Reggie Left on the Bench!
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| By simplefan on Thursday, February 10, 2005 - 08:48 am:|
I am not a big Reggie Fan... but here is his issues with the sale of the team....
MLB, A's ownership left Reggie on bench
Slugger's group offered to pay $25million more than any others for team
HE HAS WON virtually every award available to a ballplayer. A first-ballot Hall of Famer who symbolizes colorful, clutch performance, he has given two-thirds of his life to baseball.
But Reggie Jackson craves one more achievement. He yearns to become the game's first African-American owner, the Jackie Robinson of executives, crossing the oldest and most imposing of baseball's color lines.
Is there a more natural place than Oakland, a multicultural city where Reggie spent half his career and still owns a home?
So, too, thought Jackson, who spent part of 2003 and 2004 assembling a group of business associates in an effort to buy the A's from co-owners Steve Schott and Ken Hofmann.
Led to believe they had the blessing of Major League Baseball's top executives, including commissioner Bud Selig, Jackson and his partners were prepared to make an offer for the A's as early as last spring.
The offer never reached the doorstep, much less the table.After months of listening to Selig and MLB president Bob DuPuy preach patience, and being told to expect contact from a potential partner named Lewis Wolff, Jackson says he eventually took it upon himself last fall to contact Schott.
At which time he was told: too late.
So much for the advice of Selig and DuPuy, which in retrospect reeks of insincerity.
But that's how Jackson and his partners discovered Wolff was to be the next owner of the A's.
"Steve Schott told me that they'd been engaged in a deal with Lew Wolff since the summer," Jackson recalls. "He also told me, in writing, that if the deal (with Wolff) fell through, he had a backup offer from someone who has been waiting in the wings for three years."
In other words, Jackson and his partners were not the first option. Nor the second.
They were excluded, entirely, despite pledging to pay $25 million more than anybody else.
Just like that, another opportunity to fully integrate ownership, something Selig claims he wants to do, had passed.
That's three rejections for Jackson, once for Joe Morgan and, by the way, what ever happened to Donald Watkins?
"Did we make an offer to buy the A's? Yes," says Brian Shapiro, one of Jackson's partners. "Reggie assembled a solid group for ownership. He was rejected. I have a copy of the rejection letter. So does Reggie.
"The biggest loser here is the A's fan. You don't think they would get behind one of their own? This was a chance for baseball to make history. In Oakland. With someone who has a long association with the city."
This was a win-win-win-win — A's, fans, MLB, Jackson's group — waiting to happen. If there is one thing we know about Reggie, it is his desire to compete. It is distasteful for him to be linked with a poor product.
The failure of Jackson's third attempt to buy into a team — second attempt to buy into the A's — is, more than anything else, a case of MLB speaking with a forked tongue.
There is evidence suggesting Jackson and his partners were hoodwinked, certainly by the commissioner's office and maybe by the A's.
Speaking on behalf of Schott, A's consultant Sam Spear said the owner felt he was in no position to sell to Jackson or anybody else because of an agreement to offer the club to Wolff.
Wolff has not been available on the subject and probably won't be until after the sale is approved.
Selig? He pleads ignorance.
Speaking after a news conference at SBC Park on Wednesday, the commissioner acknowledged Jackson's desire for ownership but claimed to be unaware of discussions with the A's or any interest Reggie had in the club.
"You'd have to talk to Steve Schott," the commish said, adding that he doesn't get involved in potential deals between sellers and buyers.
Curious. It was Selig and DuPuy who introduced Wolff's name to Jackson last spring, a few months after Wolff was hired by the A's in November 2003 under the guise of helping the team find and fund a ballpark.
"DuPuy kept holding us off, saying to await contact from Lew Wolff," Jackson said. "But Wolff didn't call. That's why I gave up and finally called Steve Schott."
What's also curious is that Schott and Hofmann initially were directed to Wolff by Selig, who doesn't get involved in such affairs.
