Wolff’s Attempt to “Divert and Divide” A’s Fans Won’t Work

After renderings of Oakland’s Howard Terminal ballpark site were released Monday, Lew Wolff said something that was a stark reminder of why the A’s still don’t have a new ballpark. He told Tribune reporter Matthew Artz that the waterfront site is “absolutely impossible,” but he might be interested “where we’re at right now (at the Coliseum). On land controlled by (the city and county).”

Here’s the problem with what Wolff said: He doesn’t mean it.

Wolff says he wants a new ballpark. But every one of his decisions leads the A’s and their fans further away from that goal. Instead of using the Howard Terminal option as a chance to work with Oakland in a sincere way for the first time ever, Wolff continues to just play games and say dishonest things that divide the A’s fan base. Ray Ratto best captured Wolff’s disingenuousness in his recent column:

“You have to hand it to Lew Wolff; only he can announce a potential tactical retreat that really isn’t, and an act of conciliation that doubles as a finger in the eye up to the second knuckle.”

In short, Wolff is trying, in half-desperation, a well-worn stall tactic. He hopes that by tickling the right people he can stall Oakland’s progress while trying to divide fans and city leaders. Wolff has told Oakland to pound sand since 2003, focusing wholly on San Jose. And now, on a day that Oakland’s many ballpark efforts have gotten its most and best press since the Robert Bobb Uptown days, Wolff wants to sell some notion that he favors the Coliseum City site? Please.

Wolff’s game of “Divert and Divide” won’t work. Most A’s fans want an Oakland site, as proven by a recent CSN Bay Area online poll — where Howard Terminal garnered 73% of the vote. And while most want Howard Terminal, the vast majority of fans just want a new ballpark somewhere in Oakland, as soon as possible. Given all the obstacles in the South Bay, including a list of messy  lawsuits tied to the San Jose stadium site, the fastest option is in Oakland — whether it’d be at Howard Terminal or the Coliseum. That’s the beauty of having two sites. It’s not divisive, it’s a sign of smart planning.

We are big fans of the Howard Terminal site, first and foremost. It has strong backing from Bay Area corporate heavyweights, Don Knauss, T. Gary Rogers and others, and presents the best economic opportunity for Oakland.

But if Coliseum City rules the day, that’s okay, too. The city and county own the land, it is very accessible by public transit and has the fewest hurdles of any Bay Area sites proposed over the the years. We’ve been to Citizens Bank Park in Philly, which is a three-sport complex, much like the Coliseum. Coliseum City has the same potential, but we’re not going to think twice about Lew’s transparently phony “change of heart” — unless he finally shows some real commitment.

Oakland fans, stay with the momentum that we have now and don’t let Lew’s divisive baiting get to you.


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