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24 February 2009

Lew's "Dear John" letter

It's a breakup, folks. While the FCN and others will continue to protest at Fremont City Hall tonight even though the A's aren't on the agenda, Lew Wolff sent a letter to Fremont officials and the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. I'm certain some still think that Lew and Fremont still have some nefarious scheme afoot to somehow backdoor approval of the project. That makes little sense given that he's taken his #1 ballpark lobbyist and shifted his focus from Fremont to San Jose.

On a related note, KLIV interviewed San Jose mayor Chuck Reed about the possibility of a ballpark. Reed said all of the usual things, including a very clear piece of guidance for the team, "I would expect them to pay for their own stadium."

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

ML,

I was just curious if you've ever taken a poll regarding where most of your loyal readers are from? I actually enjoy reading all the comments left by everyone and have always been wondering how many San Jose partisans there were versus Oakland/East Bay partisans?

Any possibility of setting that up so the readers had a better idea if this blogg was being dominated by either parties?

Thanks and keep up the good work!

Jeffrey said...

I love in Pleasanton and work in Sunnyvale and am neither East nor South Partisan. I am a fan of the Bay Area as a whole.

Now if anyone else wants to post their name and where they live this should work fine :)

Anonymous said...

I live in Visalia (south of Fresno). As Oakland has blue-collar people as fans and the crowds at the Sharks games are drunken yuppies, I am an Oakland partisan despite having lived in SJ and never in Oakland.

Transic said...

Dickey has already chimed in with his own opinion:

Dickey: With Fremont deal dead, A’s need to shift stadium focus to Oakland

Jeffrey said...

Anon... you should include your name in the post, at least the first one.

Also, I went to high school in Lemoore. Are you Mt. Whitney, Redwood, Golden West, or some other High School district? Go Oaks!!!!

BleacherDave said...

I live in Hollister. Long-time parisan of Da Town.

Anonymous said...

Huge A's fan. Live in Silicon Valley. Raised in San Jose. Work at the Coliseum. I choose to remain anonymous. I will be directly impacted by whatever happens. I wan't them to get a new home. We in the SB would never let their lagacy be deminished. No matter what you call em. The Oakland A's will live 4ever, but the south bay(SJ Diridon) is the best place 4 them and everyone involved. I'll bet the ACT ride out from Pleasonton is pretty nice.

gojohn10 said...

Live in Fremont
Work in Oakland

I want the A's in the Bay Area regardless of the location.

daveinsm said...

I hope my screen name provides this info.

I was born in Oakland and raised in Fremont but have reside in so-cal for the last 10 yrs.

I must admit I was always biased towards the ballpark in fremont, but now after I have collected my thoughts; san jose is probably the most prudent choice for the A's to stay competitive in MLB

Mike Headley said...

I grew up in the North Bay. I went to college at San Jose State, where I stayed in the dorms. My girlfriend and I moved into an apartment in San Jose after we graduated, and then I got a job in San Francisco. We moved to a Fremont apartment to be closer to BART, got married, and then after a couple years bought a house in Fremont.

So I've got a link to a lot of places in the Bay Area.

A's games in Oakland are pretty easy for me to attend, since I can stop by there on my way home from work via BART, or shoot up there on weekends the same way. Though now with a baby, it might be easier sometimes to drive.

I don't feel that I am partisan to one place or another for a new stadium location, just what makes the most sense. Right now, Diridon seems to be the most logical choice.

Kyu said...

I'm an East Bay native who grew up and have lived in Oakland almost my entire life.

Lets go A's!!!

Dan said...

South bay native. Grew up here. I'd prefer to see them in San Jose as it is the larger city which has shown via the Sharks that it is ready to support a team like the A's much better than they're being treated by the minuscule crowds up in Oakland. But I'd be happy if they stay in the Bay Area be it Oakland or SJ. I've been driving to the Coliseum for 20+ years, and will continue driving to see them anywhere in the Bay Area.

Anonymous said...

Dickey needs to do a little research before he makes such bold comments. Most everything in his article is counter to today's reality--territorial rights--and lawsuits by the Giants...don't recall Angelos (who is an attorney) being able to do that when the Nationals moved into his area---

40,000 seat stadium? doesn't work today and won't work even with a new ballpark--think the decision is already 32000-34000.

