Monday, December 5, 2011

Tale of Two Cities

The A's haven't made any major headlines in the past few days, unless you count the team signing AAAA player Brandon Moss as major. However, two recent moves made in other cities were quite relevant to the A's.

A group called Stand for San Jose (tied to the San Jose Giants Single-A team, which is co-owned by the San Francisco Giants) filed a lawsuit Friday against the city of San Jose, claiming that the City Council failed to comply with state environmental law and city law in regards to the possible discounted sale of land to Lew Wolff for a proposed A's ballpark.

While some have questioned the grassroots status of Stand for San Jose, it bears asking: Is it any less "grassroots" than Baseball San Jose, which solely represents the real estate partners of Lew Wolff?

Meanwhile, Wolff's son, Keith Wolff, also an A's executive, has purchased the Sainte Claire hotel in downtown San Jose. Those who think that Wolff's stadium decisions have nothing to do with his real estate portfolio are fooling themselves.

Also, the San Francisco Giants have opened a Dugout store in Walnut Creek, just a 30-minute drive northeast of the Coliseum. That bothers us. But what really grinds our gears is the fact that the A's owners are blatantly letting this happen and, even worse, doing nothing to compete against it. While spending the past 16 years obsessing about possible stadium locations south of Highway 238, A's owners repeatedly have neglected the fans in their own back yard. Walnut Creek and the rest of the Diablo Valley have been very good supporters of the A's in Oakland. But in the wake of Steve Schott's and Wolff's failure to court East Bay cities, the Giants wisely have taken full advantage and have made marketing in-roads into these areas. In the meantime, Wolff's tiny but vocal group of apologists often have said that the A's should move to the South Bay for the betterment of the "community." It's just too bad that this always translates to "communities other than Oakland."

The good news is there is still time for the A's to regain their foothold in these areas, but it's going to require a new ownership who is committed to making it work in Oakland and the East Bay.

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