Mayor Jean Quan Not Exactly on Speaking Terms With Big Players in Oakland Athletics Stadium Situation

Jean Quan, the mayor of Oakland, joined Damon Bruce on 95.7 The Game on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing stadium situations for the city’s three professional sports teams, and in the process, revealed some rather alarming details.

In a wide-ranging interview, the Mayor dodged several questions thrown her way, and exhibited questionable baseball knowledge, at one point referring to the American League Division Series as the “Western League Championship.”

Quan also mentioned that she has never once spoken with MLB commissioner Bud Selig and has only met John Fisher, the majority owner of the Oakland Athletics, on one occasion.

What follows is a recap of some of the Athletics-related highlights from Bruce’s interview with the Mayor. You can listen in on the full interview, which I highly suggest, right here, via the 95.7 The Game PodCenter.

Note: Questions are paraphrased but Quan’s answers are directly transcribed. All quotes courtesy of 95.7 The Game.

When was the last time you met with owners Lew Wolff and John Fisher to discuss the stadium situation?

I don’t think the Fishers ever come, but Lew Wolff has been in discussion with quite a few of the city people over the last couple of months.

Any frustration about the lack of face time with Fisher?

 Let’s just focus on the progress…

Why has there been so little “actual progress” over the past six years?

I’ve delivered (site control at Howard Terminal). It’s time for them (A’s ownership) to make a decision where they want to put their new stadium.

Quan had quite the take regarding the ongoing plumbing issues at the O.co Coliseum.

Actually, the last time they had that sewage problem they actually found a jacket down in the pipeline, so, it’s interesting, it only seems to happen at certain times. I haven’t heard of any sewage problem recently, have you?

(Bruce tells Quan that yes, there was another issue during the Bay Bridge Series at the end of March, but the Mayor says she was apparently unaware of that episode and will have to check her facts.)

What is your relationship like with the A’s?

I have a great relationship with the marketing people and the players.

And the ownership?

My team’s been meeting with Lew Wolff and, um, I have never met the Fishers. I take that back. I met Mr. Fisher at some reception about a year ago.

Why no meetings with Fisher?

My understanding is that every time we’ve made that offer he says talk to Lew Wolff.

Where would you prefer to have the new stadium built? The Coliseum City site, Howard Terminal. some other place in Oakland?

I want it to be in Oakland…Obviously most of us who are looking at the long-term economic development of the city think that a stadium at the Jack London Square area would probably have better  economic impact because two million people down in one of the hottest restaurant areas in the Bay Area would probably bring a lot more revenues to the city. But quite frankly, I can live with any site that’s within Oakland.

How would you describe your relationship with Major League Baseball? Have you ever been able to talk with Bud Selig?

I’ve actually talked to the CFO (Jonathan D, Mariner). I’ve talked to their committee many times. Remember he did appoint a three-person committee and we’ve talked to them pretty regularly and we’ve talked to their legal counsel.

(To be fair, Chuck Reed, the mayor of San Jose, told me last summer that he’s never talked to Selig either. Apparently, he’s a really tough guy to track down.)

So, the fabled blue-ribbon committee does actually exist? Who are these people?

There are three of them. We’ve mostly been talking to the person in Northern California…but when I first became mayor. Now, at the end, I’ve mostly been talking to their legal counsel.

Just who exactly is this person in Northern California that you think could help you?

I’m not saying anybody particularly can help…It’s pretty formal and we’ve been mostly talking to their legal counsel.

Do you believe that the club truly wants to remain in Oakland?

(Long pause.)

I don’t know. Are you talking about the players, are you talking about the owners?

The ownership…

It seems to me that at this point they truly do. I mean, because they’re asking for a 10-year lease extension. They make a decent amount of money off of the area without investing much money.

(According to a Forbes.com report, the A’s had the seventh-highest operating income in all of baseball in 2013, so Quan is spot on.)

You’re asking some very provocative questions. The bottom line is if Major League Baseball is going to honor the fans of the city. This is a great baseball city.

(Quan mentions that her family used to be season ticket holders.)

This is a city that’s really supported it, and has tried to be as supportive even when sometimes there aren’t the best amenities or the best food out at the stadium…and people have a lot of heart.

Bruce calls out Quan, claiming that the Mayor’s inability to get face-to-face with the Fisher family is a “huge disconnect” in the situation. Quan does not agree.

I don’t like the fact that you think that because I haven’t talked to the Fishers that I haven’t done what I needed to do. I think I’ve done more than any other mayor, and the first mayor that’s really taken this up..I’ll defend my record on this.

What do you think of Quan’s “record” on the stadium issue at large or this interview in particular? Feel free free to give your take in the comments section below.