Are the A’s doomed again?

The Athletics are baseball’s nomads. They’ve relocated to three different parts of the country in over 100 years of play, and they could be doomed to relocating again.

I don’t normally link too many stories from Deadspin, but I think this one by its founder, Will Leitch, is an interesting read. He likens the franchise to the Montreal Expos, stating that the A’s almost certainly will move again.

It’s hard to argue with that assessment. It looked like a ballpark in nearby Fremont was going to get built, but that fell through. And considering the budget shortfalls in California, it’s hard to believe stadium legislation would get passed in the state without an owner forking over some serious cash for one.

The funny thing about the A’s and their nomadic ways is that they’ve been one of Major League Baseball’s most successful franchises on the field. Those powerful teams just didn’t translate to powerful fan bases.

The nine world championships (five in Philadelphia and four in Oakland) are the second- or third-most in baseball history (can’t remember which, but it’s top three). Some of those teams – 1929-31 Philly A’s and 1972-74 Oakland A’s – are among baseball’s greatest dynasties.

But the franchise just doesn’t stick, despite producing such all-time greats as manager Connie Mack and players Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Cochrane, Al Simmons, Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter, Rickey Henderson and the juiced-up Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire.

ONE MORE LINK

I wrote a column – or as we call them, a "mini-column" – on Gary Bettman‘s upcoming dilemma about whether or not to allow NHL players to compete in the 2014 Olympic Games.

It will be interesting to see what he decides. I personally think the NHL gains more by having a world hockey tournament on the world’s biggest stage in the Olympics than starting one of its own and having it broadcast on Versus or whatever.

It might make the league some moderate immediate profits, but it will knock it a couple more notches down on the sports totem pole, just like the deal on Versus did and the decision to move teams from Canada and northern hockey-loving markets to the South did.

Remember the days of the "Big Four," which was the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA? There’s no doubt the NHL has since slipped behind NASCAR and pro golf – at least, when Tiger Woods is playing – on the average fan’s radar. And UFC is fast approaching, if it hasn’t eclipsed it already.

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