06 December 2005

How baseball and soccer can co-exist in San Jose

I'll start off with the graphic. To help you with your bearings, south and I-280 are to the top. Downtown and CA-87 are to the left.

The ballpark is on the now familiar Diridon South site. Across Park Avenue is the fire training center, which is should be converted into a public park, perhaps with parking for some 600 cars underneath. The park could have a small playground and playing fields for soccer/football and baseball/softball. To top my wish list for the park, it should be named after the late Pat Tillman. I have to admit a bias regarding Tillman because though I didn't know him personally he was a contemporary of mine, but regardless it's hard to find a more fitting, interesting former San Jose resident for whom a park could be named than Tillman.

The soccer stadium is located on what is currently an equipment rental facility. The company owns several parcels spread among two blocks of Dupont and McEvoy Streets south of Park Ave. I've gone by there several times while checking out the Del Monte site, and I noticed that it's really underutilized. One parcel at the entry to the site is for sale. An office building in the middle of the facility is empty and has a for lease sign on it. There's a good amount of open space there. Neighbors include a couple of auto repair shops and a welding company. The area is rectangular in shape, and could accommodate a 22-25,000 seat soccer stadium with little trouble. If the street grid were realigned, a compact but spacious soccer stadium could work very well there. A partial roof would be required to help mitigate noise. Of course, there would be issues with acquiring the land and moving the equipment rental company, but that comes with the territory.

One small note: the PG&E substation has been realigned next to the ballpark (in grey). If this can be done (the amount of land is the same if not the shape), it would cut down on the potential costs associated with moving the substation.

I spoke at tonight City Council Open Forum about this site. We'll see if, like my suggestion to Oakland about the Broadway Auto Row site, anything comes of it.


murf said...

When you mentioned you had another site in mind, I thought for sure it would be the SJ Water Co. property on Santa Clara.

Did you get much response from the Council? And if you wouldn't mind filling us in, what was the general scope of the comments coming from residents? Any council actions on pursuing the proposed two-facility concept that would close down Park Ave?

I would like to have gone last night, but I fell into some Sharks tickets. Poor me, eh?

Marine Layer said...

Vice Mayor Chavez prefaced and ended the session with an announcement that the council can't take action on any comments since nothing stadium-related was on the agenda. So they'll need to assign someone to get the ball rolling. I've gotten word that a housing development may be planned for the United Rentals parcels, but I've checked the District 6 ledger and nothing's close except some lofts that are going up across the street. I'll try to find out more on this.

I think they were pleasantly surprised by the overall tenor of the comments. What helped the Quakes fans' cause most was the diversity of the speakers. Chavez said she'd let 20 people speak on the topic at the end of the session. I was next to last. I'll try to recall...

Several families came and spoke, including one or two kids. Some mentioned the community work the Quakes do. A Latina woman and her son, draped in a Quakes flag talked about the effect on their community. A man had a heartbreaking story about his son, whose last experience was a Quakes game. He died that night in his sleep. A season ticket holder who happens to be in the Air Force, stationed in Sacramento but has more links to the soccer community locally. Another guy from Fremont, who rattled off the different ways he brings tax revenue to San Jose everytime he and his wife go to a Quakes game, eat locally, etc. A couple of fans who talked about the Quakes-Galaxy rivalry, which MLS should really take into account. I was the only person that spoke directly about the ballpark proposal and the soccer stadium, and I identified the target property. The last speaker had a remembrance of George Best.

The only downside was that there wasn't much media coverage (probably because there was no agenda item to vote on). Channels 11 and 14 had vans out front.

Anonymous said...

I think all this is such a waste of money and your driving business owners out of this area for this why, thanks, Mr Par

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering what sort of impact having the two stdiums right next to each other will have. I know from experience when there is an A's game at the same time as a Warriors game or another event in the arena the parking is horrible and the traffic is worse. Since the MLS season (unfortunately) coinsides with the MLB season, there would either be a lot of days where they might overlap, or they would have to set up both schedules so that the teams are in town on alternating weeks.

Marine Layer said...

Hmmm. United Rentals is probably going to relocate at some point as the area becomes more gentrified. The questions are what will take its place, and when.

Besides, there is no "driving out" being discussed here. "Driving out" implies eminent domain, which I don't support or condone. At least with the San Jose ballpark plan, the city is entering good faith negotiations with all of the property owners. I would hope that the same occurs with any soccer stadium plan.

As for wasting money, that's what a vote is for, right? If money is being wasted by this effort, you can vote down a stadium measure. Or elect officials that are staunchly against such types of spending. No one's forcing anyone to do anything in that regard.

Marine Layer said...

Regarding the schedule...

You'd be surprised how little conflict occurs. The Quakes had 15 home dates on the MLS schedule plus some friendlies. The A's had 82 home dates including one exhibition. How many times did the two conflict?

Three times in 2005:
May 14 - FC Dallas vs. Quakes @ 7, Yankees vs. A's @ 6. There was no specific reason why the A's game had to be at 6, except maybe for some teams for the fact that there's a current trend to schedule some Saturday games at night to avoid the Fox blackout.

June 4 - DC United vs Quakes @ 7, Blue Jays vs. A's @ 6. Probably the same reason as above.

June 29 - Colorado vs Quakes @ 7:30, M's vs. A's @ 7. Typical midweek game.

It might conflict more or less next season. I also took a look at April 2006, when the Sharks' season overlaps the A's. There are 5 Sharks home games, 12 A's home games, and 1 actual conflict the entire month. That conflict wouldn't even have occurred if it weren't for the Olympic break pushing the NHL schedule out 2 weeks. There would be the potential for further conflicts if the Sharks made the playoffs and went far, but that can be anticipated and measures can be taken to manage traffic.

If conflicts are to occur, it would be when a soccer or baseball game overlaps a concert or similar event at the Arena.

Anonymous said...

Ah, thanks for clearing that up. Doesn't sound like schedule conflicts will be too bad.

Anonymous said...

As a lurker on this site, and a MVP season ticketholder, wanted to thank you for having the most current and thorough info on a future ballpark.

Happy holidays!