As I’m a completely batshit A’s fan, the following is my completely batshit reasoning (read: conspiracy theory) as to why the officiating of the A’s/Tigers ALDS has been so frikkin awful.
1) Lew Wolff wants to move the team to San Jose in order to become a higher revenue team. He has huge investments in the downtown San Jose hotel industry and would personally benefit from bringing further entertainment options there.
2) Lew Wolff’s *stated* reason for moving the team is that they cannot be competitive with such a low payroll, and that moving to San Jose provides them with higher revenue.
3) Lew Wolff’s plan to move to San Jose and personally profit is dependent on the A’s being a .500 team or slightly worse. It effectively *proves* to the media and the layman fan that his reasons for moving to San Jose are correct.
4) This year’s team totally threw a wrench in the works for Wolff. This team is young, cost-controlled, extremely talented and cohesive. While there may be some career-year stuff happening with Moss and possibly Reddick, there’s enough upside to believe that this team can compete with the Angels and Rangers for the immediate term.
5) In-game interviews with Wolff during the A’s 2nd half run were centered around Wolff’s frustration with Oakland’s politicians, Oakland’s citizens, and fans of the team. It was beyond tacky and used negative language (such as discussing contraction) to, in my opinion, keep fans disenfranchised and uncertain about the A’s future.
6) Wolff and Bud Selig are college buddies. Selig hates the city of Oakland, even saying that the A’s moving there from Kansas City was a mistake and unfair to the Giants.
7) MLB Franchises and MLB itself benefit from having a new stadium, which raises the overall value of both significantly. New stadiums are a very interesting scam that benefits the already extremely rich MLB owner class. When an owner wants a new stadium, they will sell the fact that it is privately financed and that no money meant for schools will be used. It turns out that privately financed stadiums have a much higher value due to having to purchase the land that the stadium is built on. Land that it typically owned by the city, county, or state and sold as part of a redevelopment effort (with new jobs being the driving force) for pennies on the dollar. Land that could be used for a multitude of other purposes, or re-divided in a such a way that the selling municipality profits off of the sale. The job increases tend to be extremely short term, and a horrible trade.
8) Due to the above, Wolff and Selig have ample reason for moving the A’s to a location where real estate is a) abundant, b) historically expensive, and c) can be purchased cheaply. San Jose meets these criteria.
9) It will be more difficult to pull off this scam if the team is successful and drawing fans. While Schott and Wolff have done what they can to disenfranchise all but the most hardcore fans, historically, Oakland’s positive attendance trends typically trail successful playoff runs by a season. If the A’s were to make the WS this year, it would be reasonable to see a huge uptick in attendance next season. The last few games at the coliseum, I believe, are proof of this.
Given this, I believe that Selig is doing anything within his power to influence the umpiring of the ALDS in order to upset the competitive balance of the series. He’s trying to build a narrative like: “If the 88-win Tigers can sweep the A’s, then the A’s must not have really been that good” and “It was all a statistical anomaly and we should go back to rooting for approved teams”