Kabuki is a Japanese art form that involves ritualized dance moves as a means to tell a story. It is very precise and calculated; it has a long history. Here in the US, there are events related to the sports world that emulate kabuki in the sense that the events are very precise and calculated; the history is not nearly as long, but there is a history to all of it.
Naturally, I am referring to the ritualistic events that must occur over a long period of time when a pro sports franchise thinks about relocation – either thinks about it for real or thinks about it to extort more “goodies” from its current location. That kabuki dance is ongoing now involving the NFL and several of its franchises and the City of Los Angeles. Two days ago, an important element of the dance took place involving a meeting between the mayor of Los Angeles, the owner of the Chargers and the owner of the Raiders. Even if those three men only discussed their mutual admiration for medieval Norse needlepoint, the meeting was required by the precision and calculating nature of the franchise relocation kabuki.
That meeting got me to thinking and it dawned on me that the City of Oakland is the pro sports franchise punching bag of the moment.
The NFL Raiders are looking to move to LA – jointly with the Chargers and hence Tuesday’s meeting – so long as owner Mark Davis can come up with his portion of the costs to build that stadium complex in Carson. Some say he does not have the liquidity to do that and so he may have to ponder a move for the Raiders to San Antonio without a new facility in Oakland.
The NBA Warriors already have a new arena in the works in San Francisco. Yes, San Francisco is part of the Bay Area as is Oakland, but in terms of neighborliness, most denizens of Oakland consider SF a neighbor about the same way astronomers consider Mars a neighbor of the Earth.
The MLB A’s have been trying to leave Oakland for at least the last 5 years but the venue they covet is part of what the Giants claim as their territory and MLB has had a “Blue Ribbon Committee” studying this matter for most of those last 5 years to no avail.
Oakland is not a city with lots of surplus cash rolling around in its checking accounts. Several years ago, the state took over the school system in the main because the school system was financially strapped. The city itself has had years of “budget shortfalls” and at least for a while had to cut back the police department to the point that USA Today reported in 2013 that the California Highway Patrol was assisting in policing the city.
It is a given that the stadium for the Raiders and the A’s is antiquated and sub-standard; any time you have raw sewage backing up through the drains and onto locker room floors, you are being most diplomatic using the label “sub-standard”. The city’s problem is that a new stadium for either the A’s or the Raiders – and neither one would prefer to share the venue with the other – will cost hundreds of millions of dollars that the city does not have and may only be able to borrow at extremely high interest rates if they could borrow that much money at all. Oakland’s finances seem to be such that they would be called “an adversity” at the moment; paying for a new stadium or two might change that descriptor to “ruination”.
There was another report earlier this week that made me recall the old TV show, Lost in Space. A robot was programmed to guard a young boy named Will Robinson; whenever there was any threat, the robot would intone:
“Danger, Will Robinson!
That phrase immediately entered my mind when I read an SI.com report that Brett Favre told them that he thought he could play in the NFL once again. Favre said he could still throw 50 yards where it used to be 80 yards but that it did not matter being able to heave the ball more than 50 yards. He did say that he was not thinking of coming out of retirement but still… I would like to have a picture of him saying that with both hands in plain sight to know that he did not have his fingers crossed. Sports fans have been relieved of the necessity of following the yes/no oscillations of Favre and his play/retire decisions for several years now. Frankly, it has been an enjoyable several years.
Memo to Sports Media Folks: Please do not ask Brett Favre any leading questions that might get him thinking of coming back – or worse yet thinking about all the publicity he could get by letting all of you know that he is thinking about coming back.
Go and read the Uncle Remus story about Br’er Rabbit and the Tar Baby…
Last weekend, the small town of Swaton, England hosted the World Egg Throwing Championships. Swaton is in Lincolnshire in the British Midlands. I have to admit that I did not know that there were such championships until I read this Reuters report but evidently there is a World Egg Throwing Federation that sanctions the event and that Federation claims that egg throwing is at least a sport with a 700-year history.
The “main event” is a team event. A thrower and a catcher stand 10 meters apart; the thrower tosses an egg and the catcher catches it. If the egg breaks, they lose and go off to clean up the mess. If the egg survives, they step back and continue playing catch with the egg until it eventually breaks. Clearly, the team that achieves the greatest separation prior to breaking their egg is the winner.
Finally, speaking of obscure sports, here is an item from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:
“And the latest drug scandal in sports involves … Russian racewalkers?
“ ‘It’s a bad sign if you can’t distinguish between a sport and a group of people rushing to the bathroom,’ said CBS’s James Corden. ‘Doping for racewalking is like robbing a bank that you know has only $2 in it.’ “
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………