GM-Billy Beane.  The baseball franchise links back to the original wildcard of an owner Charley Finley to the current Moneyball era of Lewis Wolf.
But what strikes me odd, they are the Golden State Warriors; they are the Raiders-period-exclamation point; they are the Athletics.  Very little, if ever, a reference to the city where they play Oakland.
Good teams at times, but not the emotional city linkage you’d find if this were the Lakers, Red Sox nor Packers.  And that is very strange.

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