09 January 2006

Stone hints at SJ ballot measure?

In today's Merc, it was revealed that the Quakes' soccer stadium initiative will be pushed back a couple of weeks due to a heavy agenda. Later in the article is a quote from Baseball San Jose leader and Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone regarding a joint soccer/baseball facility initiative:
"I wouldn't mind frankly having them go jointly to ballot at the same time and capture two professional sports franchises,'' said Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone, a leader with Baseball San Jose. "But if the lower-priced soccer ballot measure preceded a baseball measure, it would doom major league baseball in this area for a long time."
The interesting thing about the separate soccer and baseball efforts is that they both have a smaller chance of passing if they remain separate than if they're combined. It's hard to conceive of voters approving funds for an expansion MLS team after one just skipped town. It's also difficult to understand why voters would vote for a ballpark when the A's haven't officially declared their interest.

The key, then, is Lew Wolff. Wolff is supposedly going to meet with MLS commissioner Don Garber sometime this month to discuss Wolff's interest in Earthquakes 4.0. Wolff isn't interested in building the soccer stadium on the Diridon South site; he wants to make the fire training site work. To refresh your memory as to how it would work, he's the graphic I drew up 3 weeks ago:

As much as Wolff isn't going to officially say that San Jose is a potential A's site, it would be crazy for him to interfere with the ballpark process and eliminate San Jose prematurely, especially if Oakland doesn't work out. I'm not going to say that it's been Wolff's grand plan all along - there are too many variables at play - but it's a potentially compelling option to explore for numerous reasons.


Anonymous said...

Do you see MLS ever thriving in the US? I read in ESPN the Mag. a while back that Englands David Beckham might play in the MLS in a few years, and that the league has the potential to explode. In closing, it's one thing for SJ to pursue a MLB team that can't relocate's another to invest in a league that might not be around in a few years.

Georob said...

With all the young kids that play the game on the weekends now, you'd think pro soccer couldn't miss. For some reason, it doesn't cross over as a spectator sport when kids get older. Yet everywhere else in the world, it's THE sport, bar none.

I'm sure there's a variety of reasons for this; social, political, and everything else in between (including NASCAR dads not wanting to have anything to do with a sport that the French like)

Like other sports, all it would take are a few flamboyant, high profile and controversial players to turn the tide. Still, you wonder why it hasn't happened yet.

peanut gallery said...

georob, your first sentence is exactly what has been said about soccer since I was a kid (I'm almost 40 now). Yet, as you pointed out, it just never happens. And regarding high profile talent, I think Pele himself played in the US at one time (although, I'll bet he was well past his prime) and even that wasn't enough.

I've tried watching soccer on tv and live, indoor and outdoor, pro and amateur; I tried playing it as a kid. It just hasn't ever engaged me in any way like baseball, football, basketball and hockey do as spectator sports. Or how mountain biking, skiing, baseball/softball or basketball do as participation sports. I wouldn't attempt to speak for the American sports fan at large, but that's my experience.

Ken Arneson said...

MLB has the best baseball players in the world. The NFL has the best football players in the world. The NBA has the best basketball players in the world. The NHL has the best ice hockey players in the world.

MLS is nowhere close to having the best soccer players in the world. For that reason, it hardly excites me at all, even though I play soccer every week, and I love the World Cup. I'd rather watch Arsenal v. Man U on tape delay than the Earthquakes vs. the Galaxy live.

Anonymous said...

I guess those conspiracy theories are starting to add up. Sounds like the groundwork is being laid for a run at San Jose by the A's. A lot of little things are starting to add up. Selig's good buddy aquires the A's, (with perhaps a little inside dope), Selig speaks in San Jose but refrains from closing the door on the cities designs on a MLB franchise. Lews proposal to Oakland isn't pursued agressively (by either party). Wolfe's soccer proposal to SJ to test the waters so to speak. Next a pol comes up with the brilliant "solution" to combine both sporting ventures into a single proposition for the voters. That smacks of a "backdoor" way in for the A's. Mcgowan's reticense to speak out. Wanna bet that talks between sweet Lew and the city of Oakland have broken down or reached an impasse in the very near future?