“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.
Jon Heyman reports that the Nationals are closing in on a deal with catcher Matt Wieters. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that it’s a two-year deal. UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is for two years, at $21 million. There is an opt-out for him after year one. He will get $10 million in 2017 and, if he returns in 2018, he’ll get $11 million.
Wieters was not expected to go this long without signing, but his market, which many thought would be robust, never materialized. The Nats had been rumored to be interested for months, but they were apparently waiting to swoop in late and get what one presumes will be a bargain.
Wieters, 30, finished last season hitting .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and 66 RBI in 464 plate appearances. The Nationals currently have Derek Norris and Jose Lobaton, so who falls where in the catcher fight in Washington is unclear, but one presumes that Wieters getting a two-year deal puts him at the top of the depth chart.
Ken Rosenthal has an interesting story up about Sergio Romo as he begins spring training with his new team, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
There is some fun stuff about his family, all Dodgers fans from southern California, but the more notable stuff is about Romo himself, who has dealt with a lot more than has been reported over the past couple of seasons. The loss of three of his four grandparents is a big one, as it has thrust the mantle of head of the family on Romo in ways that he was not fully prepared for. There are also allusions to personal and psychological problems Romo has experienced — there is a vague suggestion of alcohol or maybe just late nights out and perhaps depression, but he is not specific about it — which he worked on with the help of friends and teammates on the Giants and which he now has overcome.
There’s always more going on the lives of baseball players than we as fans know.