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wha?! Wolfe to buy the A's!!!!!!??????

OAFC BBS - All Topics: Archive: wha?! Wolfe to buy the A's!!!!!!??????
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By jayho on Sunday, December 19, 2004 - 10:17 am:

Chief of A's stadium plans may buy in

Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross

There's hot talk that the Oakland A's are close to being sold to a group headed by Lewis Wolff, the megabucks Los Angeles developer whose possible emergence as a new owner was signaled last year when the team hired him to explore plans for a new stadium.

Wolff -- formerly a part owner of both the Golden State Warriors and St. Louis Blues hockey franchise -- isn't discounting the idea of taking over the A's, but says it's a bit early to tell how discussions will turn out.

"Hopefully, within 90 days we will be able to figure out what my role will be,'' he told us by phone Friday.

"All I can tell you is, I have an option, which has been in the papers for some time, to purchase all or part of the team," Wolff said. "And I'm exploring it in detail because I'm very interested in the A's and think it's one of the best-run teams in baseball.''

Of course, the option he's talking about -- at least as it was announced last year -- hinged on the A's coming up with a new stadium plan, something that's still a long, long way from happening.

But then, Wolff said that wasn't an issue anymore.

Since 1995, the A's have been owned 50-50 by home developers Steve Schott and Ken Hofmann. They bought the franchise at a discounted price far below the reported $85 million from Walter Haas -- the now-deceased patriarch of the San Francisco family that owns Levi Strauss -- with a pledge to keep the team in Oakland.

But the Schott-Hofmann pairing -- in which Schott served as the managing partner -- hasn't always gone smoothly, with the two often at odds over the team's direction.

The team is said to be worth $150 million to $170 million. It regularly turns a profit, largely because of the $12 million to $14 million it receives annually from baseball's revenue-sharing program, plus its next-to-nothing rent at the Coliseum.

Wolff confirmed he was negotiating to buy Hofmann's stake, but was less specific on where he stood in acquiring Schott's share.

However, one source following the moves predicted that Schott would be bowing out soon, or at least taking a back seat.

"Lew Wolff is going to be calling most of the shots now,'' said our source.

At the same time, Wolff confirmed that he is looking to bring on a number of partners, including John Fisher -- as in the son of Gap founder Donald Fisher. The younger Fisher is already a business partner with Wolff in a number of hotel and other real estate deals, including ownership of the San Francisco Fairmont.

The Fishers were among the local investors who stepped forward in 1992 to buy the San Francisco Giants when the team was on the verge of being sold to a Tampa Bay group and moved to Florida.

But the Fishers -- who remain prominent philanthropists in the Bay Area -- have since sold all but about 1 percent of their interest, according to baseball insiders.

As for what a possible change in ownership would mean for Oakland's chances of landing that long-shot stadium?

"I don't think it's going to make that much difference,'' Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente said when we asked about the rumored sale.

"We are working very closely with Lew Wolff and Steve Schott," De La Fuente said, "and we continue to be ready to try to look at the viability of building a new home for the A's.''

Wolff and the city have narrowed their search to the parking lot north of the Coliseum, a stadium the A's share with the Oakland Raiders. The A's have said they would contribute $100 million toward construction of a baseball-only stadium, which could cost $400 million or more.

But there is speculation that the team might still have its eye on part of a 65-acre site near the Oakland estuary, between Oak Street and 10th Avenue. The land, which the Port of Oakland sold last year, is slated to be developed as housing.

And, just last week, the City Council of baseball-hungry San Jose agreed to try to buy the former Del Monte cannery west of downtown -- 11 acres said to be worth about $26 million -- with the idea that it could be a ballpark site.

It was Wolff, after all, who back in 1998 suggested the A's build a stadium in San Jose, quipping: "I wouldn't spend five minutes on any other city besides San Jose.''

But then, as one government insider who has been watching all of the stadium moves, predicted, "We will be talking about this for years.''


http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/12/19/BAG0DAE6F01.DTL

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By oaktownfan on Sunday, December 19, 2004 - 10:25 am:

Yawn.

Been there, heard that dozens of times the past 4 years.

Wake me up when there is a press conference.

Cheap bastards!

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By okplayer on Sunday, December 19, 2004 - 10:35 am:

interesting that this falls on the heels of dumping huddy and mulder...hmmmmmm

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By eyleenn on Sunday, December 19, 2004 - 11:44 am:

Yes, interesting indeed, as Ratto points out. Possibly a way to lower the price of the team.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/12/19/SPGAAAEBI91.DTL

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Sunday, December 19, 2004 - 01:51 pm:

they're not wasting any time either...


here's a tidbit from the a's website taken from Beane's press conference:

It's a cycle Beane knows will come around as long as there is status quo in their ability to draw more local revenue to bolster the payroll expenditures.

"I don't want to state what should be obvious," Beane said, then continuing to do just that, "but we're in one of the oldest stadiums in baseball and we're in a two-team market."
Ah, yes. The Coliseum, the concrete doughnut alongside Interstate 880. The place where the fans who come to A's games are as rabid as any around but where you can't get the fans to visit nearly enough.
With the Giants and their beautiful SBC Park selling out or coming close every single night and with revenues for San Francisco's team dwarfing those of Oakland's team, there's really no comparison between the situations facing the two Bay Area teams.

It's safe to say the A's are in a different universe than their crossbay rivals when it comes to revenue. And their continuing struggle to find a new ballpark -- landing on deaf ears in Oakland and running into obstacles in Santa Clara -- just keeps the cycle churning.

"Until things change drastically around here, we're going to have to be creative at how we put together this team," Beane said. "It's not a complaint. It's just a fact."

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By kevink on Sunday, December 19, 2004 - 02:06 pm:

Interesting stuff.
What will a Wolff ownership REALLY mean for the A's and their chances of staying in Oakland? Isn't ANY change from Schott good news?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By asch on Sunday, December 19, 2004 - 10:16 pm:

I read that Schott and Hoffman are "generally" at odds regrading the direction of the team. Can someone explain that to me? I NEVER have seen Hoffman, JUST Schott....what is hoffman at odds with?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By gregorymark on Sunday, December 19, 2004 - 10:26 pm:

Ignacio De La Fuente

Isn't that Spanish for "The Mouth That Wouldn't Shut Up"?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By gregorymark on Sunday, December 19, 2004 - 10:27 pm:

I read that Schott and Hoffman are "generally" at odds regrading the direction of the team.

What direction?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By asch on Sunday, December 19, 2004 - 10:33 pm:

I don't know - that's what I read - they actually said "direction of the team". That's what I don't understand -it was either in Ratto's column or one by Slusser - or maybe someone else - it was a local bay area article.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By deajay on Sunday, December 19, 2004 - 11:37 pm:

Well, I can tell you this re part of the direction. Hoffman wants the team in Oakland and Schott's stance on that, we all know. So, if The Wolfe (in sheep's clothing?) is going to buy out one or the other, I hope to hell it's Schott.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By asch on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 08:22 am:

Hoffman wants to keep the A's in Oakland? Is he actually vocal about this? I never hear a damn thing from him.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By simplefan on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 08:37 am:

Hoffman - the "SILENT" partner!

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By deajay on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 10:13 am:

As I understand it, Hofmann is an Oakland guy (like Schott is a SC guy) and he wants keeping the team in Oakland to be a part of his legacy. On the other hand, for a guy who owns 50% of the team, he sure doesn't talk much. I think many of us have seen him maybe once or twice.

