Thursday, July 1, 2010

Perfect Game, Not So Perfect Meeting

This week we have a guest blogger, super A's fan Jorge Leon, who is sharing how his May 9 face-to-face meeting with A's owner Lew Wolff went:

Everybody I talk to wants to know how my meeting with Lew Wolff went.

People ask me: Was he a nice guy? Others ask me, Did you get mad at him? Those are all good questions. Of course, what I remember from the A's-Rays game at the Coliseum on May 9 was Dallas Braden's perfect game. But I especially remember us asking some hard questions that Wolff refused to answer. I knew all along that he was going to act like good ol' grandpa Wolff, charming and polite. Which he was, I mean not just any owner invites a fan to the "owners" suite, right? Then again, this is the same owner who refuses to work with the city of Oakland, constantly blaming us A's fans while he tries to move the team to Fremont or San Jose.

Wolff had invited me and my friend Bobby Tselentis to the suite after A's security guards had ejected me from a ballgame in April just for posting signs that criticized Wolff. The signs knocked Wolff for never trying to make a real effort to stay in Oakland. We had signs that read: "Lew Wolff Hates Oakland" and "Wolff lied. He never tried."

During the meeting in the owners suite, we presented Wolff with some gifts from fans in the right field and left field bleachers, including two signed baseballs from every fan in the bleachers who want to keep the A's in Oakland. We also gave Wolff a T-shirt from the Green Stampede.

"What is the Green Stampede?" asked Wolff.

I explained to him that the Green Stampede is a non-profit organization that has been affiliated with the A's Community fund since 2001. The Green Stampede helps mentor and tutor kids with their homework. During our meeting, we sat down with Wolff and talked some more, and he put the Green Stampede T-shirt on the table. As we sat there talking, Wolff started putting his empty peanut shells all over the shirt.

Right there is when I knew we were just there for the "Lew Wolff Show." The Lew Wolff Show is a show manipulated by Mr. Wolff, who
tried to evade every hard question that we threw at him that day by answering, "I’m too old for this" or "I’m done here." We asked him about working with the community. All he could tell us is how he teamed up with Eric Chavez to hand out food to the needy.

We asked him how come there was no "Oakland Day" at A's games, but there was a "Fremont Day."Again, he said he was too old to answer that. We asked, why there are no A's billboards around Oakland or Alameda County to promote the team? Wolff replied by urging us to email their marketing department about it.
We asked him about marketing and he pointed out that his friend (who was sitting next to us) came out with the idea of the rally "trumpet." I immediately said that I hated that thing. Wolff's friend stopped smiling.

You may wonder if he showed me any ballpark renderings. He did. All of them featured a bunch of condos and real estate that made it hard to notice the actual ballpark that he wants to build. We asked him: Why is the San Jose site so perfect, Mr. Wolff?

never said it was," was his answer.

We asked: What if the San Jose thing falls through? He answered: "Then we will stay here." Then he added: "I’m done. I have to go meet with the Rays president."

The meeting ended there.
I did not come out thinking he was a great guy. I came out knowing that his mind is set on one thing only. I know Wolff and the A's can make it work in Oakland if he really wants to stay in Oakland. Wolff left during the 6th inning, and he told us to enjoy the suite the rest of the game. We did.

Before Wolff left, I told him, "Did you know that Oakland has been the home to pro baseball since 1866?"

Wolff replied, "Really?" and just put on his sweater and left. After that, the meeting was history — and so was Dallas Braden's performance. I celebrated the 19th perfect game in MLB and the 2nd-ever one in Oakland. All I could think of at first was that.

But one other idea kept returning to my head ... fighting to keep the A's in Oakland no matter who I have to meet with. I would meet with Charlie Finley, but he won 3 straight World Series. I would meet with Haas, but he did win a World Series and helped the Oakland community.

Come on, Lew, you can continue doing what you've been doing for at least five years and be known as the greediest owner in sports and be hated by all A's fans; or you can be the hero in a great town where the future is going to shine. After all, you don’t need a public vote from Oakland. No more excuses. Victory Court is waiting for you and so is one of the greatest baseball teams in the world.


#1ASFANTONE said...

Lew Wolfe is a selfish Ego-maniac that needs to get his head out of the sand. Period! Your a good man Mr.Leon... I also commend you. Good Job! Mr.Wolf needs to take notes from the likes of Mr.Megowan. Even though Oakland has the best baseball team in the Bay Area on the Field. Mr.Megowan Marketed for success with his team off the field, rebuilding and growing his fan base and trust with the City of San Fransisco with a team that was in demise in an un-baseball friendly stadium, All the way to having a new state of the art fan friendy Stadium that its city loves with success!

Lew Wolfe & Co. Purchased a Historicly successful Baseball team "The Oakland Athletics" in an Historily Ritch Basball City "Oakland" My thought are they did not do there homewaork. apparently, cause according to you and your questions to Mr.Wolfe he did not know or was not aware of the history we have here or how deep our fan base is. Further more Mr.Wolfe replying that "he is too old for this" Hmmmmm? makes you wonder if he is even competent! Lew Wolfe deffinatly is lacking passion for the Game Of Basball in The City Of Oakland with its Fans and communities.

Bee Hylinski said...

Thank you for writing this blog post and sharing your "experience" with Lew Wolfe. He showed his true colors--he doesn't care about Oakland or the fans or the game of baseball. But what really struck me was his attitude toward you. He mocked, belittled and demeaned you, and he was downright rude. This explains a lot. If we fans don't become more vocal--write letters (and lots of them!), stage protests at the games, etc.--he'll keep doing what he's doing. The best revenge we can get against him is to come to the games in droves. He wants the attendance low so he can justify moving the team from Oakland. So let's all go to the Coliseum and make our voices heard.

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