15 March 2009

Dellums: I'm going to Congress

Update: Matier and Ross speculate further.

I do believe Ron Dellums just said, "
IT'S ON." We'll see if he's going to bring it.

Oakland's mayor indicated that he will seek congressional help in an effort to keep the A's in town. Immediately, that means Barbara Lee, Dellums' protege and successor in the House of Representatives. What strategies could Dellums/Lee have at their disposal? Let's take a look:
  • A challenge to the antitrust exemption. Not sure how that would actually help Oakland, as MLB's use of the exemption is actually keeping Lew Wolff from moving to San Jose. Long term, it could help bring a third team to the Bay Area whether it's in San Jose or Oakland, but MLB would still have to be a willing partner in such an endeavor. A move like this would also be incredibly expensive and it's unclear where the money for a legal challenge would come from.
  • Suing the A's. I'm not a legal expert and I don't know the details of the lease, but I could see where Oakland could consider taking legal action against the team for misrepresenting their intentions when the last extension was signed. Problem is, I think this was already covered by the lease terms containing a penalty if the A's were to leave the Coliseum early for a new home outside Alameda County.
  • Dellums/Lee create a coalition to broker a regional deal. A city-led effort of the kind mentioned in Thursday's letter sounds good, but in the end Oakland still needs to leverage greater regional resources and business interests to put together something that Wolff might be interested in. We'll see if that's what happens, and more importantly, if Wolff has interest.
So much for a quiet period. Readers, do you have any ideas?


GMANCA101 said...

So in this economic climate, when Alameda County has some of the worst foreclosure rates in the state and thereby the country, Rep. Lee is going to focus some effort on a baseball team?

I'm not the type to say that Congress has better things to do when they go after steroids and the like, but Dellums is going to put Lee and the city of Oakland in a position to look like sore losers for a situation that officials left by the wayside.

Anonymous said...

Attorney here. The City's chance of bringing a successful lawsuit on the lease which would keep the A's in town is exactly zero, for the following reasons:

1. It's hard to see a circumstance where they would be breaching the lease. They won't have a new park before the current lease is up. If anything, they are likely to be trying to negotiate an extension. Now, the City could theoretically play hardball on that out of spite, but I have a hard time seeing that happening. The City's need for a Coli tenant is more urgent and more difficult to fill than the team's need for an interim venue.

2. "Misrepresentation of their intentions when signing the last lease" is pretty far-fetched. First, if I recall the timing, they were already looking at Fremont during the last lease extension. Second, even if I'm remembering wrong on the timing of that, it is almost impossible to interpret "series of one year options while we look at other venue possibilities" as meaning "intention to stay in Oakland no matter what." These type of extra-contractual claims are almost impossible to win even with good facts. These are lousy facts.

3. Even if the City had a good claim on the lease, the normal remedy for breach is money damages. "Specific performance," or a court order to honor the lease, is an extraordinary remedy rarely granted. You have to prove you would be irreparably harmed in a way that money could not make good, which is almost impossible to prove. The City of Seattle had the best lease terms (specific language stipulating a right to specific performance) and best facts I can imagine, and in the end it did them no good. One of the reasons it did them no good was that even if specific performance were granted, it would have only meant a delay before the team moved, undercutting any "harm so great money could not make good argument."

In the end, even if the A's were to breach the lease, all the City is likely to get are the payments they would have been due on any remaining lease term.

Zonis said...

I wonder if this is yet another empty threat. And if it really is a threat, can he actually do anything?

Anonymous said...

Way to go Ron Dellums! This is a part of Oakland's fabric being torn away.

Major League Baseball says that they're committed to inner city baseball, and the first thing Wolff does is trash the city of Oakland?

Wolff insulted Oakland to the core. If he thinks he's going to walk away from this without paying a financial price, he's sadly mistaken. If MLB thinks that Oakland will not have a sympathetic ear in the Obama Administration and in Congress, they're also sadly mistaken.

It's time to take away any exemptions for MLB. These bullies who pit city against city and play with the emotions of local citizens, need to be taught a lesson.

Also, I'm extremely disappointed in San Jose for being a part of this. San Jose will do much more harm to its reputation by hitching its wagon to these less than honorable individuals who now run MLB. San Jose should not be coveting what is not theirs. San Jose shouldn't try to build itself up by tearing its neighbor down.

