31 March 2009

Boxer appeals to Selig

Senator Barbara Boxer, who is an Oakland resident, wrote the commish to bolster efforts to keep the A's in Oakland. Here's the full letter for your perusal:

March 31, 2009

Allan H. (Bud) Selig, Commissioner
Major League Baseball
245 Park Avenue, 31st Floor
New York, NY 10167

Dear Commissioner Selig:

I appreciate the announcement you made yesterday that you are forming a committee to review the various proposals regarding the future of the Oakland Athletics. As your committee does its work, I urge you to do everything possible to keep the team in Oakland.

As you may know, Oakland has recently gone through some difficult times and families there deserve some good news. As someone who splits her time between Washington, DC, southern California and Oakland’s Jack London Square neighborhood, I have seen first hand that Oakland is teeming with new young families and major developments that present endless possibilities. My children learned to love baseball through the Oakland A’s and our family was so fortunate to develop that common bond. We must give a new generation of families that same chance.

Oakland is witnessing a downtown renaissance, with new residences, restaurants, art galleries and entertainment venues opening weekly. Two new office towers are in development and the Port of Oakland recently announced a private investment of close to $1 billion. Major League Baseball can play a key role in continuing this momentum by working to keep the A’s in Oakland.

Through their rich history and shared experiences, the identities of the City of Oakland and the Athletics are forever linked. For more than 40 years, the people of Oakland have backed the Athletics during good times and bad. In the 1970s, Oakland celebrated the Athletics’ glorious run of three consecutive World Series victories. And, together, the city of Oakland and the Athletics mourned the devastation caused by the Loma Prieta earthquake that took place during the team’s 1989 championship run.

Now that the team has ended its consideration of Fremont as a possible home, the time is right to renew the focus on keeping the Athletics in Oakland.

It is critical that Major League Baseball and the A’s ownership do everything possible to keep the A’s in Oakland and I stand ready to help in any way possible, including attending and setting up meetings for you and the Committee. Please do not hesitate to call me at 202-XXX-XXXX to discuss this issue.

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

No threats, no harsh words. It's the right type of letter to start. We'll see what happens beyond that.


Paul said...

I'm OK with this. But is Oakland finally - at long last - ready to work with the A's rather than fight them?

Tony D. said...

Such a nice letter. Maybe Bud Selig can call Sen. Boxer and remind her that she also represents the millions (people and dollars) in San Jose/Silicon Valley. Again, nice letter (well written).

Dan said...

If there are threats, they'll come later, assuming her corporate masters in San Jose don't silence her with a few well chosen words.

Dan said...

Paul indeed. Boxer can pontificate all she wants, but until Oakland comes up with some sort of plan for a stadium like SJ or coughs up a completed EIR all they're doing is pontificating. And you can't play a baseball in hot air, you need a stadium.

Jeffrey said...

and the beat keeps on going... wow. It is really cool to be reading about ym A's every five seconds these days. Where the hell was all this urgency back in the Uptown days?

Anonymous said...

Seriously, but at least something is starting to get going. Something that most of us probably don't even how much political will is going to be put into all this.

I know for a fact that although Oakland has seemed a little quiet, they have already begun to lay the groundwork to getting things done. Lets just see how much assistance Selig and MLB really do offer when clearly Oakland is willing to do all that it can to keep the A's.

Dan said...

Anon 4:44, while I wouldn't mind if Oakland gets it's act together, what to date have they done?

Marine Layer said...

Let's stop the "what have you done" debate right there. It's old. If Oakland takes the committee's mission at face value, let's see what the City comes up with. When it comes to getting things done in general, neither Oakland nor San Jose have much to crow about.

BleacherDave said...

GoinSouth said...
If you think Feinstein or Boxer will get involved you're smoking some bad hash. Only reason Feinstein piped up on the Niner's situation was because SF is her old back yard. Oakland by comparison has the political clout of a tuna fish sandwich these days. Especially compared to SF and SJ.

