Wolff prefers A's move to San Jose
Oakland owner says he'll ask MLB to help make deal with Giants
Oakland Athletics owner Lew Wolff said on Thursday that he would like to move the team to San Jose and needs assistance from Major League Baseball to work out an arrangement with the Giants, who own territorial rights to the San Jose market.
"We are really saying that we'd love to stay in Northern California, and go to San Jose," Wolff said to a small group of reporters, including those from the San Francisco Chronicle and Oakland Tribune, at the San Francisco Fairmont, of which he is a part-owner.
"If [the Giants'] position is this is something they want to defend, they will -- but we have to appeal to baseball," Wolff said, as reported by the Chronicle. "We will be asking for direction from Major League Baseball."
Wolff, who last month canceled plans to build a ballpark and surrounding real estate in Fremont, said he hopes to receive guidance from MLB by the end of the year, if not sooner.
He pointed out that San Jose officials have selected a site and completed environmental studies necessary to build a ballpark, and that a business group is preparing to start a campaign in support of an A's move to San Jose.
"I think they probably are in as good a position as anyone in California," said Wolff, who is co-owner of the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer. "They are the 10th-largest city in the country."
San Jose mayor Chuck Reed was not surprised by Wolff's interest, according to the Chronicle.
"I talk to Lew periodically," Reed said. "Lew has to decide what he does next, and it all revolves around Major League Baseball. It's up to Lew -- and he's always been very positive about San Jose."
In an effort to keep the A's in Oakland, mayor Ron Dellums has sent a letter to MLB and city officials are contacting Bay Area congressional members for assistance, David Chai, Dellums' chief of staff, told the Chronicle.
"We believe the A's should stay in Oakland," Chai said. "We believe there are a number of different options that have not been pursued. These are economically very different times [than when Oakland could not find a satisfactory site for the A's in 2006]."
Wolff issued a statement earlier this month saying that he is not interested in reopening discussions for a new ballpark with Oakland city officials. Last week he said that he didn't intend to insult the city, but was "mostly trying to make sure we didn't raise expectations."
Wolff said on Thursday that he is willing to look at new stadium sites in Oakland, but that the earlier search had been exhaustive.
He added that in order to avoid clashes with any opposition in San Jose, he would welcome a vote on a stadium.
"If it's thumbs-up, fine, and if it's thumbs-down, fine," Wolff said. "We don't need to be where we're not wanted."
Bobbie Dittmeier is an editor/producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.