13 March 2009

Sorry Oakland, not interested

I take the dog for a long walk on a day off and something big happens. Go figure.

Credit to those who felt yesterday's letter from Oakland was a thinly veiled piece of CYA - that's exactly what it will end up being. I certainly didn't expect a response this quickly, but it happened and it was forceful. Any hope of retaining the team in the city that has been home for 40 years is all but lost. It's lame duck time.

You'd have to be in denial - or at least Ray Ratto - not to see what the next step is when reading the following paragraph from today's official press release from Lew Wolff:
We understand the facility continues to cost the city of Oakland and Alameda County millions of lost dollars per year. Sadly, the business and corporate base of the city of Oakland was very limited when we purchased the team and has eroded since. Our attendance and low number of season ticket holders (both one of the lowest in Major league Baseball) also continues to decline; even when our on-field performance produced play-off participation.
It's all about San Jose, which amazingly, Ratto does not mention in his blog post. It's about corporate dollars, suites and minisuites, club seats and advertising and sponsorships. It's about the demise of the classic, egalitarian form of fandom.

To make things completely cold and brutal, Wolff says this:
We recognize conditions have not changed. Letters to Major league Baseball offer nothing new or of any real substance. Outside stimulation to have us continue to play in an aging and shared facility may generate press and "sound-bite" opportunities, but do not provide any tangible alterations in the circumstances we face.
In other words, "Don't go over my head. I'm still the man here." Wolff goes on to thank Mayor Dellums and East Bay developer Sherman Balch, plus County Supes Gail Steele and Scott Haggerty, both of whom supported the Fremont plan. Not thanked are the other signatory to yesterday's letter, Jane Brunner, or previous Council President Ignacio De La Fuente. Hmmm, if I were Oakland I wouldn't expect much of a reply from the commish anytime soon.

I look forward to all of the namecalling that will commence shortly.


Anonymous said...

ML, I thought I should re-list my comment under the new thread since you just posted.


Hasn't anyone...including my fellow Oaklanders as well as our fellow neighbors in San Jose learned to realize that LW's word means nothing??? If I recall back in 2006, he made it pretty clear that San Jose was no longer an option for the A's as well (see link below). He even said that he's very certain that his team would be moving to Fremont...and now look. "The Boy Who Cried WOLFF" seems to be loosing his credibility these days in the Bay Area. If we were smart...we would come to realize that the bottom line is, nothing is guaranteed until GROUND IS BROKEN!!! Which by the way won't be happening anytime soon or for at least a couple more years.

I have also learned from some city insiders is that Oakland is not interested in Lew Wolff, but more so with MLB and Commissioner Selig to help get a new stadium built.

All I can say to everyone including Oakland and San Jose is...keep hope alive!

Anonymous said...

This is a slap in the face to the A's fans who have supported the team for 40 years. Ballparks do not promise anything except riches for the owners and this is ridiculous. Think of how many teams play in new ballparks that haven't sniffed the playoffs. The White Sox play in what is basically a remodeled version of the Pre-Raiders Oakland and do pretty well for themselves. The A's compete every year in Oakland with horrible attendance and with a new ballpark would easily be able to stay strong, I hope they move to SJ and have a Nats like attendance run at the city of San Jose's expense.

Anonymous said...

"I hope they move to SJ and have a Nats like attendance run at the city of San Jose's expense."

Like the other Oakland hipsters who just love an underdog image as opposed to winning championships, you seem to have ignored the well-known fact that SJ will not allow funding of the construction. The city officials cannot mandate it without a vote, one most assured to fail.

Anonymous said...

Here's an interesting fact...

I just got off the phone with my buddy who is a sports junkie and reads articles all day long. He mentioned to me that he just read the other day in SI that there was a report on MLB franchises that have profited over the past 8 years and suprisingly the A's and Giants were two clubs that was listed. Thee Yankees on the other hand is one of the clubs that have actually lost money.

Unfortunately, I can't find a link or anything to list for all of you to see, but if anyone can find something please share.

Dan said...

So the long saga in Oakland comes to an end. Good. Now we can focus on getting a stadium built rather than giving Oakland's inept leader's sound bites.

Anonymous said...

If that's the case...then to hell with LW. He's is the shadiest MLB owner ever!!! No wonder he can't get fans to the ballpark. He has no idea how to run a baseball team. He probably never even watched baseball before buying the A's in 2005. He only knows how to buy real estate and try to make a buck.

Sell the team to someone who cares about baseball!! As Mr. Wolff puts've had your chance and have exhausted your time and resources over the years with ownership of the team. Get out of MLB all together and go build a hotel in Las Vegas or something!!!

nathan said...


I love how Lew, Gap boy, Schott and Hoffman "Exhausted all efforts" to get a stadium deal done in Oakland. Really, Lew? When was that? When you floated that brilliant scheme to put your baseball village between 66th and High? A plan that everybody, including you, knew had no chance. You know why people don't go to A's game's Lew? Because of stuff like this. I used to average 20 games a year. But, I stopped because of YOU, LEW! Because you weren't straight with us. You say we didn't draw during some playoff runs. Not true. We outdrew many teams with new ballparks during the Art Howe/Ken Macha years, including your boyfriend Bud Selig's new home for the Brewers. Schott & Hoffman were playing there virtually rent free. Just like you, Lew. Oakland isn't blameless either. Jerry Brown couldn't care less about keeping the A's. But, don't kid a kidder Lew. You had no intention of staying here. And since Oakland's so bad, let's do Lew a favor and not renew his lease in 2011.

Dan said...

I have to say, I liked the dig at the Raiders/Oakland deal in the letter too. It was a nice touch of "you made your bed now sleep in it" to the Oakland leadership.

Anonymous said...

The partisan Oakland crowd is getting a bit stale with all the Lew bashing--blame it all on Lew Wolff---yup--he's the one that ruined the Colisieum with a horrible remodel that has the county paying $22M a year for the next 15 plus years--yup--he's the one that failed to make it clear to the city that the A's needed a new stadium to be competitive and its his fault that Oakland over the past 10+ years has not been able to settle on a site, acquire the property for said site and complete the EIR.

