Quick notes from Wolff-Townsend interview

Update 11:45 PM – Mark Purdy asks questions of both Wolff and Reed.

Wolff’s reactions to Townsend’s questions:

  • Not critical about Selig. Is resigned to the length of the process.
  • T-rights isn’t “us against the Giants.” It’s a baseball matter.
  • Washington-Baltimore is not comparable to Santa Clara County, and has not been discussed as comparable.
  • Acknowledges cities’ financial problems. Emphasizes ballpark will be built with private funds (does not talk about public land or infrastructure).
  • Continues to be in touch with San Jose and Mayor Reed.
  • Considers real estate transactions for Diridon small in cost relative to ballpark investment.
  • Maintains there is no Plan B, Plan A being San Jose.
  • Says that there is no financial plan for building in Oakland. Infrastructure costs in Oakland and Fremont are “not in the cards anymore.”
  • Oakland Mayor Quan and Wolff have been talking, will meet next month.
  • OT – Feels that 49ers and Raiders should share a stadium.
  • San Jose site is the only that appears to be ready (EIR, land acquisition).
  • Considers being an owner a privilege.
  • Says the A’s have a good fanbase, could be bigger.
  • Likes the challenge of figuring the plan out, but he’s getting older.
  • Hints for the first time that if situation drags past the point where he can see it through, his son (Keith) and staff will do it.

Not much from the interview, but the Quan and succession stuff is revealing.

171 thoughts on “Quick notes from Wolff-Townsend interview

  1. I was happy to hear the Quan meeting is scheduled. I’d love to be a fly in the room for that.

  2. Lew sounded (his hesitance and tone) like he wanted out when Townsend asked if he is enjoying being the owner.

  3. @David, Yeah, weird hesitation. But, I’m sure he thought he would have shovels in the ground by now. Can’t fault him for not being honest.

  4. When he bought the team, he probably didn’t anticipate being bashed mercilessly for trying to build the local fans a state-of-the-art ballpark with his own money. I can understand why it might not have been as much fun as it could have.

  5. In all I kind of felt sorry for him, he sound very tired and, well, old. Wolff may not be a bad guy, he’s just not the type of owner I think most sports fans want. Being “comfortable” with the A’s current losing record just doesn’t come across well. I could never imagine Cuban, Steinbrenner, Jerry Buss, Robert Kraft, crazy ol’ Al, etc. saying something like that. In all, a depressing and non eventful interview.

  6. Should have proof read my post. In all, there was some slight repetition. 🙂

  7. his son will see it thru? so does that mean if the a’s get a new park eventually that lew will pass the “baton” of being the face of the franchise least in terms of the ownership to his son once he thinks it’s his time to “retire”.

    seems as wolff’s last goal in life is to get a new park done and he make step down soon afterwards.

  8. I credit him for going on the air. A lot of owners would not have done that.

  9. @letgoas – FWIW Jeff Loria handed off the reins to his son-in-law, David Samson, well before the Marlins ballpark deal was done.

  10. Retire and sell with a nice handsome profit. It’s always been about the $$. BB will make out too, and he can go to a market with endless amounts of cash. New owners, new GM, wipe the slate clean as far as I’m concerned.

  11. @jk-usa Am I the only one who still has faith in Billy Beane? I think he has done more good than bad during his tenure and he has represented the club well with the media.

  12. @jk-usa – I’ve said for a while that there’s a succession plan. Glad to have been proven right. Keep ignoring it though, if it helps you get through the night.

    • @jk-usa – I’ve said for a while that there’s a succession plan. Glad to have been proven right. Keep ignoring it though, if it helps you get through the night.

      I can’t believe some here are challenging you on this R.M. “Denial” is not a river in Egypt.

  13. Let’s beat the Marlins! Go A’s!!

  14. Thought it was interesting when asked about the final parcels in SJ he also mentioned the city has eminent domain powers- sounds as if maybe the final acquisitions aren’t going as smooth as hoped for

    • Thought it was interesting when asked about the final parcels in SJ he also mentioned the city has eminent domain powers- sounds as if maybe the final acquisitions aren’t going as smooth as hoped for

      GoA’s,
      I wouldn’t read to much into the ED powers statement. SJ pretty much has a quid pro quo going for the AT&T land, and the Ares gas plot is extremely small in the grand scheme of things. With the ballpark slated to open in April 2015, we’ve still got some time left for sure (no need to run for the hills based on what uninformed columnist’s write).
      Interesting that he pretty much kills Oakland’s chances (not even including what happened today with RDA) yet will still talk with Quan next month. Perhaps it’s some “for the record…” stuff for Selig/MLB committee.

  15. i like how some entirely ignored the fact that he and quan are speaking after endless berating LW for not having any communication. as i can tell, unless the a’s stay in oakland without an ounce of public funding and having new philanthropic owners lose money hand over fist, they’ll not be satisfied. What worries me most is the statement that there is no Plan B. I was hopefuly that when Oakland is finally put to bed and somehow the TR is not resolved, at least Fremont would be an option. Doesn’t seem to be the case so it’s basically SJ or bust…. =/

  16. Fremont ceased to be an option years ago. The city didn’t want it, both the residents near the Nummi site and the big box stores near the Pacific Commons site.

  17. @ML–succession plan? What does Fisher have to say about all this? Wolff has only what, 10% stake in the club? No plan B, they don’t want to stay in Oakland, a sale is in the cards if SJ is denied. And don’t worry, I’ll get through the night regardless.

  18. Wolfe mentioned how MLB and the city of Oakland can’t seem to find a way to build a ballpark there, either.

  19. @jk-usa – What, you don’t think they haven’t discussed succession? Fisher and Wolff have been working together for 20 years. John Fisher is closer in age to Keith Wolff than he is to Lew. Keith has been doing the legwork on the ballpark stuff for years now. I’d be surprised if they hadn’t talked about it.

    I believe there isn’t a Plan B the same way there wasn’t a Plan B for Fremont. R-i-i-i-ight.

  20. Plan B for Fremont was just as big a bust as plan A for Fremont was. Too much NIMBYISM in that town. I’d be shocked if either was revisited.

  21. @jk-usa – Why is it that you never respond, “Hey, I never thought of that. Thanks for pointing that out”? Instead you frequently change the subject, as if my information doesn’t matter. Kind of rude considering I’ve repeatedly had to do this.

  22. @ML–Sorry, I don’t mean to be rude. I’ve said many times you do great work on here. My LW bashing irks most on here, but have actually contributed with links to stories and stuff.
    I’d be so curious on the LW and JQ talks.
    OT, this game sucks tonight, the bats are asleep AGAIN.

  23. @Dan “Fremont ceased to be an option years ago. The city didn’t want it, both the residents near the Nummi site and the big box stores near the Pacific Commons site.”
    .
    Simply not true. The city fathers were strongly behind a ballpark. The Warm Springs folks were against, but the big box stores can be dealt with. They are businesses: In the end, they will come around if the price is right.
    .
    The story for now HAS to be – “we exhausted our options in Fremont, San Jose is our last hope,” in order to make San Jose happen. But if it doesn’t, Pac Commons springs right back to life. Big, ready-to-build site, supportive city leaders, and few big box stores who can be bought. And the small fact of being the ONLY economically viable location within the A’s current territory.

  24. @jk “Retire and sell with a nice handsome profit. It’s always been about the $$. BB will make out too, and he can go to a market with endless amounts of cash. New owners, new GM, wipe the slate clean as far as I’m concerned.”
    .
    There is no evidence for this whatsover. Lew has plenty of money already, and there are far easier ways to make more than enduring what he’s going through now. He’s at an age where an extra $100 million isn’t going to make a difference in his life. Building the A’s a new ballpark and helping turn San Jose into a world class city is more like a hobby or labor of love for him – THAT’S the motivation. It’s about love for baseball, and maybe building a legacy.
    .
    And if Billy Beane were motivated primarily by money, he would have left for the Red Sox years ago. Your theses do not pass the logic test.

  25. @Anon “What worries me most is the statement that there is no Plan B. I was hopefuly that when Oakland is finally put to bed and somehow the TR is not resolved, at least Fremont would be an option. Doesn’t seem to be the case so it’s basically SJ or bust…”
    .
    Don’t worry too much about the statement that there’s no Plan B. There’s ALWAYS a Plan B (especially when you’ve had this much time to think about it). “No Plan B” is part of the public narrative necessary to make San Jose happen. If you want to know what will happen if San Jose doesn’t, just ask yourself “What’s most economically feasible.”

  26. What about Dublin?

    I want the A’s to stay in Oakland?

    But Dublin is close to a huge, supportive fan base, corporate dollars, good baseball weather, close to BART and the area is growing.

    Marine Layer: since you’re close to Lew Wolff, why don’t you ask him about that?

    Or how about the Alameda Naval Air Station.

    I’m actually convinced that the real goal all along has been to move the team out of the area; thought that years ago. Or now, perhaps contract it.

  27. @A’s Oberver–IMO, Dublin won’t work. Tad too hot, way too suburban like Fremont, traffic is horrible, similar corporate base in Oakland, which supposbaly isn’t enough everyone keeps saying.
    Alameda naval Air Startion would be cool, but getting people over there would be a hassle.
    Bartleby &ML i’m curious on what you think of these two. I recall ML saying Dublin won’t work.

