Newhouse: `Stop whining, Schottzie'
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| By chris_d on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 08:41 am:|
By Dave Newhouse
Whine in Schott glass tastes sour
DELIVER A BABY into this world, turn it upside down and slap its bottom, and it won't whine nearly as loudly as Steve Schott.
Spring training barely had begun, and Schott was whining again about getting a new ballpark for his Oakland A's. He repeated his sob story last Monday before the season opener.
The A's do deserve a new ballpark, and if Schott would do something other than whine about it, that ballpark might become a reality.
Schott comes from the Al Davis school, which is to own a team in Oakland, but also to look continually for other places to play.
From the day Schott and the invisible Ken Hofmann bought the A's on Nov. 1, 1995, Schott has sought to relocate the A's. That was the main objective of his right-hand man, Ed Alvarez, who ended up suing Schott.
Schott is a South Bay guy, and that is where he'd like the A's to wind up. Only he is stuck at Network Associates Coliseum through 2007, and possibly through 2010. Also, Santa Clara has shown it doesn't want Schott or the A's.
And so Schott whines about a new ballpark, but he's unwilling to talk specific financial terms. He hasn't offered one red cent toward an Oakland ballpark, yet he's ponies up a few million to build a baseball field for his alma mater, Santa Clara.
"If we talk seriously," Oakland City Council president Ignacio De La Fuente said regarding a ballpark, "the A's will put in so much, the city puts in so much, you can float bonds, you can do a number of things."
Schott doesn't talk seriously about such matters. He doesn't talk at all. With Alvarez out of the picture, Schott hired Lew Wolff as vice president of venue development last November. Wolff is in the hotel business, which included owning (hint, hint) the San Jose Holiday Inn.
De La Fuente and Alameda County Board of Supervisors president Gail Steele have met with Wolff twice but haven't been able to read his mind.
"That's one of the challenges here," De La Fuente said. "He's not at liberty to say anything. He's getting information, nothing of substance. I'm absolutely waiting."
In Schott's and Wolff's defense, a ballpark site in Oakland remains iffy. The downtown location favored by the respected HOK ballpark architects from Kansas City fell through because of the Forest City housing project.
De La Fuente still believes a ballpark will be built in Oakland, but on property closer to Highway 980 rather than downtown. And he's convinced it will be built in the next 10 years, if both sides are willing partners.
"We are ready to talk about a serious business relationship," he said, "a whole economic complex. Not only a stadium but a housing project. (Wolff's) very serious, a smart guy."
But noncommital. Perhaps Wolff still is pursuing Santa Clara, convinced the San Francisco Giants' claim of "territorial rights" in the South Bay wouldn't hold up in court. And it wouldn't.
"The talk about the South Bay is more a use of leverage," De La Fuente believes. "(A ballpark) wouldn't be that easy to do in Santa Clara, which isn't as centrally located as Oakland."
The Giants funded their charming ballpark with private money. That approach is less likely in Oakland. But no approach will work unless the A's and the politicos both show a desire to contribute.
When Schott actually reaches for his wallet, we'll know he's really serious about building a ballpark in Oakland.
Until then, stop whining, Schottzie.
Dave Newhouse can be reached at
(510) 208-6466 or by e-mail at
| By pachyderm on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 03:33 pm:|
Thanks for the article, Chris. When I first of hear of City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente, I don't like him but Newhouse has change my opinion about him.
Schott has said that he wants to stay in Oakland, but has he ever actually made a real gesture to show that he's sincere?
He never said he wants to stay in Oakland. The closest he has come to saying that was that he was making an effort to stay in the East Bay.
As far as I can tell...he may be a very sincere and good family man, but as a baseball owner, I can tell whenever he is lying...all he has to do is move his lips.
At the press conference in March, Schott said, "Our preference would be to keep the A's in the East Bay." (oaklandathletics.com, 3/6/04)
Schott is nuts for the South Bay and he's probably just paying lip service to appease Oakland fans. I was just curious whether the A's management has been interested in any Oakland sites to the extent that they've drawn up plans, done a title search, etc.
Like I said, when the City of Oakland paid HOK to research and present a number of sites with costs etc..., Schott never bothered to come or send any front office people to the presentations made to the Supes and Council members.
I do know that Hofmann and Crowley met with some city officials but it never developed into anything other than back-room talk.
Schott was too busy dealing with Santa Clara meetings, and taking offers from a prospective buyer from DC (a deposit date had even been set) sent by Selig, to take the time to come to the table with Oakland officials and civic leaders.
And I know for a fact that Schott totally snobbed Brown on a helicopter ride promoted by some city officials where the different sites were to be shown. The word goes that Brown waited with the copter at the coli but Schott was simply a no show.
So I can't really blame Brown, who knows all about how bad sports deals can be for cities, for not being an enthusiast of a deal with an owner who really doesn't give a damn either.
| By rono on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 04:43 pm:|
I have responded to Dave's article and Carl Seward's article on Schott of last week. My points are similiar to what Lil has said in this post. They e=mailed me that they were going to print it in Turn2 in the Trib.
| By eyleenn on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 09:36 pm:|
And when the Santa Clara folks found out that Schott was entertaining an offer from DC, they figured out that he couldn't be trusted and shut down their dealings with him.
| By rono on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 08:43 pm:|
My letter appeared in Sunday's TRIB in the Turn section on the second page of the sports section. I am going to copy it and send it to various A's officials and other media people. Others should do the same. They need to know that some A's fans are very informed and can't be fooled.
Rono, please post your letter here at the forum.
I missed it and we really like to keep all these letters and articles on archive.