Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fairmont Hotel = Oakland A's

How are the Oakland A's just like the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco?

Well, for one, Lew Wolff co-owns both of them. Secondly, they both are great Bay Area traditions and, unfortunately, Wolff is running both the A's and the Fairmont into the ground.

Recent San Francisco Chronicle articles revealed that Wolff tried to close the legendary Tonga Room at the Fairmont. Now, he wants to gut the Fairmont's tower and end decades of tradition by building condos at the Fairmont. But San Francisco leaders and union officials have fought Wolff, and now he's talking about just selling and "letting the next guy deal with it."

If this all sounds familiar to A's fans, it should. Wolff is working off the same arrogant playbook with his machinations for the A's. First, he tarped off the 3rd deck at the Coliseum – similar to closing the Fairmont's Tonga Room in that, in both instances, he's trying to signal the public and the media that something is "wrong" with a place that otherwise the public holds in high esteem and fondness.

Then, he tries a drastic change – like moving the A's south or getting rid of longstanding hotel rooms at a Bay Area social landmark like the Fairmont – that will benefit only him and do so financially, while most others in the Bay Area will suffer a loss of their tradition as a result.

That playbook failed in San Francisco for the Fairmont. And the same playbook is failing again in Oakland, as Wolff has taken a proud franchise and run it into the ground. Want proof? Attendance at A's games, once solid the year before Wolff took over, has instead dropped significantly each year Wolff has owned the team, and it got especially worse after he tarped off the Coliseum’s 3rd deck.

The team also has had four consecutive non-winning seasons.

The classic definition of insanity is trying the same failed strategy over and over and expecting a different result. Now that Wolff has failed in San Francisco with the Fairmont and is failing again in Oakland with the A's, for some reason he keeps sticking with the same failed strategy. Sounds insane to me.

There might be one more similarity between Wolff's Fairmont and Wolff's A's. He’s on the verge of selling the Fairmont. Here's to him selling the A's soon to "the next guy" to deal with it. There are plenty of interested deep-pocketed local buyers who want to keep the team in Oakland and, let's face it, they can't do any worse than Wolff has.

2 comments:

Edward said...

Sloppy reporting.. Is Lew Wolff calling all the shots? Or is he part of a larger organization that is proposing this transformation. Everything in the world is not Lew Wolff's machinations!

linusalf said...

Lew Wolff is the chairman of the real estate partnership that controls the Fairmont Hotel. He has been planning a renovation of the Fairmont since 2009.

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