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November 25, 2009
SF mag writer: My ex's old man so totally wants to move the A's to San Jose
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.
Seems to me the press in SJ and CC county are coming out in favor of the SJ option. I have to say I do agree with the op piece saying Selig needs to make a decision. It's time to let the A's know one way or another if SJ is open to them. It's obvious that's the way they want to go, and it's wear their attention is right now. If they're going to be allowed to do it, it's time to let them go full bore towards SJ. Otherwise tell them no and let them start working on other options. Because this limbo isn't good for the A's, their fans, the cities they're in and pursuing, or indeed MLB. The situation in Oakland as it stands right now is untenable.
Always interesting Neil to read your gossip column. "Headline news"...? funny...I don't even believe it was included anywhere in the print addition of the paper---you had to go on-line to find it. What might have made a more interesting blog for you was the fact that the MLB Blue Ribbon Commission was in San Jose this week meeting with city and redevelopment officials--but you would rather report on the reporter who used to date the owners daughter....wow...now that is a scoop!!
more of the same old joke, the a's are a joke and so is sj wanting to be "big league". that town is just a little ahead of hartford as a going concern.
btw - the sj arena looks like a 90's warehouse...
Hummm---that "wherehouse" is the 3rd most booked arena in the world----I guess entertainment venues like playing in the west version of "hartford"---personally--I love the look of it--combination of great architecture and hi-tech look----can't wait to see what they come up with for the ballpark--
Paul, a couple of things. First the Arena may look like a 90's warehouse (just as most arenas do), but it has consistently been one of the most booked venues in the world. And comparing Hartford and SJ is laughable. Incase you missed it, San Jose doesn't have to "play" big league city, it is a big league city with a population over 1,000,000 people, by virtue of being the largest city in Northern California and by virtue of already having to major league franchises in the Sharks and Earthquakes. Hartford by comparison only has 124,000 people and is actually smaller than Sunnyvale.
San Jose A's: The Merc News still publishes a dead-tree edition? How retro!
Seriously, though, the SF Mag article got play in close to a dozen papers for some reason, whereas the only reference to a visit from the Blue Ribbon Commission I can find is a Stiglich article saying they "reportedly toured San Jose recently." If you have any more info about their activities, I'd love to hear it.
SanJoseA's: Do you have any evidence as to the profitability of HP Pavilion? Also, I'm not opposed to Lew Wolff moving the club to San Jose. It may be a good deal so long as San Jose taxpayers don't have to foot the bill for a new baseball stadium.