09 November 2006

Who gets hurt more - A's or BART?

One couple of housekeeping note first: The long dormant "Scoreboard" feature on the sidebar has been redone with a different question, "Does the outlet/media figure support the A's-Pacific Commons ballpark plan?" The question and the associated reactions may change as details are revealed. I've linked the columns by Gwen Knapp, Ray Ratto, Carl Steward, Mark Purdy, and Dave Newhouse so far.

With all of the talk about not having BART to service the Pacific Commons site, I decided to look into this further. We all know that no BART will equate to some indeterminate loss of A's fans, but their substitutes may end up being South Bay fans. That's not something I can quantify at this point, but it's a reasonable assumption.

What about the effect on BART? Unlike the A's, there's no easy substitution for BART if A's fans don't ride it. Some fans may take BART & MUNI to Giants games, but it's most likely that BART will suffer a ridership loss. The question is: How big?

Let's start with actual BART ridership. According to the 2005 Annual Report, BART's fiscal year ridership was usually under 100 million one-way trips or "exits" as they call them. The average ticket price was around $2.50.

Using the 15-25% BART riders-as-attendees figure cited previously, I produced the table below. It uses a sliding scale in which with larger crowds, a higher percentage of fans use BART. The total attendees using BART was 528,750, which may be overestimating things a bit (it works out to 25% of all A's fans) but for now we'll go with it for the sake of argument. The following table shows how much A's fan trips to the Coliseum factor into total BART ridership.

1% may not sound like much, but it's actually disproportionately high compared to the actual effect the A's have on the local economy, which is more in the neighborhood of less than 0.1% of the Bay Area's
Gross Regional Product. Credit goes to A's fans who utilize BART so well. 1 million rides means that A's-related BART usage is actually heavier than all of the annual activity on some low usage stations such as Castro Valley or San Bruno.

Let's use the worst case scenario for BART, in which no Warm Springs extension is built. Fans who no longer use BART for A's games simply wouldn't use BART at all for baseball, not even for Giants games. That includes a shuttle scenario to Pacific Commons, which I personally don't think will work when coming from the existing Fremont BART station because of its cost and limited use. If we assign a $3 value for each one-way trip, the lost revenue would come to over $3 million per year. For a public transit agency that has trouble making ends meet, $3 million in lost revenue is nothing to sneeze at. The only thing that helps BART is that they're pretty heavily subsidized, so the hurt won't be too bad. Still, it could mean job cuts, higher fares, or other ugly solutions to this market change.

Contrast this with the A's situation. In the model below, those same BART riding fans would be split into two groups: those who would drive to Fremont, and those who would stay home. The split is an even 50-50. I haven't done any surveys or seen any numbers to back this assertion, but it's a reasonable starting point. The "$ per fan" figure comes from two sources: an average ticket price of $25 per game, and $10 of concessions. If that 50% that would still attend drives instead, you get roughly 1000 additional cars per game, whose parking revenue would offset the loss somewhat.

Obviously, the money the A's would lose on paper dwarfs what BART would lose. However, there's a big difference between the two in that the A's have other sources of revenue (besides the parking) to offset this loss. The team's also expected to perform well at the gate for at least the first two years (numerous sellouts) so the attendance/concessions revenue would be maxed out anyway. That two year stint (perhaps longer) may end up being the waiting period required before BART finally comes to Warm Springs.

As for BART, they'll take a decent hit. It's not even close to enough to justify the cost of building WSX by itself, but it could contribute to revised ridership numbers that could boost the cases for both the WSX and San Jose extensions (the current numbers are admittedly dubious). Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, who has championed the A's-to-Fremont cause, is also a MTC commissioner who controls much of the regional transit money. He has the power to push funding in the right direction.

Tomorrow I'll present a scenario in which BART would be used to the ballpark. Implemented correctly, there's an opportunity to keep many of those lost BART riders and keep the costs low.


Anonymous said...