"Bud and Bob were encouraging Reggie," said Ed Blum, an Oakland-based attorney for Jackson, "saying it's time (for a black owner) and that he was the guy.
"Why would they do that to Reggie if they knew about a deal with Wolff? And if they didn't know about it, why didn't they know?"
Jackson, the team's first superstar, owns rings from three A's championships.
He'd probably trade them for the chance to run the team, an opportunity waved in front of his face, only to be taken away.
Monte Poole can be reached at (510) 208-6461 or by e-mail at
| By deajay on Thursday, February 10, 2005 - 09:20 am:|
I found this article very interesting. So, who do we believe? I'll tell you one thing ... I find it hard to believe that Schott would turn down a deal for an additional $25mil.
Considering how Bud Light and minions ignored the prior (local) group attempting to the buy the A's and the fact that "Wolfie" is his frat brother, one can also put 2 and 2 together.
Also, one wonders whether Bud Light's previous proclamations of hiring more minorities in the mgmnt arena were not intended to spill over into the ownership arena. And, like Poole, I too have wondered whatever to Watkins' quest for ownership?
I guess it's a tossup as to who is the biggest liar ... Schott or Selig.
| By kkdaz on Thursday, February 10, 2005 - 09:33 am:|
If steroid use is baseball's biggest problem right now, racism still makes the top 10 list. No wonder there are fewer black players every year. The Oakland A's, for example, have zero if you don't count our third base coach, who really deserves a promotion.
| By deajay on Thursday, February 10, 2005 - 09:50 am:|
I really don't think that the A's having "zero" black players (which they don't ... Chas Thomas is African American, isn't he? Also, a # of the Hispanics are black) has to do with race but with talent. It seems in recent years that African American players are going out more for basketball and football ... two sports which put you in the "majors" right away and bring bigger bucks faster. Thus, the pool of talented African American players (unfortunately for baseball) has dwindled over the past many years.
Also, Richie Robnett ... along with Powell ... was their #1 pick. And if I recall correctly, he got a larger bonus than Powell did.
In mgmnt/ownership, I agree, it appears racism is still a relatively large problem ... especially in mlb.
| By kkdaz on Thursday, February 10, 2005 - 09:58 am:|
Yes, I forgot about Thomas. So hard to keep track of all the new faces. And you're right, there are fewer black players on high school and college teams, so the pool of talent gets smaller every year.
| By kevink on Thursday, February 10, 2005 - 10:06 am:|
Having Reggie has an owner would have been a nice charge to the team I think, despite his large ego. Too good to come true I guess.
Not sure how you can call the A's racist as an organization. They want to put the best team on the field, I don't think Beane is going to not get a player because he's black! DJ is correct, due to the influx of latin players, the number of black players in MLB has gone down in the last 10 years. So has the number of white players.
| By deajay on Thursday, February 10, 2005 - 10:17 am:|
And I'm not pooh-poohing this. But I do wonder how much Reggie's reputation had to do with keeping him off Wolfie's list of those to join his ownership group. That may or may not have a thing to do with it ... but still, Reggie's reputation may have hurt him. Also, the Gap people, with the biggest cash flow, may have turned thumbs down. Who knows? And we probably will never know the real story here. I just know that I take anything Selig has to say with a grain of salt. I just wish he was saying it as the commissioner of any sport but baseball.
| By diamond_lil on Thursday, February 10, 2005 - 11:18 am:|
I have no doubt there is racism and bigotry in the world of baseball, which btw is a microcosm of society.
However, there are some issues here that I find Monte Poole got it wrong.
1. Joe Morgan was NOT part of the group when Selig tabled the deal. In fact, Morgan pulled out of the Dolich/Piccinini group when he was told there would be a conflict of interest if he continued with his ESPN contract. He tried to be
compensated for that loss of revenue in order to remain part of the bidding group and when he was turned down, he pulled out of the group and Dolich replaced him at the last minute with Reggie.
