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17 March 2009

I smell a soap opera coming

Update 3/17 8:30 AM: Chip Johnson rips both City of Oakland and Wolff, suggests keeping team colors and history in Oakland.

Update 3/16 10:30 PM: Wolff apologizes, acknowledges season ticket sales are down.


Or rather, the soap opera's already here. Between the
gamesmanship displayed by two somewhat grumpy old men over the weekend and reporters trying to figure out what the state of territorial rights is, there is no shortage of drama. That's great for the blog as it gives me something to write about, but frankly it's getting a bit tiresome. Not the blog, it's the writing about the drama that's tiresome. So you'll have to forgive me if for the rest of the blog's indeterminate life, I don't write about every minor trial and tribulation. There will be major events and major issues to discuss. The stuff that happened the last few days? It doesn't matter much in the grand scheme of things.

Take Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums. Some here and in the media have baselessly speculated about Lew Wolff's future as A's managing partner. What's more likely is that in 18 months, Dellums will be gearing up to get out of Dodge. 6 weeks ago, Dellums' approval rating hovered at a W-like 25%, with a 60% disapproval rate. That's probably eked up a bit thanks to recent news about lower crime rates, but he can't get rid of the stink from his first 18 months on the job that easily. Dellums hasn't said anything about running for a second term, and it would appear that a bag of rocks could defeat him at this point. It's more likely that the usual council suspects (IDLF, Nadel, Brunner) will be climbing over each other for the brass ring.

Just 3 months before Dellums leaves office, the A's current lease will expire, and the team will be on a year-to-year lease through 2013. Wolff's statement that Oakland was done effectively removes Dellums and the City Council from the process thanks to its timing. It's callous, conniving, and quite final. In 2005, Wolff put out the Coliseum North plan, set his own clock to complete the deal, and ran out the clock before moving on to Fremont. The next two years will be spent running out the clock again. He managed to get a nice piece of insurance in the year-to-year lease extension, in case of a rainy day (or several hundred). Wolff has no reason to leave his perch when he can turn the corner in 2 years while setting his sights on his ultimate goal. If Wolff failed in his next endeavor and was forced to go back to Oakland, it's likely that neither he nor Dellums would be around to make the deal. It would be up to their successors to repair the relationship.

Going back to T-rights, the Chronicle's Giants beat writer Henry Schulman asked Larry Baer, who said "From what we could tell, there is no change in (Selig's) position." That's exactly how I expect it to be for some time to come. That's why Wolff asked San Jose pols to tone down their enthusiasm. If he had not intervened, at some point someone was going to ask MLB directly about T-rights, and whether they asked nicely or aggressively, it wasn't going to curry favor with the Lodge. T-rights, whether stadium or broadcast, is MLB's leverage over any city or market. There's no point in asking unless you come to them unless you're ready to talk turkey. San Jose is in no position to do that yet.

Threats from legislators about removing the antitrust exemption would be misplaced. The exemption, which allows MLB to wield its iron fist over franchise movement, has kept the team in Oakland. If it didn't exist, the A's might already be somewhere else. If it were removed, San Jose would have no restrictions against teams moving there, and that would make Wolff's job easier. I'd love to see the exemption killed, but only because of the right motivations and principles, not something as misguided as what Dellums is considering.

It's going to be a long slog for any ballpark effort for the next 1-2 years. Let's not get distracted by the small stuff.

56 comments:

Georob said...

I think we tend to underestimate(largely because we're sick of hearing about it) the current economic crisis and its impact on ANY new stadium.

What's going to unfold over this coming season and probably 2010 is the future of baseball's revenue sources. If corporate support and advertising looks like its going to be down for an indefinite period, MLB may have to re-think much of its business model.

Until this all shakes out, stadium commitments are likely on hold anywhere. And that alone has to be driving Lew Wolff nuts.

So ML, while you're planning an updated primer on territorial rights, you may also want to talk about what we can look for this season to tell us whether or not MLB is looking at tough economic times ahead.

And although you may have covered it during the Fremont process, it may be a good idea to expand on Lew Wolff's comment about how "difficult it is to get projects built in California". For after all, Vegas, Portland, and San Antonio(a mere 2 hour drive from me) are all still waiting in the wings.

Anonymous said...

GeoRob-- I am only going to cite a few things that Wolff has said himself about willingness to take on a project like this during a recession---they included (paraphrased)- some of my best projects have been built in times like these---and----now is the time to be building---as well as noting that he always uses union labor for his projects--i.e---partnering with the union, getting their construction workers back to work, and leveraging their resources will be an important component.

The recession isn't going to last forever--in fact Bernanke is now predicting it will end in 2009---shovels in the ground in San Jose--earliest--early 2010--opening day in San Jose 2013---well after the recession and its impacts on MLB.

Zonis said...

ML, can you make a post describing what exactly would have to happen, or the timeline as you would, of a potential move to San Jose? What needs to be done first? What needs still to be completed? What has to happen before MLB votes on the issue, and how long after a successful vote can the A's start digging?

Anonymous said...

"There's no point in asking...unless you're ready to talk turkey. San Jose is in no position to do that yet."

ML, my question is pretty much the same as Zonis'. What does San Jose have to do to be "ready to talk turkey?"

Jesse said...

I Love your enthusiasm Anon 8:32.

I wish I were a fly on the wall in that meeting between Baer Nuekom and Selig. I bet they talked about possible compensation.

bartleby said...

Jesse,

I bet you're right. The Giants' statement was pretty carefully phrased: "From what we could tell, there is no change in his position." (Note use of present tense). I take that to mean, "We discussed the A's and San Jose, and Selig did not tell us he had yet changed his position. He also did not tell us he had not or would not in the future."

Paul said...

How's this for compensation: The Giants can hang one "Oakland A's World Series Champs" banner at PacBell Park since the Giants don't have any of those of their own.

