16 October 2006

Expect to go over budget

Over the weekend, DC area architect Roger K. Lewis wrote a column for the Washington Post that serves as a primer for the ballpark construction process - in this case the Nats' new park. The piece does not cover political squabbles or the financing component. Nevertheless, it's a short, handy thumbnail sketch what should be expected to occur once shovels hit dirt.

The main points to cover:
Project size or scope increases. This results from changing needs, shifting market or financial conditions, or more stringent regulatory requirements.
When this is applied to the A's-Pacific Commons situation, it's easy to see that this will be the biggest factor. The relatively smaller size of the ballpark should make that component cheaper to construction, but once you add adjacent projects such as the hotel/condo building, museum, and other features, the price tag goes up quickly. Perhaps one of the goals is to have each of these units, including the ballpark, act as autonomous, self-running entities, which are to be funded and operated separately. The danger in this approach is that if one of these units doesn't "pencil out" initially, construction could be delayed until that unit evolves into something more feasible.
Field testing reveals unanticipated site conditions. Soil borings may disclose organic fill, clay, rock or groundwater. Undocumented utilities, structures or residual toxic chemicals may lurk below the surface. Hidden structural problems may be uncovered in buildings being renovated. Always expensive to remedy, unforeseen site problems may seriously delay a project and can blow the budget.

This shouldn't be a problem at Pacific Commons as a thorough EIR has already been written and much of it (relative to pre-existing conditions) should be applicable to the new project. The only thing being done on the site is the construction of a flood control culvert to replace a filled-in channel, and that was part of the original project.
Building material price escalation exceeds predictions. Project budgets are sensitive to the cost of basic building materials -- wood, concrete, steel, aluminum -- that are market commodities. Inflation affecting a building's major components -- mechanical, plumbing, electrical and lighting systems -- also can wreck a budget, as can rising costs for exterior wall assemblies, windows and doors, interior partitions, ceilings and flooring.

It's difficult to forecast the prices of steel and concrete 3-4 years from now, but at least this project will avoid the materials shortage that hit nationwide after Hurricane Katrina. With a ballpark, just about anything can be redesigned with an emphasis on value engineering, from the facade to the seats to the restroom fixtures or the scoreboards. The net result of value engineering, when done in excess, is the appearance of cheap materials or cutting corners, as was apparently the case in the new Busch Stadium.
The construction labor market heats up. The law of supply and demand governs the building industry. When contractors are flush with work and skilled labor is in short supply, prices rise. When construction slows and contractors are hungry, prices fall. Because project planning and design can last years after initial budget adoption, a busier construction market inevitably increases costs.

This is another factor that's difficult to forecast. The housing slowdown forecast for the East and South Bay for the next few years could keep the labor market friendly, but it could also make the financing mechanism (sale of entitlements) more difficult to execute. Though we're in a down period, new home sales all over the Bay Area are still good, which could mitigate things a bit. As far as big projects, there are high rises planned in both downtown Oakland and downtown San Jose. If the legal issues clear up, the Estuary/O29 project will be huge. A large amount of the SF Mission Bay project will be winding up by the end of the decade. Some of the larger tech companies will be building bigger and bigger campuses. And there's no telling how much infill housing will be started in the Bay Area.

But what of the "other" required stuff, such as parking? It may be advantageous to keep a ground lease for land destined for parking, but what form will the facility take? Garages are much more expensive to build than simply paved surface lots, and they may have limited use for the cost. On the other hand, surface parking tends to be an extremely inefficient use of land - even in a place where the developers may have up to 160 acres at their disposal. Which approach wins, and who pays for it?


peanut gallery said...

There are also several residential developments planned for Rincon Hill (some of which are already underway) and around the Transbay Terminal, which will affect labor supply and the housing market. Not to mention the new Transbay Terminal itself.

But let's say the project goes over budget. The taxpayer isn't on the hook for the stadium construction. So what's the affect on us? Less features in the ballpark? Cheaper materials? It sounds like that's what the Cardinals did. Can the A's afford to do that in a much more competitive market? I don't think so. Will Wolfe and Fisher just have to bite the bullet?

peanut gallery said...

"effect on us."

Always proofread before hitting send.

Marine Layer said...

Good points on SF, pg. There should be some other construction related to development of some piers in SF, though it may be a ways off. The important thing is that there apparently won't be another stadium or arena under construction in the area to compete with the A's.

Re: paying for the stadium, there were hints as to how Wolff might go in the LACC hotel project. There, just about every item in the hotel - right down to the towels and sheets - had some sort of ad or merchandising deal attached. I fully expect the A's ballpark to be ablaze with ads and video screens unlike anything we've ever seen. Naming rights on everything.

Anonymous said...

too bad there won't be anyone attending the games. with the lack of public transportation, this shapes up to be the biggest traffic disaster ever. successful modern ballparks are built downtown for a reason - locating a ballpark in a nothing suburb like fremont will spell disaster for fans. attendance will be much worse than it currently is at the coliseum, where many take bart right to the game.

Anonymous said...

It's been reported here and elsewhere that about only 15% to 20% at the most take BART, that is 2 out of 10 or 20 out of 100 fans. Besides where in Oakland is there 168 acres empty waiting to be devoloped by BART or for that matter in Downtown Oakland???

bartleby66 said...

It would be nice if the ballpark could be in either downtown San Jose or Oakland. And certainly the new site will not be as well served by transit as the Coliseum.

However, there's a good chance it will have a stop for ACE and Amtrak, and I'm sure they'll run a shuttle over from BART. As ML has posted previously, that section of 880 should be much improved by the time the ballpark is built.

Texas, Anaheim and Kansas City all have similar issues, and get by. In fact, my experience going to Angels games is that it's a lot quicker getting in and out of the parking lot there than at the Coliseum.

bartleby66 said...

I would point out, there are lots of NFL stadiums with twice the capacity of the A's planned ballpark that have no transit or limited transit (San Francisco, Miami, Dallas, New York x2, Kansas City, Tampa, Arizona, Washington, etc.)

anthony dominguez said...

I agree with you 100% Bartleby66! However, If Lew Wolff and Company really wanted to make Pac Commons easier for transit riders/future High-rise residents, they would invest into a BART spur from the Fremont main-line (like the SFO spur). It could be a single-line, elevated extension to make it less costly, with a three-platform Pac Commons station. I know this will never happen ($$$)...just thinking way outside the box.

trestaylor said...

I think that there is another public transportation alternative out there that might provide a much cheaper alternative to extending BART.

The Dumbarton Rail Corridor Project is an effort that will connect Caltrain, Capital Corridor, ACE and BART lines together at the current Union City BART station site. It is being funded through Measure "A" and is scheduled for completion in 2010. The project money is being spent primarily for:

- New Caltrain station construction that includes Menlo Park and Newark, as well as the improvements to the Union City transit intermodal

- Additional tracking in Fremont that will relieve conjestion between freight and passenger trains

- Construction of a new rail bridge across the bay

This project, combined with Amtrak's larger effort to enhance commuter service between Oakland and San Jose make it worthwhile to at least look at whether it's feasible to divert or add a rail stub to connect the existing Capital Corridor track with the new ballpark village (it looks like it's about a mile away). If that is doable, it makes a $1 billion dollar problem magnitudes cheaper while allowing people to leverage both BART and rail services to get to the game.

This will allow people in Oakland, San Jose and Redwood City to all commute to the game, while providing a transportation alternative to fans as far away as Sacramento, Stockton (and even San Francisco!).

Anonymous said...

Go back to the OAFC crowd 2:14, and cry to Shril, I mean LIL. Take a deep breath and enjoy the fact that the A's have a great chance at a shiny new stadium, within
Alameda County.

peanut gallery said...

No one will be going to the games, yet traffic will be a disaster? Something does not compute.

Georob said...

I know this is opening "Pandora's Box" here, but do the A's need to be concerned about the Oakland fans getting violent?

Not shooting and killing, mind you. But even though we dismiss the OAFC types as unrealistic and irrelevant, the fact remains that they are very passionate. And once Fremont is finalized, they've got nothing to lose and may opt to launch demonstrations similar to what we've seen from groups like Act Up.

Remember, this is the Bay Area, and there are plenty of veterans of past Anti-War protests to lend assistance and advice to such an effort.

They won't change Wolff's mind, but they can certainly embarrass the franchise and possibly cause fans and corporate sponsors to think twice about getting involved.

You don't think the "Black Hole" is one reason folks stay away from Raider games(besides the performance of the team)?

Anonymous said...

georob....what do you mean by "we" you and three other people vs the so called "OAFC" crowd? Oakland fans on that site have gone over many times how Bud Selig has attempted to screw Oakland-East Bay fans, but your ilk keep repeating the lie that they're just McCarthy like. Why don't you explain why Bud Selig thinks it was a mistake to allow Finley to move to Oakland? If Selig had his way, the A's would have moved somewhere else & it wouldn't have been San Jose. Where was A's ownership when city council met to dicuss Uptown options? I was at the city council meeting & there wasn't a soul in the packed chamber from the A's organization. I can tell you were Wolff's buddy Schott was, trying to sell the A's to a Washington group. You ought to focus on Selig & his college buddy Wolff & their desire to write-off Oakland A's history.

Anonymous said...

"No one will be going to the games, yet traffic will be a disaster? Something does not compute."

LOL, sounds like something from Yoga Berra. "Nobody goes to the ballpark anymore it's too crowded"

bartleby66 said...

Violence? Please. If there were that many "Oakland only" partisans who felt that passionately about it, they'd be out there demonstrating now, while it still might make a difference. And it is ludicrous to compare passions inspired by loved ones dying of a fatal disease (ACT UP) with those inspired by a baseball team moving 20 miles out to the 'burbs.

EVERY city has at least a small core of passionate fans. But there were no riots in Baltimore, St. Louis, Hartford, Houston, Los Angeles or Anaheim when those cities lost teams, and there will be no riots here. What'll actually happen is what happened when I was 19 on the East Coast and the drinking age was going up to 21. A lot of people sat around their dorm rooms moaning "We oughtta do something." Then they sat around and moaned some more. There were even mentions of the demonstrations of the '60s, and how young people made a difference. Then everyone went to a keg party and forgot the whole thing.

Plus, even if there somehow were demonstrations, the South Bay business community wouldn't care. If they paid any attention at all, they might feel validated in their decision to avoid games while the team remained in Oakland (which they're doing anyway). But the whole thing would be totally irrelevant to the experience of going to games in Fremont.

jrbh said...

It's true that a lot of NFL teams have stadiums out in the middle of nowhere, but there's a huge difference: there are only eight games a year (not counting those exhibitions they make season ticket holders pay for), not eighty-one. People are a lot more willing to put up with that kind of hassle over a handful of dates.

Also, I'm guessing that football crowds are much more diverse in their arrival times for the games, because of the tailgating tradition.

Anonymous said...

From reading their site it appears they're more likely to root for the Giants than get violent.

It's a twenty mile move within the same county. It's not like Hannibal crossing the Alps

bartleby66 said...

Of course the team wouldn't have gone to San Jose in 1968, it was a big bunch of prune orchards then. And the move did hurt the Giants. At the time, the Bay Area really wasn't big enough to warrant two MLB teams.

Then Silicon Valley exploded, along with regional population and wealth, and now the area CAN support two teams. But that doesn't mean Oakland is the optimal location for one of them.

Selig isn't trying to "screw" the city of Oakland. It may be difficult for a passionate fan to accept, but objectively Oakland just isn't a great market for Major League Baseball. Fan support has been tepid despite great teams and low prices, and there is no corporate base. You can argue all you want that it's all one Bay Area and that's the relevant corporate base. However, the fact remains that there are lots of suites in the Coliseum and they are not selling.

And the idea that a move to Fremont is "writing off Oakland A's history" is a bit over the top. The A's have just as much history in Philadelphia, and the Yankees are about to bulldoze Yankee Stadium, so let's keep things in perspective.

