Earlier this week, journalist Steven Tavares called right-field bleacher fans “the heartbeat of Oakland.”
A few days later, those same A’s fans in Sec. 149 showed why.
During Saturday’s A’s-Rays game, they unfurled two handmade signs directed at John Fisher and his A’s co-owners.
“Build or Sell Fisher” and “Sign Reddick” – said the signs, before A’s security took them down.
The signs reveal a growing frustration within the A’s fan base. It’s been 9 months since the Supreme Court ended San Jose’s lawsuit and Lew Wolff’s pipe dream of moving the A’s, once and for all. That court decision left no doubt about what Wolff’s and Fisher’s ballpark location options are: Oakland or bust. Commissioner Rob Manfred’s recent pro-Oakland comments made that crystal clear.
So, what’s the problem? A’s ownership’s total inaction on the new ballpark front — that’s the problem.
Other than the occasional vague, noncommittal quote from Wolff and a few unfounded rumors, it appears that Wolff and Fisher have made virtually no progress on a new ballpark in Oakland or elsewhere. It’s been two years since Wolff told East Bay politicians he would act “on all eight cylinders” in building a new Oakland ballpark once they approved the Coliseum lease extension. But since then, there’s been no ballpark progress from Wolff and Fisher, who’ve made it clear they value revenue sharing money over winning.
Hence, the frustration from Oakland’s loud and loyal baseball fans. And, hence, the return of bleacher signs intended as a written middle finger to Wolff, Fisher, and an ownership that many A’s fans believe is an embarrassment.
Manfred’s pro-Oakland comments refuted all of the usual Wolff excuses for not building in Oakland. The commissioner said he wants the A’s to build in Oakland, and that A’s owners should ignore what the Raiders are or aren’t doing at the Coliseum Complex, as that should have no bearing on what the A’s do.
Manfred also said that MLB would regret leaving Oakland because of the economic strength of the city and the surrounding Bay Area market. After years of hearing Bud Selig insult the great city of Oakland, Manfred’s comments were very refreshing. It’s great to see MLB’s commissioner totally agree with A’s fans dubbed “the heart of Oakland.”
And if you read between the lines of Manfred’s quotes, what he’s saying to Wolff and Fisher exactly mirrors the message sent from the A’s fans in Sec. 149:
“Build or Sell!”