Everyone is way too focused on BART, like that's the only form of mass transit around here. True, it may be the best (I said may) but Pacific Commons will also be accessible by ACE, Capital Corridor, bus and perhaps CalTrain. CalTrain? Yes. Preliminary work has already begun on refurbishing the Dumbarton rail bridge for a future extension of CalTrain. They'll be able to run that sucker right on down to Pacific Commons.

Regardless, prep-work has been going on for some time now to enable the BART extension as well. From the purchase of right-of-ways to the building of underpasses and overpasses, the clearing of the path has been underway for better than a year. Make no mistake; it is already happening.

Normally, these activities would make all the rail-loving, Fremont-hating, Oakland-or-death, ohmigodtheresnobart A's fans we've been subjected to lately all giddy knowing that rail transit is being extended within the Bay Area. But my guess is they're all hoping against hope that somehow these extensions will never happen. Because despite the benefits the build-out of mass transit provides us all, they are more interested in their own personal convenience and misplaced pride in the arbitrary location of city limit lines than any of that.

Anonymous said...

Newhouse "not stated"?????

Did you read the same column as I did??? He openly states that this is very bad.

How about Dickey? He panned it. In fact all of the columns I've read (with the exception of the two clowns - Purdy and Steward) think this is a bad deal.

I think it's a horrible one - and one that will ultimately fail due to all of the hidden costs that a small suburb like Fremont will be unable and unwilling to commit. Infrastructure, Police, cost overruns on the stadium, etc, etc, etc - citizens of Fremont will get wind of this, threaten a law suit if not on the ballot and Wolff will walk away with his tail between his legs. He's trying to pull a fast one on the taxpayers of Fremont.

trestaylor said...

I completely agree with anon 4:39 about the single minded focus on BART. There is a tendency to say that BART=public transit in the Bay Area. But the failure to extend BART into the Peninsula and South Bay has made Caltrain/Amtrak a player whose influence is growing as they place an emphasis on moving away from being a commuter service to a mass transit provider.

The Dumbarton Rail project continues to be my favorite transit project to help alleviate the concerns around ballpark transit. It is funded to provide a link between BART and the existing rail lines, build additional tracking in Fremont to address the freight/passenger car congestion issue and connect the folks in Northern Santa Clara county with the folks in Alemeda county. All we would need (okay, those of us who have a love/hate relationship with Amtrak know this is not necessarily a small thing) is to figure out how to schedule usable ballpark specials.

Marine Layer said...

My bad on that. I'll change Newhouse to a "No." It was hard to see the disapproval in all of the blame he throws towards Jerry Brown. So Steward, Purdy, and anyone who supports the idea is a clown, eh? Okay...

Of course, Newhouse is mistaken on the idea that O29 was really available. It wasn't. It was just something for IDLF to put out there for cover. Or have you not read my posts on O29 previously?

Anonymous said...

Maybe this is what Wolff has in mind, to make the A's new stadium and surrouding retail/housing complex the focal point for a future huge rail hub. Can you imagine, Capitol Corridor, BART, and Caltrain all converging at the stadium? Now that's a plan.

Anonymous said...

Sounded to me like Newhouse was only saying this was bad for Oakland - I didn't see anything in his column that clearly said this was a bad move by the A's themselves, as Ratto did.

Also, you can add one more to list of endorsers...with reservations. National writer Buster Olney in his ESPN Insider blog writes:

"Ray Ratto knows a whole lot more about the area and the move than I do, and he says the club's switch is a mistake, and believes the team should wait, in case the place they really want becomes available.

But I'm not sure that I agree. What we know from the Athletics' recent history is that whether they win or they lose, support for the franchise is stagnant. In the last 14 years, they haven't drawn more than 2.2 million fans in any season. The great boom we've seen in major league baseball is not reflected in the Athletics' attendance...if Oakland were to go through a down cycle, attendance might plummet to 1.5 million again at McAfee Coliseum.

They know what they have in Oakland, and it's only OK, at best, and at its worst, the situation is downright awful....There is almost no hope that the Athletics' situation in Oakland is going to be better. And maybe in Fremont, it could get worse. But there's at least a hope, in a new home, that the Athletics' standing will improve, that they'll be in a better position to grow, as they win. I can't blame the team's ownership for wanting to try something different, after four decades of lackluster box-office returns."

