Imagine this: our County Assessor Larry Stone is standing on the mound at Candlestick Park. It’s 1989. He’s a Sunnyvale City Councilmember and it’s Sunnyvale Day at the ballpark. Larry’s wearing a Giants cap and gets to throw out the first pitch.
The stadium is full and the fans are cheering. His name gets announced. He rocks back. His long arm reaches skyward and he throws the ball in the dirt – not the dirt at home plate where the catcher is patiently waiting. No way.
Larry throws the ball in the dirt on the mound – just barely in front of his feet. I’ve been to thousands of baseball games from Little League to Major League and that was the most pathetic pitch I’d ever seen. I could have dropped a bowling ball and it would have gone farther. So let me state the obvious: Larry Stone can’t pitch a baseball.
But he can pitch a San Jose ballpark. He’ll do that at a Downtown Rotary Club speech tomorrow at noon and his timing is perfect if you’ve read today’s paper. Lew Wolff is in position to buy the Oakland A’s from Steve Schott.
This is great news for San Jose sports fans, business leaders, civic boosters, and especially Baseball San Jose – a grassroots organization that is committed to bringing Major League Baseball to San Jose. (Larry and I are both active members. Anyone who wants to help the effort, can easily sign up at the website).
Lew Wolff knows San Jose. He’s made major investments in our downtown and knows that a ballpark at the right site will be a major boon to San Jose’s downtown and citywide economy.
When I worked at City Hall, I learned that Lew was smart and practical. He can visualize a project and move the elements of a deal into place. He’s also someone who can be creative and bring big projects to the table. In Los Angeles for example, he’s working on a project across from the Staples Center that will be what some people are calling a “Times Square West.”
There are still many hurdles to leap before we’ll see a Major League ballpark in San Jose, including a citywide vote. But things are moving in the right direction.
Someday, Steve Schott will be fondly remembered as the guy who saved baseball for Oakland and Lew Wolff may be the guy who brought baseball to San Jose.
If that happens, under no circumstances – absolutely none—should Larry Stone be the guy throwing out the first pitch.
Note: Dan Pulcrano corrects my first post with a comment. Dan’s right. I should have written that Terry Gregory “allegedly” said that he could take care of a political enemy by paying $50 to a crack head.