In Oakland, the situation keeps on getting stranger. It is widely known that the San Francisco Giants have adopted a "no way in hell" policy when it comes to granting the A's the territorial rights to Santa Clara County (which contains San Jose).
Meanwhile, A's ownership is steadfast in its resolve to move to San Jose or bust. Nothing about either of these stances is very remarkable or has changed very much in the last several years. The City of San Jose and the A's have inched towards putting a shovel in the grounds with moves such as the -- now under fire by the state -- transfer of redevelopment assets comprising part of a proposed footprint for a new ballpark (agencies recently killed in California with assets transferred to the state) to a separate entity to protect the city's ownership. The city also granted the A's the option to purchase the land. However, this all means nothing as the Giants own the South Bay and MLB refuses to make a decision on the matter. (Not to mention the fact that they need to buy more land and pass a city ballot referendum.)
This backdrop, while riveting no doubt to many fans has cast a cloud over the A's franchise for years. It also was fingered -- somewhat indirectly -- as the reason for this past season's purging of talent for prospects. (A thought: Perhaps so few people attend games at the O.co Coliseum because they just can't get enough of this procedural excitement!)
Then, on May 3. a group of Oakland-based businesses -- from the old school (Clorox) to the new age (Pandora) -- held a press conference to declare that they are committed to keeping the A's in Oakland. The group also offered that if today's current ownership (Gap heir John Fisher and hotel mogul Lew Wolff) would not be amenable to this idea, that they had identified new owners who would. Don Knauss, CEO of Clorox, even suggested that the company would be the naming sponsor for a new Oakland ballpark.
This new effort has revitalized the largely dormant efforts by Let's Go Oakland! and has breathed a bit of new life into the dialogue. A concerted effort is clearly under way with a full-page ad in the Oakland Tribune urging Fisher to sell and an accompanying petition on Facebook. Oakland mayor Jean Quan is also trying to harness this issue and today published an Op-Ed with Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley in today's San Francisco Chronicle. Quan and Miley frame two important issues in the piece: preserving and creating jobs in Oakland/Alameda County and the fact that the city and county (at least in their minds) believes that the land is already available at the site of the current stadium.
What do the A's ownership make of all this?
Wolff after the initial press conference by Knauss was quoted as saying:
"We have no plan B. But it can't be in Oakland."
Buzz off Oakland business leaders, we don't want to be here was ownership's message.
As the pro-Oakland campaign has continued, Wolff (who is traveling in Europe presently) had this to say in today's Oakland Tribune per Carl Steward's column:
A's owner Lew Wolff said Tuesday that he would be willing to meet with Don Knauss, the Clorox chief executive officer who is spearheading the latest effort to keep the team in Oakland. But Wolff, who is traveling in Europe, said he would spend most of that meeting outlining his unsuccessful efforts to build an East Bay ballpark.
"If they want to look at all that, I would do that," Wolff said. "I would be delighted to meet with him."
A's to Oakland: Drop Dead.