If San Jose wants to get its own team that's one thing. But please, show some class and restrain, and stop trying to undermine Oakland by stealing a part of the fabric of this city.

Anonymous said...

Wow---no substance again from Oakland--other than vieled threats--what a message this sends to the business community at large in Oakland---including to the Raiders who expect to work with Oakland on a new stadium---

He will be the mayor remembered for losing not one, but two franchises, because rather than pro-actively lead, he plays the victim card---horrible!!

Anonymous said...

Doubt that Congress is going to get too excited--think that there are a few more important issues than what is going on in Oakland around a ballpark--and as the Attorney poster indicated--not alot of grounds for a lawsuit--so I guess the objective is to create as much uncertainty as possible hoping to slow down, confuse, influence efforts in San Jose?

I'd call it grasping for straws at this point and almost wonder if it won't have the opposite effect on the efforts in San Jose--to speed them up and minimize negativity and future derailment efforts--

Also gotta wonder about the conspiracy theory---who from the Giants is coaching Dellums because they see the writing on the wall about T-rights--

Think about this--its not only Wolff who is saying San Jose would be better for the A's--its also the Giants--who by not wanting to give up territorial rights, are indicating they would prefer to have a ballpark in Oakland 10 miles from their park, rather than in San Jose- 50 miles from their park---

gojohn10 said...

Well, if this is a bluff, it looks like Dellums is willing to take it to Roger Clemens-like extremes. It's very depressing that the relationship between the A's and Oakland has gotten so bad. IMO, both sides are acting rather childish. I feel like my parents are getting divorced all over again!

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:21,

Oakland stole both the A's and the Warriors from other cities, get off your high horse.

BTW, go ahead and take away the exemption, that will only help San Jose.

jeepers said...

Who knew that Lew Wolff and Ron Dellums were teenage girls in disguise? I look forward to Lew's "oh no you dint."

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:28 Oakland and Alameda County built their sports complex without any tenants. Oakland didn't steal any one's team. The taxpayers of Alameda County invested in a sports complex before having any commitments from the A's or Warriors. Also, if you think having "San Francisco's" team playing in Oakland as the "Golden State Warriors" is "stealing" the team, maybe you wouldn't mind the "Golden State A's" in San Jose.

Also, the A's came from Kansas City. This is a bit different than having your own neighbor coveting something that you have. This is neighbor against neighbor. That's the ugly difference which will make Oakland fans resent San Jose.

doctorK said...

It's a pity that Oakland has such poor political leadership. Mayor Moonbeam's main accomplishment was getting rid of Robert Bobb. Dellums has been even more incompetent as mayor then he was as a congressman. This appeal to Congress to come in and save the day is pathetic. Oakland has had years to work out a new stadium deal for the A's (their most faithful tenant, BTW), and has done exactly nothing.

Anonymous said...

Jeepers--Lew is done with Oakland--I think he made that pretty clear-been there and done that--time to move on---for those of you that wonder why his letter was so strong I think you have your answer--

Dellums/Oakland is taking the role of blocker--no strategy in place and nothing to offer--but were gonna do our best to keep you from moving 30+ miles down the road--and being able to field a competitive team.

I also seem to remember Lady Di threatening to go to Congress over the '49ers move to Santa Clara---she got as much traction as Dellums/Oakland will get---get over it Ron--focus on keeping the Raiders so you don't go 0-2 before they get your rear out of office--

Anonymous said...

Haven't any of the Oakland haters out there been following local news?? Oakland has in fact been making progress at shining what a lot of people around the Bay is calling a diamond in the rough. Our crime rate has gone down since the new year and our Old Oakland area which is part of Downtown is up and coming as the new "hot spot" in the Bay...

"Since Jan. 1, felony crimes against people and property have dropped 23 percent, according to the Oakland Police Department.

Homicides alone decreased by 50 percent, to 14 slayings from 29 over the same period a year ago. Robberies fell by 16 percent during the same period, while auto theft dropped by one-third." (watch the 2 minute video on Bars and Restaurant Open Despite)

I also believe that as a team owner, his public comment regarding the city of Oakland just showed absolutely no class to the city who's only been waiting for an owner who actually cares about the city his team plays in and the loyal fans.