Schott is in his 70's and I believe Hofmann is close to 80, whether that's of any significance. I have heard though that Hofmann wants out, so who knows what's going to happen.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By rono on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 12:06 am:

Schott is 61.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By deajay on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 07:40 am:

Really? I had heard (like 2 yrs. ago) he was 70. Hmm, too bad; I guess this means he isn't ready to retire anytime soon. Maybe it is Hofmann that is 70 (not 80) then?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By ballparkfrank on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 09:17 pm:

Hoffman is the older partner. While he is not involved in baseball operations, he is an Oakland guy and enjoys baseball. He attends several games each year, usually sitting in the Diamond level. He has donated his luxury box to St. Mary's College, who use it as a fundraiser for the school. Seems like quite a decent chap who avoids the limelight. In other words, he is quite different from his partner.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By washfan on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 12:15 am:

And Wolffy is 67-68 remember kiddies he was a college and I think fraternity mate of Slug Selig.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By chris_d on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 09:49 am:

You're right, washfan. Selig and Wolff were fraternity brothers. And Wolff was a personal guest of Selig's in the commissioner's luxury box at the All Star Game in Houston this past July.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By rono on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 10:16 am:

Hofman is 78- 80 years old.He may be partial to Oakland because he grew up here but he is just as tight with the dollars.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By rono on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 10:18 am:

Hofman is 78- 80 years old.He may be partial to Oakland because he grew up here but he is just as tight with the dollars.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By mulder4cyoung on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 01:15 pm:

I'll take a risk of the unknown with Wolffe than the known of the status quo with Schitt. If he buys this team, we will actually have a payroll, and we won't have to see Mulder, Miggy, Huddy, etc walk out the door any more. I could care less if the odds arent good, I am going to withold hope that the reign of Steve Schitt ends soon

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By yc2578 on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 04:59 pm:

"Selig and Wolff were fraternity brothers. And Wolff was a personal guest of Selig's in the commissioner's luxury box at the All Star Game in Houston this past July."

Oh ya...the A's are screwed. Enjoy these last couple of years in Oakland everyone.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By slash034 on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 05:03 pm:

yc dont be so negative

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By asch on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 11:20 pm:

why are you so sure Wolf will rais the payroll if he bought the team.

On that note, what do you all think it will take to get 30k fans out to the stadium a night like in the good old days? Is it the stadium? The team? Just curious. I haven't gone to a ton of games since the late 80's - but I remember seeing a ton of people out even at week night games. Now, I know we were in the WS for 3 straight years -but the team HAS been competetive and quite good the last few years. Do you think that if we got a new stadium, that that alone would attrace a way larger crowd?

Just curious.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By deajay on Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 08:42 am:

Actually, Adam, the team we had should have drawn the 30k fans you allude to. However ...

You have many thousands of fans on the cusp of taking the plunge and becoming hardcore fans. But you have an owner who continuously reminds one and all that he will move the team as soon as and if he ever gets the okay. You also have an owner who does not keep his stars. Free Agency life or not, there are still teams who make an attempt to keep some of their stars. Fans identify with players and if they are not yet of the hardcore variety, they are going to bolt once those players are gone ... helped with the annual negativity surrounding the team, from the owner, of course.

In short, the owner must take a positive marketing approach (not knocking the city and fans at every turn, while threatening to move); he must make the fans feel they are an important part of the franchise; he must listen to the fans. This is all something the Haas family did.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By colt45allstar on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 07:29 pm:

Had to bring this thread back up.

http://www.athleticsnation.com/story/2005/1/5/184559/3993

I seem to remember Baseball Weekely saying that one of the previous sale attempts was all but done also (and we all know nothing came out of it...)

So needless to say I'll believe it when I see it... just thought some of you might be interested in seeing that.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 09:07 pm:

I think this blurb is just a spin-off from the Mattier and Ross article of a couple of weeks ago. Wolff has been trying to buy in for two years.

I doubt both Hofmann and Schott will be selling their shares. It will be one or the other...

Hofmann has refused to sell and wants to keep the team in Oakland as matter of honor and family legacy.

If Schott feels his pipe dream of moving to the SC is not going to happen, then he'll be the one to sell out.

On the other hand, if Selig and cohorts have sealed the fate of the Oakland A's and the team is headed to Vegas, then it is possible Wolff will be the front man for a new group and the team will leave Oakland.

What does make sense is that Beane was given the word to get the team ready for a change in ownership thus the trading and dumping of salary.

So basically, we'll just have to hope the folks who are working behind the scenes trying to keep the A's in Oakland have learned a bit from the lessons of the past in dealing with the snake Bud Selig and his cartel.

Sadly and unfortunately A's fans are not united and many don't give a damn where they move the team so...

noblesse oblige I guess is our only hope.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By kevink on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 09:09 am:

My fear is that Hofmann will kick the bucket (as he is in his 80s I believe), and Schott will quickly strike a deal with SC, or Hofmann's shares in the team will just be taken over by Wolfe, and then they're outta here.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 09:29 am:

Kevin, usually a man with Hofmann's kind of wealth has his business, properties and assets well secured in a trust which legally stipulates all his wishes. His executor would make sure his determinations would be carried on. This is especially true if the person is in his advanced age with so many active business involvements.

I doubt Hofmann will be handing things over in a platter to either Schott or Wolff...

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By finleyshero on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 10:29 am:

I just don't see the A's, or anybody else, moving to Vegas. The casinos have found that amusement parks and other family entertainment amenities are money losers because they keep people occupied during time in which they'd otherwise be gambling.

The national passtime would be a big money loser for the powers that be in Vegas, and I just don't see them letting it happen.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 07:19 pm:

Well, the NBC11 6 oclock news just reported that Wolff has made an agreement with the present A's owners to purchase the team for 170 mil, pending approval by MLB owners which could take up to 90 days.

So it appears both present owners agreed to sell but the reporter didn't specify.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By fansince79 on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 09:13 pm:

yes, heard the same news, they said he said that they will have plans for a new stadium in 3 months in either oakland or san jose. that would make me hopeful as I can't see them getting baseball's permission to move to the lower bay. but again, it's all 'they said, he said'...

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 09:42 pm:

Actually, later on same newscast the anchor said Wolff will continue with pursuit of keeping team in Oakland at a new park...and does not intend to make any changes in the way the team has been run since he feels it has been excellent.

Anyway, I think this is just a confirmation of the earlier story by Matier and Ross.

However, this news today insinuates Wolff and his group of investors are buying all the shares.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By jerryo1 on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 10:04 pm:

Actually, the quote was that Wolfe said "if I had a magic wand, I would not make any changes in the way the team is run...". Well, since he doesn't have a magic wand, what does that mean for the team?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By yc2578 on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 10:34 pm:

Being in Stockton I didn't see the report but I did see this right now on the ESPN.com wire, with this quote:

"Whatever deal (Wolff) works out, he wants Steve Schott to remain as part of the ownership," Spear said.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/wire?section=mlb&id=1961226

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By oakfan on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 11:06 pm:

Now on another site I see this link. Is this a hoax?

http://cbs5.com/news/local/2001/08/01/Oakland_A%27s_to_be_Sold%3F.html

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By oakfan on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 11:14 pm:

Sorry. Old news clip. Just looked a the link!!

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By bigthree17 on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 01:14 am:

The espn article says that Wolff is going to decide within the next 90 days if he is going to exercise his option to buy the A's, not that a deal has already been reached. The article also says that one of the hurdles would be for the parties to agree on a price, which is a little bizarre, because if he has a purchase option you would think there would already be a preset price.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 06:09 am:

I think that ESPN article seems to be an old report of two months ago.

The new tv report stated that Wolff had made an offer to purchase the team for 170 mil and the parties involved had reached an agreement now only pending approval from MLB. They mentioned that this approval may take up to 90 days but could come sooner.

Here's the Chronicle's article

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2005/01/07/SPGDSAMLTQ1.DTL

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 06:24 am:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2005/01/07/SPGDSAMLTQ1.DTL

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By asch on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 09:19 am:

so, for you OAFC veterans, is this good news? I mean, this could be GREAT news..not sure.

I think though, if he wants to keep the team running the same way, that means, lower payroll, with shrewd moves by the GM and big on the minor league system...that doesn't seem to make me think that payroll is going to increase.

Also, 170 million? That's gotta be either ALL the shares or almost all, I can't imagine that's only Hoffman's shares...right?

God, how great of a thing would it be if he buys this team and stikes up a stadium deal in Oakland w/in 3-4 months...I would be a happy man.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By givedaddy5 on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 09:46 am:

If this sale does go through will it increase the A's payroll at all? I am not asking for 100 million but just imagine how could this team could be with a payroll of 80-85 million. Just think of all the possible moves Beane would be able to make. It would be a dream come true.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By deajay on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 09:48 am:

To be honest, I don't know whether this is good or bad news. He could also be in Las Vegas in three years. I believe the Coli lease is through 2007. Anybody know for sure? Also, Beane has an out (of his contract) if the team is sold. So, time will tell whether this is good or bad.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By deajay on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 09:49 am:

As an aside. I have to be suspicious of anyone whose name is "Wolff". :)

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By sactodavey on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 09:51 am:

i think since he has no ties to bay area he could just be buying time to move the team to Las vegas in 3 yrs when a stadium would be ready.

if Wolf buys the team i bet you will hear plans in vegas of a domed retractable stadium being built within the next few months , oh they won't name the A's as the team moving there to protect attendance but i suspect Wolfs intentions are to relocate with a big payoff, remember that big casino's are huge corporate's who would give the team big $$$$ in lux box and season tixs sales that will make the A's mega bucks in vegas, it would be a natural to have casino's comp guests high rollers with game tix, the A's will have few local fans but tourist from alll over country would be able to see thier fave teams play when comming to town and would creat an additional draw for the hot summer months.

my take is if schott had the balls or ways to build a stadium he would have to make the A's more valuable but now he see's that salaries have gone out of control again and baseball is going to destroy itself with to much spending and it was time to get out, the A's have been a cash cow for him but when teams like arizona are paying mediocre pitchers 10 mill a season he realizes no way can he make $$$ in the future with the way payrolls are going.

The only way for the A's to survive long term as a franchise is to prob move to vegas and get big corporate money and this what they will do.

this is not a bay area problem but a huge baseballl problem its gotton totally out of control.

if the A's were close to a deal to build a stadium we would have heard of deals or rumors taking place but we have nothin period, and it makes sense if the A's move in 3 or 4 yrs they would need to rebuild to be a good team when they move and the timetable is about right.

to build a 400 mill stadium near the strtip in vegas is nothing to the huge casino owners and it would be the cherrie top of the big vegas building boom.

i never thought the A's would move but now i am worried because baseballl has taken a dark turn in the way salalries are going and teams like the A's will never truly be able to compete or keep players unless they make bold moves like go to big money towns.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 10:49 am:

Well, what worries me the most about Wolff are his very close ties to Bud Selig. But he does have several investments in the Bay Area.

According to one tv report this morning, Wolff will be coming in from LA this coming Tuesday to finalize aggreement with A's present ownership.

Wolff said to reporter: "I would like the deal to be done immediately, but the speed of Major League Baseball is very different."

In my opinion, the vote will come after Selig and his cohorts can make sure the guys bying the team will be willing to play the city extortion game for a new ballpark and if they are willing to threaten to move the team if things are not done as they want it done. Since Selig is already familiar and Wolff's frat brother, the chances are he already has been pre-approved for the deal.

I also read one of his partners include the Fisher Family of San Francisco, who were also one of the original investors when the Giants was "saved".

http://www.hotel-online.com/News/PressReleases1998/FairmontAgreement_March98.html

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By eyleenn on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 10:52 am:

Good post, sacto, but I would point out that Wolff does have Bay Area ties -- to San Jose.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 11:00 am:

Here's a Mark Purdy column (Purdy writes for the Mercury news and he is a big booster for relocating team to SJ).

This column was written back in November 03 when Wolff was brought into the picture by Schott.

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/sports/7276080.htm?1c

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By eyleenn on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 11:18 am:

I believe I avoided reading the Purdy column in November and I was right. Who needs the grief?

"In other words, rather than dawdle too long with studies and governmental hoo-ha, Wolff will seek out the best do-able deal and see where that deal goes. If that's in Oakland, fine. But frankly, if your city has a mayor who recently decided to build a housing project on the best potential downtown ballpark location (hello, Jerry Brown!), doesn't that tell you something?

No, this whole adventure will lead to Santa Clara County, sooner or later. Wolff won't answer any questions about that. But he has always been an advocate of downtown San Jose. Mayor Ron Gonzales has never made a ballpark any sort of major priority, but he and Wolff are well acquainted. And in a fortuitous bit of timing, council member Dave Cortese recently led a move to form a city task force to examine the possibilities of new sports facilities in the city.

There's no guarantee any of this will lead anywhere. But the betting here is, there will be a ballpark pitch here within three years. And we know this much: Lew Wolff can hit the fastball."

UGH...

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By deajay on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 11:37 am:

Frankly, I think there is less chance of this team moving to SC than either relocating out of state or staying in Oakland. Especially with Bonds getting long in the tooth; no way does Magowan give up southbay territorial rights. Sorry, Purdy (I'm really not!) but it ain't gonna happen. Even though I'd rather see them in SC than Las Vegas.

And, why the hell is it that every year at this time the same rumors abound? Slow time of year, I guess.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By ballparkfrank on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 06:47 pm:

If Schott and the Wolffman end up being the A's owners, look for the team to be renamed the Santa Clara Athletics of Las Vegas in 2008.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By camperhead on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 07:25 pm:

Looks like the wheels could already be in motion, and Reggie's in the driver's seat:

Las Vegas mayor says developer helps bid for big-league ballpark

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Saturday, January 08, 2005 - 09:20 am:

meanwhile... one can feel the frustration of getting the run around Newhouse has been getting when he tried to find out what is going on about this change in ownership and possible ballpark dealings...everytime somebody asks, it is always a matter of three months or more...very fishy and very secretive when nobody even knows who's calling the "shcotts".

http://www.insidebayarea.com/oaklandtribune/ci_2519403

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By eyleenn on Saturday, January 08, 2005 - 01:57 pm:

Newhouse's frustration does come through. I loved his various "wolf" references.

Do you get the feeling that there's a lot of smoke being blown around here?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By colt45allstar on Monday, January 10, 2005 - 11:24 pm:

Check this out.. in particular the quotes from Schott

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/sports/baseball/mlb/oakland_athletics/10614223.htm?1c

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By colt45allstar on Monday, January 10, 2005 - 11:33 pm:

Of course not being from California, I just noticed that's a San Jose paper... The San Jose reference near the top of the article should have clued me in.

