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Oakland Tribune: C'mon, Selig, let's tour Oakland


By Dave Newhouse


Dear Bud Selig:


It's been awhile since we've communicated, as my life isn't sports the way it used to be, though I still keep my eye -- and foot -- on sports-related matters if they are community-related.


And so I'm contacting you now with a generous offer. I'm inviting you as my guest to take a personal tour of Oakland, with me as your chauffeur.


It won't be a limo, just a Toyota Camry. But all I'm asking is that you give me a day, or a half-day, to show you around the Oakland you've yet to see.


You've made infrequent appearances here in your 19 years as Major League Baseball commissioner, as uncomfortable as those visits must have been -- for you don't like Oakland very much.


You've publicly stated that putting a franchise here in 1968 was a "terrible mistake." I don't understand your logic as Oakland has won four World Series while the Giants, who came west 10 years earlier, just won their first.


And this is precisely why I'm extending you a personal invitation to be your guide -- so you can see the Oakland that your old Phi Scamma Shamma fraternity pal, Lew Wolff, would prefer that you avoid.


Because the final decision on the A's future is taking longer than the Afghan war, there is time for you to get a true picture of Oakland, and a truer picture of your friend Wolff -- the con man's con man.


And I've nominated myself to show you. We'll start our tour at the Oakland Tribune's ninth-floor offices, just across the freeway from Coliseum, a truly awful name. My "Jim Otto Coliseum" renaming idea makes better sense.


From my desk, you can view the Coliseum complex layout that Wolff refuses to notice. You will notice that there is more acreage to build a ballpark -- and Wolff's baseball village -- than exists with the Giants' quaint ballpark in China Basin.


Wolff was quoted recently as having given up on any Oakland ballpark, just as Oakland has given up on believing one word he says. His predecessor as A's owner, the equally devious Steve Schott, tried to move the A's out of Oakland from the very day he bought the club with Ken Hofmann in 1995.


But if you look honestly at the A's pitiful attendance, why would anyone pay money to support some carpetbaggers who keep looking elsewhere? That's why Oakland so misses the Haas family, the only ownership group that treated it decently, and thus drew 2.9 million fans one year (1990).


Wolff first coveted Fremont, but his baseball village didn't get to first base there. Now he's fixated on San Jose, a city that's broke, says its mayor, and a city the Giants claim territorially, while defying Wolff and fellow owner, the muted John Fisher, to do something about it. They probably could in court, but that might take years.


Regardless, San Jose won't ever have what Oakland has -- BART, the freeway, Amtrak, a central location, several bridges and baseball history all wrapped together -- in the way of ballpark plus points.

Now, Buddy boy, let me show you Oakland's friendly neighborhoods, its waterfront, its lakes, all its new restaurants and its lovely hill trails. I'll be careful not to run over a deer, a raccoon or a skunk while you enjoy the view. On a crystal-clear day, you will see all five bridges.


There's no denying that Oakland has abundant crime, but what big city doesn't? Even your beloved Milwaukee isn't Vatican City. Your Brewers have no World Series titles either.


C'mon, Commish, let me show you a good time -- and the real Oakland, not the fictitious Oakland that Schott and now Wolff have tried to sell you.


And while you're here, find us another ownership group like the Haases.

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