The silly territorial rights thing has to go, for the good of baseball. Do the Giants expect to keep those for hundreds of years, perhaps?

If the territorial rights thing forces the A's out of the Bay Area, there will be the sudden creation of thousands of people who will forever despite Major League Baseball. Like me. Not a good business model.

Selig Must Die said...

I'm always shocked by how often T-rights comes up. MLB has shown little interest in holding onto this half-century old policy when dealing with moving franchises. I could easily see the Giants getting nothing more than garaunteed franchise value. Considering the A's were given no compensation for Santa Clara and Monterey counties when they were given to the Giants, what standing could Giants ownership really have in negotiations?

A bigger concern, by leaps and bounds, should be the economic future of MLB.

Marine Layer said...

I'm not planning to write about T-rights until after the April 7 SJ session. For now I'll give a short list:

1. The last remaining parcel needs to be acquired. If the owner is resistant, that raises the specter of eminent domain, which would trigger a vote.
2. EIR needs to be updated to reflect changes from 2006 and potentially different impacts from ballpark design differences.
3. Mayor and Council need to make the Autumn Parkway project a reality, including interim and permanent designs. They also need to identify funding for this infrastructure project.
4. Any additional public contribution needs to be identified, whether it's redev money, tax revenues, a cheap ground lease, etc.
5. The Diridon/Arena area plan may need to be updated to reflect the use change.
6. City has to decide if there will be a public vote, and what weight it will have. There's talk of a "symbolic" vote.

That's assuming that the A's have the financing and development schedule squared away.

Georob said...

Those who are convinced that an announcement is forthcoming and that groundbreaking will take place in San Jose within the next 12 months are going to be disappointed.

Like I've said, if we were THAT close to a deal being worked out, Lew Wolff wouldn't be out there making statements about Oakland. Instead, he'd be keeping quiet.

If and when a deal comes to pass, they'll be plenty of time for San Jose fans to celebrate. But this "screw you Giants, we're taking our territory" and "screw you Oakland, we're taking your team" talk doesn't do anything to help your cause.

Jeffrey said...

This weekend I drove out to Sacramento, to Elk Grove specifically to tie up some loose ends from my move back to the bay 18 months ago.

I think Georob has a point about the economy, but I think that actually affects relocation out of the Bay Area more than relocation within the Bay Area (funding in either case is affected somehow of course).

I drove down my former street and was amazed to see, out of the 14 houses in the court, 5 for sell and 2 that were visibly empty but not for sale (yet). 50%... wow.

We in the Bay Area are pretty insulated from the deepest pain of the recession/housing meltdown. I think that can actually work in San Jose's (or Oakland if the pissing match ends) favor.

MLB can either have another Kansas City/Tampa Bay/insert lower revenue team here or they can have another Chicago (two teams, both pretty okay revenue wise).

I would imagine that any bank that was willing to loan funds for whatever portion of any new stadium that required loaned funds would rather loan them to a team that was building in a place like the Bay Area/Silicon Valley rather than a place like Portland, San Antonio or Sacramento. You have to imagine it is less risky in a place with the majority of Fortune 1000 companies in the state in close proximity.

Anonymous said...

Georob--I am not saying screw Oakland or screw the Giants--I am saying screw the concept that the A's can be successful competing against the Giants in their current digs.

Also, I am against wasting anymore time trying to figure things out in Oakland when nothing tangible has developed over the past 15 years! And I am against the Giants/MLB holding the A's/Bay Area hostage with the sole intent of the Giants to force the A's out of the Bay Area so they have a single market team. Any true A's fan should be pissed off by what the Giants are trying to do!

Relative to the schedule I outlined in a previous post--shovels in the ground in SJ early 2010---sticking to it--time is of the essense--

Anonymous said...

Shovels in the ground in 2010? Even Fremont wouldn't have started that quickly.

I swear, the sense of entitlement with the San Jose posters is staggering. At least Jaqcuie at the other blog knows there's work to be done. Here it's "announcement in three weeks, groundbreaking in less than a year"

What BS!

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:45- who said announcement in 3 weeks? And who said Fremont would not have been ready in early 2010? The EIR was one of the key drags on timeframe in Fremont and without the site change to WS it would have been done in I believe the April/May timeframe--

SJ already has the EIR done--update it yes--projection is weeks not years-

It has nothing to do with a sense of entitlement--I would have been just as happy if the A's and Oakland were getting ready to put shovels in the ground or if Fremont PC was getting ready to move forward--Bottom line--its time to move---enough of the delays/bs---We need a new stadium and the sooner we get it the quicker we can compete

Anonymous said...

Speaking of sense of entitlement, does this sound at all familiar:

"Even though we stole the team from Kansas City, and even though we've mostly ignored it even as it won four world championships, and regardless of whether it is economically viable here, we should get to keep the team in Oakland forever because, well, it's here now. Any owner who is not willing to show us how much he loves us by losing tens of millions of dollars per year subsidizing the team so it can field an All-Star team in Oakland like the sainted Mr. Haas is clearly a greedy, evil carpetbagger. Any neighboring city which might agree to host the team so it can stay in the region after we have made no meaningful effort to do so for fifteen years is clearly a greedy, evil, backstabbing city of Sodom with no understanding of the natural love and brotherhood that should prevail in the fraternity of neighbor cities."

Brian said...

/\/\/\ We didn't compete in 2000-04 and '06? We're not going to compete this year?

Anonymous said...

The Giants suck.

Tony D. said...

Hey R.M.,

I know a lot of us ask you to post on things that strike our interests/curiousity's. Well, here I go again! Perhaps you could do a post on the other two-team MLB markets and how those teams are fairing in shared territories: LA, NY, Chicago. Not sure if DC/Baltimore is now shared. How do those teams co-exist? Any underlying tensions? Is it worth more to a franchise to share, say, 8 counties with another franchise rather than, say, have 4 exclusively to yourself?

