Monte Poole has written yet another screed about Lew Wolff and John Fisher. Three questions about this: 1) Would Poole be writing this if the Raiders had made the playoffs, giving him something to write about?, 2) Couldn’t he have bothered to ask Wolff about this?, and 3) Is Poole now tasked with the now-retired Dave Newhouse’s role as chief ownership critic?
Apparently the answer to the first two of those questions is a resounding NO. Poole’s grievous error comes down to this:
Months prior to taking co-ownership, while working as the A’s executive hired to find a suitable yard, Wolff proposed a “ballpark village” on land north of the current site. That’s rich. He realized such a project would require relocating 60 to 80 businesses. And, by the way, Wolff added that this village would require the creation of a new BART station, this one between the Coliseum and Fruitvale stations.
That was their pitch to Oakland. Judge for yourself the goodness of the faith within.
Meanwhile, Wolff said zilch about the land to the south, from the stadium perimeter through the parking lot and out to Hegenberger Road. There’s a Denny’s not much else, other than plenty of space, mostly paved.
Amazing how only a few years can bend someone’s memory. Here’s what really happened:
- When he was working for Steve Schott and Ken Hofmann, Wolff suggested looking at the HomeBase site (a.k.a. “Coliseum South”). They wanted to split the cost on a $500k feasibility study there, with the Coliseum Authority (JPA) paying the other half. The Authority declined to pay for their share, and the idea died.
- Wolff did not present the 66th-High “Coliseum North” concept until August 2005, five months after he took control of the franchise.
- For whatever reason, even though Larry Reid and others from Oakland considered Coliseum South a possibility after Coliseum North collapsed, no one pursued the option.
- The Coliseum eventually bought the property in 2010 years after HomeBase was destroyed in a fire, dedicating the land to a Raiders stadium redevelopment project.
All Poole needed to do was call or email Wolff. Or Guy Saperstein. Is it that hard? I suppose it is.
Mark Purdy gets a lot more of the history right, though he fails to include the Oakland/East Bay ballpark study of 2001.