Hey Guys--San Jose did all of the above over the last 3 years---and that was without the guarantee of a team---what the f***is up with Oakland not being able to do it---while having a team??

Its not Lew Wolff--look to your city leadership---and to expect that the Oakland city leadership is magically going to change and produce a stadium if given another chance is ridiculous-

Oakland leadership/fans use of the victim card is getting old--time to get this franchise on stable footing so that we can compete on the field.

Jeffrey said...

Wow. I am bummed on so many levels.

First, as an A's fan for as long as I can remember (so about 30 years), I certainly don't feel slapped in the face. I have enver felt like my devotion to the team was tied to the city of Oakland in particular, more like to the Bay Area. If the team moves to Portland or San Juan I wills top following them. If they move to Sacramento, I will follow them the same as I did when I lived in Sacramento and they were in Oakland. So to call this a slap in the face of every A's fan is utter horse crap. I suspect many fans feel the same way I do, as evidenced by the fact that no "Keep 'Em in Oaktown" movement has ever gained substantial traction. I remember going to the "big" rally to support the team staying, all 200 hundred people were spirited but there was no critical mass getting on board.

On the Oakland tip, the city will be fine and maybe even better off without the A's. I venture into Oaktown probably 50 times a year, maybe 20 of which have anything to do with baseball. I will continue to spend money at the places like Fenton's, in Rockridge, at the Chabot golf course, at the Chabot Space and Science Center... Oakland is a GREAT city and it has little to do with the A's.

Personally, I embrace the idea of the A's playing in San Jose. I may even convince my wife to buy PSL's, ha! But that will be harder than getting a new park built I am sure.

Anonymous said...

San Jose won't happen just like how you all say Oakland won't happen either.

Hey anon're a damn fool!! What the heck do you think our city leaders have been doing the last several weeks?? I don't see San Jose city leaders "magically" producing a new stadium either.

Like mentioned in the first comment on this thread...San Jose has no longer been an option for the A's well before he made today's announcement regarding Oakland.

Anonymous said...

The SJ crowd just loves this stuff, a chance to become something other than the "third city" in the Bay Area. This "need for a new stadium to be competitive" is ridiculous. The A's need a new stadium to be rich. Last time I checked going to 5 playoffs in 9 years is up there with only the big market teams. Lew is a joke. SJ you can have them, just make a better effort than you have done with the Quakes. Maybe the stores that sold most of you your Giants gear when PacBell opened will let you trade it in for new A's stuff!

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:47--Oakland has had 10+ years to address the situation and your excited because they've written an ill informed letter in the past 2 weeks---wow--you do have low standards if you call this success---relative to San Jose doing nothing---what do you call 14 acres in the downtown core, owned by the city of San Jose (acquired over the past 2 years), with a completed EIR for a 45,000 seat ballpark---we'll see who is a fool...

Anon 12:49--the Giants stopped marketing to the south bay/San Jose awhile ago--I don't know of any Giant Dugout stores--they closed them all---I do know that the A's sponsor my kids little league field and have their signage up on the scoreboard. A's and Earthquakes have space in the Fairmont Hotel in downtown SJ---the site for the Earthquakes stadium is being prepared right now with the old FMC buildings being razed---and your right---merchandise sales will be very hot when the San Jose A's stuff is available--glad your happy to get rid of them--

Anonymous said...

Wow, that was a monumental bitch slap if I ever saw one!

Where is Ignacio De La Fuente? He should be next to open his pie hole and say something incredibly stupid like he always does.

Well, we're waiting....

MikeTeeVee said...

"We understand the facility continues to cost the city of Oakland and Alameda County millions of lost dollars per year. Sadly, the business and corporate base of the city of Oakland was very limited when we purchased the team and has eroded since."

The first sentence talks about the city AND county. The second sentence talks about the city only. Why the switch?

Is the business and corporate base of Alameda County limited and eroded? Yeah, probably, but why not mention it? Or is he still leaving the door open for Dublin/Pleasanton?

Anonymous said...

The A's sponsoring your son's team just proved the point of Lew never having interest in keeping them in Oakland. Rather than taking an Arte Moreno, stance of making them a regional team no matter where they play, he has decided to be the hero of San Jose by trying to bring them down there. The corporate support could easily come to Oakland, the Warriors have it. It is just all an excuse to bring a team down there. If he wanted it to happen in Oakland, he could make it happen. He is a very very intelligent businessman.

Anonymous said...

Is no one listening to what's been going on?? is everyone on this blog just wishful thinking?? It's actually sounding pretty sad for Oakland and San Jose. Both cities are sounding pretty desperate right now. Why would anyone want to do anything in this rough economy??

LW has made it pretty clear that he don't want to stay in Oakland. He's also made it clear that San Jose was no longer an option a couple of years ago. He actually is running out of options to go anywhere right now. His word is no longer valid to the Bay Area.

He has not done one thing that he has said he would do since taken over ownership besides closing the 3rd deck. If anyone can tell me one promise that he has kept...lets hear it??

Anonymous said...

I'm an A's fan and this doesn't slap me in the face one bit. But then, my fandom isn't based solely on the zip code of the stadium. Goodbye pseudo-fans! You won't be missed!

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:04,

You really are a bandwagon damn fool!! Have you not been following the A's since the beginning?? You probably have been following the A's since 2005 when LW bought the A's. San Jose is the one who has been pursing a baseball team for the last 20 years unsuccessfully!!

If you had been listening since 2006...

"It is not an option," Wolff declared of the prospects of moving the A's to San Jose, using his most blunt public language to date in a city that has pursued Major League Baseball for more than two decades.

Where in your mind do you see the A's moving to San Jose before they actually stay in Oakland for the next several years??? Do you really think LW will play the waiting game for everything to "magically" be OK to move into Giants territory??

LW is actually painting himself into a corner in which he will most likely end up selling the team or end up staying in Oakland since he will have no where else to go.

Marine Layer said...

Lew gave Billy a stake in the team. That's unprecedented in baseball. Billy is the true face of the franchise. That's the biggest continuity move the team could make in light of rebuilding and controlling payroll.

Frankly, Lew's word is worth gold in SJ. He built half of downtown.

Anon 1:30 - You keep hanging onto a quote from almost three years ago. The world changes. Circumstances change.

