I was talking to a person whose opinion regarding sports I respect even more so than some professionals I’ve met, and he threw out a hypothesis regarding the A’s massive offseason and spring overhaul.
“I’m wondering,” this person said, “if Wolff is getting ready to sell.”
Now, understand, the true money behind the A’s is not Wolff, but rather billioniare John Fisher, the son of the Gap founder. Therefore, a decision to sell would figure to originate there, and not from the office of Wolff, the managing partner. And also understand that I haven’t heard anything from anyone who would be in the know regarding such a scenario. Nor I have read anything about such a thing.
In other words, there’s no indication, anywhere that this is indeed what A’s ownership is intending to do.
But it would seem to make sense, I think. I know that most owners when preparing to sell a team tear it down, the better to rid themselves of expenses, etc. But in the A’s case, wouldn’t it seem prudent to do the exact opposite?
As it stands, the A’s are not worth a lot as baseball teams go. They play in a dilapidated stadium. Their brand name long has lacked star appeal. And they haven’t won a championship in two decades. So if you were Fisher and Wolff and you ineed wanted to unload, would you expect a ton of buyers at your door?
The additions of Matt Holliday, Jason Giambi, Orlando Cabrera and now Nomar Garciaparra has changed part of the equation. There is name value attached to the A’s now, players who give fans a reason to turn out. Should those players contribute to a playoff run, and perhaps a deep postseason run, then the A’s suddenly would be a much hotter property than they are now.
Of course, until the stadium issue is resolved, the A’s will remain only so attractive to potential suitors. Which leads to another theory that’s floating — namely that in the wake of where this economy may eventually lead, Major League Baseball may choose to contract some teams. Should that scenario occur, I would imagine the A’s and Marlins, two teams without a solution to their stadium issues, would be at the top of the list.
Question for the readers: What would you do if you owned the A’s?