Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Monte Poole: A's lack quality ownership

Much of the A's blogosphere has been abuzz this week either about a report that Commissioner Selig soon will rule in favor of San Jose or new polling results regarding the A's moving to the South Bay.

Lost in all the back-and-forth, however, was Oakland Tribune columnist Monte Poole's take on the lack of quality ownership in the Bay Area, especially when it comes to the A's. We here at BaseballOakland understand that sports is a business and that these franchises are in the business to make money. But, sorry, there still needs to be more of a focus on the fans than what Lew Wolff has provided. Like Poole emphasizes, Walter Haas treated his employees like family when he owned Oakland's A's. In 1989, A's employees returned the favor by presenting Mr. Haas with a plaque, and each employee dedicated each hours of community service in honor of him. Can you see the same thing happening with Wolff?

In an article last month, A's manager Bob Geren mentioned having a leaky roof in his office at the A's facilities in Arizona. This shows what the Wolff/Fisher ownership is all about. How do you expect players to compete when you don't provide them with the best facilities available? Having a leaky roof in Arizona isn't Oakland's fault. Only a cheap ownership running the team on the cheap would provide such a second-rate atmosphere -- and it goes beyond where the A's final location may be. It shows how much the team is willing to invest -- or not -- in its product.

Wolff's mentality also is reflected in customer service, and other operations that affect us as fans. The Coliseum may have its flaws, but any ownership, regardless of where they want the team to play in the next five years, should be running the franchise at the highest level. It's been the opposite, unfortunately, under Wolff. In the past five years, Wolff consistently has run a bare-bones operation, making cutbacks to staff and concessions. For a team that complains about lack of fans as much as the A's do, it would seem that they would want to provide fans with a pleasant experience in order to attract new ones. Instead, the A's front office is constantly outclassed by other franchises, while the fans are left to suffer.

We are not asking for $100 million dollar payrolls and we understand the complexities of the economics of baseball. Still, one would think that ownership would really put forth a top-notch major league operation to provide both fans and players with the best experience possible. Unfortunately Wolff’s operations have been strictly bush league.

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