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07 May 2009

Saperstein's other letter

Zennie Abraham just posted a second letter from A's minority partner Guy Saperstein. This time, the message was addressed to Senator Barbara Boxer. He posted it in its entirety, and so will I. The tone is markedly different from the public rebuttal to John Russo.
April 2, 2009
Senator Barbara Boxer
1700 Montgomery St. Suite 240
San Francisco, CA 94111

Dear Barbara:

As you know, Jeanine and I have long supported you and we plan to continue doing so. However, we were very disappointed about the letter you sent to Commissioner Selig. I realize you have a lot on your plate in the United States Senate, but if you are going to weigh in with such resolute conclusions about the A's, I wish you had made a greater effort to determine the facts. You made no inquiries to the Oakland Athletics about efforts they have made to find a stadium site in Oakland and your letter cites almost no relevant facts. Doug has known for a long time that I am part of the Wolff ownership group, so if you didn't want to call the A's directly, you easily could have called me with your concerns. Perhaps after hearing more of the facts, you would have offered a more balanced assessment to the Commissioner.

Your letter cites some of the past history of the A's in Oakland, but it glosses over and ignores many important facts. It is true the A's had great baseball teams in the 1970s---experts say some of the best teams in baseball history---but you neglect to mention how Oakland fans responded to these great teams. Not very well. These teams drew less than a million fans per year and that number dwindled to 306,000 in 1979. The A's couldn't even sell out the World Series! I remember this because I could walk up on the day of each game and buy a ticket. I'm willing to bet this never has happened before or since in MLB history in any other city. The second thing that should be noted about 1970s is that it preceded free agency. Thus, the A's owner, Charles Finley, didn't have to compete with other teams for players by paying them competitive salaries; they were bound to the team by the so-called "reserve clause." Because of this form of indentured servitude, even small-market teams like Oakland could remain competitive for years. Today, with free agency, the economics of baseball are fundamentally different and small-market teams have fundamentally different challenges.

Your letter also cites the Haas Family era, another period of excellent teams, and even good attendance. But you neglect to note that the Haas' were losing $10-$15 million per year with those teams in an effort to pay competitive salaries. They were a winning, attractive team which paid big salaries to big stars, but that was because the Haas family was willing to lose millions every year. While we can all thank the Haas family for their beneficence, their model of ownership was and is unsustainable and you cannot expect the Wolff ownership, or any ownership, to operate as a community sports charity.

Not only do the A's draw far fewer fans than the Giants, but the A's average ticket price paid is one of the lowest in MLB---approximately half of what Giants fans pay for tickets. The A's have 8,000 full and partial season ticket holders, compared to the Giants' 24,000 full season ticket-holders. This is even worse than it appears, because when you rely mainly on game-day walk-up sales, you never know how fans are going to show up that day and, consequently, you don't know how many vendors to hire, ticket takers, food workers, etc. So you overstaff and overpay, due to uncertainty. By contrast, if you are the Giants and know that 35,000 fans are going to attend every game, you staff properly. Added to these major economic disadvantages, the A's income from the sale of luxury boxes is one of the lowest in MLB and just a small fraction of what Giants fans pay. This is largely the product of the unpleasant but inescapable fact that Oakland lacks a vibrant business community. When you add all this up, it would be hard to find any MLB owner who would characterize this as strong fan support.

Let me present a few more relevant facts---facts that any ownership must contend with. When Charles Finley brought the A's to Oakland from Kansas City, Oakland had a population of 367,000 [1960 census] and San Jose a population of 204,000. Forty-one years later, San Jose's population is 989,000---now the 10th largest city in America---and Oakland's is 401,000. Which is the more vibrant, growing city? And, while you are promoting Oakland as the only possible site of a new stadium, please note that only 19% of A's fans come from Oakland.

As currently situated, the San Francisco Giants control 2/3 of the Bay Area market and are located just 12 miles away from the A's. If the new baseball stadium were to be built in Oakland, it would replicate this imbalance; if it were built in San Jose, 50 miles away from the Giants stadium, the market imbalance would be adjusted and the A's could be more competitive.