What he doesn't realize is that attendance is only low because most of the fans who still show up to games during the week are the people who actually call Oakland home. The fans that we are loosing are the residents from Contra Costa and even Santa Clara County who don't care to make the drive to the Coliseum because they would much rather be watching from the comfort of their home in HD than an outdated facility. I'll even bet there are some fans from San Francisco as well that we are loosing.

If LW could only see the potential that Oakland still has. Show the city that he's does care about the team that brought the Bay Area 4 championships. Stop trading away players after only a year in an A's uniform. Treat the fans the same way the Haas family did in the past...and build a friendly baseball only stadium, you better believe that they will sell out almost every game!!!

Anonymous said...

DoctorK, Evidently you believe it's possible to have negotiations with someone who does not want to negotiate with you. That's interesting. How exactly does that work?

Zonis said...

Anon, I don't know what you mean by that. In almost all the A's games I've been to, almost every single person I've talked to has been from outside of Oakland. Its almost hard to meet someone who is living in Oakland at an A's game.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:29,

Your rationalizations are weak and self-serving. In your first paragraph, you claim Oakland's theft of the A's was morally upstanding because they built the Coliseum complex willing to steal ANY city's team, rather than initially targeting a specific city's team. Very democratic of them.

Aside from the absurdity of this premise, it is factually misleading. The developer who built the Coliseum personally lobbied Charles Finley and Finley first requested permission to move to Oakland in 1964, before construction of the Coliseum was even complete. The circumstances under which the A's eventually moved to Oakland were so shady that Congress threatened to revoke MLB's antitrust exemption over it. Congress backed off only when baseball agreed to create the Kansas City Royals as an expansion team.

You go on to say Oakland's theft of the Warriors somehow wasn't a theft because they changed the name to "Golden State." This is almost too dumb to respond to, but okay, the A's can call themselves the "Golden State A's" when they play in San Jose. Happy now?

In your second paragraph, you claim that a move down the road where existing fans will continue to be able to see their team play in a nice new, ballpark and have all games broadcast on local TV is somehow worse than taking the team out of market altogether. Only the tin foil hat people at OAFC see things this way. The vast majority of rational people in the East Bay and elsewhere will see a move to San Jose as saving the team for the area, and will be pleased to have a pleasant venue to go to and a financially stronger team that can keep its star players.

Oh, you also apparently managed to doublethink yourself into believing that San Jose and Oakland are neighbor cities, while Oakland and San Francisco somehow are not. Whew, that's a lot of logical incoherence to pack into two paragraphs.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:21-- you don't need to "negotiate" to find a suitable location, buy the property and complete some of the pre-work--negotiations occur after you have something tangible to offer---right now you have nothing!

Bobb was the only person who had any vision for Oakland and the A's---and he got fired---way back in 2004? Whats happened since then?

Anonymous said...

First of all, I don't think that Oakland stole San Francisco's team. The Warriors are just using Oakland for their convenience. Oakland gets no benefit or name recognition from the team. The Warriors are useless to Oakland. If they called themselves the "Oakland Warriors" then you would have a point. However, using Oakland's facility while dissing the city by not taking the city's name is a subtle wink and hint to San Francisco that they really aren't Oakland's team. So in effect, they're only 8 miles from San Francisco and have not taken Oakland's name. Sorry, no theft there.

Also, your contention that we are comparing a downtown San Jose ballpark with the false alternatives of either having the A's stay at the Coliseum, or, having the A's leave the Bay Area entirety, has no merit. You fail to take the possibility of how successful a new downtown Oakland ballpark would be into your equation.

San Jose will not become a first rate city by stealing Oakland's baseball team. Santa Clara County Assessor, Larry Stone, has been trying to steal the A's from Oakland for nearly twenty years. It's time to give it up.

If San Jose steals the A's from Oakland, it would make many people in the Oakland area resentful. San Jose would be hurt in the long-term. I for one, would not step foot in San Jose again. I've been to San Jose many times in the past.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:30--San Jose has plenty of people by itself---about 2.5x as many as Oakland right now--threats that your never going to come to San Jose don't carry alot of weight.

Your circular arguments about Oakland are getting old--I have more fact based discussion with my 8 year old than you provide with your comments.

