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08 August 2006

Lew to speak at SJ Chamber

Today's check of the BigSoccer forums netted a thread titled "Lew Wolff to speak at SJ Chamber." The first post has the following blurb from member JayCee:
Taken from the Chamber Advocate Newsletter, August 2006

The Oakland A's owner, Lew Wolff, will be the guest speaker at the San Jose Chamber's, Silicon Valley Buzz, on Wednesday August 30th.

He will discuss hot topics, including the future of baseball in San Jose and the possibility of securing a professional soccer team for Silicon Valley, etc, etc.

The Silicon Valley Morning Buzz will be held at Adobe in the Gallery Room, 345 Park Ave, San Jose from 8am-9:30am. The event is free for Chamber members and $15 for prospecitve members. For more information and registration, call (408) 291-5286.
With less than two months to go in the season, this is about the right time for the machine to get going again. It was roughly one year ago that the Coliseum North presentation was made, and Wolff has publicly stated that he wants to have everything wrapped up by the end of the season.

What will Lew say to all those people who are by-in-large quite familiar and friendly with him? Will he drive a stake in the heart of San Jose's downtown ballpark dreams? Will he publicly say that the team's name will be changed to the San Jose A's? Will he completely confirm the Fremont project? In a summer that has generally lacked action on the ballpark front, the potential for news is huge. Then again, the man knows how to play the media game, so don't get your hopes up.

There was also an article on Wolff and his "remote" ownership of the A's from the LA Times.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

It doesn't seem as though much of anything is going on regarding the site in Fremont. We have not heard recently of any progress (or lack thereof) in the negotiations with Cisco - I'm not sure why this would be so prolonged and hush-hush - it seems to me no news is not good news at this point. Not sure what positive news that Wolff could convey to SJ folks at this point in time. Last time I checked SF has rights to south bay and the commish has checked in many times in support of maintaining these rights. So there's now way Wolff can say anything positive or convey his intent for SJ at this time - so it might indeed to put the lid on SJ once and for all. My concern regarding lack of progress in Fremont is if/when talks fail, where does that leave the A's? My bet is out of the area.

Anonymous said...

I wondered what Lou was up to. Last time I saw him he was in that Geico commercial with Charo ... coochie coochie

jrbh said...

One of the things ol' Lou has been up to is threatening to leave the Bay Area: he just said that if a deal wasn't in place for a local stadium by the start of next season, he's going to start looking at other cities.

I believe he has thus completed the Triple Crown of Crappy and Venal Ownership, or, as I like to call it, the Calvin Griffith Trophy: (1) reaping a huge personal profit, all the while starving the team for cash; (2) demanding massive financial concessions from local jurisdictions in exchange for which they get nothing; and (3) threatening to move the team if he doesn't get them.

(For the Golden Sombrero of Ownership, Wolff has to actually move the team. He gets a Golden Sombrero, with a Platinum Tassle, if he moves the team to some ridiculous place without the infrastructure to actually support a team, like Arlington, Anaheim, or, say, Fremont.)

Kevin said...

It seems that if you're an owner of a MLB team and you don't win a championship, sign all your free agents, and keep ticket prices low, you're considered a bum.

I for one think Lew Wolff is doing a great job. He's a creative thinker, who isn't afraid to get out and press the flesh with the fans.

There's always going to be a certain level of resentment whenever a team threatens to move out of an area. In my opinion, Wolff is giving the Bay
Area every chance to keep the team here. It's up to the politicians, and civic leaders to step up and make every attempt to put together a fair ballpark package.

Under the Fisher/Wolff ownership we've seen the ballpark issue move forward. Payroll has increased, and the team has continued to be successful on the field.

Tell me jrbh, if you were Wolff what would you have done differently?

jrbh said...

I'd do a bunch of things differently, none of them particularly revolutionary.

First, I'd announce that the A's are an Oakland team, and that they're staying in Oakland because it's the only thing that's responsible and makes sense at the locus of fan base, transportation infrastructure, environmental and finance issues.

I'd tell the City of Oakland and the County of Alameda that I'd like to do more or less the kind of deal in Oakland Wolff was talking about in Fremont, and I'd get it done. (I'd also track down Ron Dellums, who seems to be less accessible than Dick Cheney firing his McCarthy-esque screeds from "undisclosed locations," and find out if he's willing to negotiate a deal by which the Raiders are booted, Mt. Davis blown up, the Coliseum is renovated and the A's commit long term to it.)

I'd stop taking home massive amounts of money from the franchise and invest in players. Schott and Hoffman starved the team for cash at a critical time in it's development, and there's no making that up. Tejada, Hudson, et. al. are gone. Schott and Hoffman destroyed what potentially was the equal of the early '70 A's teams. That's their legacy, and it always will be.

So Wolff has only a low standard to meet, and, unfortunately, he's met it. Wolff is trying to take credit for a marginal increase in salaries that was inevitable anyway with the salary inflation caused by increased MLB revenue flowing to the A's and other teams. The A's are *still* comparatively starved for cash. (Of course, part of this is just some bad decision-making. Two words: Estaban Loaiza.)

The history of the A's is pretty clear: you pay for top flight talent and win, people and luxury box dweebs will come to the Coliseum and you can make money that way. But it's risky; Schott, Hoffman, Wolff and Fischer have instead adopted the "Hey, we'll be a farm team for the rest of the majors and *guarantee* ourselves a profit of $5M to $20M a year. I could really use that extra condo in Aspen. And Aruba."

Me, I'd rather make money in great years and lose money in poor years, let it balance out, and be an asset to my community. Call it the Haas model.

(By which I do *not* mean that I think Wolff or anyone else should have to lose money long-term operating a team. I know baseball is a business. So are museums and symphonies. They occupy a different niche than, say, ExxonMobil, and ownership and direction should reflect that.)

I'd re-open the upper deck. I'd raise ticket prices in the premium sections and lower them outside those sections. I'd do more outreach in the Black and Latino communities, especially the latter.

I'd fire Ken Macha and kick his "it's muddy in the Monongahela" ass back to Pittsburgh. (Boy, did that one feel good.)

I'd negotiate with McAfee to strip it's name from the Coliseum. The place was built and maintained by the taxpayers of Oakland and Alameda County, and they deserve the recognition. The naming deal simply doesn't provide enough cash to make that loss of identity and respect worth it.

Oh, and here's a small one, but I'd *love* to do it: Arte Moreno, the Angels owners, testified under oath in court that the "of Anaheim" part of his team's name was meant to be taken seriously as part of the identity of the team, and wasn't just a sleazy end-run around the contract the team had signed with the City of Anaheim. I'd take him at his word. Every scoreboard, every reference at the Coliseum to the Angels, will identify them as "Anaheim."

Anonymous said...

I like your anti-Angels ideas. The A's? Personality? nooo...That's the real loss in my opinion of giambi and tejada. The A's are largely boring and that plays a big part in fan relations.

The coliseum won't be getting renovated but a new park should be built at the location if financially possible. The Raiders cannot be allowed to stop that.

Kevin said...

jrbh,

First you accuse Wolff of

"demanding massive financial concessions from local jurisdictions in exchange for which they get nothing".

Then you later state that you would

"...tell the City of Oakland and the County of Alameda that I'd like to do more or less the kind of deal in Oakland Wolff was talking about in Fremont, and I'd get it done."

Hmmm, sure seems as though your plan of action would be no different than Wolff's. What does that make you?

Wolff is obviously a very successful businessman. He knows it's not wise to box yourself into a corner by limiting your options. By totally commiting yourself to Oakland, you lose much of your leverage. In the end, you either walk away with egg on your face, or you resort to threatening to move the team. And we all know how you feel about that.

Oh, and one more thing. Walter Haas was a great owner. But as I have state before, Haas owned the team when things were much different. The biggest difference was that he didn't have to contend with the Giants and their gem of a ballpark across the bay. In the late 80s/ early 90s, the Colesium was considered one of the nicer ballparks in the league, while the Giants played at Candlestick. You cannot make a fair comparison between Haas and Wolff without first taking into consideration the environment in which they were/are operating in.

jrbh said...

Location, location, location.

The difference between Fremont offering the A's a re-zone and sell deal and Oakland doing it is all about where the ballpark is.

