Hard to come away from this story http://www.contracostatimes.com/sports/ci_11905785 with anything other than the impression that the A's are sticking a big foam middle finger at the city of Oakland at this point in the Gimme-a-Ballpark Game.
But upon closer inspection, the situation isn't really as bad as it looks because the "effort" by Oakland to keeps the A's in town isn't anything to get excited about. It's just a bunch of hot air out of the mayor's office.
I have to admit that I was initially a little impressed and surprised when I heard that Mayor Ron Dellums, along with council president Jane Brunner, reached out to Major League Baseball to try and work out a way to keep the A's in Oakland. But A's owner Lew Wolff slammed the door shut almost as soon as it was opened.
Right off the bat, Wolff's frosty reaction to Dellums' efforts didn't exactly have me jumping up to applaud the old man.
Even if the A's really are sick and tired of trying to hammer out a ballpark deal in Oakland it's seems like PR suicide to be so blunt about it.
The Fremont ballpark plan recently went up in smoke (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/02/21/MNAK161PL7.DTL&hw=san+jose+ATHLETICS&sn=005&sc=400) and even though San Jose is flirting with the idea of making a run at the A's (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2009/03/11/state/n165535D29.DTL&hw=san+jose+ATHLETICS&sn=004&sc=446) there's a long, winding road full of huge obstacles before anyone should take the city's bid seriously.
With the nation's economy in the tank no city is going to step up anytime soon to serve up a shiny new ballpark on a silver platter for Wolff and Co which means the A's aren't leaving Oakland anytime soon.
Why not play nice with Oakland's politicians for the sake of good PR?
Best-case scenario is that the A's get a new ballpark in Oakland.
Worst-case scenario is that the team's owners look like they tried their hardest to stay in town before bolting to San Jose, Las Vegas or Portland.
But a closer examination of Dellums' move to keep the A's in Oakland shows that Wolff is right on target about one thing: The mayor's letter to Major League Baseball (http://www.contracostatimes.com/sports/ci_11898140) is basically worthless.
There isn't a single solid idea for a ballpark deal in the two-page fluff piece.
On top of all that, Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson's first name is misspelled in the letter and moneyball as painfully referred to as "money ball."
Wolff is correct in saying that all Dellums' letter is good for is to "generate press and 'sound-bite' opportunities."
The city isn't in any better position today to work out a ballpark deal than it has been over the past two decades. In fact, I can't imagine a worse time for Oakland to try and produce a new ballpark for the A's.
My only knock on the Wolff in this mess, and it's a major knock, is that if Dellums wants to play nice in the press about keeping the A's in town the only logical thing to do is play ball even if it's all one big sham.
It sure beats alienating your fans by making it look like you're not willing to do everything possible to keep the team in Oakland.