Lew Wolff is many things.
He’s self-entitled, as he banked that his old fraternity brother, Commissioner Bud Selig, would have cleared his way out of the Coliseum by now, under the guise that it would be ‘for the best interests of baseball.’
He’s not exactly honest, is he? At first, Wolff tried to say all the right things: “I’ll never test territorial rights.” … “I understand the rules.” … “We’re going to try to make it work in Oakland.” … Yada, yada, yada. But he didn’t really try in Oakland and, for many years, he’s been more than testing the territorial rights to the South Bay.
He’s not willing to take much financial risk, as he’s banked on the financial backing of the A’s majority co-owner and resident invisible nowhere man, John Fisher. And Wolff is lazy, as he has admitted he hasn’t even tried to lobby other MLB owners about the ballpark situation. It’s no wonder that, 10 years after he was named A’s VP of venue development, he has yet to develop a venue for either the A’s or his Quakes soccer team.
Heck, in all that time he hasn’t yet even acquired the necessary land to build a San Jose ballpark, let alone remove the pipe dream’s other barriers, such as territorial rights and a public vote. Wolff has told reporters and other owners that the South Bay ballpark plan is “shovel ready.” But if Wolff does not have the land purchased, and does not have the territorial rights and does not yet have the required public blessing, then how in the world can it be “shovel ready?”
So, Wolff has been wrong, factually. He also has been a bad owner, and we — the fans, not him or other A’s owners — have had to suffer because of it. Now, that the main parts of San Jose’s lawsuit vs. MLB have been tossed out, and there is little left of it except some small state tort claims, the next rational step would be to work with Oakland. We’ll see.
Some of Wolff’s cronies have written that San Jose will continue the legal war, holding up the A’s progress on a real, plausible site for years. Sorry, that’s just not acceptable.
The question we have is: What next, Lew? Certain people can defend Wolff and blame Oakland only so much before the facts are revealed to be completely undeniable, and his small but vocal band of apologists quickly becomes even smaller. A’s ticket sales are going up, fan interest is up, the Coliseum still draws people, in spite of all the negativity ownership drops on it. The city of Oakland is becoming the epicenter of culture/food/art/cool, indicating a shift in the Bay Area’s usual pecking order.
Meanwhile, instead of joining Oakland’s burgeoning economic strength, Wolff just makes insulting and dubious claims about Oakland, saying it’s too “built up” or has other priorities, etc, etc. But those comments aren’t true.
Why wouldn’t Lew and other A’s owners want to be aligned with this great, underrated city? Dubai investors are willing to invest hundreds of millions in Coliseum City, and Chinese investors are willing to invest hundreds of millions in Oakland’s Brooklyn Basin project. Wolff could easily be a part of that new investment energy in Oakland and profit big from it. All he has to do is ask.
Unfortunately, for A’s fans, he has refused to. This can’t go on.