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Who wrote it best -- Oakland's demise?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by boundforboston, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. Jordan Conn: http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9754585/is-oakland-destined-lose-professional-teams


    Tim Keown: http://espn.go.com/espn/story/_/id/9748993/athletics-raider-warriors-departures-end-oakland-sports-espn-magazine
  2. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    The Grantland piece is about 5 times too long, going over the same ground time and time again.

    The Mag piece is full of blustery bullshit about stadiums as temples and remarkably short on anything of substance.

    I'll give the nod to Grantland, since Conn appeared to actually make an effort to get interviews.
  3. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    I went to the A's game last night. Fun time. Very educational, too, as my 11-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter heard every possible combination of curse words that could be put together in the English language.

    But the idea that Oakland is this town on the rise -- "renaissance" I believe was the word -- is straight bullshit. Both stories are ignoring the reality of what the city is. In particular the idea that Occupy was some kind of social statement is hilarious -- it was a glorified homeless encampment.

    I like going to diverse places. I don't like going to places with a lot of gunfire. Robberies in Oakland are up 30 percent, violent crime 20 percent. I suppose someone can say it's too bad it has come to this, but these guys seem to be trying to argue that it has not in fact come to this.

    Will be interesting to see what happens to the site. It's very well-situated for a corporate headquarters of some sort or for a major retail complex. But I doubt the city leaders have the brains or energy to do anything like that.
  4. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Ten grafs into Keown's, I was bored for the lack of quotes and people who actually care about the teams.
  5. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Jordan Conn quietly is one of Grantland's two or three best writers.

    I didn't read either piece in entirely, but I read the first 1,000 words of Conn's and more than 500 of Tim Keown's.
  6. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Oakland vs Detroit. Two dead cities /two good baseball teams.
  7. tapintoamerica

    tapintoamerica Well-Known Member

    Keown's was a more interesting read because it had more context. But what did it really say? It is suggesting that the city will be saved if its sports teams remain? Highly unlikely.
    The story failed to mention the sewage problems in the dugout(s). Not a minor detail. Beyond the attention-grabbing, disgusting specs, that suggests the facility is in desperate need of overhaul for reasons that have nothing to do with luxury suites or corporate greed.
    If a mere 832 people have signed the petition the author mentions, it's hard to feel terribly sorry for the community if all three franchises leave.
    I admire the work that went into the Keown story, but it relates a false narrative that has been said of so many decaying cities. How many Detroit renaissance stories have been written since the 1970s? And what of New Orleans? How's that working out? Sports teams cannot save such places.
  8. Tarheel316

    Tarheel316 Well-Known Member

    How is Jack London Square holding up? I used to enjoy going there.
  9. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Tarheel, Jack London Square is in the midst of a major revitalization push -- these kinds of stories would tell you it's turning Oakland into a mecca again, but the crime stats and overall economy would tell a different story. There was a shooting last year outside a movie theater there, five people shot in the midst of a big crowded argument. Some people shrug that stuff off, others (like myself) don't.

    I would look at the Square as very similar to how I've heard Baltimore's Inner Harbor described.
  10. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Through five grafs, Keown's is actually excellent. He's getting at the way stadiums used to be built and where they often were built, away from downtown, in a sea of parking lots, functional and practical, dual-purpose. That the people who went into the stadium were more colorful and important than the aesthetic experience of the stadium. (This remains true in Oakland.)

    But he loses his grip on what's changed, and why it's changed and, yes, it devolves into a blustery reverie.

    Conn's is better, though it is just too damn long.

    (Incidentally, I think what's changed is baseball owners want their own playpens, and Camden Yards changed the identity it to playpens with "ambiance." When Camden opened in 1992, I'd guess half the league was still in dual-purpose.)
  11. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    This much of Keown's piece is so dead-on, Robin Hood couldn't have hit the target more cleanly:

    The soul of a place meant nothing. Decades of loyalty meant nothing. Every paying customer became a walking bar code, and the worth of a city became the Nasdaq valuation of the companies leasing the luxury suites. The experience of going to a game changed from a communal celebration -- the only common ground for gangbangers and cops, truants and teachers -- to something completely different. Even the purpose of attending the game changed, morphing into something resembling a vast networking event. The goal became the act of proving, through social media, that you were, indeed, at the game. It all got very meta.
  12. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    I was born in Oakland, worked in Oakland and know the city quite well. There are good parts of the place and very bad parts of the place where nobody should have to live or go to school. It's also one of those cities that developers love because they can get good deals and public help because leaders want to revitalize an area. It would be sad if the Warriors, A's and Raiders left Oakland, probably not as catastrophic as some local leaders would like people to think though. It isn't like having the three teams has changed the city that much or led to improved academics, a booming local economy or revitalized blighted parts of the town.
    The odd thing is - if there wasn't already a sports complex there and it was just vacant or easily obtainable property - the location of the Coliseum would be seen as an ideal location for a stadium given the public transit and freeway access from all parts of the Bay Area.

    And really what is the bigger travesty, Oakland possibly losing the Warriors 1 title ('75) A's (last title '89) and Raiders ('81 in Oakland) or SF losing the five-time SB champ 49ers? At least Oakland has the "crumbling economy/crime" excuse.
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