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21 January 2008

Grand plans abound

When Ray Ratto's Sunday column was published, I had only one immediate response posted at AN. It was short and at the time, I felt it was sufficient. Since then there have been numerous comments here I'll address it further.

There's nothing wrong with having contingencies. While Fremont appears to be moving along now that the process has gotten underway in earnest, one can't always see all of the things that could derail a project. So it doesn't hurt to continue to have an understanding of the Bay Area and even markets outside the Bay Area if Fremont doesn't come to fruition.

My confusion over Ratto's column comes from the highly convoluted machinations that would have to occur for it to even be feasible. Consider what would have to happen:
  1. Fremont plan would have to fail either by city council action or applicant withdrawal. Earliest time for that to happen would be a year from now - January 2009.
  2. Santa Clara (city, not county as Ratto suggests) 49ers stadium plan would also have to fail. We'll know this in November of this year. Don't forget that the Niners have threatened to take their headquarters with them wherever they go.
  3. Bud Selig would have to seek out punitive measures against the Giants. Ratto suggests conceding Santa Clara County territorial rights. That action would have to be taken by the owners during the next owner's meetings following points #1 and #2 above. This is despite the fact that the Mitchell Report recommends against punitive actions for "the past." ETA: Who knows?
  4. Santa Clara would try to pick up the pieces and negotiate with the A's on some land deal, which may or may not include the hotel tax pledged by area hotels. Santa Clara has in the past felt burned by former A's owner Steve Schott when news reports circulated that he was considering selling to Mandalay Sports Entertainment. That news irritated then-mayor Judy Nadler and others, who felt that Schott was not on the level. This effectively ended future talks. To get Santa Clara on board again, the city would have to set aside any residual bad feelings and be willing to slog through another political war - and another vote - to get any kind of ballpark deal in place. ETA: At least 18-24 months after #1 and #2.
  5. If San Jose were to be involved in any manner, they would have the Diridon South site and its EIR to fall back on. But that would means potentially being in a bidding war with Santa Clara. What would happen if either city required county support? Who would get it and why?
Not to be forgotten in all of this is money. No other sites could be considered unless some financing scheme were in place. Don't think that A's ownership is going to suddenly become magnanimous and offer to pay for the bulk of a ballpark out of their pockets just because it's in San Jose or Santa Clara. Some public or private financing method would have to be identified, and if it's the typical methods we normally see, it's going to be an uphill battle to say the least. The housing crisis has rendered the A's ballpark village financing plan not particularly portable, meaning it wouldn't work in Las Vegas or Sacramento. Portland - maybe if there's a sufficiently large enough piece of land to do so.

I could start to believe the above twists and turns if they didn't so thoroughly violate Lew Wolff's prevalent m.o., which is to take the path of least resistance. At Fremont he has the site, the financing method, and he's gathering the necessary political will. Just about everywhere else he's going to require public votes, massive changes to the financing, or something else that will draw out the process considerably. Lew's joked about getting this done before he dies, and his references to his own mortality are borderline creepy. However, I sense there is an element of truth to it. It may be as strong a motivator as any other factor.
The Giants have their own plans for the parking lot across McCovey Cove from AT&T Park. Their plans would allow for a similar amount of parking from the lot as they have currently, while introducing additional shopping and entertainment options. They've even teamed up with Cordish, a development firm working on the St. Louis ballpark village concept. The anchor for the plan would be a 4-5,000-seat concert hall. The closest similarly-sized venues are the outmoded Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, the outdoor Greek Theater on the UC Berkeley campus, and the SJSU Event Center. That is, of course, unless others come up with their own plans for such a venue, such as Santa Clara County or even the 49ers. The Giants will be openly bidding against many other developers, who may have different designs for the Port-controlled parcel known as Lot A. If it's working for the Red Sox and it just might work for the A's, more power to the Giants if they can pull it off.

24 comments:

Georob said...

BTW, what's this nonsense about the Sharks wanting to play an all-road schedule? Is that a joke?

If it's not, that doesn't bode too well for the "City That Knows How"

Marine Layer said...

