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California News

In a rare interview, John Fisher shows exactly how he failed at the Oakland A’s

John Fisher is a notorious media recluse.

So reading Fisher’s words for the first time since he bought the Oakland A’s 18 years ago felt like a fever dream.

His scripted comments during a Q&A with the Las Vegas Journal Review and the NBC Bay Area affiliate team made it clear why Fisher hid from the public eye. Even the friendliest media interrogation reveals he is the rightful, out-of-touch owner that many have imagined.

A response to a question from NBC’s Raj Mathai – a TV interview that Fisher had oddly asked not to actually air – was particularly illuminating in light of Fisher’s attempts to move the A’s to Las Vegas after decades of exploitation. of an unnecessarily low-budget operation.

“Are you the right person to own a franchise? ” asked Mathai.

“I don’t think being a franchise owner is like being a politician,” Fisher said.

Fisher didn’t even have to say it officially. It was always clear that he felt entitled to a new stage of development with multi-billion dollar development, and that he had no interest in playing the political game necessary to convince new potential neighbors and local officials. This right probably killed every new rough proposition upon arrival.

In 2005, Fisher bought a big market team with Lew Wolff led by a revolutionary baseball spirit in Billy Beane, refused to invest in the team, made haphazard proposals, and turned Oakland into a small hell market. And now he’s asking for a Las Vegas get out of jail card.

Team president Dave Kaval pointed to the departures of the Oakland Raiders and Warriors and that of the San Francisco 49ers as indications that local governments are responsible for the abandonment of teams by their homes. It’s fair to shine a light on the complex hurdles Bay Area cities have to overcome to build anything. It’s also worth noting which owner groups and presidents had the strength to do this without anger.

The Warriors overcame failed construction proposals at Piers 30 and 32 with a fluke when team owner Joe Lacob got a call from friend Marc Benioff of Salesforce for him. sell unwanted land in San Francisco on which the Chase Center now sits. President Rick Welts has won a lawsuit against a “Mission Bay Alliance” of organized opponents – similar to the A’s enemy “East Bay Stadium Alliance” that Kaval says killed Howard Terminal.

Since Kaval assumed the presidency in 2016, the A’s have done nothing but point fingers and blame the city and its opponents for their failure to bring their future neighbors and local officials to their side. Fisher used the interview to make flimsy claims that Oakland isn’t fit for baseball because they’re bleeding money, desperate for revenue-sharing checks, and playing in a run-down Coliseum with low attendance. Translation: He wants to have mercy on his self-inflicted wounds.

The A’s failed to convince voters on the Peralta board to side with them for a proposed site at Laney College, ultimately killing it. At Howard Terminal, they succumbed to lawsuits and public battles with local authorities. Minutes obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle from the 1990 owners’ meetings suggest that the Giants’ territorial rights in San Jose depended on the Giants building a ballpark. Why didn’t Fisher, who holds a master’s degree from Stanford Business School, think to look into this if he was serious about building a ballpark?

Fisher has come out from under his rock with an agenda: to spice up the MLB Relocation Committee and the public by claiming that Oakland is no longer good enough for its money or its time, and he will open the generous trust of the Fisher family for a real baseball town like Las Vegas.

Then Fisher’s credibility plummeted over a few throwaway questions. The San Francisco native had more to say about the Giants than the A’s in the two lengthy interviews.

California Daily Newspapers

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