Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Oakland Needs a Willing Partner


As we head in to December, we don't seem to be any closer to a resolution to this standoff than we were four years ago. Lew Wolff is not getting San Jose any time soon, and yet is steadfast in his refusal to acknowledge the A's current city as a solid place to play. We're also coming up on Baseball Oakland's three-year anniversary and we thank each and every one of you for keeping the fight alive.

One of the strongest criticisms of Oakland from its detractors is the lack of a "visible, publicly available plan." But what Wolff, John Fisher and their apologists have never acknowledged is that's quite difficult, if not impossible, to do so without a committed partner. Wolff and Fisher have never worked sincerely with Oakland and, so, their questions on the matter answer themselves. As much as we love this town, MLB owes Oakland absolutely nothing and could have told us to pound sand years ago if we had nothing of substance to bring to the table. So while nothing has been made public, we can pretty much assure you that things are moving behind the scenes. 

Oakland just needs a willing partner. That partner has to be the Oakland A's, and we have every reason to treat the managing general partner of that franchise as a hostile adversary to that process. Ever since he wrote this press release in 2009, can you honestly tell me with a straight face that Wolff is willing to listen to anything in Oakland? San Jose is where he has wanted to go since he bought the team, putting together partnerships and land deals as early as 2004. Oakland could put together a huge complete plan, one that takes into account funding, renderings, transit, environmental issues and everything under the sun but could end up in a position worse off than before if Wolff makes a very public "Hell, no!"  

There is a city where this very same scenario played out:  Sacramento. Sacramento is facing the prospect of losing the Kings like we are with the A's. Like Oakland, they pulled together a grassroots effort called Think Big Sacramento. Think Big had broad support from Mayor Kevin Johnson, Sacramento area businesses, fans and citizens. However, the Maloofs pretty much killed the deal, leaving Sacramento in limbo and Kevin Johnson to declare the project dead

People, this is the last thing we need in Oakland. Someone as negatively biased as Wolff and Fisher, who repeatedly say the A's "have no future in Oakland" in order to convince MLB, is not going to listen to anything that Oakland says or does. As much as we want big PowerPoint presentations and pretty pictures, its almost foolish to try and show too much and have it all fall apart. This is chess, not checkers, and Oakland's leaders are playing their hand wisely for the time-being. It has been six years since Lew Wolff declared Oakland done and "tried" in Fremont and, yet, the A's are still here. We will continue to advocate for Oakland and its fans until this is all resolved with the A's staying in their correct home: Oakland.

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