And while it's true the A's will lose some fans who can't or won't go to the game without the train, especially North Bay fans, by being 30 minutes (minimum) closer to the South Bay they're also going to pick up fans who will now drive to games from places like Morgan Hill and Santa Cruz who weren't driving before because it was too far away for them. Don't forget to factor that into your equations, especially since those South Bay fans initially wouldn't even have the option of taking BART like the North Bay fans did.

Jeff P said...

Hey ML,

With the 49's announcement that they are going to vacate San Francisco, any chance that York and Wolfe get together and collaborate on an NFL stadium in PC along with the A's new park? Any leverage in a dual approach by both franchise owners? A football and baseball village perhaps?

jrbh said...

A new 49ers stadium yoked to a new A's stadium.... shoot, *that* would be entertainment: Al Davis would go off like a Looney Tunes character. You think he's sue?

Anonymous said...

Ratto is a contrarian sports columnist for the local fishwrap not an Ivy League MBA. As per usual he saw some soup and had to piss in it

Anonymous said...

Well said, 9:35! Ratto should never be taken too seriously. His goal is to get a rise out of people, not to get at some truth by deeply analyzing the situation.

FreeSanJose said...

As a San Jose resident, I keep going back and forth on this thing. On one hand, I love how much closer the A's will be. On the other, I really agree with a lot of what Ratto said. This is one of those things where in 10 years people will be asking "How did they choose Fremont?" Sure, Fremont seems like the most expedient choice, but it just doesn't feel like the best one.

Still, there's no guarantee any better solution would have ever presented itself. Wolff and the A's can't in any good conscience not take this chance, with the hope that they can get mass transit to deliver riders to its doorstep. I really don't think there's any other longterm solution as that area is already overflowing with traffic.

One other aside, I'm not sure I'm totally hip to the logic of using housing as a way to offset the costs. It seems there's no guarantee that people will want to spend top dollar to live in an area that is so impacted by a ballpark, without having easy access/exit on gameday. I really think it's flawed logic to believe that many well-to-do folks want to put up with the hassle of living next to a ballpark, especially one that's not in a downtown setting. Plus, and please correct me if I'm wrong, but it would seem that changing this area from "industrial" to "residential" would cost the city far more in the longterm than offering to split the costs/revenues.

James said...

Now that we are hearing tidbits that stadium parking may be offsite and people shuttled to the stadium, I'm coming up with a possible theory. Could Wolff's plan be to build a parking structure near the Warm Springs BART station, with direct access from both I-880 and I-680, and have some type of people mover constructed to shuttle people from both BART and parking. If everyone going to a game is using the shuttle, the construction and operating costs could be built into the price of game admission. If the ridership numbers are not viable for a people mover going between BART and Cisco Field to accommodate only BART riders, could the picture be different if the people mover is shuttling everyone going to a given game? Parking between the two freeways would make it infinitely easier for people to come from Contra Costa, the Tri Valley, the Central Valley, and East San Jose.

Marine Layer said...

There's already a parking structure planned for Warm Springs. It'll hold some 2,000 cars, which is too small for ballpark requirements. It might be too small for weekday BART patrons - see the Fremont station lots during weekdays for proof.

A bus shuttle service will not be looked upon favorably. If the option is a people mover it makes more sense but only if the capital and operating costs can be covered. I have more info on a people mover option coming up, but let's just say that to cover the distance between WSX and PC it'll cost $57 million to build. That estimate does not include land acquisition.

Anonymous said...

The only thing I agreed with Ratto on was that Oakland is the #2 choice.

Anonymous said...

The problem is Schott/Hoffman and Lew Wolff never commited to the city of Oakland like Magowan did with F. At least Magowan admitted that Candlestick was not optimal, but he made due with the facility by upgrading the bleacher experience in LF by bringing the seats closer to the field and upgrading the food options. At least the A's owners could have committed to Oakland and tried to make it workout until they got a plan going for a new ballpark in Oakland BTW, this is no OAFC conspiracty crap, just being logical and having some common sense.

Anonymous said...

free san jose - I'm thinking along with you on this one ... who in their right mind would plunk down top dollar for a condo/townhouse to live in fremont next to a ballpark - that's not even in a major city center??? all the hassles of a busy ballpark neighborhood without any of the perks of a big city.

the more I think about this the more I'm convinced that a better alternative would be to move the village concept to sacramento - expand raley field a bit for a fraction of the cost of a new ballpark and bam you're done. no huge infrastructure to build up like in fremont.

fremont = one huge mistake

James said...


I agree that a People Mover makes much more sense. I was looking at the aerial photo of the area, and there are several plots surrounding the WSX station that are vacant. Now whether they are available for purchase is another story. But the more I think about this, the more it makes sense both in terms of vehicular access north, south, and east, as well as moving game-goers into PC, dropping them off at a strategic point where they would walk through (and patronize) the restaurants. Hypothetically, if you average 20,000 people per game, and add $3.00 to the ticket price (and that's $3 per person, not per car) they'd be bringing in about $5M per year to service the shuttle debt. And again, almost everyone going to the game would use the shuttle. And to continue the intermodal transportation discussion, the shuttle could stop at the planned ACE (and hopefully future Amtrak) station.

I can't wait to see what Wolff has in mind.

James said...

Anon 12:45 --

Sac won't work. (Magowan would have a wet dream if that happened!) There is no way Bay Area fans will support a Sacramento team when we already have a San Francisco team. Also, the team stands to lose the Coliseum after 2010 if they move outside Alameda County.

One major reason the Fremont concept works, and why a state-of-the-art stadium will be built, is because Cisco controls the land and has planted itself into the very enviable position of becoming the major partner is this venture. Cisco is getting a huge about of milage out of this. I have no doubt that housing in PC will be very popular as well. Emeryville has hundreds, if not thousands of condo units atop the shopping centers that have sprung up there in the past several years, even with BART being a 15-20 minute bus ride away. Early indications seem to be that Pacific Commons will feel little or no affect from vehicles heading to the stadium since parking will be offsite and some type of shuttle system will be implemented, which, as discussed above, may be tied into BART.

In addition, Sacramento lacks the significant fan base and corporate sponsorship opportunities that the Silicon Valley would enjoy from Alameda, Santa Clara, and Contra Costa counties.

James said...

Anon 12:39 --

Since you bring up logic and common sense, those two things dictate that when building a ballpark, it's better to take it to an area where you can increase your existing fanbase and corporate sponsorships rather than keep your club in a city that is just a bridge and BART tunnel away from a more popular club.

Anonymous said...

The future of the A's Fremont ballpark can currently be seen down in Anaheim. Angels attendance for 2006...3.5 MILLION! And any of you who watched the A's play down in Anaheim know that Angels Stadium was PACKED! Regardless if it was a weeknight, weekday, or weekend game. And guess what? NO MASS TRANSIT, NO DOWNTOWN, LOTS OF FREEWAYS, AND ACRES OF PARKING! My only qualm with Fremont is the reported capacity; it should be 40k seat ballpark. 32K Marine layer?

Anonymous said...

Sorry James, but that's your opinion just like I have a right to mine and quite frankly I think mine is correct:

Sac-town could very well work and better than Fremont. It has the infrasture that Fremont doesn't. It has a growing population and one that they wouldn't have to share with the Giants. It has an existing facility that CAN be expanded so the costs would be MUCH, MUCH less than a whole new ballpark.

Sorry buddy but it CAN work.

Sacramento Athletics ... sounds a hell of alot better than Fremont A's, doesn't it???

Anonymous said...

You can add the Betting Fool from the Chronicle to the list of columnists that don't support the Fremont ballpark

Anonymous said...

No it doesn't. Look Mr Sacto, go read up on all the variuos discussions we've had around here about why the A's would never consider Sacramento. There's a common misconception, which you have, that Raley Field can easily have a second deck added. It can't. ML has gone into detail about it before. It would be a major undertaking, costing almost as much as a new place. Sacto is also less than half the size of the Bay Area, so it's still smaller than sharing with the Giants. It's growing, yes. But it would have to grow a hell of a lot faster, and the Bay Area would have to stop growing altogether, for Sacto to get half as big as the Bay Area in like 30 years (I did the math once).

It's a good town and growing strong. But it's just not in the cards.

James said...

Anon 1:42 --

First of all, Fremont does have infrastructure. You don't become a city of over 200,000 people without an infrastructure. And Fremont continues to grow, just like Sacramento. However, Fremont is within Silicon Valley with the huge corporate base that the SV offers. That is one of the two major things that Wolff is going after. The other is population. San Jose is the tenth largest city in the country. If you look at the likely fan base that the Fremont park will offer, you have the entirety Santa Clara County with a population approaching 2 million. You have Southern Alameda County cities of Fremont, Newark, Union City, Hayward, Pleasanton, Livermore, and Dublin... with a combined population of about three-quarters of a million people. I won't even include Contra Costa County in this argument, because many of them would support the Giants over the A's in Fremont, but still, undoubtedly, many would also support the A's. Add to that Southern San Mateo County cities of Redwood City and Menlo Park, and you add about 100,000. Again, like CC County, many others within the county might prefer the A's over the Giants. There are a lot of gray-area people that would support a Fremont team or a Sacramento team, cities like Tracy, Stockton, Modesto, etc.

Then factor in the huge corporate base, companies like IBM, HP, Cisco, Sun, Oracle, Apple. And include into that non-high-tech companies headquareded in Southern Alameda County... Safeway, Mervyns, Ross. And don't forget the host of biotech companies headquared in Fremont. Most of these companies are likely to buy boxes. And why would Cisco want to showcase it's technology in Sacramento when it can do so in its own back yard? Again, the reason this whole plan is coming to fruition is because Cisco controls the Pacific Commons land.

In addition, any ballpark these days would need to be built without public funding, which is where the condos and shopping come in. I dare say that condos in Fremont will fetch a lot more than condos in Sacramento.

One other thing to chew on... if the A's were to leave the Bay Area, what makes you think they'd go to Sacramento? Sac would have compete with Portland and a host of other cities around the country.

Yes, you are entitled to your opinion, I've never begrudged you that. I'm not saying that Sacramento would never work, or even that it wouldn't work now for a ball club. It just doesn't fit into Wolff's vision.

Anonymous said...

For anyone to state in 10 years why did the A's move to Fremont vs Santa Clara Co., just doesn't understand the anti-trust exempt power that MLB holds over its franchises. Southern Alameda Co. is the perfect location "within the rules" of MLB and does also allow the A's to forge their identity with Silicon Valley. The transportation issues are not beyond feasibility given the experience of all those involved. While Mr. Wolff would prefer to be in downtown San Jose, by no means implies he's willing to to test MLB establishment. The big loser is McGowan who could have received large concessions from the A's by allowing a move to Santa Clara Co. but will now receive nothing. The irony is that it was Mr. Haas generosity that allowed the Giants to consider the feasibility of franchise relocation when their team was on the verge of moving to Tampa/St. Pete, FL. Gerard

Antonio said...

Walter Haas let the Giants have Santa Clara County so they could move to a site pretty much near where the 49'ers want to build now.

As far as Haas saw it, the A's would have SF, Oakland, and the East Bay to himself.

But why am I wasting my breath? Most of the people who post here are going to believe whatever they want anyway.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I guess we are living in the 20th century. Let's drive in our SUV's and who cares if gas is $3 or higher in the future when this is built. Let's clog up the freeways some more just like Anaheim. It doesn't matter that there is no stinking Bart station at Pacific Commons!!!! That is genius Mr. Wolff.

Jeff P. said...

This whole BART element is being completely overblown. I would venture to say that the majority of parks in the U.S. are not serviced by mass transit. Most of them do just fine. It is definately a convienience, and not something to be dismissed out of hand...but essential? No.

One thing I think some people are overlooking is their percieved notiions of what Fremont is in the here and now. Wolfe may well be looking at what Fremont will be in 5, 10, or even 20 years. It could well be that Wolfe will be remembered as a stunning visionary for relocating his team in one of the last urban areas with available land in the Bay area.