That is a joke. Through the first couple of months the Sharks had an excellent road record but an horrific home record. Now it's starting to even out to the point of the team doing poorly either home or away.

anthony dominguez said...

Rob,
HP Pavilion is sold out for every home Sharks game (can't knock us there). Before I continue, let me get this out of the way (again); when Cisco Field in Fremont comes to fruition, it will be a great day for this A's fan and the South Bay. Now, R.M., can we agree to disagree...I respectfully disagree with your post. Remember your "4400-a magic number (4/8/07)." You theorized that the Edenvale/IStar rezoning would help pay for Cisco Field. You mean to tell me that it somehow can't help finance a hypothetical DSJ ballpark, or that the Pac Commons development (minus CF) couldn't help? And despite what many think, Fremont officials haven't stated they wouldn't approve a development at PC if it didn't have a ballpark. Heck, Lew Wolff once made the comment way back that entitlements to land in Dublin could help pay for an Oakland ballpark (now that was way back). In short, the land/financing mechanism doesn't necessarily have to be next to the ballpark (it looks like it doesn't even have to be in the same county). Also, a PRIVATELY FINANCED ballpark in SJ wouldn't require a public vote; just like one won't be required for Fremont. lastly, Santa Clara in a hypothetical bidding war with SJ? Tom McEnery, enough said. See you all at Pac Commons, Fremont!

Marine Layer said...

I thought then that the South SJ project may be necessary to help pay for Cisco Field. I can't substantiate it but it's possible. How could something considered supplemental suddenly turn into the centerpiece for funding of a San Jose ballpark? The cost is still going to be the same if not more. They'll have to identify additional sources, and housing sales in Fremont won't be a source. It all has to add up in the end.

Jeffrey said...

ray ratto and colon just prior to being emptied are exactly the same. As crude as that sounds.

anthony dominguez said...

Jeffrey,
It's more like "anyone who disagrees with or puts doubt on the Fremont plan" and colon just prior to being emptied are exactly the same.

The "centerpiece for funding" for a hypothetical DSJ ballpark would have been the Diridon/Arena Red. District (high-rise residential, shops, class A office); Edenvale/FMC/Pac Commons supplemental (I think you knew this already).

R.M., someone over at AN asked an excellent question that I don't think I've ever heard the answer to. Why are the two-team markets of NY, LA, and Chicago shared territories, while the Bay Area is divided 6-2 in favor of the Giants? Even with the A's setting up shop in Fremont, this has never made sense to me (or others).

Jeffrey said...

Anthony,
Not actually. Ray Ratto spouts opinion that is rarely based on evidence. My favorite of all time was after the Hudson and Mulder trades when he projected a 100 loss season fro the A's. He is not all that sophisticated in his opines. He uses fancy words and all. His sardonic wit is unparalleled.

But his fact checking is really lacking. It is not just this Fremont piece that suffers from this.

There are plenty of hurdles to overcome in Fremont, but speculating about a punishment for the Giants does not create new hurdles. San Jsoe is off the table and has been for a long time (since 1989 or 1992 to be exact).

Marine Layer said...

Come on, Tony, you know that use of the Diridon/Arena area was entirely speculative. We had no real sense how much could be built on it and how quickly it could happen. And I have doubts over whether it's large enough to be the centerpiece of financing for this development model. Besides, if they repurposed proceeds from the Edenvale property where would that leave the soccer stadium? Can't change midstream like that. Someone might accuse Wolff of a bait-and-switch.

Georob said...

Tony, I think you know full well the hows and whys of territorial rights and that your "golly gee whiz, I don't understand" question is just designed to further frame the whole thing as unfair.

Well, guess what? I agree that it's unfair. But this is an internal MLB policy, not a state law or consitutional amendment. MLB can do whatever it wants because it's a private entity protected by an anti-trust exemption. Period, end of story.

Like I've said, San Jose is not entitled to a damn thing, and if they want baseball, you and Mark Purdy and Mayor Tom and God knows who else need to negotiate with Bud Selig and Peter Magowan.

Jeff said...

It sounds to me Anthony, like you're trying to build a base of support here for a San Jose baseball team, or at least a San Jose identity for a South Bay team.

