Oakland A’s history is filled with threats of the team moving going back more than 40 years. In many ways, with the announcement that Lew Wolff is stepping down as the key man in A’s ownership, the franchise is still stuck in the same place as it was in 2000. There is a paltry payroll and a bad stadium situation.
The team co-owners Ken Hoffman and Steven Schott thought they had a deal to sell the team for $122 million to a group headed up by Save Mart owner Bob Piccinini last summer. Under terms of a renegotiated lease with the Coliseum overseers in 1999, the owners could put the team up for sale in 1999 but had to offer it to local buyers until September 15. Piccinini’s group, which was headed by Andy Dolich, presented its case before Major League Baseball during meetings last September. But the owners tabled the proposal.
Commissioner Bud Selig said no action would be taken on the proposed sales of both Oakland and fellow weak American League sister Kansas City until a so-called ”Blue Ribbon Task Force” did a study on baseball’s economic problems.
No report was ever released.
Under the terms of the revised Coliseum deal with the A’s, the owners could sell the team to an outside group who could move after the 2001 season. That never happened. Wolff and his associates ended up buying the team and tried to move to Fremont which is down the I-880 from Oakland just outside of San Jose and then to San Jose. Nothing ever happened.
Oakland’s sports landscape hasn’t changed much since 2000.
It appears very likely that the Oakland-based Warriors will go to the other side of the bay in a few years leaving behind a renovated arena and memories of former owner Chris Cohan refusing to pay rent during the 1998-99 NBA lockout because there were no games. Mark Davis, carrying on a family tradition, has been unhappy with the Oakland Coliseum and like his dad is threatening to move his NFL Raiders with Las Vegas calling.
Oakland A’s partner Lew Wolff is stepping aside which will allow John Fisher to pursue a new Oakland baseball park.