I’m not gonna mention the name of the ESPN Radio host (hint, he’s on Friday nights) who howled over A’s owner Lewis Wolff’s comments about bringing the about-to-depart San Jose Earthquakes back to the Bay Area. The hillarity stemmed from the notion that if Wolff “doesn’t spend any money on the A’s, where will he find money for a soccer team?” The San Francisco Chronicle’s Ray Ratto, however, has followed the situation with a bit more dilligence.

MLS, or as it is known, the Highwayman’s Highwaymen, yanked the Earthquakes out of San Jose the other day and relocated them to Houston, a stupid enough idea if you merely stopped there.

Between Commissioner Don (The Smiling Ski Mask) Garber and Phil (I Own Half the League Already, So What’s It to Ya?) Anschutz, the Quakes were declared geographically, psychically, and most important, stadium undesirables. They did their work, much of it brilliant, in the famed deterioratium called Spartan Stadium (above), and finally, Don and Phil, The Not So Everly Brothers, said enough.

Good sport and colossal gasbag that he is, Garber said San Jose could keep the name Earthquakes and their record books (the Cleveland Browns’ solution, which hasn’t gone all that well for Cleveland, when you think about it), and apply for an expansion franchise for the 2007 season. In other words, San Jose loses the team it already had, but can buy a new one if it can come up with about $80 million in starter money.

Bait, meet switch.

OK, so this is a civic matter now, with freshly censured mayor Ron Gonzales and the viper pit commonly known as the San Jose political structure on the hook to either show or blow.

Then suddenly, the A’s put out a news release announcing that (you cannot make up this stuff, I swear) they would be very interested in owning said expansion team.

So you ask yourselves, “What? Who? Why?” That leads to the next question, “How unspeakably dim are these people?”

But because Fisher is nobody’s yutz, and Wolff can hear a piece of re-bar hit a snowbank at 1,500 yards, “unspeakably dim” isn’t the question at all. Earthquakes IV (after the indoor and outdoor Quakes of the old NASL, and Earthquakes III of MLS) need a stadium. The A’s want a stadium. The land for both is right near Sharksville.

Connect the dots, Marmaduke. The A’s are playing the leverage game.