22 August 2005

CBS-5 Mayoral roundtable

CBS-5's Hank Plante hosted a Charlie Rose-style roundtable including the mayors of the three big Bay Area cities: Jerry Brown, Ron Gonzales, and Gavin Newsom. The discussion covered a multitude of issues including crime, the Bay Bridge, gay marriage, and homelessness.

Inevitably, Plante brought up the issue of competition among the three cities, and that meant the A's and San Jose's thinly veiled efforts to get the A's. True to form, Gonzales said little about the A's directly, and Brown repeated his position of "let's keep the A's here, but at what public cost?" Anyone expecting heated debate about the A's was sure to be disappointed. It's becoming apparent that Gonzales is merely keeping the idea of baseball in San Jose warm for the next San Jose mayor, while Brown used the roundtable as a lengthy politicking session, as shown by his almost complete disinterest in the subject matter.

Attendance watch, August edition

The recent surge in the standings helped boost the A's turnstile performance during the first week of the 12-game August homestand. As expected, attendance cooled somewhat with the weather and the arrival of the Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals, but the average attendance for the homestand was still excellent, at 32,555 per game.

To date, that puts the A's 4% down from last year. This season's total attendance through 65 dates is 1,697,637. In 2004, it was 1,769,184. The good news is that the A's should surpass last season's pace (not total attendance) in the next series versus the Yankees. The following three opponents (Texas, Seattle, Minnesota) probably won't make much of a dent. At least there are a Mark Kotsay bobblehead night (rare to have bobblehead giveaways on weeknights) on September 6, and a Fireworks Night on September 23 versus the Rangers. The last series of the year is a four-game mid-week set against The O.C., and while the last two games should be well-attended by default, attendance at the first two games may depend on the A's relative playoff status. To beat last season's total attendance mark, the A's will have to draw around 31,500 a game for the rest of the season - not impossible, but a challenge because of the way the schedule is drawn up. If the A's are in wild card or division championship contention during the final week of the season, they should be able to beat it. They'll need 1,000 more than that per game to beat 2003's total.

Wolff needs someone on the inside + Property owners have their say

Two articles by the Trib's Paul Rosynsky today. First off is a report with quotes from numerous property owners who may be willing to relocate if the price is right, but also hate eminent domain with a passion. Next is an article detailing a request from Lew Wolff to the City of Oakland, asking for someone within City Hall to assist with the plan (land acquisition, zoning, planning). Oakland did have just the man for that job once upon a time, but Robert Bobb was never supported by Mayor Brown, and so he left to a place where his skills could be utilized: Washington, DC. Larry Reid, as much as he may be committed to this, will not get the job done alone. There needs to be someone on the inside who can navigate the political maze and broker the necessary deals to get everything in place. At my day job, we call this person a "champion." The champion is willing to do the leg work, the follow-ups on all related parties - someone who has considerable influence within but won't be distracted by other issues, as an elected official would. Will the city produce such an individual? We'll find out shortly.