While it is easy to scapegoat the A's for the ills of Oakland, a fairer assessment of what ails Oakland would start with its inept political leadership---some of whom you prominently endorsed, supported and rarely criticize. Without naming names, let me recall just a few more salient facts.

The long-range planning and leadership of the Oakland Coliseum Authority has been almost non-existent. This group made mistakes of judgment which would be almost beyond imagination except for the fact that they actually happened. They spent $140 million to build Mount Davis at the Oakland Coliseum, then entered into a contract which not only costs the taxpayers of Oakland nearly $20 million per year, but which term is only ten years. So, ten years later, Al Davis and the Raiders are whining about a new stadium---which, predictably, they want the taxpayers to pay for. And what do the taxpayers of Oakland get for this almost unbelievable beneficence? Eight home games a year! Then the Coliseum Authority dropped $100+ million into the laps of the Golden State Warriors, who also play far fewer games than the A's and have far less economic impacts on the city. Along came the Oakland A's in 2005, under its new ownership, and in recognition that the A's were playing in what is basically a football stadium, and now a decrepit one at that, and requested that the Coliseum Authority split the cost for a $500,000 feasibility study for a new stadium. The Coliseum Authority couldn't even scrape together $250,000 to try to keep its biggest asset! The Authority has allowed the Raiders and Warriors to bankrupt it and there is nothing left for the A's, despite the fact that the A's, unlike the Raiders, Warriors and 49'ers, always have been willing to pay for building their own stadium. To put it another way, the A's may be the only sports franchise left in the Bay Area, and perhaps America, willing to pay for their own stadium, but the Coliseum Authority hasn't lifted a finger to help the A's and now politicians like you and Doug [and there probably will be others] are quick to pillory the A's for even thinking of moving.

Nor has the Oakland political structure helped. Despite the many business reasons to move to San Jose, the A's explored all options to stay in Oakland. Lew and the A's can give you the full picture if and when you want to hear it, but I can tell you I have been involved since Day One and when Lew first asked me to become part of the ownership, I said I would love to do it, but I didn't want to be part of an ownership which just bought and moved the team. Lew assured me that he would make a full effort to stay in Oakland and I don't think he and his son, Keith, have left a single stone unturned in their efforts to make Oakland work for the A's. I recall specifically Lew proposing to build a 3,000+ unit housing project and several hundred thousand feet of retail space near the Coliseum and taking the profits from this development to finance a stadium at little or no cost to the taxpayers of Oakland. This would have been the biggest economic development in Oakland since Liberty ships were built during World War II, but the only Oakland City Council Member who showed any enthusiasm was Larry Reid. Give Larry a call and ask him why no one else got behind this plan. And in case anyone might suggest forward thinking and planning was not possible, while Oakland was doing nothing, San Jose bought land in downtown and put together a 50-acre parcel, zoned it for a sports stadium and completed an Environmental Impact Report for the stadium. If they want a baseball team, they are ready for it. You were elected to represent all the cities and citizens of California, not act as surrogate Mayor of Oakland. You have a responsibility to try to determine what is best for the state, for the Bay Area, and, yes, for Oakland AND San Jose. Your letter to the Commissioner plays into the hands of the San Francisco Giants, who have long contended the Bay Area is a one-team region and whose game plan is nothing less than driving the A's out of the Bay Area. I think you need to rethink your strategy and begin by making sure the A's are able to stay in the Bay Area.

Like you and Doug, I find it convenient to have a team located 20 minutes from my house and, like you, I will be inconvenienced if the A's move to San Jose. But should an investment of half a billion dollars for a new stadium to meet the needs of present and future Bay Area baseball fans be based on your, my and/or Doug's convenience or on a sound economic foundation? I think the answer is obvious and I hope you will begin to review the facts and evidence before making more pronouncements which operate to undermine the A's opportunities to build a sustainable future.

Lastly, despite serious reservations about the ability of Oakland to provide help in the quest for a new stadium, Lew and I will be meeting with Mayor Dellums in two weeks in an effort to make certain that we have not overlooked any viable site. And, of course, Lew, Keith and I remain available at any time to provide you with additional information about all options.

