22 March 2006

Wolff responds + Matier & Ross write obit

Neil Hayes' new column in the CoCo Times has quotes from Lew Wolff. There's no doubt that Wolff pays attention to the media and fans, as seen from this quote:
"I didn't know we needed to stay within the city limits of Oakland to serve our market," Wolff said in a phone interview. "We haven't discussed anything outside of Oakland at this point, but we haven't come up with anything, either. It's not for lack of trying."
Wolff also sought to clarify the circumstances that surround the A's and Oakland:
"It's a priority (for Oakland), but if you list the priorities it's not a No. 1, 2 or 3 priority, and I agree with that," Wolff said. "They have school system issues, crime issues and limited resources. Nobody is at fault here."
Hayes, for his part, helps by painting Wolff as a tireless worker who has spent the last three years looking for a site within Oakland:
So, let's recap: Wolff is uniquely qualified to develop a new ballpark. He has spent three years trying to identify a potential site in Oakland, even promoting a plan for a new stadium near the current Coliseum location that would have cleaned up a blighted area, spurred much-needed economic activity and helped relieve the city and county's financial burden.
Wolff's final quote has me searching for a shrugged shoulder emoticon:
"I've been so pleased with my first year, with the fan base and the employees, that my decision is that if it's humanly possible, I want to stay in Alameda County," he said. "If someone doesn't believe that or sees it as treachery, well, what can I do about it?"
In light of this response, I'm not sure he'll now elicit more understanding or more venom. Only hindsight will provide any real clarity.

Chron's Matier & Ross throw a log on the premature funeral pyre at the end of their column today with a short chronology of recent Oakland tribulations.

To those that think Oakland is going to somehow come up with an 11th hour proposal, consider that the three of the most prominent pols that can positively influence the process are all vying for the mayoral job. They're all differentiating themselves and are rallying support. Who among De La Fuente, Nadel, and Dellums is going to risk adding the A's as a platform item? They're talking about a state of emergency in the city and a teacher strike. All things considered, focusing on the A's seems a bit trite.


Jeff said...

What did he mean when he said he "no longer feels that way"? Does that apply to moving the team out of state? I hope so.

I agree with the writers sentiment in the story. Lew has given Oakland a reasonable opportunity to keep the franchise. But I also believe the writer when he says that Lew is a smart commercial developer. I am of the opinion that he viewed the social/political landscape and concluded long ago that a ballpark in Oakland was not a likely reality. But he deserves credit for extending the opportunity.

Things now have the appearance of an amicable break up. Lew has been careful to paint the city leaders in a positive light. He makes a point of saying that the team was important to them, however they have much more pressing demands being placed upon them. In other words, it's not their fault that the team is leaving. It's the proverbial sweet kiss goodnight and lets be friends.

Which suits Lews financial plans just fine. Not that there is anything wrong with that....there isn't. He has every right to try and make the A's a financial success by whatever methods he deems best. I will say it out loud, Lew is good for the A's. And perhaps in the end he will have been good for the city of Oakland. A NFL, NBA, and MLB, franchise may be more than the city can bear. Truthfully, Oakland is not that large a munincipality in and of itself. Perhaps this will give them some financial relief that will help alleviate some of the burdens they must carry.

Anonymous said...

Well, Oakland is in the center of the Bay Area, it's one of, if not the most diverse city in the Bay Area, and new developments are springing up all over the city. Oakland CAN support 3 teams. I think the main concern among residents is if they actually should. And with more than a decade of getting threatened by a sports team owner, I cant say I blame them.

Marine Layer said...

Yes, Wolff was referring to moving the team out of state.

Over the next year there will be divisions in the media into four or five camps:

1. Those who believe Wolff and support a move elsewhere in the East Bay but not the South Bay.
2. Those who believe Wolff and support a move elsewhere in the Greater Bay Area, not limited to the East Bay.
3. Those who believe MLB is out to destroy the Oakland A's, its fans, and its legacy by moving them out of Oakland.
4. Those who want the team in San Jose over Fremont or other East Bay locations.
5. Those who don't care what the A's say or do.

Makes the future look muddled.

Jeff said...

Care to speculate on which media leads which charge? I wonder which group will gain the most traction. I can't see the Oakland press making much of a case against the evil minions of MLB. After all, they are the ones who never miss an oportunity to decry the sorry state of Oakland affairs to begin with. Police, schools, etc......they have backed themselves in a corner as far as the team goes. The A's leaving would actually be a service to the city.

Of course the SJ press can be counted on laud the virtues of the city of SJ....if I understand correctly.

Like the Chinese say.....May you live in interesting times.

Anonymous said...

