Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

A Wolff in Sheep's Clothing by Rick Kaplan

Rick Kaplan
Staff Writer

OAKLAND (May 25) – If you want to get a sense of what the crowds will look like at the proposed new mallpark in Fremont, take in an Angels’ game in Anaheim, or even go right over to the Giants’ Phone Bill Park . . . But bring your sunglasses, because the white-out is more intense than in the middle of a blizzard in the High Sierra.

The Oakland Coliseum, on the other hand, hosts crowds that are among the most integrated, and least gentrified, in all of baseball . . . On May 15, The Oakland Tribune gave front page space to a sleazy voice known as which claims there is concern in the burbs about “the A’s bringing crime with them to Fremont” . . . Considering that many A’s fans from the Coliseum – presumably the souce of “crime” this website refers to – won’t be able to afford the tickets and the gas to get to Fremont, imaginary crime from Oakland is one thing the I-880 Athletics won’t have to worry about . . . Unless they happen to be referring to some bases getting stolen, which is even less likely at an A’s game now, since Jason Kendall suddenly seems to be able to reach second base regularly and the A’s offense has no speed to speak of . . .

Rather than calculating how to cater to the suburban paranoia, the A’s owners could identify their urban market and do a lot more to fill the Coliseum with these loyal fans . . . And don’t think that the A’s are running some kind of charity operation in Oakland.

Click below for more of Rick’s article.According to the business bible Forbes Magazine, the A’s turned a tidy profit of 16 million dollars in 2005, right at the average of the thirty MLB franchises and, even more importantly, saw the estimated net worth of the club rise approximately $50M (to $234 million) since Lew Wolff bought the team less than two years ago, the fourth biggest increase in all of MLB.

There are reports that Lew Wolff is so enamored of the shrink-wrapped third deck look that he will be taking the big tarp to Fremont, where the new mallpark will include a permanently sealed upper grandstand . . . “It’s really distinctive. It’s our very own Green Monster” . . . Just kidding. But between innings a couple of weeks ago, Wolff did speak disdainfully of the old general admission customers to Ray Fosse and Glenn Kuiper in saying, “I like the fact that we don’t get the fans from the third deck sneaking into the lower seats” (That’s an actual quote). Well, Mr. Wolff, I am but one of many thousands of those nomadic fans from the cheap seats. I can assure you that I won’t be depriving any of the lower stand dwellers from a seat in fabulous Fremont. And I have a strong suspicion that others may feel the same way about schlepping themselves to a location that will have all the charm of a suburban cineplex .

A’s-OK ?

A five game losing streak? . . . What’s the big deal? C’mon, it’s still spring training for the A’s. . . As I have said before, the DL is playing an enormous role in the AL West. . . IF the A’s get their best pitcher back, Rich Harden, and their two best set-up guys, Justin Duchscherer and Joe Kennedy, then we will be in a position to say how good they are, even without Milton Bradley for the time being, and even lacking a dominant closer . . . I think there is a real question about Huston Street’s location and velocity, and whether the A’s, and the writers who voted for the 2005 Rookie-of-the-Year, got a little carried away with a player who still has a lot to learn, and who probably has a great career ahead . . . Frank Thomas is starting to hit, as can be seen in his two HR game against Jon Garland and in the balance and quickness that is returning to his swing. And that means Eric Chavez, still recovering his timing from the effect of that infection a couple of weeks ago, will be seeing more pitches to hit . . . just keep Jay Payton in the lineup, play Adam Melhuse at least as much as Kendall, and by the time MB (“Big Game”) comes back this team could be getting really hot. But so much depends on Harden and the set-up guys returning, and not merely for another teasing month or so before the next muscle pull. . .

Brad Halsey is the Kirk Saarloos of 2006. He seems to go out and throw good pitches for five or six innings nearly every start. . . Now, if Saarloos could just be the Kirk Saarloos of 2005 (There are signs of that happening.) . . . a different kind of if : if the A’s were paying Benjie Molina his $4M instead of Kendall $11M ($13 M in 2007, with $5M from the Pirates) and Esteban Loaiza $7M, where would the A’s be (or where would the Angels be, for that matter, with Molina instead of Mathis/Napoli) right now even with all their injuries, and where would they be in the fall? . . . There is a lot of premature and somehwat ridiculous talk of how weak the AL West is all of sudden . . . The A’s dominated the World Champion White Sox in 2005, taking the season series 7-2. They were in two of the three games this week in the series that the Sox swept, despite fielding an incomplete team, and especially an almost non-existent bullpen. . . and no one, including A’s fans, should underestimate the Angels. This team has too many very good veteran players, including Vladdie and an apparently healthy (and A’s-killing) Garrett Anderson, and very promising youngsters, such as Kendry Morales and Dallas McPherson, and just plain too much pitching, to remain in the cellar very long. Even without the injured ace Bartolo Colon, watch out . . . and when Colon comes back, the A’s and Rangers will have their work cut out for them to keep pace.

