I’ve been kicking around this idea for the better part of a decade. It took until this week for me to jot it all down. The principle is simple. Like most museums, circulation is meant to flow in specific directions, though it’s not rigid.
The premise is simple. You start off in the rotunda area, which would be paved with bricks of leading donors. You enter to the right and reach the on-deck circle. Once there, you can either go to the restaurant or forward into the main hall. Follow the diamond to check out the franchise’s great managers, or go left to check out catchers and pitchers. Dressed-up lockers would contain exhibits for hall-of-famers or other greats. Round first and you can split off into either infielders or outfielders. End the tour with exhibits for owners and general managers (does Connie Mack get two exhibits?), or walk along the outer wall to go over the franchise’s entire history. Various islands throughout would have educational information about baseball for children, and the whole experience would be accompanied by custom iPad/iPhone apps. There’s also a theater for multimedia presentations.
While the layout is for a single-story building, it could be vertically aligned to as many as four floors with a smaller footprint if there were site size constraints. The flex space shown could be used for offices and for traveling exhibits such as those sponsored by MLB. There would have to be heavy coordination with the Bay Area Sports of Hall of Fame, which has no specific home and has spread out its inductee plaques at venues all over the Bay Area.
Then there’s the problem of running a museum. I don’t have any doubt that an A’s museum would be able to attract enough startup money or fill an endowment for the establishment of the museum. Ongoing operating costs to can be difficult to manage. It’s enough to create all sorts of financial difficulties 3, 5, 10 years down the road. It’s not realistic to expect the franchise to cover the budget, because franchises tend to throw most of their money and resources at the on-field product and run everything else as lean as they can afford to. Unless the museum makes money (an almost guaranteed “no”), there’s little reason to justify it. It’s with that sobering realization that I know that a museum isn’t terribly likely. Still, I can dream. And if shooting this high ultimately means settling for a great set of monuments at a future ballpark, that’s fine with me.
Now for some input from you. I’d like to frame this discussion around a set of questions. If I like your responses I’ll post them here within the post body.
- How would you organize the exhibits at an A’s museum?
- How much attention would you pay to the franchise’s stints in Philadelphia and especially Kansas City?
- How does the steroid era and its A’s notables get treated?
- How large of an exhibit should each HoFer get?
- Should there be an exhibit devoted to the designated hitter?
- What kinds of kid-friendly exhibits and attractions should the museum have?
- Should there be an exhibit containing other great Bay Area players who never played for the A’s?
If you have other questions you’d like to pose, put them in the comments and I’ll add them to the post.