In Oakland, any thoughtfully located park will already be accessible to mass transit, and the change in traffic patterns can be absorbed by an already present, quite extensive freeway and surface-street infrastructure. The police department is large and experienced in dealing with baseball crowds.

Further, Oakland is a very large city, geographically speaking, and has both room for a ballpark and redeveloping areas which can be re-zonzed for Wolff, et. al. at minimal cost to the city's budget and future.

None of this is true in Fremont. The city would be taking a huge tax hit by building a stadium and the necessarily large parking lot it would require. Traffic would be a nightmare, and require extensive sacrifices by city residents and very expensive infrastructure changes. The Fremont police would be overwhelmed by the task of policing a 35,000-person event 90 or so times a year.

"Boxing the team in" by committing to Oakland would be a problem only if Oakland was going to play hardball, so to speak, with the A's. I see not a single indication that this is true. On the contrary, the selfish and manipulative stuff has all come from the A's side: the Schott-Hoffman demands for $100M, and Wolff's simultaneous disavowal of eminent domain and an idea for a ballpark across from the Coliseum that would require 30 businesses to relocate.

Finally, the A's were prosperous under the Haas ownership because they spent money to put one of the best teams in the American League on the field year after year. And made money doing it. Schott/Hoffman had that same opportunity and screwed the pooch; Wolff clearly isnt't any more interested in how the team does on the field, and has entered the classic pre-move mode of starving the team for funds so he can put a winning team on the field the first year of a new ballpark.

Marine Layer said...

You make a lot of ill-informed assumptions here, jrbh.

First of all, you present the Fremont rezone and a possible Oakland rezone as similar. Nothing could be further from the truth. Any Oakland site will require either the displacement of current tenants or large amounts of site remediation. That's not the case in Fremont. Plus, much of Oakland that is supposedly available is already spoken for in terms of other projects. Again, here's the challenge: Where is the Oakland site and how does it get funded? I've gone into significant detail on this and I can't make it add up, at least not to the tune of the $200 million or so in proceeds that would be necessary to make it happen.

Fremont has explicitly said it's not willing to go deep into the hole to fund any part of the stadium project. Some tax levy would be required to fund additional police and city services, but that's a matter of maintenance, not additional initial infrastructure. New property taxes from new mixed development - including the A's - should cover much of that.

Wolff's desire not to go the eminent domain route is rather refreshing. It shows his experience as a developer and his lack of willingness to get into a big political battle to get it done. He wants the path of least resistance and doesn't want to piss off community groups that he may rely upon in the future to get things done. Besides, what makes anyone think a stadium-based eminent domain project could work anywhere in the Bay Area?

jrbh said...

marine layer,

I appreciate the web site, but please don't say I'm making "ill-informed assumptions" and then fail to actually provide any examples. (Unless you mean that thinking that any location in Oakland would work is an "ill-informed assumption," which I don't think you meant.)

Viz. the rezones, my point is that they're similar. Not the same. Similar. We're talking about taking land purposed in one way, selling it to Wolff and Fischer, and then changing that purpose to make it more valuable.

Of course there are differences between how you'd do it in Fremont and how you'd do it in Oakland, but I can't imagine that the fundamental idea is that difficult to accomplish in either place. One difference is that Fremont has land that's probably going to be developed as homes anyway: turning that land into untaxable stadiums and parking lots is a huge tax loss for the City of Fremont.

You slide over the extra costs to Fremont in terms of transportation and policing; I don't think the residents of Fremont will probably be comforted when they get a huge tax bill just because it's attributed to "maintenance."

Finally, we're just going to have to agree to disagree about the eminent domain thing. For me, it was the moment when I realized that Wolff was deceitful and committed to getting the A's out of Oakland. Saying you want to do that kind of project in that kind of neighborhood, with that kind of business density, and without using eminent domain, is like saying "We're completely committed to building a new stadium in Oakland. However, we've decided that the only way we're interested in making it happen is if we don't use any concrete."

I think my view of it was more than vindicated when it turned out that Wolff and Co. essentially did no work on the project and didn't contact most, if any, of the businesses.

Where'd you come up with the $200M figure, by the way? (I'm not questioning your accuracy, I'm just curious.)

Marine Layer said...

