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Could Lew Wolff end up owning the Dodgers?

Jan 11, 2011, 9:52 AM EST

Oakland A's Press Conference

There’s an interesting — but troubling — musing in Buster Olney’s latest column. First Olney notes that Frank McCourt is in dire financial straits — no surprise — but then speculates about one possible outcome:

It’s been awhile since Bud Selig formed the committee to study the Oakland ownership situation, with no resolution in sight for his longtime friend and former fraternity buddy Lew Wolff, the Athletics current owner. What Wolff and the Athletics want is a ballpark in San Jose, and Selig might feel as though he can’t give that to him.

But if McCourt eventually has to sell the Dodgers, providing Wolff — who lives in L.A. — an opportunity to buy the Dodgers would be a heck of a compromise move for Selig, who is, above all else, a deal-maker. In a similar way, he ushered John Henry and Tom Werner — previously connected with the Marlins and Padres, respectively — into control of the Boston Red Sox.

And Wolff, of course, could bring along GM Billy Beane, who could leave the Athletics in the hands of the next owner and heir apparent David Forst.

It’s all speculation. But it all could make a lot of sense, depending on which way the dominos fall with the Dodgers.

And here we thought that Bud’s-committee-on-San Jose was designed to look out for the best interests of the Oakland Athletics, not merely the team’s billionaire real estate developing fraternity-brother-of-Bud Selig owner. Silly us.

I hope this is just Buster on a flight of fancy and not a trial balloon being floated by someone at MLB.  Because if it’s the latter it’s clear evidence that baseball doesn’t give a diddly durn about Athletics fans. At all.

  1. BC - Jan 11, 2011 at 9:55 AM

    Maybe they could merge the A’s and Dodgers and build a stadium in Lompoc or San Simeon or something?

  2. Old Gator - Jan 11, 2011 at 10:16 AM

    This is a great idea. Then, someone with deep pockets who actually gives a fecal bolus about winning can buy the Feesh, and Scrooge McLoria can buy the A’s….

    (I put my computer on a time delay before posting this, to give myself enough time to get away from my monitor before APBA Guy reads this).

  3. dodger88 - Jan 11, 2011 at 10:23 AM

    Tough not to feel for the A’s but any move that provides stable ownership for the Dodgers is good by me. Would be interesting to see the results Billy Bean could generate without the type of payroll limitations the A’s have typically had.

    • Old Gator - Jan 11, 2011 at 10:57 AM

      One fears he would respond like those great indie film directors who tanked the minute some big studio handed them a fat checkbook – think the Coens’ Hudsucker Proxy or Unspeakable Cruelty, or Aronofsky’s The Fountain. Sometimes the strictures of parsimony lubricate the creative gears in a way that filthy luchre can’t.

      • BC - Jan 11, 2011 at 11:04 AM

        The Hudsucker Proxy is a phenomenal movie. Very creative. You know, for kids.

      • Old Gator - Jan 11, 2011 at 11:06 AM

        Like baseball.

      • Reflex - Jan 11, 2011 at 4:35 PM

        Hudsucker Proxy is one of my all time favorite movies. Love that one.

      • Old Gator - Jan 11, 2011 at 10:27 PM

        The Hudsucker Proxy isn’t fit to pump the big Lebowski’s septic tank.

  4. paperlions - Jan 11, 2011 at 10:55 AM

    To owners, this has always been a business. Why would anyone ever think MLB gave a crap about any baseball fans? They love baseball fan’s money, but there has never been any indication that they are care about the fans, the cities, or local economies beyond the financial support those things provide for the team.

    • Old Gator - Jan 11, 2011 at 10:58 AM

      In sharp contradistinction to the big two-hearted owners of the NFL?

      • paperlions - Jan 11, 2011 at 1:29 PM

        Yeah, that’s exactly what I said.
        .
        The point is to stop acting like that fantasy was ever true, not to compare baseball owners to anyone else.

    • ta192 - Jan 11, 2011 at 4:31 PM

      Paperlions is sooooooo right on. The owners of baseball teams are indistinguishable from owners of other US business, greedy bastards all…to think otherwise is just foolish.

  5. lansmithlansmith - Jan 11, 2011 at 11:10 AM

    Larry Ellison should be the next owner of the A’s. That way we could act financially like the Yankees.

  6. apbaguy - Jan 11, 2011 at 12:17 PM

    Well, Lew Wolff wishes he were a billionaire, first off. Remember the principal owner of the A’s is the Gap heir, John Fisher. Lew is the managing partner based on his relationship with Selig and his developer background, which was thought useful in pursuing a new ballpark for the A’s.

    That said, it would be fun if Wolff/Fisher sold the A’s to Larry Ellison, then bought the Dodgers. I’m not sure Ellison would be into baseball, it’s a little slow moving for him, though I know of a former Raiderette that was linked to Ellison so there you go. Maybe the A’s could use cheerleaders to boost attendance, with giant scarlet A’s on their unis.

    Larry would no doubt try to move the team immediately as a way of generating leverage, like his creative flirtation with Newport RI over the America’s Litigation Cup. Knowing Larry, we’d be seeing mock-ups of the Mumbai A’s ballpark in a few weeks.

    I don’t think Scrooge McLoria and the Chihuahua would welcome a move here. Oakland is way too downmarket for Scrooge. And I would personally have to plant sonic devices in OG’s abode that intoned passages from Clive Cussler, James Patterson and various romance novelists whenever OG was within earshot. We’ll have him sitting in front of the tv eating bagel chips in no time. His ideas are simply becoming too dangerous, which I attribute to an excess of Cormac McCarthy. Danielle Steele, an SF resident, is the sure cure.

  7. monkeyball - Jan 11, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    What apbaguy said. Lew doesn’t have the scratch on his own to buy a team — and while he’s never been accused of mismanaging and overleveraging in the way that the McCourts did their Ponzi scheme I mean real-estate empire, the economy hasn’t been kind to Lew’s portfolio (shopping malls, office buildings, but mainly luxury hotels — Fairmont et al). It would require Fisher or another truly deep-pocketed dude to make the deal happen.

    And, again, as apbaguy notes, Lew was brought in to the A’s ownership group specifically for his development acumen, to build a new stadium (on the back of public financing) — a task at which he’s failed twice/repeatedly/continuously, for both Fisher and the previous Schott/Hoffman ownership group.

    Craig, I urge you — please read up more on the A’s situation w/r/t ownership/ballpark/finances. It’s the one subject you are continually underinformed on. You come off like an idiot, frankly, to anyone who knows anything about the franchise.

    Check out newballpark.org. I don’t always agree with the proprietor’s conclusions/biases, but he is THE single most informed and completist blogger on the A’s stadium search.

  8. streatordave - Jan 11, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    Move them back to Philly where they started out.

    • paperlions - Jan 11, 2011 at 1:31 PM

      Do they have to make a stop in KC or can they go directly to Philly?

  9. stankfinger - Jan 11, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    Look at those guys. That must have been one crazy fraternity.

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