Dan said...

Anon 1:24 we heard what you said regarding San Jose. But you're information is 2 1/2 years out of date. Wolff was quoted as saying San Jose wasn't an option back when he was focused on Fremont. This was also before Selig's statements and Wolff's statements in 2008 that put San Jose back in play. This was also before San Jose completed an EIR and purchased 14 acres of prime downtown land that they can sell to Wolff. The situation has changed alot since 2006 in San Jose. However nothing has changed in Oakland in 15 years.

Jeffrey said...

Anon 1:21- So Rickey Henderson Field in Oakland, the one Lew built for little leaguers... that says what about his intentions again?

Tony D. said...


Based on the news of the past two days, and if San Jose is successful at getting a YES from A's/MLB for relocation, prediction: 2009 will be the last season played by the A's at the Coliseum.

I'd expect a deal with the Giants to include the A's playing at AT&T Park while Cisco Field is being constructed in DSJ. 2-3 years at "The Phonebooth" wont' be bad at all. And it will be nice to get the A's in a real ballpark sooner than later.

A hypothetical deal: I can see the A's retaining all their suite, ticket, and advertising revenue, but the Giants (along with collecting lease money) collecting all concessions and parking revenue from A's games.

Yo Rob, how's my eternal optimism looking now? :o)

Anonymous said...


You and all the San Jose residents are still missing the point from the first comment on this thread, let along the rest of the Bay Area's take on the T-rights situation.

The fact is LW has already tried for several years trying to remove the T-rights and have done so unsuccessfully. Doesn't anyone get it?? He does NOT want to wait anymore for anything to just happen. T-rights aren't just going to go away because San Jose already has an EIR (which would still need to be updated and paid for) filled out. The Giants will still fight this which will draw the whole process out even longer.

"Wolff said he's tried to address the territorial rights issue for three years, both before and after he took control of the A's in 2005. But now he has given up."

I guess no one can learn from the past that nothing LW will say means anything as far as where the team will end up. As far as I'm concerned, the A's will continue to play in Oakland for at least the next several years.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:04--of course the A's will play in Oakland for the next several years---in fact till about 2013--but man--you got to move on about the T-rights---at least admit that there is a solid effort underway in which there is a good possibility that the T-rights will be addressed so that the A's can move to SJ---but to continue to deny that it will never happen because Lew said it a few years ago is sticking your head in the sand----shit happens and things change---

Anonymous said...

In addition to Anon 2:04's quote regarding LW's T-rights...

"I can't tilt at this windmill anymore," he said, intimating that he had offered to buy out the Giants' interests but was rejected.

Tony D. said...

Take a peak over at Gary Radnich (KNBR, KRON), SJ native, predicting the A's will move to San Jose? Now that speaks volumes!

anon 2:04,
Get your head out of the sand, will ya!

Dan said...

Anon 2:04, Wolff never made an effort before now to change the territorial rights because until 2008 baseball had said they wouldn't be changed. That situation has now changed and baseball is considering changing the rights. And you're not listening, the Giants don't get a say in who holds the rights to Santa Clara County, MLB does. And the Giants can't "fight" it as you say as they're prohibited from suing baseball or the A's by the MLB constitution (a right backed up by baseball's anti-trust exemption). Best the Giants can hope for is that MLB compels the A's to provide the Giants some compensation.

Jeffrey said...

Anon 2:04... maybe some more recent news would help you understand the San Jose folks excitement.

From the article I just linked:

To check it out, I telephoned the office of Major League Baseball. I asked exactly what the "other communities" phrase meant. Rich Levin, the spokesman for Selig, told me that MLB interpreted the phrase to mean "other communities outside Santa Clara County."

Really? After that conversation, I phoned Wolff for reaction. He acted surprised and said he did indeed interpret the letter to mean that San Jose was a potential backup option as one of those "other communities." He promised further clarification.

Sure enough, a few hours later, Levin called back to withdraw his initial "other communities" interpretation. But he would not specifically state that San Jose was now in play. Speaking on MLB's behalf, Levin said only: "We support Mr. Wolff's efforts to secure a new ballpark in Fremont."

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:10, Tony D and Anon 2:14,

All I gotta say is again...San Jose is sounding pretty desperate. Lets just wait and see how long LW will even stick around before anything gets done. I say he gives up on moving the team anywhere before he ends up selling the franchise.

There has been no indication what so ever that the A's are going anywhere...Let alone San Jose!!

gojohn10 said...

Maybe Lew is one of our anonymous posters. That letter was pretty heavy handed! In fact, a bit too heavy handed if you ask me. Based on his delicate handling of the Fremont breakup, I think it is pretty clear that Lew has no plans to deal with Oakland in the future, sports related or otherwise.

Also, responding to a comment to my post in the last thread about a potential lawsuit: I have no idea what legal basis they could consider a lawsuit. You're probably right the statement was a bluff.

Anonymous said...


You're article said it best, ""other communities outside Santa Clara County."

Thanks for clarifying what Rich Levin, Selig spokesman was indicating.

Anonymous said...

Tony ... you just proved your utter ignorance once and for all!!!

You actually sound convinced that the Giants would welcome the A's to play in AT&T Park for several seasons beginning in '10 ... this is simply amazing to me that someone could be so ignorant.

The Giants would let the A's play in AT&T Park as the home team when hell freezeth over.

No wonder people call you a fool!

Marine Layer said...

Nice selective quote, Anon.

Anonymous said...

gojohn10 and all other posters

Dellums' letter was drafted a number of days ago. Dellums told LW it was coming and that he (Dellums - the political wet noodle) said he had no other choice. That's why LW's response came so quickly - it was already drafted.

Dellums, the weasel, had pressure from all sorts of angles to write that letter including the Giants' ownership. That's right, the F'ng Giants' ownership - do you believe that?

F that. As Bugs Bunny used to say, "You know this means war!" And Bugs always won too!

Jeffrey said...

Anon 2:39-

The part where he retracted his view of "other communities" was more germane, especially considering it was the actual end result of the conversation. He corrected the version you cling to.

Anonymous said...