Fremont vs. Oakland is not similar. Fremont is not under any pressure to rezone the land into housing. There's no directive or plan by the mayor to develop that land. Cisco/ProLogis have no way to push the process, therefore Fremont holds the cards.

On the other hand, Oakland has large swaths of land that have reuse potential, but are complicated by existing arrangements or market realities. Downtown/Uptown are spoken for. So is West Oakland. Same with the Estuary. If land that is already occupied is considered, developers will have to pay market rates. Wolff revised "offer" to pay a reduced rate for land showed how willing he was to make that kind of investment.

The $200 million is really simple. If it costs $300 million to build the stadium (low estimate) and Wolff/Fisher are willing to invest $100 million (they've been consistent on this) then the delta is $200 million. It will probably be more based on escalating costs. I'm guessing the $100 million will come from naming rights, upfront sponsorships, and some cash.

There is a simple perspective that many people don't get about this. Forget site location for a moment. How is the stadium going to be funded? I see numerous accusations about the condo development being little more than a scam to line ownership's pockets, but has anyone thought to work the numbers on that? Sure, investors will make some money on it but it's not going to come immediately and it's not going to rain cash either. Much of proceeds from the sale of dev rights will be poured into stadium development. As a result profit that would come from the housing sales will be reduced. And since the housing units can only be sold for what the market can bear, profit projections will be governed by property values, possible market stagnation, interest rates - plenty of things that have little to do with actually building a stadium. If we hit a recession that actually sinks property values, the condo-financing plan could be DOA. In Fremont, the nice thing about the land deal is that it's not terribly complicated. It's one owner, a city approval, and no vote required per city charter.

If anyone out there is expecting the stadium to be funded PacBell-style, forget it. It's not happening. That would make the Bay Area the most financially risky market in MLB. Selig and the owners will not approve such a deal.

Now I agree that Wolff's timing has always been suspect. I've said this here and on OAFC in the past. But the fact is that it's only part of the truth. You can choose to only look at it from a "screw Oakland" view but you're putting blinders on. There are too many moving parts to focus on a single motivation.

I can agree with the "huge" tax bill if you can cite an estimate of such a cost, and tell me how it wouldn't be at least partly offset by the creation of new tax revenues in the area (over the existing land use).

Jeff said...

I often wonder what breeds this "anti Oakland" inferiority complex. If it were possible to build in Oakland, it would seem to me that it would be the owners first priority. Why mess with a proven moneymaker? Oakland supporters are fond of shouting out that the A's make money in Oakland. If that's true, why would any owner challenge the status quo? I also cannot understand the reasoning of folks who can't see what is plainly in front of their face each and every time they attend a game. The Coli is a DUMP in a crappy area. I am not trying to antagonize anyone with these statements, I am merely pointing out what should be obvious. In their current environs, it is absolutely impossible for the A's to go head to head with their closest competitor....the Giants. OAKLAND HAS NO ANCESTRAL RIGHT TO THE A's. If they want the team, then they need to step up with realistic proposals. I am convinced that Wolfe has dealt with them in a realistic and honest fashion. Show the site and how it would be funded, with the understanding that it must be in an asthetically pleasing environment that will allow the A's to compete with ATT park. This is not to much to ask of someone who has shelled out hundres of millions of dollars and is willing to shell out hundreds of millions more. Wolf is walking the walk and talking the talk....with cash money. I will accept his credibility a lot sooner than I will some idiotic politician decrying the actions of "the man".

Anonymous said...

And exactly how is Oakland not "stepping up". Do you not remember when Oakland did get serious about getting a new park?, and they even created a ballpark task force? And what did Mr. Wollf do? He said, thanks, but no thanks! We will do this on our own! And by doing it on his own, he must've meant playing the victim in this and cry that Oakland has done nothing to help him, and eventually, all the pain and suffering he went through dealing with Oakland has forced him out of the city!. It's all one very unclever game. Sure, Oakland's mayor is not at all into sports. But there are serious city councilmembers who are serious about keeping the A's in Oakland.

Dont get me wrong, Lew Wolff seems to be a fantastic businessman with a great business sense, but that does not mean he's handling this situation the best. Sure, Oakland technically has no ancestral rights to the A's, but guess what, NEITHER DOES FREMONT, SAN JOSE, OR ANY OTHER FAME HUNGRY CITY TRYING TO GET A MAJOR LEAGUE TEAM!

Jeff said...

BINGO....that is exactly what I'm talking about. If Oakland wants the team, then they need to step up and make a better offer. A CLEARLY better offer. I have yet to see a solid plan presented with the financial details in place. All I hear is, "Build it here....or over here". But they are strangely silent when it comes to money. And after everything is said and done....that's what it comes down to. There is no free ride. If Oakland wants the team, then they are going to pay for it....and thats the part that seems to be causing all the confusion. Rage about the reality of the situation all you want, but if Oakland is unwilling to pay, then someone else surely will. That's the price tag for being a "big league city".

jrbh said...

$300M to build a ballpark... I've got to think that's at least $200M short of what it would take here, with highly valued land, union construction and all the environmental and seismic stuff you have to do. The Yankees are talking about over $1B for their new park, which includes god knows what, but the cost of living here is as high as it is in NY, and I can't believe we're going to get by for less than a third of that.

I don't know what traffic and police would end up costing Fremont. The place to look, I guess, would be Anaheim, how much that city spends on traffic and security for the Angels. Or maybe Minneapolis or Arlington, other places with ballparks unserviced by mass transit.

I do know the quality of life impact of the traffic in Fremont, which does not have one of your real easy-to-navigate cities, and which is serviced by one of the most brutally overcrowded and poorly maintained freeways in the United States, would be pretty considerable.

Marine Layer said...

All the more reason to make sure that the financing scheme works for all involved: team, outside investors, city. There's a decent chance that even if Fremont "wins" the A's that if costs skyrocket, the ballpark will never get built. At least at Fremont the acquisition is fairly simple and they can get locked into a good land price - something that can't be duplicated anywhere else in the Bay Area.

As for the freeway, check back in two years. 880 will be completely transformed (you have been following my posts on this, right?). Even though I've been away for much of the last three months, every time I come back there's a major change in that area.

Regarding the costs - it's amazing how much costs can be reasonably reined in when a project is privately funded. The new Yankee Stadium is being funded by bonds guaranteed by the State of New York. Wolff has effectively ruled out the pork barrel route.

jrbh, you're still avoiding my challenge. Where is the site, and how much will it cost?

jrbh said...

I'm not avoiding it. I just can't answer it except in this general way: with the political will, and an honest desire by the A's to avoid sticking the City or the County for the bill, I don't think building in Oakland is much of a problem.

Anonymous said...

Jrbh...

Dont understand your comment about the stadium in Anaheim

"some ridiculous place without the infrastructure to actually support a team, like Arlington, Anaheim, or, say, Fremont."

Have you been there lately??? I was there last week, and to say that Anaheim, and orange county in general doesnt have the infrastructure necessary to support that team is ludicrous (cant speak for arlington, havent been there).

I believe that one has to take a look at what Fremont will be in five, ten, twenty years. Again, Lew Wolf is a smart businessman, he's not going to stick the team where it's gonna flounder.

A's from Oakland to Fremont, within the same region (bay area, 30 or so miles away) does NOT equal
Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles (across the country 3,000 or so miles away).

Anonymous said...

Sacrilege Anon 8:47! The OAFCers will have you smoking a turd in hell for that blaspheme! Fremont, San Jose, San Leandro -- moving to these is no different than moving to the east coast. Or East Timor, for that matter. How can you expect these people to actually leave Oakland city limits (apparently for the first time in their lives)?

Anonymous said...

Just wondering, why are Fremont or San Jose fans better than Oakland fans? I want to know if Fremont or San Jose has more passion, more sports knowledge than Oakland? Also, do Fremont or San Jose fans show up in greater numbers. I always here how they will sellout. This is just pure conjecture. There is no proof to this for Fremont at least. At least for San Jose, the class A team is some proof, but I don't hear how San Jose supports them well. You can go to the costco right by San Jose Municipal and get free tickets. Also, it looks like San Jose is unwilling to build a new stadium for the Class A team.

Kevin said...

Anon 1:23

I'm a supporter of a ballpark in Fremont or SJ. I agree with you that building a ballpark in the South Bay will not guarantee sellouts. In fact I would be surprised if they sold out more that 40% of their games in a new ballpark. I don't think the A's will ever be able to match what the Giants have done.