Anonymous said...

Rober Bobb, stuck his neck out for a baseball park and Steve Schott never showed any interest. This is exactly the same situation with Wolff. Why do we keep assuming that Schott, and now Wolff, EVER had any interest in building a ballpark in Oakland? That's pure fantasy designed to put the blame on Oakland. It's total BS.

Wolff has always hated Oakland because he perceives it to have a weak corporate base. He's always felt that way, even when he was pretending to try to get a ballpark built in Oakland. He lied to his customers and now they've caught on.

Zonis said...

You are right, Anon. Now that San Jose is so close to getting the A's to move to San Jose, its time to give up. I mean, after all, its not like they are going to get them when there are SOOO many alternative places to go!

Like Portland. Or San Antinio. Or Memphis. Or Mexico City. Or Vancouver. Or heck, even Montreal!

I mean, those cities have soooo great a chance at the A's!

And yes, while I am being sarcastic, those cities probably do have a better chance of building a new A's Ballpark than Oakland at this point in time.

Oh, and the potential Downtown Oakland Ballpark you speak of? If you didn't realize, Bobb got FIRED for suggesting that. Its dead. Get over it.

Zonis said...

I still don't get how San Jose is "Stealing" the A's, if Oakland did not "Steal" the A's from Kansas City, Warriors from San Francisco, and Raiders from LA.

Anonymous said...

Dellums is posturing. He is a political loser. The rest of the Bay Area leaders have no respect for him. He is a dim bulb.

Anon 5:30

Don't come to San Jose anymore. We have enough low SES and low IQ people here already.

Anonymous said...

Love hurts when only one's in love.

BTW Oak-Town remember the primary reason Rafael Furcal said he didn't sign with the A's - "Oakland!!!!!" Figure it out, your town ain't all that....wake up and smell the F'ing coffee....

And thanks for quoting all the crime rate reduction...ironically, Oaktown is still one of the most dangerous cities in North America...Yeah, in North F'ing America....

Get over yourselves....

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:03 says...
>>Only the tin foil hat people at OAFC see things this way.<<

LOL, hilarious! To the rest of your post, well put. I come on here and read one head shaking post after another from the Oakland Only crowd. While I understand the motivation for their Oakland First thinking (loyalty to their town), the reasoning in their posts is funny ("stealing of the A's and Warriors by Oakland was a good kind of stealing". Adios mio!). The A's have likely been done with Oakland for some time now. It's a matter of economic potential (imho). I guess they feel LW should just accept whatever deal Oakland will give (for instance, stay in the Coliseum forever with an empty handshake of a future new park) and accept a significantly less profitable business. San Jose is the better site for the A's cause it will give them a more profitable business (thereby a better product on the field, hopefully), and most friggin importantly they stay in the Bay Area! At this point either the A's are San Jose bound or are out of the Bay Area bound. And it isn't because LW hates the city of Oakland (though his press release was not a good way to prove that). It is about the friggin business! Oakland as a baseball town is done. It ain't gonna be the A's there, it ain't gonna be a third team there, it's over. It's just a matter of time. Dellums and the Oakland First crowd better get use to that fact, like it or not.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:30,

Okay, since you refuse to abandon this ridiculous premise, go on the record: If the A's adopt a regional name when they move to San Jose, you're OK with it, right?

dbackman said...

There is nuance to team stealing. When an owner buys a team that they couldn't have gotten otherwise by lying about their intentions of keeping the team in the host city (Oakland, Seattle) that is stealing. But teams move all the time for a variety of reasons. Look at the volatility of the NBA in the Southeast. Some examples are heartwrenching for some fans but legitimate nonetheless. This stuff has been going on for years (Brooklyn Dodgers anyone?) But what happened in Seattle and what is happening now in Oakland is different because there of the malicious misrepresentation of owners like Wolff and Clay Bennett. A sad trend for sports, as cities with great team legacies are abandoned to make a buck.

Marine Layer said...

It's difficult to take a challenge between two anonymous commenters seriously.

Anonymous said...

Jesus ML,

You're blog sure has turned from an "A's ballpark" blog to a "I hate Oakland, your city sucks" blog. I've been a long time reader and it just sounds like all the San Jose partisans do on here is talk about how great their city is and how bad Oakland is.