3/30/09 5:14 PM

Tony D. said...
anon 4:50,

What B.S.! Feinstein and Boxer represent ALL of California, not just Oakland or SF. They, along with Barbara Lee, aren't going to commit political suicide and go against San Jose/Silicon Valley constituents/political support (i.e. $$$$). We have way more power when it comes to money and politics than the East Bay. Besides, they have bigger fish to fry (did I mention the economy?) than worry about the A's possibly moving to SJ.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Boxer needs to be reminded that she represents all of No. California and not just Oakland---she will have an email from me tonight and I would expect the same from all Silicon Valley residents including all those who are part of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the San Jose Chamber of Commerce-

Anonymous said...

BleacherDave said...

This is VERY bad news. MLB is going to officially pronounce that Oakland has no future as an MLB town. Let the mourning begin.

I'm just catching up on the blog. Lew's comments in SJ of a couple of days ago foretold this committee.

The Oakland A's are dead. Long live my Oakland A's.

Anonymous said...

again, so much negativity from san jose folks. seriouly...listen to ML, what has either city done (including san jose) besides recent news? if i recall, the a's haven't even been looking for a new ballpark since wolff took over in 2005. so please, enough with the, "what has oakland done all these years??"

Jeffrey said...

I don't know what to read into the letter. Honestly, I think it is crap that the Senator for all of California would root for one city over another, but there isn't really a mention of San Jose in the letter so it may not be technically correct to say she dissed San Jose.

None of what she says is untrue. Oakland has been going through rough times and could use a shot in the arm. Not sure that keeping the A's is really that shot in the arm, but it doesn't change the fact that right now a lot of folks are empathizing with the City of Oaktown and rooting for good things (me included).

Ultimately, I don't think the letter changes anything. If she wants to push to remove the antitrust exemption, go ahead. I think that would be supported by people in San Jose. It would make it easier for the A's to move there.

More, I think this letter is just her letting everyone know that she is watching and this better be a fair process. I support that idea. No matter what all of us armchair franchise owners think that eventual outcome will be, I say get all the proposals out and keep the A's in the Bay Area.

Anonymous said...

Again, so much negativity from San Jose folks. Seriously, we should all listen to ML. What has either city done besides any recent news?? If I recall, the A's haven't even began looking for a new ballpark until LW took over in '05. So please, enough with the, "what has Oakland done all these years?"

We've been waiting patiently to see if the Fremont deal would ever pan out all these years. Since it did not, it's only fair that Oakland gets another opportunity to make something happen. Especially now that Selig has officially announced that he will help determine if there is a site ready for a new ballpark in "Oakland's territory."

Anonymous said...

Had Boxer written a letter as a concerned citizen of Oakland than I would accept it---she serves at the pleasure of the citizens of Northern California and from my perspective she has far more important things that she should be focused on-

I seem to remember Feinstein did a similiar move about the "49ers move to Santa Clara....funny how she doesn't say a word anymore about it---Google Barbara Boxer to find her email address and let her know what you think about advocating one community above another within her area of responsibility---completely offensive from my perspective!

Anonymous said...

That's it! Why didn't Oakland think of that? All the city has to do is come up with a great ballpark location at Jack London Square or in that new downtown area. Over to you, Oakland.

See how easy that was, Oakland folks?

Or maybe the good senator just decided to send a letter to Bud Selig so that Oakland voters can see how much she loves them. And maybe people shouldn't get their panties in a bunch because Senator Boxer "isn't supporting all of the Bay Area," and is neglecting poor little San Jose.

I've heard politicians do things like this from time to time.

Jeffrey said...

so just a quick thing about negativity- there has been no short supply of negativity towards Oakland from San Jose peoples, and towards San Jose from Oakland peoples. Everyone should stop... and start rooting for either to succeed and keep the A's in the Bay Area.

Anonymous said...

Senator Boxer did a great thing. My already great respect for her has increased exponentially.

Oakland is where the team is. Oakland is the default position. The issue is that Oakland may lose the team through no fault of its own. Oakland has been shut out of the process because the team owner thinks that he can make more money by moving this franchise somewhere else. That's not the way sport franchises which identify with cities and communities by taking their monikers in order to generate community pride and loyalty, should operate.