Anonymous said... choose to ignore facts such as Selig's comments about Oakland being wrong from the start. Who freaking cares about SJ being an orchard, it's isn't about SJ, it's about the A's being WRONG for the Bay Area per Selig!! Thanks to Oakland building a stadium, the A's DID come, but what thanks does the city get other than being stiff-armed by carpetbaggers? Please don't insult my intelligence by comparing the Philly A's to the Oakland A's, because Philly had two teams in the same city. Don't even begin to tell this fan that the Giants are an Oakland team. Once the A's had owners committed to keeping the A's in Oakland under Haas, attendance exploded and was solid until the 1994 strike soured lots of fans. Yes, Mt Davis hurt the stadium, BUT Schott/Wolff have ignored city attempts to find a suitable spot for a ballpark. Ever since Schott took over, he's been threatening to leave Oakland & anyone paying attention knows the Dolich group was misled in '99 when they should've been able to purchase the club. Selig & his cohorts tabled (while the Haas conditional time frame expired)that deal so Schott had no further obligations to Haas, who wanted the club sold at a discount to anyone willing to commit to Oakland. Selig came up with a blue ribbon panel to study economics, but in reality any fool can see it was a conspiracy to screw Oakland. How can fans keep spending their hard earned money, when they know they have a carpetbagger for an owner? Wolff wasn't even sure where he'd hold his victory parade if the A's won the world series, so we have this arrogant $#@* coming in here after 2 years at the helm & giving fans of Oakland the finger. Even though the post is anonomous, my name is Ken

Anonymous said...

Take a deep breath Ken, and repeat after me...a move 30 miles away, in the same County no less, does NOT equal a move across the country. If you want an agreeable audience, go talk to Shrill, I mean Lil, and her five or ten friends over at OAFC (
Most of us here are thrilled with the prospect of a new stadium within Alameda county.

Anonymous said...

I don't care if it's alameda county or yolo county, that site in Fremont is horrible.

I live in Newark and the traffic on that part of 880 is already really, really bad at all times of the day. And there's no public transit at this Fremont site. If it's not BART or Caltrain, it's not economical or convenient.

Also, I thought the point of old fashion stadiums is to have them in old downtowns with density. What Wolfe is proposing is suburban, relying almost entirely on cars. More like ugly Three Rivers Stadium from the '70s, rather than Camden Yards.

And Silicon Valley A's? San Jose A's of Fremont? Isn't that the kind of name we've been mocking the Angels about?

How are these changes an improvement over what we A's fans have now? They're not.

jrbh said...

You know, I was thinking about the transportation to a potential new ballpark in Fremont, and something hit me that I feel like an idiot for not realizing before: a complete lack of public transit to a ballpark attracting 35,000 to 40,000 people a night is a disaster for the Bay Area in terms of liveability and the environment, but it's a gold mine to Wolff and Co: *everyone* will have to drive and pay for parking -- $15 or $20 a shot -- in lots owned by Wolff and Co. It's going to be a huge profit center.

It's a disgrace, and it runs counter to everything that makes the Bay Area a decent place to live.

For those of you wondering why so many people are so disgusted by what the A's are doing, here's a great example. Wolff is willing to screw people, including those who have nothing to do with baseball, on quality of life issues for extra coin. It's not exactly unheard of in a market economy, but it's hard to imagine rooting for it, either.

Bleacher Dave said...

If I remember correctly, Finley never resided in Oakland either. What a carpetbagger.

And those 3 straight WS appearances...well, I'm sure they had no impact on attendance.

I did like those Safeway BBQ days, tho. Maybe McGowan will sponsor them again. Turn back the clock!

There is simply no 143 acre single owned plot in Oakland, surrounded by raw land ripe for ballpark village development.

While I would like to see the A's stay in Oakland, I understand the decision. To think that the A's owners are in it for something other than the money is naive.

Anonymous said...

Would be alot of traffic for a while and parking dollars for Wolff in the short-term ... but after a few games when fans realize that it takes 2 hours to get in and out of the stadium and pay 30 bucks for parking because there's no public transportation, they'll quickly stop going to the park and attendance will be < 20K per game. Fremont = Disaster.

Georob said...

JRBH, if you don't like it, don't support this team any more and don't attend games. And if there are plenty that share that sentiment, there won't be a lot of people in the stands at Pacific Commons.

In all likelihood though, fans WILL come, you know it, and so as usual; you're just creating a lot of noise for the purpose of getting people upset.

If you look at the history of the Bay Area and of California, you'll find countless of entreprenuers and politicans who were pretty much "in it for themselves" and had no concern whatsoever for "quality of life" issues.

However, some of these people were responsible for great things in spite of themselves. California's "Robber Barons" come to mind, as does Oakland's Joseph Knowland. They may have been less than stellar individuals, but we benefit from what they did.

In short, it's a trade-off. And right now, most A's fans want an up to date venue that will allow us to keep players like Barry Zito and rely less on taking risks on unknowns. An "Urban Baseball Experience" is nice, but it's not a high priority for most fans who live, like it or not; in the suburbs.

Anonymous said...

Wow... the OAFC lynch mob has come to the blog!!!! Welcome.

My guess is that as soon as you realize the 15 people who feel as pssionately about the A's staying in Oakland already agree with everything you say somewhere else, and everyone over here is more reasonable, you will disappear.

I, for one, can't wait.

Marine Layer said...

Talk about hyperbole. Let's get a few things straight. The vast majority of A's fans currently drive to games. The Coliseum is not Ebbets Field. The change is from a suburban ballpark in a transit-friendly setting to a suburban ballpark in a transit-challenged setting.

Yes, the Coliseum is suburban. It's in superblock environment surrounded by a hundred acres of parking. The plans for the area, for the most part, don't follow New Urbanist or other progressive development policies. There's the possibility of a small transit village by the BART station, but the area near the Coliseum has an explicit restriction against housing in the city charter. So what's being put in there? A strip mall. Or two. Or three. Is that catching your fancy, jrbh?

How about the Oakland Army Base? That area wouldn't have had BART running to it or any other solution for that matter (at least as long as there's no LRT or BART solution in downtown Oakland-to-JLS). So the environmental disaster there is that same number of cars you cite heading even closer to the MacArthur Maze, since there would be no transit solution there either. Would you have supported that location, jrbh?