Seriously, is it really a need to bash the neighboring city in the Bay Area when all we're trying to do is fight to keep the A's here?? From what I've been reading, most of the Oakland fans seem to only defend their city with great pride.

I believe I saw one San Jose partisan comment on the last thread say that they hope the Oakland partisans will wither up and die. I mean are harsh words like that really necessary??? I do also recall another commenter indicate that Forbes magazine also lists San Jose as the "greediest city" in the country. I didn't want to think that at first, but the way all the residents of the South Bay (which this blog does seem to be mostly dominated by) seem to talk so much about how the Kings will be the next team to be lured to the South Bay, just really validates that maybe they really are??? No wonder LW is the way he is. There's just something about him that I don't think many residents in the Bay Area can trust.

Anonymous said...

"The spotlight is on San Jose to see if it can swing a new A's ballpark next to HP Pavilion, now that the team has scuttled its Fremont plans and told Oakland it's not interested in staying.

But behind the scenes, there are three big bats who could ultimately decide the game's outcome:

-- Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig.

-- Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

-- New Giants managing general partner William Neukom.

First up, Selig. He has the clout to clear the way for an A's move to San Jose, which Major League Baseball now considers part of the Giants' territory.

Selig, who was A's frontman Lew Wolff's fraternity brother at the University of Wisconsin, would have to persuade three-fourths of other team owners to go along with the play. Selig has repeatedly asserted the Giants' rights to all of Santa Clara County, but he also gave Wolff his blessing to talk to other cities once the A's Fremont deal collapsed.

Next up, Feinstein. She could decide to play hometown favorites, as she did on the 49ers stadium issue - going so far as to muse about a federal law that would ban the 49ers from using the name "San Francisco" if the team moved to Santa Clara. She could make life difficult for Major League Baseball by raising the specter of hearings on its antitrust-exempt status.

Then there's Neukom. Team sources say he won't let the A's move into Giants land without a fight, even if means going to court - and he's no lightweight there. He's a former general counsel for Microsoft and past president of the American Bar Association.

Meanwhile, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums and the rest of the East Bay political family - who had already kissed the team goodbye - are having second thoughts.

In spite of Wolff's statement Friday that the A's have "no interest in covering old ground" - i.e., talking to Oakland - city officials are preparing to lobby Feinstein, Sen. Barbara Boxer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and local Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee to keep the team in Oakland.

Or at the very least, to get another shot at negotiations.

In any event, it's still a very long way to San Jose."

Anonymous said...

dbackman- while I agree with your general premise you lose me when you try to compare Oakland to what happened in Seattle. Larry Ellison made a higher bid for the Sonics but he made his intentions very clear--I will move them to San Jose--The NBA therefore rejected his bid and awarded the team to the OK ownership group for less money with the understanding that they would work for at least 3 years to keep the team in Seattle--which as we all know, they had no intentions of doing so and moved within a year. That I agree was pathetic.

However, the A's are an entirely different story. Prior to LW buying the A's in 2005 he worked as their front man for venue development for Schott and Hoffman for a few years. S&H owned the team for nearly 10 years, had to deal with Oakland ruining the Colisieum for the return of the Raiders, while also financially ruining the county of Alameda---remember how the A's were the step child of Oakland during this debacle?? How no one cared what the A's wanted or what their concerns were---Fast forward nearly 15 years, still no stadium in Oakland, still no land identified and locked up, still no strategy in place--and you say that it is wrong for the A's owners to want something better? Come 'on man---hold you city/county officials accountable and get off the backs of the A's owners who are doing all they can to keep this team in the Bay Area--

Marine Layer said...

Anon 10:55 - Both city's partisans are perfectly content to tear each other down regardless of whether anything they say matters to the decision-making process. I've seen more than one commenter wish for Lew Wolff's death. Or for contraction instead of a move from Oakland. To characterize Oakland partisans as only defending their city is dishonest. There's plenty of hate to go around. SJ partisans come here in numbers, but I've had to slap a few of them down for going over the line. For now, people on both sides need to lash out and so there should be a forum for it. At some point, all of the emotional crap will die down and be replaced by talk of solutions.

Anonymous said...

I look forward to Lady Di and the rest of the other bay area politicians stepping in to try and stop a move to San Jose.

