The Mercury News' Tim Kawakami blogged Friday that Bob Piccinini will be added as a "key guy" in the "core" Warriors' ownership group led by Joe Lacob and Peter Guber. Piccinini, longtime CEO of the Save Mart supermarket chain, also is part owner of the San Diego Padres.
You remember Piccinini. He was the main part of the ownership group led by Andy Dolich who tried to buy the A's in 1999.
The anti-Oakland crowd likes to say that that Dolich/Piccinini didn’t have the money to buy the A’s.
But that simply isn't true.
Piccinini's Modesto-based chain employs 25,000 people and grosses $5 billion per year.
Let's repeat that: Piccinini's company grosses $5 billion in revenue. Each year. And they say he didn't have the money?!
In fact, the Dolich/Piccinini group had plenty of money to pay the $122 million price tag to buy the A's. That group had a lot of heavy financial hitters, including George Zimmer (Men’s Wearhouse), William Dean Singleton (MediaNews owner & an AP Board Member), advertising giant Jeff Goodby (of Goodby Silverstein Partners), the Mugar family (wealthy Boston businessmen and philanthropists), A's legend Reggie Jackson, and several others. This very wealthy ownership group was vocally in support of keeping the A's in Oakland.
Piccinini also has owned several minor-league franchises in the Central Valley. For a guy who "didn’t have the money," Piccinini sure owns a lot of professional sports teams. And his money seems to be good enough for the NBA and MLB's Padres.
But for some reason, Piccinini's billions weren't good enough to buy the A's in '99. Chalk it up as yet another time that Oakland tried hard to keep the A's, but Schott and MLB ran interference instead.
Not to mention that MLB has never let a prospective owner's lack of money stop them from letting them buy a team. Just look at the McCourts in Los Angeles. They were so cash-strapped in 2004, the McCourts had to borrow $145 million from the guys they were buying the Dodgers from.
But we'll get into the McCourts in more detail next week.
Until then, let us be the first to congratulate Bob Piccinini. Even in a supporting role to Lacob and Guber, he's going to be great. We've met Piccinini before. He's smart, down-to-earth, kindly, and understated. Very Walter Haas-like. We're glad he finally owns a big chunk of an Oakland team — even if it came more than a decade after he should have been approved as an owner for the A's.