As for fly's on the wall at Spring Training, I'm pretty sure Selig also met with Wolff. Heck, Wolff probably met with Neukom/Baer himself. How about a Selig, Wolff, Neukom/Baer meeting over beers? Remember, they're all part of one big, happy fraternity!

Anonymous said...

Brian-if competing to you means occassionally getting into the playoffs...good for you....my competitive juices are a bit higher--prefer to win the ALCS and even the WS--

Time to move beyond the A's being a part of the Yankee's and others farm system to a self-sustaining organization that no longer requires a subsidy from MLB as a "small" market team

Anonymous said...

I love the revisionist history being spouted by San Jose partisans. "Oakland hasn't done a thing in 15 years."

How many times did Steve Schott, and now Lew Wolff, make an effort to work with Oakland? Everyone talks about the site in Uptown Oakland as if Steve Schott EVER showed the SLIGHTEST interest in building a ballpark there. Hundreds of A's fans packed the Oakland City Hall chambers in support of that site, and the Oakland A's didn't even send a low level representative. However, Steve Schott did find some time to go to the Santa Clara City Council and utter these infamous words, "Our future is not in Oakland."

Lew Wolff, was never interested in building anything in Oakland. He lied to the fans and made a phony presentation. Wolff spent 24 million in Fremont and made countless appearances at Fremont City Hall. Wolff, spent a few hundred on "cartoon" sketches in Oakland, and, I doubt he even knows where Oakland City Hall is. So please, keep your "Oakland didn't do a thing" revisionist history BS to yourself. I suppose spending 200,000 on HOK drawings and site analysis is "doing nothing."

Schott and Wolff are the ones who did NOTHING to make a ballpark in Oakland a reality. They bought the team with the intention of moving it to the South Bay. Oakland has never had a shot with these two carpetbaggers. The one from Los Gatos wasn't much better than the current one from LA.

Oakland needs to kick this guy out of the Coliseum and use the stadium for concerts, motocross, conventions, and international soccer matches.

I resent having the stench of these MLB crooks soiling my hometown. He needs to get out of here, and the sooner the better. Oakland doesn't need to subsidize this man with a sweetheart lease.

Marine Layer said...

Other than the fact that the other two-team markets are equitably shared, there's really no comparison to make. The Bay Area is unique enough in its political and economic structure as well as its population distribution to make any comparison practically worthless.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:26-- the most Oakland ever did is fire the very individual who actually had vision for an Oakland ballpark--Robert Bobb

If Oakland had identified a site, acquired the property, and achieved a certified EIR for a ballpark than you would have the right to stand on your grandstand and play the victim card that most Oaklanders on this site love to do.

It is hard to negotiate with a previous city leader (moonunit) who had no interest in the A's or sports in general, fired those whod did, or with the current administration which is missing in action most of the time.

Sorry--even the Alamdea supervisors realized that Fremont was the best that they could do because Oakland could not, and would not be able to get its act together--its unfortunate that Fremont was stopped by a few selfish big box stores---but I have no sympathy for the leaders of Oakland or those on this site that play the Oakland victim card and try to label Wolff as the villian.

Anonymous said...

Other than Tony, the Oakland contingent are certainly more "partisan" than those from San Jose. Not everyone is out to poach the team out of pure malice. Some just want baseball nearer to them, some want a secure future for the club and others are looking out for the health of the municipality they govern. This isn't a pissing contest. Keep the "real" and "gritty" Oakland posing at AN.

gojohn10 said...

Wolff apologizes and other good tidbits:

"My real intent wasn't to insult Oakland. It was so we wouldn't open up the door we couldn't close," Wolff said. "I was mostly trying to make sure we didn't raise expectations. There was nothing different than what we spent so much effort on. I wouldn't have said anything had they had a site."

Not really an apology, but close enough IMO. I love how he ends the quote by blaming Oakland for not finding a site. If they had, maybe he wouldn't have acted like such an ass! Classic.

Anonymous said...

Oh well--I guess my wife is right-I can be an insensitive ass also---because I still don't see the problem with Wolff's letter--direct is always better in managing expectations---

And what's the deal with taking a shot at him for suggesting that Oakland should have found a site---its only been 15 years---why would reasonable minds assume that this is plenty of time to find a reasonable site for a ballpark...oh well...go figure...there I go again being insensive-

daveinsm said...

saw this article on sjmercury.com

not really sure what we can read from this as the source is from sf chronic (super giants homer)

"We occasionally get to have a different definition of "news" here on the Morning Buzz page. As such, it was determined that this is the proper place to address events of recent days on the A's stadium front: whole lotta, maybe not nothin', but probably not quite somethin' either.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, baseball Commissioner Bud Selig met with Giants managing partner William Neukom and President Larry Baer on Sunday in Arizona and, Baer said, hinted that he would protect the Giants' territorial rights to San Jose.

"From what we could tell, there is no change in his position," Baer said.

Didn't exactly set off panic with A's boss Lew Wolff, who seems to be down to one option after pulling out of Fremont talks and giving Oakland the back of his hand, or San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed.

"I wasn't at that meeting," Wolff told the Mercury News' Denis Theriault, adding that he was in Arizona and busy watching the game.

Said Reed: "This is truly a very inside baseball kind of thing, and it's impossible to tell from the outside what's going on. We're just getting ready to get in the game."

In other words, plans continue apace for that City Council meeting April 7, as long as Reed can maintain his reserve of baseball-related metaphors without accidentally throwing in a stray March Madness reference."

http://www.mercurynews.com/sports/ci_11928755

gojohn10 said...

I'm not bagging on Wolff for bashing Oakland for not finding a site. I'm bagging on him for using that as an excuse for his behavior.

Anonymous said...