As I recall Di Fi tried this with the '49ers---and something happened where she quickly went quiet---ask here about the deluge of letters/email that she got from her constitiuents in Santa Clara County--not to mention Silicon Valley business leaders who had a few choice words for her---she doesn't mention it anymore---and she might be running for governor---oh...and don't forget about all of those out of work Union construction guys who will benefit big time from construction of a new ballpark near term---doubt that they would turn the other way as someone screws with their ability to be gainfully employeed during this time. Go ahead Di and othes---make our day---and btw--the Oakland name will stay in Oakland so you have nothing to worry about.

So if Neukom can sue MLB why didn't Anegelos, another big time attorney, sue MLB when the Nationals moved into DC---he was the one vote against it---...ahhh--thats right--he can't sue---part of that anti-trust---whatever the boys club decides you agree to abide by...

No doubt there are a few hurdles to getting to San Jose--but it will not be Congress or Oakland--it will be putting together a deal that works for all involved.

Anonymous said...

That sounds like a real plan to me ML. I'm glad to hear that you are trying to control the comments on your blog with at least some fairness. I guess given the circumstance, I can definitely see all the animosity coming from both sides.

The funny thing out of all this is that no matter who talks the most trash, or who thinks they live in the better city, or who thinks they can see the future...the bottom line is neither city has the A's locked in for the long run. San Jose does in fact still have a very long way to go to try and bring the A's to their city and Oakland still has a very long way to go to try and fight them to stay.

It's just sad to say that if the Bay Area loses the A's all together, both cities will look pretty embarrassed with egg all over their face.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but anyone who speaks the names of Lew Wolff and Clay Bennett in the same breach reveals themselves to be a non-thinking zealot with zero credibility.

Let's review:

Clay Bennett: Made a formal, contractual commitment to make a three-year, good faith effort to keep the Sonics in the Seattle market as a condition of purchasing the team.

Lew Wolff: Made no such commitment.

Clay Bennett: In supposed fulfillment of his legal obligation to make a good faith effort, laughably demanded a $500 million, 100% publicly funded arena which would have been the most expensive in the NBA. This, despite knowing that the city had already invested huge sums of money in a recent arena remodel and that more modest demands for additional public funding from previous owners had already been rejected several times before. (Not surprisingly, the plan was DOA).

Lew Wolff: Despite being under no obligation to do so, attempted to build a privately financed ballpark in Oakland. Had the best site sold out from under him by the city. Got little city help with a plan for the second best site.

Clay Bennett: Despite being obligated to try for a local venue for three years, blew off any pretense of making such an attempt after one year and entered into litigation with the city to break his lease.

Lew Wolff: Thwarted in his initial attempts to build a private financed stadium in Oakland, invested tens of millions of his own money and several years of his own time trying to build a privately financed stadium in a suburb only a few miles down the road from his current location.

Clay Bennett: Despite years of phenomenal fan support in Seattle and despite a recent, expensive, publicly funded remodel of the Sonics arena, takes the team out-of-market (and to an inferior market), breaking the hearts of thousands of Sonics fans.

Lew Wolff: Despite years of miserable fan support in Oakland, little help from the city building even a privately financed ballpark, substantial financial losses and personal frustration trying to build a park in Fremont, remains committed to trying to build a privately financed ballpark somewhere in the region preserving access to the A's for the existing fanbase.

Honestly, if you go around saying anything half as stupid in the State of Washington, you'll probably get a beating. You ask Sonics fans how much they would have loved a PRIVATELY funded new arena out in Renton or somewhere.

bartleby said...

FWIW, I may be a San Jose partisan, but I bear no ill will toward the City of Oakland. In fact, I feel a great deal of affection for the city. I like cities in general and underdogs in particular, and I genuinely hope Oakland's best days are ahead. There's a reason why when I moved to this area from the East Coast many years ago I gravitated toward Oakland teams rather than San Francisco teams - they needed and deserved the love more.

At the same time, I am a realist. If one looks at the facts, it is clear that Oakland is more than capable of supporting an NFL team and an NBA team (at least as long as there is only one team in the region). However, an MLB team is a whole different kettle of fish. There are 30 MLB teams, but it is highly questionable whether there are in fact 30 markets in the whole country which can successfully support them. So it is no mark of shame that all evidence suggests Oakland is not one of those markets. This was true in the past, and has become increasingly more true as the years passed and the economics of the game evolved.