Regardless... looks like not only Hoffman but Schott is also ready to sell.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By kevink on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 09:30 am:

"In that club, Wolff is no stranger. He was a fraternity brother of Commissioner Bud Selig at the University of Wisconsin."

Ya, this bodes well for us.
Purdy keeps pointing out that Wolff has "ties" to the south bay, but doesn't he also have ties to L.A.?
I'm not sure we can jump to any conclusions yet, but this wolff plan is starting to stink badly. It does look like Schott is on the way out. What about Hoffman?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By deajay on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 09:38 am:

Wolff lives in LA. As for Hofmann, some articles are saying he is ready to sell; others don't know. I have to laugh at John Shea's article this morning saying that Schott has kept the team in Oakland. It sure isn't because he was trying to. Also, in the cctimes article, they're saying ... while alluding to the fraternity brother relationship of Slug Selig/Wolff In Sheep's Clothing .... that it only takes a vote of mlb owners to get the approval to move the team to the southbay.

In the meantime, I believe this team is doing what it can to further sabotage the East Bay fanbase for self-serving purposes.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By jeffreyb on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 09:55 am:

i want to second Deajay's last sentence.

here's a paranoid scenario for ya:

Ever since the Dolich group purchase of the A's was veoted by MLB, Schott has been Completely in Selig's pocket. The economy, the recent A's success, and the Minnesota public officials' fight over contraction, kept them from contracting previously, but they bought the right to do so in the current player's agreement...i think it's allowed after 2007.

The DC situation was looking very dicey at the times of the Hudson/Mulder excretment. There was an article on ESPN at the time, postulating that the smartest thing MLB could do would be to continue to treat the Expos as a traveling, temporary team, until they could contract them in 2007...along with another un-named team.

paranoid hypothesis: Schott has been ordered to take a dive. Wolff is involved to move the team or contract. This cannot happen if the team is competitive.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By deajay on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 10:11 am:

Yup, and their next attempt at further eroding the fanbase, will be the dealing of Byrnes ... for another reliever ... and one coming off injury at that? Suddenly, this pen seems (overly?) solid with pitching, but nobody is doing anything about the needed right handed pop. Seems like they are getting rid of it, instead. Oh, that's right, we still have Kielty. :(

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By okplayer on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 10:43 am:

I agree w/DJ. Such a yes man I am! I've always felt that management is in a win-win. Win on a small budget--they look like resourceful geniouses. Dump key talent, lose fans, and that gives them more fodder to move...part of the master plan.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By dansward on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 11:11 am:

There may well be a movement underway to move the team, but the thought that it's being sabotaged with regard to competitiveness/talent is an absurdity. While I didn't love the trades (thought they could have gotten more), they made very good sense for a team with a long-term strategy of remaining in contention. This is a very attractive long-term investment, as opposed to an obvious contraction candidate.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By eyleenn on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 11:33 am:

We always seem to come back to the "Major League" story line -- alienate the fans by getting rid of favorite, productive players, driving down attendance to the point that moving (or contracting) the team seems like the only alternative.

It does seem to me though that if contraction is the ultimate plan, why bother changing ownership? I think a move is more likely.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By deajay on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 11:34 am:

Obviously, I don't find it "absurd" at all. It simply lends leverage ... whether CheapSchott or Wolff In Sheep's Clothing own the club ... in crying into Selig's ear with re to the Oakland fanbase diminishing little by little. They will try any selling point(s) they can garner to get Slug's sympathetic ear for a move to the southbay.

In fact, this plan has been put in place for a few years now, as each season has started with Schott's cry about how Oakland can't support a team, blah, blah, blah, while pushing for the southbay. Any smart businessman (including Schott) knows those kind of disparaging remarks are going to hold attendance down. Nothing absurd about it, at all.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By deajay on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 11:36 am:

And at this point, I am referring to relocation, not contraction. Did I mention contraction in either of the above two posts? I don't think so.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By nickb on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 11:49 am:

I also firmly believe that relocation of the A's is not far off under a Wolff ownership scenario. And I'm not talking about relocating to the south bay. Since Schott has long ties to the south bay, why in the world would he pull out if the team was ultimately headed to his back yard? I'm thinking that Selig has firmly told Schott and Wolff that the south bay is out of the question - either build it in the east bay or relocate out of the area. Since the park in the lot is really not a viable scenario in Schott's mind (after all, he'd have to put up $100M and there's no way Oakland will put up the rest). So he's left with 2 scenarios - sell to outside interests or to one who appears to be a local guy so that he doesn't have to (in his mind) live with the bay area's scorn as the guy who caused the A's to leave. At least he tried. Wolff comes forward, presents a plan for the lot, and Oakland can't foot the bill. He then goes one more time to the commish to ask about the south bay, to which he states hands off. OK, says Wolff, it's off to Vegas I go. Don't be surprised to hear more and more rumblings about a park in Vegas over the next year. My guess is the green and gold will be Sin City's home colors in the not too distant future. Glum prediction, but I firmly believe this is the case.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By pachyderm on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 12:06 pm:

Here is a short article from ESPN.com about the Wolff story:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=1964506

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By dansward on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 12:11 pm:

"Did I mention contraction in either of the above two posts? I don't think so."

I wasn't responding to your post.

Beane would not continue managing a team that is being sabotaged for move or contraction. He would make trades that lower payroll and project a postive, competitive future.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By buzz on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 01:16 pm:

Dansward -- you took the words right out of my mouth. A guy as smart and competitive as Billy Beane would never work for an owner who instructed him to dump talent/payroll so the team could fail. He also has an ego, and his reputation and legacy is on the line with the team's performance each season. He doesn't need this job -- there are many other MLB clubs that would love to have him. He would simply never tolerate it.

This is it A's fans. The future is now, the moment is at hand. Wolff WILL buy the team -- that part now seems a certainty -- and we will know very soon where the future of the A's lies...

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By nickb on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 01:37 pm:

"This is it A's fans Ö"

Why am I reminded of the line in the movie "Titanic?" You remember, the couple holding on at the top of the ship, after hitting the ice-berg, he mutters to her, "this is it!"

Well we know the outcome of that one. I have this sneaky suspicion that we as fans are right at the top of the ship, doomed to crash to the depths of dispair.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By gregorymark on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 01:42 pm:

"Beane...doesn't need this job -- there are many other MLB clubs that would love to have him."

He should have jumped to Boston before the "86-years-between-World-Series-wins" clock was reset.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By buzz on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 01:45 pm:

You know -- he probably should have, but he didn't and we're all lucky for it. At the time, everybody thought DePodesta was ready for the job. Now, you couldn't find a less-popular GM in baseball than DePo...

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 01:56 pm:

nickb,

And I'm not talking about relocating to the south bay. Since Schott has long ties to the south bay, why in the world would he pull out if the team was ultimately headed to his back yard?

Your reasoning makes a lot of sense.

But there is also the fact that both Schott and Wolff have been trying to push Hofmann out of the partnership for at least two years and Hofmann hasn't budget.

So, we could look at the other side of the coin and say that if Schott is out and Hofmann stays, there is a possibility the A's could stay in Oakland IF a ballpark deal can be worked out.

But I agree with the possibility that Wolff has gotten the nod from Selig to buy the team and move the team out of the Bay Area (which has been Selig's death wish all along) and in that case, it would be Vegas or Portland or wherever they can get the best deal for a new ballpark.

