12 April 2006

Oakland bites on the extension

In what can be construed as the only positive news to come out City Hall re: the A's in some time, Oakland officials and the Coliseum Authority agreed to a three-year extension for the A's. The extension could potentially keep the A's in the Coliseum through 2013. The structure of the deal is such that the pre-existing deal, which was guaranteed through 2007 and had one-year options through 2010, now guarantees the A's stay through 2010 and push the options out to 2011-2013. Some of the finer points:
  • The lease allows the team to leave with 120 days notice without penalty if it moves to a 40,000-or-more capacity stadium in Alameda County.
  • Should the team leave the area, it would have to pay the remainder of its lease and a $250,000 penalty.
  • Whether the 2011-2013 years are optional or guaranteed has not yet been finalized.
  • The payments will be higher than in the pre-existing lease, totalling $4.7 million over the last five years. The A's payment for 2006 is only $500K.
On the surface this sounds like a nice reciprocal goodwill gesture, but as I wrote earlier on this matter, simply pushing the options out three more years mostly benefits the A's since they get a nice safety in case a new ballpark is beset with delays. I suppose it makes City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente look better during an election year, and he certainly needs the help.

Taking off my cynical cap, it's possible that once the election's over, Oakland pols can get to work on a good Oakland site. Council member/mayoral candidate Nancy Nadel nixed my Broadway Auto Row idea. I think it deserves a second look.


Anonymous said...

40,000? Isn't that over the capacity targeted by Wolff for his new ballpark?

Marine Layer said...

It's a little different wrinkle. I don't think the old lease had that in there. The implication is that should the A's leave for a 35,000-seat stadium in 2010, they would owe the Coliseum Authority $3 million in remaining payments plus the $250K penalty. It's a lot more than what they had before, but compared to what the A's are getting out of Esteban Loaiza, it's peanuts.

Anonymous said...


Is this good for Oakland or is Oakland just a stepping stone?

Georob said...

It may be that Jerry Brown and Co are trying to make sure the team remains the "Oakland" Athletics and ensuring a smooth transition could help their cause. Remember, as much as everyone wants to paint Fremont as a part of San Jose, the fact remains that it's IN Alameda County, whose seat is Oakland, and historically has been treated as part of the East Bay.

You can cry all you want about San Jose being a quicker drive from Fremont than Oakland, the truth is that any driving anywhere in the Bay Area is a chore, and people have pretty much gotten used to being in their cars for an extended period wherever they go.

That said, the question then becomes what is more important to attracting South Bay corporate support: The name of the team, or it's proximity to their headquarters?

Were I Lew Wolff, I'd go for a name that implies a larger region (ie: California, Golden State, Silicon Valley) Or how about "Oakland-San Jose"? (They could create a cute "OSJ" logo for the uniforms) The only time I can think of when something like that was tried was the "KC-Omaha Kings" before they moved to Sacramento.

tony d. said...

I would like to respectfully disagree with you Rob regarding Fremont. Yes, Fremont is in Alameda County, but it's now more widely viewed as an extension of Silicon Valley. And as Mark Purdy pointed out in his "Better Mail than Jail," The Pac Commons site is 12 miles from SJ's City Hall, and 32 miles from Oaklands. County lines, in my opinion, are becoming more and more irrelevant as far as the region is concerned. One last thought, if Wolff builds in Fremont the capacity of the ballpark should be 40K (taking into account the existing East Bay fan base and the new fans from San Jose/SCC). "Fremont A's of Silicon Valley?"

peanut gallery said...

To me the biggest news out of this is the 40,000 stipulation for the new park. That's out of line from Wolfe's previously stated plan. The only reasons he should agree to that are A) he now plans a larger stadium or B) he doesn't realistically expect to be in a new home before 2011 (I'm assuming the last three years will remain optional). That's about how long it will take to plan, approve and build a new stadium anyways so it's probably B.

