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30 November 2006

How we got to this point

East Bay Express writers Robert Gammon and Chris Thompson have this week's cover story, a thorough chronology of events over the past several years that led up to the Pacific Commons plan. Even though the full article is available online, I suggest you get a (free) copy wherever you can. I can't comment on all of the workings of the Oakland political machine, but I can say that the Fremont scenario described in the article played out exactly as I heard it nearly a year ago. It's definitely a must-read.

17 comments:

Jeff August said...

I read this yesterday and felt glad that someone finally wrote and article that was down the middle on the subject.

I was born in Oakland and I love the city (or the Town as I here it referred to more and more lately) and I would love to see baseball stay there. But I want the A's to stay in the Bay Area, so my children can watch them and root for them as I do and did, more than I want them to stay in Oakland.

It is very clear to me that the A's are in a situation where it is Fremont or bust. Right, wrong or indifferent that is the case.

I think blame can be placed at the feet of Steve Schott, but what I think the stay in Oakland crowd misses is the fact that Robert Bobb was fired for trying to keep the A's in Oakland. If that deosn't speak volumes about the city governments culpability in this, I don't know what does.

Additionally, Iggy DF is full of crap and duplicitious. I am tired of reading about how he had Oak to 9th, or Jack London Square, or Chabot Golf COurse, or anywhere all ready to go. He didn't, he is full of crap and has been as long as anyone can remember.

The only site left that keeps the A's in the Bay Area is Pacific Commons. I am all for the A's staying and therefore I am all for Cisco Field.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Jeff.

I believe the only realistic location in Oakland was Uptown, and I would have loved to have seen that become reality. It would have been best for the A's, for Oakland and for the fans. But Brown killed that for his buddies at Forrest. For that, I mostly blame him. IDF can be an ass and is clearly blowing smoke to save his image in all this, but I don't think it's primarily his fault (outside his role in bringing the Raiders back, that is).

Like you, I'm happy with the move to Pacific Commons and also believe that's much better than moving out of state, which is the only other realistic alternative.

Anonymous said...

Well, Well,Well...it was just two years ago that Lew Wolff told Mr. Haggerty that Fremont was NOT an option for an A's ballpark; but now it is! In August Lew Wolff told the SJSV Chamber that San Jose was NOT an option. Two years from now...?

Marine Layer said...

Nothing is changing politically in San Jose to make it more viable. Territorial rights are still the big obstacle.

Anonymous said...

Props to Scott Haggerty without his persistance the A's are moving out of state. Unlike IDLF and Brown, Haggerty is an A's fan.

Bleacher Dave said...

Haven't yet read the Express article, but based on the comments here, doesn't sound like there's anything new.

For all you out-of-the-Bay-Area believers, I ask you this: If the Bay Area can't sustain the A's, why would they move to a lesser market?

No better option exists.

Anonymous said...

Because someone will offer them a sweet stadium deal and the promises of riches in an exclusive market. History has shown us several examples of teams leaving a shared market for a smaller one they can have to themselves, including our own A's.

Bleacher Dave said...

and just who is this anonymous municipality that is going to offer them a sweet stadium deal, anonymous?

Anyone can promise riches - but is it only fool's gold?

KC, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh are all exclusive markets - 2 of them have sweet new stadium deals - is that the level of riches that you believe the A's aspire to?

If they move out of the Bay Area, they can aspire to reach that level. Any potential landing place is a "lesser" market than those.

Anonymous said...

What happens afterward doesn't matter. The A's will already be gone. The promise, the allure -- these are very real and we've seen them extended by all the usual suspects. If the A's can't find anything locally, I believe they will answer the call to one of these municipalities, whether it be fool's gold or not.

Jeff August said...

BD,

It is true that there is no better market from my perspective. But put that aside for a second.

I think a case could be made for Sacramento, the St. Louis of the West Coast, in the event that the Bay Area was a one team market.

The perception is that there is a lack of corporate money in Oakland which drives lower than expected revenues. While that lack wouldn't be filled in Sacramento, I do believe that an argument could be made that a prudent business person would rather try and address that need somewhere else rather than stay in Oakland and fight the same fight for the next decade.

While I tend to agree that major corporations in the Bay Area at large don't identify with Oakland and thus don't drive as much revenue as they could for the A's I am open to the idea that this is mostly perception. Regardless, the A's have made up their mind that something has to change to improve the revenue stream and perhaps a new stadium in a place like Sacarmento and the media market all to themselves could drive more revenue. I am just saying I can follow the thinking and it does make some sense.

All that said, there are a lot of factors that go into making the decision and one that shouldn't be underestimated is ego. Bob Lurie's ego drove the Giants to the brink of being in St. Pete. If it was the present day and that situation played itself out in Oakland, there would be no cry from other MLB owners to try and keep the team in Oakland.

For that reason, I believe the A's ownership group and MLB would move the team rather than play in the Coliseum. If only to save face and/or try something different.

They did just have cities like Charlotte, San Antonio, Portland, etc. pony up to get the Marlins and Expos. There are places the team could go, even if you and I don't think they are better markets.

I could be completely full of crap, too. That is a possibility.

Anonymous said...

The "nowhere to go crowd" said nobody would move to DC/ Northern VA .. Angelos wouldn't allow it .. yadda yadda yadda

Bleacher Dave said...

anonymous 1: I don't believe Wolf is anyone's fool. I don't envision him panning for fool's gold in barren creeks. He's an old prospecting hand.

anonymous 2: There is already a team in DC. No one else is moving there. The other analagous situation is SJ; I don't see the A's (or anyone else) moving there.

Good points, Jeff:
I believe the reason San Antonio, Charlotte, Portland, etc didn't land a team is that those markets are less attractive than the ones currently occupied. MLB and its owners may continue to use them as stalking horses, but even the mayor of San Antonio came to realize he was simply getting played as leverage by the Marlins.

I agree that ego plays a huge part. A sports franchise is a vanity purchase, and you don't go there if you don't desire the limelight. That's why I don't believe the A's would move on Fischer's watch. He's from an old line SF family, and I don't see him moving a team from the Bay Area as part of his historical legacy.

Clearly, Da Town presently suffers from a perceptual problem. But a move to Sacramento would be a structural problem that no amount of PR could overcome. I doubt the ownsership group would be willing to impair their investment solely for the sake of change for its own sake. I haven't followed it, but the Kings are having some sort of issues with their facility. Not the greatest lure for another team.

The A's must have a baseball only facility. It's gonna happen in the Bay Area. This is a great market, and the A's know it. They're profitable and competitive even while playing in an outdated facility.

I'm always full of crap. I've never let that stop me from bumpin' my gums.

Jeff August said...

BD,

I live outside Sacramento so I am well versed in the Kings arena drama. It is a very strange scenario to me and not really much like the A's current situation.

I guess that I could debate the fact that there are no better markets than Milwuakee, Kansas City, et al. But really the argument would only be that there are markets with potential to be slightly better at most.

With media market revenue being so huge, there are many markets that have more tv sets and radios than the lower tier of MLB markets.

With this as a measure, the largest market sans baseball is Orlando, then Sacramento, then 6 other markets before you hit Kansas City. 7 before Milwuakee and Cincy. Those are Portland, Indianapolis, Charlotte, Hartford-New Haven, Raliegh-Durham, Nashville and Colombus. Not exactly cosmo I guess.

But none of those would be better than half the Bay Area with a new stadium. I think we agree on that.

Anonymous said...

I was in San Diego at a conference this week and stayed at the Omni Hotel, which is directly connected to Petco Park. It was wonderful to see how the ballpark fit in so well with the revitalized downtown area with the convention center and tons of restaurants and bars nearby. It's such a shame that Brown and DeLaFuente couldn't see the same benefits for Oakland.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:19,
And it is such a shame that downtown San Jose was BANNED from reaping the developement benefits of a ballpark because of the Giants socialist territorial rights (do we live in the U.S. or former Soviet republic?). RIP Baseball San Jose; the website no longer exists Marinelayer.

Bleacher Dave said...

Jeff,

I don't know that local media revenue is huge, with the exception of the megalopolises of NY, LA, and CHI, and the Braves superstation.

The rush toward Regional Sports Networks for teams outside of mega-markets seems to have stopped.

New stadiums don't seem to be a panacea. They don't seem to cause an increase in payroll or competitiveness.

Jeff August said...

BD,

I think it is a myth that payrolls haven't gone up. Payroll across the league has risen a great deal in the past 5 years.

While there are many factors, new stadiums and improved media packages have played a part in driving this. The media is both national and local in nature.

In fact, if I was the A's I would be looking to partner with the Comcast Sports Network rather than play second fiddle on Fox Sports Net. The team doesn't necessarily have to own the regional sports network to benefit from the size of a media market. Do you disagree that there is more media revenue to be made in Sacramento vs. Milwaukee? Portland vs. Cincy?

Of course, in both of those markets there are complications, as with Orlando and San Anotnio in that they are not all that far away from an existing market and some portion of the media dollars are already being tapped into. Or conversely, any team that moves to one of those markets will be tapping into another teams existing revenue stream, even if not into their "territory," potentially.

Like I said, I don't believe that in the A's situation it makes sense to move. In theory, they own one half of the 5th largest market in the country (or 6th depending on if you use Census Metro Area's or Media Market size) and have the Sacramento and Northern San Joaquin Valley to market to as well, which is as big or bigger than many existing MLB markets.

If we were talking about Tampa Bay moving to Portland, I would think that would be a good move if they had a more destination oriented stadium that attracted casual fans.

So to end my gum flapping, there are markets out there that have potential to be better for some existing franchises if you consider all the revenue streams. To me those can be generalized to fall into 3 categories, Stadium/Attendance, Stadium/Corporate, Media. And if they are better for existing franchises, they can be used for expansion... wait, that was a different thread!