Also, I'm pretty p**sed. Plus: sports teams leaving cities and some weekend sci-fi! Warning: this post contains some swears.
I think I need to rewatch Welcome to Wrexham. The A's news this week made me think of that series and how yes, there is a better way to be an owner of a sportsball team.
Everything about Muskrat's angry-kaiju destruction of Twitter is just...rage inducing if I think about it for too long. He has been literally throwing a $44m temper tantrum for the last six months and then looking puzzled or indignant when people call him on being a toddler.
I don't miss Twitter; I miss what Twitter almost was, and should have been.
Molly, I'm a long time fan, first time commenter. Say, I came across a great movie on Netflix the other day called the Game Changers. It's about why we all need to stop eating meat, and it covers it from the perspective of professional athletes, that is super informative, entertaining. And it also discusses the environmental impact as well as moral issues. It's like Climate Change in that there are many reasons to work against it, pick whatever reason works for you. Just do it. Stop eating meat! Anyway, thanks again!
I've got Diamond Age up for a reread as well, for the same reasons. I did a podcast on generative AI for CTOs the other week and one of the people was talking about the potential for ChatGPT to do personalized lesson guidance and I said, "You remember the plot of Diamond Age, right?". While the tech parallels are obvious, I think we need to pay attention to the economic and social stratification plot points as well.
As for sports team relocations...it sucks. After Paul Allen died, there has been a lot of concern about the future of the Blazers in pdx. His sister seems fine and all but it isn't clear she has the same passion that Paul did. Having a piece of civic identity (no MLB or NFL in town) subject to the capricious whims of billionaires is tough. Much like Twitter.
I've placed more of my sports passion into smaller, up and coming sports. If you haven't already, you should check out San Jose Earthquakes and San Jose Sharks games. Soccer and hockey have a lot of entertainment for not nearly as much money. But my big bet is on the rise of women's teams. WNBA and NWSL franchises are expanding and rapidly rising in value. More fun fan bases with less toxic culture.
Another amazing sci fi read is Marge Piercy's He, She and It, published in the mid 80s. Main features: corporate take-over of most of the world, replacing nation-states, direct interface with the web and a very human like android who stands in as a golem for the Jewish heroine. Oh, and flashbacks to a golem story hundreds of years ago. Because it's Piercy, the story is woman-focused and has great characters and relationships.
For a while, my book club and I enjoyed classifying people as “having read the primer.” Potent sci-fi for sure.
The A's playbook is eerily similar to the way the Maloof family tried to poison the well in Sacramento to try to get the NBA to let them move the Kings. It starts with small cost-saving measures while the team is at its peak and escalates further and further into gutting the team, gutting sponsorships, trading away players that fans are attached to, making unrealistic demands from the city, backing out of deals over minor things, and publicly using other cities as leverage through the media. By the end fans are burned out by the whole ordeal and the general sad state of the team and attendance has cratered. Even stuff like the planned one-night "reverse boycott" by the fans is giving me flashbacks to 2011-2013 Sacramento.
Now look at how raucous the atmosphere was this week for the Kings' first playoff games since then. It was nuts, and the NBA almost threw that away. Even in the chaotic years since new ownership took over, attendance and support has still been significantly better than it was under the previous bad-faith owners. The A's could have that too (and have in the past) with competent ownership. Fisher and Kaval were never negotiating with the city with the intent to follow through and stay. Any time a team threatens to relocate, the situation is caused by ownership chicanery at its root. It's never the fans' fault. Not for the Kings, not for the Sonics, or the Rams, or the Hornets, or the Raiders, or any other loyal, but exhausted fanbase.
In the long term, it'll evolve to something insanely great, Elon will find something else to call the next great existential crisis & get his $44 bill back + interest. The bay area has amnesia. Just like when the web developers left in 2001, the sports teams will be back & paying everything they have just for a stadium behind an RV.
totally with you re twitter ms molly. that will be the subject of my next substack.
Righteous-indignation Molly Wood, is the best Molly Wood!! Also, as much as I loved you co-hosting TWIST, I'm glad to see that you've moved on from the libertarian-tech-bro-hellscape.
I never participated much on twitter, but seems evident that Musk has set it on fire.
I share your anger and frustration over the A’s departing… I’m tired of billionaires asking for the cities which support them to fund their ballparks, cry me a river… - this is Oakland and we have bigger priorities.
Couldn't agree more on this post--and bonus points for Redcrosse by Brad Berens. Hidden gem!
“How Elon of him”. I love the term, but I think we need a good definition. Any ideas.
I miss Twitter too, but happy to have my feelings validated about the amazing connections and content consumed and created there over the last 14yrs, RIP Twitter!