SBD/July 10, 2012/Franchises

A's Owner Lew Wolff Says Team Is Not Interested In Sacramento, Focus Is On San Jose

Wolff said Sacramento is a "very nice city, but not for major-league baseball"
The city of Sacramento is “casting friendly glances at the A’s, but the team is not receptive,” according to Susan Slusser of the S.F. CHRONICLE. Responding to reports yesterday that Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson “has begun to explore the possibility of bringing major-league baseball to the state capital,” A’s Owner Lew Wolff said, "We are not leaving the Bay Area, and that's the end of it. ... The only focus we have is San Jose. Sacramento is a very nice city, but not for major-league baseball, as far as our ownership is concerned.” Johnson said that he “is not looking to ruffle feathers; the idea of major-league baseball in Sacramento is strictly in the exploratory stages.” Johnson: "I respect Lew Wolff and John Fisher and the rest of the A's current ownership, and I understand they have to be laser-focused on San Jose. ... I know my good friend Jean Quan is going through the process to try to keep them in Oakland. Should those options not materialize, we want to send a message to the A's and Major League Baseball that Sacramento is a great baseball town." Johnson said that he “expects to get a report in two to four weeks that includes extensive marketing analysis and an examination of how viable MLB would be from the standpoint of corporate sponsors” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/10). Johnson’s team said that it “wasn't surprised by the A's reaction," adding that it "realizes the Oakland team's first goal is to find a better home in the Bay Area.” In Sacramento, Dale Kasler notes Johnson “wants Sacramento to be ready if the Bay Area options fizzle.” A’s VP/Broadcasting & Communications Ken Pries said that team investor John Fisher “told Johnson ‘some months ago’ that the team won’t move to Sacramento” (SACRAMENTO BEE, 7/10).

NO NEWS HERE: MLB Commissioner Bud Selig during his 12th annual MLB.com Town Hall Chat offered no new substantive comment on the league’s inquiry into future stadium options for the A’s, now in its fourth year, again calling it a “complex issue” (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). In California, Harmon & Seipel note Sacramento is providing the A’s with “another option in the club’s agonizing search for a new home.” Kunal Merchant, Exec Dir of Johnson's Think BIG task force, said that Sacramento has “no intention of trying to push Wolff into a decision.” Merchant: “We just don’t want to be caught flat-footed if other events don’t work out.” Harmon & Seipel note officials in "both Oakland and San Jose were unimpressed” with Sacramento’s outreach to MLB. Baseball San Jose co-Chair Michael Mulcahy said, “K.J. should stick to basketball -- that’s where he’s an All-Star” (CONTRA COSTA TIMES, 7/10). CSNBAYAREA.com’s Ray Ratto wrote under the header, “Sacto Mayor Johnson Big Hat, No Cattle Again.” Ratto: “I believe he is sincere. And I definitely believe he is nuts.” Ratto added, “Just nuts in that ‘why would you say this out loud to strangers?’ way” (CSNBAYAREA.com, 7/9).
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