On Thursday, the A's fan blogosphere exploded in response to Monte Poole's column about Wolff & Fisher and the damage they have done to the Oakland A's franchise. Poole actually -- and quite accurately -- called Wolff & Fisher's managing style "the slumlord model." While noting that the A's have the 4th-richest ownership in baseball, Poole added:
The heartbreaking thing ... is that none of the team executives is particularly enraged about this squalid condition, much less committed to promoting and demanding improvement. ...Wolff occasionally offers disingenuous rhetoric about the desire to win games. Fisher, despite an appreciably greater financial stake in the team, stays stone silent -- as if he is unaffiliated with the A's in every conceivable way.
All of it is sad but true. Especially the take on Fisher, the reclusive billionaire son of billionaire Gap founder, Don Fisher. Is Fisher even a fan of baseball? It's hard to know because it's hard to find a quote from him and even harder to find a photo of him anywhere. Here's one of the few quotes he's given -- in San Francisco Magazine about 18 months ago -- since becoming the A's owner:
"My grandparents went to every Giants game after 1958. I grew up a Giants fan. I love AT&T park. We want the Giants to continue to be one of the most successful franchises in baseball. This is not a contest between the A's and the Giants."
Wonderful. Even our owner is a Giants fan.
So, after Poole's column, most A's fans reacted with a mixture of anger and agreement. But lost in all the hubbub, and lost among the Fuentes/Geren controversy last week, was this column from CBSSports.com's Scott Miller.
As Miller covered Fuentes' comments about Geren's managerial competence, he offered this eye-popping quote from an anonymous A's player about Geren:
"Guys start to hit, and it's almost like, we'll put him into a slump," one player said.
Whoa! Did he actually say that?
That's a Major League ballplayer openly questioning if his manager is hurting his team on purpose. That's not us making that statement. It's the players. That's how low the players' collective opinion of Geren has sunk. But it's also a sign of how low the players' view is of the A's organization and the men who run it.
For the record, we're not saying Geren is throwing games. But the fact that one of Geren's players on the A's is actually even raising the idea, even as half-joking hyperbole, is remarkable. And also sad, especially given the incredibly rich history of the Oakland A's.
But this type of distrust and suspicion starts at the top of an organization. It's yet one more reason why the A's need new owners. Now.