So we could very well be waiting for the ship to sink...or perhaps gloriously dock at an Oakland Port... Hofmann always said he wanted the ballpark near JLS.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By yc2578 on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 02:02 pm:

Does the A's lease on the Coliseum run out after 2006 or 2007?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By nickb on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 02:05 pm:

Good point, Lil. I guess I'm a pessimist by nature and certainly hope you're right about the Oakland port. What a great thing that would be, a ballpark on the waterfront of our very own! I guess we'll see in the not too distant future. To me, a best case scenario, would be for a Wolff/Hoffman group (since Hoffman seems to be the one pushing for an Oakland park) while a worst case scenario is Wolff w/o Hoffman or Schott as reported today in the SJ Merc. This would mean that Oakland is not that likely (I still can't envision Oakland kicking in $300M), SJ is not likely (why wouldn't Schott retain at least a small portion of the team to reside in his own backyard?) and Vegas is highly likely (Wolff is only "local" in perception - he's based in LA and has investments all over the world - I'll bet he's drooling over a new one in Vegas)

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By chris_d on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 02:08 pm:

2007 -- with one-year club options until 2010. But they have an inexpensive buyout clause which would allow them to virtually void it at anytime.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By oakland_j on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 04:44 pm:

Has there been any indication that Hoffmann might be the one to stay on? Everything I've read mentions the possibility of Schott retaining a limited role, which is a bit disconcerting. :(

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 05:07 pm:

Well, there has been no public quotes from Hofmann
stating he doesn't want to sell but so far, his actions have spoken louder than his silence.

For quite awhile reports that Schott and Wolff wanted to buy Hofmann out were never materialized and he still owns his shares of the team.

And...during the Oakland City officials attempts to bring the A's owners to the table when Robert Bobb and his committee were actively putting togehter a plan, it was Hofmann who came to the table several times but Schott never showed any interest and in fact snobbed the entire project.

But the harsh reality is that it really doesn't matter whether Schott wants to go south or Hofmann wants to stay...it will be Selig and his friend Reinsdorf and Co. who will ultimately decide the Oakland A's fate.

And we all know Selig considers the Oakland A's a
HOWRABLE mistake (insert here butthead's wet droopy ugly mouth).

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By bloggsy on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 08:25 pm:

developers and agents ... sharks! and if bud considers oakland a big mistake (even if the kelly green and gold finley cooked up WAS world championship, in colors like lombardi's heroes), lil is right ... there doesn't seem to be enough passion and unity in the fanbase to fight to keep the a's in town. if hoffman is why the a's are still here - we can't have too much longer.

i often wonder how many oaklandfans.com posters get to games. all? some? a few? anyone ready to tie him/herself to coliseum concrete? yes salaries are out of control in respect to intrinsic worth. people working in healthcare make loads less but are arguably worth far more, person to person (no doubt j brown makes this point from time to time). is beltran worth what he's going to get despite his postseason AND A.L. track record? and this isn't just in baseball. we're in the immediacy of smash and grab, based on a long history of commissioner's office/owner collusion plus agents and free agency ... and modern day (vicarious) fan worship of celebrity over, say, playing sports overselves. of course no help at all that brown isn't interested and probably doesn't play softball either.

maybe the way forward is for fans to chain themselves to city hall fences. that is probably the answer - but how do we get lift-off? how do we communicate the "quality of life" worth of this kind of franchise to a locality, even one as close to SF as oakland's?

for the moneyed people, baseball is a business first and foremost. which is why vegas makes sense given the absence of the kind of fan passion which leads to real organization in the community. I'm in the UK but I'd fly out for a city hall sit-in when it happens. just give me a few days notice.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By oaklandfasho510 on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 10:10 pm:

Well, I'm a A's Fan, and as much as I love them, I don't think I can worry too much about their future. I live in Oakland, born and raised. The A's mean as much to me as the city itself. But I think it's really time for us to not be so concerned about a future that's already planned. MLB doesn't care about this site or anyone on this site. If the MLB wants to carry the A's out of Oakland they will. MLB has no concern for the fans whatsoever and they could care less about how we feel about the A's. This is a business to them.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By deajay on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 07:26 am:

Well, it's getting closer. And there will be no white knight to rescue our A's at the last moment. Selig will see to that; he's got what he wants ... an owner who will move the team not only out of Oakland, but California. And what is aggravating is that Oakland has a jerk of a mayor who could care less. The setting couldn't be more perfect for Selig. And what is even more aggravating, there is not a damn thing we ... the fans ... can do about it. If it's not the southbay, it'll be Las Vegas. Screw Selig and screw mlb.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By deajay on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 07:42 am:

Now, the question is, will the A's even draw 1.5mil this season? I wouldn't bet on it.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By ballparkfrank on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 08:58 am:

Beware, the Wolff is at the door.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 10:02 am:

Now I want to see the San Jose boosters put their money where their mouth is...

Some of the media are openly lobbying for a relocation to the South Bay. Last night Gary Radnich, Vernon Glenn and Michael Urban had it all fifured out. They all said that it is almost a done dea; and that Selig would convince Magowan to take a payoff and everything would be settled.

All I can say is that yes, the Wolff is at the door alright... but nothing will happen unless all these people who are now in favor of relocation to San Jose get out their wallets.

I say, enough of the talking, let them try to do the walking.

As for the attendance. Selig doesn't need an excuse...he just lies.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By kkdaz on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 10:11 am:

Does anyone know what might become of the Rivercats if the A's are sold and moved? They would be the next best thing for me since Sacramento is closer to my house than San Jose.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By eyleenn on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 10:31 am:

I don't imagine anything would happen to the Rivercats. That affiliation shouldn't be affected.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By sactodavey on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 10:49 am:

i just do not see the south bay i mean it will killl Sacramento fans from attending , to far i just think if Wolf is interested in keeepin the team in the Bay he uses the south bay as an excuse to drive oakland politicians to build him a new stadium.

can anyone see fans from marin or sacto or redding going all the way down to the south bay?

Oakland is still the best location in the middle of the bay area within 2 hr drive from north marin, sacto and valley cities and fans can stay in san fran and make it a weekend but san jose PUke puke!!!!!!!

if your gonna drive all the way to san jose from marin or sacto might as welll skip the game and go to santa cruz or Monterey and listen to game on radio.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 11:01 am:

Besides, here are two things about the San Jose relocation that doesn't make sense...

1. If Selig feels it was a mistake for the A's to come to Oakland "because it hurt the Giants"...
why would he think it would be a good idea for the A's to go to San Jose where it would "hurt the Giants" even more...

2. If it is Wolff's intention to relocate to the South Bay and if he got Selig's help to change Magowan's mind, why would Schott sell his shares? It would be his pipe dream come true and what he has worked for since he bought the team.

Anyway, Wolff is making his presentation today at the Arizona Lord's meering. We'll know what comes out of their cosa nostra decisions.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By oakland4ever on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 11:04 am:

It must be a cold day in hell, sactodavey, I agree w/you. I drive down from Chico and the extra amount of time heading to SJ & back with tons of traffic, doesn't appeal to me at all.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By sactodavey on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 11:24 am:

i wrote glenn dickey about this and he responded if his opinion means anything:

Lew Wolff wants to build a park in Oakland. Despite the fact that he was involved in so much of the downtown building in San Jose, he now lives in Los Angeles, so those writing that heíd want to move the team to San Jose arenít doing their homework. If no park is built, the Aís may be moved to Portland or Las Vegas, but if thatís necessary, Iíd guess that Wolff would sell it first. Sacramento is not an option. There just arenít enough people in the area and itís a small TV market.

