Dear Mr. Wolff,
Congratulations on your pending purchase of our Oakland Athletics. We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship together, hopefully in the East Bay, but if not there, at least somewhere in Northern California.
I want to take this opportunity to get something straight. We don't know what kind of owner you're going to be. Whether you'll be a free spender while slashing beer prices, a la Arte Moreno of the The Angels Angels of Anaheim or you'll continue monitoring the budget closely like Steve Schott's ownership group. All we know about you is that you are a former owner of a basketball and hockey team, and you've been a developer in different parts of California. Oh yeah, and you also once were on double-secret probation with Bud Selig. So we will reserve judgment for now...unless you went streaking with Bud the Dud, then we can cut you some slack.
But we need to get something very, very clear right now.
In case you haven't heard, we've got quite a special situation here in Oakland. We're a small market team that continues to compete at the same level as teams that outspend us by three times as much. There's a simple reason why, despite the constant roster turnover.
You know why? It's simple. William Lamar Beane.
Keep Billy Beane as our GM, and do whatever it takes to accomplish that goal.
Listen, being an Oakland Athletics fan is a sometimes daunting and emotional experience, especially if you are the type who gets attached to players.
We've had some rough times over the years, despite averaging 95 regular season wins. First-round playoff exits after holding seemingly commanding leads, losing Giambi, Isringhausen, Tejada, Foulke and now Hudson and Mulder...yet the core group of fans of the green and gold never abandon ship. As a matter of fact, we've weathered the storm together and I think we're stronger as a core group than ever.
I'm going to give it to you straight. Many people follow this team now largely because of Billy Beane. "What? Following a team because of its general manager? That's insane," you say?
That may be true, but as long as Billy Beane is involved with the Athletics, we know that this team will be competitive. We know that he has both the courage, conviction and passion for this franchise to make tough decisions. We know that when he does make rare mistakes like Arthur Lee Rhodes and Terrence Long that he has the ability to pull a Jason Kendall and a Mark Kotsay out of his magic hat.
You keep our star GM, or risk losing all of us.
That's not a threat, it's just fact. Michael Lewis wrote a fine book that outlines the reasons why...and I suggest you pick it up if you haven't already. It's a big reason why Beane has become such a star.
So, while there is a new crop of potential stars coming to the Coliseum in 2005, one star continues to shine brightly in the executive offices. Make sure it continues to shine over the Coliseum field...that's all we ask.
Good luck with your new acquisition. We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship.