John Fisher doesn’t get it or he doesn’t care. Either way, it’s a bad look for the notoriously cheap A’s owner.
During Tuesday night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Fisher was spotted in the stands by Tipping Pitches podcast host Alex Bazeley. Ironically, Fisher posed for a picture with Bazeley behind home plate, despite his T-shirt that said “Steal Bases Not Wages.”
A’s owner John Fisher said steal bases, not wages ✊🏻 welcome to the cause, brother! pic.twitter.com/vf1EnkPsyn
— Tipping Pitches (@tipping_pitches) July 6, 2022
Bazeley said he also invited Fisher on his podcast, but that he’d need a few drinks first.
So, Fisher speaks. And he has a sense of humor.
Fisher has been tight-lipped since his ownership group bought the A’s in 2005. The only on-the-record interview he granted came with the SF Chronicle’s Susan Slusser in June 2020, when he had to issue a public apology after initially deciding to cut $400 weekly stipends for his minor league players.
“I’d concluded I’d made a mistake,” Fisher told Slusser. “I’ve listened to our fans and others, and there is no question that this is the right thing to do. We clearly got this decision wrong. These players represent our future and we will immediately begin paying our minor-league players. I take responsibility and I’m making it right.”
In essence, the billionaire Fisher – who would have pocketed an estimated $1.3 million by the move – is the target audience of the phrase on Bazeley’s shirt. Yet, there he is with a big ol’ grin on his face.
If I were a minor leaguer in the A’s system, that pic wouldn’t sit well with me. The pandemic has been hard on the lower levels of baseball, reducing draft rounds, minor league affiliates and essentially wiping out the entire 2020 season. Gap’s stock has plummeted from nearly $36 in May 2021 to its current trading price of about $9, but the Fisher family’s fortune is just fine. This rare photo op strikes me as entirely tone deaf.
When it comes to the optics of their front office, it seems the A’s can’t get out of their own way. It seems only bad things happen when Dave Kaval opens his mouth or fires up his Twitter fingers, now Fisher is either being ignorant or simply doesn’t give a you-know-what.
Entering play Friday night against the AL West-leading Astros, the cellar-dwelling A’s already find themselves 27 games back of Houston. Fisher’s A’s are 28-56, which is the worst record in baseball. They’re on pace to go 54-108 this year, which would tie the 1979 team for the worst record in Oakland A’s history. That’s what happens when you’re not willing to pay guys like Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Chris Bassitt and Sean Manaea. But, hey, look at that smile!