At the same time that I feel affection for Oakland, I also care about the team and want it to succeed. The worst case scenario would be for the A's to build a downtown Oakland ballpark and discover that they had become the Pirates - a team unable to generate revenue even in a new ballpark and condemned to perpetual hopelessness on the field. Actually worse that Pittsburgh, as the A's would have a big debt service payment and perpetual competition the Pirates don't have.

San Jose also is a great city with great unrealized potential, but one which might actually be able to support a modern era MLB team. Oakland had a shot; San Jose deserves a shot as well. I don't view arguing this point as "tearing down" Oakland.

Georob said...

If challenging the anti-trust exemption helps anyone it should be San Jose, since it highlights once and for all how ridiclous the whole territorial rights thing is. Where I've disagreed with the SJ fans is on HOW to deal with it.

So, if Dellums ends up with a serious enough threat to the anti-trust exemption, he may end up helping the South Bay more than he helps Oakland.

But back to Lew Wolff. I still can't understand why he's chosen to take such a defensive public stand against Oakland. If, as so many here seem to think; a deal is quietly being worked out to allow a San Jose move, then I would think Wolff would want to do what he suggested San Jose do. Namely, sit tight and be quiet.

Instead, Wolff's acting like Oakland royally screwed him over and he's not falling for the same trick twice. But if his intent was to ALWAYS leave Oakland(again, like so many here think) then why the rage?

I'm sorry ML, but something's up.

Marine Layer said...

Nothing's up, Rob. It's clear that Wolff isn't quite up to the saintly, grandfatherly image he portrays. He's prone to the same failings as anyone else. Unfortunately, some of those have occurred publicly. You'd think he'd have a consigliere type to hold him back. One thing's certain: he's not a man to be provoked.

Let's go with your hypothesis. Wolff leaves and is replaced by a new managing partner. What happens next? How long will it take to put together a ballpark deal - anywhere? Would that situation be any better than what Wolff has cultivated over three decades in San Jose? Fisher still wants to make money. He wants to get a deal done. And what will happen to all of the new minority share partners - all of whom are also from Silicon Valley?

Jesse said...

ML can you do a post on what Nukom can or cannot do to stop the A's to San Jose. Slusser said on KNBR its up to the owners, now M&R are saying Nukom can sue, and anonymous poster makes a good question. Why didnt Angelos sue, why did Selig say that Angelos couldnt stop the move months before they even reached a deal with the Orioles?

dbackman said...

Look I know that Lew Wolff is not nearly the devious evil mastermind that Clay Bennett is. But nevertheless, the Seattle debacle is the closest recent example to whats going on now with the A's. It is an example that we can all learn from regardless of what side of the Oakland/San Jose divide we sit on. Perhaps I stretched the comparison, but it is far cry from zealotry. So relax. I'm sure the "State of Washington" won't take as much offense as you.

Marine Layer said...

Jesse, I plan to post on T-rights at some point but I'm about as much an expert on it as anyone else. We know that lawsuits are forbidden via the ML Constitution, but that doesn't preclude individual owners from threatening to sue. We also don't know if that threat is a hardline stance or a negotiating tactic. For anyone to claim anything definitively on this - well they're talking out of their ass. If anything, I'll lay out the arguments for and against and let people decide from there.

Tony D. said...

M&R are a bunch of babbling clowns who speak out of their rears. They are nothing but SF homers who's opinion is obviously tilted toward the Giants.

As stated previously, per the MLB Constitution, TEAMS CAN'T SUE TEAMS! How much clearer does it need to be? It doesn't matter if Neukom was a lawyer or not in his last lifetime; this issue will be dealt within the "lodge," not the courts.

Dianne Feinstein is a senator for ALL OF CALIFORNIA, not just Frisco. Imagine telling her powerful Silicon Valley donors and supporters that she's going to keep the A's/MLB out of San Jose. Yeah Right, aint happening! Anon 11:26 said it best; look out how quiet she is now on the Niners/Santa Clara issue. You don't bite the hand that feeds you!

Lastly, Dellums and East Bay politicos couldn't go toe to toe with powerful Silicon Valley/San Jose business and political interests. Sorry fellas!

