Lew Wolff likes to say that he needs to move the A's out of the Oakland Coliseum so that Billy Beane can have more revenue to sign more free agents.
But Wolff has publicly contradicted himself on this. A June 3, 2007 blurb by sportswriter Mike Berardino of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reveals that Wolff plans to keep up his cheap, penny-pinching ways even AFTER they build a new A's stadium. Here's Berardino's blurb:
Like the Marlins, the A's don’t plan to jack up their $65 million payroll upon approval of a new stadium. Even once they make the move, perhaps by 2011, the A's will keep their player outlay in the range of 50 percent of total revenues.
"It will be business as usual," A's owner Lew Wolff said. "We have a staff, led by [GM] Billy Beane, that is very, very bottom-line oriented. Billy loves doing it that way. Frankly, it’s more fun."
In other words, Wolff is talking out of both sides of his mouth, even when it comes to one of the biggest reasons (supposedly) why he "needs" a new ballpark. Wolff says he needs a new ballpark to be a contender, but there's Wolff in the quote above, also saying that "it will be business as usual," even after a new A's ballpark is built. So, which version of Wolff is being honest? Well, Wolff's ownership history shows that fans should bet on the cheapskate path. The A’s under Wolff and John Fisher (a billionaire who is one of MLB’s richest men) have always spent the least amount of money and done the least amount of work, which has alienated their once-great Oakland fan base.
Why do they do this? Because if Wolff and Fisher keep their investment low, and their revenue low, too, then they're all too happy to collect $30 million each year in welfare checks from other MLB owners. That’s what Wolff seems to be saying to Berardino in the quote above: Nothing’s going to change, new ballpark or not.
“Frankly, it’s more fun,” Wolff said. For whom, Lew? Certainly not for the fans, who have been waiting 15 years for an A’s owner to be honest with them, not to speak out of both sides of his mouth.