23 March 2009

BREAKING: Miami-Dade County passes ballpark proposal

The proceedings started almost 10 hours ago. After a full day's worth of explanations and grandstanding (I didn't tune in until an hour ago), it appears that the Marlins ballpark plan at the Orange Bowl passed with a 10-3 9-4 vote. I say "appears" because the webcast was so prone to breaking up and losing audio that I can't be absolutely sure. Whether it passed 9-4 or 10-3 doesn't matter, 9 votes were needed and they got it. County officials could only say that the plan "shouldn't involve general funds" instead of guaranteeing it.

Insofar as the A's are concerned, the only indirect effect is that by July 1 the Marlins can be scrubbed off the potential contraction list. As we know, it takes two to dance the contraction tango.

Update: Story from Sun-Sentinel reporter Sarah Talalay's ongoing blog about the Marlins ballpark travails.


Transic said... I get the feeling that the A's have it tougher than even the Marlins? Remember that the Marlins have tried and failed for 10+ years to find a permanent home and every other intelligent person thought they were as good as gone, along with the Expos, who did leave. As well, almost nobody likes going to Dolphin Stadium during the summer months so much so that they stay away in droves.

Meanwhile, the A's inhabit in what is the most populous state in the Union and the 7th most powerful economy, if taken separately. Yet, their future might rest in getting approval to move to a city they currently don't have territorial rights to. Amazing what luck befalls certain franchises. There has been stranger fiction that's been written. This is no fiction, however.

Marine Layer said...

It's California. We have a different reality. In other states and cities, public funding is sine qua non. Not here.

Paul said...

Public funding doesn't fly in Fla either. There's a lot of upset people in Fla who have demanded a public vote on the Marlins stadium so they can tell the team to get lost. Why was Joe Robbie Stadium named after Joe Robbie? Because he had to build it with private money after getting rejected for public funds for years and years. I've seen comments to the effect that some people think it would be cheaper to move the Marlins' 300 fans to Portland than to build a stadium for a team nobody cares about. The Marlins will do great when the Yankees, Mets and Red Sox come to town.

Anonymous said...

Killion: A's Wolff picked a bad time to trash his product;jsessionid=1EE3C8BCB7C0E8131301B6E9ED1C2DA4?contentguid=sn1Wk1g3&storycount=7&detailindex=2&full=true#display

Anonymous said...

a better link in case that one didn't work...

Anonymous said...

My sense of why Wolff was so direct is because any ambiguity with Oakland would only delay MLB opening the door to other communities including San Jose---if the A's re-opened talks with Oakland why would MLB consider territories outside of Oakland if there was potentially an opportunity to stay in their own area.

There is much more to lose by leading Oakland on than to shut if once and for all---closing this door once and for all is the first step to opening up San Jose---which from a business perspective makes logical sense-

Jeffrey said...

The clarifying statements Wolff made were a lot deeper than Killion makes clear. He explained that by old ground he meant, "no new potential sites."

I definitely think the letter could have been worded better, but still, the sentiment is basically correct and consistent with the facts.

Anonymous said...

Yes but if Giants t-rights don't ever get resolved, then I would much rather them staying in Oakland than leave all together. Oakland closing the doors once and for all still does not guarantee anything happening in San Jose.

And I don't believe that there is much more to lose leading Oakland on than closing the doors. Without any guarantees in San Jose, closing the doors on Oakland for good could end up moving the A's out the Bau Area all together. In my opinion without any guarantees in SJ, staying in Oakland is still the most reasonable plan for the time being.

Jeffrey said...

Anon 11:57- I agree... in the Bay Area is best.

Anonymous said...