This is not a bank or some sort of high tech company we are talking about. This is a peace of the fabric of a community which is being shopped around like a side of beef. It's wrong and I respect Senator Boxer for seeing it for what it is.

Anonymous said...

my thoughts on barbara boxer is that if she lived in san jose and and was trying to save the sharks from leaving town to lets say oakland...would any of the san jose folks say anything??? i doubt it. she's a frickin' oakland resident!! so why the hell wouldn't she support the baseball team she's been following all these years regardless if she's a california senator??

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:43--it is a for profit enterprise that needs to make money to be competitive---group hug to all who want it to act like a local non-profit but sorry---thats not reality---

Nothing is being shopped around--no one is trying to extract any preference by pitting city against city---rather like all other private enterprises the A's ownership would like to be able to compete--

Tony D. said...

And your point B.D. 5:14 for reposting from yesterday? I don't see it. Look, Senator Boxer is a resident of Oakland and A's fan...that's great! She has every right to send MLB a letter like this; and again, it's a nice letter. But I don't see her effort going any further than this; i.e. lawsuits, threats against anti-trust exemption, etc. Unless she want to piss off thousands of donors/constituents in San Jose/Silicon Valley.

Funny: the letter Boxer sent to Selig/MLB is the kind of thing Mr. Wolff told San Jose not to do (sorry anon 6:43).

Jesse said...

Thank you Jeffrey! Its really easy. Get behind any and all opportunities for the A's to stay in the Bay because trust me, the moment when its announced that the A's leave the bay you'll be caught looking. I've been invited to rally in San Jose on April 7th, I plan to be there. If theres something similar in Oakland, I'll be there too. I'm personally rooting for the Cities to have competing offers ready to for MLB to choose from. Then, if you decide to go through with one plan, the other will still be there in case of a problem.

GO A's

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:55---if B.B wants to send a letter as a concerned citizen of Oakland so be it--don't sign it as a US Senator and don't use my tax dollars spending time trying to work as a lobbyist on behalf of Oakland---

Georob said...

Bottom line: This thing is not over. In fact, it's just beginning. And now the San Jose fans are going ape-shit because their "announcement in a matter of weeks" ain't happening.

San Jose's gonna have to work to get the A's, and they still stand an excellent chance of doing so. But relying on bloggers to do their heavy-lifting doesn't cut it.

BTW, when did Boxer move to Oakland? I thought she was from Marin.

Steve said...

Boxer's husband, Stewart, is a lawyer in Oakland.

Brian said...

I'm not sure what the problem is with this. That's what happens when you have friends in high places. You know, like the high places that "ghetto Oakland" supposedly didn't have any friends in, if you listen to the San Jose folks.


Anonymous said...

"For now, Selig's decision to appoint a committee to seek out possibilities for a new ballpark in or near Oakland feels less like a magnanimous gesture than like one friend trying to cover the naked butt of another.

Wolff's recent words and actions have only further alienated a fan base that already didn't trust him. He once unveiled a plan for a new ballpark in Oakland, then joined the rest of us in realizing it wouldn't work. He later promised a new yard in Fremont, then joined the rest of us in realizing he couldn't deliver. Recognizing his shots in the dark hit nothing, Wolff grew agitated — with Oakland.

Selig, then, is here to take some of the heat off his buddy. With Uncle Lew playing "bad cop," Bud sees an opportunity to pose as "good cop." He is piecing together the shredded letter and handing it back to Wolff for further consideration.

"Selig's office called us (Monday) to inform us about the committee," Dellums chief of staff David Chai said Tuesday via e-mail. "In addition, Lew reached out to us and would like to set up a meeting."

In other words, what three weeks ago was perceived by Wolff as pointless has, just like that, become a priority. Wow. Is anything in sports more impressive than mighty Bud Selig swinging into action?