Zonis said...

Actually, isn't the most recent example of what the A's are trying to do... the Giants?

Arn't the A's doing exactly what the Giants were trying to do when they got their new stadium?

The only difference was that SF can support a team better than Oakland, the Economy was great, and the A's arn't threatening to move to Tampa Bay.

dbackman said...

Team owners do this all the time. It is disgusting. Pitting cities against each other for their own gain with little to no consideration of how it affects the people who actually care about the team. Sports is for fans, not to support real estate ventures. Whether Lew Wolff is right or wrong, the overall trend is bad for sports.

Anonymous said...

How sad is this. We have two great cities at each other's throats because of a sports franchise. We should be talking about the potential for a great baseball season in Oakland. Unfortunately Lew Wolff decided that he was going to interject negativity and dampen the fan's excitement by trashing his host city, his ballpark, and his customers.

This is a horrible way to start the season Lew. Is this a trade mark of the Oakland A's marketing strategy? What other business would trash its city, trash its building, and then trash its customers, and still expect to have a successful year? It's like the Oakland A's sabotage potential successful seasons at the beginning of every single year in Oakland, with threats of relocation, and with the constant denigration of the ballpark and of their fans.

Lew Wolff, you need to apologize to the fans in Oakland and to the city of Oakland for your outrageous and dismissive attitude. Why did you do that?

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:36-- Why did Lew have to be so direct with Oakland? Two reasons-

1. He did it because you've had 15 years to fix the stadium and nothing has happened---no progress on any front---to even leave the door open a bit only perpetuates the fallacy that something might really happen in Oakland---it hasn't happened and it won't happen--

2. You cannot begin to resolve the T-rights issue until there is absolute clarity that it did not and will not work out in Oakland---continuing to dance around this issue would only perpetuate the belief that something, someday, might happen and hence there would be no way to move forward in San Jose--

None of this has to do with Oakland being a horrible city--its because it has horrible politicians by and large--if you want to be pissed at anyone look at your leaders and hold them accountable for failing to act when they have had the chance...but don't play the victim card and blame LW--he didn't create the Colisieum mess---but he is trying to fix it.

I also don't see where Wolff is trying to pit Oakland against San Jose as one the posters suggested---if anything he lost some negotiating leverage by being so clear on where he stands with Oakland--

Time is of the essensce here---the A's as a franchise cannot wait another 10+years in letting Oakland try and figure something out--it needs a new ballpark now---

Anonymous said...

dbackman--its a moot point but sorry---still see absolutely no connection to how Lew Wolff is working to keep the A's in the Bay Area, in a new privately financed stadium, and close to their existing fans and correclate this to a guy who made ridiculous demands of a city and than using failure to meet those demands as a reason for moving a team 1500 miles away from their fan base.

I honestly believe that many of the Oakland posters would prefer to see the A's leave the Bay Area--rather than move to SJ where you could still watch the local team play--makes absolutely no sense to me

FC said...

Anon 8:36

"Lew Wolff, you need to apologize to the fans in Oakland and to the city of Oakland for your outrageous and dismissive attitude. Why did you do that?"

I don't think LW needs to apologize to anyone. Though I question the tone of his recent press release, I can certainly understand the anger and frustration he must have been feeling in response to RD's letter to MLB. The city of Oakland has done nothing, in the past decade to keep the A's in Oakland, and now in the 11th hour they decide they are going to do an end around and plead with MLB to basically force the A's to wait several more years to see whether it can get its act together. The city of Oakland's time has past.

Also, please don't use the phrase, "you need to apologize to the fans of Oakland..." You make it seem like the only fans that attend games live in Oakland. I'm a STH, and of the dozen or so other STH that I know, none, I repeat none of them live in Oakland. Only about 5% of the people I sell my tickets to live in Oakland, the rest live in Pleasanton, Hayward, Fremont, the south bay and the peninsula.

The true A's fan needs look at where the team will be best served financially. Right now, it looks to be San Jose.

Anonymous said...

Well said, FC. I find most of Oakland resident posts extremely distasteful. Many of us have traveled far and wide to watch the A's for years. Now these nitwits can't be bothered to do the same because the team is trying to improve itself? Screw them. And good riddance.