The A's actually turned a $15 million profit in 2008 which is how we were able to sign some big name free agents. All I gotta say is with an owner who hasn't cared about the city that his team has played in for 40 years, then of course it'll be hard to get butts in the seats at the Coliseum. It sounds to me that he's just making up excuses, making it seem like he has tried in Oakland for years when all he has done is alienate the fans. We need new owners like the Haas family who loved the idea of keeping the team in Oakland. Why do you think we have a Haas jersey hung up in the outfield wall rather than a Wolff jersey?? Cuz they actually cared about the team, the city and of course the fans. See below from Wikipedia...

"Local ownership for the Athletics: the Haas era (1981–1995)

Despite winning three World Series and two other A.L. West Division titles, the A's on-field success did not translate into success at the box office during the Finley Era in Oakland. Average home attendance from 1968–1980 was 777,000 per season, with 1,075,518 in 1975 being the highest attendance for a Finley-owned team. In marked contrast, during the first year of Haas' ownership, the Athletics drew 1,304,052—in a season shortened by a player strike. Were it not for the strike, the A's were on a pace to draw over 2.2 million in 1981. The A's lost in the American League Championship Series after winning the "first half" AL West Division title of the strike-interrupted 1981 season. They finished with the second-best overall record in baseball, and the best record in the American League.

During the 15 years of Haas' ownership, the Athletics became one of baseball’s most successful teams at the gate, drawing 2,900,217 in 1990, still the club record for single season attendance, as well as on the field. Average annual home attendance during those years (excluding the strike years of 1981 and 1994) was over 1.9 million."

Anonymous said...

Yeah of course he retracted that. He knew he wasn't suppose to tell LW that info quite just yet since him and Selig are boyfriend and boyfriend. Why do you think he acted so surprised?? Because he was obviously clueless.

"Levin called back to withdraw his initial "other communities" interpretation. But he would not specifically state that San Jose was now in play."

Basically Levin F***ed up and shouldn't have said anything to LW to begin with.

Marine Layer said...

Wolff's been an owner for 4 seasons. Why would his jersey be on the wall after such a short tenure? Even Wally Haas didn't get the nod until a decade after his death. I don't think Wolff would mind having his jersey on the outfield wall in SJ, where he has roots.

A lot changes in 20 years. In the late 80's the A's were a big market team. They can't hope to be among the NY/LA/BOS teams. It's unrealistic for an owner to go into the red to keep the team competitive as Wally Haas did. In the same vein, it's unrealistic to expect the next Wally Haas to surface. If that's Oakland's last hope to retain the team, it's not looking good.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:39 and 2:54--assume you are the same--They say there are 5 stages of grief--denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance-Obviously your in the first phase--

I commend you for being so loyal to Oakland--its unfortunate your loyalty is not directed towards the A's and making sure that they have a new ballpark in the Bay Area so that they can be a competitive franchise--

EROK27 said...


Long time reader and first ever post. Three or four quick questions:

What's the lifespan of San Jose's EIR report? Basically, how long do you think Wolf and MLB have to act before a new (or drastically updated) report is required?

I was hoping the Oakland letter would be addressed quickly by MLB and completely open the door for San Jose. Do you believe Wolf's reply was "proofed" by Selig?
Or is this strictly what Wolf believes is the next best step and he's just hoping Selig will be supportive?

Quite honestly, we need to get past the Oakland only crowd. They are a waste of time and energy. Instead, everyone should focus on what they can do to help the A's stay in the Bay Area.

It's pretty clear San Jose is the best chance for the A's to stay locally...although Dublin/Livermore would be perfect for me! Alas, I'm not as selfish as the Oakland only crowd.

EROK27 said...

So, zero posts in a few years and then BOOM! Two posts in a matter of minutes...

Once Selig has all his votes for the San Jose A's in place, I think the Giants will be making a huge mistake if they don't embrace it.

I believe a cooperative effort and a little rivalry can bring upon a baseball renaissance in the Bay Area.

The San Jose Athletics CAN be beneficial to both local MLB teams and the entire Bay Area. Let's make baseball the number one sport once again!

Marine Layer said...


I'm not aware of an effective period or deadline for the use of an EIR, the contents are more important. In this case, a Cisco Field overlay would be smaller, so the impacts wouldn't have to be projected up. They could instead be projected down.

It's not like MLB to get involved unless there's a crisis. Call it inertia. It's possible that Wolff ran the press release by MLB first. It's more likely that Wolff just ran it on his own and that they're more on the same page than we're aware of.

LeAndre said...

I don't get it,

Whether you pro-Fremont, San Jose, Oakland, Dublin, Portland, the moon, or just the A's...this statement just makes NO logical sense to me once so ever.

Seriously, why was this retaliation really necessary? The A's play in Oakland, and will be for at least the next few years, and after Fremont failed it resurfaced a lot of hope for Oakland resulting in a lot of fans wanting to renew their season tickets. And with a new good looking roster, the attendance could have easily gone back to around average. Why would you wright an angry letter subtly attacking the Mayor who is making efforts to get a new stadium?...From a business stand point this was an idiotic move! Even if Wolff had absolutely no intentions staying in Oakland he could have just kept it private so the franchise wouldn't suffer...

Wolff says..."We have no interest in covering old ground again, as we need to move forward in finding a future home for our team."

Technically that means he has NO interest in pursuing grounds in Oakland, Fremont, and San Jose...because these were grounds he has covered, or pursued already...

FWIW...I want the team to stay in the Bay Area as well, but this is a horrible way to run a franchise...just plain horrible.

Marine Layer said...

It doesn't make much sense to me either. Patience and cooler heads should prevail. I think what we're seeing is what happens when Wolff feels antagonized - he goes on the offensive. The results can be, well, offensive.

Dan said...

That is true, and Wolff's done it before. He's a human being and gets frustrated. I'd have been pissed to if Dellums had gone over my head like that too. Was it the wisest course of action, maybe, maybe not. What it did do though is in not so subtle terms tell Oakland to back off, they had their chance. Whether Oakland will listen, who knows, but it's clear his focus is elsewhere now and that he's tired of the Oakland politicos both from his 4 1/2 years as owner and from his time previously while working with Schott and Hoffman as they're VP.

LeAndre said...

