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Ballpark Travel Blog


I had a blog before there was a name for one so it seems high time to have another. This time I'll write about the machinations of the baseball as an institution, a business, a game, a pasttime.
Leo Lawton, President, Ballpark Travel

  • August 18, 2008: No Bash in Oakland
    • I'm a fan of the Oakland Athletics, that 'in Billy we trust' ball club. Do we still trust Billy? He always found players who could get on base, and they do. But they stay there, and for a couple years one could see that without any sluggers, it was going to be hard to win. Is it any surprise that the A's now have the lowest batting average in the majors? And while Beane is now an owner of the club, I blame Lew Wolff. He's a real estate developer, and as far as I can see, Wolff bought the team to create a massive development project. I supported that in downtown Oakland, but after years of being burned by Al Davis and the Raiders, it was difficult to get the City of Oakland and Alameda County to be supportive of another investment, even though he wasn't asking for public funding, just help getting the business situated. Now, it's my feeling that one of jobs of local government is in fact to court employers for the residents, and also build a tax base. But the City Council opted for so-called low-income housing instead (at least, that's the the politicans said, but this housing is way too expensive for low income earners). Wolff's problem was that he wasn't one of the developers that had enough council members in his pocket. This decision sent Wolff looking at Fremont in hopes of calling his team the San Francisco Athletics of Fremont. After all, Wolff says he's very impressed by how Moreno has fixed the Angels. but for some reason, the lowering ticket prices and active marketing strategies to bring in new fans that Moreno implemented has not made an impression on Wolff. But two big obstacles have presented themselves to Wolff. First, the Fremont site is distant from public transportation, insane enough in today's and the future's gasoline price reality, but also making the locals back-off from the idea of twenty-thousand vehicles showing up at rush hour in one of the nation's busiest rush-hour corridors. Second, the site is on landfill likely to flood should there be global warming. Add this to the fact that the real estate sector in the economy has tanked, it now looks like Wolff has decided to cut his losses but cutting expenses. How else can you explain the trading off of any real talent, leaving the A's with a team full of gaping holes. Let me rephrase that: it's not gaping holes, it's more like that's no frame or structure. Hence, no one is playing to their potential except maybe catcher Kurt Suzuki. Now I know how fans of the Kansas City Royals feel. At any rate, right now I'm rooting for Tampa Bay because I'd love to see a World Series of the Cubs and the Rays.
      They always say "wait until next year" but I see no evidence that next year will be any better for A's fans.
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