I think one of the things the A's hope to accomplish by moving south though is to increase the number of season ticketholders. I believe the A's right now have only 8000 STH. This despite the fact that they have a very successful team, along with a very generous ticket exchange policy. Wolff in his speech last summer made mention of the fact that they needed to see better corporate support from business in the Oakland area if they were to consider staying in Oakland. I'm not sure whether they have thus far seen that increase in support.

Marine Layer said...

Larry Reid, last August about Wolff's Coliseum North proposal:

"(I'm) willing to put my political career on the line to make this stadium a reality."

Does that sound like political will? Whatever it is, nothing has materialized as of yet. It's easy to trivialize something as hard to quantify as political will. There's a lot of capital required that frankly, no Oakland pol has been willing risk. See Reid's statement above. Or IDLF's belated site idea and empty threats. Or Nadel's saying that the issue isn't a winner.

Then there's the fact that it's taken several years to get Uptown started, just as it's taken several years to get the Army Base cleaned up and ready, just as it's taken O29 several years to get through the approval process. Easy? Maybe if we're talking about a single office tower, but not a large-scale development like a stadium.

It takes two to tango when it comes to Oakland, and what we have there are two wallflowers - the A's and the City.

Anonymous said...

I think this thread clearly illustrates what I've harped on before: Moving the A's out of Oakland will greatly impact the current fanbase.

Wolff may be a solid, proven businessman (Real Estate Developer) but he's not a proven, successful owner of a community-supported entertainment franchise. The business of marketing does not appear to be his expertise and he has made very poor decisions thus far if he genuinely intends to service the current fanbase for more than the immediate-term future. This is apparent and it's riled the City of Oakland as well as the fans in Oakland and the rest of the northern East Bay.

To successfully compete with the Giants is not impossible. The way to do this is to go after them in the same way that the Giants went after the A's after the McGowan group acquired the team. As you may recall it was a very friendly cohabitation before that change. The Giants owners are justified in their business decision because they have a large lease payment on a nice shiny ballpark riding on it. That park is of course worth a lot of money and the appreciation has probably eliminated the bulk of their intial risk. Having Bonds and his money/drama off the team next year will allow the team to re-focus its marketing and deliver a better on the field product. They are silent in this A's stuff because they don't really have much to lose. San Jose is rightfully their territory, MLB has backed that up and the A's have been trying to infringe upon that territory ever since Schott/Hoffman bought the team and picked up a San Jose tv network as their flagship.

The A's need to move CLOSER to San Francisco and create a greater perception of their team as a team representing the bay area. This needs to tie-in closely with Oakland's own efforts to remarket its city as such.

The A's have a strong partner in Oakland if they want to pursue the attention of the 6 million plus Bay Area. Ron Dellums was elected to do this for the city and the A's can be a major catalyst for this. If Wolff wanted to work with the city from this angle he would find that public support is not impossible it is merely a two-way street. Remember that Oakland has in the past ten years made efforts for the Raiders AND the Warriors and has not been repaid kindly.

Wolff can work with Oakland to present an A's ballpark that is a boon to the city rather than simply a boon to his wallet.
I suspect the tune would change if he made even the slightest real-world movements in that direction. He is a master of the vague.

I suspect he will ultimately move the team out of the area when the opportunity presents itself.

Georob said...

Any rebuttals to JRBH's rantings can be narrowed down to four words:

You're full of s____ !

jrbh said...

Marine Layer and I have one area of agreement: part of the problem with keeping the A's in Oakland is bad leadership and management of the city.

And of course georab and I agree that any rebuttals to my comments are full of s___. Or is that not what georab's finally crafted rhetorical sense meant to convey?

Viz. my comments about Anaheim, I should have been clearer: I meant *transportation* infrastructure. Getting in and out of there is a nightmare and the 22 is a parking lot around gametimes. Orange County has obviously grown enough to support a team and has wholeheartedly embraced the Angels, even if the Angels haven't embraced them.

Jeff said...