I agree ML, Wolff shows potential of being some what of a "hot head" maybe the A's should find a new face for the franchise, seriously, because this is just getting disgusting and kind of embarrassing...

Wolff has raised the hopes of too many fans and has shot them right back down too many times. He has done this with Oakland and San Jose, following this is like riding a roller coaster, but you can see that a lot of fans aren't enjoying the ride in the comments on the MLB site, and others...

I want the A's to stay in the Bay, and if it means the South Bay, FINE. But rather if the egos of some of the pro San Jose fans want to believe it or not, the A's truly do need the East Bay support if they want to be a consistently successful franchise, being that San Jose is shoulder to shoulder with the Giants fan territory, some would argue that they're in it. Now I'm not saying everyone in Oakland and the East Bay hate Wolff's guts, but the number is growing with every angry letter he writes. A lot of people just feel hes not being straight forward.

This letter was truly a dumb move, and if Wolff can't control his emotions then let someone else handle the situation. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

Believe me, after that big middle finger Mr. Wolff gave to the 400,000 current residents of the city of Oakland, plus all former Oaklanders who still have an affinity for the city, Oakland will indeed be "backing off." You won't know the extent until you see 3,000 people in the stands on a Tuesday night.

Way to go Mr. Wolff. That was brilliant. Nothing like burning the last bridge in a city where you will be a lame-duck tenant for at least three to four years.

Marine Layer said...

The press release wasn't just meant for Oakland. It was a message to San Jose supporters as well to get ready.

I just Netflixed the recent movie "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People." Perhaps Lew co-wrote it.

Anonymous said...


Have you looked around the Bay Area lately? There are other people who live here. Although I appreciate your comments about the A's needing the East Bay fans there are a tremendous amount of people and fans in Santa Cruz County, Monterey County, and South Santa Clara County that currently don't attend games in Oakland because of the distance. A San Jose location with HSR in place opens up all of that new territory, notwithstanding the East Bay fans who will have to fight traffic down skinny little I-880...You'll get to experience what we in San Jose have experienced for 40+ years driving North on that horrible freeway.

BTW Hope you still come and spend money in our San Jose restaurants and businesses....

BTW2 LW's letter was by design, well thought out and waiting in the wings for Dumb-Dumbs letter which LW knew was coming....think about it carefully....

reztips said...

I'm amused by the comment that the A's need East Bay support. That is exactly the point: with the exception of the great LaRussa Dynasty years, East Bay support for even playoff contending A's teams has been pathetic. That, along with the scant corporate sponsorship the Oakland area has to offer, are sufficent reasons to move elsewhere. And if we want the team to stay in the Bay Area, the sole option is San Jose.

The only East Bay fans who will not continue to follow the team are the simpleton ideologues of OAFC who are so parochial that a short move south will alienate them. To these fools, I join Wolf in saying "Good Riddance."

nathan said...

All of this is moot anyway. Because Lew Maddof is going to be out of the picture. He is a master of playing with other people's money. But now, he doesn't have a leg to stand on. Whose money are you going to leverage now, Lew? There isn't a single city, besides Vegas, that is going to use municipal funds to build you a ballpark. And, if you're counting on Vegas, think again. Pro sports doesn't want to touch it until sportsbooks are outlawed. Do you really think that's going to happen? Time to bow out, Lew. Your getting too old for this sh...

Anonymous said...

ML- suprised that you would have such a myopic view about the letter which I think was excellent--Dellums trys to upstage the obvious, goes over Wolff's head to the commish with nothing new but using the guilt card and you expect Wolff to say ok--can't wait to meet and hear what you have to say.

As an A's fan I am pissed off that Dellum's is trying to delay the A's finally getting a stadium and being able to compete--he has nothing new to offer---The direct approach is not only needed it is refreshing--San Jose is the focus--end of discussion---why pretend that Oakland is in the game when they are not---

Relative to losing Oakland fans---come on---if all 10,000 season ticket holders said screw you would it really be such a big loss---there will be more than enough demand for the 32-34,000 seats in a San Jose stadium--

Marine Layer said...

I don't consider it myopic to point out that Wolff could have handled certain situations more tactfully, more diplomatically. It's his ball, he doesn't have to immediately run off the playground with it.

Anonymous said...

So Nathan--bottom line you prefer the A's to stay in a shitty stadium where they can't financially compete and therefore can't field a decent team rather than be in a new stadium 45 minutes down the road---and you say your an A's fan...right--

Anonymous said...

ML--the clock is ticking and has been ticking ever since AT&T opened up 10+ years ago--you need to compete--how many years were wasted in Oakland by other ownership groups with nothing to show for it--Wolff just spent 3 years and $24M on Fremont--all wasted---SJ has a site, and EIR and all the demographics that sports teams salivate over---and you want him to play nice and drag this on---I respect anyone who can be direct...its a much better approach than trying to please everyone---time to get this thing going--game on!

Georob said...

Lew Wolff could have done one of two things:

1) Be open to anything new Oakland could bring to the table. Since it's likely that there isn't anything new, Wolff's off the hook.

2) Simply say "at this time we are not looking at Oakland", period. Short, sweet, to the point.

Instead, we have this. I mean, what does Wolff gain by acting like a jilted lover whose ex wants to come back? Absolutely nothing.

Lew is not only mad at Oakland, but of the whole ballpark process. And perhaps that includes his old frat buddy Selig himself. I mean, if there's always been a way around territorial rights, then why hasn't MLB acted; especially if there's so much revenue waiting in Santa Clara County?

I'm convinced more than ever now that Wolff is considering stepping aside, especially after pulling a PR faux paus like this.

You also gotta wonder why he suddenly decided to allow Billy Beane more spending room this off-season. I'd like to think it's because building a winning team is the only option he has left. But it may also be because Wolff thinks his tenure is limited, so why not take one last shot?

Again Rhamesis, I admit these ideas sound far fetched. But as I said earlier, so much has changed in a short period of time that the old "logical answers" may not seem logical any more

Anonymous said...

A PR faux paus by Wolff...and Dellums letter was a stroke of genius?--so GeoRob--what's the outcome? Everyone knows what Wolff's intentions are---isn't that refreshing----because we have no idea what the f*** Dellums/Oaklands intentions are---a desperate act like this when you have nothing else to offer.

