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14 January 2009

Look South

And so it begins. Two stories, one from the AP and another by MLB.com reporter Barry M. Bloom, start off in familiar territory. Commissioner Selig wants resolution of the Fremont situation, as stated in his December letter, and if Fremont falls through the A's "may begin to discuss a ballpark with other communities."

If this were your standard procedural cop show, Selig would be filling the role of bad cop while Wolff is the good cop. Wolff remains committed to making Fremont work, though opposition on different fronts remains daunting.

Bloom's article goes further, as in further south in Santa Clara County. He broaches the prickly subject that is territorial rights and sheds a bit of light on the process:
Thus, if the A's want to move into Santa Clara County, it would be a decision made by the Commissioner and not by the Giants, who were ceded the rights to Santa Clara County during a ballpark vote there about 20 years ago. The vote failed, but the Giants have maintained those territorial rights ever since.

"What we've done, I think, is open up a door for the A's that's been closed," said Wolff on Wednesday, the first day of this week's two days of owners' meetings here. "My priority really is Fremont. Other communities are all over us now because of this letter, but I'm not listening to them yet. I don't want to start this process all over again."

It would appear rather convenient, then, that San Jose (presumably one of those "other communities") has a completed and certified EIR which makes the process there much less painful than what's transpired so far in Fremont. Wolff is careful not to point blame at Fremont's city council.

Curiously, Bloom's article is headlined "Door opens for A's in Santa Clara." Is that an inference to a ballpark deal being possible in the city of Santa Clara? We don't know yet. Bloom only refers to Santa Clara County, not the city. There are some in Santa Clara who believe that it's possible for both a 49ers stadium and an A's ballpark to fit side-by-side near Great America. Santa Clara has to worry about the Niners' situation first before imposing any new concepts on its citizens. FWIW, I don't think there's enough room for the Niners, A's, and the theme park to operate in the same sandbox. Two of them, yes.

What is Lew going to say at the Chamber breakfast event on February 11? Sometimes I think Lew's playing this like Andy Dufresne at Shawshank, everyday carving out bits of stone wall unbeknownst to the guards and the warden, then distributing them in the prison yard.

26 comments:

Tony D. said...

So R.M.,

After all these "painful" years, is it finally safe to say that the Giants territorial rights to SCCo. no longer act as an impediment to the A's possible looking to San Jose?

It sure appears that's what Wolff is saying in the press. But he sure is careful to paint Fremont as his first priority, with San Jose acting as a fallback option. This is strange because the only reason he looked to Fremont in the first place is because he couldn't get into San Jose because of Giants said rights. With those rights gone...?

Again, as Ratto, Purdy, and Bartleby have suggested, I believe the onus is on the City of San Jose to make the "dream" a reality. Present Wolff and MLB a sure-fire San Jose ballpark plan that isn't subject to voter approval, and Fremont dies on a vine! Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Curiousity, if given the option, what would A's fans choose to be the location of the new A's stadium? Fremont or San Jose?

Anonymous said...

San Jose--a downtown ballpark with atmosphere and dedicated fans is what the A's need---look no further than how San Jose has supported the sharks over the past 15 years---

NoAsWS said...

The A's current plan is always a "downtown ballpark". Even Keith Wolff mentioned "our downtown ballpark plan" several times in the Fremont City Council meeting. (Did he knows where Fremont's downtown is?) Downtown San Jose will be a great fit for the the A's and San Jose. Even the logo is perfect: "San JosA's" (from http://www.ibabuzz.com/tricitybeat/2008/12/15/maybe-it-was-meant-to-be/). (sorry, Giants)

Marine Layer said...

It's not over by a long shot, T. There's a certain order of events that will have to be followed:

1. Selig allows Wolff to talk to other communities, stays silent on T-rights.
2. The Fremont plan fades away.
3. Wolff starts talking to SJ in earnest.
4. A's and SJ work on the business side of the deal.
5. Cisco announces their support for a SJ ballpark (they had already hinted at this in December).
6. A's, SJ, and Cisco announce new ballpark plan.
7. At the midseason or next offseason owner's meetings, T-rights are changed.

Anonymous said...

ML-- Cisco is headquartered in San Jose--they prefer a downtown SJ ballpark---not sure why you list it as a milestone--its a given---

Marine Layer said...

Come on, anon. Everything requires a dog-and-pony show these days, right?

Anonymous said...

If the A's fans want the new stadium in San Jose, why not help the folks in Fremont by showing no support for A's in Fremont. Let Lew Wolf and the Fremont City Council know that the A's fans don't want the stadium in Fremont.

Anonymous said...

Anon-

I want the A's in San Jose because I am selfish and want it close to my house---but I do believe that Fremont residents who are opposed to the stadium are clueless---ever been to AT&T and seen the incredible amount of investment that surrounds these new ballparks---done properly, and if you follow Wolff's developments he does them properly, this would be a huge asset for any city--whether it be Fremont or San Jose.

So I can't support the arguments that a ballpark in Fremont will bring crime, blight, and everyone parking in residential neighborhoods---there is no basis for any of these claims--other than to cater to an emotional rather than logical response-

Only valid argument that I see against Fremont is traffic--which could be managed effectively-

But as I said at the beginning--I'm selfish---I want the A's close to my home in San Jose--so keep up the good work

Anonymous said...

Anon,

I may have to disagree with you as well. I have not been in AT&T specifically. However, I have driven through the neighborhood. I will give you that the REDEVELOPMENT of that neighborhood is pretty impressive, comparing it to what the area was like before.

Now coming back to Fremont, especially the Warm Springs site, it is NOT a REDEVLOPMENT area. I don't think that it is a fair comparison that you are posing.

In addition, we are not talking about just the parking (which if you take a close look at the A's plan, you will see that the plan only included less than 4000 parking space as a long term parking availability and 3000 shared parking with local business parks across the 880 freeway. So, you are telling me that this is going to be sufficient for 32000 attendees.), and the crime (do some research on crimes around Oakland Coliseum). We are also talking about the economics. Look at the A's Economic Benefit Analysis report carefully and do the math. City of Fremont could potentially be having a $1 million dollar deficit annually (conservative estimate) in the General Fund based on what is described in the report against the cost for the City of Fremont to provide public services (e.g., police, fire, etc.) because of this project. And, this is with the beautiful ballpark village. What happens if the stadium is build in Warm Springs and the restaurants are 2-3 miles away in Pacific Commons. Are you telling me that the BART riders will walk to Pacific Commons to dine and shop before and after the game? NOT! Are you telling me that after fighting the traffic to get to Warm Springs, you will drive to Pacific Commons first to dine, then drive to Warm Springs to watch the game? Proabably not! After the game, after you had the beer and the hotdogs at the stadium, are you telling me that you will get into your car and DRIVE to Pac Commons to dine before going home? Most likely not! Please tell me how is having the stadium in Warm Springs going to boost the economy of Fremont!

I am really glad that you want the stadium near you. You may choose to move next to the stadium in the future. But, guess what! That is your CHOICE. We don't want to lose our right to CHOOSE too. We didn't choose to live next to a stadium, and we shouldn't be forced to.

bruno said...

i live near fresno california and i'm a huge A's fan. i'm very young (25) and i try to take as many trips out to the coliseum as possible. given the distance and finances this isn't always possible. i would love for the A's to move to SAN JOSE. it would save me time (est 25-45 min). and it would save me a little bit of cash using less gas. probably enough to buy 2 more $5 sodas at the game.

bruno said...

being from the fresno area, i would be thrilled to see the A's move to comcast sportsnet california also. i think we can both use the help for exposure. the central valley doesn't get kicu broadcasts of A's games very often so we're barely able to catch maybe half of the A's televised games. it's SAD. but hopefully brighter days are around the corner. so keep complaining all you anti-fremont people. let's bring in plan B or C or D (whatever SAN JOSE is).

Jeffrey said...

NoAsWS,

I think Kieth Wolff is probably one of the few who knows where "downtown" Fremont is. The idea is to create a real downtown atmosphere in Fremont, rather than the bogus one that currently exists.

Marine Layer said...

Funny thing. I don't recall a single Fremont resident vociferously supporting residents in Diridon/Arena area when San Jose was going through its own EIR process. NIMBY is entirely local on a micro level. Don't expect others to carry your water.

Jeffrey said...

Anon 12:06-

Maybe you can help us all out and point to the research you did on crime around the Oakland Coliseum and explain how it is related to the baseball games.

I go here: http://gismaps.oaklandnet.com

And it certainly doesn't seem to show a pattern of crime around the coliseum caused by baseball games.

NoAsWS said...

Jeffrey, one baseball stadium doesn't make it "downtown" (Keith Wolff said himself). All the successful stadiums are built at existing "downtown". Neither Warm Springs nor Pacific Commons is a good fit for a "downtown".

