Thursday, January 21, 2010

Piccinini Would Have Kept A's in Oakland

Dave Newhouse's column today ("The man who would've kept A's in Oakland" -- Jan. 21, 2010) about Robert Piccinini's attempt a decade ago to buy the A's really nails it on the head.

Piccinini, a very wealthy grocery-store chain magnate, was part of an ownership group led by ex-A's exec Andy Dolich, who tried buying the A's from Steve Schott and Ken Hofmann in 1999.

Within the column, Piccinini highlights some key points:

*The Dolich-Piccinini group had plenty of money and resources to buy and operate the A's. Not only did Piccinini have the money at the time, Piccinini's business ventures grew since 1999 and is invested in not only one but two MLB franchises.
*Comments an unnamed Giants executive recently made to Piccinini underscore what he's always suspected -- that the Giants worked behind the scenes with MLB to undermine the Dolich-Piccinini group, which MLB rejected in the fall of '99.
*As much as Piccinini would still like to buy the A's, it's "probably not" going to happen, but he adds: "Never say never."
*Newhouse intimates that some have floated theories of collusion between A's co-owner Lew Wolff and Commissioner Bud Selig. This goes along with what Selig said in a 2001 interview about the A's moving to Oakland being a big mistake.
*Nearly 11 years after Selig and MLB owners rejected Piccinini's group, the A's and Selig still are no closer to building a new stadium than they were in 1999. It's a painful irony for A's fans that the ownership group that was best equipped to build a new A's ballpark was not allowed to buy the team.

Click here to read more. It's a fascinating read about an important East Bay sports story that, amazingly, is still looking for a good ending.

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