It wasn't Wolff who started the tussle on the playground---he just knew how to end it...and win it...quickly. A PR faux paus?---not even close---I'd call it a KO---well placed, well delivered and very timely!!

Anonymous said...

Nicely said Georob!!

Marine Layer said...

Rob, you can believe your hypothesis all you want. I'm looking at the trend.

Think about it this way. Wolff has spent the last several weeks fielding calls for numerous political and civic leaders in San Jose, Oakland, and perhaps elsewhere. He told both cities not to bother with MLB, but he did it in very different ways. He told San Jose to be quiet and little else. He told Oakland to stop and get out of the way. Do you really think he's ready to give up based on those distinctly different reactions?

Jesse said...

I guess Lew thinks a new lease isnt going to be necessary after 2013 because he's talking tough and harsh.

Tony D. said...

Why is everyone so quick to state that Lew Wolff "wasted" three years and $24 million in Fremont? Who's to say that Mr. Wolff won't build in Fremont; i.e. retail/office/residential when the time/economy is right?

Good to see you back Rob (I think?). Bartleby said it pretty clearly back in 2006 when Wolff "killed" San Jose's then hopes, and most recently the Merc's Mark Purdy: MLB would only deal with the Giants territorial rights to Santa Clara County ONLY IF a ballpark was definetely built as a result.

Yes, Yes, Lew Wolff did state back in 06 that he tried numerous times to buy out those rights, but because the despised Ron Gonzales administration was still running SJ, perhaps a little fibbing was going on. No way in hell was a San Jose ballpark going to be built during the Gonzales years (just ask Tom McEnery).

Fast forward to the now: maybe a ballpark in San Jose, with the friendly Chuck Reed and Co. at the healm, will happen as a result of the Giants T-Rights being dealt with.

Off subject somewhat: Wolff defended Selig pretty well regarding steroids last week in the SJ Mercury (M. Purdy interview). No Rob, he's not mad at him.

Lastly, this "IGNORANT FOOL" can't wait to watch MLB/The A's in downtown San Jose!

Anonymous said...

Tony D,

What you say about the Gonzalez years can very well be said about our Jerry Brown years in Oakland. We all know that Brown never supported the A's and wanted to build his uptown vision of new real estate and condos.

When Dellums was elected mayor in 2006, it was just around the time that LW was trying to move the team to Fremont. All he was able to do was step aside and allow LW the flexibility trying to achieve his goal. Now he finally has the opportunity of showing the city of Oakland and the A's that he is very much serious about keeping tradition alive in our city. More power to him!!

Anonymous said...

So Anon 9:26--what has Dellum's been doing since 2006? San Jose during this time identified a site, bought all the property, completed an EIR, and is now prepared for the A's since Fremont fell apart--the key part of leadership is "leading" and not "following". Dellums/Oakland have shown zero "leader"ship during the past 3 years when it comes to trying to build a new stadium for the A's in Oakland---

Jeffrey said...

Lew Madoff? Hyperbole abounds.

I support a stadium in San Jose. I support a stadium in Oakland. All this vitriol could be good I guess.

jeepers said...

Lew's taking an awfully big risk by being so dismissive. He must be very confident that it's impossible for San Jose to fail. The Coliseum site has always been, and always will be, the past of least resistance for a new A's ballpark.

Marine Layer said...

Huge difference between Ron Gonzales and Jerry Brown. Gonzales actively pursued bringing MLB to town. Wolff saw Gonzales as an interloper so he didn't work with him. OTOH Brown was indifferent to the A's and saw little reason to entertain any ballpark proposals.

Now, SJ has Chuck Reed, who is on good terms with Wolff and has shown a pro-baseball side that wasn't as pronounced during the 2006 election. Ron Dellums may be all for keeping the A's in town, but he was told by Wolff "don't break your pick," plus he's hamstrung by his own ineffectiveness as mayor.

bartleby said...

I think a lot of folks are missing the obvious. Wolff has little to lose from being blunt. Maybe a minor hit to attendance in the short term from the extreme propeller-beanie crowd (but any size slice of a small pie is still a small slice). But the big picture is getting a new ballpark in a viable location; the A's long-term viability depends on it.

Bottom line: Making the case that he has exhausted all realistic options in the East Bay is an important part of making the case for removal of T-rights. If the T-rights didn't exist, it would benefit the A's to have two cities bidding against each other. With the T-rights in place, misleading anyone into believing Oakland is in any way a viable option only undermines the A's chances of getting something done in San Jose.

The issue goes beyond the fact that San Jose has a perfect site all-but-ready, and that Oakland politics make a new ballpark unlikely to ever happen there. The main issue, and the ones the true believers refuse to accept in the face of all evidence, is that Oakland is simply not a viable MLB market under current economic conditions. (At least not with the Giants playing in a state of the art ballpark a mere ten miles away).

Lest there be any confusion on this point, Wolff alludes to it directly in the press release: Oakland had little business base to begin with, and it has only gotten worse. Attendance has sucked the entire time the team has been in Oakland, even when the team was great. Why in the world would you seriously consider building a new yard in a weak demographic market only 10 miles (if in downtown Oakland) or 20 miles (if at the current Coli site) from one of the strongest teams in MLB?

I was somewhat bemused by the Anon poster who posted the Wikipedia blurb in SUPPORT of the idea that Oakland was somehow a viable location. That blurb noted that even under Haas, oft cited as a model owner, who loved the city and deficit-spent tens of millions of dollars to field an All-Star team that made repeat visits to the championship, attendance averaged only 1.9 million.

Of course, even that figure was achieved before there was an AT&T park. But for context, 1.9 million would rank the team 26th out of 30 teams in last years attendance figures, edging out the Devil Rays. If that's the ceiling for the market (under circumstances which are not sustainable and are unlikely to be repeated), clearly it is not a viable market.

And none of this considers the fact that the economics of baseball have changed since the '80s. When Walter Haas was around, club seat and suite sales were a non-issue. Now, they are a dominant factor. There is simply no reason to believe the A's can compete with the Giants for premium seat revenue while based in Oakland.

