SBD/May 11, 2012/Franchises

A's Supporters Take Out Newspaper Ad Asking Ownership To Keep Team In Oakland

Five A's supporters took out a full-page ad in Tuesday's Oakland Tribune in which they wrote an open letter to A's investor John Fisher asking him to either keep the team in Oakland or sell the club. The letter reads, "After five years of failed efforts to move the A’s out of Oakland, the time has come for you to sit down with Oakland and Alameda County officials to negotiate to keep the team in a world-class ballpark in Oakland. If you won’t do this, then, as long-time Oakland A’s fans, we’d ask that you please sell this once proud franchise to someone who will own and operate it as both a successful team and as a civic asset for our community. ... Your very public campaign to leave Oakland has taken a serious toll on the team’s ability to draw fans. Annual attendance has dropped 25% (from 1.9 to 1.4 million) in the five years since your management team proclaimed, 'it’s out of the question' that the A’s will remain in Oakland." The letter asks that Fisher adhere to "three basic principles" of commitment: to actively work with the effort to build a new ballpark in Oakland, to win by investing in the team and to show respect to the people of Oakland and the East Bay. The letter is signed by Oakland Jobs & Housing Coalition President Greg McConnell, Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Joseph Haraburda, Green Stampede fan club President Jorge Leon, BaseballOakland.com Founder Mike Davie, and A's season-ticket holder Sara Somers (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 5/8). CSNBayArea.com’s Ann Killion said fans have been "driven away" by Owner Lew Wolff and Fisher. Killion: "You have to look at the big picture. They have been told, ‘We don’t want to play for you, we don’t care about you our fans, we would like to get the hell out of here, and if you get attached to our players, they’re going to be gone." KGMZ-FM’s Dan Dibley said, “It’s hard to support an ownership group that’s blatantly told you, ‘We want to leave and there’s no way we’re staying.’” He said it is not “ancient history that the community of Oakland and the greater East Bay communities supported this club” but “you just need to give the fans a reason to go” (“Chronicle Live,” Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, 5/10).
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