Nine years after Lew Wolff was named v.p. of venue development for the A’s, Clorox CEO Don Knauss has actually developed more venues than Wolff. Matier & Ross reported in Sunday’s Chronicle, “As former chief executive of Minute Maid, Knauss helped with the effort to build the Houston Astros’ downtown ballpark that subsequently bore the company’s name.”
Among the many facts that came out of last week’s press conference at Clorox, that one may loom the largest. And to any impartial observers, the news conference — which was attended by Oakland corporate execs from Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, Pandora, Kaiser and many others — was proof positive that Oakland’s business support for a new A’s ballpark will be strong.
Another crucial fact was reported by Matier & Ross: there are THREE prospective ownership groups that want to buy the A’s from Wolff and Fisher and keep the A’s in Oakland. One group is based in Oakland, one is in the South Bay and the third is from Southern California.
The immediate response from the media showed that they have tired of Wolff’s dishonesty and stubbornness. A Sunday column by the Chronicle’s Scott Ostler had this headline: “A’s ownership’s rewards for doing nothing.” Harsh. But also accurate. Ostler wrote: “While the A’s wait, Lew and John make a profit every year and watch the franchise skyrocket in value…Meanwhile, the team shrivels, as do the fans’ spirits, but Fisher and Wolff have an incredibly high threshold of pain – the pain of others.”
Not to be outdone, the Oakland Tribune’s Carl Steward wrote this about Wolff on Saturday: “With the aid of other Oakland businessmen, Clorox CEO Don Knauss wants to bleach Lew Wolff from the scene. A’s fans are praying Knauss can get out that stubborn stain.”
And Lowell Cohn of the The Press Democrat wrote this: “For a long time, I’ve been down on the Oakland A’s ownership, most notably Lew Wolff and John Fisher. I have written sarcastic columns about them, because that’s how I feel. Now I have something new to offer. They should sell the team. They really should.”