Lew isn't taking a big risk by being dismissive. The Coli site may be the path of least resistance for getting a new yard, but it's not an economically viable site for a half-billion dollar investment. If a ballpark is not built in San Jose, it will be built in some other part of the East Bay (maybe Fremont comes back to life), Sacramento, or in another state.

Anonymous said...


Your arguments are disingenuous.

When you say that 1.9 million is not a good average attendance, you're misrepresenting what was considered "good attendance" in the 80's and early 90's. Also, when you made up your little chart trying to prove that the A's did not draw well in Oakland under Walter Haas, you failed to mention that two of the years were you post attendance numbers, were strike shortened seasons. Also, you fail to compare Oakland's attendance during that time to San Francisco's so we can have the luxury of putting those numbers into context. That's extremely disingenuous of you.

Also, Lew Wolff making a statement that "Oakland's economy is weaker now than it was when he bought the team," is only Lew Wolff's opinion, and the same could be said for San Jose's economy.

The idea that taking a team from the very geographic center of the Bay Area in an area with its own BART station, and tucking in it in a corner of the Bay in an area without its own BART station is somehow good business is ridiculous.

Lew Wolff only has himself to blame for alienating his customers at every opportunity in Oakland. Lew Wolff will get the exact attendance he deserves based on how he treats his customers and his host city, no more, and no less.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:14- answer one question-

If Oakland is such an incredible location v. San Jose than why are the Giants working so hard to keep the A's out of San Jose rather than rejoicing that the A's will be moving to the "lessor" city without a Bart station--leaving the more attractive city for the Giants-

Something tells me that Wolff and the Giants know a bit about which city is more desirable to have as their own--

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:45, It has nothing to do with which city is better. It has everything to do with the fact that the Giants know that the South Bay identifies with them much more than they do with poor little Oakland.

South Bay fans tend to be a bit more pretentious than the blue collar fans who lower themselves in order to go to little old Oakland. The South Bay fan likes power, wealth, and glamor. Therefore, they kiss up to San Francisco and ignore Oakland. That's also a huge reason that Lew Wolff shouldn't be throwing hay makers and bricks at Oakland and its fans.

He's going to have to convert many of those pretentious Giant fans in the South Bay. He's going to have to make them believe that a ballpark on a landlocked lot near downtown San Jose, is more glamorous than going to San Francisco's waterfront for a Giant's game.

Good luck with that Lew. Don't expect any sympathy from Oakland when it doesn't work out the way you planed it.

Marine Layer said...

I remember reading elsewhere that a commenter said he lived in the South Bay in '82, saw that it was Giants territory, hasn't been back since and felt it hasn't changed.

You know what has changed? In that time, San Jose has grown by nearly 370,000 people. That change is almost as much as the population of Oakland now. Were those people supposed to pledge allegiance to the Giants when they moved to town? No they weren't.

The best part? Most of those people are plain old working stiffs like the rest of us. They aren't pretentious, they are just as hateful and jealous of SF as Oakland partisans. Of course, anon, if you could see past your blind provincial rage you might see that.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:38--based upon your logic, which I find fascinating since it isn't close to reality, but assuming that it is...than give up the territorial rights--Giants have nothing to lose--all of us South Bay snobs will continue to go the the park by the bay and drink our chardonnay wines with our pinky out---ignoring the "landlocked" San Jose A's ballpark--

So if this is reality why don't the Giants just give 'em up? Oh that's right....its not least to many of us who live in the south bay and can't wait to buy season tix at the landlocked stadium in a perfect downtown location---close to restuarants, bars, transit, ....where there is actually athmosphere before and after the games-just like at AT&T--

El said...

ML nailed it in his last comment.

Baseball fans in the South Bay will support the hell out of a team that plays here.

And, yes, if you live in Oakland, it sucks that your team is moving, but it's a car trip away, not a plane ride.

bartleby said...

Anon 3:14,

Dude, it's not me who's being disingenous. The 1.9 million average attendance figure excludes the strike years. And if you want to compare how the A's were doing during the Haas years of '81 to 95 to other AL teams, go to With the exception of the unsustainable, spend-the-equivalent-of-$200-million-payroll-in-today's-dollar years of '88-92 which you keep cherry picking to make your point, the A's were below average AL attendance in 7 out of the remaining 9 years of Haas ownership. And not just a little below, 400,000-600,000 below, or roughly 33% below average.

And of course, you ARE cherry picking five unique years when trying to make a point about A's attendance, and ignoring the other 35 during which attendance was dismal by any measure.

And you ARE ignoring the fact that the A's now must compete with one of the strongest teams in baseball, in one of the best parks in baseball, with the stronger historic following, a mere ten miles away.

And you ARE ignoring that Alameda county is the least affluent corner of the Bay Area.

And you ARE ignoring the fact that Oakland is already oversaturated with professional sports, with two other teams to support and the aforementioned strong MLB competitor right across the bridge.

And you ARE ignoring the fact that in modern MLB economics, it's not even about overall attendance, it's about club and suite sales. I understand and respect why you might not like this, we can all feel nostalgic for the days when that wasn't the case. However, it is the current reality and it's not going to change. That's why the Giants will fight to the death over this. Even more than attendance, the pertinent statistics are these:

- Alameda county, median household income 2007: $66,430
- Santa Clara county, median household income 2007: $84,360 (highest in California)
- Santa Clara County has twice as many Fortune 1000 companies as Alameda County and San Francisco COMBINED.

There simply is no question San Jose is a stronger market for modern Major League Baseball than Oakland. Lew Wolff doesn't have it in for Oakland; he's just a businessman who recognizes this reality. As do the Giants.

By the way, this "geographic center of the Bay Area" nonsense is really getting tired. That might be persuasive if there was not already an MLB team within that "geographic center" (there is), if there were not already two other professional sports teams within that "geographic center" (there are), if MLB attendance in that "geographic center" had not already been proven dismal for 40 years (it has), if people actually rode BART to A's games (the overwhelming majority do not) and if that "geographic center" were truly the "geographic center" of the region's business base (it isn't). In what world does it make sense to bunch four professional sports teams together an hour away from the corporate money which drives modern professional sports and leave only one niche team to serve that market?b

Anonymous said...

