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.