  28. Purdy article in Merc News—mentions perhaps pursuing anti-trust exemption—and dispells the notion that Wolff would sell…”For the record, Wolff did dispel a couple of rumors floating around the baseball universe, one of them being that he and Fisher are fed up and want to unload the A’s.
    “We’re not for sale,” Wolff said.”

    http://www.mercurynews.com/mark-purdy/ci_18382117?nclick_check=1

  29. @jk “Oberver–IMO, Dublin won’t work. Tad too hot, way too suburban like Fremont, traffic is horrible, similar corporate base in Oakland, which supposbaly isn’t enough everyone keeps saying.
    Alameda naval Air Startion would be cool, but getting people over there would be a hassle.
    Bartleby &ML i’m curious on what you think of these two. I recall ML saying Dublin won’t work.”
    .
    Wow, for once we’re in complete agreement. Dublin is actually a significantly worse location than Oakland, for the reasons you mentioned. It has worse access from Silicon Valley because the traffic on 680 over Sunol Grade is even worse than 880 and because you have to change trains to get there on BART. And it has far worse access from SF. And although I think lack of access to corporate base basically rules Oakland out for economic reasons, downtown Oakland would be a far better location for a ballpark than Dublin from a site perspective (urban vibe, near restaurants and services, etc.).
    .
    Also, as I recall when the Raiders came calling Dublin basically said “Get stuffed, not interested.” No, if there’s going to be a suburban ballpark, it’s going to be in Fremont.
    .
    Alameda doesn’t work either because it has all the same economic problems as Oakland plus way worse access, as you said.

  30. @bartleby–we actually agree on something? Woohoooo!!
    Just read the Purdy article. I’m bummed that LW says the A’s aren’t for sale and no interest in the Dodgers. Damn!! But if the A’s continue this downward spiral, their value will only go down. Sell high (the A’s now), buy low (The Dodgers now).

  31. @GoAs At least Purdy seems to get that challenging the AE would need to be done by Congress, not through the courts. San Jose folks: Write your congressperson.

  32. @bartleby–agree—not suggesting that it is a winning approach but first time that I have heard it mentioned and not dismissed outright…amazing that neukom has this much power over bs—

  33. The only reason Wolfe is meeting with Oakland is to work on a new lease. Right now the A’s don’t pay crap to the city or county for the use of the Coliseum. Oakland’s position’s on the lease going year to year after 2012 will change once the A’s offer up a little money. Doubtful that the Raiders, and 49ers are going to be renovating anytime soon at the Coliseum site any way. So if the price is right they’ll work it out. Plan B is to do nothing, and just keep making money.
    Wolfe will NEVER challenge the antitrust law. At the end of the day, he’s still way closer to Selig, Fischer, Nuekom, and the rest of the Billionaires club, than any true green and gold wearing fan. The A’s still get roughly 30 mil from revenue sharing. The Giants pay about the same amount. They’re both fine with it. Which means the status quo works for everyone involved. The A’s fans are slowly pushed away, as the team falls into oblivion. The Giants turn into the “Red Sox” west. Everyone still makes bank. If Selig ever decides to let them move, it’s a real estate jackpot for Wolfe, and all his budies who own huge underdevloped parts of downtown San Jose. If not, Wolfe and Fishcer still turn a nice profit, by not spending, and nobody(A’s fan) is even left to complain. With the economy the way it is, all parties involved are probably better off just twitleing their thumbs. Might as well milk the World Championship until the time the TT rights could be turned into some serious cash. Makes it a hell of a lot easier to change the team name too.
    The only one who might have the balls to go after the antitrust would be Reed, but he’d never do it without the owner behind him. Wolfe will never go against baseball and Selig that way, cause at the end of the day theese guys are all in bed together, and making way too much money to let anything happen to the golden goose. As if congress would ever take Selig’s and Nuekom’s antitrust law.

  34. ML,

    Can you expand a bit on what you mean when you say the Quan and Wolff meeting is revealing?

  35. I mean the Quan and succession stuff…

  36. One last question – Tittle today was fine, I like that he is a soccer fan, which is cool that he will be with the Ultras on Saturday night. But he mentioned that when the Giants bought Candlestick, they made improvements, adding foghorns and bleachers, and also said that San Francisco received nothing at all from San Francisco when they bought the land at China Basin. The implication is that the A’s owners should shut up and make their building incredible. But do these facts check out at all? Unless I totally missed something, the Giants never bought Candlestick. Why the hell would they want to buy that dump? This seemed to be just more red meat for the pro-Oakland crowd, but is there any accuracy in these statements?

  37. “The only reason Wolfe is meeting with Oakland is to work on a new lease”
    Kevin, what makes you say (or think) this? I am not saying that you are wrong. However, after Oakland (finally and hopefully) passes a budget by week’s end, that will likely free up alot of time for mayor quan; I am sure that if she and Wolff will meet, that it must be for much more than just the lease. We may find out very soon, and it is encouraging that their is dialog. Hopefully she puts up much more of a fight than Dellums.

  38. @daveybaby – I can’t verify who paid for what improvements to the ‘Stick. I can say that several positive changes were made when Magowan came aboard, including the LF bleachers, fence, and rubberized warning track. Though I always thought that last part was just as much for the 49ers too since the surface helped drainage during rainy winter games. Even then, the big draw was Bonds, not small improvements.

    The Quan talks/meeting are the first indicator that there’s ANY kind of civility between the two parties. That can’t be a bad thing. The succession thing is kind of a no-brainer. It’s an ownership group, not one or two individuals working in a silo.

  39. From a ’96 article in the Chronicle: When a group of investors led by Peter Magowan bought the team in 1993, they went to work on fixing the ‘Stick. The team made extensive improvements, including bleachers, field-level box seats, new scoreboards, new turf, a green outfield fence and, most significantly, a new concessionaire. Candlestick’s soggy, lukewarm hot dogs, served on a stale bun, were replaced with more edible fare.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/e/a/1997/03/27/NEWS5827.dtl#ixzz1QkGv81oP

    Not 100% conclusive evidence, but if Tittle said they did, I’m inclined to believe “The team” is in fact the former Giants Ownership group.

    Circumstances are different but we’re 7 years removed from Wolff being a part of the A’s and immediate improvements would not have been a waste of money.

  40. FWIW, with regards to “succession,” Wolff mentioned that his son is already “working full-time on that stuff,” which I took to mean stadium stuff. I found that interesting, since it doesn’t seem like there’s much to do right now…

  41. When antitrust challenge is the only thing Purdy can think of, that’s pretty sad.
    .
    Even if Wolff went along with that tactic, which is extremely unlikely, it is politically hopeless. Selig couldn’t care less if some South Bay congressmen demanded hearings on the antitrust exemption. Since none of them are Republicans or House committee chairman, they have no power to do anything beyond writing a strongly worded letter. On the Senate side, theoretically Feinstein and Boxer could do something, but of course they also represent the people of Alameda County, so like smart politicians they are going to stay neutral.
    .
    Repealing the exemption would just make relocation easier, so politicians from places that already have teams including the East Bay will naturally oppose repeal. Most people in Congress won’t care, and won’t think this issue belongs on their agenda. Unless the effort is personally spearheaded by someone very powerful, like Tom Davis was in the 1990s when the Curt Flood Act passed, these issues will never get beyond a committee hearing at most, and everybody knows it.

  42. For the record (broken record?) Neukom does NOT have any power over Selig!
    Why is this fact so hard to absorb for some? As for the Purdy article, basically sounds like he wanted something to write about re: A’s to SJ.
    Since he’s covered just about every other angle of this saga. Purdy can’t be blamed for adding classic media sensationalism to the saga.
    Revert SCCo. back to pre-1992 status; it doesn’t require an act of God.

  43. “Revert SCCo. back to pre-1992 status; it doesn’t require an act of God.”
    .
    No, but it does require an Amendment to MLB’s governing Constitutions, and removing a franchise’s exclusive rights to a territory has never been done before. That’s why Selig keeps referring to T-Rights as “sacred” and something that can’t be taken away lightly. It can certainly happen, but it won’t happen unless and until Selig can find a way to make the Giants happy, and by extension the other owners who may worry about the precedent. It will not happen via Selig telling the Giants to bugger off or because of a fairness argument. That is just not realistic at all.

  44. @DavidL – ” Hopefully she puts up much more of a fight than Dellums.” Fight? For what? Something that isn’t hers in the first place? There’s no need to “fight”. All that requires to happen is a formal business plan of how Oakland will finance a new stadium w/ all associated costs. That can’t be too hard now, can it? :X

  45. Simon,
    Respectfully disagree with your above assessment re: Giants territorial rights to SCCo.
    The situation as it exists currently is unique among all the MLB metros/markets; Bay Area split vs shared.
    A precedent won’t be set when SCCo. is dealt because, quite simply, who else is gonna move? The Rays possibly relocating is nothing like the A’s moving within the same market. Who else?
    My point is that all future relocations will be dealt with on a case by case basis, not based on the A’s moving to SJ.
    Secondly, the Giants exclusivity to SCCo. has only been in existence since 1992 and it exists for one reason and one reason only.
    Is AT&T Park located at Brokaw and Zanker SJ?

  46. BTW, the Giants T Rights issue is crap and is non issue in the grand scheme of things. MLB can do whatever is in the best interest of baseball and the owners would vote yes on the A’s move to SJ, if it is in the best interested of baseball, which it is. The Giants weak arguments saying “the heart of their fanbase in Santa Clara County or the South Bay is in utter lie. We all know the heart of the Giants fanbase is in the Peninsula,, SF city and North Bay!

    If the A’s do move to San Jose (which MLB needs to allow them to do for the benefit and future and of the franchise) then lets hope the A’s remember their past and time in Oakland, with come statues of players like Rickey Henderson, Joe Rudy, Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter, Rollie Fingers, Dennis Eckersely, and even Dave Stewart spread around in different areas of the ballpark and Oakland A’s memorabilia should be everywhere around the park as well!

  47. @tony d. and dknight – I totally understand your reactions on this issue, but as far as MLB is concerned how and why the Giants originally got their exclusive South Bay T-Rights is irrelevant. Each of the 30 franchises negotiated specific territorial rights in the mid-1990s, and they are spelled out in the Constitutions that were adopted following the merger of the American and National Leagues in 1996. What went down before that is just history.
    .
    None of the franchises has ever had those rights taken away, and other owners are going to be concerned about the precedent. If T-rights weren’t an issue, there would already be a third team in New York, and possibly another in southern California or Boston. The A’s could even consider moving back to Philadelphia — which isn’t as ridiculous as it might sound, based on the market size and sports demographics there. Franchises like the Mets, Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Angels, Phillies, Cubs, White Sox, etc. that currently control valuable markets do not want to open up that box.
    .
    Also, the best interests of baseball clause gives authority to the Commissioner to act by himself on many issues — but it doesn’t apply to realignment or territorial rights. Changes in those areas require the consent of each of the affected teams, or a constitutional amendment.

  48. @dnight007 “If the A’s do move to San Jose (which MLB needs to allow them to do for the benefit and future and of the franchise) then lets hope the A’s remember their past and time in Oakland, with come statues of players like Rickey Henderson, Joe Rudy, Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter, Rollie Fingers, Dennis Eckersely, and even Dave Stewart spread around in different areas of the ballpark and Oakland A’s memorabilia should be everywhere around the park as well!”

    I’m lukewarm on the SJ move, but if it does happen this would be great and very, very classy.

  49. @simonLosAltos “None of the franchises has ever had those rights taken away,”.
    .
    That’s true, but those particular rights have only existing since 1996. A blink of an eye, relatively speaking.
    .
    “… and other owners are going to be concerned about the precedent.”
    .
    Yes, but the precedent is only an intramarket move. “A’s to San Jose” is NOT a meaningful precedent for “Rays to New Jersey” any more than “Expos to Washington” is – the situations are simply not comparable. Now, if “Rays to New Jersey” were proposed, THAT would strike terror in the hearts of owners in places like Southern California, Chicago, or yes, even Philly, because that would be a precedent that could be meaningful for those markets.
    .
    I also don’t think you can discount the fact that the Bay Area is unique among two market teams in the way the rights are set up. I mean, what’s the difference really between “A’s to San Jose” and “Angels to Inglewood”?

  50. Simon, changing TR’s does not require consent of the affected team with approval of 3/4 of the owners.

  51. Could not have said it better myself Bartleby. Bottom line Simon; the rights aren’t sacrosanct and will be dealt with by MLB.
    Put it this way: when SJ is fully ready to provide the A’s a new home, get them off of revenue sharing and make them contributors to MLB’s wealth, do you really think the owners are going to strike it down based on the Giants superficial claims to SJ?
    Especially with them making money hand over fist and most likely being presented with a fair compensation package?
    And again, the Giants most likely won’t be stripped of “their” territory, they’ll just have to share it.
    There’s a precedence for shared territories ;o)

  52. “the rights aren’t sacrosanct”
    .
    Bud Selig, 7/15/2009: “Territorial rights are always sacred.”
    .
    Look, you can distinguish any two situations, and I have never said that the T-rights can’t or won’t be changed. But Bud Selig and MLB’s track record makes it certain that the change will be something the Giants actually agree to, not something that’s forced on them because someone thinks their rights are “superficial” or “unfair.” That’s just fantasy. If it were that simple, the A’s would have been given permission to make a deal with San Jose years ago, instead of the continuing total radio silence from MLB HQ.

  53. Of course, MLB doesn’t want teams to be able to jump around to anywhere they want, so they’re making sure they have a solid case before they take it to the owners to vote. They want to be able to say that they tried everything in their current territory before giving up. I think we would have had a decision 18 months ago if Oakland hadn’t brought it’s head up from the said and said “Wait, we can do it here!”

  54. TO CUT THROUGH ALL OF THE PRO-SAN JOSE ARGUMENT, CAN SOMEBODY FROM THE PRO-SAN JOSE SIDE EXPLAIN – IN ONE OR TWO SENTENCES – WHY BUD SELIG/MLB HAVE SIMPLY NOT ISSUED AN OPINION THAT SAYS A’S CAN MOVE TO SAN JOSE?

    I happen to believe that the plan – from way back – has been to move the team out of the Bay Area and that San Jose is in reality the so-called “Plan B.”

    I keep reading these posts and I’m utterly baffled by statements such as moving the A’s to San Jose is in the “best interests” of MLB and that MLB has known this for years (this is the pro-San Jose argument).

    So, why has this taken so long? Why didn’t it take all of a month to simply render a decision and be done with that?

    If the San Jose stadium is “shovel ready” (and frankly I’ve read that the A’s ownership is among MLB’s richest), then what in the world has delayed this?

    No sarcasm here.

    Just trying to cut through all of this. I’m not seeking a disseration on the merits of San Jose – simply a one to two line sentence that explains the delay.

    Finally – Mark Ellis is a class act. I think he actually understood the passion of the Oakland A’s fans.

  55. Because MLB is waiting for the new CBA so they can use the threat of contraction to get some minor concession from the MLBPA.

  56. @bartelby, there is only one other team that needs a new ball park, after the Rays when would that precedent even come up in the next 75 years.

  57. @A’s observer Assuming you are looking for a real answer: “Because of the Giants’ territorial rights, MLB politics, uncertainty regarding acquisition ot the last parcels of the Diridon site, perhaps some uncertainty surrounding the CBA, and perhaps a bit of public relations with respect to the East Bay.”

  58. @ jesse There’s always the chance that a team with a reasonably new ballpark seeks greener pastures at some point. If I recall, we have seen some NBA or NHL teams demand new venues only ten or fifteen years after they got new venues. One could imagine a struggling team like a Kansas City wanting to make a move at some point, or maybe a team like the Angels seeking a ballpark upgrade. But overall, I agree, this seems relatively unlikely and I think the “owners are terrified of precedent” argument seems a bit overstated.

  59. Marriage is also considered sacred (what’s the divorce rate again?).
    Here’s food for thought: if the Bay Area followed precedent (love that word!) and became entirely shared tomorrow, would the Giants franchise value actually increase?
    They would not only retain their current territory but also add Alameda and CoCo Co.’s to the mix.
    The Yankees sharing the NY Metro with the Mets doesn’t seem to have affected their overall value. Same could probably be said for the Giants.

  60. I can’t see Chris losing his show. Different time slot? Paired with Tittle during the afternoon, maybe?

  61. @A’s observer,
    Adding to what Bartleby stated earlier: uncertainty regarding final land acquisitions PLUS if San Jose is really going to go through with a referendum or not. Check these from SJ’s “to do” list and you’ll get a “decision” from MLB.

  62. @gojohn10 I hope CT takes over Monty’s morning spot.

  63. well townsend did do the morning show for 680 but that is a tough ass daily schedule for at least 6 months especially during a’s west coast night games where his post game show could last close to midnight and then he’d have to wake up to do a 5 am or 6 am morning show. can’t see that happening.

    tittle and townsend need to have a show whether they’re hosting it by themselves or having another cohost and no, i don’t think they should team up. need tittle and townsend on twice a day.

  64. Now that redevelopment is dead. The only game is the 980 Park site in Oakland, that can be funded by revenue bonds. I presume that is why Wolff is meeting with Quan. Maybe Wolff will up front the cost of the feasibility study that Caltrans will require with the expectation of getting his money back from the proceeds of the revenue bond. It is chump change anyway. Here the land is free and the city’s share is $15 to 20M than can easily be paid by $1M/yr in land rent (Giants pay the Port of SF $3.8/yr in land rent).

  65. @Bryan – if that happens I will put $100 in the fund for your statue @980 Park!

  66. @bg- and remind us all how the ballpark gets built…..oh… That’s right- not enough corporate support in Oakland to make it happen-

  67. @Cup & LGA
    Seems like the evening slot makes most sense. For west coast night games he is usually 6 – 11/12 anyway.

  68. yeah looks as the time slots from 10 in the morning up to 6 at night are taken. so townsend i’d guess would do a night time slot. still that leaves tittle at this point either in the morning or at night too.

    tittle should be at the 10-2 slot.

  69. Hate to say it LGA, but wouldn’t be surpised at all if it was Bodie Brazil instead of Tittle.

  70. @Bryan and David–I’ll chip in another $100 towards the statue. Add statues of Rickey, Eck, Stew and Walter Haas, and I’ll be a happy camper!