2. Reggie may be persona non grata in MLB more because of his temperament and his mouth than because of the color of his skin. He is not the
kind of owner Selig and his cohorts consider part of the clan, and I don't think it has anything to do with his race, although it probably doesn't help either.
3. I have been reading quite a few quotes from Reggie, and I know he has been trying to purchase a team. He tried in DC (probably still is), and he tried to purchase the Angels before Moreno stepped in...
but I have also heard Jackson was very interested in getting a ballpark built in Vegas. So I'm not so sure he would have been that loyal to Oakland.
Why didn't he try to negotiate with Hofmann and the group trying to build a ballpark in Oakland?
He could have stepped forward and didn't...why?
Having said the above. Nothing surprises me coming from Selig and Schott. They are two of a kind and they have been doing their dirty business and conniving since Schott purchased the team. Remember that they orchestrated the fake sale to the Piccinini group just so Schott could get out of the 10 year lease and much more....
I suspect Reggie's group didn't have deep enough pockets. Offering to beat any other bid by $25M and having the scratch to do it are two different things.
Also, I would question business sense of anyone making such an offer. Perhaps Reggie wanted to go along for the ride on Wolff's capital.
| By deajay on Thursday, February 10, 2005 - 02:09 pm:|
Don't think anybody else mentioned this (too tired to go back through all the posts), but I firmly believe had Jackson indeed been (a big) part of the ownership group, Beane would have definitely opted out of his contract. He still could, of course, but there is strong hope he won't. No way would/could Beane and Jackson work together; nor would they likely want to.
| By mroakland on Thursday, February 10, 2005 - 09:35 pm:|
I smell a rat. I think this is all a big set up to get the A's out of the Bay Area all together. Selig will never allow the sale of the A's to anyone who has ties to Oakland or who remotely has any intention of keeping the A's in Oakland long-term..
Selig made an interesting comment in San Francisco. He said when asked about the A's future "we'll see what wolfie wants to do." What wolfie wants to do? Wait a minute. I was under the impression that Wolfie wants to build a ballpark in Oakland. Selig doesn't KNOW this?
Selig is all about making the Giants happy (as was evident by his awarding of the All-Star game just as bonds contract expires) I'm sure his long-term goal is to correct that HAAWWRRIBLLE mistake. Also, the fact that Wolfie isn't in a big hurry to get that ballpark seems a little odd. I think this is a huge set-up.
| By washfan on Friday, February 11, 2005 - 12:34 am:|
I concur with Mr.Oakland & if the A's are to be removed from Oakland I'd rather it be to SAC than SJ or Vegas.
It really is BS, that interview that Selig gave a few years ago and now his hand picked frat mate to buy the A's...the writing is on the wall.
But didn't Reggie want to buy a team and move them to Las Vegas? I rememebr seeing something posted here that said he was one of the major supporters of having a major league baseball team in Las Vegas. So would he really be the better owner for the OAKLAND A's fans sake? It doesn't seem like it.
| By diamond_lil on Friday, February 11, 2005 - 09:44 am:|
As much as I love Reggie and admire him as an Athletic legendary player, I have to agree with what oaklandfasho510 just mentioned.
Reggie wants to buy a baseball team and not particularly the A's and I did read he thinks Vegas is a great idea and said he would support moving a team there.
And I agree with mroakland...Reggie or no Reggie, the fact of the matter is that Selig won't rest until he corrects the HAAAAAAARIIIIBLE mistake which was to let the A's move to Oakland because it HUUUURTSSSS the Giiints.
And there is one more negative in all of this...
I read yesterday in one of the papers that Schott will remain in the new ownership and take the role of ADVISOR. Oh yeah, I can just imagine what kind of advice he is going to give on how to deal with Oakland.
| By deajay on Friday, February 11, 2005 - 12:04 pm:|
Bud Light, Wolfie, Schottsie = the good 'ol boys' club.