Hold down ticket prices...sounds like a public subsidy to me---good luck on that one Glenn

Screw the Raiders in support of the A's---ohhh the wisdom of Mr. Dickey---not even sure he is still with us on this planet

Tony D. said...

"I love in Pleasanton"

Way to much information for us Jeffrey :o) (LOL!). I'm a San Jose native who has cheered for the OAKLAND A'S (and SF Giants until I learned about T-Rights to SJ) since I was a young lad playing little league.

While I am definetely a SJ partisan, I did support the A's efforts to get a ballpark built at Uptown and even JLS (if that were ever possible). And I've said this before on this blog, but I've been a part of many "Let's go Oakland, let's go!" cheers in the past.

How long have we been at this now R.M.? Over 4 years, since the Baseball San Jose days? Anon 11:03's sentiment exactly: Thanks brah and keep up the outstanding work!

Anonymous said...

I live in the east bay ... sacramento makes the most sense to me.

davey.

Jeffrey said...

Glenn Dickey: Bastion of Hot Air

Anonymous said...

(Visalia anon here). Jeffrey, my name is Brian and while I didn't go to high school here, I live near Golden West.

58edsil said...

I lived in Castro Valley/Hayward my whole life. I have enjoyed the Coliseum experience, but it is time for a new park if we want to keep the team well funded. We need other attractions and amenities near the new ballpark site. Anybody think it was a coincidence that the best attendance years were when the A's were tearing it up in the late 80's and had a large payroll? The stadium is large and there has been no incentive to buy tickets in advance. So, if you don't invest in tickets, you may change your mind that day and skip the game. There are a lot of things to do in the Bay Area. Also, there is nothing to do before or after a game close to the stadium. I'd like to go to dinner in a decent restaurant or have a quick beer with an appetizer. It's not an attractive area, either.

I will accept any new stadium from Oakland to San Jose and will still keep my season tickets. I don't believe Lew Wolff is a carpetbagger. I don't believe in the OAFC's theory of "Montrealization" of the A's. I do believe Oakland can't or won't put the energy into working for a new Oakland stadium.

That said, if San Jose can deliver the Diridon site, the team will have to look at it. It's downtown, got great access and has experience with medium size crowds already with the Sharks. Oh yeah, SJ would be a lot warmer on the cold spring nights near the estuary in Oakland.

I just want to watch the A's with my future grandchildren in the East Bay. Whatever it takes!

Oakland Si said...

I live and work in Oakland. When I first became an A's fan I was living in San Francisco.

Anonymous said...

I love in Pleasanton... is next to Lovermore.

Anonymous said...

I live in Marin and work in SF. I'm not partisan to any particular location (as long as they stay in the Bay Area). But I have a serious disdain for those who won't cross their city limit line to watch a game or have convinced themselves that Wolff is out to personally screw them. Those folks can pound sand.

Jesse said...

I live in San Ramon and have always lived in the east bay, I will likely remain in the east bay, no reason to change that. I'm partisan to any site that is feasible.

Jeffrey said...

Damn typos. But I am lover, not a fighter

Anonymous said...

I'll be more interested in John (Fisher)'s dear Lew letter.

--FSU

FC said...

I live and work on the peninsula. My number one concern is to keep the A's in the Bay Area, but I would really like to see them in San Jose.

Jesse said...

I would love Pleasanton too as a site for the A's. It has Bart 580/680. But probably no political will I bet. I remember Schott looking at Dublin, I believe he was rebuffed. Am I remembering that correctly, I think it was like 1997 or 98?

You know, there is a way for the A's to increase attendance and luxury suite revenue. Invest in a really good team and win the world series, then see how many butts you put in the seats.

Anonymous said...

Chicken or the egg dilema Jesse---to invest in a really good team you need sustainable revenue streams which require you to ....build a new ballpark first---

Jesse said...

Very Interesting Mark Purdy article just posted on the SJ Merc site.

bartleby said...

I live on the peninsula. I'd love to see the A's get a new yard anywhere in the area. However, I believe downtown SJ would be best for the team and a great boost for a city with unrealized potential.

Jesse: The A's made it to the ALCS three years ago and it barely made a blip in attendance, that year or the next.

They went to the WS and/or won it repeatedly in the late '80s and attendance still hovered between 2.5 and 2.9 million, relatively modest figure these days. Not to mention, the Coli was a lot more appealing place to go twenty years ago. Even to achieve that, they had to spend money hand over fist on payroll, meaning they lost money in those years at a rate that was not sustainable.

With the exception of '88-92, the A's have NEVER broken 2.3 million attendance in Oakland, even when the team was very good. Most years, attendance was significantly less. In eleven out of the forty years they have been here, attendance was less than one million.

The Oakland partisans don't want to acknowledge it, but attendance for the A's in Oakland has been uniformly lousy over their entire history there, particularly when you consider the great tradition of the team. Winning hasn't helped much. Insanely cheap ticket prices hasn't helped much, either.

This is not a knock on Oakland. Support for the Warriors has been phenomenal, far better than they deserve. Support for the Raiders has been solid as well, particularly considering the lengths they have gone to to drive their fans away. But Oakland just has not proven itself to be a baseball town. The fact the Coli is just a few miles away from the Giants does not help.

At a minimum, the A's need a new yard. But I think most objective observers would also conclude they would benefit from a new location.

FC said...

At this point I'd be shocked if the A's don't announce plans to pursue San Jose.

It's funny though, most of the callers/listeners on KNBR seem to feel they will be in Oakland for a long time to come. No mention whatsoever of San Jose.

Anonymous said...

KNBR isn't exactly known for its knowledgeable constituency.

FC said...

Anon 9:07

Tell you the truth, outside of those that read and post on this board, I don't think there are very many fans that are very knowledgeable.

I'm a season ticketholder, and many of my buyers are rather clueless when it comes to the issues surrounding the ballpark.

Dan said...

Well that and KNBR is about as close to an anti-A's radio station as you'll find. If it's not Giants they don't give a rats backside.

Anonymous said...

Not only an anti A's but anti San Jose---Ralph has always referred to San Jose as a suburb of SF and not a "real" city-- I still remember him lamenting about the Giants possible move to SJ back in the early '90's---personally I could care less what clueless Ralph and KNBR have to say anyway- it is the Giants radio station---not the Bay Area sports radio that they claim to be--

Anonymous said...

ML,

I'm a bit late on the subject. You say Lew Wolfe is focused on San Jose. Do the SF Giants no longer have territorial rights to SJ?

Jesse said...

ML, when you say "the # 1 ballpark lobbyist" is now in San Jose, what do you mean?

Anonymous said...

Posters who say that Oakland hasn't supported the A's are wrong. When Oakland has had a committed ownership they supported the team. Walter Haas had phenomenal support because he cared about his customers and he cared about the community. During the Haas ownership period the Oakland A's drew 2.9, 2.7, and 2.6 million fans.

Charlie Finley, Steve Schott and now Lew Wolf have done nothing but alienate the fan base. You can't run a successful franchise with a one foot out the door mentality. Fans will not invest in your team if they know that you're always looking for an opportunity to skip town.

Anonymous said...

well put anon 4.13. a lot of people don't realy know about the history between the old owners and how the fans and players were treated on their watch. true oaklanders have known from the very beginning that he was not in it for the love of the game and to continue with city's rich history of championships, but for love of money only.

bartleby said...

This notion that the Haas years were some idyllic period of monster attendance is pure bunk. Here are some actual facts.

A's Attendance During Haas Ownership, per Baseball Almanac

1981 1,304,052
1982 1,735,489
1983 1,294,941
1984 1,353,281
1985 1,334,599
1986 1,314,646
1987 1,678,921
1988 2,287,335
1989 2,667,225
1990 2,900,217
1991 2,713,493
1992 2,494,160
1993 2,035,025
1994 1,242,692
1995 1,174,310

Oakland partisans always point only to '89 through '92, ignoring the other eleven years of Haas ownership. As noted before, those four years were the result of massive deficit spending which resulted in three World Series appearances. Because this was and is not sustainable, those four years are outlying data and really should not be considered at all when evaluating whether Oakland is a good baseball market. If your business model depends on going to the World Series every year, it is not a viable business model (even if you are the Yankees).

But even when those four years are included, the big picture on overall attendance during the Haas era doesn't look that great. Despite all that massive spending, three World Series appearances, and four anomalous years of high attendance, average attendance under Haas was only 1.9 million. Most of those years, attendance was significantly lower than that.

By way of comparison, average attendance under Wolff is around 1.9 million. Steve Schott managed 1.7 million (and attendance increased almost every year of his ownership, so he probably would have gotten to 1.9 if he'd kept the team a few more years). So much for "You can't run a successful franchise with a one foot out the door mentality."

Anonymous said...

bartlenby,

Could you post the Giants attendance for the same period. I want to see if attendance is the prerequisite to see if a municipality deserves to keep its team.

Tony D. said...

Jesse 3:06,

R.M. is obviously busy with his q & a and coliseum concepts, so let me give it a try.

The "#1 ballpark lobbyist" is Jim Cunneen, former San Jose/Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce president, former Baseball San Jose member and former Cisco employee. Mr. Cunneen was (or is) also a huge proponent of bringing MLB to San Jose.

Mr. Cunneen was brought on board the A's team about a year ago (?) to help with the Fremont effort. And recently he registered with the city of SJ to lobby for the Athletics.

LeAndre said...

ok, its time for me to add my two cents in this pot...

The notion that Oakland will get less attendance than San Jose if the A's were to move there is pure false. How do I know this? Well because we can't prove it, obviously, but what we can do is look at what we know about the two cities...

San Jose supporters claim they will because they have a better economy, have more millionaires per capita, and they have success with their current and only pro sports team the Sharks...this does not mean they will bring more attendance. San Diego, a city who has more millionaires per capita than San Jose and isn't sharing a region has very average MLB attendance, some years below. Where as cities like St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Detroit, who don't have nearly as many millionaires per capita, plus a lot of crime, are consistently in the top 10 at least...

San Jose supporters claim the Sharks have great success and the A's will have the same if they were to move there, but if you look at the attendance from the past few years, even further, you will find the Sharks get very average attendance despite there teams success. Even this year, being number one in the West currently, their attendance is dead average compared to others...
http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/attendance?year=2009
Not to mention the Sharks are the only hockey team in Northern California and isn't competing with close teams...

Oakland has to compete with San Francisco in the MLB and NFL, so to compare is kind of difficult, even though when both teams do well their attendance is around average at least, much like San Diego. What we can compare are the Warriors sense they are the only team in the Bay like the Sharks in that sport...The Warriors don't have great team success, but when they do there attendance is well above average. After that playoff run, the Warriors were 6th in attendance in 07-08 and even this year, with no real chance of making the playoffs, they are still 10th. Not to mention Oakland supports 2 more pro sports franchises...So you can easily argue that if the Warriors were a consistently good team, like the Sharks who make the playoffs every year, they would have similar if not better attendance the San Jose...

Good attendance comes from a good geographical location and passionate fans. Oakland and San Jose have both, but to say San Jose would do better is strictly false. If the A's get a new stadium they will sell out for years regardless, but in my opinion they will sell more in Oakland...

BTW I'm LeAndre...raised and am currently living in Oakland and have been an A's fan since birth...I don't comment much but I've been following since this began religiously

Transic said...

Well, it looks like the tug-o-war between Oakland and San Jose is about to begin in earnest.

http://www.insidebayarea.com/athletics/ci_11786167
http://www.mercurynews.com/breakingnews/ci_11786663
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29376953/

Anonymous said...

LeAndre-

Should do a bit more research before you say the Sharks have avg attendance this year--they have sold out every home game but one--they were 11 fans short of the 17,496 that the Tank holds---to say that they have "average" attendance is not accurate---what is accurate is that they have a smaller arena, much like the San Jose A's will have a "smaller" stadium, which sells out 99.9% of the time.

To try and creat an analogy that Oakland has to compete with SF because they are geographically close is not accurate either--remember--this is why the Giants "covet" Santa Clara County, because 70% of their fans are Redwood City and south---SF is not a sports town at all--which is also why the '49ers would prefer to be in Santa Clara...closer to their fan base--

Anonymous said...

Good effort Bartleby, but you're wasting your time. Only true Oaklanders can instinctively know when an owner really cares about Oakland and apparently only one of their owners has cared in the 40 years they've been here. All the rest couldn't wait to leave town, which of course is perfectly logical given they've been here for...40 years.

There's always an excuse. It's always someone else's fault that the A's can't draw where they are. Lew is satan on earth. Blah. Blah. Blah. Fortunately, most of them have sworn off the A's the minute they step foot outside Oakland city limits. So we won't have to deal with them in a few years.

Oakland Si said...

I'm always surprised when people don't include attendance in the postseason in their totals. Postseason seats cost considerably more than they do during the season. I remember Beane mentioning postseason attendance and sales from 2000-2003 as being an important factor in increasing the payroll in the years following each appearance -- and not increasing it when they don't make the postseason (his words before the 2005 season: "the product was flat").

In any event, if you add those figures to 1990, for example, you get an attendance of over 3 million.

How does the A's attendance over all these years compare with those of all other teams during the same time? Unless they are consistently one of the worst drawing teams it's not fair to claim that having the ballpark in Oakland is unsustainable.

I've always seen the A's as being the Bay Area's t=AL team. They draw fans from all over the Bay Area (and beyond). So it makes sense to have the team located where it's easiest for the most fans to attend the games -- and where public transit access is best.

Anonymous said...

It's not that having the stadium in Oakland is unsuitable. The issue is that the Coliseum is totally insufficient and there haven't to date been any other locations in Oakland that will work for a variety of reasons. Maybe some of those reasons have changed and/or can be addressed now, like Downtown SJ and its big issue. I would hope that Oakland officials will step up and take advantage of this potential opportunity like the SJ officials have begun to do.

Anonymous said...

If our objective is to keep the A's in the Bay Area than Oakland should step back and allow Wolff's next preferred option, San Jose, to unfold and see if it works out. No different than San Jose did while Wolff worked Fremont.

Oakland jumping in at this point could potentially negatively impact the process in San Jose which ultimately, if unsuccessful, will lead to the A's leaving the Bay Area-

Dan said...

Oakland Si,
Hate to say it, but if you want the A's where they're the most accessible it's at the Downtown SJ site that San Jose set aside. It will have BART access and CA High Speed Rail in the next 10-15 years or so, it has Caltrain access, ACE access, VTA Light Rail access, Capital Corridor access, and is right off both I-280 and CA-87 with close access to 880 and 101 as well. There is no location as connected in the entire bay area.

Anonymous said...

What do you foresee happening that would derail SJ, outside convincing the A's to stay in Oakland (in which case they would be staying local)? It seems to me the worst that can happen is the A's will have a local alternative if things can't be worked out in SJ. But maybe I'm missing something.

Regardless, I wouldn't expect Oakland city leaders to make keeping the A's in the Bay Area the priority. They have to do what's best for Oakland. Assuming they feel keeping the A's is what's best for Oakland (granted they haven't shown the tiniest hint that that is the case) they should find, propose and work to ease access to a suitable site. I doubt they will, but they have the opportunity.

Dan said...

Honestly I think Oakland city leaders have bigger things to worry about than the A's. Like squashing their soaring crime rates and budget deficit. On top of their disinterest to date on helping the A's at all.

Marine Layer said...

It's disingenuous to say that Oakland should be the city to reprioritize. SJ is facing a $60 million deficit this summer. All cities face hard times. It's just that Oakland's foibles have been far more public than other cities'.

Dan said...

True Oakland isn't alone in having money problems. But you can't deny that Oakland has a much longer list of issues it is contending with compared with many other big cities. And their list of things that need to get done to help the A's with a stadium is even longer.

Ideally they need a site for a stadium to be identified and either set aside or they need to assist Wolff in acquiring it unlike the last time he tried building up there in 2006 (this is something San Jose already has), they would need to complete and EIR (something San Jose's already done), and they'd need to identify how much and how they'd contribute otherwise to the stadium (this is something San Jose needs to define as well, but they've already made it clear they won't be providing public money for the stadium and that Wolff would have to buy the stadium land at market value).

I'm not ragging on Oakland as a city to host the team, they've done a good job IMO of doing so the last 41 years. But the fact is if you're one to discount the territorial rights issue (like me), then San Jose has far fewer obstacles left to getting this done. And some major advantages over Oakland (corporate money, better transportation options, land set aside, complete EIR, more engaged mayor and city council, fewer "other" issues facing the city, etc...)

LeAndre said...

Anon 9:46,

I have in deed done research, in fact the information you stated is in the link I provided. This is why I made the comparison with the Sharks success with the Warriors success because both are the only teams of their sport in the bay...yes the Sharks have a 99.9% attendance, but when the Warriors had success in the 07'-08' season they had a 100.2% attendance, not to mention they have a much larger arena than San Jose...

This is the argument I am making to everyone who is so convinced that because San Jose has a better economy, or because they have more millionaires per capita doesn't mean they will generate more fans than Oakland can...

Also, the only thing I said about SF and geographically was that the A's and Raiders have to share a region with the 49ers and Giants, which is why its easy to compare the Sharks and Warriors because they don't(I'm not going to bother with the Kings)...I am very aware of the SF fan territory, which is actually one of the reasons I think Oakland has a better geographical location than San Jose. The East Bay has a bigger population than the South Bay...the East Bay has around 2.5 million, compared to the South Bay which has around 1.7 million. To me it would make more sense to tap into the area that ISN'T closest to the Giants territory...

Also, I'm so sick and tired of people saying Oakland has more important issues to worry about than a new stadium. That is the biggest cop out of ever heard. Hundreds of people work for the city of Oakland, each with their own emphasis of subjects. If a few individuals are set aside to help Lew Wolff get a stadium, Oakland's priorities down just go flying out the window. Ron Dellums, De La Fuente, and other leading officials will make statements of support, but they will leave the work to someone else, like what they are already doing...
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29376953/

All cities work that way, and like ML said all cities face hard times.

Dan said...

LeAndre,
You say San Jose is "closer to Giants territory", but doesn't that ignore the fact that the site of the San Jose stadium would be 35 miles further away from Pac Bell Park than the Coliseum is now? And about 40 miles further away from Pac Bell from where the Oakland partisans would have the A's put a downtown Oakland stadium?

LeAndre said...

Dan,

What I was referring to was to what Anon said...

"To try and creat an analogy that Oakland has to compete with SF because they are geographically close is not accurate either--remember--this is why the Giants "covet" Santa Clara County, because 70% of their fans are Redwood City and south---SF is not a sports town at all--which is also why the '49ers would prefer to be in Santa Clara...closer to their fan base--"

Obviously Oakland is closer to SF, but the SF fan base goes down the peninsula right into San Jose, where as the A's fan base is the East Bay...So if the A's built in DT Oaklalnd, essentially they would be building in their strongest territory, where as if a stadium were built in DT San Jose, you would in fact convert fans and even create new A's fans, however you would still be elbow to elbow with SF territory...which in my opinion isn't the best idea...

Bill said...

Born in San Francisco, raised in Alameda, now living in Stockton.

IMO, build a baseball-only stadium next to the arena and existing stadium, convert the Home Base/White Front area into more parking, tear down and rebuild the coliseum to a football only site and use that site to host both the Raiders and the 49'ers. This maixmizes the existing space for the most sports.

San Jose makes the least sense due to the proximity issues. The A's need to capitalize on the centrality of Oakland and make it a true Bay Area team, not one that is located on the southern end of the urban area. Without BART, San Jose will be unviable for drawing beyond the San Jose metro area.

Anonymous said...

i just have one thing to say to all the san jose partisans...

please stop using the sharks as a comparison with your loyal fans and sell out crowds at "the tanks". santa clara county (and maybe canadians) are the only people in the rest of the enire bay area who give a damn about the sharks.

Anonymous said...

So Bill...BART has been approved to downtown SJ---we approved it a second time, increasing our sales tax, even during these tough times.

Second, there is a whole new world out there in the Central Valley of CA---High Speed Rail will deliver the central valley fans to downtown SJ in about an hour--less time than it takes me to go to an A's game now.

Proximity to east bay fans----all 10,000 of them, is not high on the list----

bartleby said...

Anon 9:20p

If what you just said is true, YOU JUST PROVED MY POINT. If in fact, Santa Clara County, by itself, can provide phenomenal support for a niche sport with no tradition in this area, what more evidence do you need that this is a terrific sports region that would provide fantastic support for a big time sport like Major League Baseball?

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:20, that was about the most counter-supportive non-sequitur I've ever read on a sports blog. Congratulations.