I have no reason to belive that Lew Wolff simply wants a new stadium anywhere he can most easily do it

If he could build one in in Oak on sturday he would do it, if he could do it in Fremont he would do it, If he could do it in SJ he would do it, If he could float one around the bay and move it at will he would do it

I really think anyone trying to read more into it is off base

Anonymous said...

Fremont won't in my mind be able to pull off a stadium deal - too many subsidies for the taxpayers to foot. Sacramento would be a better destination for all.

Marine Layer said...

Once again - the Fremont deal does not involve any cash. So there's no tax that needs to be raised, no bonds that need to be approved. It's a surplus land deal.

Sacramento proponents, I challenge you to explain why Sacramento is the "best for all." Sacramento does not have the corporate support the combined East/South Bay have. Raley Field, even though it's capable of expansion, would require a massive overhaul that would gut the lower bowl. My guess is that it would cost $200 million or more. There's also the small matter of what to do about the Kings, who also want a new home. Figure out how to accomplish all of that and you may have something.

Jeff said...


Can you speculate on some of the benefits of the Fremont option? For instance, what are current real estate values compared to the rest of the east/south bay? Is it a potential high growth area within the bay? What is the current corporate/office vacany rate in the immediate area? Indeed, how much vacant business space is there and how much a square foot does it cost? Another thing to ponder, are the current growth patterns moving north from San Jose towards Fremont? What about growth from north of Fremont itself? How quickly would you anticipate the units in the residential component of a ballpark village being bought up? I imagine these would be high end real estate the market that strong in the bay for this type of housing?

Anonymous said...

Did Hayes let Wolff write that entire column? What a preposterous load of crap! I guess columnists are exempt from the normal journalistic imperative of skepticism, but damn, this is pathetic. Try some critical thinking, whydoncha.

tony d. said...

I've asked this before and I'll ask it again...why aren't Oakland partisans chastising REAL OWNER John Fi$her? He's the man with the true deep pockets, and whatever Mr. Fi$her wants in terms of the A's future ballpark ($an Jo$e?), he will probably get (money talks everyone!). As someone stated in an earlier post, Wolff is merely the spokesperson for the A's ownership group. Please correct me if I'm wrong on this one Rhamesis.

Marine Layer said...

I've seen Fremont's office vacancy rates fluctuate around 7% over the past year, though Class A space was around 4% in 4Q 2005. Fremont has its own well-defined part of Silicon Valley that isn't dependent on trends elsewhere in the Valley. In South Fremont/Warm Springs, where I work, there are tons of tech companies. There's no glut of space here as there is in North/Downtown SJ.

Residential real estate is on par with the rest of the Bay Area if not slightly higher. Alameda County tends to be less expensive than SF, San Mateo, or Santa Clara Counties, but Fremont trends toward the higher end in AC. The area from 680 towards the hills can easily surpass the $1 million mark. The further west you go towards 880, the less expensive it gets since there are generally smaller homes and condos.

Fremont is in a unique position because it has a lot of vacant land along the 880 corridor. Even San Jose doesn't have large amounts of available land except in places where development is in the middle of a highly political process.

Zonis said...

Tony: because Wolffe is the managing partner, and is the face of the ownership. No one knows WHAT Fischer is doing, period.

Who knows? Perhaps he IS trying to screw the A's, and really is a Giants fan (he owned part of the Giants before) and is trying to get them away from the Giants.

Or it could be that he is just the money guy who put up the cash because he likes baseball, had the money, and knew Wolffe. Perhaps it was the "Wait? I can get more $$$ AND Free tickets to baseball games? SWEET!" responce that we'd all feel. =]

Marine Layer said...

Wolff is the public face of the business side of the organization. He's supposed to take all of the blows, and from I've seen he's pretty good at it.

It's probably not a major part of it, but there's probably a GAP angle in the A's ballpark somewhere. It's old news that GAP/Old Navy has ended its relationship with the Giants and Levi Strauss has taken its place. It's a 180-degree turn from ten years ago, when Levi's was enduring painful cuts and GAP was on top of the world. GAP is dealing with a stagnant brand, so don't be surprised if some "innovative" advertising is placed inside the ballpark to show off one or more brands. Not that we're likely to see signage for Forth and Towne, GAP's chain of over-35 women's stores, but you never know. Forth and Towne is opening five new stores nationally, and the one Bay Area location won't be SF. It'll be in San Jose.

tony d. said...

Any Idea Rhamesis, or anyone else, if Magowan and John Fi$her are on good terms (or is there now animosity between the two)? I find it interesting that after ending relations with the Giants, GAP would then invest in the A's...hmm?

Zonis said...

It kind of pisses me off that Levi's is with the Giants now.