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18 March 2009

Winter/Spring 2009 Progress Report

It's a "quiet period," so you know what that means. It's time for the seasonal ballpark progress report.


First up, the home team. All of the indicators have been reset back to zero, with the exception of funding. Cisco's continued pledge to provide naming rights for a new ballpark in the Bay Area is the one factor here. One thing we don't know is whether the substance of the naming rights agreement will change as the site changes from Fremont to somewhere else. The deal between the A's and Cisco included a real estate component, and while Lew Wolff maintains interest in the Fremont land for future development, that component may be worth less than when the deal was originally struck.

San Jose is just getting started on much of the political stuff. Yes, the initial EIR is done, but I won't nudge the Political Process indicator over until an updated EIR is certified. In addition, Site Acquisition won't be moved until both the A's and the City come to terms on the Diridon South site or an alternative.

Note: Good reading can be found in articles by Glenn Dickey and former NY Times baseball writer Murray Chass.


A crucial vote by the Miami city commission is scheduled for tomorrow. The last vote was deadlocked, as one of the commissioners was on maternity leave and the other four could not come to an agreement on certain financial terms and last minute requests. In the last week there's been talk of a bill to make all publicly funded venues subject to a referendum. There's also been a deal to guarantee a percentage of construction contracts to black contractors that was completed then rescinded. Last month's drama-filled session was no snoozefest, so tomorrow's vote might force me to stream it alongside tourney coverage. This vote won't be the end of the line, though, as Miami-Dade County has its own commission that needs to vote on the deal next week. Update 3/19 11:30 AM: Miami City Commission has passed the ballpark plan 3-2, after a mountain of discussion large enough to kill my tourney buzz.


I've added Tampa Bay to the report, as they've been stepping up their efforts to leave Tropicana Field sooner than later. The plan proposed last year, which would have converted tiny Al Lang Field into a major league facility in downtown St. Pete, was scrapped in favor of something less polarizing. Now they are looking north along the I-275 corridor for vacant land, ancillary development, and better access to fans in Tampa. The Rays, like the A's, have a long way to go. Unlike the A's, the Rays' lease at the Trop runs through the 2027 season.


Heavy lifting for the Twins has been already been done. They've gotten through a contentious battle over public financing (sales tax hike without a referendum), and everything is essentially built. The only remaining issue is a reconfiguration of the garbage burning facility across the street, to keep the stench that wafts over when the doors open from violating the sensitivities and appetites of fans who might want a hot dog or nachos.


Talk of Citigroup pulling back on its 20 year, $400 million naming rights deal with the Mets has died down as the feds have focused more on the budget and now, AIG. It could come up again in the future. Other than that, they're good to go.


The pinstripers got a $105 million loan to cover the remaining construction costs at the new palace of opulence in the Bronx. Area residents are still waiting for NY to complete the public parks that were promised.

Another edition will come in May, as the San Jose thing starts to shake out.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

There are times I feel like we'll never get a new park. Seeing this chart is one of those times.

Jeffrey said...

ditto

Anonymous said...

Did anyone see Dickey's column today (3-19-09)?

He seems to think that the T-rights issue is a dealbreaker, that it won't have the support of NL teams, as they will see it as cutting into their revenue stream.

First time I've heard that angle...

Jesse said...

That chart has great potential to start moving between April 7th and the next owners meeting in the summer.

Anonymous said...

The other NL owners are subsidizing the A's right now---so they prefer to continue to do this over establishing a level playing field consistent with how all other 2 team markets are managed? Also, ironicly, the Giants supported the Nationals move into the Orioles market--

Dickey doesn't have any inside information...he is merely putting together his own version which many times is misinformed---I believe he was the one who first said the Giants would sue MLB....

TR are Wolff's challenge--I won't feel good about the San Jose opportunity until it is publically announced that they have been dealt with--but I gotta believe that Wolff would not be wasting anytime with SJ if he didn't feel somewhat optimistic about the outcome-

Marine Layer said...

Miami City Commission just passed the ballpark plan 3-2. The post has been updated to reflect this.

Anonymous said...

Good for the Marlin's--keeps them off the re-location/contraction list...leaving just the A's and Tampa Bay to figure things out--

Marine Layer said...

I've added the link to Glenn Dickey's column, which I read yesterday, and Murray Chass's new article, which provides a good counterpoint.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm from what I read, G. Dickey's article seemed a little more valid than M Chass'??

I'm not taking sides or anything, but it just seems like Dickey's article made a bit more of a stronger case than the latter.

Lets just hope LW can get something done somewhere in the near future!!

Marine Layer said...

On the contrary, I think whomever the reader believes is more accurate is largely a reflection on the reader's own beliefs on the subject.

Anonymous said...

Dickey's article was more specific in its points, but we've seen those points disputed before. At this point, everything has been said and nothing has been proven because the situation is stagnating.

Anonymous said...

Dickey's may be more specific but as someone said--can also be refuted fairly easily. Showing the benefit to MLB of eliminating or signficantly reducing the $15-$20M subsidy that the Giants and other teams give to the A's; that Lady Di serves California and not just SF and she serves at the pleasure of the people and those "people" include Silicon Valley and San Jose Corporations and voters, and finally the MLB consitituion does not allow for owners to sue each other--look no further than another high flying attorney, Angelos who had to accept the Nationals moving into his territory--

So he may be more specific but his argument doesn't have merit---don't mean to imply that MLB will change the territorial rights--but if they don't it won't be because of what Dickey says.

Anonymous said...

Just something interesting I noticed when looking at the A's promo schedule this year...

It looks like they've decided to really try and get butts in the seats this season by offering the unheard of...$2 tickets and $1 hot dog days for games against the Red Sox, Giants and of course the Yankees.

