It's just a phase he's going through. And no, we're not referring to his age here, so put your lawyers back in their holsters. We're talking about ownership phases.I'm not a huge Ray Ratto fan, and I really don't care much about what Lew Wolff does, but I find the Veeck-Finley-O'Malley ownership phase matrix to be fairly insightful. Really, those are the options, and it's always good to know where your team's owner falls on that scale.
He has already completed the first one, in which he comes in as the purchasing hero . . . He has gone through the stage where he is applauded just for walking down the Coliseum aisle with his grandson, or shaking hands with someone as he presents an oversized cardboard check to said someone's favorite charity. He's the good guy. Phase Two is the part where we find out why he's actually in this. It's to build a ballpark village in Fremont . . .
. . . In addition, he's gone through Phase 2.5, wherein he looks like a cheapskate. Tarping the upper deck to cut down on staffing costs made the park look sort of Tampa Bay-ish, the operation looked dowdy and hand-me-downish when compared to the Giants, and the club's 2008 payroll was cut nearly in half while the revenue sharing check from Major League Baseball more than doubled.
He is now entering Phase Three, where he realizes he isn't going over well and wants to do something about it (while, of course, still getting what he wants). He wants to seem less skinflinty and more the baseball guy. In fact, with this new idea, which he actually said he would share with Commissioner Bud Selig (yeah, like he hasn't got enough spam on his plate already), he is trying to decide whether he wants to be Bill Veeck, Charlie Finley or Walter O'Malley.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Veeck, Finley, or O'Malley?
Ray Ratto looks at Lew Wolff's recent moves -- pushing the park in Fremont, trading for Matt Holliday, floating his one-and-done playoff idea -- and sees an owner with an identity crisis: