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27 March 2007

Glenn Dickey's Examiner Column

So what we have here is your garden variety shoot first, ask questions later piece from a well-respected, longtime sports columnist. It does little to inform fans about the process, and frankly does a disservice to its readers. But what do I know? I'm a mere blogger.

Dickey takes a little swipe at Fremont for being "not really a city but a collection of small towns," and attributes that characteristic to the lack of progress in extending BART south. Followers of the WSX and BART-to-SV extensions know that Fremont's size has little to do with it. Both projects were packaged contingent upon funding happening in Santa Clara County. No one city has sufficient enough clout to extend BART, not San Francisco, Oakland, Antioch, Livermore, Fremont, or San Jose.

Then Dickey starts with the "bait-and-switch" possibility:

A’s managing partner Lew Wolff had made proximity to a BART line a condition for a new site in Oakland. When he announced his preferred Oakland site, across 66th Avenue from the Coliseum, he insisted that a new BART station must be built there.

Now, the official word from the A’s is that a BART station nearby is not a requirement for the new site.

What’s going on here?

It's simple. The BART station condition was based on the idea that the ballpark would be in Oakland. Last time I checked, Fremont was not within Oakland city limits. As the stadium site moves south, it draws different demographics. Since much of the new demographic is going to be South Bay residents who don't have the privilege of a having a nearby BART station, BART obviously won't be a requirement for them. It's the South Bay contingent that's expected to make up for much of the lost BART-based fans.

Let's take a look at Dickey's primary argument:

Never forget that Wolff has made his money in real estate. His projects have included much of what has been built in downtown San Jose.

The projected baseball park in Fremont would be part of a much larger real estate project, including retail and housing. To build that, Wolff needs to get zoning changes. The lure of a new park will certainly be enough to get those changes.

I believe that, having got the zoning changes and started his real estate project, Wolff will then announce that it really isn’t feasible to build a new park there.

And then, the bidding will begin from cities eager to get the A’s.

I'll keep bringing this up until I'm blue in the face: Fremont's control of the zoning is their leverage. Why on earth would they approve the land development deal without the ballpark? They're not interested in changing the city's charter and adding residents without new revenue streams to go with it. Fremont's angle is keeping the entertainment dollar in the city. Accepting separate plans for the housing and ballpark village kills their leverage. The entire project has to be submitted with all parts included, otherwise environmental and economic impact studies can't be done properly. In the end Fremont has to certify the studies associated with the project to let it proceed. If it doesn't, Wolff is stuck with a bunch of land in South Fremont that isn't appreciating much.

If Wolff wanted to play the normal stadium extortion game, he'd have done what the Marlins have foolishly done in Miami, destroying all goodwill with the community even after two World Series titles in a decade. Or easier yet, he'd have simply announced the A's were going to move to Vegas while mayor Oscar Goodman still was interested and not jaded from being used by other teams' owners and Bud Selig. Portland had a better chance to be in play when Wolff first took over the team. San Antonio has felt the sting as much as Las Vegas. It's only getting more expensive to build a ballpark anywhere with each passing year. And Wolff's not getting any younger.

What about the Cisco angle? Why would Cisco sign its name so early to a plan that could become a PR nightmare if Wolff decides to pull a bait-and-switch job? Cisco could have easily waited until the A's moved, began construction, and started taking bids for naming rights. That would've been pain-free. Instead, Cisco is a partner in this venture, and not just because the ballpark would be a tech showcase. Cisco wants to be cool like Valley cohorts Google and Apple, and it won't get there backing something that isn't substantive.

Still not convinced? Wolff submitted the Quakes/SJSU stadium proposal last week, and guess what - it looks similar in some ways to the Cisco Field concept. The financing plan involves rezoning of industrial land and turning profits from home development into funding for the stadium. Now if Wolff had the Giants' territorial rights over turned it's likely he'd have used the same rezoning plan as part of a downtown San Jose ballpark project. Since territorial rights aren't getting changed anytime soon, it makes more sense to use try to pitch it for the Quakes' stadium effort.

Sadly, there'll be conspiracy theorists who'll continue to shake their fists until the first fan walks through a Cisco Field turnstile. I can't blame Wolff for not worrying about convincing them. There's little he can do about it other than build the ballpark. Even then, many of them won't come.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

A simple yes or no question...has Lew Wolff actually purchased the land that Cisco currently controls at Pacific Commons? Also, why does he need so much damn land at Pacific Commons in the first place? A 13-14 acre ballpark, some high-rise condos ala the Busch Stadium ballpark village...AND 100+ ACRES OF PARKING?! They may be wrong, but it's easy to see why there are so many cynics out there.

vcqudl said...

While Wolf can't be credited with "destroying all goodwill with the community," surely you must admit he has destroyed some? Or else where would these "conspiracy theorists" come from?

If we are discussing this as business, it's all about the CUSTOMER. When you have pissed off a sizeable number of customers, are you really going to blame them? Particularly when you had a CUSTOMER SHORTAGE to begin?

Could Wolf have handled this transition in a fashion whereby he did not turn many of his MODEL CUSTOMERS - those who increased attendance by the best possible means, active participation and word-of-mouth - into ANTI-CUSTOMERS? Where there's more frustration regarding the plans for their field than the product which steps onto the grass?

I am one to believe that this could have been accomplished. As a dissatisfied customer, I can speak for myself: they blew it. I watch as the fight now becomes customer vs. customer. Any sense of unity is undone.

I see idiocy - not conspiracy - at the base of this matter. I'm glad Bill King did not have to witness the effects of Wolf's strategy which has introduced division into a community where there once was none.

Zonis said...

I think the land situation is, if I am correct in interperating what has happened thus far, is that the A's do not technically own the land yet, but the deal is in place and the only thing they are waiting for is the submission to the City of Fremont for the plans to build the stadium and village. But the A's website says that the land is already purchased.

I am not sure that Wolff is planning on building highrises. But it is a good question to ask: what kind of housing is Wolff building? Is he building Condos? Is he building actual houses? Duplexes? Complexes? Will it be a bunch of comercial space with condos/appartments above them?

Zonis said...

vcqudl, this is America. There will ALWAYS be conspiracy theorists. There will always be the dissenting voice. Think about it. We have naked people sitting in trees in Berkeley protesting the remodeling of a stadium that will make its seating capacity smaller (making the seating not crampt and uncomfortable, and adding a few classrooms), all to save a few OAK TREES that were planted after the stadium was built, even though even more trees are to be planted after the renovations!

Personally, I don't see how Wolff could have done anything substantially different.

But seriously, if people are willing to abandon their team just because they move a few miles down the road, and become Giants fans, then good riddance to those fairweather fans.

Marine Layer said...

Again there's a difference between the Oakland (Coliseum North) plan and Fremont. High-rises were the preferred housing mode in Oakland, Fremont's going with townhouses. The stuff in the ballpark village will probably be condos/lofts.

I think that Wolff should've taken the Oakland ballpark committee's help (Dick Spees & Co.) when it was first extended, but even then it would've been mostly for appearances. By the time Wolff got into full swing there were few viable sites left.

Jeffrey said...

How many anti customers have been created again? I have met just one.

I believe the idea that the majority of A's fans have a connection to Oakland is crap. Most A's fans are not from Oakland. They are from the Bay Area and will support the team playng ina new stadium in the Bay Area.

FreeSanJose said...

Just another in the mountain of evidence of why the Chron fired Glenn Dickey -- he's an old man with ill-informed opinion. Amazingly, he still has an audience.

Colbert said...

Marinelayer, are you saying that more cars and freeways are the answer to congestion if there is a new ballpark in Fremont? I think that Wolff should explore public transportation alternatives like BART. He should make it a priority like he did with the Oakland site. Also what do you have to say about the Fremont ballpark going against the Urban Ballpark trend? I don't think Faux downtowns and townhouses are the answer. The Ballpark in Arlington ain't exactly the most happening part of town outside of the ballpark.

Anonymous said...

Glenn is just trying to get people to pay attention to his scribblings these days. He's not a player anymore in the Bay area Sports scene which is frankly unfortunate. He's a good writer.

Having said that, this is just writing for writings sake in hopes that it will stir a reaction.

Anonymous said...

Glenn's hit the nail on the head. Wolff early on in the process stated that ANY new park in the area would need to have convenient access to BART. This is why the site at the coliseum parking lot and the one up the road seemed to fit into his criteria. Now it's not so important in Fremont??? Come on, this will create a traffic nightmare. So you really think that Wolff doesn't need fans fans from the northern east bay to make a go in Fremont and will instead rely on those in the South Bay??? News Flash: the majority of baseball fans in the south bay have ties to the Giants and won't just switch over that easily. And besides the commute from the South Bay over yucky 880 in rush hour will be hell for them as well. This park has zero convenient public access and bucks the trend of putting new parks in urban centers with existing infrastructure in place. If built, this park will be half full after the first season since Fremont is not an attraction for fans to visit and access will be a nightmare that few will want to repeat after their first vist.

Glenn is right ... this thing is a smoke screen.

Diamondlil said...

It goes deeper than that. The A's leaving Oakland is a form of ethnic cleansing masquerading as a business relocation.

Lew Wolff will never say this, but we all know too well that he's trying to get the team as far away from folks of color as he possibly can. Why do other businesses leave Oakland? The same reason of course. White flight is alive and well in the 21st century.

Why else did the A's pass on Ron Washington for manager even though it was obvious that he was the best man for the job. More racist BS if you ask me

Oaklandfans.com

Jeffrey said...

Ethnic cleansing? Because there are no minorities in Fremont.

No large Asian population. No Large Afghan population. No black people. It's pretty much rich white folks.

Wow. What a flippin' joke. No wonder no one takes the OAFC seriously.

Jeffrey said...

Also,

Fremont is not an attraction for certain. Neither is Oakland, in case anybody forgot.

Zonis said...

Yeah, its not like Oakland has a glamorous repuation around the states, or the Bay Area for that matter.

And diamondhill, it sounds like you're pretty racist against whites, asians, and well, any non-black group yourself.

Beresford said...

Well Lil, why don't we just bring back the Negro Leagues and put a team in Oakland

Like the A's, the African American population won't support that team, either!

Anonymous said...

Why don't you ban that shril vindictive B*tch, like she does to anyone who disagrees with her on OAFC??

"Etnic Cleansing"

God, I am absolutely OUTRAGED by that comment. You do such a disservice to the jews/bosnians/ruwandans...the list goes on and on unfortunately who were actually "cleansed" by comparing this to a baseball team.

Lil, I KICKED your ASS using logical arguments, and all you could do was offer namecalling and insults and then prevent me from posting. I never attacked anyone, and I ALWAYS used logic and humor when posting at OAFC.

Remember folks, this is a woman who would rather see the A's leave the region ENTIRELY if they dont remain in Oakland. She has STATED that she would rather have them move to Portland or LasVegas rather than Fremont.


I am so happy to see you here, because I want you to see this. You are a closeminded bigot.

Just because you wanted Ron Washington (as did I) doesnt make him the best choice for the Job. Perhaps, Beane, (another of the people on the huge list of "people Lil Hates") has reasons that he decided not to share with you.

Justpaul

Anonymous said...

BTW, Shril says that she didnt post the above comment.

She did, however find the time to say this on oafc...

"unfortunately, marinelayer is just as full of sh*t as dickey...

all along many here saw that fremont is the stepping stone to wherever selig/wolff can extort the most money from...

dickey should have the cojones to come clean with what he knows (his close friend Sam Spear has been the PR man to Schott and then Wolff)...dor dickey to say wolff didn't get cooperation from oakland landowners "who jiked up the price" of land...the truth is that those landowners were never even approached by the A's and that proposed site was as much a smoke screen as fremont is today...

much too late for dickey to write that article which by now is meaningless and nothing more than a self-promoting piece of garbage"

Lil, it takes one to know one, friend.

Anonymous said...

Excellent rebuttal to Dickey's column. The issues that "didn't add up" involved Cisco's involvement and the city's leverage as aprt of a deal to change the zoning on the west side of 680.
Has Wolff pulled any "bait and switch" tactics thus far? Not exactly. ONe could argue that the stadium proposal north of the Coliseum was one, but actually it was killed more by Oakland politcians and businessmen than Wolff. We all kind of knew that would happen anyway.
Fremont has learned what not to do by simply watching the bumbling of the A's situation in Oakland. They appear to have more comon sense and are headed in the right direction for the stadium to be built. It just can't happen soon enough. Gerard

danguide/reztips said...

It's funny that on OAFC, Fatassed Lil's chief lieutenant, eyeleen--aka "I Scream"--opines that it was me, Dan Spitzer, who wrote the comment attributed to the Great Corpulent One.

No, "I Scream," it wasn't me. But it certainly sounds like the ranting of OAFC queen herself who actually still boasts about burning her professors' books when she was allegedly a student on the Sorbonne (more likely "Sore Buns).

Hey Queen Barth: since you read this, let me ask you if you are still afraid to go to the beach because you believe Green Peace would push you back into the water? ;-)>

Bleacher Dave said...

C'mon people,

Lil may have put it inartfully, but she hit the nail on the head. The perception of Oakland as a Chocolate City has everything to do with their attendance woes.

How many times have I read on this site about all of Oakland's negatives?

This is America. America is fascinated, and simulaneously frightened by, Black folk and Black culture.

Anonymous said...

Please, BD,

Shril is a meanspirited vindictive person who can NOT tolerate views which differ from her own.

She bans people from her website even when the posts are not attacking, but logical and humourous. If you dont think thats the case, go back and look at all of my (justpaul) posts and you will see that she got an ass kicking with regards to the fremont move.

She is a spitefull piece of fecal matter in my mind, as she would rather have the A's out of the state rather than anywhere else in the bay area other than Oakland.

And puleeeez, this is the bay area, not Idaho. We arent gonna stay away from the coliseum because of black folks. shhhhseeeeesh...

Anonymous said...

Predictibly, of course, Shril is blaming Marine Layer for this, accusing him of perpetuating all of this undeserved lilbashing...LMAO, you brought it on yourself, luv.

Marine Layer said...

The trouble with comments is that their signal-to-noise ratio is rather poor. I don't quite understand how comments can be equated with the posts I create. I've made over 400 posts since I started this blog and there have been thousands more comments following up the posts.

I have no ability to tell if either diamondlil or danguide are the genuine article and have no desire to investigate. Anonymous comments carry no signature, IP, or other info. I generally moderate to limit the gratuitous flamewars, but the number of rejected comments is probably less than 20.

I've been accused of working for Fremont, Scott Haggerty, Lew Wolff, and San Jose. Today I was accused of making fake comments to pass off as debate or for some other nefarious reason. To those who think that I can only shake my head. I don't have the time or interest in playing any mindgames with anyone whether I agree with them or not. Every post and comment I make is logged in as me. I don't have any interest in fake dramatics to drive traffic to my site - there are no ads to drive revenue. My mission remains as it always has: to provide information and insight to A's fans. If people choose to believe I am part of some grand plan, that's more reflective of them than anything else.

Georob said...

Whether or not it was Diamond Lil who made the post, she certainly took the time on her site to respond and didn't exactly refute that point of view. Interesting since she claims to not pay attention to you or this site, ML.

Brenda Peyton of the Tribune may have said it best years ago: "Everything in Oakland has to do with race". As someone who grew up in Richmond I can sympathize with those who feel that the city has been disrespected, spat on, and ignored; even though I'm white.

But there comes a point where you have to move on and take responsibility for yourselves; a point of view that's been espoused by folks like Bill Cosby and Jesse Jackson. I guess it's easier to play the victim, a role that even whites do very well themselves.

I've said this over and over: Most VOTING residents of Oakland(many of whom are poor African Americans) are more concerned about jobs, crime, and schools than keeping the A's; especilally after the whole Raider mess. Is that reflected in how city officials tried to keep the team? You bet it is!

But people like Diamondlil, JRBH, Bleacher Dave, and the like refuse to see this. Perhaps it's more exciting to fantasize about a vast conspiracy to once again screw "DA TOWN"

Bleacher Dave said...

Some folk most certainly do stay away from Oakland because of Black folk. Ask georob, even he acknowledges it.

But, I'll go you one step further georob: Everything in America has something to do with race. It is as an inextricable part of our thoughts, attitudes, and perceptions as wealth, class, education, gender or any other attribute that colors our interaction with the world.

Jeffrey said...

Now that race is out in the open... let's talk religion!!!!

Seriously, any one who stays away from Oakland because there is black folk is missing an excelelnt zoo, a cool water front and a downtown area that isn't over run by tourists.

I see that as my gain and their loss.

anon-a-mouse said...

georob wrote:
"I can sympathize with those who feel that the city has been disrespected, spat on, and ignored..."

You know, I used to sympathize with Oaklanders like that also because I like Oakland and always felt it got a bum rap. But then I watched these hypocrites line up around the block to take shots at Fremont, which is probably our best chance to keep them local. Now I just say F 'em.

Anonymous said...

You don't have to apologize for anything ML as I see it. You provide a great blog about what's happening with the A's new stadium. My impression is you favor the Fremont stadium location. You don't have to apologize for that either. You put up articles and media writings about those who are for and against it. You let people pretty much write what they want. Again, you do a good service for those of us interested in the A's stadium (like me). Being I live in Warm Springs, I have a more vested interest than many. While I have posted quite a few times and read this site often, I haven't registered due to pure laziness. But my advice is don't get caught up in any of the negative bull being tried by those who are BEYOND irrational about keeping the A's in Oakland. The tactic is simple for them, throw anything argument against the wall, no matter how caustic or stupid, and hope it sticks. Let me note this differs from some who just don't like the idea of the A's in Fremont for varying reasons (history with Oakland, public transit for instance). They have a point of view about it and it is worthy of discussion. To the idiots, don't even get caught up in it.

Going into the discussion about "being in the city" and "had to be by BART" and other items mentioned in some posts, three points I would make. First, even if Wolff had said BART is an absolute must, he is free to change his mind on any deal that he thinks has better upside even without BART. You know why? Cause he owns the damn team and it his choice to do the deal that he thinks best serves the A's. If he is wrong he will pay a steep price. Second, the whole stadium has to be in an urban center. I think in some areas it may be true. In the Bay AREA, the whole bay from SF south to SJ to Oakland is clogged with people. The Fremont location is short distance from SJ and Oakland and resides in a town of 200,000 plus residents. Anyone who thinks the A's being in Fremont doesn't have tons of fans to draw from is idiotic. Lastly, and speaking of idiotic, the comment about Fremont (being a resident of it) and race was so pathetic and ignorant, it makes one wonder how someone like that has the brains to maintain an existence. Fremont is very, VERY racially and ethnically diverse. Just drive through it and open your eyes. Case closed on that sadly stupid post.

Bleacher Dave said...

"Now that race is out in the open... let's talk religion!!!!"

Let's! Too often, folk are too uneasy to engage in open dialogue around uncomfortable issues.....

Jeffrey said...

Recovering Episcopalian, and you?

Seriously, I am not uncomfortable talking race, religion or politics. Although, this is a forum about a baseball team looking for a new stadium.

Bleacher Dave said...

nomimal childhood Catholic, saved in the African Methodist Episcopal church (now THAT is a church experience), backsliding born-again evangelical.

Jesus saves! But judge not, lest ye be judged. I love the contradiction in the Bible.

Work OUT your salvation.

Anonymous said...

