16 April 2006

Wolff confronts the rumor mill, Part II

Furthering the effort to dispel any notion of a hidden agenda, Lew Wolff spoke with Merc scribe Mark Emmons and gave a little more insight into the business operations side of the A's. Apparently Wolff owns 12% of the team, a partnership (which I assume includes members of the DiNapoli family) owns 13%, and John Fisher controls the rest.

After the warm-fuzzy stuff in the article, they get down to the ballpark issue, which doesn't reveal anything new on the dealmaking front. However, there appears to be clarification on a number of subjects.

On looking outside the Bay Area:
He will look elsewhere "only if we bomb out here."
Regarding Oakland:
Wolff said he has not closed the door to Oakland, although there has been no sign of meaningful talks in months. He has been in discussions with Fremont and calls the site adjacent to Interstate 880, currently leased by Cisco Systems, "an excellent location.''
Then onto San Jose (emphasis mine):

Then there's the question of San Jose, which has twin hurdles: A ballpark presumably would need voter approval, and baseball gave the Giants territorial control of the market. Wolff, who also has been talking with Major League Soccer about bringing a new franchise to the city to replace the Earthquakes, insists he won't "tilt at windmills'' and fight the Giants' claim.

Added Selig: "San Jose is a dead issue. The thing that holds the sport together is its own internal rules. If you start to break them, you're going to have anarchy.''

But look at this from earlier in the article::
Yet ask Wolff, a prominent figure in San Jose redevelopment for almost four decades, what would be a good next step in the revitalization of the city's core, and he says: "If they could get the A's, that would help.''
After reading the article I had to re-read it again twice. Frankly, I don't know what to think. Some of the OAFC-ers seem to believe that Wolff and Selig are playing good cop/bad cop on this, though Selig hasn't been nearly as visible as Wolff and Selig's given more soundbites to the Marlins' cause than the A's (which is likely a vote of confidence in Wolff, not in Loria/Samson). I find it interesting that those who have dealt directly with Wolff have given a near-universal appraisal of the man as a "straight shooter" or any number of words that are synonyms for "honest." Those who haven't dealt with Wolff tend to have a more cynical or negative view. I've never met Wolff myself, so I can only temper things I've heard as a San Jose local (also positive) with the various bits of circumstantial evidence that exist.

Shrugging my shoulders as always...

One more thing - I've added "Attendance Watch" to the sidebar. In my previous attendance analyses there has usually been a mention of standard deviation. I haven't done that yet with the figures because as the statheads usually say: Two weeks into the season is too small a sample size.