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What drives Lew Wolff? Insights into his ballpark quest

Proposed San Jose ballpark

With a roadmap to a new Oakland Athletics ballpark seemingly a year away, there’s one factor fueling Lew Wolff’s desire to see a new ballpark opened by 2016: his age.

Tyler Kepner had a nice article on Wolff’s quest for a new San Jose ballpark, an issue that’s not yielded an easy solution for MLB Commissioner Bud Selig or San Francisco Giants ownership. The Giants and Wolff have not been able to come to an agreement for the territory (the Giants are pretty insistent on retaining Silicon Valley and Santa Clara County), and the latest talk has both teams providing documentation to Selig about their financial claims — claims that could take a year to settle.

The article does humanize Wolff to a great degree and points out a reason for Wolff’s passion and urgency: his age. He’ll be well into his 80s by the time a ballpark opens, perhaps the crowing achievement in a very distinguished development career. This really isn’t all about the money for Wolff, apparently. From The New York Times:

For now, he said, it would be “very aggressive” to think that the A’s could have a new park for the 2016 season.

At 76, Wolff joked that he might have to be wheeled in by then. But for all his frustration, he is reluctant to push his friend to act. He owes his status as a major league owner to Selig, he said, and feels bad for putting Selig in the middle of a neighborhood dispute.

“It puts a burden on Bud that he doesn’t really deserve,” Wolff said. “But when I tease him about it, he says, ‘It’s my job.’ ”

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