Update 8:10 PM – Oakland CM Rebecca Kaplan will announce on Thursday that she’s entering the mayoral race. Recent polls had her as a frontrunner even though she hadn’t declared.
In an interview on Bloomberg Market Makers earlier this morning, Wolff talks up the 10-year lease extension that has gained momentum this week. When asked by show co-host Eric Schatzker when the extension might be done Wolff replied,
“Next couple of weeks, I hope… there are some approvals necessary, but the people we’re dealing with now are very intelligent and working with us.”
That seems to be a further nod to Oakland City Councilperson and JPA board member Rebecca Kaplan, who is now involved in negotiating the lease. Kaplan, who still hasn’t decided if she’ll run for the Oakland mayoral gig (thanks ranked choice voting for allowing this to play out), could very easily use the A’s extension as part of her platform, pivoting directly into the race immediately afterwards.
It’ll happen when it happens. Unless it doesn’t.
If you want to get a good idea of how the rest of the country views Oakland and the A’s, look no further than Schatzker’s numerous comments about the small market nature of the A’s. Moneyball may have indelibly painted the A’s as a small market team that plays in a crappy stadium, but there’s also a major disconnect. Market Makers is broadcast from New York, so it’s no surprise that the Schatzker and co-host Stephanie Ruhle know little about the Bay Area (Schatzker’s “southern Bay Area” remark is especially telling). Bloomberg has its own West Coast offices and a TV show broadcast out of SF. Oakland is mere miles from SF and a little further from the South Bay, separated only by a body of water, not a border, and yet Oakland is unable to shake the small market label. It’s not even clear that a new stadium in Oakland will get rid of small market.
Wolff, who had perhaps his best television interview in recent memory, played along with the narrative and called the A’s David to the various Goliaths, though as usual he didn’t complain about said Goliaths. The rising tide is lifting the A’s boat, as the franchise should see $200 million in revenue this year thanks to the new national TV deals. Yet competitively they remain way behind most of the rest of baseball, where 16 teams started the year with payrolls above $100 million. The A’s are stuck with the other small market – or rather, low revenue – teams. A new ballpark running at capacity should properly elevate the A’s relative to their peers. The CBA points out that the A’s are in the #7 market, and given their position they should be taken off revenue sharing once a new ballpark starts operation. But as long as the A’s remain in limbo with regards to a new venue, so will their financial position. They live in a large market, yet they can’t function like one because they don’t make enough money to live that way. Sounds apropos considering how tough it is for individuals to live in much of the Bay Area these days.