BTW, it costs upwards of $15,000 per space excluding land to build a parking lot. That parking would've been there whether it was used for a ballpark, shopping center, or office park. The developer has to make their money back somehow.

Anonymous said...

jrbh like the handful of oafc members have stated they'll become Giants fans if the A's move to Fremont. I say good riddance, no real A's fan would ever root for the Giants.

Bleacher Dave said...

I wouldn't agree that most A's fans want a new venue.

I like what we have just fine. Lower attendance = lower prices, easy egress, easy ticketing, easy concessions.

Resiging Barry Zito for a BaZillion dollars is just about the worst idea I've heard, and if that's what we have to look forward to, Wolff may be richer but the win column will be poorer.

Anonymous said...

Well Dave, that's a pretty typical "Oakland" response. Deny there's a problem and instead imply that "YOU'RE THE ONE WITH THE PROBLEM!"

This is also indicative of why the stadium issue has never gained traction on Athletics Nation. For the die-hard AN'ers already go to plenty of games and prefer small crowds as it makes it easier to find their friends in the stadium.

AN has pretty much turned into a "Chick blog", between Nico's remarks about "wanting a pony" and Blez' nicknaming the A's as "those lovable muppets." Not that there's anything wrong with being a "chick blog", mind you. Just don't be so indignant when commentators on ESPN and KNBR don't take A's fans seriously.

Anonymous said...

What exactly are Oakland A's fans gaining from this new ballpark that they don't already have in Oakland at the Coliseum? This isn't for us. This new ballpark will be taylored for the corporate crowd. We can forget the drummers and the flag wavers in the left field bleachers. We can forgett the chants "let's go Oakland" or "Marco...Scutaro," You'll be seeing many posers on cell phones who will be there because they scored free tickets from the boss and haven't a clue as to the legacy of the Oakland A's.

Also, a ballpark located in Fremont will not have the excitement factor that a ballpark located in Downtown Oakland, or near Jack London Square would have. Wolff is going to invest 400 million for what? What kind of rate of return can he expect from the 400 million dollar investment? Is he going to be able to charge that much more than what he's currently charging at the new "intimate" tarped off 34,077 seat ballpark in Oakland. Will he be able to sell that many more luxury suites than what he's currently selling in a ballpark with great access and its own BART station? Does anyone really think that a new ballpark in FREMONT is going to allow the A's to compete financially with the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Orioles, Cubs, Mets, Angels and Giants? Of course not, they'll be exactly where they are right now. Their problem isn't the ballpark, it's the lack of broadcasting revenues. And going to Fremont won't help a bit. The San Francisco Giants have a choke hold on the broadcasting revenues in the Bay Area.

In fact, I predict that Fremont will be a disaster for the A's. The lack of public transportation, along with the alienation of Oakland fans, will eventually turn Fremont into Lew Wolff's Waterloo. There will be a day in Fremont when there will really be only "11,000" fans in the stands.

Fremont is not the solution. Wolff may already know this. Wolff is also going to have to deal with lawsuits from season ticket holders, environmemtal groups, traffic congestion concerns, air pollution concerns etc. Is Wolff really going to spend 400 million dollars and run into many legal obstacles in order to move his franchise 15 miles closer to corporate money? It doesn't make sense!

jrbh said...

marine layer,

Some comments:

Just for your peace of mind, I would in fact be opposed to a West Oakland location that wasn't BART accessible.

Also, I agree completely that the Coliseum isn't the kind of "urban ballpark" currently favored and recently built in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Baltimore, Seattle, etc. I think that's both bad (you're right that there's little of the urban synergy you'd hope for) and good (the Coliseum might have the best combination of auto and mass transit access of any ballpark in the United States).

I don't know how many fans go to A's games on BART. I keep hearing ten to twenty percent as the figure; I don't know whose figure that is. Needless to say, if it's the A's figure, I'd be skeptical. Besides their evident self-interest in downplaying the number, I just plain don't trust them. If the figure is a BART figure, I'll take them at their word.

My own personal experience -- anecdotal, I grant you -- is that the figure is largely dependent on how many people are at the game. I'd go below ten percent for a Tuesday evening against Kansas City and as high as a third for a Sunday afternoon against the Yankees or a playoff game. People take BART if they think the parking lot is going to be a nightmare, which seems to me should be a major concern: it suggests that there will be resistance to attending games if there's nothing like BART to help people avoid jammed lots.

I think you're also right, marine layer, that there is no single plot of land in Oakland that meets Wolff's criteria for a plot of land big enough in one fell swoop for a ballpark, shops, apartments and parking lots.

There's nothing particularly magical about Wolff's criteria, though; in fact, it seems obvious to me that part of it's purpose is to make development in Oakland impossible. I can't imagine that a different kind of trade-off -- a ballpark near a BART station, and a development in another part of town -- would be all that difficult if there was genuine interest on Wolff's part.

Finally, I think the suggestion -- not yours, marine layer -- that there's only one kind of A's fan, one kind of way to support a team, is laughable. I defer to no one in a lifetime of support for the A's, but I'm not confused about my priorities: if my team is convulsively self-interested and fucks over the community I live in, they're not my team. Ask any of the legion of ex-Raiders fans how they feel about that.

None of this is written in stone. The A's may be in Oakland for decades, or they may not. It seems to me that passionately advocating for the A's to do the right thing for it's fans and community -- and, I strongly believe, for the A's themselves -- is the best form of fandom. Calling those advocates bad fans and telling them to hit the road is the worst form of fandom.

anthony dominguez said...

JEESH!! And you thought I was crying Rob! (over my past whining of the Giants T Rights to San Jose). Some of these last posts are hilarious!--wiping the tears from my eyes from laughter--. At least we now know who some of the 10-14k "die hard" fans were during most A's weeknight games! Oh well, here's to seeing MOST of you in Fremont!

Marine Layer said...

The 15-20% figure frequently cited is a BART figure, not a team figure.

I'm befuddled by some of the detractors' arguments. Some say that Wolff is a moneygrubbing carpetbagger who's only in it for a rich land deal. Then then are others who say Fremont will never succeed, thereby implying that it's not a rich land deal. If I saw a detailed argument in either case, I'd post it right away and let it be a real discussion topic, but right now it's little more than heated rhetoric.

For instance, it's well-intentioned and high-minded to think of ownership possibly working towards an Oakland ballpark in a community-focused effort. But how long should they have to sit through the political process and wait for results - results that are far from guaranteed considering the Oakland populace's general attitude. 10 years? 20 years? That could easily equate to $100-200 million lost while waiting. I doubt that Wally Haas, who admittedly lost money for a few years to bring in a championship, would have been that magnanimous.

jrbh, the entitlements concept is pretty close to magic. It doesn't involve an upfront cash outlay by team or municipality. It'll be easier to obtain private financing because the bonds won't be backed largely by stadium revenue - they'll be backed by the entitlements sales. And the political process is expected to be less messy than the usual story that comes with a publicly-financed facility. It's novel enough that no one's currently doing it. It just so happens that Fremont apparently has the right mixture of ingredients to make it happen.

Georob said...

I guess what confounds me most about people like JRBH is that they have such intense feelings of contempt for Lew Wolff and the commissioner, yet still support them financially by buying tickets.

If I felt that way about ANY business I wouldn't go near them. And I certainly wouldn't buy their product. Perhaps Bleacher Dave put it best in that these folks like things they way they are and don't want it to change.

I guess it's just human nature for Oakland supporters to be that way, to not want change....

....Just as Key System riders were,
And customers of Capwells,
Or those who rode car ferries to SF,
and users of rotary dial phones,
and 8-track players,
and Betamax tapes.....

and San Jose Earthquake fans.

(Sorry Tony, I couldn't resist. Besides I didn't want you to feel left out)

Anonymous said...

What are you talking about? Fremont has the real baseball fans. We'll have more drummers and more flag wavers than Chokeland. Fremont baseball is a city of winners. We have more world series titles than Chokeland!!!!! We actually win and advance!!!! FREMONT is more hardcore than Chokeland. We will soon have the Raiders as well. We throw the fattest tailgates and have the best costumes for Football. We're the real "510" unlike the phony in Left Field in Chokeland with the lame hockey mask!!!!

bartleby66 said...

Wow, lots of arm-waving from the anti-Fremont crowd. Not a lot of reasoned responses to points others have already made though.

In response to some of the comments which have been made recently:

1. "...with the lack of public transportation, this shapes up to be the biggest traffic disaster ever"

Well, no. Look at it this way: Before 2006, Coliseum capacity for baseball was what, 45,000? As has been posted here repeatedly, about 15-20% of Coliseum fans take BART to the game. This means that for most of the Coliseum's history, at least 36,000 people have been driving to sold out games. With a capacity of 35,000, even if none of the fans at a new Fremont ballpark take transit (a dubious assumption, as discussed below), FEWER people will be driving to sold out games. And on the same freeway.

As I've posted before, several other baseball parks and lots of football stadia have limited or no transit options. Although I am a huge advocate for transit, having been to roughly half of all NFL and MLB venues (including a number of times to Angels games) I can say that with good traffic planning this need not be an excruciating experience. In any event, it's not likely to be much worse than it is now.

2. "And there's no public transit at this Fremont site. If it's not BART or Caltrain, it's not economical or convenient."

This statement completely ignores what has been pointed out on this board several times before: It is highly likely that the new site will have ACE or Amtrak service similar to Caltrain. It is also nearly certain there will be shuttles to BART. At five miles away, this should be about a ten minute ride. A bit of an inconvenience, but similar to the shuttle SJ fans have taken from Light Rail to Sharks games (until this year). Also, it's at least a 10 or 15 minute walk from Coliseum BART over to the Arena; this doesn't stop people from taking BART to Warriors games.

Also, no one has responded to trestaylor's excellent post which suggests transit at the Fremont site might eventually be better than the Coliseum site.

3. "Also, I thought the point of old fashion stadiums is to have them in old downtowns with density. What Wolfe is proposing is suburban, relying almost entirely on cars. More like ugly Three Rivers Stadium from the '70s, rather than Camden Yards."

Not the point of them, though certainly an enhancement of both the ballpark and the downtown. Look, there isn't a consensus for a lot of things on this board, but virtually everyone agrees a downtown ballpark would be great. Some favor SJ, some Oakland, but one or the other downtown areas. But it ain't happening. Our choice is probably a suburban site like Fremont or lose the team. Let's move on.

The comparison of Three Rivers to a new Fremont park is a terrible analogy. First, Three Rivers WAS in downtown Pittsburgh, not in a suburban setting. Second, the whole point is that a Fremont ballpark will be a beautiful modern facility with good sightlines and lots of fan amenities, not a horrible multi-purpose cookie cutter like Three Rivers (or the Coliseum). A better analogy would have been to the Ballpark at Arlington: A beautiful, modern park which happens to be in a suburban location.

4. "What exactly are Oakland A's fans gaining from this new ballpark that they don't already have in Oakland at the Coliseum?"

The answers to this seem blindingly obvious, but what the heck:

a. We get to keep our team in the area. Billy Beane has done a brilliant job of fielding a competitive team on a shoestring, but he has zero room for error. Also, without new revenue generating mechanisms the payroll disparity between the A's and other teams will continue to get worse. Sooner or later we'll have an off-year, and then the already mediocre attendance will be in Devil Ray territory. The Coliseum is not viable over the long term.
b. We get a much more pleasant game day experience, and much better sightlines. I don't think any reasonable person would dispute that AT&T Park is a superior place to see a game, cel phone yuppies and all.
c. We get a chance at increased payroll, and a more competitive team over the long haul. Look, I don't know how much better the Tigers starters were than our starters, but the Tigers have $20 million more payroll and were definitely deeper. It'd be nice to see what Beane can do with a more level playing field.
d. We get to keep some beloved homegrown players. Look, we can argue about whether Zito is worth the money he's going to get, but he's a solid player, he's one of our guys, and I'd like to see him stick around. It's tough to follow a team when you know in advance all your favorite players are going to leave right when they peak. If keeping Zito will prevent the team from filling other needs, then it's probably the right call to let him go, but it'd be nice not to have to make that choice.

5. "What kind of rate of return can he expect from the 400 million dollar investment?"

Um, a big return. The ballpark village entitlements and ancillary
investments pay for the whole thing, which means he gets the "new ballpark" revenue streams without the $20 million per year bond payment that the Giants have.

6. "Is he going to be able to charge that much more than what he's currently charging at the new "intimate" tarped off 34,077 seat ballpark in Oakland."

Well duh. Not for the cheaper seats necessarily, but all those MVP and Plaza Infield seats will be roughly double the price. Go look at the Giants web page if you want an idea of what seats will go for.

7. "Will he be able to sell that many more luxury suites than what he's currently selling in a ballpark with great access and its own BART station?"

Absolutely. Right now, the A's struggle mightily to sell suites, and leave many vacant every game. Suites start at $700 each for a single game (about $65 per person, dirt cheap). Many teams don't even sell suites on a single game basis, and charge double that per game even when you buy for a full season. Last year you could get a suite for a A's game free as an incentive to pay off your season tickets early. By comparison, the Giants have all but two of their suites sold out on a full season basis.

"Great access" is relative. Fremont will have far better access than Oakland for the South Bay corporations who are the target market for suites and club seats. These companies currently mostly ignore the suites and club seats sold by the A's and Raiders (even though the 49'ers do not currently have comparable offerings).

And BART access? You really think the suite customers are riding BART to the game? Not from the South Bay they're not, and I doubt from anywhere else. Now I'm starting to think you're pulling my leg.

8. "Does anyone really think that a new ballpark in FREMONT is going to allow the A's to compete financially with the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Orioles, Cubs, Mets, Angels and Giants?"

Again, yes. Nobody is going to match the Yankees for revenue or payroll, but matching the payroll of those other teams is doable. There are diminishing returns to increasing payroll, so the disparity between $68 million and the $100 million or so spent by those others is actually greater than the disparity between $100 million and the $200 million the Yankees spend.

9. "Their problem isn't the ballpark, it's the lack of broadcasting revenues. And going to Fremont won't help a bit. The San Francisco Giants have a choke hold on the broadcasting revenues in the Bay Area."

The move south will greatly help broadcasting revenue. First, the new ballpark will raise general interest in the team, especially among casual fans. Second, one of the reasons the Giants lead the Bay Area in broadcast revenue is because the South Bay has no team of its own; we can choose between Oakland and San Francisco. Drive time is about the same, but Oakland has image problems and San Francisco is more glamorous and more closely matches the South Bay's demographic. So most South Bay people choose San Francisco, but a fair number would change allegiances if there were a team in the South Bay they could call their own. More to the point, a lot of new fans would develop who are currently non-fans or casual fans.

10. "lawsuits from season-ticket holders"

That's a new one. On what grounds?

Anonymous said...

We don't need corporate money in Fremont. Our fans bleed green and gold. We will have more real fans in the seats unlike Chokeland!!!!! Also, with a baseball team, FREAKMONT will get more street cred. Get Hyphy in the Freakmont!!!! Put on your stunna shades cuz we're going to get a World Series unlike Chokeland!!!! Freakmont in DA HOUSE!!!!! Next is the FREAKMONT RAIDAHS!!!!!

jrbh said...

Just out of curiosity, bartleby66, what might account for the Detroit Tigers having a higher payroll than the A's?

Georob said...

Okay, I know there are always threats of the Raiders moving, but NOWHERE have I read or heard that they're thinking of going to Fremont. So where are you "Fremont cheerleaders" getting this information from?

It all sounds like a bunch of hyphy/lowrider bravado to me.

If and when Fremont gets a major league team it'll be because they had LAND, nothing more.

Anonymous said...

JHRB Said:

"Ask any of the legion of ex-Raiders fans how they feel about

Well, I think that if the move had been to a shiny new stadium less than 30 miles away, as opposed to Los FREAKIN Angeles, the response would have been OVERWHELMINGLY POSITIVE.

Again, DEEP BREATH..repeat after me...A move of less than 30 miles, within the same county, does NOT equal a move across the country, or state for that matter.....

There, now, feels better doesnt if it doesnt, go back to Shrill and your 5 or 10 friends at OAFC and talk about the vast ballpark conspiracies, and how they in fact, tie in and completely solve the JFK assassination, when looked at through the OAFC filter.

bartleby66 said...

JRBH: The Tigers have more revenue due in part to a beautiful new ballpark with modern revenue generating amenities. They probably also have more broadcast revenue. While higher revenue does not guarantee higher payroll, it enables it.

Here is a list of 2006 MLB payrolls:

2006 MLB Team Payrolls

Based Upon 2006 Season as of April 7, 2006

Rank Team Total Payroll
1 New York Yankees $194,663,079
2 Boston Red Sox $120,099,824
3 Los Angeles Angels $103,472,000
4 Chicago White Sox $102,750,667
5 New York Mets $101,084,963
6 Los Angeles Dodgers $98,447,187
7 Chicago Cubs $94,424,499
8 Houston Astros $92,551,503
9 Atlanta Braves $90,156,876
10 San Francisco Giants $90,056,419
11 St. Louis Cardinals $88,891,371
12 Philadelphia Phillies $88,273,333
13 Seattle Mariners $87,959,833
14 Detroit Tigers $82,612,866
15 Baltimore Orioles $72,585,582
16 Toronto Blue Jays $71,915,000
17 San Diego Padres $69,896,141
18 Texas Rangers $68,228,662
19 Minnesota Twins $63,396,006
20 Washington Nationals $63,143,000
21 Oakland Athletics $62,243,079
22 Cincinnati Reds $60,909,519
23 Arizona Diamondbacks $59,684,226
24 Milwaukee Brewers $57,568,333
25 Cleveland Indians $56,031,500
26 Kansas City Royals $47,294,000
27 Pittsburgh Pirates $46,717,750
28 Colorado Rockies $41,233,000
29 Tampa Bay Devil Rays $35,417,967
30 Florida Marlins $14,998,500

A new Fremont ballpark would easily support payroll in the $80 to $100 million range. (Remember, we won't have the Giants' $20 million debt service).

bartleby66 said...