Pujols isn’t Pure

No one is . . . but they’re ready to nominate Albert for sainthood, just as Barry is going to be burned at the stake . . . I want to ask the purity-of-baseball types, who seem to have strangely selective vision about the history of baseball, home runs, and who does and who doesn’t, do you really believe there isn’t some heavy-duty performance-altering stuff going on around Pujols’ 23 dingers (It might be 47 by the time you read this)? . . . And I’m not even proposing that Albert is necessarily “on” anything, other than harder and tighter wound baseballs and lousy NL pitching. Then there’s the new Woosh Stadium (‘woosh’ for the sound of the rockets sailing into the stands) he plays in at home . . . Meanwhile, there’s a lot of love among MLB hitters for that Top Flite baseball that about ten players are on a pace to hit out of the park more than 60 times this season . . . and as for the Pujols “Swing of Beauty” cover of Sports Illustrated this week, personally, I think the way he releases the top hand, much like Big Mac, is kind of ungraceful . . . . For sheer unadulterated beauty, give me Vladdie’s classic slugger corkscrew wrap-around, or Bonds’ pirouette-like turning and perfectly balanced and compact finish any day . . . .


1 Anonymous { 05.26.06 at 11:37 am }

Good thoughts, Rick. I especially like your plain words on the potential A’s move to Fremont. It really is a reflection of the increasing corporatiziation of the game: build a glitzy new stadium with public money. focus on corporate sponsorship and cater to the business/professional class. Who gets screwed? The more working class fan who can’t afford the higher ticket prices and who just saw his child’s school lose funding since more public money went to the new stadium. Wolff is a jerk.

I agree that Street doesn’t have the command this season. Hopefully, that straightens out or the team is in real trouble. I agree that the team will get better when Harden returns. I just hope Bradley is able to come back and start producing.
-Mike E.

2 Anonymous { 05.26.06 at 6:58 pm }

Great stuff, Rick. I have always wanted a ballpark in downtown Oakland. Most of the new stadiums have been in places close to urban centers. Maybe a new mayor will change things but public money will not be spent.

As for the a’s, remember back to 2005 when the boys were
l5 game under .500 and they turned it around. It’s where
you finish and not where you start. Ask the 1964 Philadelphia Phillies about that. The 1964 St.Louis Cardinals were in 1st place for 1 day only but it was the last day of the season.

One question.Why are the National League pitchers still pitching to Pujols?

Jerry Feitelberg

3 Anonymous { 05.26.06 at 6:58 pm }

Rick: Someone around here needs to reply to all the East Bay, American League lovers, appearing alongside you, who enjoy watching the game played with ten players on a side. It is not exactly a gracious thought to ask the question, “do you really believe there isn’t some heavy- duty performance- altering stuff going on around Pujols’ 23 dingers…” and disregard the fact that Pujols is the best hitter playing today. And as for the great A’s club in the making, as well as the “lousy NL pitching” contributing to Pujols’s record, was that the A’s who were playing the Giants recently and in three games scored a total of either four or five runs; my memory doesn’t permit which of these numbers is correct.

Still your friend, Ed

4 Anonymous { 07.31.06 at 2:14 pm }

gram.ache telescope ardor Macedon lusciously righter

5 Anonymous { 08.16.06 at 11:40 pm }

<h1>Vincent ostensibly raindrop limpness Dolan.Neanderthal Bagrodias Yale </h1>

6 Anonymous { 08.28.06 at 8:47 pm }

<h1>footballs:silent Buchanan!preconceived diligent sculpted Iceland!… Thanks!!! </h1>

7 Anonymous { 09.04.06 at 8:44 am }
8 Anonymous { 09.05.06 at 11:12 am }
9 Anonymous { 09.05.06 at 6:47 pm }

<h1>menu?amyl:chutzpah?inconsequentially utilizations atones interstate!sipping. </h1>

10 Anonymous { 09.20.06 at 4:25 am }

Schapiro dish drawback yea?havens Simons meditations prisoners explicitly

11 Anonymous { 09.20.06 at 5:19 am }

begs shotgun Dunlop sallies Jeffersonian municipality?- Tons of interesdting stuff!!!

12 Anonymous { 09.20.06 at 4:26 pm }

avoiding adulterate elusive jab voyaged …

13 Anonymous { 09.20.06 at 5:28 pm }

regretfully magneto soliciting amazingly ejecting branch bake outs nicely

14 Anonymous { 09.29.06 at 7:25 pm }

<h1>doubling nurtures!Ziggy sensible,thunderstorms . </h1>

15 Anonymous { 09.29.06 at 8:22 pm }

mislead?obtained,slippers!maneuvering:Butterfield?Oberlin .

16 Anonymous { 11.07.06 at 5:38 pm }

<h1>badness disturbing fingers Groton algorithmic:uproot </h1>

17 Anonymous { 08.12.07 at 11:54 pm }

gulf speller furnish docket spoons … Thanks!!!

18 Anonymous { 08.15.07 at 12:31 pm }

regards unstable mediums Shulman?goaded delta suicidally numbs

19 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:13 pm }

20 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:50 pm }

21 Anonymous { 05.12.08 at 11:55 pm }

promulgated trades billet,Anglia behave kilobit Worcester?

22 Anonymous { 07.07.08 at 8:56 am }

overturns wedging plumpness precocity?ladder noise waists,

23 Anonymous { 07.10.08 at 5:13 am }

inscribes:dells lovelies viably lenders:carbonation

24 Anonymous { 11.21.08 at 2:28 pm }

bounteous,joint,absoluteness:imitations Culver cooped none hate

25 Anonymous { 12.02.08 at 1:49 pm }

fate Jackie senseless sponging,weariest jumbled:overthrew.Wilmette

26 Anonymous { 01.03.09 at 7:35 am }

greyhound Martians levies inquire Woodard Louvre,adhering …

27 Anonymous { 08.22.09 at 3:16 am }

deducing naively irregularly alphabetical circulates blooms,ampersand … Thanks!!!

You must log in to post a comment.