Just for fun though, let's say those last three years become guaranteed and he still plans a ~35,000-seat stadium. That would indicate he is not preparing to move until 2013. Fremont should be ready well before that. But another location might just need those additional few years to be made ready and, more importantly, available in the eyes of MLB.

Georob said...

Ignore the county boundaries all you want, Tony. They're there, they're real, they're legal, and unlike territorial rights, can't be negotiated away by a few overzealous bloggers.

As for the name, the team will NEVER be called the Fremont A's. As well known as Anaheim is, how many years did "Anaheim Angels" last: three, four? I also doubt you'll see any combination of "_______ A's of _______", either; given the public reaction to the Angels name change.

I still think Wolff will go for a name with broader geographic appeal in order to compete better with the Giants. Still, don't count Oakland out yet. Fremont will need lots of support from Alameda County to build this thing, which means that Oakland officials need to be on board for the most part.

And if Wolff determines that having a park in Fremont is enough to capture fan and corporate support in the South Bay, he may just opt to leave the name alone, at least for the first few years down there, anyway.

jrbh said...

The public reaction to the Angels' name change is that their TV ratings are up, their attendance is strong, and they now have much more of a Los Angeles media presence. Yeah, some people make fun of the new name -- I'm one of them; I hate it -- but it's been an overall success.

(An LA Times article a couple of weeks back said that when Moreno and co. were thinking about a name change, they specifically rejected generic regional names like "California" and "Orange County" because people had no investment in those terms. I think we can rule that kind of name out, and we have the local negative example of "Golden State Warriors" which has to be the worst name in all of professional sports now that the new Houston soccer team has changed it's name.)

I don't think "San Jose Athletics of Fremont" is impossible, or "Silicon Valley Athletics", and I don't think it's even impossible that Wolff, who after all is a greedy little real estate developer, will try something like "Google Athletics of Fremont."

Anonymous said...

"San Jose Athletics of Fremont"

That name is ugly. POINT BLANK. Deciding a name for a team can be difficult because it's more than just what makes the local fans happy. It's about merchandise sales and national recognition. For example, Oakland is very well known for it's pop culture all around the U.S. So many folks in different places will be very eager to buy a jersey that says "Oakland" on it than say, one that says San Jose. Another thing, Oakland has a very rich history, which is something that is recognized everywhere. Though it is only a city of about 400,000 people, it is much more well known than San Jose, a city with about 1 million people. So don't underestimate the Oakland name.

And plus, Oakland Athletics simply sounds better.

Marine Layer said...

The name issue somehow ends up in almost every thread despite my best efforts. It's become as tiresome as the Bonds saga. The name will be based on a contractual agreement, no more, no less. Enough already.

jrbh said...

The name thing comes up because people care about it, marine. And *everything* in baseball is based on contractual agreement.

Marine Layer said...

If people really care, they should start petitions. Write letters to the A's front office. To politicians and civic leaders. Hijacking threads on various message boards and blogs for a discussion on the team's name is just an exercise in spinning one's wheels.

Georob said...

I have to agree with JRBH on this one. True, the name is nothing more than emotional bragging rights; but so is rooting for your favorite team. It's why we rant on this blog, Athletics Nation, and others. At the end of the day, it's just entertainment and we're no better or worse than those that follow celebrity gossip.

And if Fremont is indeed the final destination, the chances are pretty good that we'll see a creative naming solution. And yes, there will be those that don't like it and may elect to no longer follow the team because of it.

Anonymous said...

Wolff is a carpetbagger. He never cared about OAKLAND in the first place.

Wolff is a hypocrite.

However, the A's won't be asking Fremont taxpayers to pay the estimated $400 million cost for their new home, Wolff said.

``It's important to understand that we're not looking for the city of Fremont to write checks for this,'' Wolff said. ``We're not looking at bond issues, and we're not looking to touch the general fund. We have a process that we think would work for everybody.''

If he's not asking for taxpayer money in Fremont, why does he use that as the excuse for Oakland?

The Old Man Who Cried WOLFF

There's No A in Fremont