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Oakland Athletics owner, Lew Wolff
Remember that childhood fable about the boy who falsely warned his fellow villagers of an incoming wolf attack time and time again, only to be disbelieved when it actually did happen, having to watch them suffer to their demise?
The Oakland Athletics’ owner is that boy who cried wolf, warning fans in Oakland that he’s moving the team, promising non-baseball fans that the A’s will have a new home in San Jose. Instead, Lew Wolff is left baying at Major League Baseball’s inability to facilitate a way for the A’s to move to the South Bay.
From failed stadium developments to lack of territorial rights, the Athletics are a franchise that longs to find a new home, away from Oakland—the city that has housed the team for the past 41 years.
But throughout his tenure as owner, which began in 2005, Wolff has done everything in his power to ostracize and shun the Athletics fan base.
Prior to Wolff’s reign, Oakland was one of the formidable franchises in MLB history. Additionally, they were one of the best teams in the early 2000s—if not one of the most impressive. In spite of low payrolls, they reached the playoffs in four straight seasons (2000-2003). And their farm system was envy of the league, stocked with promising young talent.
Several players went on to achieve major league success with the A’s: one Cy Young Award winner, three Rookies of the Year, two MVPs and a six-time Gold Glove Award winner.
In fact, in the six seasons from 1999-2004, the Oakland A’s had the second-most wins in the American League with 570. Further, in all of MLB, only the New York Yankees (585) and the Atlanta Braves (584) had more wins during that span. Oakland was the hotbed of the new Moneyball philosophy, and fans were stomping through the Coliseum at an average attendance rate of 1.96 million per season.
Everything seemed to be A’s-OK in the East Bay.
But that’s the whole point. Wolff has never wanted to stay in Oakland. He had their sight set on San Jose from the get-go.
In the meantime, while he was wolfing down revenue-sharing dollars from the rest of MLB, the Athletics owner was deliberately banishing Oakland’s fan base by trading away solid players for farm animals year after year after year. The former players the A’s sent away or didn't re-sign practically reads as an all-decade team of the 2000s.
The Athletics have continued that trend this past offseason. In a last-ditch effort to force themselves out of Oakland, the A’s have given up on the upcoming campaign, intentionally sabotaging themselves out of competition to feign weakness, which would—hopefully for Wolff—mean the A’s have nowhere to go but San Jose.
Calculatingly self-destructing? Purposely turning fans away? Giving up? Who does that?
Only the worst owner in all of Major League Baseball.
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