I have contact Oakland Athletics. I have told them "Do lew Wolff decide not to build Stadium in Fremont. They said they never heard them only build a Stadium in Fremont.

hey have not filed the application to city. They said they might filed 14 day.

They still want them to build Stadium in Fremont.

Dickey's column was fake liar. Do believe. I have contact Lew Wolff for week. He is not on the office.\
If not moving to Fremont, why other newspaper won't announce.

I will say the A's will move to Fremont. They going to call Cisco Field.

Anonymous said...

Once the "Bay Area" educates itself about the city, and starts treating the city of Oakland with some respect, and not as a drive through to San Francisco, then maybe the idea that we're one big happy family would have some merit. Until then, this is nothing more than a part of the fabric of the city of Oakland being forcefully torn away. And, why shouldn't Oakland, and fans with an affinity for the city, fight to keep a piece of this fabric in the city?

This again proves my point. If, as many Fremont supporters like to say, "It's only 20 miles," then why the need to put the ballpark as close to these corporate headquarters as possible? Aren't we "One big happy BAY AREA family?" Can't these corporations support a business located "only 20 miles" up the road?

So, Lew Wolff is afraid a ballpark in Oakland will not be able to attract the Silicon Valley corporate crowd? Oakland has suffered too much at the hands of ignorant Bay Area residents who have no clue about the city other than what the media tells them. Some of these people have a view of "Oakland" as only the crime plagued low income neighborhoods. And now, they want to snatch Oakland's team for the "Bay Area."

Part of the reason that Wolff wants to relocate to Fremont, is to make these ignorant people feel more comfortable in their surroundings. Wolff could contribute to the ongoing renaissance in Oakland. He could help and build up the city with his 500 million dollar infusion of capital. Instead, Wolff decided to give in to his fears, and the fears of some of his customers, and once again, perpetuate the kind of thinking and planning which has harmed Oakland for years.

Wolff decided to tear away one more piece of Oakland's fabric in order to give in to the unfounded fears of many of Oakland's good "Bay Area" neighbors. The "Bay Area" indeed!

Anonymous said...

Huh??

Back to oaklandans.com for you.

anon-a-mouse said...

Wow. Just wow.

I have to hand it to MarineLayer. He patiently and methodically tries to engage these people in a reasoned discussion. I don't have the patience. At best, I can just shake my head and say nothing. At worst, it's a flame fest. So cheers to you ML. You're a better man than I.

Anonymous said...

While I don't agree with Marinelayer regarding the relocation to Fremont, I respect his knowledge about the city of Oakland. Marinelayer is not one of the uninformed. It's unfortunate that more people don't take the time to get to know a major city in the region.

Georob said...

ML, it may be time to limit posting to those who have Google/Blogger accounts. I believe you can do that. I mean, they're free and in the long run will promote both responsibility as well as accountability.

Certainly there's a freedom and spontenaity in anonymous comments, but as has been said before, even an identified user can be practically anyone.

anon-a-mouse said...

I agree anon 8:52. Oakland's a great town and if some miss out on that for whatever personal reasons, it's their loss. But I've found that many Oaklanders suffer from the very same attitude while decrying those who exhibit it against Oakland. No matter who's doing it, I'll never understand people willfully missing out on everything the region has to offer because something is located within a certain administrative boundry.

Anonymous said...

Historically Oakland has been disrespected and look down on by the region. Oakland and Oaklanders have never disrespected the region. When it's something positive happening in Oakland the region likes to co-opt it for the "Bay Area." For example, the All Star game never came to Oakland, it came to the "Bay Area." Senator Obama never came to Oakland he comes to the "Bay Area." Even Oakland neighborhoods like Rockridge and Montclair were rate by a certain magazine as "two great San Francisco neighborhoods."

Unfortunately, the only thing the "Bay Area" let's "Oakland" keep as its own is the crime rate. The "Bay Area" has always distanced itself from Oakland unless it's something positive they want to take credit for. Until this attitude changes, the "Bay Area" needs to keep its hands off of the Oakland A's.