From an Oakland Resident: Yes, the Warriors should go to San Francisco
I’d never leave Oakland, if every day was up me. I have everything at arm’s length. There’s food from around the world, teeming farmers markets, lush green hills, Redwood trees, Mosswood Park, Grand Lake Theatre–this is all within two miles. But I made the mistake of making friends along the way, and this can pull me into San Francisco on a given night.
For the life of me, I’ll never get the San Francisco thing. The place is windy, there’s no parking, and many neighborhoods feel like Children of Men if our childless post-apocalyptic hellscape was comprised of twenty somethings trying to outcool each other.
To make matters worse, many of these twenty somethings feel some amount of pride for just existing in the 415, even if that existence sits about in a rattrap apartment on a dilapidated block. A San Franciscan could walk to work through his urine-soaked street, using discarded malt liquor bottles as stepping stones, and still have the audacity to sneer at Oakland for having some abstract crime problem that would never effect this hypothetical person.
But people will continue to live in San Francisco because it’s San Francisco, and people will continue to want to live where people are. Bars pump ear-bleedingly loud music out onto the street, not because they think their customers like it, but because new customers will be drawn to such a noisy, crowded place. Remember that part about “no parking”? This what happens to a highly desired location. Popularity perpetuates itself.
To a degree, San Francisco is desirable because it’s desired. Oakland is Oakland, a massively underrated city that fulfils my needs like San Francisco can’t. Guess which is the better place for the Golden State Warriors? It’s that West Bay city national broadcasters keep showing during Warriors games while pretending Oakland doesn’t exist.
San Francisco is where the money is, and it’s where the money wants to be on a Friday night. San Jose is closer to the actual Silicon Valley wellspring of cash, but the Valley would rather be seen in glamorous San Francisco. If the Warriors ever became good in this SF stadium–and that is a large “if” given the history–GSW basketball could, bizarrely, have a national cachet connected to how many annoying yuppies vie to witness it. I don’t see this as a terrible outcome, so long as the TV product improves. Speaking of which, do you know where free agents like to go? They tend to pick cities replete with pockets-swollen yuppies.
Of course, the average fan gets screwed, because the average fan always gets screwed. I’m looking at this as more of an inevitability than bemoaning the situation. You know why? Because, even in the East Oakland stadium, Warriors ineptitude was all that priced regular joes into the games. The Oracle tax bracket got into that tech entrepreneur strata when the Warriors made their We Believe run. There’s too much money in the Bay to prevent this. So perhaps blue collar types won’t go to Dubs games as often. They were only able to go in the first place because the Warriors were a consistent disappointment in their lives.
There is a lot I love and that I’ll miss about Oracle, but this wasn’t the happiest marriage in the world. The Warriors mostly pumped bad memories into that structure and the booing of Lacob reflects as much. Tell me about Oakland losing a team, and I’ll tell you about all the dudes at Mosswood in Lakers gear. It’s more important that the Warriors be relevant in the Bay Area than that they be in the East Bay specifically. I don’t get a dime from Joe Lacob, but if his getting rich can help the Warriors be actually relevant, I’m fine with that. Besides, it’s one BART stop away from downtown Oakland. This isn’t exactly Sonicsgate.