29 September 2005

Chavez chimes in on ballpark

By now, many of you have already seen yesterday's article by Joe Roderick in the Merc about third baseman Eric Chavez's continued puzzlement with the lackluster attendance at the Coliseum. The important thing to note is that Chavez doesn't blame the fans, he blames the venue.

Chavez has been both praised and criticized for his candor and at times too-honest demeanor, so this should come as no surprise. Consider, for a moment, Chavez's history. He's a born-and-bred San Diegan, going far enough to name his newborn son Diego (though the inspiration could have come from Diego Rivera or Maradona instead, I suppose). His ties to the San Diego area are still strong despite the fact that he and his family live in Scottsdale in the offseason. San Diego opened Petco Park last year, leaving Oakland as the only multipurpose facility to host a MLB team in California.

Since the A's are the only team left in this predicament, it's almost guaranteed to finish last among the five California teams in attendance every year until a new ballpark is built. Here's how we can expect them to finish this season based on current totals and per-game averages:
  1. LA Dodgers (#2 in MLB, 3.6 million projected)
  2. LA Angels (#3 in MLB, 3.4 million total - season completed)
  3. SF Giants (#5 in MLB, 3.18 million projected)
  4. SD Padres (#6 in MLB, 2.88 million projected)
  5. Oakland A's (#19 in MLB, 2.12 million projected)
When the numbers are presented in this manner, the difference between the A's and the other four teams is stark. I'll go into this further in the next post.


Georob said...

Perhaps this needs to be in our previous thread about future sites(and thanks for not laughing hysterically at my Richmond suggestion...or did you?)

What happened with Pleasanton, and could it be brought back as a possibility? It would appear to have everything you want: freeways, BART, corporations, weather, demographics.

If I recall, it was nixed because if its proximity to residential neighborhoods, and it surely goes against the trend of building in the urban areas. But have you been out there lately? It aint no cow pasture no more!

South Bay access would be pretty much the same, would it not? (How close does the ACE train go to there?) But more important, it's centrallly located if you are looking at just the East Bay(which according to MLB's territory boudaries, we are) And all those young families out in Tracy, etc would be OURS!

Now, I'm sure Pleasanton doesn't come cheap; and it doesn't fit the definition of "redevelopment area", but I have to think that Lew Wolff could work out a deal with whoever owns all those flat parking lots and other low density properties, could he?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I have to agree with Chavy's commentary. Let me use my beloved family as an example. We are all A's fans, and living down in San Jose, we make the trek to the coliseum about 5 times a year. However, my parents are on record as saying that if and when a new ballpark is built "we will get season tickets." Many will view this mentality as being wrong...that we should have season tickets regardless of venue (bandwagons). But unfortunately, it's the reality with my family and many others. How many season ticket holders at SBC had them at Candlestick? Probably not many. The bottom line is that the venue (and location) will make a world of a difference in terms of attendance.

Marine Layer said...

ACE is a rush-hour-only commuter train. It doesn't run frequently enough to be for ballgame service, at least not as a main or secondary option. The station is also 3 miles away from the originally proposed ballpark site.

Then there's the site itself. It's at the intersection of El Charro Rd and 580, which is not within walking distance of the existing BART station. No extension is in any sort of real planning stage at this point. It was meant to be the home of a new IKEA store, but the city of Pleasanton waffled so much on the planning side of things that IKEA dumped them and went across the freeway to Dublin. That's not encouraging for anyone else that wants to do a big-ticket, high-traffic project in Pleasanton. The city wants to develop mixed-use and senior housing on the site.

Dublin, on the other hand, does have land near the BART station that might be available. Problem is that they don't own the land (Camp Parks), the Pentagon does. The Army needs to sell some of the land to fund renovation of existing facilities on the training grounds, but the land may have limited use, since it's close to Santa Rita jail. Ballpark - maybe. Housing - maybe not.

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