As for who would buy homes in a Fremont village ballpark, ask yourself if you would want one if you were in the position of buying one. I know I would. I like the idea of raising my kids in a semi out of the way place with much of the ammeneties offered in the "city". It is a much more appealing place to raise a family. Schools, crime rates, and general ambience would seem to give Fremont a significant edge. By the way ML, what's the projected cost of one of these condo's?

I agree JHRB, it would be a riot to watch Al's reaction to the 49's and the A's entering a collaborative agreement! That alone would be worth the price of admission!

baycommuter said...

hey, ml, I publicly support it, but I'm just a lowly A's blogger for the Chronicle/SFGate's A's Drumbeat, not a sports columnist. -- Vlae Kershner

drummer510 said...

The BART issue is over blown?!?!?! Do you know how important public transportation is to a baseball. First of all it great for the environment, and it allows people not have to deal with the commute. Part of the gammeday experience is taking a train or bus to a game with other fans.

BART is especially great for younger fans. I used to always go to weekday games with my friends in middle school and high school. We would always take BART because none of us had cars and our parents worked.

BART rides were the hella fun. Capital Corridor is ok, but is pricey and they are always offschedule.

Plus why are people ok, with an Anaheim style situation. That stadium is boring as shit, and their fair weather fans enjoy sitting in traffic as much as they love being souless and superficial.

This is a quick and very cheap solution that bypasses longterm goals, of keeping the team in the Bay Area for more than 40 yrs.

I imagine that the new stadium and area surrounding it will be very similar to Emeryville, with it's Emery Bay mall. Very suburban and fake. People wil love it for a short time, but as that commercial development idea gets old and worn out, the team will have to find a new cheap plan.

The A's need an urban stadium; suburban ones don't last. Petco, Pacbell, Camden, and all the other new breed urban parks are timeless. WHY ARE ALL YOU PEOPLE SETTLING FOR A CHEAP SHORT-TERM SOLUTION?

Transportation is one of the many problems with this plan. Bunch of bullshit.

Marine Layer said...

If anything, the trend of urban retro ballparks has resulted in a bunch of copycats.

All commercial developments have a lifespan. Indoor suburban malls were all the rage 30 years ago but no one builds them anymore. Many downtowns were built in the 40's and 50's but went to pot in the 70's and 80's. Oakland's and San Jose's downtowns continue to struggle after two decades and millions of dollars worth of redevelopment.

I don't get where the "quick and cheap" comment comes from. By my calculations developers will be pumping well over $1 billion into Fremont to build the ballpark and village. It may be quick but it certainly won't be cheap. There's a ton of financial risk, so they better make sure it pays off.

jrbh said...

I couldn't agree with Marine Layer more about the copycat "retro" ballparks with the faux brick, the faux dimensions within which Bud Harrelson could hit 30 HRs, the luxury box terraces putting the upper decks in Timbuktu, all of it. They're versions of that hideous thing in Arlington for which we have a certain politician to blame. (And yes, I know they're really versions of Camden Yards, but Arlington was right after that, and the worst of all of them.)

(I would except Seattle's ballpark, which is just plain charming, and the Giants' park, and Pittsburgh's. The rest can take a flying leap.)

One of the things I'm going to hate the most about the new ballpark -- I won't hate it that much, because I'll never go to a game there -- is that sure as I'm writing here now, they'll make it a brutal hitter's park, and none of the A's team records will mean anything after that.

Jeff P said...

A brutal hitters park? You mean like the one in NY where some guy named Ruth used to pull the ball less that 300 feet down the line? All records have to be considered within the context in which they were set. I wouldn't worry about the A's franchise records to much.

It's unfortunate that you have closed your mind to any possibility of the park in Fremont being a smashing success. Why let bitterness cloud your judgement before the first pitch is ever thrown? Who knows, it may well turn out to benifit everyone involved, including the city of Oakland.

