Will the SF Giants ever consider leaving San Francisco?
This is a question that would have been unfathomable prior to the pandemic. Even though the Giants struggled badly in the later years under Bruce Bochy, there was still enough goodwill built up among fans from the championship years that many felt like they were playing with house money.
But now, the glow of the championship years are gone. Next year will be the 10-year anniversary of the 2014 team. We will always have the memories, but there are currently no remnants from those years on the coaching staff and the roster. Long gone are the days of Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, and Hunter Pence roaming the field with Bochy at the helm.
As it currently sits, the Giants are coming off of two very mediocre years and still have no star players to reliably bring fans out to the yard. And, unless they sign Shohei Ohtani, that may not change anytime soon.
Attendance has also been down considerably since the pandemic. With the rise of remote work, San Francisco’s downtown is not what it once was which is part of what has contributed to attendance woes.
Even when the Giants were in the midst of a historic 2021 season, there were still nights when the park was emptier than it should have been. And that great season did not lead to a considerable increase in 2022. In 2023, the Giants were 17th in attendance.
I started to think about the Giants possibly leaving San Francisco when I saw the Tampa Bay Rays have their attendance struggles in the postseason this season despite having a great regular season. The stadium was noticeably empty as the Rays were swept in the wild card season.
Things are not that bad in San Francisco yet. If the Giants were to have made the postseason this year and had home games, my guess is they would have been sold out or close to it.
But if the Giants stay at their current trajectory, it is possible to see a scenario down the road where the Giants could leave San Francisco.
Of course, the Giants would need to have an A’s-like implosion and years of sustained well-under-.500 baseball to trigger this.
But if you think that it’s inconceivable that the Giants could leave San Francisco, just remember little Brandon Crawford in 1993. Or think of how crazy you would have sounded 10 years ago if you said the A’s would leave for Las Vegas.
These things happen. Ownership of teams almost always cares about the bottom line above all else. And if ownership feels they can make more money somewhere else, they will do it.
I’m not saying it will happen soon. I’m not saying it’s likely. But if the current trajectory of Giants baseball continues, I could see a scenario decades down the road where the Giants leave San Francisco.