A tale of two Decembers for Coliseum-weary A’s owner

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On Dec. 24, 2011, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweeted that it looked like MLB would approve the Oakland A’s proposed move to San Jose soon. But on Dec. 7, 2013, Nathaniel Grow of Sports Law Blog broke the news that MLB rejected the A’s request in June. Just like that, it appeared that owner Lew Wolff‘s attempt to relocate the franchise to the South Bay was, at best, barely on life support. Quite a dramatic turnaround from one December to another.

BHC logoCLICK HERE to read the rest of “A tale of two Decembers for Coliseum-weary A’s owner” over at Baseball Hot Corner.

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Lew Wolff and the ‘evil’ owner Battle Royale

The notion of an "evil" owner is a silly one, but if such a thing really existed where would Oakland's much-maligned Lew Wolff rank?

The notion of an “evil” owner is a silly one, but if such a thing really existed where would Oakland’s much-maligned Lew Wolff rank?

In a refreshing change of pace, there’s recently been some interesting news about the Oakland A’s quest for a new ballpark. Yesterday news broke that there’s a new proposal for a stadium at Howard Terminal in Oakland which generated understandable enthusiasm among the fanbase. That was followed later in the day by a story from the Bay Area News Group in which maligned team owner Lew Wolff quickly shot down the idea. The whole thing sent a large number of A’s fans on Twitter into a tizzy with Wolff serving as a punching bag and the tiresome evil owner narrative playing out the way it always does when he opens his mouth.

If there really are “evil” sports owners out there I’m not sure Wolff truly ranks in that category. Here’s my quick, totally unscientific, look at how Wolff stacks up against some real and fictional “evil” sports owners …

BHC logoCLICK HERE to read the rest of “Lew Wolff and the ‘Evil’ owner Battle Royale” over at Baseball Hot Corner.

Enough of the vanishing act

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June 29? I haven’t posted here since June flippin’ 29? I can’t believe that I vanished from the blogosphere for more than 7 months. Well, a new job and new hours will do that to a guy.

The funny thing is that I actually had my sights set on blogging a lot more here at Junkball when I vanished into thin air. I stepped away from Swingin’ A’s to gain some flexibility for more frequent, spontaneous blogging without worrying about stepping on the toes of other staff writers.

ImageBut right when I did all that I landed a new gig and the free time to ramble about the A’s faded away. The only reason I’m even posting today is because I’m home alone sick with time to kill in between some long naps.  If my kids were home there’s no way I could veg out on the couch and write something.

Too bad I pulled a 7 month vanishing act because I missed an amazing opportunity to blog about the A’s while they went on a magical run to the AL West title. But being at the game when the A’s clinched their first playoff berth since 2006 was a helluva lot more fun than blogging about it so I can’t complain too much about my schedule pulling me away from this site.

Hopefully this post marks a return to at least some semi-regular blogging but only time will tell. I have a bad knack for getting busy and letting this blog fall by the wayside. I know my priorities are in the right place by putting family, friends, and work first but goofing off here makes everything else a lot more fun.

On to some random thoughts in the early days of spring training …

* At the moment there’s depth everywhere on this roster, a welcome sight for a small-buget franchise that usually has a pretty thin roster backing up the starting nine. The starting rotation, bullpen, infield, outfield … there’s a crowd of talented players fighting for a roster spot and playing time. It’s a nice problem to have and I’m glad it’s Bob Melvin‘s challenge to make all the pieces fit together instead of me. I wouldn’t want to be the guy telling a few really good players that they’re heading to Sacramento instead of Oakland at the end of camp and then deal with juggling the lineup all season.

* If there’s one guy who can make it all work it’s Melvin. That shiny new AL Manager of the Year Award sitting on his mantle (OK, I assume it’s sitting on his mantle rather than being used as a paperweight or hat rack) is proof that the man can juggle lineups and massage personalities with the best of’em. Of course, 2012 is in the rear view mirror and there’s no guarantee that 2013 will be smooth sailing. Last season you didn’t hear any complaints from players while Melvin regularly shuffled everyone in and out of the lineup but that’s when the club was winning games in bunches. A slow start to 2013 that drags on too long could lead to an unhappy clubhouse full of competitive ballplayers who don’t feel like they’re getting enough at bats to get into a groove and help the A’s win.  Hopefully that’s the kind of turmoil was left behind in the dark ages of A’s baseball known as the Bob Geren Era.

* I totally dig Oakland adding John Jaso to the roster.  Same goes for adding Jed Lowrie and Hiroyuki Nakajima to the mix at shortstop.  If the A’s could win the division with almost no offensive contributions out of those positions in 2012, having some solid hitters in those spots can only help’em make a run at another title.  I’ll miss all the prospects general manager Billy Beane shipped out of town to get Jaso and Lowrie but I’ll take a win-now approach after years of irrelevance in the American League.

* Right now the glut of good players vying for a spot on the roster looks like it’ll be a late-spring headache for the A’s coaching staff and front office as they try to figure out what to do with guys out of options. But it’s a long way to opening day and what may seem like too many players for too few spots could actually shake out to be barely enough bodies to go around if, as usual, the injury bug rears its ugly head and some guys play themselves out of the picture. By the end of 2013 what seems like a luxury of depth for the A’s will probably turn out to be a necessity just to make it to the finish line.

* I already really miss Brandon McCarthy.  On a positive note, I’m excited that Scott Sizemore is healthy and in the mix for a starting job.  It may take him a couple of months to really get going after missing last season with a knee injury but I’m optimistic that he can make good on the promise he showed with the A’s in 2010.

* According to several reports out of Arizona, stalled outfield prospect Michael Taylor is working out at first base. That’s a damn fine idea if I do say so myself. Personally, I think it’s a long overdue move to salvage some value and see if the A’s can find an opportunity to get Taylor some playing time in the big leagues. Then again, as Chris Carter can attest to, being a young right-handed part of a first base platoon in Oakland isn’t exactly a major source of at bats.

* Speaking of Chris Carter, the big guy is finally free. Take those 500 at bats as a DH in Houston and run with’em kid. Have fun filling the Crawford Boxes with souvenirs for the next few years … just make sure you do most of your damage against everyone but the A’s.

* The one good thing about not blogging about the A’s in so long is that I didn’t miss any developments on the new ballpark front.  The Golden State Warriors will be probably be playing in San Francisco and the Raiders will be playing in Los Angeles before any progress is made on the A’s getting a new home.  The whole thing is just as frustrating as ever but at least the team on the field is fun to watch again which is a welcome distraction from MLB commissioner Bud Selig’s attempt to dodge the issue until he retires.

Signing off for now, hopefully I’ll be back in less than 7 months.