Fresno is right in the middle of Giants country and Dodgers country. The allegiance to one team over the other has little to do with which team is geographically closest, but other factors, like parental allegiance, on-field success, and the purity of a child's soul. It was a good place to put a farm team for the Giants.
Sacramento is an even better place to put a farm team for the Giants. And it's almost certainly happening.
Susan Slusser is reporting that the Sacramento River Cats have filed to eliminate their affiliation with the Oakland A's, which leaves the following teams without a contracted afilliate:
Considering that the River Cats have been quite successful with their A's affiliation, they would likely only jump to another organization if that organization were practically guaranteed to do better business in Sacramento.
So, the Giants, then. It's the Giants.
Now, there's no official word yet, and there are serious tampering rules in place until after the current affiliations expire, but for the River Cats to leave, they had to have some sort of assurances that the Giants would consider leaving Fresno. Maybe a friend of a friend said something. Maybe the Giants cheekily updated their Facebook status to complain about how long it takes to drive to Fresno. Something like that.
The benefits of the move:
The two-hour difference doesn't sound like a big deal until you need George Kontos up before the start of the game because Jeremy Affeldt was attacked by a pangolin during warmups.
Fans who might actually buy tickets to the big club
I know people who drive up from Fresno for a game and drive home after the game. I'll bet you some of them did it for Saturday night's game. That was a fun ride home. But these people are insane, and they do not represent the typical, sane Fresno baseball fan. The people there aren't likely to go to a San Francisco Giants game, even if Tony Torcato is making his debut. Too far away.
Sacramento is already filled with Giants fans, and it's close enough to allow for a day trip to the ballpark without the person being clinically insane. There are a lot of good reasons to cement a presence in Sacramento
Population of metropolitan areas
Sacramento: 2.2 million
Add that to the point above, and you'll see why the Giants were interested in promoting their brand to more people. Oh, god, I used "brand" unironically, I need mouthwash, help, give me mouthwash, hellllp.
I feel bad for Sacramento A's fans, of which there are plenty, because it must have been exciting to get the top prospects come through before moving on to the big club. I also feel bad for all those Fresno Giants fans, some of whom chose their allegiance based on the Triple-A team's affiliation.
On the other hand, I'm giddy because I'm in Sacramento infinitely more than I'm in Fresno, and I'll get to watch a lot more Giants-affiliated minor league baseball. Let's not forget the most important thing in all this: me.
It's not official yet. But it's not unofficial, either. The River Cats are looking for a new affiliate. I think I know who they have in mind ...