Best Regards,
Guy T. Saperstein GTS/ht
The immediate observation to be made is that this is the first time anyone from the ownership group has come close to "connecting the dots" regarding the A's and San Jose. Maybe that was intentional, maybe not. I'm surprised to be reading it. I thought San Jose was like Fight Club. For those who still don't think San Jose's the next step I have to ask, Really? Come on, now.

Next up is the issue of the feasibility study the A's asked for when Wolff took over. According to Saperstein, the $500k cost was to be split between the two parties, but the Coliseum Authority was too tapped out to help. All the while the Authority was finalizing the deal to get rid of Raider PSL's forever and hiring multiple consultants to get a naming rights deal for the Arena. If this feasibility study assertion is true, you can be sure that it will end up in the Blue Ribbon report.

What I don't get is Zennie's response. He rants about Saperstein's pointing out the 70's attendance woes. It's no secret that the A's weren't a big draw then, just as they aren't now. The facts are these:
  • The A's averaged 764,660 per season during the decade
  • The A's were as high as 5th in AL attendance once (1972)
  • The A's topped 1 million twice during the era
  • The A's were last in AL attendance twice and second-to-last twice
  • Average annual attendance for all AL teams during the 70's was 1,194,395
When your biggest argument is semantic, you don't have much of an argument.

I'm also not sure what Saperstein has to apologize to the Haas family about. Nothing he wrote denigrated Wally Haas. He held up Haas as a paragon to which no future ownership group can be favorably compared. At the same time, yes, Haas was losing money. That can't be disputed. Why so sensitive then?

Now, there are things to quibble about. Russo mentioned in his letter that the Coliseum North proposal would've required eminent domain, which is right. Wolff was willing to pay no more than $1 million an acre, a ludicrous amount at the time. When the plan collapsed, Wolff then resubmitted Schott's old Coliseum parking lot plan, in which the A's would contribute $100 million. Does anyone remember that?

One of the big keys for any political campaign, even the kind we're witnessing here, is message discipline. It doesn't matter if you're Karl Rove or David Axelrod, Doug Boxer or Lew Wolff. I sense a serious lack of message discipline on both fronts, and it isn't very becoming for either side.

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow--this is one hell of a well written letter--accurately stating the facts, offering contacts within the Oakland politico to support the facts, and indicating a willingness to meet to review the facts with those that dispute them--including Ms. Boxer.

ML--where I deviate from your comments is that you can be sure of the gamemanship by the Giants that is going on behind the scene's. As GS indicates- Boxer's letter played right into the Giants hand--which I assume was her intent. The A's need to continue to state the facts clearly and concisely as GS as done, and than MLB needs to act.

To allow others to pontificate fiction and mis-use statistics, as has been done by the Russo, and others within Oakland, and for the A's not to respond with clear facts to these claims, opens the door for this debacle to continue to spin--with Oakland a victim, and the A's a villian--while the Giants stand by and savor the victory of a 1 team market.

gojohn10 said...

So is Saperstein the A's divorce lawyer? When the divorce is complete will he recede back into his previous former role as silent partner? I don't know whether to admire or resent the A's for having an Oakland guy do the dirty work.

Anonymous said...

Am I trippn', but why is this letter dated April 2nd??

thisplanetsux said...

Interesting how Saperstein claims free-agency didn't exist in the 70s, despite the fact that that's when it came along, and that's what broke up the championship A's clubs, creating the teams that lost over 90 games in '77 and '78, and a whopping 108 games in '79. I don't know why this guy has to be so ignorant. Or maybe he knows these facts, but hopes fans are ignorant of them and will think he's really smart and thoughtful?

It just irks me that he tries to convince the Senator that the primary root cause of the A's sudden 50% drop in annual attendance after 1975 (Finley's free agency fire-sale), didn't actually happen, and that in this fictional alternate universe there was a better economic model for the A's to compete and draw fans back then, and only Oakland fans are to blame. That's just pure white-is-black and black-is-white B.S. Whether from ignorance or deception, it's sad to hear.

Zonis said...

I can't see anything I disagree with in that letter. I think it sums everything up nicely.


Anon: Maybe it was sent at that time, but this is the first we've heard about it? It doesn't look like it was an open letter specifically.

Truth Police said...

"Interesting how Saperstein claims free-agency didn't exist in the 70s, despite the fact that that's when it came along,"

So it didn't exist during most of the '70s. Hairsplitting over trivia, like the exact date, does not vitiate his fundamental point.

"and that's what broke up the championship A's clubs, creating the teams that lost over 90 games in '77 and '78, and a whopping 108 games in '79."

That is 100%, exactly his point. That the coming of free agency made it almost impossible to sustain competitive teams, unless one was willing to deficit spend like Walter Haas.

"I don't know why this guy has to be so ignorant. Or maybe he knows these facts, but hopes fans are ignorant of them and will think he's really smart and thoughtful?"

The problem here isn't the cogency of the writer, it's the comprehension of the reader.

"It just irks me that he tries to convince the Senator that the primary root cause of the A's sudden 50% drop in annual attendance after 1975 (Finley's free agency fire-sale),"

Again, reading comprehension: He is telling the Senator that the coming of free agency made it almost impossible for small-market teams to retain their stars (which led to the Finley fire-sale and drop in attendance).

Let's not gloss over the fact that support for the Championship teams in Oakland was "historically pathetic" before it later went to "truly pathetic."

Anonymous said...

COMMON SENSE! COMMON SENSE!

Lots of letters not enough smart, well planned out action. I am one person who likes Lew for his passion and for his love for the game.

Yes, I like The City of Fremont but it is not the answer, better than San Jose but not as good as Oaklands sites and traffic patterns. Oakland deserves another look and lets face it San Jose will be way more painful than Fremont with more neighborhood oppostion and traffic problems especially with the San Jose Mayor and City Council shutting down libraries hours and laying off over 100 people. San Jose lost its last ball park election by a large margin. Voters want basic services. Common sense says time to look for sites in the Cities of Milpitas and Santa Clara. My 1st clear choice is Santa Clara where the 49ers wisely chose because of existing infrastructure.

Harold
San Jose

Marine Layer said...

Boxer's letter to MLB was dated 3/31. Saperstein's response to Boxer followed two days later.

Anonymous said...

Harold, San Jose voted down paying for a ballpark. This is not the same at all.

Anonymous said...

You know Saperstein made a great argument when all the opposition can do is pick nits with trivial details. And even those are mostly due to not understanding what was written. Nicely done, Athletics.

Anonymous said...

maybe they should reschedule that may13th meeting to may 20th because maybe it would be good if everyone had more time to think before the meeting. or whatever the exact date is of that oakland meeting.

Anonymous said...

Harold- you need a bit of a history lesson if you want to claim that SJ is the same city as it was neary 17 years after it defeated a 2% utility tax hike to pay for the bulk of the Giants stadium. Bad location, no history of the Tank or the Sharks, and a downtown that was just beginning to emerge--

Finally, as significant as they are SJ budget problems are small for a city of 1M people--compared to those of Oakland--who as I understood recommended laying off 140 police officers--

COMMON SENSE puts the A's in San Jose if they are to stay in the Bay Area--warped logic has them trying again to build a stadium in a small city without signficant fan or business support...

Anonymous said...

A very telling letter. The A's ownership group is on the same page. They've established a point man to deal with political circles outside of Oakland. It's interesting that he's also a resident of the city, with plenty of rocks to throw in the Oakland pol's direction. I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see them start toning down their rhetoric lest some of those rocks become very target oriented.

It has to be obvious that the league leadership and the team leadership have similar goals in mind. All the committee's, blue ribbon panels, and meddlesome pols aside, there is a specific trending becoming painfully obvious. Finally, someone has come out and said it in no uncertain terms. SJ wants the A's and the A's want SJ. Something tells me the endgame is nigh, and that before this season is done, the A's will be headed to SJ. I'm thinking even the Giants see the handwriting on the wall. I'll give the new owner credit though, he's going to play out the string for maximum advantage rather than stomp his feet and pout.

Navigator said...

Saperstein is a Lew Wolff lackey impersonating an Oakland resident. This guy is the Benedict Arnold of Oakland. I would have his and Lew Wolff's bags packed at the front gate of the Coliseum after that pathetic letter.