The problem, of course, is that this sounds better than it really is. We know where Bud stands. In general, he stands wherever he must to avoid the bright light of accountability. In regards to baseball in Oakland, he has made clear he stands against the Coliseum and against the A's moving to San Jose."

Anonymous said...

"I'm not sure what the problem is with this. That's what happens when you have friends in high places. You know, like the high places that "ghetto Oakland" supposedly didn't have any friends in, if you listen to the San Jose folks."

The ridicule is so ingrained that Oaklanders see it when it's not even there. This blog has more complaints of San Jose partisanship (which is inherently anti-Oakland, I guess) than it has San Jose partisans.

Anyway, now this empty threat of marquee pols' involvements has come true and Barbie Messiah has written a letter. Now the anti-trust exemption should be coming tomorrow, right?

This back-and-forth speculation is writing the story before it happens. One minute, San Jose is shamefully stealing Oakland's team and ruining the inner city "fabric" (thanks, navigator) and the next we have Super Senator saving the day. As far as I can tell, we've progressed nowhere in any direction.

Sam said...

I wrote an e-mail to Senator Boxer and I plan to call her office tomorrow in support of bringing the A's to San Jose.

I would ask anyone who supports bring the A's to San Jose to PLEASE take five minutes and let the Senator know what San Jose has done to get a team, why you want a baseball team in San Jose, and why the territorial rights are unfair.

If enough of us get through to her we can make a difference.

Anonymous said...

For all the heat Selig takes for being "incompetent", everything he touches turns to gold. Literally. The guy is brilliant and will eventually go down as one of the best MLB Commissioners of all time. Think about it. With a few pen strokes, he and Wolfe pulled off an incomprehensible feat. They have actually made a regional market engage in a bidding war against itself!

Anonymous said...

I'm most definitely in the "keep the team in the Bay Area" camp. Right now, I think Diridon is the best bet. But if a site of equal quality becomes available in Oakland? I'm all for that too.

Anonymous said...

There are no sites of equal quality in the East Bay.

Anonymous said...

That may be and Selig's committee will make that determination once and for all. In the meantime, let's see what the city of Oakland can come up with. Maybe they'll surprise us.

Anonymous said...

They cannot surprise us because by definition whatever East Bay site they come up with will still be in a location with no corporate base and too close to AT&T Park. Even if there were a dream site right at Jack London Square or downtown Oakland, it would not be as desirable as Downtown San Jose from the standpoint of growing the market for MLB in the Bay Area and tapping into Silicon Valley corporate money. Plus, there is no site in the entire Bay Area as well served by transit as Diridon South will eventually be.

Anonymous said...

what i don't get is why none of you see the potential at the current coliseum site. everything you need is already there...parking, land, two other bay area sports venues, freeway access, amtrak and of course BART.

the way i see it, the proposed diridon site does not and will not have BART access for a very long time. so the san jose site will very much alienate all the existing east bay fans when the current coliseum site can still accommodate EVERYONE with easy access who lives in the bay area.

i do believe oakland has the will to suprise a lot of folks. they have a entertainment sports task force that has already been coming up with a great plan to keep the a's at home where they belong. i know a lot of you feel that dellumns sucks as the city leader (i agree), but he is not the brains behind this committee. oakland does have a lot of very intelligent and political people working to get this done. we will convince selig's committee that baseball fans do still very much exist in the east bay...they've been just waiting for a new ballpark to start coming back to, that's all.

Anonymous said...

sorry to burst anyone's bubble, but having corporate base doesn't mean anything in regards to how far it is from the giants ballpark. the a's can also still get corporate support from companies that reside in silicon valley. when does a professional sports team have to play in the same city where their sponsorships are?? giants will still have their silicon valley sponsorship and the a's could still gain some as well. besides, last i heard it's much easier to get to the coliseum than it is to at&t any way you map it out.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:56,

None of the factors you list are significant advantages over the Diridon site. Diridon, on the other hand, has several major advantages over the Coliseum site:

Parking: Plenty of parking in downtown SJ.

Land: More than enough land to build a park at Diridon.

