After years of waiting for an answer from Major League Baseball, it is clear Oakland A's owner Lew Wolff's patience is running thin. But if patience is a virtue, Wolff is a saint. "We're not in limbo. We're in purgatory," he said only slightly laughingly Wednesday. In San Jose, the laughter cannot hide the frustration. "We need an answer from the commissioner. It doesn't take three years to study two cities, San Jose and Oakland," Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone said.
Wolff has high praise for MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, but the plans are drawn and Wolff told a Rotary crowd he expects an answer "within a couple of months." "No, I am not going to continue this much longer. What we want is an answer," he said.
While Oakland is fighting to keep the A's, the bigger fight is from the San Francisco Giants who have territorial rights to San Jose. In arguing his position, Wolff is a man who uses a carrot rather than a stick. "If we moved here, the Giants would at least pick up a third of our market which is about half a million tickets a year, not all bad. I don't believe the Giants would be hurt one iota and I think it would be good for baseball," he said.
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed thinks the NFL announcement this month that it is going to contribute $200 million to help build a new 49ers stadium in Santa Clara is a good sign. "I think it demonstrates the strength of the market, which of course, is important to Major League Baseball, after all, it is an economic deal," he said.
Wolff said has explored every possibility in Oakland and San Jose is his "Plan A" and his only plan. In true character, he has not threatened to leave the Bay Area, but also will not commit to staying in Oakland.
As everyone waits for an answer from Major League Baseball, do not underestimate the power of diplomacy and patience. "Give me a little more time and I'll get it done somehow,alright?" Wolff said.