I don't know if you can really draw a comparison between Anaheim and any other location. Disneyland would seem to skew any arguments. Traffic in Orange County is perpetually snarled. I don't think a ballpark really affects it one way or another. By the way, I appreciate your honesty when responding to ML's challenge. I don't think you are correct, but I also understand why someone would be loathe to see their hometown team leave their city. I really believe that a park in Oakland that will compete with the Giants is just not possible. And everyone involved with logistics is aware of that fact. That to me is the real reason that there is so much apathy on the part of Wolfe and the city leaders.

Anonymous said...

Peter Magowan embraced San Francisco when his ownership bought the team. He said that they would work to secure a new ballpark in SF. He didn't say Candlestick was a crappy park and denegrate it like Schott and Wolff. He worked to make Candlestick more fan friendly by improving the ballpark food and building better LF bleachers.

If Wolff made this approach to Oakland, I could see something working out, but Wolff is an out of town owner who probably doesn't really know Oakland like Haas did. It's just sad that Wolff never gave Oakland a chance!!!!!

Kevin said...

Anon 11:07,

I guess Oakland showed the A's a lot of love when they put together that deal to bring the Raiders back. They took what was then a pretty decent ballpark and turned it into the eyesore that it is now. Not to mention forcing the A's to play in Vegas for the first month of the season.

Anonymous said...

You know what Kevin, I guess SF showed a lot of love when they enclosed Candlestick after it was initially designed as a Baseball only stadium. By the way, the Coliseum was always intended to be a multi-purpose stadium.

Anonymous said...

Lew to speak at SJ Chamber. This is a man who a few months ago said that SJ "getting the A's" would help with the resurgence of Downtown San Jose. Combine this with the fact that San Jose's most powerful family, The DiNapoli's, are part owner's of the A's and real-owner John Fisher has money to burn...I don't think any stakes will be driven in SJ's heart next Wednesday, nor will any "lids" be covered once and for all. What will Mr. Wolff say to his close friends and long-time business associates? Looking forward to next weeks coverage!

Anonymous said...

Marinelayer,
I'm sure you read the Mercury's Business section on a daily basis. There was a huge announcement in today's Biz regarding Lew Wolff's speach at the SJ Chamber. Why did you choose to credit some SORRY soccer forum for the 411 on the speech?

Marine Layer said...

The soccer forum poster got the scoop. If the Merc only mentioned it in the last 48 hours, they're late. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

No one here has answered why San Jose or Fremont has the better fan support? Also, can anyone speak about the San Jose Giants and how well they do? Oakland, when given a great owner like Walter Haas can succeed. Afterall, the A's set the Bay Area attendance record before the PacBell Park in 1990 with 2.9 million fans. Also, Oakland has a rich baseball tradition back to the PCL days of the Oakland Oaks. Oakland also has produced some fine baseball players like Rickey Henderson, Dave Stewart, Frank Robinson, and Willie Stargell. Sometimes people like to give the negatives about Oakland, but it also has its positives. It is apparent that Wolff is not down with the Town.

murf said...

"No one here has answered why San Jose or Fremont has the better fan support? Also, can anyone speak about the San Jose Giants and how well they do?"

The latter first: The SJ Giants are a single A team. They play in a decent stadium and have good (not great) marketing. They offer a decent product at a very affordable price (often free, because they know attending fans will buy the great food and cheap beer.) It is a good family venue. But after all that, it is still a single A club, which is not much to get exited about for a community that has big-league everything close by. Comparing SJ Giants support to Oakland A's support is like comparing Casa De Fruta to Disneyland. Totally different products.

On the former: I don't think anyone has ever said that the South Bay has better fan support than Oakland. In fact, most observant fans would acknowledge that there is an ample fan base that would attend games in any location in the Bay Area. What LW and the A's are trying to accomplish is to maximize public (and corporate) interest in the product they offer by providing that product in a new stadium that caters strictly to the baseball fan and delivers the best, ie most marketable, experience to the casual fan, the prospective STH, and the Company Suite purchasers. Wherever that combination of product and venue can most realistically be built, with the greatest opportunity for additional return on investment through additional development opportunities, is where the new stadium will land. If renovating their current location were'nt hindered by the City's agreement with the Raiders, or a new location within Oakland held promise and feasibility, we should have no doubt that they would stay in Oaktown. That just doesn't seem to be the case.