You may be familiar with a term called “business hours.” It usually runs during the daytime, 9-5 or thereabouts, the proper time for normal business to be conducted. The A’s have business offices that operate during normal business hours. The Coliseum Authority does as well, scheduling regular board meetings during the day. Despite all of the rancor and discord involving the A’s and Oakland, most of the stadium talk (with the exception of Lew Wolff appearing on a game broadcast or pro-Oakland groups doing night pep rallies) has happened during business hours. It’s a way to compartmentalize everything, just keep the business side separate from the baseball side.
Last night that line separating the two was crossed in a most disgusting manner. It started when, after weeks of Wolff saying that he made a lease extension offer to the Coliseum Authority (JPA), the JPA responded with its own offer to Wolff. It took mere minutes for Wolff to reject the JPA’s offer by having A’s PR man Bob Rose write up a terse press release to that effect. All of this, and the subsequent teeth-gnashing of fans, happened DURING THE GAME. Why? Because both sides knew that the assembled media in the press box and watching the game elsewhere would report on this. Wolff then asked for further negotiations not to be done through the media, even though he has talked several times in the past about this very problem. Neither side produced their lease offers, so we can’t evaluate them, but MLB has copies of everything. MLB is the true audience here, not us.
It’s not hard to see the motivations at work. Wolff wants to show MLB that the JPA prefers the Raiders over the A’s by a large margin, and their inaction on the lease extension offer along with previous stalling on previous offers is proof of that. The JPA is also trying to score points with MLB, providing baseball with a copy of their own agreement as a sort of make good. The JPA is already dealing with bad news related to Coliseum City, so there’s a chance for deflection. Meanwhile, MLB’s own track record has been to avoid these two parties like they were lepers, only coming in when talks completely broke down after the 2013 season. You have to wonder what kind of effort is being wasted by both sides, and what effect if any this is all having on MLB’s thoroughly inscrutable decision-making process. Adding to the confusion was the A’s citing an Athletics Nation article about Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, going so far as to saw that A’s ownership was in full agreement with it. Then earlier today, Wolff walked that back the same way Quan had to walk back her Crown Prince of Dubai claim.
All I can ask to both sides is: Was it worth it? I can’t imagine that this constant back-and-forth is creating any traction for your respective causes within The Lodge. MLB isn’t going to suddenly give San Jose to Wolff, and MLB has little power to force Wolff to sell as the pro-Oakland crowd desires. Since nothing actually came out of last night’s revelations other than the two sides pointing fingers yet again, how about a moratorium on interviews, press releases, and any other kinds of dispatches to the public until you actually get a lease extension done? I don’t think that’s too much to ask. I personally don’t mind if I have slightly less to write about, because at least I won’t be writing about nothing. Which is exactly what this 600-word post is about. Nothing. Thanks.
P.S. – If you do a Google News search on this subject today, there are a whopping two national articles providing no real information. Nobody cares outside of the Bay Area.