Chip Johnson is acting as if the team is moving back to KC or Philly--rather than 30 miles down the road--articles like this do nothing to support the primary purpose which is to keep the A's in the Bay Area---and we have one last chance to do it--already starting to see the rumors of Las Vegas courting the A's as reported in an ESPN article or to hear the sounds of contraction again.

I look forward to hearing Chip defend his article some day if San Jose doesn't work out and the A's are outta here---than the Oakland posters will really be able to use the Seattle analogy because a new ownership group ain't going to be looking at Oakland again--

Anonymous said...

ML, seen this gossip ??

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/03/17/SPGL16G876.DTL

John Shea

Wolff takes a break from talking about A's move

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lew Wolff said he's trying to take a break from discussing a new home for his A's, but he's constantly reminded of possible future destinations. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that A's officials were in Las Vegas Sunday meeting with the mayor and commissioner, and the New York Daily News went as far as saying there's talk of contraction.

Marine Layer said...

Of course I have. When Mayor Goodman says something, I'll write about it. He knows he's been used in the past, is he willing to be used again?

Jeffrey said...

Hey Anon 1:03 have you seen this
http://oakland.athletics.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090317&content_id=4003976&vkey=news_oak&fext=.jsp&c_id=oak

Wolff said that no one from the A's was in Vegas, and an MLB spokesman said Selig was flying from Arizona to Milwaukee on Monday, according to the Chronicle.

and

Wolff also said that he has heard nothing regarding contraction, which the New York Daily News suggested last month is possible for the A's and Florida Marlins when the collective bargaining agreement expires in December 2011. The Marlins are trying to get government approvals for a new ballpark in Miami.

"There's been no discussion of that with me," he said. "The history of the A's is so significant. I just don't think that's sensible."

Anonymous said...

I despise Lew Wolff and his franchise. I was a loyal Oakland A's fan since 1969. I watched every game which was televised, and listened to Bill King on the radio. I watched Rickey Henderson, Reggie Jackson, Dave Stewart, Eck, etc. The four game sweep by Oakland over San Francisco was the best feeling I've ever had in sports. Oakland finally got off the deck and knocked out the bully next door. How sweet it was. I hated the San Francisco Giants with a passion.

But now, I would cheer for the San Francisco Giants to defeat the San Jose Athletics everyday of the week and twice on Sunday. Lew Wolff stabbed Oakland in the back. He stole our team, and for that, I will never forgive him.

San Jose is nothing but an enabler and opportunist in this debacle. This theft of Oakland's team is designed to raise San Jose's national profile and quell that ever present inferiority complex. San Jose needs to get their own teams and leave Oakland's alone. If they leave the Bay Area, so be it. The San Jose Athletics would not be anything remotely to do with the rich tradition of the Oakland A's anyway. I agree with Chip Johnson, Oakland should sue for the uniforms, and the right for the next available team.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:51--what a joke you are as an A's fan---oh that's right--your a city of Oakland fan---not an A's fan---San Jose represents the last chance to keep the A's in the Bay Area---you and some of the other Oaklander supporters prefer that they move out of state over relocating 30 miles down the road--and you call yourself an A's fan--right-

If San Jose doesn't work out more than likely you will get your wish--and the A's will be bought by another Clay Bennett type of group and have them out of town while your still whining that Oakland should be given another shot--and of course Oakland still wont have a site identified by this time either.

To trash San Jose, who without even knowing if they will have the opportunity for MLB, still managed to put together and acquire the perfect downtown site which is the only viable site with a completed EIR in the Bay Area--and they did this in less than 3 years---what the f*** has Oakland been doing for the past 15?

True fans don't bolt because their team moves 30 miles down the road so that they can be more competitive on the field---time for your to admit your city of Oakland fan and not an A's fan--

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:51 you are a fucking joke. Go root for the Giants. You're no fan. Oh, and take all the other fools who think just like you along with you. This franchise will be 100% better the minute you do.

Anonymous said...

If the A's leave, Oakland is not getting another MLB team. Certainly not if they land in San Jose or Sacramento; there's no way this area can support three teams.

Even if the A's leave the state, what team owner in their right mind would move to Oakland? 40 years of bad attendance, zero business base, zero chance of public funding, and an entrenched competitor a mere 10 miles away. It is questionable whether Portland, San Antonio, or Las Vegas can support an MLB team, but any sensible owner will take his chances with one of those unproven/zero competition markets over a market that has proven it will not support a team. A third team in New York City makes more sense. Even Montreal has a better chance of getting a second chance.

Oakland isn't getting to keep the records and colors, either. Seattle and Cleveland both were able to broker those deals because the moving teams were breaking leases with several years left on them and had substantial legal exposure they wanted to settle. As has been detailed here previously, the A's are unlikely to be breaking a lease and will have minimal exposure if they do.

Also, since the Sonics and Browns were moving completely out of market, the value of the intellectual property in the team names, logos and records wasn't worth nearly as much as it would be to the A's if they stay in region. If the A's go to SJ and Sac, they will be trying to retain the existing fan base (such as it is) as well as develop a new one. They are just not going to give up those assets.

Anonymous said...

wow at these oakland people. just wow! amazing. im from san jose and having the a's here would be a dream come true, but if they end up in sac, ill still be a huge fan. talk about bitterness.

Anonymous said...

Those assets belong to the "Oakland" Athletics. Those records belong to the "Oakland" Athletics. And those uniforms are synonyms with the "Oakland" Athletics. Oakland has every right to sue and keep those precious momentous of a great legacy dating back to Jim "Catfish" Hunter, Sal Bando, Campy Campaneras, Joe Rudi, Vida Blue, Reggie Jackson, Rickey Henderson, Jose Canseco, Dave Stewart, etc. These players have nothing to do with San Jose.

Also, I think the Oakland A's have "competed" pretty well in Oakland. Four World Series titles, six appearances in the World Series, and thirteen playoff appearances. They've competed better than anyone who isn't the Yankees in the forty years they've been in Oakland. So please, the "competing" argument is bogus.

Wolff wants to take the A's out of Oakland to enhance his business assets in the South Bay. This is a business decision for the sole benefit of a few rich people. This has nothing to do with what's best for the majority of Oakland A's fans in the Bay Area. This has always been about relocation. This has never been about building a ballpark for the "Oakland" A's.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:06--time to just ignore your circular arguments that were valid 20+years ago--from your perspective you believe what is best for the "majority of Oakland A's fans is to move out of state--

Screw you and stop speaking for me--I represent one of those fans and I want them to stay in the Bay Area--and since San Jose is the best shot to do that--so be it---Oakland had its chance-- Fremont had its chance--time for SJ to deliver so we don't lose them!

Anonymous said...

So San Jose has the inferiority complex yet Oaklanders are predicting the end of the world if the Philadelphia/Kansas City/Oakland A's leave town? Yeah right, navigator.

Anonymous said...

As an Oakland A's fan, it's sad to see how this ownership has divided the fandom

Anonymous said...

anon 10:17--disagree with you completely--its not the ownership fault for trying to find a suitable home for the A's so that they can stay in the Bay Area--and that location, after trying Oakland and Fremont happens to be San Jose--

I appreciate that Wolff is trying to keep the team in NorCal--it would be far to easy to have the Sonics situation here right now with a different ownership group--bottom line--you can bet that San Antonio, Vegas or some other community wanting MLB is/will offer a much better deal than any city in the Bay Area could ever dream of---and Wolff has refused to bite even though that is what the Giants want---to be the only team in the Bay Area---

Time to quit trashing the ownership group and show some appreciation for sticking it out here when it would be much easier and lucrative to move elsewhere--

Tony D. said...

anon 10:47,

While your sentiment is right on, your suggestion that some other, out-of-state community will offer Lew Wolff/A's a much better deal than SJ/Bay Area is absurd.

Breaking news for you: we are currently experiencing the deepest recession since WWII. Where else are the A's/Wolff going to find a locale with quality, dedicated downtown land for a ballpark? A $120 million naming rights deal? Corporate support in the likes of Silicon Valley?

Much easier and lucrative to move elsewhere? If I was a rowdy teen, I'd ask you to pass some of that $hit this way.

Jeffrey said...

Wow. What a bunch of hot air-

I was born in Oakland. I love the city. There are plenty of great things about it, but... I certainly don't agree that the A's should be in Oakland or move out of state. I'd prefer to follow the team and be able to visit a new stadium the 10-20 times a season I visit the current one.

Chip is way off on the colors and records thing. 1st, the more analogous moves would be franchises like the Giants and Jets of New York, the Pistons of Detroit, The Angels of LA/Anaheim, etc. These are teams that moved within an existing Metropolitan area and kept their colors, name, records, etc.

Now if it was the original Milwaukee Brewers, who moved to St. Louis and became the Browns and then moved to Baltimore and became the Orioles... color and name changes in those sort of instances are definitely appropriate. Or, the original Baltimore Orioles who moved to New York and ended up being the Yankees. Who can forget the absurdity of the Tennessee Oilers?

2nd, the A's do not belong to Oakland. The argument can be made that they belong to one of two groups- the ownership group or the current fans. In the case of the current fans, many of them are not from Oakland. Many of them do not care if the A's play in Oakland or San Jose or Fremont or Pleasanton, or Concord or Walnut Creek or San Ramon or Hayward or Union City or etc. Primarily because that is where they come from. A's fans are regional in nature, just like Giants fans. It is the Bay Area and for Saturday and Sunday games it is the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys. For any fan who lives in any of these regions to try and speak for the entirety of the whole fan base is absurd. You should stop doing that, ti makes you look bad.

I have always had one question for Oakland only fans who spout this sort of gibberish and claim broad support for the opinion... Why did the "Keep the A's in Oakland" movement started over at the OAFC never gain steam? Why did the rally that they organized attract 200 people at best? It certainly wasn't Lew Wolff's fault, he wasn't even around. The only logical answer is that it is because most of the fan base is passionate about the A's but not the city they play in. You can come up with 900 reasons for why they are not passionate about Oakland, but it doesn't really matter. All that does matter is the that they aren't and you whining about it on a blog isn't going to change that.

The second group of people they belong to are the owners, as I stated above. In the legal sense of the word "ownership," they have a much more vested interest in the fortunes of the team off the field. If you want to make decisions for them, get cracking on whatever invention, business or stock scheme you can so that you can afford the hundreds of millions of dollars it takes to buy the team. Until then, keep blowing hot air for everyone to laugh at, I for one appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Tony D- you miss the point--dedicated land for a ballpark does you no good if you can't move there--and if you are allowed to consider to move there than there are a host of other challenges that will need to be overcome to make it a reality---challenges that Wolff has alluded about doing anything in California--regardless of where a stadium is built---and this doesn't even begin to touch on the issue of who pays for the land, what sort of vote is required etc. At some point overcoming these challenges may not be worth the effort--

Like you, I hope that Wolff is successful so we can keep the A's in the Bay Area- and I agree that it is one of the most attractive sports markets in the country--but make no mistake--there are plenty of deep pockets out there in other communities that would love the opportunity to put together a package to attract the A's that would quickly far surpass having to shell out $500+M plus land costs for a privately developed stadium.

Look no further than the Seattle Supersonics---a deep pockets new ownership group moved them to an inferior market, where they have a sweetheart deal, not because it made the most business sense but because they wanted NBA basketball in their community and btw--the competing offer was to move them to San Jose--

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:06,

Those assets most certainly do not belong to the "Oakland" Athletics. They belong to the Philadelphia/Kansas City/Oakland Athletics, which in turn belong to Mr. Wolff and Mr. Fisher. (I love how you keep ignoring the rich history of the team before it got to Oakland, and how Oakland didn't blink when stealing some other city's team).

The chance that Oakland can sue and take control of those assets is exactly zero. There simply is no legal theory under which the team can be forced to relinquish its intellectual property to the city.

Even the Sonics and Browns would never have been ordered by a court to turn over their IP; that result could be and was realized only as part of a settlement. Art Modell and Clay Bennett voluntarily relinquished their IP assets because they were facing years in court and millions of dollars in damages for breaching their leases. (In Bennett's case, he was also looking at the possibility of being ordered to stay in Seattle for two more years). Considering that they were moving to completely new markets, the IP rights they relinquished were worth less to them than the monetary liability they faced. The same dynamics simply don't apply to the A's.

Also, both Cleveland and Seattle had very realistic chances of landing replacement teams, which Oakland does not. These rights would be worthless to the city of Oakland even if they somehow could be obtained, except for spite. If I were an Oakland taxpayer, I would be outraged if the city spent even a nickel on such a frivolous quest, especially after having made zero investment to keep the team.

And of course, all this blather about the A's four championships is completely beside the point. The competition that is relevant to this thread is the A's ability to compete with the Giants as a business, not on the field. (Although sooner or later the former will certainly affect the latter).

Anonymous said...

ML,

I've been following your blog for several years now and I think it's very interesting with all the info you've been able to dish out. Good work!

I remember seeing a quote from LW about a year or so..."We don't want to start pitting cities against each other." However to be honest though, it seems like that's exactly what's going on from what I've been reading between the Oakland and San Jose partisans as of lately. I'm not trying to point fingers at who's talking the most trash or who's city is better...better for the A's, but it's seems to be getting a little old.

The bottom line is no one seems to know where the team's future is. There seems to only be a bunch of people who thinks they can predict the future during this economic crisis. Or they think they can read LW, Commissioner Selig and MLB Officials' minds. LW has already made it very clear that he does NOT want to discuss ballpark sites for the time being, which I can totally understand given all the stress he's received lately.

I really enjoy reading the comments from others, but coming from someone who's been following for some time, it seems like all the negative feedback being posted is all the same trash talking that has already been covered from both cities for some time now. It's making me (and I do know a few others who feels the same way) also want to take a break from the ballpark discussions since nothing positive seems to be coming out of all this.

What's sad is that we all live in the Bay Area...in my opinion one of the places to live in the country!! We have these two really great cities from the Bay that's not called San Francisco. Two great cities that anyone living in should feel very proud about. But it's very sad to now see that because of the A's...a team that I've watched my whole life and have been attending over 40 games a year...has been tearing them even farther apart from each other, and I'm not talking about geographically.

Can't we all just talk about positive issues? Maybe we should leave all the negativity at the door and only comment on positive sites whether it be in Oakland or San Jose? Or how to possibly get a stadium funded etc. If there isn't any positive things to say, then maybe they shouldn't be said at all!!

For now the A's will continue to play in Oakland for the next several years. I know San Jose partisans don't want to talk about the truth, but it is what it is. There has not been one single article that has come out publicly indicating that the A's will end up in San Jose. Only speculations and some South Bay residents who seems to think it's a done deal. But the real truth is (regardless if the EVERYONE knows that LW has ALWAYS wanted to move the A's down south), neither he or Selig or MLB have made any indications that his team will be able to move to Giants territory. If anything, Baer seems to have indicated that in his meeting in AZ with Selig, that he still assured SF of those t-rights.

In my opinion LW is painting himself into a corner not knowing what his next move will be. There's a big difference with imagining and getting it done. In 4 years as owner he has not gotten anything done besides close the 3rd deck at the Coliseum. No Fremont stadium, no San Jose, no moving out of Oakland and the lamest idea...no shortened postseason. He also obviously realizes his comment towards Oakland last Friday wasn't the smartest business move to begin what looks to be a promising season. Maybe it is time for him to sell the team to a owner who knows how to work with what he has and make the best of it??

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:42-- you almost had me fooled into thinking there was going to be a group hug--but alas---you digress to attacking LW and suggesting he sell to someone else who is willing to continue to get screwed by Oakland and the Giants--as well as accusing the San Jose partisans of ignoring the truth---whatever that is---nice work though---so much for leading the change to postive thread--

Anonymous said...

Jeffrey,

I'd like to address some of your points.

First of all, I don't live in Oakland at the moment. I did however, grow up in Oakland and followed the Oakland A's since I was ten years old. Many people who don't live in Oakland, still feel that Oakland is the mecca for Oakland A's baseball. As evident by the comments in the Chronicle's A's related articles, an overwhelming number of people get positive responses when they suggest that the team should build a ballpark in Oakland. An overwhelming number of "thumbs up" are given to posters who suggest Oakland ballpark sites. The fact that many people who go to the games are from surrounding suburbs, is just the norm for most MLB teams, including the San Francisco Giants.

I don't think anyone can quibble that most current Oakland A's fans want the A's to build that ballpark in Oakland. The emotional argument for the tradition and history is compelling. Many people however, attempt to rationalize a move out of Oakland as "good for business." Although a "good for business" argument may have more validity than the unquestionable emotional, historical, and tradition argument which Oakland wins hands down, it still has a very good counter argument in favor of Oakland.

I will try to present my case for a ballpark in Oakland on economic and "good for business" principles.

First of all, Oakland is centrally located to the current fan base. Oakland has great public transportation, Oakland has available sites including the Oakland Coliseum where NIMBY opposition would be non-existent. Oakland has potential sites downtown and along the waterfront which would give the Oakland Athletics the only sites which would compete aesthetically with AT&T Park.

I just don't see how ceding Oakland and the surrounding suburbs to the Giants, while embarking head-long into an area which historical has been made up of a majority of San Francisco Giant fans, makes economic and business sense. It may make sense in the process of actually building the physical ballpark, but, it makes no sense to destroy your fan base and virtually hand over the Oakland Metro Area to San Francisco. This is a recipe for long-term disaster. San Francisco will retain many of its Peninsula and South Bay fans, while at the same time consolidating its strength in the Oakland Metro Area.

Where will people in Oakland, Berkeley, Albany, Alameda, Orinda, Lafayette, Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek go for their baseball? Will they travel 45 miles to see the team that spurned them in a land-locked baseball park next to downtown San Jose, or, will they drive between 10 and 30 miles to a beautiful waterfront park in San Francisco?

The solution for the Oakland A's is not running away from their competition but meeting it head on. The solution is to build an equally beautiful ballpark on the Oakland waterfront near Jack London Square and compete head on with San Francisco. A ballpark in Jack London Square would solidify the current fan-base, it would stop the current hemorrhaging of fans who cross the Bay Bridge in order to get a better ballpark experience. A ballpark in Jack London Square would capture many fans from Orinda, Lafayette, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek along with retaining fans from Hayward, Pleasanton, and even Fremont. Also, a brand new beautiful ballpark in Jack London Square would generate interest even among San Franciscans. The Giants would be put on the defensive in their own territory. A shiny new toy in an equally beautiful setting tends generate curiosity even in San Francisco. All one has to do is see how successful the new FOX Oakland Theater has been in drawing sold out audiences from all over the Bay Area.

Even in an economic argument Oakland has an excellent case. The only reason this isn't happening is that the ownership simply refuses to entertain the possibility. The ownership instead choose to alienate their customers and then wonder why, "season ticket sales are down."

The Oakland Athletics are not listening to their customers. Until they realize this, their customer base will continue to erode. A baseball park in San Jose does not excite the majority of Oakland A's fans in the same way that a ballpark in Oakland, in Jack London Square, does. All one has to do is read the comments section of the San Francisco Chronicle.

I just don't understand Lew Wolff's kamikaze business model and customer retention PR. Is Lew Wolff purposely destroying this franchise? From his recent comments and behavior, that's the only reasonable conclusion.

Anonymous said...

1:08, fabulous propaganda. What is this "land-locked" crap? Any worthwhile park must be fronting water? News to me.

As for this big morale boost in Jack London Square and rallying the troops of the East Bay to combat the evil Giants of San Francisco, well all I can say is that you're high on idealist fantasy. Salesmanship won't get you a stadium.

Anonymous said...

Most , if not all current ( non-SJ based ) Bay Area sports reporters grew up elsewhere -like Ohio , so they are not lifer fans of " our " teams . Writing about " our " teams is just a job in the town they ended up in.

I would bet a lot of them live in the East Bay ( lower cost of living vs SF/Peninsula/Marin ) but close enough to cover Raiders/As/Warriors/49ers/Giants on game day .

They are inherently lazier and dumber since childhood - that's why they ended up with a " career " covering sports instead of becoming a neurosurgeon . So most will trump the inherent " goodness" of playing in Oakland ( vs SJ ) 'cause that's probably closer to where they live so it's a shorter commute , not because it's a journalistic or altruistic crusade to trickle down game day money to Oakland's " little people "
So read their write-ups with that in mind.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:08,

What a bunch of inane crap. Once again, you cannot maintain logical consistency even through the course of a single post.

First of all, in what universe will fans shun a "land locked" park in a vibrant, downtown area of San Jose, yet flock to a park on the current Coliseum site? It has apparently escaped your notice that the Coliseum site is equally landlocked, 10 times dirtier and more dangerous, and about 100 times duller in terms of things to do in the immediate vicinity.

Second, you posit that A's fans in northern Alameda and Contra Costa counties will abandon the team because of distance if the team plays in San Jose, but that Giants fans in San Jose will ignore the park in their back yard and continue to make the trip to San Francisco. Sorry, this is contradictory, unsupported, self-serving BS.

Third, MANY of us would "quibble" with the notion that most A's fans want a new ballpark specifically in Oakland. Most A's fans want a new park somewhere in the area, and are far less particular about where it is located. Key points: 1. New 2. In Bay Area. Not key point: Specifically in Oakland. In fact, while many fans might like the idea of a downtown Oakland site, I believe most would prefer San Jose or Fremont over the current Coliseum site, which is horrible.

Fourth, your "excellent economic case" for Oakland ignores the fact that Oakland has zero business base, which drives modern baseball economics. Well done, professor. Suites and club seats will not sell in Oakland, especially with AT&T park a mere ten miles away, and without them the team is not viable. You've already claimed that South Bay fans are so Giants-centric that they won't come see the A's in their back yard; they're certainly not going to suddenly start showing up in droves if the team builds in Oakland.

Finally, "I scanned the comments section of SFGate, and most posters want a park in Oakland" is NOT a scientific survey. First, I question if that is the case. Second, South Bay and Southern Alameda county people are represented because they do not read the Chronicle, the read the Merc. Third, a huge percentage of those "Oakland only" posts are repeat postings from the same half-dozen anonymous wingnuts who post at OAFC.

Jeffrey said...

Hey anon 1:08

I appreciate the sentiment. I am personally in FAVOR of a ballpark in Oakland and in FAVOR of a ball park in San Jose (and was in FAVOR of a ballpark in Fremont). Still, a quick rebut-

1st- people liking something on the Chronicle message board is not anywhere near a scientific poll. It is pretty useless as a measure of what city A's fans support.

For a very long time there has been talk of an A's stadium in various parts of the Bay Area. In 2001, there were "Keep the A's in Oakland" rally's. I went to two of them, let's just say there was not overwhelming support. Or we can say, barley anyone took the time to show up.

