Leading Off

Leading Off: Sacramento’s heart belongs to Giants

The relationship between the River Cats and A’s was a match made in baseball heaven.

The A’s had not reached the playoffs in seven consecutive seasons before Sacramento became Oakland’s Triple-A affiliate in 2000. Since then, the A’s have made seven playoff appearances, and they have the second-best record in the American League this season.

In 14 complete seasons, the River Cats have won 11 division championships and four Pacific Coast League pennants, and beat the International League champions in 2007 and 2008 for the Triple-A crown. In 2012, Forbes magazine listed the River Cats as baseball’s most valuable minor-league team.

But despite a great relationship with the A’s, Sacramento baseball fans always have had eyes for the Giants.

And now there are reports of the River Cats negotiating with the Giants to become their Triple-A affiliate when their contract with the A’s expires after this season.

It makes complete sense.

Sacramento is Giants territory. A’s fans may never accept that fact, but it’s true. For every one A’s fan the River Cats may lose, the team likely will get five new Giants fans. Imagine the excitement of a Giants vs. River Cats exhibition game in late March or the thrill of watching Buster Posey or Pablo Sandoval make a rehab assignment at Raley Field.

Attendance would spike at Raley Field, which averaged 8,435 last season compared to more than 10,000 for its first seven.

Unfortunately for the A’s, this would be a blow for the organization, which likely would move its Triple-A affiliate to Fresno, where the Giants are now.

It’s not personal; it’s business.

– Victor Contreras


Today’s poll

What will you do if the River Cats become the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate?

• Attend fewer games.

• Attend the same number of games.

• Attend more games.

To vote, go to sacbee.com/sports

Monday’s poll results

Would you like to see Republic FC matches continue at Hughes Stadium despite its narrow, synthetic field?

• Yes, it’s a fun stadium: 35%

• No, a regulation field is a must: 65%

Total votes: 110