As for BART, I have ridden it many times to games. But to be honest with you, most of the time I prefer to drive to the game and park. It is actually a cheaper option to pay for parking when all the kids are with me. An odd fact for you....with a little planning, I am usually able to exit the parking lot and make the freeway long before I could hope to walk to the BART station and ride the train. I like the system, but it's not the panacea so many have made it out to be. Again, most parks get by just fine without mass transit.

bartleby66 said...

The BART issue IS overblown. 15-20% of fans take BART to any given game, meaning the overwhelming majority currently drive. There will be transit options at the new park. Traffic will be mitigated by the dramatically smaller size of the park. None of the anti-Fremont folks ever respond to these inconvenient facts. Let's have some perspective: BART is not a trivial factor, but it's not "oh my god it's the end of the world the glaciers will melt and A's go bankrupt without it" either.

Why would most of us be OK with an Anaheim-like situation? First, because we believe a new A's ballpark, designed from the ground up specifically for baseball and combined with its own entertainment district, will be significantly better than the Anaheim ballpark. Second, because even if it wasn't, the Anaheim ballpark is still light years better than the Coliseum.

Let's face facts: The A's do not have an urban ballpark NOW. Not in a meaningful sense, the way that makes Petco/Wrigley/AT&T etc. special. In fact, the Coliseum has the worst of both worlds: an isolated location in an ocean of parking lots with no restaurants or bars nearby like a suburban site plus the ugliness and crime one can only find in an urban industrial neighborhood. The real question isn't why would someone accept an Anaheim-like situation, but why, knowing that a downtown ballpark is currently a non-starter, would anyone prefer to perpetuate the current situation?

I'd like to see one example for the proposition that suburban ballparks don't last. I can't think of any which have failed, certainly not in a business sense. Anaheim's not a great example of aesthetics because its a refurbed multi-use stadium (although it's actually not terrible), but Kansas City, Los Angeles, and Texas are generally regarded as classics in their own right.

Look, I'd prefer a downtown location as well, but if that can't happen Fremont is way better than the current location. Stadia and ballparks seem to have about a 40-50 year lifespan, on average. By then, the A's will be pretty well established in the South Bay, diminishing some of the forces currently working against them. Maybe a downtown SJ park will become feasible by the next go-round.

Anonymous said...

They're not going to build a hitters park dumbass. Beane is one of the brightest guys in the game and a part owner of the team.

If Bonds doesn't re-sign with the Giants you may be able to get some good Giants tickets.

Bleacher Dave said...

Of course, they're gonna build a hitters park. Scoring sells tickets to the casual fan. When Cisco brings clients to their suite, ya think they're gonna wanna see a slugfest or a pitches duel? The sightlines everyone seems to focus on require the removal of that huge foul territory that makes A's games unique.

The sighline discussion reminds me of the discussion of high-end audio or video specs; differences in technical superiority so slight that only the most astute audio/video-philes, and their equipment, notice them.

Anonymous said...

SF is a pitchers park. Attendance seems pretty good.

Anonymous said...

The new ballparks in San Diego and Seattle are also pitchers parks.

Marine Layer said...

Field dimensions are where the business side meets the baseball side. I think they'll split the difference by having reduced foul territory but large fair dimensions.

The new West Coast ballparks aren't pitcher-oriented just because of dimensions. It's the heavy, moist, cool air coming off the Pacific. They call it the "marine layer" or something.

Fremont's placement on the bay will make it nearly as prone albeit less windy.

Anonymous said...

It's the dimensions and the weather (especially at night). The Coliseum used to be a pitchers park until Mt. Davis and now it's neutral. The new ball park at Detroit is also a pitchers park

ML, for night games at the Fremont location, will fans be bundled up in jackets and sweaters a la the Coliseum and ATT/SBC

Anonymous said...

I don't know about you guys, but when Wolff said Fremont A's or Silicon Valley A's, those names sound ridiculous. Fremont A's is weak compared to the OAKLAND A's.

Anonymous said...

That's why it will be the San Jose A's.

Marine Layer said...

Fremont's night temperatures are in between what you'd get in Oakland and San Jose. It should be a little more comfortable, maybe 5-7 degrees on average.