The guy posting these "real 501" posts is a troll just trying to get a rise out of people. The Raiders are not going to Fremont. Please do not feed the trolls; it'll only make them follow you looking for more food. :-)

BTW, I totally agreed with your 8:03am post. Bears mentioning. Well said.

Anonymous said...

Take a deep breath, your wife is moving in with another guy, but it's just down the street from where you live, so you can see her all the time. Give me a break dude !!

Anonymous said...

Take a deeper breath ... your wife is looking at houses only 30 minutes down the street with her boyfriend ... but you've heard that she's only acting like she's only moving 30 miles down the road so the judge gives her custody of the kids ... as soon as court's out, she's ready to move out of the area all together and good luck ever seeing those kids unless you want to take a flight to Vegas.

Anonymous said...

Taking a deep breath...Honey, we're moving to the suburbs. I know that it is'nt the urban experience we are enjoying, but these artists lofts in the industrial part of town arent cutting it now that we have kids. Plus we'll be a lot closer to your folks in the South Bay. I know angry old Aunty Shril, umm, Lil wont come visit, but that's more of a plus than it is a negative.

Anonymous said...

1249 says:
" only moving 30 miles down the road so the judge gives her custody of the kids ... as soon as court's out, she's ready to move out of the area all together"

Honey, please don't listen to Auntie Shrill. The documents we will be signing in court will give us a MINIMUM of thirty years tenancy in our brand spanking new home, there's no way we can move out after signing the binding lease. We are in the Bay Area to stay...breath in....

Anonymous said...

So there you have it. The real issue is these people don't want the A's to leave Oakland city limits. All the rest of this transit, corporate greed, carpetbagger stuff is just bs, a smokescreen. It's hysterical people whose self-worth is entirely wrapped up in what businesses happen to sit within the same city limits they do.

So please stop spewing all the crap about social issues and costs and traffic. Because we all know that none of you would give any of that a second of thought if the piece of land that is available to the A's happened to be within Oakland city limits. You equate a team moving a couple of miles down the freeway with your wives leaving you. See? It's all about your self worth. You're afraid some crazy image of Oakland impotence (supposedly created by losing the A's) will be transfered to you personally. You have serious, serious self-image problems. Please seek help.

Anonymous said...

Hey Fremont dude. Oakland rulez over all! The Bay Area would be nothin without Oaktown and Freakmont wouldn't even exist. Ha! Smae goes for San Jose. No way any of you are steeling our team. It's ours! We don't need any of you or your corporate money!!!! Take it to teh cell phone wannabes in Frisco! Oaktown forever!!!!

Anonymous said...

Then why do you have to change your name during this move honey if we're still supposed to be together? Mr 2:09 post & all other name calling simpletons, why does Selig consider Oakland a mistake? Why did they table the Dolich group? Oh yeah, nobody bothered to answer those earlier posted questions, it's easier to cry about Lil & act like we're a lynch mob. The Silicon A's, give me a break.

Anonymous said...

Sweetheart, you've got it all wrong...we arent changing our name, it's still Jones...We'll just be living in Fremont, a mere 30 miles from our old digs off of 880...we may choose to call ourselves the Jones's of Fremont, or Oakland or San Jose, or whatever, but all of our friends and family except for Auntie Shrill and her four or five friends at the OAFC will still love us and visit us as fact we need to make room for tons of guests, as more will visit, and the nifty new executive Guest Bedroom Suite, well, we actually have friends who are going to plunk down mucho dinero to come and stay in; so much that we'll be able to afford to lease our furniture for a lot longer time, instead of just building a fine piece of furniture, like our beloved Miggy Chair, only to find we couldnt hold on to it, as it had appreciated so much in value that we could no longer afford it, even though we had helped build and develop that loveable chair.

Anonymous said...

2:34, I am going to address all of the following:

You said:
"all other name calling simpletons"

I say:
Mr. Kettle, meet Mr. Pot.
I have seen the OAFC crowd shout down reasonable people like BleacherDave, and he has ALWAYS responded in good humor...OTOH, you guys cant take it when its turned back on you, in a good mannered way, as evidenced by your "simpleton" comment.

2:34 Says:
"why does Selig consider Oakland a mistake? Why did they table the Dolich group?"

My response: that was YEARS ago. I wanted the Dolich group to purchase the Athletics, as I am sure many here did as well. That, however was many many moons ago, and we now have an owner who is committing to the Bay Area, within thirty miles of the old stadium, within the same Freakin county. I could care less what Selig thinks, as long as the A's remain in the Bay Area, or that not withstanding, Northern California.

2:34 says

"Oh yeah, nobody bothered to answer those earlier posted questions"

My response:

Disagree. Those recycled questions have been answered time and time again over the last several months, and i case you didnt notice, I am answering all of your questions and comments your 234 post.

2:34 Says:

"it's easier to cry about Lil & act like we're a lynch mob. The Silicon A's, give me a break."

My response:
Any time any of try to have a reasoned debate with you on OAFC, we get shouted down, and told "This is an OAKLAND ONLY blog". Fine, but when you are gonna come over to this blog, which consists primarily of folks whose desire is to see the A's remain in the Bay Area, you arent going to get much sympathy when you try to serve up the OAFC kool aide.

Anonymous said...

But sweetcheeks, what you don't understand is that by moving the kids down to the suburbs, Aunt Anne and Uncle Tom from Oakland will never, ever vist us. And Aunt Shirley and her friends won't ever take BART down from Concord and visit us like they used to cause they don't like to drive in the traffic. And those new friends that we want to have visit us from San Jose? They mostly like that big hulking guy with the great digs up in San Francisco - they wouldn't be seen coming our way. So I think we'll be very lonely in the suburbs of Fremont ... so do you now understand why so many popular people like to live downtown ... don't be a dufus!!!

Anonymous said...