I have been following this process for a long time and there is no "potential" site in Oakland that hasn't been poured over multiple times and there has been very little support from the City of Oakland in getting any of these sites squared away. That is a stark contrast to what is currently the state of the San Jose stadium solution... the city owns the land and has an approved EIR. Those two things put them light years ahead form a business perspective.

2- In order to build the stadium, there will need to be a way to fund the stadium. This will require some upfront pledges of coin, or PSL's. The San Jose corporate community makes that city far more attractive because of this.

Right now, those big companies have two choices, a beautiful water front stadium in a world class city, or a run down toilet bowl looking concrete donut in a city that is not world class and a place most people fly into before driving to San Francisco.

A stadium in downtown San Jose (where I personally spend many an hour at trade shows, business meetings and business lunches) would offer a better alternative to AT&T Park and thus could expect to generate more revenue for the team. Oakland simply doesn't have a corporate dynamic at all.

The only argument for Oakland, is an emotional one. But I am okay with that. Cause if there is a new stadium in JLS, I will go to it the same as I would one at Diridon. Although, I would point out that JLS has gone through several iterations in the recent past and oddly a baseball stadium has never been a serious consideration and a ballpark at JLS would probably just be a knock off of AT&T Park... but whatever... either way I am in!

Anonymous said...

4:19,

1)You can't ignore the fact that the majority of Oakland A's fans come from the Oakland Metro Area.

2)You cant ignore the fact that Oakland is more centrally located than San Jose to the 7 million residents of the Bay Area.

3)All though the Coliseum parking lot isn't as appealing to me personally as a Jack London Square park, the central location, the unmatched access to BART, the view of the verdant Oakland hills, along with the familiarity most A's fans have of the area, and the non-existent NIMBY opposition which is certainly to come forward from people living near the downtown San Jose site, make the Oakland Coliseum parking lot the easiest and most convenient location to build a ballpark in the Bay Area.

Having said that, I think the only way to compete directly with the Giants is with an equally beautiful ballpark on the Oakland Waterfront.

As far as the corporations, if you build it, they will come. Oakland has Clorox, Kaiser, Dreyer's, Cost Plus, Ask, Zhone Technologies, etc. The Walnut Creek, Concord and the Tri-Valley area, have corporations like Chevron, Safeway, etc. Also, there's no law in the books that states that San Francisco companies, who BTW, have a majority of employees living in the East Bay, would be prohibited from buying tickets or luxury suites in a brand new beautiful waterfront park in Jack London Square.

My logic is perfectly fine. If only I could figure out Lew Wolff's logic in his kamikaze policies and e-mails.

Jeffrey said...

Corporations: Oakland has 1 fortune 1000 company. Clorox. None of the others you mention generate enough revenue to fit into that category.

But if you want to play that game- the entire East Bay was home to 10 Fortune 1000 companies on the last list (1 Oakland, 1 Alameda, 2 Pleasanton, 2 Walnut Creek, 1 Concord, 1 San Ramon, 2 Fremont) . One of those is no longer a company (Long's Drugs), so they are down to 9. Of those 9, two are in South Fremont, which would actually be closer to San Jose and the Tri Valley companies are similar distances from both Oakland and San Jose.

The South Bay is home to 30 Fortune 1000 companies (including the two in Fremont). From a corporate support stand point, there is no question which part of our region is better suited to host a baseball team.

Even with that, I am cool with a stadium in Oakland (I don't agree that it should be a copy of AT&T Park but that is a whole other debate). I would attend games there the same as I would in San Jose. You are correct that Oakland is more centrally located... but it is also closer to the Giants and as we have all witnessed those fans from Contra Costa and the surrounding area, and those companies in San Francisco have been choosing the Giants for about a decade now.

There is more money in the South Bay than there is in the East Bay, both Corporate and Median Income of residents. From a purely business perspective... Oakland is not even in the same league as San Jose.

You haven't made a strong argument for Oakland at all from a business perspective.

Even with that, there are two big hurdles that remain for San Jose... funding and territorial rights. Oakland only has one of those challenges.

As I alluded to earlier, the funding hurdle is probably easier to get over in San Jose than Oakland because of the corporate support. That revenue stream would be a big consideration for any company underwriting a loan to finance a stadium.

All of these things... those are the logic Lew Wolff is using. It's the same logic a lot of successful business man would use. If you weren't biased you would see it, even if you don't agree for emotional reasons.

LeAndre said...

kinda agree with Anon. 4:52 on this one,

I think the idea that Wolff exhausted ALL the sites in Oakland is a little overboard. I think the old fire station by Jack London is perfect, fans constantly suggest it, writers from the papers suggest it, and Oakland has suggested it. I don't remember Wolff ever giving that site an official try. The only problem I can see with it is the obtaining of multiple land owners, which can be a problem, but is far from impossible. If he gave the coliseum south a try, which looks way more difficult to pull off, than I don't see why he wouldn't try the old fire station.

San Jose has appeared to have done more because they already own the land for the DS site, which is great. But this is why they were able to get the EIR, Oakland doesn't own the land for there sites, so they don't really have the position to do that. Now I'm not saying they couldn't be doing more, I just think its a little unfair to say Oakland has done absolutely nothing, when Wolff has already went after sites, such as Fremont and Warm Springs, that wasn't owned by the city, and didn't have EIR's.

Basically SJ has the T-Rights, which appears to be a wall thats still very thick, no matter what some of your egos might tell you. So I just dont see the big deal in giving the other sites like the old fire station a try. And no matter where the ballpark is, there will be corporate sponsoring and spending. Does SJ have a little more, yes. But Oakland still has enough IMO, not to mention there are a lot in the valley (Walnut Creek, Concord, Lafayette, etc.) the arent being counted for. And I strongly believe if the A's stayed in Oakland they could still receive sponsoring from Silicon Valley, look at the Oracle Arena. Thats NOT an Oakland company.

Marine Layer said...

No offense guys, but you're going around in circles. I'm cutting the thread off now.