The current Fremont city officials are not even able to plan the current downtown properly. What confidence do we have on them for a large stadium project?

Anonymous said...

It seems obvious that if MLB will support the A's getting territorial rights and San Jose can pony up the cash that a downtown San Jose park is then the preferred option.

Selig, through the previous two ownership groups, has clearly been trying to get the A's to San Jose. This is a long-term project of his.

Marine Layer said...

Point of clarification: San Jose cannot put up $1 without a vote. Those in SJ working on this know that a vote can't happen given the last two outcomes, so any deal involving the A's will not involve any cash on the city's part.

That does not mean that the city can't give the A's a "sweetheart" deal on land.

Tony D. said...

M.L.,
Don't forget the "sweetheart" deal for surrounding infrastructure and development; Autumn Pkwy, BART/HSR and the greater Diridon/Arena/San Carlos area. The current economy notwithstanding, the Diridon/Arena/San Carlos area is a developers dream!

David Little said...

Poor Oakland.

We can only watch helplessly while that Lew Wolff pursues his dream of making the Athletics the first Four City MLB Team, taking the proud, scrappy history of Oakland's team and throwing it unceremoniously in the trash.

I live in Oakland, and I love our home team. But I realize that the Athletics never caught on here (even after 40 years). In retrospect, it was foolish for Charlie Finley to move the A's from Kansas City to Oakland, and it was foolish for MLB to let him.

So, move the team (again) if you must, Lew. I only hope that the Athletics can find what they have been looking for since they left Philadelphia: a home that embraces them. I don't see that in Fremont.

As for me, I will join the ranks of those who poured their hearts into the hometown team that abandoned them. That, is truly "painful."

Anonymous said...

Geez David, a little melodramatic, dontcha think?

STILL in the Bay Area. I used to live in Oakland as well, but as long as the A's remain in the Bay Area, I will be THRILLED.

Marine Layer said...

Not melodramatic at all. When a league's around long enough it'll have at least one nomadic team. MLB has the A's. NFL has the Rams. The NHL may soon have the Jets/Coyotes if they move from PHX.

Anonymous said...

Well ML, I just don't equate this as a franchise move.

The A's are staying in the same geographic area. To me, a move would be somewhere outside of the Bay Area, like Portland or Charlotte.

Anonymous said...

Agree Anon 11:22-- keeping the A's in the Bay Area is a cause for celebration--by moving 30 miles down the road to downtown San Jose doesn't lose the history of their success in Oakland---all those banners will go with it to a new Stadium in San Jose--

San Jose will embrace the A's like never before---just go to a Sharks game and feel the energy and excitment inside and outside of the Tank and you will have an idea of what the feel will be like when twice as many fans are attending the home games across the street from the Tank---

In face imagine the Sharks and A's playing on the same night in downtown- 55,000+ people heading to the games---talk about energy and excitment

David Little said...

Hey, moving to San Jose may be the best thing the A's have done in a long time. Bigger market, potentially more devoted fan base, etc. But they will not be the Oakland A's anymore. They just won't. It doesn't matter (to me) that they are still in the Bay Area.

Maybe I'm a little defensive about Oakland - the City That Can't Catch a Break.

Anonymous said...

David,
I was eighteen when the Raiders moved to Los Angeles. It really tore me up and opened my eyes about the lack or loyalty in professional sports. I fully expect the Raiders to leave in a couple of years when their lease is up; they never really made a committment to Oakland with the short lease they signed when they returned.

A move by the A's just thirty or so miles to the south bay, in the same geographic region gives me assurance that they will remain in the Bay Area for the next thirty or so years. I wish the A's could remain in Oakland as well, and NOT play second fiddle to the Giants, and be able to make enough to keep their home grown talent as well as signing a free agent or two every once in awhile.

Oakland City officials have shown ZERO interest in making any kind of efforts to keep the A's.

Robert Bobb, the biggest advocate of keeping the A's in Oaktown and working to find a good site in Oakland, was FIRED by Jerry Brown.

The A's in Fremont or San Jose is light years better than the A's in Portland, Charlotte, New Jersey or Northern Virginia.

It drives me nuts to see people equate this propsosed move to a real move, out of the area. I know, you aren't doing that per se, but there are people out there, like Diamond Lil, who have stated they would rather have the A's leave altogether so that we may feel their pain as well.