Bartleby-- Amen!

Anonymous said...

Bartleby, The mere fact that corporations in the South Bay are big supporters of the San Francisco Giants who are 40 miles north, should tell you that Oakland is also within reach. As a matter of fact, the naming rights to the Oakland Arena were bought by Oracle.

Forty miles is not an issue for these corporations. They are attracted to what is fashionable and hip at a certain time in the Bay Area. If Oakland were to build a beautiful waterfront ballpark and proceeded to have a winning team with exciting players like they had during the Walter Haas era, the corporations, along with other bandwagon fans from all over the Bay Area, would be right there with checkbook in hand. And as much as you want to trivialize Oakland's central location to the Bay Area's 7 million residents, along with Oakland's unmatched public transportation to the ballpark, it provides an incredible asset to someone who would know how to capitalize on these advantages. Lew Wolff has proven time and time again, that he can't, or doesn't know how to capitalize on this advantage. Of course, if you bought a team with the express intention of one day relocating it, you're heart may not be in it.

Also, you fail to mention that the San Francisco Giants were outdrawn by the Walter Haas led A's for most of the years that you brought up. Yet, MLB went out of its way to save the Giants for San Francisco despite crappy attendance for decades. On the other hand, Bud Selig and Lew Wolff have it in for Oakland. That's the bottom line. They've never respected Oakland and have never given Oakland a fair shot at retaining its team. The fans know this and they vote with their feet.

Anonymous said...

You Oakland only fans consistently talk out of both sides of your mouth. On the one hand, you argue that Santa Clara County and the Peninsula are Giants country, that the Giants are the glamour team, and therefore that the A's will never be able to draw support from the South Bay even if they move there. Then on the other hand, you argue that if the A's build a stadium in downtown Oakland, suddenly Silicon Valley will embrace the team. On the one hand, you argue that even a move to Fremont is disastrously inconvenient and will lose the existing East Bay fan base (such as it is), yet those of us in the South Bay will so overcome by excitement by a new downtown Oakland yard that we'll suddenly start attending in droves.

Sorry, both premises are absurd. If the A's were to build an arena in downtown Oakland, San Francisco would remain the glamour team, in the glamour location, with the historic fan base. AT&T Park is also quite a bit easier to reach from the South Bay on a weeknight than downtown Oakland, which you'd know if you lived down here. A downtown Oakland ballpark does absolutely nothing to develop a new fan base among folks currently not going to many games and gives the existing fan base no reason to switch.

This "the fact the arena finally found a naming rights sponsor proves corporations will buy premium seating in Oakland" is even more absurd. Buying naming rights doesn't require any executive to actually fight his way up the Nimitz to visit the building, it's like buying a billboard. Any arena, regardless of its location, will be mentioned in the paper and on TV at least 162 games per year. If anything, the difficulty the arena had finding a sponsor and the fact that the Coliseum currently does not have one should tell you how desirable the corporate world views the market.

As ML has posted before, for MLB 22 miles is the magic radius for fan base. Think about it: half or more MLB games are on weeknights. If the A's build a new yard in downtown Oakland, practically right next to the Giants ballpark, they'll continue to go head to head for fans in the immediate vicinity (and the A's will continue to lose) while most South Bay fans will continue to remain on their sofas most weeknights. On the other hand, if the team comes to San Jose, they will tap into a previously untapped market with lots of disposable income and previously limited access to professional sports.

MikeTeeVee said...

Anon said: "The mere fact that corporations in the South Bay are big supporters of the San Francisco Giants who are 40 miles north, should tell you that Oakland is also within reach. As a matter of fact, the naming rights to the Oakland Arena were bought by Oracle."

Oracle isn't in the South Bay, they're in Redwood City, near the San Mateo bridge.

Naming rights are probably more about advertising than team support, especially since the arena is used for a lot more than basketball.

bartleby said...

This "the Giants had crappy attendance for decades" argument is even more of a sideshow than most of the others, but what the hell, I'll bite.

First of all, I'll point out that you're once again cherry picking the data by limiting your argument to the Haas years.

Second, the Giants circumstances were very different than the A's during those years. There were a number of factors working against the Giants attendance in those days, and a lot more reason for optimism in the Giants upside with a new yard in SF than there is for a new yard in Oakland today. Specifically:

- Facility. Pre-AT&T park, the A's had a dramatically superior facility to the Giants. Candlestick was ugly, freezing cold, windy, had lousy sightlines, was in a lousy neighborhood, and offered no views of anything to compensate(such as the Oakland hills). Even after Mt. Davis was built, the Coli was way better than the stick.
- Location. As I have written before, the Giants move to China Basin has neutralized any advantage the A's might derive from location. But in the Candlestick days, this was a big deal. Access to Candlestick was horrible; public transit very limited. Getting to the park was a pain even living on the Peninsula, and it was terrible from everywhere else.
- Success. The A's won four Championships in their first 25 years in Oakland; the Giants have won nothing in 50. The fact that attendance for the two teams were even comparable tells you everything you need to know.
- TV Ratings. The Giants have ALWAYS had substantially greater support throughout the Bay Area, even though they didn't deserve it. As A's fans, I assume we can all agree this is irritating, but it's the truth.

It is hardly surprising that MLB would be more concerned regarding the Giants future in the Bay Area than the A's.

But all of the foregoing considerations are secondary. The single biggest reason it was clear a downtown SF ballpark would succeed and it seems likely a new downtown Oakland ballpark would struggle if built today is that the Giants acted first. They knew going in to China Basin that they were not going to be competing with a comparable facility near by.

As the team with the weaker fanbase, it makes no sense for the A's to move ten miles from AT&T Park and try to compete for premium ticket buyers. They will lose that competition.

On the other hand, it makes a great deal of sense for them to move to San Jose and try to compete based on geography. In San Jose, they will draw in a lot of new fans who currently attend few baseball games.

The same considerations would have applied if the A's had somehow built a downtown Oakland ballpark before AT&T Park. The Giants would have been in a stronger position to contemplate direct geographic competition with the A's in that case, as they were and still are the stronger franchise in terms of regional fan support. Even so, this kind of direct competition might well have pushed them to consider their own move south rather than building at China Basin.