Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wolff's & Fisher's Legacy: Letting Great Announcers Go

A's owners have chased announcer Amaury Pi-Gonzalez from the team and, sadly, it looks like the team won't have Spanish-language broadcasts in 2011. The Wall Street Journal did a recent story about Pi-Gonzalez's frustrating 2010 season dealing with the A's front office.

Unfortunately, it's nothing new. Lew Wolff is just carrying out a pathetic tradition of ownership penny-pinching, incompetence and terrible product marketing that goes back to 1995, when Steve Schott and Ken Hofmann bought the team and immediately tried to run it into the ground.

Schott and Hofmann chased legend Lon Simmons out of the A's broadcst booth right off the bat. Then, to save a few pennies, they lowballed great broadcaster Greg Papa, who bailed from the A's in October 2003, just six months after Wolff joined the A's as a team executive.

Then Wolff and Fisher let Marty Lurie go to the Giants last year when they failed to guarantee his job or support him as he negotiated his pre-game show contract with KTRB. Lowell Cohn wrote at the time: "I don't believe the A's understand what a treasure Marty is." They didn't value Marty, and now Giants fans get to enjoy Lurie's great broadcast before every game.

Now, Wolff and Fisher have let Amaury Pi-Gonzalez go to the rival L.A. Angels just months after he was inducted into the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame. Once again, Wolff and the A's front office are bungling another chance to reach out to a large sector of the Bay Area market.

Then they wonder why A's fans aren't fired up to spend money on their product. Sell the team, Lew.

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