Agree on the Bay Area being the best but guys were facing realty--Oakland is not going to be able to put a quality site together and from a business perspective, when you have to compete with one of the most beautiful ballparks in baseball 10 miles away, it makes no sense remodeling the colisieum, or building a new ballpark in colisieum parking lot or across the freeway--its a bad location from an atmosphere perspective and would never be able to compete with its neighbor--

If things don't happen in San Jose than I would bet that Wolff would place the team for sale at that point with the most likely investor being someone who will move them out of the Bay Area--and personally as an A's fan--I couldn't fault Wolff--he tried what he could to keep them in the Bay Area---and I doubt that there will be any local ownership groups willing to buy the A's with the intent on keeping them in Oakland and building a privately financed stadium.

Anonymous said...

Honestly I don't even understand why everyone feels that the actual ballparks is what the competition between the Giants is all about?? I get that they have one of the best ballparks in the league, but why do the A's have to "compete" with them anyway in that aspect?? I mean seriously, either your an A's fan or a Giants fan. Sure having a nice ballpark helps attracts more fans to go watch games, but in the end the A's just need a better ballpark that's more appealing to the already existing fan base.

Speaking for myself, I'll keep going to the Coliseum for the rest of my life if I have to before I decide to start going to Giants games just because they have a nice ballpark.

Don't get me wrong, we need a new stadium...period. But it's not a competition between who can build a ballpark that's nicer than the Giants who's only 10 miles away. Whether they're 10 miles or 40 miles away, they have their new ballpark and we need to build a new one for us now. Either way Giants fans will continue to to go AT&T so that they can see their team lose while eating cheese and drinking wine.

Anonymous said...

Sure its a competition between ballparks on some level--corporate sponsors, advertising, buying luxury boxes--all are the big chunks of revenue that make a team financially healthy---its all about location when your entertaining or investing in any of these items--

I agree with you on the average fan in terms of team loyalty---but recognize that even these guys want a ballpark in a nice location that has some atmosphere--

Jeffrey said...

More than that... the casual fan is also a source of revenue. New parks aren't for hard core fans, because we WILL go to the ramshackle hut in the middle of nowhere... They are for Corporations adn Casual Fans.

Anonymous said...

You're right...true that.

bartleby said...

Jeffrey hits the nail right on the head. Look, as soon as AT&T opened, they started averaging more than a MILLION more fans per game. Does everyone here believe that all or even most of those new sales were drawn from "the existing fan base"?

Those of us who post on this board are overwhelmingly made up of the "hard core" fan base. I think sometimes it's easy for us to forget that many - maybe most - of the fans in today's modern ballparks are really casual fans.

Those people you see at AT&T, talking on their cel phones, twiddling with their PDAs, not paying attention to the game: They are who modern baseball economics are all about. That's why the trend is toward Coke bottle slides, speed pitch, museums, and other things for people who fundamentally don't find baseball terribly interesting to do while they are ignoring the game.

I am not a Giants fan, but I go to about five games a year at AT&T, just because the experience is vastly better than at the Coli. (Two or so of these are the Bay Bridge series). If the A's had an equivalent ball park, I'd probably go to five more games at the A's park and zero at AT&T (well, unless someone gave me tickets). I am far from alone; I've ridden the ferry from Oakland to AT&T, and there were plenty of people from the East Bay heading to the game.

Bottom line: The "existing fan base" for the A's is inadequate. The whole exercise of building a new park is about expanding the fan base, and finding ways to part them with more of their money. If the A's are not able to do this, they will perish. If the A's build an inferior ballpark right next to the Giants, they will not get the casual fans and ultimately they will either go bankrupt or become the Pittsburgh Pirates. That is what the attempt to move to San Jose is all about.

Transic said...

New news from Miami:

Commissioners OK finance plan for Florida Marlins stadium

The big line from that story is the following:

Burgess said if investors demand terms that require the county to tap the general fund, the county will not go through with the deal. "We have to know that it works without dipping into the other financing, or we walk," the manager said.

The county has until July 1 to back out of the deal if the terms don't look good.

So they're not complete out of the woods yet. A lot still must happen by July 1 before we can take this club permanently off the relocation list.