Glenn Dickeyu



-----Original Message-----
From: [mailto:@aol.com]
Sent: Wednesday, January 12, 2005 7:51 AM
To: Dickey, Glenn
Subject: question to Mr. Dickey


Mr. Dickey,



Since it looks like the A's will be sold to the Wolf group do you think the A's will be relocated to either Portland, Las Vegas or San Jose or do you feel he will go into serious negotiations with East bay officials and get the stadium on the parking lot?



I live in Sacramento so what chance if the A's cannot get a stadium does Sacramento have to acquire the A's ?since this community is a huge sports town that many think could support MLB since it attracts 900k for AAA ball.



thank you

dave

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By deajay on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 11:38 am:

Well, I know Dickey, all along, has said it isn't going to happen. This is one time I sure hope he is right. But, I'm thinking along with him re Wolff's residence; why should San Jose be a preference for him? That is, if he can get a site in Oakland and work with the council. Forget the podunk mayor. It is an absolute shame that Jerry Brown sits in that office; a good mayor behind keeping this team here, is nothing short of a must.

But, apart from that, driving to Oakland from Santa Rosa is almost a piece of cake. But to San Jose? On a good day you're looking at a total of 4 hrs. driving time .. round trip .. and, besides, I HATE that friggin drive.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 11:39 am:

Well, it looks like Glenn Dickey hasn't done his homework either.

Wolff has connections all over the country and he does have connections in Vegas. In fact the developer of the Vegas proposed ballpark is very much involved with Wolff.

So I don't agree that Wolff would sell the team if it were relocated. He wouldn't even be approved by Selig if that was the case.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By rocket on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 12:45 pm:

If you look at the kind of guarantees MLB is
negotiating with Peter Angelos as a guide to the type of an agreement it would take for Magowan to
agree, it is pretty cost prohibitive.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By simplefan on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 01:00 pm:

http://www.insidebayarea.com/oaklandtribune/ci_2522852

Monte Poole's comments on it!

A's wagering on Las Vegas in '08?




WHEN THE A'S hired multimillionaire business executive Lewis Wolff back in November 2003, the team's owners insisted his goal was to deliver their dream: a new baseball facility in the Bay Area.
This palace likely would be built in Oakland.

Or maybe Fremont.

Or, OK, maybe, if it becomes available, San Jose.

Much has changed, though, and now Bay Area fans are faced with the probability of being shut out of Major League Baseball's new-ballpark game.

Moreover, we could lose the A's entirely.

To, of all places, Las Vegas.

There are plenty of jigsaw pieces to connect before the puzzle is complete, but some already are falling into place.

Last week, Wolff said he expects to decide whether to purchase part or all of the team from co-owners Steve Schott and Ken Hofmann within 90 days. Though it was initially believed Wolff might buy out Hofmann, keeping Schott as the managing partner, that scenario is all but kaput.

For one, Hofmann has said he's unwilling to sell his 50-percent share unless Schott also sells his share.

For two, Schott has acknowledged he is ready to sell.

For three, both sides ó Schott-Hofmann and Wolff ó have pretty much reached agreement on a selling price of about $175 million.

For four, Wolff lately has spent considerably more time and energy assembling potential ownership partners than chasing funding for a new ballpark in the Bay Area.

By all accounts and virtually any rationale, Wolff, who through an assistant referred inquiries to the A's media relations department, is the team's owner-in-waiting.

With backing from additional partners, including one or more members of the influential Fisher family, which no longer has ownership ties with the cross-Bay Giants, Wolff is expected to arrive in Arizona today in hopes of persuading Major League Baseball owners, during their quarterly meetings, that he is able and willing to purchase the A's.

One of the crucial elements will be Wolff's ability to sell a new ballpark.

Despite a preponderance of evidence that the A's can contend despite the so-called disadvantages of Network Associates Coliseum, commissioner Bud Selig has made it abundantly clear that he wants the A's to join the new-yard revolution.

That's highly unlikely, at least in the Bay Area. A new ballpark is not a priority for Oakland and is beyond the city's means for the foreseeable future, Selig remains adamant that San Jose is Giants' territory and no other Bay Area city has thrown any cash toward the A's.

Though Wolff has had conversations with officials in Oakland and Alameda County, and there has been discussion of building a ballpark on the Coliseum parking lot, there is no indication of meaningful progress.

Meanwhile, Vegas lurks.

Although Las Vegas is more than 500 miles from the Bay Area, it is the one major city consistently prostituting itself for Major League Baseball, the one major city consistently saying it will build a ballpark and the one major city that never lets money get in its way.

In other words, Vegas is making itself an option.

Don't think Wolff, who has a 50-year friendship with Selig, isn't acutely aware of this.

Las Vegas pitched a privately financed,

$420 million stadium, with 42,000 seats and a retractable roof, in an attempt last summer to lure the Montreal Expos.

Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, flanked by showgirls, came to the baseball winter meetings last month in Anaheim to promote his city as a destination.

He since has arranged meetings with specific teams and with groups seeking to buy a team.

"Within a month, we might be negotiating with a team and defining how it's going to be paid for," Goodman told the Las Vegas Review-Journal last week. "I think things are going to happen very quickly."

In any case, both Wolff and Goodman anticipate movement in the coming weeks regarding the acquisition of a team.

Not that either can do much about it immediately.

Wolff and his partners still must be approved by other owners ó not that this will be an issue given his ties to Selig. Bud essentially steered A's ownership toward Wolff, a fraternity brother (Pi Lambda Phi) from their days at the University of Wisconsin.

Then, too, the A's lease at the Net runs through 2007, with one-year options through 2010.

Come 2008, look out.

One baseball insider, studying all the moves, suggested the peddling of Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder could be part of a plan to give Oakland the Montreal treatment. Gut the team, watch attendance fall, offer to move to the highest bidder.

Hmmm.

It is not inconceivable, though, that a ballpark eventually gets built in the Bay Area. The Fishers, founders of San Francisco-based Gap, have shown commitment to local philanthropy. They could, I suppose, save the day.

But there has been no such indication. If Don Fisher or anyone else with money to spare wanted to chip in for a new ballpark, they could have done so last summer, when Schott announced he would put up $100 million.

Another $300 million or so, and everybody would have been happy.

Schott's offer was met, not surprisingly to him or anyone else, with silence. In less than six months, he has gone from offering part of his wallet to pay for a ballpark to selling out to Wolff.

Wolff's plan, should he take over, has not been stated. He is connected to San Jose and to Selig, which invites interesting possibilities.

Should that not work out, there's always Vegas. It will be there, aglow and drenched with cash, no matter how long A's fans dream of a new ballpark.


Sports columnist Monte Poole is a frequent panelist on "The Last Honest Sports Show," seen Saturday evenings on UPN 44 (cable Channel 12). He can be reached at 208-6461 or by e-mail at mpoole@angnewspapers.com.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By chris_d on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 01:45 pm:

Here's John Shea's take in the Chron.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2005/01/12/SPG4SAOUHO1.DTL

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By rono on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 02:55 pm:

If Schott is out ,there will be no move to San Jose ,unless he does an end around and sells with Hofmann now and buys back in later once Wolff makes a deal with San Jose. I think this scenario is very unlikely. He will take the money and run.Wolff will firm up a Vegas deal and they are gone. I am afraid the latter is true.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By bubba69 on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 03:20 pm:

do not be so sure...the ties that bind Wolffy Boy to the south bay are strong...