Nothing wrong with that my friend, and if Baseball San Jose was still around, I'd recommend you go there. Instead, you might consider starting your own blog for that very purpose.

Just a thought....

anthony dominguez said...

Jeff,
Nope. It's simply called expressing hope. As I've stated before, I'm an A's fan and a fan of my city (particularly the revitilization of downtown San Jose). Until Cisco Field breaks ground, it is my personal belief that anything is possible in regards to downtown San Jose finally getting Major League Baseball. When construction begins for Cisco Field in Fremont, I will happily admitt I was wrong all along and celebrate the groundbreaking with everyone else. Not trying to build a support base or anything else (as R.M. knows, I was a frequent poster at Baseball San Jose...RIP). Just simply harboring, and expressing at times, hope...that's it.

Jeffrey said...

There is something admirable about hope in the face of eternal darkness. Keep hope alive Tony. If ground breaks in San Jose, I will celebrate with you.

Although I think Fremont is going to happen.

Anonymous said...

I remember how smug the guys were on the baseball sj website ... what a joke!

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain to me what territorial rights mean to a team. I know that territorial rights will not allow the A's to move to San Jose, but what else does it do?

-Jesse

anthony dominguez said...

R.M.,
I'll give it a shot to Jesse's question. Territorial Rights are in place to protect a given team's market and fanbase from another team. i.e. the Colorado Rockies probably have the entire state of Colorado as their defined territory; their rights prohibit another MLB team from setting up shop in Denver or anywhere else in the state. Some markets, such as LA, NY and Chicago, have shared territories. The Bay Area, and I believe Baltimore/Washington, are split. In short, the idea is to keep other MLB teams as far away as possible; to protect their fanbase, corporate base and revenue stream.

bartleby said...

To further respond to Jesse's question: T-rights prevent the A's from putting a stadium in Santa Clara county. That's it. They do not prevent the A's from calling themselves the "San Jose A's" or otherwise marketing themselves into Santa Clara county.

Jesse said...

Well Cisco is a San Jose based company and they are in the heart of Giants territory, why re the A's allowed to do business with them? Is that a violation of Territory rights?

FC said...

I think TR prevents a team from doing business in another's territory. Thus, no ballpark or retail stores.

anthony dominguez said...

A simple answer to your question at 9:26 Jesse...no. Pacific Commons/Fremont is located roughly 4 miles north of SJ city limits/SCCo. line. Build Cisco Field a mere 5 miles south of Pac Commons, and you would have a violation of the Giants territorial rights (Your "Milpitas A's?"). As Bartleby stated, all the T Rights do at this point is prevent the A's from building a ballpark in downtown San Jose/SCCo.. The rights were once touted by Peter Magowan as the protector of his "corporate sponsorships and fanbase" in Silicon Valley, as if AT&T Park were located in San Jose. But with the reality of Cisco Field/Pacific Commons, those reasons no longer hold water.

anthony dominguez said...

FC,
The A's could set up retail shops at Valley Fair, Oakridge or Eastridge Malls if they pleased; territorial rights would not prohibit the A's from marketing in Santa Clara County. The A's (and Earthquakes) recently had a shop set up at the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose. They could also conduct business with any company located in Silicon Valley (as the Cisco deal proved).

Jesse said...

Well that makes this whole process of territory rights as they relate to the A's and Giants seem stupid.

Georob said...

Well, having Tony explain territorial rights is like watching Fox News trying to objectively cover the Democratic primaries. (Or Air America covering the GOP)

Again, TR's are an INTERNAL MLB policy, and because of baseball's anti trust exemption, they can pretty much do anything they want.

A little over simplistic to be sure, but no more than what we get from Mr. "Eternal Hope".

FC said...

Tony

You're right about the store in the Fairmont. I never thought there was a problem with having a relationship with a company in another territory. Otherwise it would have been very difficult to find sponsorship.

anthony dominguez said...

Rob,
Read Jesse's question again on 1/23/08 at 7:32. He didn't ask about MLB policy, the anti-trust exemption or the workings of MLB's constitution. I was right on with my simple answer to his question; thus, now someone else understands the absurdity of the Giants territorial rights. Again, a simple question = a simplistic answer...enough said.