“This idea we’re trying to discourage people from coming is a bunch of
crap. Every Wednesday, we have almost 9,000 $2 tickets. … It should be
embarrassing to all of us that we can’t draw people at $2.”
— Lew Wolff, bristling at the suggestion that he and the Athletics have tried to sabotage the Athletics in Oakland in the interest of propping up their case to move to San Jose.
The comments — and several other pithy ones — come in the course of an article in today’s Chronicle, telling the story of the A’s attendance apocalypse from the perspective of ownership.
California business and politics — especially when it involves large-scale real estate development — is an impossibly complicated subject, burdened with an overlay of left wing (“Don’t build here! We saw a rare salamander here last year!”) and right wing (“Don’t tax us! Taxation in all forms is theft!”) sentiment that is often hard to reconcile. In light of that I don’t know that I fully understand all of the dynamics in play with the Athletics’ situation.
But from what I do understand, this is not a situation in which any one party comfortably wears a black hat. I don’t think Lew Wolff has done everything conceivable to make Oakland work, but nor do I think he would ignore workable solutions or go out to sabotage the team.
Meanwhile, I feel for Athletics’ fans who root for a team whose owners make a tidy profit that doesn’t appear to be reinvested all that well, but at the same time I don’t think the A’s fans have always been such ardent supporters of the team that they are really entitled to play the wounded fanbase card.
This team is ultimately going to San Jose. Of this I’m fairly certain. It seems, though, that getting from here to there is going to be an increasingly acrimonious experience.
Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun had three more years of arbitration eligibility left, but he and the Angels decided to settle that future business at once on Wednesday, agreeing to a three-year extension worth $26 million, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. The contract also includes a $14 million club option for the 2020 season.
Calhoun, 29, has been a dependable right fielder for the Angels over the last three seasons, batting an aggregate .266/.327/.436 with 61 home runs and 216 RBI in 1,895 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, Calhoun has been the ninth-most valuable right fielder in baseball since the start of the 2014 season with 11.4 Wins Above Replacement. He ranks slightly behind Giancarlo Stanton (11.9) and just ahead of J.D. Martinez (10.9).
The Angels only have a handful of players signed beyond the 2017 season — just Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Andrelton Simmons, and Calhoun. The club has options on Ricky Nolasco and Huston Street, while many others will be eligible for arbitration.
Nothing is happening as the baseball world waits four more hours for the Hall of Fame announcement. Question: why do it at 6pm? For MLB Network ratings? Let’s be real, there are “Golden Girls” reruns on third-tier basic cable that are gonna draw a bigger audience. Why not announce it now so people can get on with their lives? Oh well.
As we wait, let’s take a look in at Twitter, where Jim Bowden of ESPN passes along the rumor that the Washington Nationals are still interested in signing Matt Wieters and Greg Holland:
Great to know that the Nats’ baseball operations budget is dictated by its capital expenditures. Maybe they shoulda been smart like the Braves and suckered — er, I mean negotiated the local government to pay more for it? GO BRAVES!
Anyway, Bryce Harper had a response to that:
I take that to mean that he’d take the money used to construct the team store and give to Wieters and Holland. I haven’t seen the budget breakdown for the new spring training facility, but that would probably mean a major pay cut for Wieters and Holland. And where would we buy our “Make Baseball Great Again” caps? Think ahead, Bryce. Play the long game here.