Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, clearly discombobulated by the news that Pete Rose wants to be part of his life again, just fell into the Oakland stadium trap again.
Specifically, he said, according to the Associated Press story referencing the matter, that Major League Baseball will continue to be involved but prefers to let the A's and city of Oakland try to find a solution.
Now what the hell is that supposed to mean? A stadium is a priority that he intends to do nothing to help facilitate? That he cannot possibly influence? That he hopes will magically appear through the work of pixies yoking unicorns to bring spangly re-bar and marzipan concrete to hard-working union elves who makes things appear magically?
Or is he just gasbagging the way his former boss did about a problem he really cannot/does not/will not solve?
The answer seems clearly to be “D,” with a side of “Let us know when you dopes figure it out.”
Whatever the choice, it was pure madness for Manfred to have even brought the idea up if the next sentence tumbling from his piehole is, “But I’ll be damned if I know what we can do about it.” I mean, what’s the point in him answering the question at all if that’s the best he’s going to do?
In fairness, though, there isn’t a lot he can do about it, save getting the other owners to help chip in for the park since it is fairly clear that John Fisher and Lew Wolff aren’t that keen on doing business in Oakland, let alone paying for the privilege. And since we know how much the other 28 owners not named Charlie Johnson care about the A’s future location, they’re kicking in exactly zero anything.
But Manfred’s passive-aggressive response is no better than any of the ones Bug Selig emitted in his time not tackling the problem. I mean, other than assembling a blue ribbon committee that played “Lady Of Spain” on an accordion while San Jose burned. Or, more accurately, set fire to itself.
The truth was, is, and will always be that the A’s have no leverage in the Bay Area save in Oakland and Alameda County, and that leverage is based on the illusion that Oakland and Alameda County have sufficient money worth extorting. Fisher and Wolff have made a fetish of letting other people do their work for them, except in the few months when Wolff lost his mind completely and pursued the now laughtrack-discredited Fremont Option, and having lost both San Jose and Selig as potential blame-magnets, they don’t want to lose the new Oakland political administration as alibis for their inertia.
But that doesn’t answer the question of why Manfred decided to tell us what he did about Oakland, unless the plan was to redefine the word “interest” to mean “not really.”
He could have simply said, “It’s not something I can really comment on right now, but I can give you Bud Selig’s home phone if that’ll help. Now, what do you want not to know about Pete Rose and the Hall of Fame?”