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By washfan on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 04:05 pm:

If the A's do move to Lost Wages, NV do you think Wolfy via Bud would try and erase the Athletics history by changing the franchise name?

Correct me if I am wrong but are the Athletics the second most World Series wining franchise behind the Yanks? I am including the time spent in Philly.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By kevink on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 04:23 pm:

Yes the A's are #2 in WS and I believe #2 in all time wins? Maybe one of you stat heads can correct me on that last one.

Even though I fully agree with the OAFC's cause and positions on keeping the A's in Oakland, I just HATE the idea of them moving to Vegas more than anything. They might as well contract them if they're going to Vegas. I'm not on board with SJ, but it won't become the laughing stock that Vegas will be.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By okplayer on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 04:33 pm:

think their 3rd in WS w/the dodgers second.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By kevink on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 05:01 pm:

I looked it up. A's and Cardinals are tied for #2 with 9 WS championships. The Dodgers have 6 total WS championships.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By rockridgea on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 05:10 pm:

The a's are tied with the Cardinals with 9 each for 2nd most championships. I believe.

Im holding hope on the fact that city/county will put up such a fight legally. Plus the fact that Baseball shelved a local ownership group was going to keep the team in Oakland. This may uncover the collusion that is going on with Selig and the other owners to remove the A's from Oakland. Im willing to bet that Congresswoman Barbara Lee will have something to say about this whole deal. Since, if memory serves me, she went to New York for the ownership presentation, along with Jerry Brown, to promote the Dolich group. Also, will the State let a professional franchise leave for another state. Also, State Senate Majority Leader, Don Perata, possibly corrupt, is also a Oaklander. We have some major players, I hope, that won't let the A's leave on their watch.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By washfan on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 07:23 pm:

The only place I would accept would be Sac because they would be the media darling of that metro area. Hell the Kings sold out the Arco Arena even when they sucked.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By jeffreyb on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 07:34 pm:

dansward, I guess Monte Poole and his un-named baseball insider are also "absurd."

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 08:55 pm:

Schott's offer was met, not surprisingly to him or anyone else, with silence. In less than six months, he has gone from offering part of his wallet to pay for a ballpark to selling out to Wolff.

This statement by Monte Poole is entirely not true.

First of all, it was not met with silence at all.
DLF and other city council members have spoken out about the meetings they've had with Wolff.

That is not to say Wolff was just blowing smoke and setting Oakland up to fail.

Let us not forget how Selig and Schott colluded and allowed Andy Dolich and Piccinini spend one year of their time and a lot of money with a fake sale which was destined to fail. A set up from beginning to end. A ploy just to break a ten year lease and extort more money from Oakland.

Well, that little collusion cost Oakland a lot of money...and even though Dolich and Piccinini signed a waiver which prevented them to sue MLB, it doesn't mean Oakland residents and Oakland A's season ticket holders can't start a class action suit against MLB now...

I for one would put every penny I now spend in MLB towards a fight against these conniving extortionists... in a minute I will join a class action suit and I know I won't be alone.

The mediots with selective memory who are putting all the blame on the politicos and fans (attendance card) should be ashamed of themselves and have no integrity.

This is not going to be another Montreal. There are people out there who know better and will not let that happen.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By rocket on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 09:07 am:

Wolf says that San Jose is not in the picture..

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2005/01/13/SPG54APKRS1.DTL

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By kevink on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 09:11 am:

So unless Wolff is lying, we're down to Oakland, Portland, or Vegas.

At least our odds got a little better.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By oakfan on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 09:14 am:

Basically, he has put Oakland "on the clock" for a new stadium and if something isn't well under way in the next three years then Wolff will move the team.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By emkey on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 09:45 am:

Vegas really isn't an option. Transient population, small metro area, a large % of the population works at night, temperatures in the 110+ degree range during the days in the summer, lots of competition for the entertainment dollar...

Vegas is a smoke screen. And not a very credible one.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By chris_d on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 09:52 am:

Hi, emkey. Welcome back! It's great to see your posts again.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By emkey on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 10:27 am:

Thanks chris_d. I've been lurking for a week or so and figured I'm make a post. I don't have nearly as much time as I used to and mostly hang out on another site. I think I'll continue to poke my head in over here occasionally though.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By deajay on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 10:33 am:

Well, the good news is ... if indeed the clock is ticking for 3 years ... Oakland will have a new mayor in place before the clock runs out of ticks. If Wolff is telling the truth (yes, I am a chief skeptic), then the City Council better get off the stick and start thinking in terms of "creative financing" instead of crying how the populous won't support any tax measures ... that is a given ... so let's get to a viable Plan B, please.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 10:36 am:

emkey, you know we value your insight so don't be a stranger.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By kevink on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 10:37 am:

I agree DJ.
They need to plan for creative financing.
The problem is, that requires them to think instead of just the knee jerk reaction of taxing the people, and we all know politicians don't like to think!

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By okplayer on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 01:33 pm:

It would behoove Oakland to make a stadium happen. The town needs a serious PR facelift and a new park might help. Don't really get the coli parking lot destination...actually, I do...it's probably the cheapest option. It might also run into less resistance from the communinty (i.e., local residents or business).

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By deajay on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 01:47 pm:

Hmm, you don't think downtown businesses ... or any fullblown business district for that matter ... wouldn't like to have the stadium nearby? IMO they would feed off one another.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By asch on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 01:56 pm:

All I know is, before baseball games here in cincy, local bars near the stadium are packed. If you put a stadium near restaurants and bars etc, it will ALL benefit. Which is why I think the parking lot of the old coli makes no sense - there is NOTHING to do right around the stadium. That downtown sketch looked pretty awesome to me!

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By rayfossefan on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 04:12 pm:

You know, I think in the end.... that Wolff buying the A's might be the best thing that ever happens to this team. Schott was a cheapy that got a great guy (Beane) to win a lot of games. Oakland looks great right now as a franchise and I'm positive Wolff will get the A's a new stadium IN OAKLAND and invest more money into this team. I think the future looks bright!

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By ballparkfrank on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 04:19 pm:

Conspiracy theories aside, Wolff will be looking for the best deal as far as his investment is concerned. The choices of venue are Oakland, Las Vegas, and Portland. The South Bay is out because it is part of the Giants protected franchise territory. Besides, if there was even a glimmer of hope for the A's to move there, Schott would not be selling.

A new stadium in any of the three cities will have to be paid for by some combination of public and private (Wolff and his investors)sources. The greater the public contribution, the greater the return on Wolff & Company's invesment, all other things being equal.

All other things are not equal. Oakland is low risk in that the franchise has been successful in Oakland, at least while the Giants were at Candlestick. If he A's get a new park and continue their winning ways on the field, they should be able to regain the same relative footing as they once had.

Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the U.S. with great tourist draw and lots of money flying around. There is risk as to how well a MLB franchise would thrive in the long run there. It is not a baseball city as witnessed by the 51s and their poor attendance. Vegas has a lot of competing venues for the tourist dollar and no one knows how attractive three hour baseball games will be there. Vegas tv will draw very little revenue for Wolff, given its tiny size.

Portland is a wildly enthusiastic sports town, but a small market that might not be able to fill lots of seats 81 times a year.