  71. honestly i’d rather have brazil do the morning show instead of monty. or at least add brazil and make it a trio in the morning there so there’s an actual a’s fan in the morning since monty/jd seem to talk more sfg than a’s in the morning so brazil as an a’s fan can bring up the green/gold once in a while.

    i don’t know why they’re giving these new guys 4 hours each? i’d rather have three shows in that 8 hour span with maybe two 2 hour shows along with one four hour show rather than two 4 hour shows. could move the morning show back to 5 in the morning and have it stop at 8 and that’ll allow to have two 3 hours from shows from 8-11 and then 11-2.

  72. I really hope they don’t get rid of Townie. He’s the only guy worth listening to.

  73. @A’s fan–agreed.

  74. Did BG really presume that Wolff is meeting with Quan for his 980 proposal?
    Been thinking of how to respond for 4 minutes now…(LOL!)

  75. @TonyD–wouldn’t that be something? If VC is near death, 980 deck job works for me!!

  76. From 1 pipedream to the next, gotta love these Oakland fans.

  77. @Anon, I appreciate all the love from the other side. Hey, at this point, it’s no so far-fetched and is in the A’s present territory, and SJ’s not looking too good, bro.

  78. @ Anon From one snobby put down to the next, gotta love these San Jose fans. See what I did there? C’mon man, please lose the vitriolic statements.

  79. @jk–you really think that corporations are going to want to be part of the ballpark over the freeway in a distressed area of oakland v. the ballpark on the bay 8 miles away? sounds like you are giving up on the vc dream but seriously man—what about 980 would excite LW to invest $500M of his own money?

  80. @eb–Anon, formerly ST, is kind of a meanie and has ripped pretty much every post I’ve ever written cuz I’m pro-Oakland. I prefer bartleby or TonyD any day over this guy. I just laugh it off and move on. My biggest fault on here is ripping LW, but I try to be decent to the posters and cities in play. I once said SJ and Fremont are kind of bland and suburban and I caught hell. I won’t bash another city ever again.

  81. @Jk If it makes you feel better, Fremont voted Olive Garden best Italian food of 2011. I give up.

  82. @eb – okay i’ll bite…please give me a readily attainable business plan that would make VC or any Oakland stadium venture feasible given no private support. /awaits a response
    @ jk – i ❤ you too bro and will continue to call out assinine, illogical fantasies everytime i hear them. If you don't like them, you're welcome to leave anytime. 🙂

  83. btw – not sure if ya’ll saw this in the chron today (LOL):

    “Clubhouse blaze: Before the game, a fire broke out near Brian Fuentes’ locker, the result of an overcharged battery for the reliever’s remote-control airplane. Several players rushed to put it out, as did Isao Hirooka (Matsui’s PR guy), equipped with a five-gallon container of drinking water.

    In a smoky clubhouse, managing general partner Lew Wolff sat at a table, sipped on a root beer float and cracked a couple of jokes about how this could have been his ticket to a new ballpark, playfully chiding his players for extinguishing the flames.”

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/06/30/SPTA1K4UKF.DTL#ixzz1QpsuQaBn

  84. @gojohn
    .
    Whats next? Applebees best neighborhood bar? lol
    ….i kid i kid…

  85. @Bryan – great job, I hope Wolff considers it.

  86. @Anon: point well taken; I was using her word, not making up one of my own. True, maybe no fight is necessary, although we really won’t know until we find out if SJ gets the okay or not. Comparing to Dellums, he made an interesting choice to “go over Lew’s head” with the letter to MLB, eventually leading to formation of the BRC; most mayors wouldn’t change the scenario, as he called it during one of his press conferences; Wolff had one set up, and Dellums set up one of his own. Just think waht a disaster this would be if Perata was elected mayor? Thank you, rank-choice voting…for now.
    In any case, whether it be about redevelopment money changing plans, Lew wanting to know exactly what Oakland will do, etc., I look forward to knowing more about what comes out of the talks.

  87. …With Oakland most likely out of the running for a new ballpark, I hope Wolff signs a long lease extension with the Coliseum if Selig is too scared to let the A’s go to San Jose. That’s Woiff’s leverage: Make the league keep paying big welfare checks to the A’s for many many years or force the owners to get into a war with the players over potential contraction of the franchise…It’s now July 1 and not Word 1 on a preliminary draft EIR for VC…

  88. @ML – understand that it is a privilege to post here and is moderated.
    @eb – still waiting….

  89. @gojohn–hey, Olive Garden ain’t too shabby. Gotta love the all you can eat breadsticks and salad..lol.
    When in the Fremont area, the wife and I enjoy China Chili. Honey Pecan prawns and garlic green beans are awesome. I gave the place 5 stars on Yelp.
    @Anon–SMH. Dude, chill out a bit.
    @ML–thank you for pointing that out about Anon…lol. See, I gave you credit for something 🙂

  90. @jk Olive Garden has terrific salad. See, there’s two things we agree on.

  91. @bartleby–wow, miracles really do happen!

  92. @ Anon *sigh* I have said before I don’t have the answers or the specific knowledge to work up a plan to finance a stadium. Does that mean you should be disparaging, use generalities and berate Oakland first fans? Call it a crusade to weed out the illogical all you want, but it just comes across as mean and disrespectful.

  93. @eb–I’m not going to defend anyone’s posts—but what I do find more than a little annoying is the oakland first (or oakland only) posters here fail to address the elephant in the room which is how anyone would pay for a ballpark being built in oakland…..the challenges for oakland have been established by Jeffrey in previous posts and as I recall he even offered to work with jk to play these out further–bottom line if it cant be done in oakland—and maybe LW is right–so quite bashing him and begin to thank him for trying to keep the A’s in the bay area—-than its time to move forward and have oakland step aside so that we can try to save the A’s in the bay area

  94. @GoA’s I guess we just look at the situation differently. You see Oakland’s plans as an obstacle and I see them as a glimmer of hope. I can’t defend the lack of set, tangible financing plan, but I’m hoping someone involved directly in the process has some plan. Maybe I’m being naive. I’ve said before that I could live with San Jose or any Bay Area city sans SF, I just don’t like to see all the corresponding Oakland/East Bay bashing that comes with these talks. Oakland has had more championships won by its teams than SF or SJ and it’s hard to see the negativity that some spew out.

  95. I guess I dont see as much negativity about the city of oakland as I do about the prospects of getting a privately financed ballpark built in oakland—most A’s fan’s, including myself, consider a new ballpark the number 1 priority of the club—and as a season tix holder I am beginning to get more than a little frustrated at the pace that this is moving—15+ years since the Coli was ruined by the leaders of oakland…and still no viable plan in place….how much longer do they get….and yet you want to continue to hold onto glimmers of hope—thats where we disagree—its not about the city—its about a ballpark for the A’s in the bay area—being in sales we have a guiding principle that applies here—hope is not a strategy

  96. Lew Wolff’s talking points have infected the A’s fan diaspora. If Wolff/Fisher had the will – there is a way. And please … don’t ask me the “way”. I’m a Teacher on Summer vacation not a stadium finance guy.

  97. @David–“If Wolff/Fisher had the will – there is a way.”
    Amen, brother.

    • @David/jk-usa – That’s a very convenient way of sidestepping the actual problems Oakland faces in getting this done. I prefer not to feed that willful ignorance.

  98. sorry David–don’t buy it–figure you own a house—.and you know that your income has to be able to meet your debt–take a pencil out and use some of the previous posts to get an idea of what it would take—if your “way” is for LW and JF to give a ballpark to oakland without knowing where the revenue streams come from cite me one other ownership group that has done that—and why you expect them to do if for oakland—you wont find one—I think that what your afraid of is exactly what LW has been saying all along—and then what…for the oakland only crowd

  99. @ML – Do “we” have to qualify every statement? I am very aware of the posturing on either “side” of the debate. I never stick my head in the sand. I have no idea what is going to happen. I just know what I want. Until Boxer mentioned that the D-EIR would take a year and that the City of Oakland was holding its cards close the vest, I was totally in the dark. Nothing willful about that my friend.

  100. @GoA’s – Its not that simple. Read the article in ‘deadspin’ that ML linked.

  101. what…sorry…very interesting article….but not directly linked– I asked a simple question….why should LW and JF do something that no other ownership group has done in baseball without fully knowing where the revenue streams are coming from and that these will be re-occuring revenues to support a 30 year mortgage.

  102. @David Airily dismissing inconvenient facts and opinions you do not agree with as “talking points” is not adding much to the debate. Nor are glib cliches like “where there’s a will there’s a way.” Here’s my own glib slogan: “Stuff needs to get paid for.” Please engage on substance.

  103. @David “Its not that simple. Read the article in ‘deadspin’ that ML linked.”
    .
    Fair enough, but that doesn’t mean that teams can’t lose money or that every $500 million project breaks even. I’m prepared to believe Wolff/Fisher might be able to line up financing for an Oakland ballpark based on their other assets, but that doesn’t mean the project is going to break even. There’s no escaping the fact: economic fundamentals are really, really important.

