The latest on the A's location/stadium situation and how it affects the team
In March 2009, when baseball commissioner Bud Selig announced the formation of a committee to study the A's ballpark options, Wolff never expected to still be waiting for an answer at the All-Star break of 2010, which begins Monday.
[San Jose is ready to go,] but nothing can happen until Major League Baseball gives a thumbs-up to Wolff. He said the situation's uncertainty is not just killing the A's at the box office in Oakland, but it also has kept them from signing free agents.
Billy Beane, the A's general manager and part-owner, confirms this. Players are not eager to play in the aging Coliseum when nearly every other ballpark is more modern with a more vibrant atmosphere. "These last two winters have been a great example of that," Beane said. "We've had more than four instances where we offered more years and more money to players than other teams have offered, but we couldn't get the players to come here."
In baseball terminology, Wolff feels like a runner trapped between two bases in a late-inning game, with no one allowing him to touch either base — but also with no one attempting to tag him out. And in San Jose, things are becoming fairly urgent. The City Council must act by Aug. 3 to put a ballpark proposal on the November ballot. But the council is loath to do so without a positive nod from MLB. Ballot deadline
If Selig and his committee keep dawdling, it would force San Jose to push back the ballot proposal until next spring or later. Could the never-ending "study" by Selig's group be putting the San Jose plan in jeopardy?
Wolff said that if the blue-ribbon panel is indeed trying to lead Oakland officials by the hand into a new ballpark proposal, he would be open to discussions. [However,] any new Oakland plan would be years behind the San Jose proposal. So why not let the South Bay have a vote? Enough is enough. Selig should simply announce that San Jose can hold the vote, and if the ballpark proposal is approved, Major League Baseball will negotiate and implement a territorial rights settlement with the Giants. Period.
Wolff and Selig, who were fraternity brothers at the University of Wisconsin, did speak on the phone last week, but only to confirm that they will meet up at the All-Star game in Anaheim on Tuesday. Wolff said the two never talk business while watching baseball.
This time, that policy might change.