I think maybe they should remove the tarps from the 3rd deck too if they're really trying to get fans to come to games. At least that will show some proactive response to the large number of fans who were not too happy about that decision to begin with.

http://oakland.athletics.mlb.com/schedule/promotions.jsp?c_id=oak&y=2009

Anonymous said...

Rickey Henderson jerseys...it's about time!!! Although I already have a real one, but it still should be a great day celebrating Rickey Henderson Day at the Coliseum where he made history on many different occasions...lets go OAKLAND!!!

Anonymous said...

I love the tarps; tarps should stay.

Tony D. said...

Just finished reading the Dickey article.

Dickey does write well and sounds very convincing; but at the end of the day, he doesn't know what the hell he's talking about! Yes, all of his arguments have been refuted, even with facts; which Dickey fails to rely on with his ranting:

DiFi represent ALL OF CALIFORNIA (not just SF), MLB can't sue MLB, completely ignores the news/quotes of the past 3 months (Selig letter, Wolff quotes), etc etc.

Reading between the lines, it's apparent the man wants (or wanted) the A's to stay in Oakland for the long haul...that's cool. However, to bad this yearning has allowed his articles to be tainted with untruth's and wild assumptions.

Oh well, that's his right I guess.

Anonymous said...

IIRC, Dickey has said he would get behind a downtown park in SJ. He just didn't want to see it in Fremont. Still, I'm pretty sure he'd prefer the stadium be built in or very near Oakland. I like Glenn and read him often, but he often talks out his ass. His unfounded rants are part of what makes him endearing.

Cant's wait for a Rickey day. One of the franchise's all-time greats deserves it.

Anonymous said...

If Dickey wants the A's to stay in the Bay Area and as you suggested he will get behind a SJ ballpark than he ought to change the tune of his column from protecting territorial rights to advocating that they should be overturned--but as you suggested---he talks out of his ass which is why he has no credibility-

Anonymous said...

Hey ML, what has happened in Miami to move the Marlins construction ahead a notch? Is it because the site they are proposing has already been cleared?

Marine Layer said...

Yes, the Orange Bowl has been demolished and the site cleared. Demolition of the stadium started shortly after the final football game played there.

Anonymous said...

I find people who consistently talk out of their ass annoying, not endearing.

Anonymous said...

For all those that put alot of credence into Wolff's comments about SJ, etc ... I'm wondering why Larry Baer of the Giants sounded pretty confident of the territorial rights being upheld after his discussion with Selig recently?

I surely would like to get excited about a new stadium but I guess I am more skeptical about these rights being overturned than most of you. After all, Wolff did in fact know about these rights when he and Fischer purchased the A's, so it's not like it's news to him. And the Giants did in fact rely on lots of corp and fan support from the South Bay when they constructed their ballpark in SF which was privately financed. I just don't see MLB overturning these rights.

Anonymous said...

If the Giants are so dependent on South Bay corporate and fan support they should have built their stadium in San Jose--not in SF-

BTW--what Baer said is "....from what we could tell he hasn't changed his position.." last position I saw Selig take was that Wolff could talk to "other communities" and while he wouldn't confirm that this statement included SJ he also would not deny it--

Anonymous said...

Wolff tells the fans that he's taking his team and doesn't care what they think, and then, he gives out dollar hot dogs to get them to the park. Brilliant!

One more thing, for people advocating the South Bay because of a "stronger economy" the South Bat Has a higher unemployment rate than the East Bay at the moment.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't characterize the statement "From what we could tell..." as supreme confidence. I took that to mean, "we discussed the matter, and he didn't indicate his intentions either way." If Selig told them flat out his position was firm, why hedge this way?

For that matter, if Selig's position were that set in concrete, why wouldn't Selig make a statement in the months since his "other communities" letter putting the whole thing to rest? Why let San Jose waste time moving forward if he wasn't going to at least consider the fruit of their effort?

You say Wolff knew the T-rights existed when he bought the team. Well, the Giants knew those rights could be overturned at any time by vote of the other owners when they build AT&T Park. If that was truly make or break for the financial viability of their team, they were foolish to rely on it.

Anonymous said...

The argument isn't "stronger economy." The argument is "more disposable income" and "far larger corporate base, which remains true.

Also, unemployment in Santa Clara County is 9.9% to Alameda's 9.7%, The difference is well within the margin of error, a statistical blip.

And let's not lose sight of the huge percentage of those Alameda County folks who are employed.....IN SANTA CLARA COUNTY.

Stop wasting our time with this crap.

Anonymous said...

Gee,
Listen to someone (Chass) who wrote for the NY Times and has had the ear of Selig and Steinbrenner? Or listen to some guy (Dickey) who wrote for the Chronicle, has obvious bias toward SF/OAK, and who speaks from his rear? Now that's a no-brainer! A's know the way to SJ!

FC said...

I agree with Anon 4:05, why would Selig muddy the water with his letter if he won't consider transferring the TR? Unless of course the letter was only meant to spur Fremont along.

Wolff probably does want to take a break and enjoy spring training. But I believe he has already receive a nod from MLB to start talking with other communities outside of AC & CCC, including SJ.

Anonymous said...

Hey ML--in the not too distant past you indicated that there was a second site under consideration in SJ--are you planning on talking about this in the near future or is the Diridon site the city's focus for now?

Marine Layer said...

I don't intend to bring it up unless Diridon South ceases to be an option.

FC said...

ML,

I may be wrong, but I don't think I've read your opinion on the TR issue.

You previously stated that you didn't think the A's would approach MLB until they had some of the major issues with SJ addressed. This meeting between Selig and the Giants seem to indicate that the A's have already contacted MLB regarding SCC. How do you see all of this playing out, and what percentage to you give the chances of the A's gaining access to SCC?