  104. @David – When the EIR was announced in December, I said it’d probably take 18 months. Everyone in the Oakland camp said they could fast track it or some other nonsense. I laid out exactly what it would take to hit that one year timeframe. Now that it is clearly evident that fast tracking is not happening, what now? I’d call them liars but that’s meaningless demagoguery. Call it wishful thinking. The A’s and fans can’t operate in wishful thinking. We have to be realistic. That means getting into the details, as ugly as they may be.

    Fundamentally, I find it problematic that you take a realist’s point-of-view and consider it talking points or propaganda. It’s anything but that.

  105. @ML – I have been checking out this site for about a year. I’ve read some of the archives. Its a huge exercise in speculation. Its not even: linear, scientific based formulas. Its a cabal of money-grubbing owners, protected by an anti-trust exemption. I can’t get invested in the details. Sorry. I truly, truly, care – but am not motivated to crunch the numbers. I don’t think i said anything about fast tracking, something i know little about. I am old-school. I’m not a saber-metrics guy. I do care enough to contribute on this site. I give my opinions, etc., but (ST, Bartleby, pjk, Tony ..) can keep asking for pro-Oakland folks to give them details… I do wonder if they think that’s ever going to happen on this message board. No skin off my nuts. I suggest folks send those questions to Mayor Quan and/or Doug Boxer.

    Go A’s!

  106. @David – Actually if you send an inquiry to Mayor Quan, it’ll probably be pushed off to Doug Boxer. Apparently it’s no “skin off her nuts” either.

  107. @bartleby – The Oakland A’s will be playing at the coliseum for at least the next four years, if not more. I like my team. They’ve been here my whole 40 year life. I’m not crunching the frigging numbers. Is there a litmus to contribute on this site? No. So I fly by and give my opinion. I don’t get mad. And I don’t put down my fellow A’s fan. If that’s not satisfactory, I suggest you ignore my posts.

  108. @David “Is there a litmus to contribute on this site? No. So I fly by and give my opinion. I don’t get mad. And I don’t put down my fellow A’s fan. If that’s not satisfactory, I suggest you ignore my posts.”
    .
    Dude, you’re a teacher. Isn’t part of what you teach your students how to state a thesis and defend it with logic and facts?
    .
    I never suggested you stop posting. You have a right to your opinions, and you have a right to express them. But if you’re just going to drive-by and slander Lew Wolff and spew platitudes about how economics don’t matter, I’m going to call you on it. That’s my right.

  109. @ bartleby No offense, but why do you keep calling out David for being a teacher? You’ve done it a couple of times now. I don’t know how it’s relevant to internet discourse. He disagrees with you on occasion, that does not mean he’s ignoring pedagogy.

  110. @bartleby – Never said economics don’t matter. What I clearly said was – i’m not crunching the numbers. I don’t do half billion dollar deals.

    re: Wolff – I do not trust him. I root for the laundry.

  111. @eb Going out of your way to make a reasoned argument and back it up with facts and having your comments repeatedly dismissed as “talking points” with no attempt at support is, well, annoying. I happen to think David’s profession is relevant in this case: He can do better. Just as I would understand, if I were doing the same thing, for someone to say, “You’re a lawyer, you have to be able to do better than that.”
    .
    In no way am I trying to cast aspersions on the teaching profession, if that’s what you mean.

  112. @David If you’re not willing to do some level of economic analysis to determine whether maybe, just maybe, Wolff’s actions are reasonable, then it’s kind of unfair for you to repeatedly slander him, is it not?

  113. I have read every interview, Wolff has made in the local press, since 1998. I have heard a number of his television and radio interviews. He is lying. I do not trust him. Boxer made it clear in the Bryant piece:

    “Why would anyone associated with Oakland share any information regarding the plan to locate, approve and construct a baseball-only ballpark in Oakland with Mr. Wolff?” asked Doug Boxer, a civic booster deeply involved with efforts to keep the A’s in Oakland. “Since he announced he had no intention to pursue a ballpark in Oakland over three years ago, he has had nothing positive to say about the city that his team plays in. In fact, he has shown outright disdain for the city and the A’s fan base in Oakland including in 2009 taking his team’s holiday tour to almost every city in the Bay Area except Oakland. Further, any plans shared with Mr. Wolff would be either summarily dismissed or flayed publicly by him with little or no review or diligence. Every A’s fan is clear as to where Mr. Wolff would like his team to play — and it isn’t in Oakland.”

  114. and 2 1/2 years and counting—plus the near 15 before that—no one has yet to show that he is wrong…so to call someone a liar without showing what he is lying about is pretty lame…

  115. and btw—the ultimate Oakland supporter, Andy Dolich, agrees that you can’t build a privately financed baseball only park….and he advocates a shared site for the Raiders and A’s—-guess LW does have some Oakland folks who agree with him–

  116. I think that even if you took the whole moving aspect out of it, Wolff is still a pretty shoddy owner compared to what some other teams have. Surely, as A’s fans we can agree on that? I have yet to speak in person with an A’s fan who says he/she is glad to have this ownership group.

  117. @eb—season tix holder and happy as hell that he is willing to put up with this to get a new ballpark in the bay area!!—great to be first for you eb

  118. @GoA’s Heh, you didn’t fully read my post? Taking the moving issue out of this, as it carries too much baggage, you would be happy with the job ownership has done with the A’s? If so, amen to you. *smokes cigarette* I’ll always remember my first.

  119. happy with him as owner all the way around–he cant play the game for the players—giving a 28th place in attendance he puts together a reasonable team that needs to perform—and obviously the farm system is pretty damn strong…..he’s the reason I stay on as a season tix holder since he is willing to see this thru and work towards making the A’s a stronger franchise across the board–

  120. @ GoA’s Sorry, I already told eb previously I was thrilled with Wolff as an owner across the board, and listed in detail the reasons why. So you have to take my sloppy seconds.
    .
    @eb “Taking the moving issue out of this, as it carries too much baggage, you would be happy with the job ownership has done with the A’s?”
    .
    First of all, absolutely. Second of all, I question whether it’s even possible to “take the moving issue out of this.” I am fully convinced that the people who beat on Lew Wolff do so almost exclusively because of the moving issue, and cannot be objective about anything else. The tarps, for example. I have yet to hear a single coherent reason why the tarps are a huge affront to A’s fandom. Plus, we continue to hear whining about the tarps several years after the best sections in the upper deck were reopened, and those sections still rarely sell out. People whine about the tarps because it was a Lew Wolff decision and their just looking for reasons to whine about Lew Wolff.
    .
    I think you are having trouble finding Lew Wolff defenders in your immediate circle because you live in the East Bay and that’s where all the emotion is. To be honest with you: If you took a poll in the Bay Area, I’ll bet 75% couldn’t even tell you who the A’s owner is.

  121. @ bartleby I would disagree about people not having a strong reaction to A’s ownership. Even casual fans I know seem to think Wolff and co. are lacking. As for only East Bay circles thinking Wolff and co. is lame, it seems to be a wide spectrum. There’s a reason 90% of the opinionated media seems to think this ownership is a fraud and I highly doubt an anti-San Jose conspiracy is why. If the media and the majority of fans(going by what I see in person and on the internet, highly informal I know) smells smoke their is probably fire. But, hey, this is where you and I disagree. I apologize for forgetting you as a first, bartleby, but to be fair you didn’t even buy me dinner.

  122. @David You again accuse Wolff of being a liar, but provide no example whatsover of what he’s supposedly lying about. If it’s about the economic feasibility of building in Oakland, your bias is showing, because any objective analysis of available facts backs him up.

    @eb I think, almost by definition, casual fans do not know who Wolff is. I’m spending a lot of time in the East Bay right now on a work project. The vast majority of people I talk to have no clue who the A’s ownership is and are unaware the A’s are trying to move to San Jose. When I tell them, they don’t get particularly emotional about it.
    .
    Don’t forget, those of us posting on this board are the geeky little fanboys of the baseball world. Seriously, who out there besides hard core fans is going to follow, on a daily basis, over a period of years, the prospects of a building that won’t be built for four years in the future, if ever? I have never once since I’ve been reading this blog seen a poster self-identify as female. When I address other posters on this board I always assume they are male without asking, for the same reason I would if I were posting on a Dungeons and Dragons board. It’s very easy for hard core fans to project their opinions on others.

    A quick anecdote: I attended a function at which Bill Neukom was speaking. I mentioned it to a friend who is a Giants season ticket holder. His response: “Who’s Bill Neukom”? Mind you, he gets a letter from Neukom each year with his season tickets.

    Anyway, back to your point. I don’t doubt you know a lot of people who don’t like Lew Wolff. What I’m saying is, it’s 100% because of the ballpark issue and the rest flows from that. Here we have an owner who, for the second time in modern baseball history is trying to build a privately-financed ballpark. He is committed to the home market. He loves the sport and attends many of the games, sitting in the regular seats. His team offers constant promotions throughout the season, and their tickets are the best value in professional sports. He spends money on payroll when the team’s prospects are good. He has opened the checkbook for big name free agents. OK, I get that people miss Fan Fest, but really, that’s a nit. There simply is no rational reason for the venom being directed at him by a small group of people; it’s all emotion about the ballpark.

    You still haven’t told me what’s supposedly so awful about the tarps.

