John Fisher – the Oakland A’s version of Rachel Phelps
By David Hill
We have all seen this movie before. An owner guts the team of its star players, raises ticket prices, and tries to find any excuse to move the team out of town. Back in 1989, that was essentially the plot to Major League, when fictional Indians owner Rachel Phelps pulled every trick she could to move the team out of Cleveland.
Now, 32 years after that movie debuted in theaters, reality is imitating fiction. This time, the Oakland A’s are in place of the Indians, and owner John Fisher playing the part of Phelps.
John Fisher brings Major League to life
Fisher is certainly doing his part to bring Major League to life. The A’s got rid of popular ticket packages and replaced them with absolutely nothing that the fans want. At the same time, they raised prices to the point where the fans are openly questioning whether or not it is worth spending the money to support a team whose owner does not want to spend on the product on the diamond.
Meanwhile, the A’s are again crying poverty. Billy Beane has stated that he is not certain if the current core will be able to remain together due to payroll restrictions and that difficult decisions will need to be made. Bob Melvin is already out the door, having headed to San Diego without any compensation. Trade rumors are already circulating as it is expected that the A’s will look to move anyone that is making any type of actual salary.
And then there is the continued flirtation with Las Vegas. Maybe this is just a ploy to get the City of Oakland and surrounding areas to put more money into the Howard Terminal Project, but one wonders if Fisher secretly wants those plans to fail. They are planning on releasing their list of finalist for the site of a ballpark in Las Vegas once the World Series is done just to further the misery of the fanbase.
In the end, baseball is a business. It is one that can be lucrative if teams keep their spending down and pocket their end of the revenue sharing money. Fisher, who is worth billions, is far more concerned with the team making a profit than actually having a competitive team. If he can maximize his profits by leaving Oakland behind, he certainly will not give the Bay Area a second thought.
John Fisher is doing his best to become the real life Rachel Phelps. Unfortunately, the Oakland A’s and their fans are being held hostage by his apathy.