The Press Democrat's Lowell Cohn wrote a strongly worded column last week about Lew Wolff and Billy Beane. Cohn described Wolff's A's as running a "fishy operation."
Cohn went further: " ...they have insulted their fans and the city of Oakland the last few years, and none of that was necessary or smart or polite."
Then Cohn, a longtime Bay Area sportswriter, took Wolff to task for turning off loyal A's fans. Cohn wrote:
"When Uncle Lew bought into the A’s in 2005 ... the A’s had OK attendance. That first season they drew more than 2,100,000 paying customers, 19th in the majors. That’s almost 26,000 per game. How have the A’s done in the attendance department under Uncle Lew’s stewardship? Last season, they drew 1,408,783 suckers to watch their Triple-A A’s. That was dead last in the majors at just over 17,000 a game. So, in five Uncle-Lew seasons the A’s attendance has declined — plummeted, nosedived — 700,000 a year. This is what I mean by fishy, as in it really stinks, and it’s no way to run a business."
Next, Cohn said that other sportswriters at the recent A's Media Day were puzzled by comments Beane made to Peter Gammons about his failure to sign Marco Scutaro and Adrian Beltre:
" ...from now on Beane should be fined five bucks every time he says 'small-market team' — and they have the worst attendance in baseball and the atmosphere at the Coliseum is dreary. But wait, we already saw their attendance wasn’t so dismal just five years ago. Beane’s quote is disingenuous because it ignores the role A’s ownership has played in making the A’s a team no one wants to play for. Uncle Lew has made watching games at the Coliseum so unpleasant even loyal fans stay away. They can’t stand the rinky-dink product on the field or the loneliness in the stands. Then Uncle Lew turns around and says he needs a new ballpark because no one comes to see the A’s in Oakland. That’s not playing fair."
Strong words. Yet, judging from the comments on the Let's Go Oakland Facebook page, seems like a lot of A's fans agree with Cohn.