  123. I’m sorry Oakland Only group. The goal of this ownership group has always been, and always will be the South Bay. It’s probably why Schott/Fischer/Wolff bought the team in the first place. At some point in time, you’re going to just have to accept it. It may not even get done, with alternatives being contraction, or moving the team to another market(probaly not Dublin), but this group will NEVER build in Oakland. What does it matter any way. Wolff has slowly starved the flag waving bleacher fanatics down to nothing, and if and when they ever do move there won’t even be any of those people left. The Giants will probably have won again and again. Heck, the banter on this message board is more interesting than this team right now. The passing of the team to Wolff’s son should only go to further this. I think Wolff was more than ready for any backlash, after seeing the way Schott was crucified for wanting a new stadium and hinting it should be in the south bay. Schott was the baseball guy who put a real product on the field, and actually cared about winning. We pushed him out, because he didn’t have the stomach to be the villian, and found a way to perserve his baseball legacy in a smaller way. SCU’s new diggs. We got Wolff. He is more than glad to own his very own team, but did not get into this to win championships, or to be any Hero of Oakland. The Joe Morgan/Micheal Jordan ship sailed back in 98 or 99. Where the heck were you guys(Oakland suporters) back in 1995 when they decimated our home? It’s like you cheated on your girlfriend, but know you’re asking how could she leave you. Don’t despair though. MLB is more than willing to let you have the Triple A’s for four or five more years, while the ownership group spends nothing on payroll, or stadium upgrades, and collects 40 mil a year in revsharing from the Giants. All while waiting on the chance the conomy might rebound. If I wanted the team to stay in Oakland, I’d hope to start selling out games for the next 4 years, while the A’s lose 95, and start focusing on “Doug Boxer for Mayor in 2016” or whatever. Oh and for Oaklnad’s economic woes to end B4 Silicon Valley’s do. At least the world is ending soon.
    Just my opinion.
    BTW I think I’ve been reading this site for over 6 years now(kind of depressing in itself). Thanks ML for all the time you’ve spent on this. I’m on all sides of this. Just keep them in the Bay Area.

  124. 2 bartleby You’re defending the tarps? First off they are viewed as a joke by other fans across the country and Giant fans here. Our fans don’t seem to like them. They help deflate your attendance numbers and do nothing in terms of making tickets a more lucrative proposition for fans. Bottom line, your own fans dislike them, get rid of them. They offer nothing positive and help add to the image that you run a second rate organization. I know we disagree, but Lew Wolff is the worst owner in the Bay Area. Absolutely.

  125. re: They help deflate your attendance numbers

    Please explain how boosting capacity to 50,000 instead of 35,000 deflates attendance for a team that gets about 15,000 a night. (Last night, the A’s had something like 12,000 in attendance.) Please explain how 10,000 more empty seats suppresses attendance.

  126. eb–if you understand supply and demand economics the tarps are absolutely necessary—for a team that is 28th in attendance explain how other than a handful of games against the giants and opening day, that they reduce attendance—we average just over 19,000 in a tarped 36000 capacity ballpark–we dont even sell out Yankee or Red Sox games and if we did–they would be to Yankee fans and Red Sox fans—not A’s fans—-and show me where the tarps are labeled a “joke by fans across the country”. And eb—your opinion that LW is the worst owner in the country—got proof? otherwise just another one of your opinions that has no fact basis-

  127. @ GoA’s You really don’t fully read my posts. I said worst in the Bay Area, not the country. Wolff and co. have put a shoddy product on the field, have a minor league system that as of 2011 is repeatedly rated mid to low by MLB experts, eliminated fanfest, put on the god awful tarps, have made no effort to significantly improve the Coliseum (ala Giants owners and Candlestick), alienated East Bay fans (of which make the majority or at least a huge portion of A’s backers), ignore A’s history and make no real effort to promote it, shows no real passion for winning during interviews, has made no significant free agent signings (ala Giants and Bonds), etc. and this is just stuff on the top of my head. Look, like him all you want, but the fact is the majority of fans and the media don’t like this ownership group. Compare Wolff to the Giants owners, who would you rather have running your team? There is no anti-San Jose conspiracy. Why would the media act this way towards Wolff if there was nothing there? Enjoy the tarps and Lew all you want, it’s your choice. You can praise them and start a Facebook page in their honor. Just don’t tell fans who pay money and will have supported this team before and after Wolff that they have no right to be upset.

  128. @eb–also on Athletics Nation, the ultimate A’s fan site, they had a poll last November (strictly non-scientific), that gave Wolff a 67% negative rating as an owner. LW’s latest gushing over Bob Geren was an embarrassment. I think it’s time for the guy to step down. He can go golfing with Geren every day now.

  129. ESPN The Magazine’s ninth-annual Ultimate Standings, in which we measure how much MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL franchises give back to the fans in exchange for all the time, money and emotion the fans invest in them.
    .
    Ownership ranking out of ALL sports….
    Oakland Athletics: 117 out of 122 teams
    .
    Ownership ranking out of MLB teams
    Oakland Athletics: 29 out of 30 teams
    .
    http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/teamrankings/_/sport/mlb/category/own#table

  130. @OAKLANDa’s–Yup, another year, another near bottom ranking for our wonderful owners, but Mr. Bartleby was thrilled with Wolff as an owner across the board…lol.

  131. I’ve been reading and following this blog regularly for years and have been quiet for the past year because it’s been frustrating being a fan on so many fronts. Not only with the back and forth with the San Jose partisans, but just in general because we’re all A’s fans and this whole stadium issue has been tearing us a part causing a divide on the Bay. And yes….IMHO this ownership group sucks big time! And also yes…the many A’s fans who I’ve spoke to at many games who are from all over including San Jose say that’s the one thing we can all agree on as well.

  132. Whatever you guys say. The man is trying to secure the A’s a bright future by getting them a new venue and securing greater revenues; for that I’m appreciative. I’m sure once Cisco Field is in operation and the A’s are finally able to land top-notch talent ($$$) his ranking (for whatever it’s worth) will shoot up tremendously.
    R.M., be careful out there!

  133. Yeah whatever the vast majority says in the sporting world seems to clearly be delirious about this ownership group. The man could do what you say he’s trying to do, but with a little class to the city and especially the fans where this team has been playing for over 40 years.
    .
    The guy needed a binder to figure out who the players were on the roster only a year or two ago. He didn’t even know that Oakland had a downtown. He thought Dave Henderson was Rickey Henderson. The Fishers have publicly stated that they are Giants fan. Are you frickin’ kidding me??

  134. OA,
    Will you cease with the “all A’s fans” crap! That milk has no place in this bar! And who cares what “everyone” thinks about Wolff?
    How will that help us get a new ballpark and off the revenue welfare dole? And stop making Oakland out to be the victim in this saga when they have no one to blame but themselves.
    Mt. Davis, Uptown anyone?

  135. Where did I say, “All A’s fans?” And will you cease with all this “once Cisco Field is in operation” crap! That milk really has no place in this bar! It matters what “everyone” thinks cuz they are the paying customers that puts money back into the team and the shamefully already super wealthy yet greedy ownership that operates this franchise.

    • Where did I say, “All A’s fans?” And will you cease with all this “once Cisco Field is in operation” crap! That milk really has no place in this bar! It matters what “everyone” thinks cuz they are the paying customers that puts money back into the team and the shamefully already super wealthy yet greedy ownership that operates this franchise.

      “especially the fans where his team has been playing for over 40 years.” Again, you’re implying that a few “Oakland-only” partisans represent the entire fanbase (“everyone” cuz they’re paying customers?), and that is not the case, no matter what ESPN says or what you say. You want to deride Wolff as being greedy and shamefull? You are more than entitled to your opinion. All A’s fans don’t feel that way however, including this one from the South Bay. This reply brought to you by someone who’s been on this blog for over 6 years; when did you show up rookie? (no need to say more on this thread)

  136. You speak as though Cisco Field is a done deal. I’m all for a new ballpark, but San Jose is far from being done and I personally see the A’s staying in Oakland for the extended future. Wolff has said the team is not for sale…meaning where else can they go if they won’t sell? No where but work with Oakland. I don’t see him moving the team out of the Bay Area as everyone who’s anit-Oakland seems to keep saying and then building his privately financed ballpark in some other part the country.

  137. And when I say anti-Oakland, I don’t mean posters who hate the city of Oakland, but only those who prefer the A’s in San Jose over Oakland.

  138. I’ve been on this blog for years but like I said, got tired of all this bickering between the 2 cities. It’s gotten frustrating and annoying dealing with people such as yourself Tony with your smart ass remarks…”brah.” “When did you show up rookie?” Please, it’s comments like yours which is why I’ve decided to stop commenting and chose to just see what info RM has been dishing out over the years. Which he’s been doing an awesome job by the way.

  139. The first sign of frustration and an argument has run its course is the “How long have you been here?” statement. Tony D. everyone is entitled to their opinion, however, when someone slams Wolff as being a bad owner some here simply write that off as being butt hurt about the move. Many here claim to want facts and evidance to support their accusations, well, there seems to be plenty of evidence that would support the idea that Wolff/Fischer are bad baseball owners, who are dragging down this franchise. Again, make of it what you will, just don’t( and not you specifically) say an A’s fan has no right to be upset about the way their franchise is being run.

  140. re: And when I say anti-Oakland, I don’t mean posters who hate the city of Oakland, but only those who prefer the A’s in San Jose over Oakland.

