It was headline news in yesterday’s San Jose Mercury News: Oakland A’s co-owners Lew Wolff and John Fisher had declared themselves in favor of moving the team to San Jose, with Wolff saying, “We have determined that San Jose is the only option for us in California,” while the seldom-heard-from Fisher chimed in: “From the moment we bought this team the most important thing for Lew and I was to build a new ballpark to keep the A’s in the Bay Area. Our conclusion is that the best opportunity to build a ballpark is in downtown San Jose.”
Skeptics will note that this isn’t exactly anything new: Wolff said pretty much the same thing back in March. And a read of the original San Francisco Magazine article that quoted Wolff and Fisher shows the story to be even odder: It’s written by Steve Kettmann, a former A’s beat writer and, weirdly, ex-boyfriend of Wolff’s daughter Kari, who spends much of his 10,000 words lauding Wolff (“an affable, wisecracking businessman of 73”), crediting him with helping to get built the Sharks‘ San Jose Arena (which, perhaps inevitably, he describes as “gleaming”), and rehashing the well-rehashed tale of Wolff as the San Jose developer who bought the team with the secret desire to move it to his hometown. Possibly the most interesting new quote is from A’s GM and minority owner Billy Beane, who argues that the Oakland Coliseum needs to be replaced because the toilets overflow when it rains.
If Wolff and Fisher granted interviews to their old pal in hopes of boosting talk of an A’s move to San Jose, though, it seems to be working. Contra Costa Times sportswriter Joe Stiglich followed up with his own interview with Wolff talking up a San Jose move. Then CC Times columnist Gary Peterson followed with a column calling on MLB to make a ruling soon on the San Francisco Giants‘ territorial claim to the South Bay, either allowing the A’s to move, allowing them to move for a price, or denying them access to San Jose for good (though Peterson called this “the least comprehensible of the options”). As publicity goes, it beats stories about how you just signed yet another third baseman with back problems.