Lew Wolff and I don't speak to each other but maybe we really should have a sit down--no handlers or owner-whisperers allowed--and figure this out, because I never understand things the way Wolff wants everybody to understand them.
I know many others are much more in tune with the A's co-owner on all manner of poor-poor-mistreated A's issues; but there are those of us who are absolutely not on the Wolff Wavelength and frankly are quite proud of that.
The Wolff-isms work the opposite way for me, actually.
I read and hear what he says and I only have questions about his jumps in logic, vague misdirections, information blank spots, and (to me) fairly obvious silliness.
And I wonder why he's so clearly (to me) being dodgy through the process. He has to have a reason for the dodginess, right?
* First, a HUGE STIPULATION: I agree that the Oakland political chaos is maddening and at this point am wondering if any owner, for any team, could get something through all those clashing/confusing/borderline-incompetent bodies to get any new arena or stadium built in Oakland.
The Oakland ineptitude and in-fighting is not Wolff's fault. Not. His. Fault.
So I do pity Wolff, John Fisher, Mark Davis and (the since escaped) Joe Lacob/Peter Guber ownership for all the time and energy they've had to waste dealing with the political mishmash and then dealing with it again when things change on a dime, and then dealing with it again.
I understand what Wolff is going through trying to settle out a clear Plan D (because Plans A-C were to build a new stadium elsewhere) and extend that Coliseum lease just to make sure the A's know where they're going to be for a few more years... and the Oakland politics are STILL delaying it.
The A's Plan D!
And I understand the A's are tied to the Raiders in this process, and the Raiders are tied to the A's, and they're all mucked up with the Oakland political and financial process and the general public-funding for stadiums process and everything.
--Oh, and Lacob and Guber are weeping with joy for getting out of that situation and striking a San Francisco deal when the getting was good, believe me.
I can't emphasize that part enough. I get that Wolff is not dealing with a host of game-changers here. I get that MLB and commissioner Bud Selig have not exactly been incredibly committed to much of anything in this process and have apparently taken many years to decide not much at all. (This back-and-forth in Minneapolis yesterday between Selig and Chron writers Susan Slusser and John Shea is priceless.)
And I agree that figuring out what to do with the Coliseum while trying to please both the A's and Raiders simultaneously is very difficult.
But I also continue to be befuddled by Wolff and the A's positioning in this. Again, this gets many A's employees very angry at me, but none of them ever can clarify what their lead guy is actually saying... not really...
For instance: * Wolff recently laughed off an Oakland politician's claim that they're threatening to move to San Antonio or Montreal. And at the All-Star Game, Selig brushed it off, too.
Why did the A's release that statement from MLB that they've been given the right to move out of the Bay Area just in time to motivate a "yes" vote on the lease agreement?
What was that all about?
A plain question: If MLB says they're allowed to move--but it's not San Jose--then where are the A's now allowed to move?
Or was that just a blatant 11th-hour shakedown move?
Wolff now wants us now to believe that the MLB "aproval" was only about the A's seeking a possible temporary stadium in San Jose or wherever, while a new stadium is built... which they presumably ALREADY HAD THE RIGHT TO DO.
So there was no need for an MLB 11th-hour statement.
And my response to Wolff's calculated pose of innocence on this matter: Yeah. Right. Anything you say, Lew. (See, we're off to a bad start already. My bad.)
It just seems like MLB and Wolff teamed up to create the theatrics of a big threat, without actually having the wherewithal to make a true threat, and when of the goofy Oakland politicians actually uttered the literal understanding of the threatrical threat, Wolff and MLB had nothing.
Really, even if MLB and the A's ARE actually threatening to move...
I go with the Marcus Thompson II stance on this: If the A's want to threaten to go, then they should go. If MLB backs them up, fine, be happy with the new Portland A's or whatever.
If they can get a true deal with Oakland, it should be what's fairest for both sides, not what's done under the knife's point. Oakland is understandably wary of those kinds of deals from their Raiders experience.
* Wolff is saying that MLB has ruled out the Howard Terminal site totally, but wait.
The recent MLB statement on the matter only said: "Contrary to what some have suggested, the committee that has studied this issue did not determine that the Howard Terminal site was the best location for a facility in Oakland."
From that, Wolff in an email to the Associated Press, extrapolated that: ""Howard Terminal as a potential ballpark site has been and is totally rejected by MLB and the A's."
OK, yes, maybe the Howard Terminal site is rejected by the A's. That part is up to Wolff and Fisher. I give them that. They hate the site. And maybe they're correct to hate it.
But where in that release did MLB reject Howard Terminal?
Note to Wolff: When you say a site isn't the best, it's not saying it has been rejected, as far as I can tell.
Maybe MLB has said that privately to Lew (although I hear differently from independent baseball sources). But it sounds like Wolff is putting words in MLB's mouth for his own purposes and that's a reason I don't always trust what I hear from Wolff's own mouth.
* How come Lew and John Fisher never seem to acknowledge that they are making A LOT of money on the A's, every year, by cashing that big revenue-sharing check?
This is a big one for me and I know it's a big one for the other MLB owners.
You want to have credibility on these sorts of matters, have credibility on that one. Admit you're profitable--the most profitable of the Oakland major pro franchises--and then I'll start believing in Wolff and Fisher just a little more.
But if they won't discuss this issue... and that they're reluctant to put that revenue back into the team (watch to see if they try to re-sign Cespedes in a year)... well, it's hard for me to trust Wolff and Fisher (and Fisher doesn't talk) on any of these stadium issues they've purposely blurred and intentionally avoided.
The post The A's and the Coliseum: Truths, Lew Wolff fact-checks, and relatively obvious misdirection in an admittedly wacky political/financial situation appeared first on Talking Points.