Well it’s been a fun few days for us A’s fans, as the never-ending territorial rights battle erupted once again. Frankly, we are tired of this and wish that Lew Wolff would see the writing on the wall, sell the team and go away.
Alas, that hasn’t happened yet.
This week’s set of clashes started with the now-infamous Bill Madden piece. That was followed by an A’s ownership press release offering their debatable version of territorial rights history, followed by a rebuttal from the Giants.
After the dust cleared, it became clear that there is absolutely nothing new in the release that Wolff and his front office employees wrote, and nothing that hasn’t already been discussed ad infinitum in the past three years. Bottom line: It reeks of desperation by Wolff, because there is no need to release something like that if things are going your way. We already have heard all of these same arguments over and over, and presumably so have MLB officials and the rest of the owners.
Meanwhile, we wonder if Wolff hears himself sometimes. He mentioned this week that the Giants are opening a store in Walnut Creek, in the A’s territory. Then he added that he “wishes” there was an A’s store in downtown San Francisco. The comment was a window into how he operates: He wants an A’s store, but he’s certainly not going to spend his money or work hard to build it. Instead, he wants things taken care of for him. Also, he seems clueless to the fact that his comments prove his opponents right, illustrating how the Giants ownership (God, it pains us to say this) is out-hustling the A’s ownership. How bad of an owner must Wolff be if the Giants have opened more retail stores in the A’s territory than the A’s have. That’s on Wolff and everyone knows it — except, apparently, Wolff.
With one of the world’s major retailers as a partner — Gap owner John Fisher — surely Wolff can figure out how to make that work. There are many major retail centers in Oakland and the greater East Bay (including Walnut Creek) that could have hosted an A’s store. Why hasn’t he opened one? Also, if the Giants opening a store in “middle of the A’s market” is such a big deal, why doesn’t Wolff stop it?
The Giants’ rebuttal press release offered some key nuggets of information:
1. That the A’s knew about the territorial rights claims when they purchased the team.
2. That those rights were re-affirmed three times, twice (2005, 2008) under Lew Wolff’s tenure. Did Lew assume (perhaps via his buddy, Commissioner Bud Selig) that all he had to do was give a token effort and then things were just going to go his way?
Folks, this isn’t going to end anytime soon. The Giants are looking out for their interests, as are the A’s. So to call one greedy and the other altruistic is silly. Only one thing remains certain: The Giants are not going away quietly.
And what is Lew Wolff doing in response?
Issuing angry press releases that whine about fairness. That might appeal to his tiny but vocal group of apologists. But it’s very doubtful that it appeals to Selig, MLB and the other billionaire owners who have their their own business interests to protect.
When Wolff first became owner in 2005, he worked hard to show his “Uncle Lew” face, where he played the part of the avuncular sage. But that’s not the real Wolff. His real face is the one we have seen this week, the whiny, self-entitled bellicose one he shows when he is losing and frustrated. Get the message Lew. Time to sell.