    …I don’t care which city they end up in. I just don’t think Oakland stands a chance. After 15 years of disrespecting the A’s, the city has no $$, no site, no nothing, to contribute.And a poor corporate base for selling sponsorships, suites, etc. San Jose is shovel-ready. If San Jose is ruled out, look for the A’s to leave the Bay Area.

  141. I’m still waiting to hear where the A’s will and can move to. Or where Wolf/Fisher have even hinted on moving to if not allowed to relocate to SJ. Portland, Vegas. San Antonio? I seriously doubt any of those places would happen and is in a better “market” than the already existing Bay Area. If San Jose is ruled out, look for the A’s to most likely work with the city of Oakland.

  142. …just got back from Children’s Fairyland and a couple of drives through Oakland’s downtown. Very nice place – reminds me a bit of the Hudson and Bergen county NJ towns where my grandmother lived. No question a downtown ballpark there would be a perfect fit. But Oakland politicians – instead of embracing this opportunity, taking the ball and running with it – boastfully punted instead. Now it may very well be too late to save the A’s for the Bay Area – and A’s fans from Gilroy to San Jose to Oakland and Marin will be devastated. We’ve already seen San Antonio go after the Marlins; Portland, Charlotte NC and Vegas also will be on deck if San Jose continued to be declared off-limits and Oakland is declared simply not doable.

  143. re: If San Jose is ruled out, look for the A’s to most likely work with the city of Oakland.

    …here’s how these “negotiations” might proceed:

    A’s: We can contribute $300 million for the structure itself if Oakland can pick up the remaining $200 million and pay for the estimated $80 mill in infrastructure improvements and business relocations.
    Oakland city officials: We can offer a total contribution to the project of $0.00.
    A’s: I see.

  144. Why is it Pro-Oak fans always blame the owners?? First Schott and now Wolff?

    Blame the City and County for the disdain they have shown to the team over the years. They lost a lawsuit for 16M to Schott when they built Mt. Davis.

    The relationship between the team and the City/County is beyond repair. New owners will not change that, even a new Mayor and City Council cannot change that.

    Like a curse the “ghost” will show up and stop the A’s in their tracks in Oakland.

    The Raiders are the team the City/County is going to work with and that is 100% clear. I am sorry but Oakland is finished and the answer is not a new owner…

  145. @eb “You’re defending the tarps? First off they are viewed as a joke by other fans across the country and Giant fans here.”
    .
    What is your evidence of this? The vast majority of people I talk to are completely indifferent to the question of the tarps. If there’s something that is viewed as a joke by “other fans across the country and Giants fans” (like I care what they think), it’s the pitiful attendance that makes the tarps necessary, not the tarps themselves. Do you really think spreading those 10,000 people across 55,000 seats instead of 35,000 is going to make the situation look better on TV? If anything, removing the tarps will increase the derision of “fans across the country.”
    .
    “Our fans don’t seem to like them.”
    .
    Again, based on what? You’re functioning in a little bit of an echo chamber. AN posters are made up primarily of hardcore, East Bay fans who hate Lew because of the impending move, period. Everything else is “confirmation bias” (you can Google this).
    .
    “They help deflate your attendance numbers”
    .
    They have an extremely minimal effect on attendance numbers, because the A’s will be lucky if they sell out more than five games this year with the tarps on. That modest decrease in attendance does not necessarily translate to reduced revenue, because the unavailability of unlimited cheap seats helps sell more of the more expensive seats. Meanwhile, the tarps save the team money on staffing and cleanup all 81 home games a year.
    .
    “and do nothing in terms of making tickets a more lucrative proposition for fans.”
    .
    I have no idea what this means. However, as noted above, the modest affect on attendance is offset by the increased revenue from selling more expensive seats and the savings on not staffing cleaning the entire upper deck.
    “Bottom line, your own fans dislike them, get rid of them.”
    .
    There is no evidence significant numbers of fans dislike them; as I explain below, they improve the atmosphere at lightly attended games (which is most of them). And they are certainly helping the bottom line.
    .
    “They offer nothing positive and help add to the image that you run a second rate organization.”
    .
    I strongly disagree. For the fifty or so games when attendance is below 15,000, they make the place feel less empty and depressing. And they add no more to the image of running a “second rate organization” than sprinkling a handful of fans across a cavernous football stadium would.

  146. @eb “Wolff and co. have put a shoddy product on the field,”
    .
    Not for lack of trying. Look, baseball is cyclical. You’re going to have some good years and some bad years. If you are a low revenue team, chances are you’re going to have more bad years.
    .
    “have a minor league system that as of 2011 is repeatedly rated mid to low by MLB experts,”
    .
    OK, and how was it rated the five years before that? Wolff doesn’t actually draft talent, he relies on his baseball minds (i.e. Billy Beane) for that. Billy Beane was widely considered one of the best GMs in the game, and Wolff gave him equity to make sure he stuck around. How is that inconsistent with a commitment to winning? You can’t put the fact that Beane’s decisions haven’t panned out as well the past few years on Wolff.
    .
    “eliminated fanfest”
    .
    And replaced it with a very nice tailgate which serves essentially the same function.
    .
    “put on the god awful tarps”
    .
    See my above post for explanation how the tarps have improved the fan experience while increasing team revenue.
    .
    “have made no effort to significantly improve the Coliseum (ala Giants owners and Candlestick),”
    .
    Truly, this would have been a foolish way to spend money. I’d rather they applie everything they’ve got to building a new venue than try to put lipstick on that pig.
    .
    “alienated East Bay fans (of which make the majority or at least a huge portion of A’s backers),”.
    .
    Alienation of some, not all, East Bay fans was the unavoidable result of discussing moving to San Jose. The other complaints are just the result of confirmation bias (and the fact that the team’s fortunes on the field are in a cyclical downturn).
    .
    ” ignore A’s history and make no real effort to promote it”
    .
    The tarps themselves celebrate the A’s many world titles. We just had Rickey Hendersen day, and signs of more involvement by Ricky with the team.
    .
    ” shows no real passion for winning during interviews,”
    .
    This is an entirely subjective opinion.
    .
    “has made no significant free agent signings (ala Giants and Bonds),”
    .
    How about Mike Piazza, Frank Thomas, Matt Holliday, and Ben Sheets, to begin with,?
    .
    “the fact is the majority of fans and the media don’t like this ownership group.”
    .
    You really need to stop claiming to speak for the “majority of fans” without hard evidence to back you up. Non-scientific web polls on Athletics Nation do not count.

    “Compare Wolff to the Giants owners, who would you rather have running your team?”
    .
    Wolff, without question. Right now, the most important thing for the future of the team is getting a new ballpark. As an experienced California real estate developer with ties to the MLB Commissioner, no one on the planet is in a better position to do that than Lew Wolff. Nothing the current Giants ownership has done even comes close to that level of accomplishment (and I include last year’s WS in that statement).

  147. ESPN takes another credibility hit. An ownership group that offers the lowest prices in pro sports nationwide and has been trying for 5+ years to privately build a Bay Area ballpark for the A’s. But ESPN rates them among the worst. OK. I strongly encourage ESPN to buy the A’s and build them a new ballpark in the Bay Area, if the network is so sure the current ownership is no good.

  148. @pjk–would you agree on ESPN having the Sharks way up there and the Warriors and Raiders way down? They’re pretty much on target on most of the teams, including the A’s. They do have credilbilty.

  149. @pjk–would you agree on ESPN having the Sharks way up there and the Warriors and Raiders way down? They’re pretty much on target. Credibility is intact. I wish they would buy the A’s.

  150. Oops, i changed my post but posted both my mistake..sorry.

  151. @jk The ESPN rankings are worthless. First of all, they’re based on the opinions of 1000 fans from around the country. That’s not a big sample, and how many fans outside the Bay Area have a clue what’s what with A’s ownership? Not informed opinions..
    .
    Finally, if you take a close look at the teams at the top and the teams at the bottom of that list, what is the main correlation that jumps out at you? WINNING. Yes, for some strange reason, it just so happens that fans of winning teams are happier with their owners and rate them higher than fans of losing teams. Go figure..
    .
    I know you love to see your own personal bias confirmed, but mark my words: If the A’s were to go deep in the playoffs this year, their “Ownership” rankings would shoot way up next year. And if Lew succeeds in building a new venue, his ratings will go through the roof.

  152. .,..The Sharks have nothing to do with it. If ESPN thinks the owners of the most inclusive, family-friendly franchise in all of sports are amongst the worst, then ESPN should be prepared to come in and do a better job. And build for us a $500 mill privately funded ballpark like Wolff and Fischer want to do.

  153. @bartleby–FWIW, in 2006, the deepest they’ve been into the payoffs since the Haas era, the ESPN rankings had the A’s shoot way up to an awesome 21 out of 30 MLB teams, and 74 out of 92 of the Big 3 (no NHL figured in that year). And would you agree about the Sharks, Raiders and Warriors?
    Yup, it looks like the fans, including this one, know their stuff. 🙂

  154. ESPN represents the dumbing-down of the American sports fan. During the 1970s, we had Howard Cosell, as annoying as he was, always presuming a reasonable level of intelligence amongst his audience. Today, it’s ESPN with Chris Berman, spewing the same schtick for decades: “He could go all the way!” or “Back back back back back!!!” Thank God for the emergence of stations like the NHL Network or NFL Network – we don’t need ESPN anymore.

