If the A’s ballpark saga were a film, the title would be: “Huh? Still No Answer?”
With this subtitle: “The Everlasting Slog Of Befuddlement.”
Last weekend, a report surfaced that Major League Baseball had rejected the idea of an Athletics move from Oakland to San Jose, which A’s owner Lew Wolff has pursued for more than five years. But the report turned out to be a false alarm created by legal mumbo jumbo.
How do we know this? Because after Wolff received the MLB letter allegedly denying him permission to build a San Jose ballpark, he’s on record as still seeking a move to the South Bay.
“Nothing has changed with much of it for us,” Wolff said again this week in a phone interview. “We continue to pursue the process.”
I am no professor of logic. But if the MLB letter had actually instructed Wolff to totally forget about San Jose, my feeling is that he would instead be saying something like: “Well, guess I’d better totally forget about San Jose.”
I asked Wolff if he could show me the MLB letter. He politely told me no. He also declined further comment on the topic. So what’s going on here?
Multiple baseball sources tell me that the MLB letter simply rejected the last plan submitted by San Jose to the A’s for a ballpark. There were evidently concerns about seating capacity and the stadium footprint at the proposed downtown site. The letter did not rule out potential MLB approval of a revised plan. Suspiciously, the letter was sent to the A’s and Wolff by baseball’s lawyers one day before San Jose filed its lawsuit against MLB. It was clearly a legal tactic of some sort.
Meanwhile, fans of the A’s don’t care about confusing lawyerly arguments or loud posturing. They only want to know this: Where will the Athletics be playing in the future?
–Mark Purdy, San Jose Mercury News
I spent last weekend making a tiny contribution to baseball history. The setting was Orlando, site of the ongoing winter meetings, and a conference room in the Waldorf-Astoria hotel. Along with 15 others, I took under consideration the Hall of Fame credentials for a distinguished group of managers, players and executives.
The results were announced Monday: the election of Tony La Russa, Joe Torre and Bobby Cox. I can’t tell you how I or anyone else voted, or even the tone of the meeting. I can’t reveal if someone pounded his fist on the table, argued vehemently against a candidate or made a spirited case in favor. We are sworn to absolute secrecy.
If it sounds a bit clandestine, consider this: Say it became known that I didn’t vote for someone, and he fell one vote short. Suddenly, I’m a public figure. I cost him a place in Cooperstown, at least on this particular vote. I heard one of the committee members express this exact sentiment, insisting he wouldn’t participate if his or anyone else’s ballot became public.
This process bears no resemblance to the general Hall of Fame election, polling the massive whole of the baseball writers’ electorate. Those votes are made public, and most of us are quite willing to explain our decisions in print.
Here, though, it was a condensed panel of 16, voting on the so-called Expansion Era, targeted as 1973 to the present but allowing leeway for those whose careers began a bit further back. We could vote for as many as five of the 12 candidates, and it took at least 12 votes, or 75 percent, to gain election.
–Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle
The 49ers can no longer disguise the obvious: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick is a talented but erratic player and can’t be depended on to lead them to postseason success.
On Sunday, Kaepernick had what is becoming a typical game against quality opponents, occasionally brilliant but often erratic.
The brilliance showed late in the second quarter when the 49ers drove for their only touchdown, with Kaepernick completing four key passes, the last a 13-yarder to Vernon Davis for the score.
The erratic element showed when the 49ers drove deep into Seattle territory in the third quarter and seemed poised to at least kick another field goal and possibly score their second touchdown — until Kaepernick threw an interception. So, the Niners came away with no points.
The game was won because Frank Gore broke loose for a 51-yard run in the closing minutes. Coach Jim Harbaugh didn’t risk another Kaepernick pass going to a Seattle defensive back so he called nothing but runs — one by Kaepernick — to let the clock run down before Phil Dawson’s go-ahead field goal.
Earlier this season, Kaepernick’s struggles were “explained” because his favorite receiver, Michael Crabtree, was sidelined by injury. But now, he has Crabtree, Davis, Anquan Boldin and Mario Manningham. Few teams can match that stable of quality receivers.
Certainly not Seattle. Golden Tate is the only Seahawks receiver who could make the active roster for the Niners, and he’d probably be used primarily as a kick returner.
Yet, in Sunday’s matchup, Russell Wilson was the better quarterback. Wilson is a second-year quarterback who was a third-round draft pick last year, but won the starting job in training camp from Matt Flynn. He has continued to improve this year.
Kaepernick was a second-round pick in 2011. He played in the preseason but mostly just observed as Alex Smith took the Niners into the playoffs. Last year, he took over when Smith was sidelined by a concussion and had some spectacular games against opponents who were not prepared for him.
–Glenn Dickey, San Francisco Examiner