So, if you were Mr. Wolff, what would you do? I don't think he will waste much time making up his mind. I would venture to say that the Who Gets the A's sweepstakes will be decided by this fall.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By kevink on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 05:34 pm:

bpf, are you saying Portland is the most likely choice? I was confused with that "Portland" at the end of your first post.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By sactodavey on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 06:28 pm:

with vegas it would be the Corporate dollars leasing lux boxes at high end prices and buying season tix for thier gamblers, along with billboard revenue , the A's would not need to draw big crowds to make big dollars in vegas and they probably could put a hotel casino built right into the stadium like in Toronto.

Las vegas is a real option and the one place where they could easily moved to and make a fortune, remember wolffs investors are probably in this to make big dollars which will not happen in Oakland, think about it MLB has been trying to get someone to buy the Expos but they want to keep them on the East coast so this group would not be interested so were did they go to? Oakland a team with a 3 yr lease and a cheap buyout , be very afraid oakland.

I can see it in 6 yrs no baseballl and the Raiders move too so you got a empty dust filled Oakland stadium with only memories.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By ballparkfrank on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 06:36 pm:

No way! Some internet ghost added that. That is why I re-posted.

I think Oakland has a chance to keep the A's if the politcos find a way to make it happen. The key to their success will be to look at the value of the A's franchise in Oakland and NOT color their thinking with the Raider debacle. This will be a real challenge to de la Fuente.

While Vegas and Portland might use more public money to build a stadium, Oakland is less of a gamble with regard to fan support.

Oakland might look at a new baseball park as more than a place for the A's to play. It can be a venue for other civic and entertainment events as well. The gentrification of the area around the Coliseum as a transportation and shopping hub will be enhanced by the presence of baseball as well. Without the A's, the area will be a ghost town all Spring and Summer. Thereis also the potential for a Bay Area Olympics in the future, where the ballpark could host a number of events.

What the city contributes should be recouped through ticket and concession taxes, as in D.C. The city should look for the opportunity to develop more hotel sites in the area, as cities take in more tax revenue on hotels than any other property taxed entities.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By kevink on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 06:37 pm:

But Sacto, we've still got the GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS OF OAKLAND!!! :)

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By rayfossefan on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 07:41 pm:

Didn't you guys read the article in today's Chronicle? Wolff wants to keep the A's in Oakland. What's with all the conspiracy theories?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By emkey on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 07:46 pm:

Thanks Lil.

Some general comments...

I'll say it one more time, Vegas is not an option. The media revenues would be close to zero given the population and the attendance (Even accounting for luxury box revenues) wouldn't come anywhere close to being good enough to make that deal feasable.

Its pretty much Portland or Oakland at this point with Sacramento being a possibility a decade or so down the line if current trends continue.

In regards to the parking lot location, that would come in conjunction with significant redevelopment of the area which is from what I can tell all ready underway. That location is near the airport, centrally located and has great transportation resources. In short its a goldmine in waiting if somebody comes in with money and a plan to transform the surrounding area. Which should be right up Wolff's ally.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By eyleenn on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 08:49 pm:

emkey, you make it sound so logical. I hope you're right.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By rocket on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 08:50 pm:

The BIG problem for Vegas is that as Sacto
is saying the Casino's would be the entities
that lease the luxury boxes. Is MLB comfortable
with the gambling industry being the most influential customer of a baseball team. If MLB
is okay with that, then it could possibly work.
With MLB's long standing ban on gambling, it
would definitely be viewed as hypocritical at
the least.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By deajay on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 10:01 pm:

VERY good point, rocket. I was so down yesterday, because I had little doubt the A's would be gone in 3 years. But given Wolff's comments (provided he is not a Wolff in sheep's clothing), I'm taking his word that he wants to stay and I'm feeling much better. Now the ball is in Oakland City Council's court. They're fools if they screw this one up. As sacto said, the alternative is an empty dust filled coliseum; though they would tear it down. And with the (pathetic) Warriors as their only sports franchise ... until they move to San Jose, that is.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By emkey on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 10:27 pm:

For what its worth I heard Mayor Brown on KCBS say that the city would try to keep the A's. Not worth much I know, but at least he said something positive. he also indicated he was happy to hear they wouldn't be moving south.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By deajay on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 10:38 pm:

Well, I am pleased to know that at least Jerry Brown is aware they have a mlb team. :(

It would be nice if he appointed some council members (who are interested in keeping the team and know something about it) to come up with some creative financing, while diligently working with A's ownership. But I really think he could care less. Sadly. Even so, you think he'd have a little pride and want to shoot down Assessor (San Jose) Stone's comments that they will never get a park in Oakland.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By kevink on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 10:45 pm:

I'm leaving all possibilities open at this point. I think SJ is close to dead though, which is good. Vegas has many drawbacks. Portland is attrative for baseball, however, the city is pretty much in an economic depression, making it an unlikely place to fund a stadium or sell out luxury boxes.

Oakland is ripe for a new stadium. Imagine if on April 1st, Wolff announced that the A's were going to build a state of the art baseball-only facility in downtown Oakland. Attendance would get a bump this year and there would be an excitement in Oakland like there hasn't been in years. They could do exactly what the Giants did and promote the hell out of the new stadium for the next 3 seasons until it's built, meaning selling more tickets and getting the bay area talking about the A's. It would be sold out for 2 seasons just like SBC was, only we'd have some trophys to show off.

Man, I'm dreaming tonight !!

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By deajay on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 10:52 pm:

You just keep dreaming, kevin ... right on! No reason it can't be done. I'm sick of hearing from SC, period. Hey, their funky paper is reportedly (according to athleticsnation) not even going to have a beat reporter for the A's starting next season. That's okay by me. They need to devote all their time to the Giants anyway. And if Oakland politicians have any pride at all, they'll see that Stone's words and those of other minions down there, get stuffed back into you know where. But you gotta do the walk and the Council had better get extra pairs of shoes to get it done!

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By bloggsy on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 06:40 am:

could this be possible?

"Wolff said he has been kept updated throughout the offseason on A's roster moves and denied a growing belief among some fans that he pushed for the team to trade Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder before he'd make the purchase.

"Why would I do that?" Wolff asked. "

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By rocket on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 09:48 am:

One reason he would do that, was to avoid the
disdain of the fans, as being "cheap" as soon
as he took over. Schott has already heard all
of the cheap Schott diatribes, and has a track
record of winning teams to help him diffuse the cries from the fans.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 12:36 pm:

Another factor to consider is that Wolff has been with the organization since 2003 when he was hired by Schott to supposedly look for a ballpark deal "somewhere".

So of course he has been very much a part of the organizational decisions, especially now that he intends to purchase the team.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By mroakland on Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 10:19 am:

I agree with KevinK. Oakland IS ripe for a new stadium. Oakland's class A vacancy rate in downtown is below 10% compared to 20% in SF. Also,developers are purchasing every available parcel and building luxury condos as the demand is overwhelming. With the low interest rates there has never been a better opportunity to invest in Downtown Oakland!

Lewis Wolf is a smart investor and developer. I think Mr. Wolf sees an opportunity to engage the Oakland corporate community and make something special happen in Oakland.

BTW by the look of this board it's great to see the passion and energy of so many Oakland A's fans. People care!

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 12:34 pm:

I'm very curious to see whether Wofff is not gobbling up real estate in Oaktown...and if so...
where.

And I agree with mroakland, Wolff is a smart investor and developer and he is not going into the baseball business with a pipe dream of being a home town hero. He wants to make money and in baseball in order to make a lot of money, you have to do it the old fashion way...you have to earn it and you have to spend. And you don't earn it by being a bottom feeder whining small minded owner like Steve Schott.


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