Two other sports venues: Who cares? In what way is this an advantage? If anything it's a disadvantage: It creates major traffic hassles every time there are events scheduled concurrently (which happens fairly regularly).

Freeway access: Diridon is served by three major freeways.

Amtrak: Diridon has Amtrak, as well as Caltrain and Light Rail. Diridon will eventually have BART and light rail, which will expand its accessibility far wider than the Coliseum could ever achieve.

And Diridon has major advantages the Coli does not:

- vibrant downtown and nightlife nearby
- not surrounded by dirty, dangerous industrial area,
- access to affluent population and corporate base

Anonymous said...

"the way i see it, the proposed diridon site does not and will not have BART access for a very long time. so the san jose site will very much alienate all the existing east bay fans when the current coliseum site can still accommodate EVERYONE with easy access who lives in the bay area."

What kind of logic is this? You may not have noticed, but the fact that you currently cannot get to San Jose from the East Bay on BART means YOU ALSO CANNOT GET FROM THE SOUTH BAY TO THE COLISEUM ON BART. This means that the Coli site is no more accommodating of "everyone in the Bay Area" than downtown San Jose is.

Anonymous said...

"having corporate base doesn't mean anything in regards to how far it is from the giants ballpark"

You really don't get it. It's not about getting companies to put up billboards in the park, it's about getting them to buy suites and club seats and send their executives, employees and clients to the games. Building a park in Oakland would do two things:

- reduce the potential overall market for premium seats, because anyone coming from the South Bay would be forced to fight one to two hours of weeknight traffic to get to a game;
- puts the A's at a competitive disadvantage for premium seat sales, because given comparable traveling times to either ballpark, most Silicon Valley companies willing to endure the inconvenience at all will choose the Giants.

Anonymous said...

"last i heard it's much easier to get to the coliseum than it is to at&t any way you map it out."

You heard wrong. Clearly you've never made the trip. Caltrain makes AT&T an relatively easy trip from the South Bay (albeit it still takes an hour). There is no comparable transit link to the East Bay. And 280 is WAY less painful during commute hours than 880.

Anonymous said...

Oakland is more convenient to the 7 million residents of the entire Bay Area than is San Jose. That's a geographic fact. Oakland is the nexus of the BART system. Oakland is where highways 880, 24, 580, and 13 intersect.

Oakland has many corporations within thirty mile radius. Oakland has some great corporations within its city limits like Clorox, Ask, Cost Plus, Dreyer's, Kaiser, Zhone Technologies, etc., to go along with corporations in the Walnut Creek/Concord area, the Tri-Valley area, and yes, even San Francisco, just ten miles away. If San Jose can claim corporations outside its city limits, then so can Oakland.

This "lack of corporate opportunities in Oakland" argument is bogus. The majority of workers working for San Francisco corporations live in the East Bay. There is no law in the books that states that SF corporations or any other corporations in the Bay Area for that matter, can not purchase luxury boxes and by tickets for their employees, in a compelling, beautiful, well situated to public transit, Oakland ballpark.

Anonymous said...

Oakland is not "more convenient to the 7 million residents of the Bay Area than San Jose." Santa Clara is the Bay Area's most populous county. BART currently does nothing for us.

For most of the Bay Area, Oakland vs. San Jose is a push (i.e. a one hour drive, tops). San Jose is far more convenient to rapidly growing Monterey County.

Anyway, this "geographically central" argument is made moot by the fact that there is already and will continue to be a baseball team in the immediate vicinity. East Bay residents will continue to have easy access to Major League Baseball. (In fact, they'll have a choice of teams).

And let's not ignore the fact that Oakland's supposed "geographic centrality" has resulted in 40 years of crappy attendance. Must not be that important.

As far as corporate base, don't make me laugh. If I started listing South Bay companies, it would include half the NASDAQ. The South Bay has more than twice as many Fortune 1000 companies as the East Bay and San Francisco COMBINED. And if you think any San Francisco companies are going to bypass AT&T Park to come buy suites in Oakland, you really must be smoking something.