The Athletics franchise benefits greatly from the people, character and history of Oakland, not to mention their intelligent, loyal and outrageously passionate fans. The distinct Athletics brand is tied to its city -- defined by values like tenacity, initiative, ingenuity, spirit, resilience and originality.

Home of the fifth-busiest container port in the U.S., Oakland has reinvented itself, thanks in part to the determination of lifelong residents who never gave up on their city, a massive influx of young working families seeking a diverse place to raise children, and a world-class arts output that has officially surpassed that of any other Bay Area city -- including San Francisco.

Why, when the city of Oakland offered Victory Court (Jack London Square) and $100 million development money, did owners brush off the offer?

Undeterred, the city now proposes to spend $3.5 million developing plans to create a world-class sports and business complex on the Coliseum site -- a site that would be the envy of many other dense urban cities given its sheer enormity, its proximity to the present stadium, its location on the I-880 freeway (where traffic dynamics are moderate), and its existing dedicated BART station.

Local, Oakland-based corporations have offered to invest in the team and stadium. Clearly, the city (and its businesses) is neither incapable nor unwilling to keep the A's in Oakland. Owners are unmoved.


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The seating capacity for baseball games at the Oakland Coliseum is approximately 35,000. The average single-game attendance in 2012 was about 21,000, or about 60 percent. To put things into context, the Chicago White Sox attendance record in 2012 was about 24,000 per game or 64 percent, and there are five other MLB teams with essentially the same averages as Oakland; including Kansas City, Seattle, Houston, Tampa Bay and Cleveland.

The average attendance of all MLB teams in 2012 is something like 30,000. There is no doubt in my mind that if owners committed to Oakland, it would result in an increase of at least a 10 percent in attendance, giving the Athletics the same average as most other MLB teams, including the Cincinnati Reds and the New York Mets.

If the owners needed proof of this hypothesis, they could offer the Oakland fans a challenge. If 10,000 new season tickets are acquired for an upcoming season, the owners must commit to build and stay in Oakland.

In Oakland, in 1972, when Vida Blue, Rollie Fingers and Gene Tenace captured the country's collective imagination, the country was still reeling from the Vietnam War, the assassination of a president and bitter resistance to basic human rights.

Then, like now, Oakland represented the very fabric of the American people, just as baseball represents the very soul of America.

Oakland is currently having a renaissance of cultural enthusiasm, as young families flood into local neighborhoods -- drawn by the family-centered, working-class, diverse and progressive attitudes that characterize Oakland.

A move to San Jose would not only sell the Athletics' heart and soul; it would miss the chance to capitalize on the existing A's fan base, the existing Oakland infrastructure, and the revitalization and economic growth happening in the East Bay.

The best choice for the owners and for the MLB is to renew its commitment to Oakland and by extension the true spirit of the Athletics and everything that is sacred about baseball.

Kahlil Karn is an Oakland resident.