19 November 2006

Election in Fremont?, Paying off the SJ Giants

Three articles showed up in today's rags that you should read:
  • Chris De Benedetti of The Argus covers the possibility of a ballot measure for Cisco Field and the ballpark village.
  • The Merc's Barry Witt writes about Rule 52, also known as the "15 mile rule." Rule 52 prevents a major league team from relocating to within 15 miles of another team without compensation or approval by the affected team.
  • Merc writers Mary Anne Ostrom and April Lynch chronicle Lew Wolff's legacy of local development and forays into sports business.
Fremont's mayor and city council have been consistent about eschewing a referendum. The likelhood of a vote increases should general fund money be required, but both the A's and Fremont have insisted that pulling from the general fund is not going to happen. Still, there remains a question of how new services for the area will be paid for. A ticket tax? Assessments on the new condos? Tax increment financing? I can't wait for the discussion to begin in earnest.

Rule 52 is not expected to be a major issue, at least with regard to the San Jose Giants. Even if compensation is required, it probably won't be an enormous amount. Perhaps the two sides could do the right thing and put the money towards refurbishing dilapidated San Jose Municipal Stadium. Then again, SJ Giants ownership could take the money and sell/move the team to an area that wants a team and has far less competition: Petaluma or Napa. In the past, I wasn't clear on whether Rule 52 was still applicable, since the Nationals technically set up shop within 15 miles of Orioles' territory by playing in RFK Stadium. We won't know until snippets from the next ML Constitution are released (leaked).


anthony dominguez said...

I think the days of San Jose (a city of 1 million residents) hosting Single-A ball are over. I could see the SJ Giants using whatever money they get from the A's towards relocating (as you suggested R.M.). Pretty soon, San Jose will finally have Major League Baseball right in its own backyard. As for Rule 52 being an issue at all, let us not forget; Lew Wolff and Cisco made their announcement last week with BUD SELIG right by their side...end of story on Rule 52. Hey! isn't AT&T Park within 15 miles of the Alameda Co. line?! ;o)

jrbh said...

I would expect a movement in Fremont to force the stadium to go on the ballot, either through political pressure on the City Council, or via referendum.

And if it ends up on the ballot, the park doesn't get built if Fremont is getting socked financially.

Anonymous said...

As long as some sort of minor-league ball stays in the Bay Area--in San Jose or wherever. I think there's room for it. Look at the Chicago market--2 major league teams and 5-6 suburban minor league teams in various leagues seem to co-exist.