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Today, John Fisher violated the social contract of sports ownership, and sealed himself as the worst of all time in the Bay 



Congratulations, John Fisher. Today you announced that Sept. 26, 2024 will be the last A’s baseball game in Oakland, ending a 57-year run that ran from Catfish Hunter to Vida Blue to Mitchell (The Rage) Page to Carney Lansford to Bill King to Roy Steele to Rickey Henderson to Jason Giambi to Tim Hudson to Josh Donaldson to Yoenis Cespedes to drums and iconic bedsheet signs and Aussie closers screaming their heads off.

John Fisher, you’ve violated the social contract of sports ownership, and have thus sealed yourself as the worst owner in Bay Area sports history.

Numero uno. Ichiban. King of the rotten, stinking hill. Top of the cretinous, villainous heap. 

Somewhere, the ghost of Mr. Potter from “It’s A Wonderful Life” gives an impressed golf clap, to fulfill my generationally-dated pop culture allusion Jock Blog quota.

Chris Cohan must be wowed. The former Warriors owner was always a candidate as the Bay’s worst-ever, but all he did was lose by the bushel and oversee the breakup of a possible championship nucleus. He never had the gumption to leave or commit subterfuge. Plus, he sold to a guy who stayed local. 

Also impressed up in the great owner’s box in the sky is Al Davis — who, despite his iconic and legendary and Hall of Fame status, was the O.G. of heart-rippers in Oakland, Calif. 

At least Al came back. With an idea for a mountain — which might have played a small role in the A’s ultimate departure. But we digress.

Nope, John Fisher has cleared the decks. He is the anti-Peter Magowan, who literally rescued the Giants and not only kept the memory of Willie Mays alive in The City, he built a gleaming temple to last a century. Fisher is the Bizarro Joe Lacob, who bought a downtrodden team, promised championships to a disbelieving fan base, and delivered over and over and over.

I’d mention the Yorks on the exalted list of local owners for doing so many things right, but it’s still tough to swallow Santa Clara, all these years later.

As Outkast once sang: I’m … just being honest.

One hundred fifty years of pro sports in America means we have a pretty good gauge of what makes up the soul of a good sports owner, and what makes up the soul of one who hires Mayflower trucks to leave Baltimore in the middle of the night, as I was just saying to the ghost of Bob Irsay. 

Good sports owner: Understands the social contract. Understands that owning a sports team is way, way, way, way, way different to the human experience than, say, building an empire of malls, or starting a cable company or inventing Microsoft. When a good owner buys a sports team, he becomes part of people’s intimate lives, their generational connections to loved ones gone. Good owners are the Rooneys in Pittsburgh, who treasure their role in the community. Or, as Rebecca from “Ted Lasso” said in her iconic Season 3, episode 10 speech:

“Just because we own these teams, doesn’t mean they belong to us.”

Bad sports owner: Buys team thinking about money. Buys team looking for best business deal. Buys team without regard to its cultural history, or working to preserve that cultural history. Buys team as a transaction sheet. Buys team not understanding the social contract.

Fisher has transgressed from bad sports owner to deliberately malignant in his years-long efforts to kill off the fan base in Oakland, starting with destroying the on-field product and moving from there to destroying the stadium experience.

Despite his minions telling you that he spent millions of dollars trying to make it work in Oakland, he had no ultimate interest in making it work in Oakland.

Now, I want to clarify one thing. The city of Oakland and county of Alameda leadership has blood in its hands, too; just as San Francisco does in the move of the 49ers. And the empty suit that is Rob Manfred and his soulless handling of Major League Baseball — somewhere, Bart Giamatti hasn’t stopped throwing up — has blood on his hands, too. 

They all played a part.

But it starts and ends with Fisher who, at the very worst, could have thrown up his hands and sold the club at an enormous profit to someone local — maybe Lacob — who would treasure the civic weight of the Oakland A’s and what they’ve meant to generations in Northern California. And if money is what Fisher wanted all along, he’d make it.

Because clearly, he doesn’t want to be a sports owner for the right reasons. And despite most all sports owners being money-loving tycoons, being a sports owner is not solely about securing the best land deal. It’s not about abandoning your base; your customers! You became a sports owner because your family made money through capitalism, which is well and good, and the way Adam Smith drew it up in the original “Moneyball” script. But once you used that money to buy a sports franchise, you entered a different world. Once again, our hero Rebecca from “Lasso”:

“Why would you ever consider taking something away from people that means so much to them?”

There really needs to be no other question asked of Fisher, who has sunken to the lowest of lows in our decorated sports history. Somewhere, Dave Stewart, who I think of as the ultimate Oakland Athletic, weeps. 

He’s not alone.