3:08, If, as you say, so many people like to live down, why are there suburbs, chock full of people.

As I have emphatically stated, there are more than enough people who will come visit, and if Auntie Shrill wants to stay away, she's just missing the party. She won't be missed. And just think, Auntie Shrill doesnt even LIVE IN OAKLAND, but she demands that we do...most of our friends and family in Oakland are giddy at the prospect of visiting us in our shiny new digs, so no...lonliness wont be a problem.

234, I'm waiting for a coherent response. If you are 308, that certainly isnt.

Anonymous said...

Hey hypocrite, Selig can think what he wants. It doesn't mean a couple hundred acres of land are going to suddenly appear in downtown Oakland.

But let's pretend you're right, it's a great big conspiracy. The whole world is against poor little Oakland, with Wolfe and Selig heading the Star Chamber. So, turn your back on these jerks now. Stop supporting their greed machine. It seems the sooner these assholes are out of your poor maligned town, the better.

Nope. You wont do that. Because it's irrelevant to your real issue. Your problem is identifying your self worth too closely with seeing your city's name in the AL standings. I said it before and I'll say it again: you wouldn't give your crazy conspiracy theories a second of thought if the piece of land that is available to the A's happened to be within Oakland city limits.

Anonymous said...

You OAFC conspiracy theorists ain't got nothing on FREAKMONT. It's where it's at. We got the winning tradition unlike Chokeland. We have better fans who are more passionate. We got more drummers and flag wavers. We got more STREET CRED than Chokeland. We got phat TAILGATES with more DJ's and Bands than Chokeland. We have no poser fans like that hockey mask guy in the LF Bleachers!!!!! All HAIL THE MIGHTY FREAKMONT!!!!! Get HYPHY and put on your STUNNA SHADES cuz we're going to win a World Series unlike Chokeland. If the team was in da FREAKMONT, they would be in the world series right now!!!!

Anonymous said...

You OAFC conspiracy theorists ain't got nothing on FREAKMONT. It's where it's at. We got the winning tradition unlike Chokeland. We have better fans who are more passionate. We got more drummers and flag wavers. We got more STREET CRED than Chokeland. We got phat TAILGATES with more DJ's and Bands than Chokeland. We have no poser fans like that hockey mask guy in the LF Bleachers!!!!! All HAIL THE MIGHTY FREAKMONT!!!!! Get HYPHY and put on your STUNNA SHADES cuz we're going to win a World Series unlike Chokeland. If the team was in da FREAKMONT, they would be in the world series right now!!!!

Anonymous said...

Come on faker. You're just copying and pasting old posts now. At least try. I mean, everyone knows you're really a desperate OAFCer trying to stir it up. But at least you're usually good for a few laughs (in the "we're laughing at you, not with you" sense). Now it's just getting old.

Anonymous said...

Signature Properties was willing to work with the A's on Oakland waterfront development, but Wolff wouldn't return their calls. Comments such as Shrill & OAFC crowd are demeaning, so don't act you're on the high road. You don't care what Selig thinks? Then you'e in for a surprise, because Wolff & him are working hand in hand.

Anonymous said...

11:13...How is OAFC crowd demeaning???

And Lil deserves the Shrill moniker with her unfailingly personal attacks on anyone willing to discuss a venue outside of oakland proper. Most of us on this site have had it with the tone set over at OAFC, as for myself, I'm not gonna sit here and let you guys throw out your recycled arguements.

As I said before, I really dont care what Selig thinks, as long as the A's remain permanently in the Bay Area, and once the new ballpark is built, believe me they will be obligated to the bay area for many many years, regardless of what Selig thinks; thus I dont care what he thinks...can I make that any clearer? Go back to my 306 pm post...

Anonymous said...

Again you prove my point. The waterfront. Lot's of public transit options there. No chance for a traffic nightmare. A new stadium there would certainly be affordable for working class stiffs. Selig would magically be removed as comissioner. Yeah, right. The only difference would be the city limits it sits in. All this other stuff is utter bull. We know it and you know it.

Look, I 'd be ecstatic about a JLS or downtown Oakland stadium (downtown SJ for that matter too). But those options aren't available to us. So Fremont it is. It's much better than having them leave the area altogether. Maybe this will help: when you look at the standings and it says Silicon Valley A's. Just pretend it says Oakland. Everything else will be exactly the same. Except we'll have a bigger budget. And a nicer stadium. And more people in the crowd. And more local media buzz. And...

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Marine Layer said...

Enough with the potshots, people.

Anonymous said...

What is the OAFC crowd? Why do people dislike them so much? As much as people talk badly about Oakland, will Fremont provide a better fan experience and more fans in the stands? If so, how will it workout? Also, will the A's get more revenue in Fremont?

Anonymous said...

11:05, A simple answer would be to visit their site at

They have gotten more and more vitriolic about a move ANYWHERE outiside of Oakland. I truly believe they would be just as angry and nasty if the A's were envisioning a move to San Leandro which is about 2 miles from the Coliseum. IMO they have lost perspective, equating a move to a site within Alameda County to a move across the Country.

Lil, the moderator has gone as far as equating this with the Dodgers move from Brooklyn to L.A.

Most of us here on this board see this move for what it is, a chance to have a spanking new Baseball-only ballpark that just may allow us to keep some of our homegrown talent.

Anonymous said...

She and her minions have actually stated that they'd prefer to see the A's move completely out of state rather than 30 miles down the road within the same metropolitan area. Seriously. She'd rather see the A's move to Portland (Oregon or Maine, I doubt she cares which) than 1 inch outside Oakland city limits. And she doesn't even live in Oakland! They are borderline insane.

Anonymous said...

"minions" yeah you anti-Oakland people are full of class...not. Also, pretty weak responses about the wife moving down the street, but having to change her name...I thought they were funny. Their main point is don't trust MLB & frankly I can see why.

Anonymous said...

Nothing I have said is anti-Oakland. And it's telling that the Oakland or bust crowd never addresses the substance of a post. Just strawman arguments and thin-skinned responses. Could it be they're finally realizing there is no Oakland option and we're hitting just a little too close to home?