New York Times on A’s vs. Giants Dispute

Recently, the New York Times printed two stories about Lew Wolff’s obsession with moving the A’s and his dispute with the Giants, who own the territorial rights to Santa Clara County. Sportswriter Ken Belson explored the issue, highlighting the outfield banners that disgruntled A’s fans have hung: “Handmade signs that say Slumdog Billionaire and Don’t Take Our A’s Away now show up in the stands.”

Belson also quoted BaseballOakland’s own Garth Kimball: “They make it so difficult to come to games. The more this goes on, the more obvious his motives are.”

The New York Times reporter noted that Wolff’s reign as owners has not exactly been the team’s glory days. Belson wrote: “… as recently as 2005, the A’s drew more than 2.1 million fans. The next year, Wolff and the Fisher family took over the team, and attendance has fallen ever since, to just 1.48 million fans last year, the smallest in baseball.”

In the article, Wolff insults A’s fans by saying that there’s not enough of them in Oakland for him to keep the team in town. (Great way to sell tickets on the eve of the season, huh?)

Finally, Belson ends the article with the idea that almost every A’s fan would cheer: that Wolff may be close to selling the team. Belson wrote: “Of course, if Wolff and the Fisher family become fed up with the process, they could sell the team. … They would not even need to build a new ballpark.”

The second New York Times article on Wolff and the A’s (which appeared in the paper’s local Bay Citizen section) was published just four days after the first, the same day as the A’s home opener at the Coliseum. Reporter Dan Fost noted that many A’s fans believe that Wolff and Billy Beane are not doing their best to put a quality product on the field, and that trading their three All-Star pitchers in the offseason is just the latest evidence. Fost quoted a BaseballOakland member once again:

“They don’t want to win,” said Garth Kimball, a founder of Baseball Oakland, a group trying to keep the A’s in town. “They want to be able to get out of town without anybody caring.”