SBD/Issue 135/Facilities & Venues

Lew Wolff To Meet With Oakland Mayor About A's Staying Put

Senator Barbara Boxer Sends MLB Commish 
Letter Offering To Help With A's Ballpark Situation
A's Owner Lew Wolff yesterday asked Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums "for a meeting to discuss the possibility of the team staying put," according to Carolyn Jones of the S.F. CHRONICLE. Dellums' Chief of Staff David Chai said that the two will meet in mid-April. Chai: "The mayor's obviously a huge A's fan and would be excited to keep them here. But it would have to be under the right circumstances. We're not giving away the store." On the heels of MLB Commissioner Bud Selig forming a group to examine the A's ballpark situation, Chai said that Oakland will form a committee of "city leaders and community members to look at possibilities for keeping the A's in town." Also, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is "joining the drumbeat to keep the A's from moving" and yesterday sent Selig a letter "offering to help with the league's committee and imploring him to keep the A's in Oakland." Boxer in the letter said, "Oakland has recently gone through some difficult times, and families there deserve some good news" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/1). 

DON'T GET YOUR HOPES UP: A's VP/Broadcasting & Communications Ken Pries warned "not to read too much into meetings Wolff will have with city officials." Pries: "We shouldn't read more into it than there is. He's just following through on the request made" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 4/1). In San Jose, Mark Purdy notes while Wolff will meet with Oakland officials, early in his ownership he "spent years trying to get a deal done in Oakland with no positive results," and there is "no reason to believe the situation has changed." San Jose is the "only logical place where an A's ballpark has a real chance of happening." Meanwhile, Purdy writes despite his "best efforts to appear wishy-washy in public, Selig is a true force at owners' meetings." He is an "expert at twisting arms," and with the "way Selig has brought scads of revenue to franchises through Internet and broadcast initiatives, he has plenty of political capital to spend." Selig indicated that MLB would consider altering the Giants' territorial rights in Santa Clara County to open the door for an A's move to San Jose, and Selig would not "go to all that trouble and ruffle so many feathers, if, in the end, no ballpark is built in San Jose" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 4/1).

THE BUDDY SYSTEM: Selig and Wolff were fraternity brothers at the Univ. of Wisconsin, and in Oakland, Monte Poole writes Selig's decision to form a committee for the A's ballpark search "feels less like a magnanimous gesture than like one friend trying to cover the naked butt of another." Wolff's "recent words and actions have only further alienated a fan base that already didn't trust him." Selig is "here to take some of the heat off his buddy." With Wolff "playing 'bad cop,' Bud sees an opportunity to pose as 'good cop'" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 4/1).

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