Fremont. The name recalls, at least to me, Dennis the Menace's persnickety neighbor Mr. Wilson's dog. Or was that Tremont? Maybe it was the last name of the lady who was the butt of all the old Marx Brothers' gags. No, that was Margaret Dumont. Or was that the old television network that predated acronyms? I know Lisa Fremont was the name of Grace Kelly's character in the Hitchcock classic "Rear Window".
Anyway, that's me. I'm sure that for everyone else it calls to mind that California town that was the first in the state to embrace the film industry in 1912. The site of the legendary Chaplain film, "The Tramp". It's the city named after "The Great Pathfinder", John Charles Frémont. It's the US city with the largest Afghan population. It's the sister city of both Elizabeth, South Australia and Fukaya, Saitama in Japan. The fourth largest city in the bay area. (Thank you, Wikipedia.)
That's right! You guessed it, Fremont, California.
Fremont, California, that city by the something or other. I frankly know nothing about Fremont other than it's, evidently, near both Oakland and San Jose, which means that the A's can move there without technically leaving their territory. And, of course, now it's the future home of the Oakland Athletics.
That's all fine and well but now the A's are anticipating changing their designation to Fremont. That would match one of the oldest nicknames in the sport, the Athletics, to one of the newest fairly large cities in the countryFremont is celebrating its fiftieth birthday (again thanks, Wikipedia).
The Fremont A's! Hurrah!
The majors have shunned towns like Buffalo, Charlotte, and Las Vegas. It took DC decades to get back in the majors. But now we are moving into Fremont without so much as a "By your leave"?
Well, I guess if they can stomach the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, they can put up with anything.
In reality, the team will be attempting to expand its base by wooing the very desirable fanbase in San Jose, as well as retaining as many fans in Oakland that can at least drive to the game. Fremont, a city of some two-hundred thousand souls and apparently tons of under utilized real estate, is no more than a marriage of convenience.
Yes, baseball has, or has had in recent memory, teams in towns like Arlington, Texas, and Bloomington, Minnesota. And they too were a marriage of convenience given that these rather modest-sized cities are located near two other larger cities. However, you'll note that baseball never ceded the team naming rights to these palukavilles in the past.
So should Major League Baseball step in and impose a more all-embracing name like the California A's, the Bay Area A's, the Golden State A's, or the California Golden A's? I think the Angels sort of staked their claim to any monikers too generically Californian.
Truthfully, I'd prefer San Jose A's since tapping into the larger, more affluent population in their Californian neighbor appears to be the goal. Maybe that would tick off the San Francisco Giants a bit too much. (It certainly won't please the San Jose Giants.)
Anyway, Fremont is first city since the 1870s that has no baseball history and such a small population relative to the average major-league city. The last team that comes to mind is the Middletown (CT) Mansfields.
To put it in perspective, here are all the US cities with at least a share of a major-league team as compared to Fremont and San Jose:
So let's all say, "Hail Hail Fremont, land of the brave and free", and soon to be home of the A's.