05 June 2006

Those hidden ballpark costs

If you've ever been to a major sporting event in the Bay Area in the last several years, you'll have noticed in most cases a sizable police presence. This is true regardless of the size or reputation of the venue. Police and traffic control are costs either borne by teams, municipalities, or a combination of both.

It's also not a surprise that like many other cities in California, Fremont is in a serious budget crunch. In Chris De Benedetti's recent article, Fremont City Manager has flatly stated that the city is in no position to fund additional infrastructure for a ballpark/ballpark village. So who would pay for this infrastructure if the deal were to go through? Don't discount the idea that in bringing the A's in, city leaders are pushing Fremont residents to rethink current infrastructure-caused service blows, such as the burglar alarm policy.

One more thing - Tuesday's election day! It could be potentially very important for the A's future.


Anonymous said...

Not to be a jerk and questions a journalists integrity, but isn't this Chris the same Chris from the Oakland A's Fan Coalition? The group dedicated to keeping the A's in Oakland?

I don't think police coverage is even that big of a deal just yet. Building the stadium, getting the ground, infrastructure, etc. Those are all big deals. It seems he only gives a passing comment on the infrastructure question, which is much bigger than police presence at this stage of the game.

As an observer, this looks like someone who is trying to throw up any flag he can to shape public perception. Is this indeed the same Chris from the OAFC?

Sorry, this is anonymous (how classy questioning someone's integrity without including my own name), my name is Jeff August and I don't have time to sign up for an account right now.

James said...

There were a couple of articles over the weekend reporting on Fremont's State of the City Address, which was held at the Fremont Marriott last Friday. A few things are noteworthy in the Argus article.

"The day's exciting news, of course, centered on the A's. [Fremont Mayor Bob] Wasserman said [A's] officials first approached him about a year ago about a possible move to Fremont. Wasserman read aloud an e-mail message from team co-owner Lew Wolff, who wrote: "We want to do our baseball village in your fine city and we're working toward a proposal."

My first reaction was "Wow!" Wasn't Wolff at that point supposedly in talks only with Oakland. This says to me that either (1) a year ago Wolff knew or strongly believed that Oakland didn't have a workable site, to the point where he had already scouted out other Alameda County sites and knew he wanted Fremont, (2) Wolff felt all along that the A's would have a better future closer to San Jose, or (3) both!

The Merc's assessment was quite cynical, calling Fremont's hope of snagging the A's a "dream." However, the Merc did not mention the e-mail that Wasserman read aloud or the fact that serious talks have been progressing for a year!

The fact that the Mayor of Fremont would call the A's move to Fremont "exciting news" is one in a long string of subtle indications, especially when coupled with comments by the Fremont City Manager in April that the A's and Cisco Systems were close to a deal, that an announcement is close to imminent. Why would the Mayor stick his neck out, calling it "exciting news" if it were something that could be easily derailed? I'm not saying it's a done deal, but I am saying that any other city, including Oakland, faces an uphill battle on a very steep slope if they have any hope at winning Wolff over.

It is especially striking that these talks have been developing for the past year! That the talks were serious only came to public light about three or four months ago.

In regard to the “hidden costs” of the ballpark, I am sure these are things that are all being discussed between the Wolff and the City. This is such a minor detail, in my view… five hours of police overtime 81 days a year! Granted, it will add up to some bucks. But more than offsetting that would be the additional sales and hotel taxes coming into the city, and additional property taxes not only from the stadium itself, but also from the commercial/retail component of the village and 2,000+ housing units.

One question I have is this… where else in the Bay Area would the A’s go if not Fremont? San Jose, unless MLB changes its rules, is out! It doesn’t seem very likely that the A’s can or will stay in Oakland. A few ideas have been tossed around, but where else really has the potential that Pacific commons has in terms of physical size and geographic location? Size clearly matters to Wolff... evidenced by the indications that he's more interested in the Pacific Commons site rather than the smaller Warm Springs site.

After reading that Wolff told Fremont a year ago that the A’s want to “do our baseball village in your fine city,” it’s clear to me that Fremont is Plan A, and has been long before most of us gave Fremont a second thought. I suspect that Plan B probably involves moving the A’s out of the Bay Area, or even out of California!

We know that critics from other Bay Area cities are trying to come up with reasons Fremont won't work. Yes, Fremont has budget problems, but what Bay Area city doesn't? Yet any city would be scrambling if given the enviable opportunities Fremont now has.

Anonymous said...

about chris d. yes he is/was a member of the OAFC, but has been working hard at a journalism career for some time now. he as been working for ANG for few years and has done lots of articles about the ballpark situaton and has articles from both sides.

much like the creator of this blog. while marine layer is pro-fremont and even maintains another site premoting the move to fremont, they tend to keep this blog/site balanced.

Bleacher Dave said...

what IS Fremont's ballpark policy?

How do you spell Fremont? I-R-W-I-N-D-A-L-E.

Bleacher Dave said...

errr, that should be BURGLAR ALARM policy, not ball park policy.

murf said...

anon 12:48,

I don't know if it's correct to consider ML pro Fremont. He created and maintains the A's to Fremont site as a generous gesture in response to a request from the Fremont folk. He has never lobbied for nor even mentioned a preference for an A's move south. The Fremont website merely provides a place for discussion of sites and developments in Fremont. If sites didn't already exist specifically for Oakland and San Jose when ML became involved, and he were requested to create one specific for sites in those cities, he probably would have.

Anonymous said...

Don't you miss blogging at Baseball San Jose! Back when "hope" for the A's and a Downtown San Jose ballpark were alive and well...oh well, HERE'S TO FREMONT!!

Anonymous said...

Fremont is a PIPE DREAM just like San Jose!!!!

Anonymous said...

Fremont does not have the money or infrastructure to support a ballpark.

Anonymous said...

Ann Killion of the Merc is notorious for using the phrase "Pipe Dream" in describing San Jose's pursuit of Major League much for hometown support from the "hometown" paper. To those who feel that a Fremont ballpark can't happen (I personally think it's a done deal with Cisco), where else in the Bay Area are the A's going to go? And do we really want the entire region to fall into the hands of the Giants? I think all A's fans should be supporting the Fremont proposal rather than nit-pick at "problems" such as infrastructure and money.

Anonymous said...

San Francisco Chronicle, circa 1998

"...(Lew) Wolff told the San Francisco Chronicle that the A's should focus on San Jose. He said 'I wouldn't spend five minutes on any other city besides San Jose.'"

gojohn10 said...

anon 2:14

How about a link?

Anonymous said...

Here it is:


Anonymous said...

the rest was cut off! Let's try again:

Anonymous said...

You can wish all you want for San Jose, but MLB will not let the A's move there. I don't think the A's or San Jose want to challenge or have the money to sue the Anti-Trust Exemption of MLB!!!!

Georob said...

Here's the Chronicle article from the SF Gate Archives:

All I can say is that this was eight years ago and Lew Wolff probably had no clue about territorial rights. Otherwise, it's no great revelation; as we all know that were it not for those rights the A's would have moved(or been just about ready to move) to Santa Clara County some time ago.