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A’s reach for ’80s glory heading into 2014

The Oakland Coliseum doesn’t rank very high in aesthetics. The visiting clubhouse is downright rank, with the stench of spewing sewage still fresh in the noses of multiple AL squads from 2013.

And for some reason, Coco Crisp, one of baseball’s best center fielders, decided to stick around — at a discount, no less.

The move, both by Crisp and the A’s front office, could paint the organizational landscape for the next 10 years.

With all the problems inherent with playing ball in Oakland, the reputation of being a launching pad for players’ New York City careers is behind them.

The A’s might even become a destination team themselves soon enough.

Sure, Coco Crisp has become a household name in the Bay Area. Not nationally, but locally. For baseball players and their agents, though, Crisp is much more than that: He’s a destination player. He’s the type of player that others aspire to be.

The fact that general manager Billy Beane kept Crisp off the market — and for a salary well above what most major-leaguers make — could signal that Oakland not only takes care of it’s own, they’re willing to show their players the financial love that they deserve.

When players construct their no-trade-clauses, with a short list of team’s they’d be comfortable being traded to, Oakland could be there. It’s a step towards being able to land big names that have escaped them in recent years, for better or worse.

Especially considering that the A’s still generate a generous revenue stream and have yet to break the $100 million mark in spending.

When the trade deadline approaches, certain players that might not have been attainable in years past may clamor for the dingy, low-budget confines of Coliseum.

Nevermind the fact that when being interviewed before A’s Fan Fest earlier in February, Crisp called Bob Melvin the best manager that he’s ever played under.

Nevermind the fun that A’s players have in the dugout or during free time.

The A’s are showing the willingness to retain their valuables, rather than wave goodbye and hit the nearest Dollar Tree for inexpensive replacements.

At the end of the day, that’s usually the deciding factor for highly coveted talents who love playing baseball but don’t like feeling financially disrespected. 

That same might be exactly what the city of Oakland needs to move into the action phase of building the proposed “Coliseum City.”

It’s also what the fans — a core base there through thick and thin, rooting from the cheap seats and capable of duplicating the noise produced at Seattle Seahawks home games — deserve to pull for.

But World Series caliber teams often involve a late season addition. Sometimes it’s just a guy claimed off waivers. Other cases involve top trade targets like Hunter Pence or Jake Peavy.

Either way, Beane and Crisp opened some doors down the road, doors that had been padlocked and full of caution tape, for the previous 20 years.

And it might just be what was needed to bring the A’s back into their late-1980s form.

Follow @SFBay and @JLeskiwNFL on Twitter and at for full coverage of the Oakland Raiders.

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