  155. @jk Well if they’re publishing these rankings in June, the playoffs hadn’t happened yet. All my other comments still apply: These are not scientific surveys, they are weighted with subjective factors and are not to be taken seriously.
    .
    With respect to the other teams: Sharks, consistent winners. Warriors and Raiders, consistent losers. You’re not really disproving my theory.
    .
    Trust me, a WS berth and a new ballpark, and Wolff will rule those rankings.

  156. “OK, and how was it rated the five years before that? Wolff doesn’t actually draft talent, he relies on his baseball minds (i.e. Billy Beane) for that. Billy Beane was widely considered one of the best GMs in the game, and Wolff gave him equity to make sure he stuck around. How is that inconsistent with a commitment to winning? You can’t put the fact that Beane’s decisions haven’t panned out as well the past few years on Wolff.”

    Can’t have it both ways bartleby, you said yourself in a previous thread that one of the reasons you liked Wolff as an owner is because of the fact that he has helped create a strong farm system (which he hasn’t really).
    .
    “And replaced it with a very nice tailgate which serves essentially the same function.”

    Riiigghhttt. A classy tailgate,. Hmmm, I wonder if the majority of baseball franchises throw their fans a “very nice tailgate.”
    .
    “put on the god awful tarps”
    .Hey man, defending the taps is up to you. Enjoy.
    .
    “Truly, this would have been a foolish way to spend money. I’d rather they applie everything they’ve got to building a new venue than try to put lipstick on that pig.”

    Seemed to work well for the Giants. You know this ownership isn’t hurting for money, right? We disagree.
    .
    “The tarps themselves celebrate the A’s many world titles. We just had Rickey Hendersen day, and signs of more involvement by Ricky with the team.”

    So they have a very nice tailgate AND decorative tarps?!
    .
    How about Mike Piazza, Frank Thomas, Matt Holliday, and Ben Sheets, to begin with,?

    Piazza = Over the hill when signed. Thomas = Got lucky with his performance, still wasn’t a high end free agent. Holliday = A trade and then traded. Not a free agent signing. Ben Sheets = High end free agent? Hardly.

    “Wolff, without question. Right now, the most important thing for the future of the team is getting a new ballpark. As an experienced California real estate developer with ties to the MLB Commissioner, no one on the planet is in a better position to do that than Lew Wolff. Nothing the current Giants ownership has done even comes close to that level of accomplishment (and I include last year’s WS in that statement).”

    Wow. I’m speechless. I already know we disagree, bartleby, and maybe it’s your background in law, but you just seem to be arguing yourself into a hole and grasping for whatever “facts” that you can. Also, google condescending.

  157. @eb “Can’t have it both ways bartleby, you said yourself in a previous thread that one of the reasons you liked Wolff as an owner is because of the fact that he has helped create a strong farm system (which he hasn’t really).”
    .
    Actually, I never said that, you’re confusing me with someone else. Believe it or not, not all of us who advocate for San Jose are the same person.
    .
    The A’s had a good farm system before Wolff got there. What he does deserve credit for is retaining Beane (i.e. not “fixing” what wasn’t broken).
    .
    “And replaced it with a very nice tailgate which serves essentially the same function.”
    .
    “Riiigghhttt. A classy tailgate,. Hmmm, I wonder if the majority of baseball franchises throw their fans a “very nice tailgate.””
    .
    I very much doubt you know what the majority of baseball franchises do, any more than you know what the the majority of fans think. (Of course, that doesn’t seem to stop you from claiming to speak on their behalf).
    .
    “put on the god awful tarps”
    .
    Um, that was your quote, not mine. Now you’re debating yourself?
    .
    “Truly, this would have been a foolish way to spend money. I’d rather they apply everything they’ve got to building a new venue than try to put lipstick on that pig.”
    .
    “Seemed to work well for the Giants.”
    .
    Show me one shred of evidence that the minimal improvements the Giants made to Candlestick improved attendance. And frankly, I went to Candlestick back in the day, and it wasn’t a game changer from a fan experience standpoint, either. So in what way did investing in Candlestick “work” for the Giants?
    .
    “You know this ownership isn’t hurting for money, right?”
    .
    They aren’t hurting for money because their partners subsidize them. Plus, they have major expenses on the horizon in the form of a mortgage on a new ballpark. So, I don’t begrudge them for actually trying to run the A’s like, y’know, a business. Which means not throwing money down ratholes.
    .
    “The tarps themselves celebrate the A’s many world titles. We just had Rickey Hendersen day, and signs of more involvement by Ricky with the team.”
    .
    “So they have a very nice tailgate AND decorative tarps?!”
    .
    That’s right. You accused them of not celebrating their history, I’m pointing out that they do. The statues of A’s greats come later, at Cisco Field. And since you’re so enamored of the Giants owners, I’ll point out: I don’t remember any Willie Mays statues at Candlestick, either.
    .
    “How about Mike Piazza, Frank Thomas, Matt Holliday, and Ben Sheets, to begin with?”
    Piazza = Over the hill when signed. Thomas = Got lucky with his performance, still wasn’t a high end free agent. Holliday = A trade and then traded. Not a free agent signing. Ben Sheets = High end free agent? Hardly.
    .
    Look, having a guy like Bonds hit the free agent market in the prime of his career doesn’t happen very often. When it does, a free agent of that caliber usually ends up on a team like the Yankees or Mets. The Giants were able to land Bonds in part because of his personal ties to the team. It’s not a reasonable benchmark.
    .
    Your point was that the A’s haven’t spent on players. You may not like the guys I just named, but Piazza, Holliday and Sheets were making between $8.5 and $11 million dollars per year while playing for the A’s.
    .
    When you’re in the A’s position, your opportunities for big name free agents are mostly going to be aging stars and/or guys coming off injuries. That’s just the reality, and that’s why the A’s need to move to San Jose.
    .
    “Wolff, without question. Right now, the most important thing for the future of the team is getting a new ballpark. As an experienced California real estate developer with ties to the MLB Commissioner, no one on the planet is in a better position to do that than Lew Wolff. Nothing the current Giants ownership has done even comes close to that level of accomplishment (and I include last year’s WS in that statement).”
    .
    “Wow. I’m speechless. I already know we disagree, bartleby, and maybe it’s your background in law, but you just seem to be arguing yourself into a hole and grasping for whatever “facts” that you can.”
    .
    I stand by every word of that paragraph. First, although the Giants had a decent team last year, no one thought they were a serious contender for the title, and I don’t think too many are picking them to repeat. Billy Beane is right; once you get to the playoffs, there’s a huge amount of luck. Second, the Giants were in a position to make a run last year largely because of AT&T Park. AT&T Park was a major accomplishment, to be sure, but it was an accomplishment of the previous Giants ownership group, not this one. And building a new park for the A’s is going to be much, much tougher than building AT&T Park was. Seriously, if they were to swap seats, you think Bill Neukom would have a better chance of getting it done than Wolff?
    .
    I’ll take the park now, and the titles later. And dude, I really don’t need a lecture on grasping for facts from the “all fans think what I think” guy.

  158. The Giants were able to land Bonds because they offered him the richest contract in baseball history at the time. Salaries have taken off a lot since then though.

    The tailgate was an adequate replacement in 2010 when it was before a weekend exhibition game though I still preferred the standard fanfest. This year when the tailgate was on a Tuesday afternoon it was very lame.

  159. @ bartleby Wow. Hey man, I’ll end it here as you’re making it personal and name calling, usually an obvious sign of frustration. If you think Lew Wolff is the bee’s knees, go for it. Heck, I’ll even through in a “most fans” here at the end to incriminate and deflate any previous point I’ve made. Enjoy.

  160. @bartleby–the improvements at the Stick were somewhat minimal, but McGowan tried to make a better fan experience. At least he didn’t bash the facility daily like Lurie did back then and Wolff does now with the Coliseum. How come they didn’t put tarps on at the Stick during their last years there? Cuz it’s stupid and kind of embarassing. They’re still laughing at us. They should poll all A’s fans as they come to the Coliseum and ask if they want the tarps on or off. I’ll bet you most will want them back. Gio does.
    @eb–the LW apologists like bartleby and many others on here just like the guy cuz he’s trying to get a park done in SJ, but they pretty much ignore everything else this guy has said and done. He needs to go. Not you bartleby, you can stay, but your homey LW needs to step down.

  161. –correction: most (fans) will want the tarps off, not back..sorry.

  162. @jk-usa. What Lurie and Wolff said about their stadiums is irrelevant. You don’t have to read the newspaper or listen to his interviews to know that the Coli is a relative dump and Candlestick was, too. Put it like this: it’s not like when Wolff showed in 2005 and said the Coliseum is inadequate that people were like “Hold up, hold up — really? The Coliseum is inadequate? Well, screw it, then; I’m not going to A’s games anymore!”

    Anyone who’s been to the Coli, or knows anyone who’s been to the Coli knows the deal. The bitter truth is the Coliseum is the same place that it’s been since 1996 (and many of its bowels older than that.) It didn’t go downhill right after Schott and Hoffman sold the team. It was bad in ’96, bad in 2005, and bad now.

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