13 February 2008

Anything new? Not really

Between commercials on the Ronn Owens Show (archive), the banter between host and guest and the Q&A bits with callers felt like a simple PR exercise, something of a Hey! We're still alive and working! session. There were nearly as many calls from fans wanting answers about the offseason personnel moves as there were about the ballpark.

As expected, Owens didn't challenge Wolff much, preferring to follow up when callers gave their questions. One caller in particular asked Wolff why the A's would leave Oakland for Fremont if they were clearly getting a better stadium deal in Oakland. Wolff replied that the team would in fact be getting a better deal in Fremont because, as stated here previously, the revenue from the ballpark village would help pay for the ballpark. I don't understand why the detractors continue to have difficulty comprehending this.

A few San Jose-based callers chimed in. One was so bold as to suggest that Wolff pull an Al Davis and simply move the team to San Jose, territorial rights and MLB be damned. Of course, we've seen what happened when Steve Schott tried to do that exact thing - it didn't end in success. The issue of MLB's antitrust exemption came up, and when Owens challenged Wolff to explain what it was, Wolff demurred.

Other "highlights":
  • Wolff said that the development team and city officials are in talks everyday regarding the traffic management plan, which is part of the EIR. When asked by a caller about a BART solution, he surprisingly didn't mention yesterday's good news regarding the Warm Springs extension. Instead he gave the same pat answer as he's done previously.
  • Owens asked Wolff if the residential portion would be a gated community. He said it would not. The initial conceptual drawings seem to confirm this.
  • Wolff showed Owens a new concept noisemaker that looks like a baseball and when opened, sounds (and looks) like a trumpeting elephant. Owens commented that it wasn't annoying enough. I sense a jump-the-shark moment for noisemakers...
  • The name issue is still up in the air, and Wolff again suggested that financing may help decide the name. While I certainly don't think it will mean a corporate-named team (AFAIK this is not allowed under the ML Constitution) there's still a great possibility of "Silicon Valley" or "San Jose" due to Valley powers throwing their support behind the project.
  • Speaking of San Jose, Wolff said the city is encouraging the Quakes to move forward with the FMC site. The Quakes are back this season, with SCU's Buck Shaw Stadium serving as their main temporary home. The Quakes will also play thrice at McAfee Coliseum during the 2008 season.
In hindsight, maybe they should have rescheduled so that it wouldn't run opposite the Clemens hearings, which were fantastic theater if nothing else.