Why don't you leave now? Why hang around and take from the city which you despise? The decent thing to do would be to leave now and allow the City of Oakland to use that stadium for something which would actually bring people and revenue to Oakland. International soccer matches where Oakland gets to keep the receipts would be a great idea. Concerts, motocross, conventions, etc. You criticize Oakland in every way but you have no problem using Oakland while you make plans somewhere else. You have no problem playing virtually rent free, getting most of the concession money, AND getting revenue from international soccer matches. True, you got one over on the politicians. But, it still makes you a pathetic human being.

Also, here's a guy attempting to denigrate the history of the A's in Oakland while also denigrating the vibrancy of the city.

First of all, he fails to put the A's attendance in context with the Giants and what was considered the norm at the time. Secondly, he fails to mention how despised Charlie Finley was as an owner in Oakland. Lew Wolff has now sunken to the Charlie Finley level of popularity in Oakland. It makes a huge difference in a community to have committed ownership.

I've seen and heard enough from these people. It's time to let them go. As long as Oakland ends this with some self-respect and stops allowing itself to be used by these carpetbaggers, I say let them go now as long as they agree to break their lease. They should be required to vacate the Coliseum after the end of this season.

Navigator said...

Saperstein's takes figures and events out of context. I love the "ONLY 19% of fans are from Oakland." I wonder how that compares with the percentage of San Francisco fans who are from San Francisco and the percentage of each city in the Major Leagues. As a matter of fact, more A's fans come from Oakland than any other city in the Bay Area. 67% of A's fans come from Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, and Marin counties.

Saperstein also attempts to paint this as a selfish and self-serving issue for Senator Boxer. I'm sure he gained some points on that one with the Senator. Barbara Boxer is doing the right thing as a long-time OAKLAND A's fan. She's fighting for the fans, for the history, and for the tradition of this great franchise. She's an Oakland resident and an Oakland A'S fan. I see her as fighting for the people against the greed of these carpetbaggers who attempt to gain their loyalty form a community by attaching the city's name to their jerseys while at the slightest opportunity cutting and running for the richer neighbor down the street. They will reward their neighbor with the 500 million dollar infusion of capital, while the city which hosted them for forty years is denigrated and used as a staging area. I'm sure Senator Boxer is very sympathetic to the plight of Lew Wolf and his fellow millionaires.

Anonymous said...

I can finally say I agree with Nav-- I agree that the A's should move to SJ asap. I wonder if there is anyway to retrofit Muni to accomodate 22,000 fans for the 2010 season---attendance would end up at nearly 2M---they did it at Buck Shaw for the Earthquakes--maybe something similiar can be done to help facilitate this sooner than later---

Anonymous said...

Navigator, you continue to spew pep talks and rallying cries against actual facts. A legitimate Oaklander wanted Wolff to commit to that city and finally realized it wasn't going to work. All you can do is call him a traitor because he saw the reality, not the fantasy. Boxer is not a savior, just a celebrity spokesperson. Like the Oakland pols, she has much bigger matters to address. This posturing on your part is only that. There is little opposition beyond the status quo of territorial rights.

Old Blue said...

Mr. Saperstein is one very slick dude. He's written a masterful in your face letter to Ms Boxer, the Marin County diva, who's long been in the tank for San Francisco and its sports teams. Of course, Boxer wrote her initial letter for the Giants, trying to head the idea of San Jose off at the pass. And of course, A's ownership, having been around the block a few times, knew what she was doing.

Saperstein's letter should accomplish what was intended: to shut Boxer up. Anybody really think Boxer cares about the A's?

What's truly amazing is the gullibility on the part of Oakland pols and those who want to keep the A's in Oakland. That especially includes this guy, Zennie, whose presence says more than one likes to think about how far the Chron has sunk.

Taken to its logical conclusion, if Boxer's ploy had worked and caused the A's to drop the idea of San Jose, you'd soon be watching the team packing up and leaving forever. It's becoming more evident by the day that Oakland just doesn't have what it takes to keep the A's. Bad politicians, bad finances and a bad fan base will do that.

You can bet the Giants aren't happy about this letter. And how can any A's fan hate that?

BTW, I've noted over the years that evening rush hour traffic isn't as bad on southbound 880 as on northbound 880. More are people exiting Silicon Valley—where the money and jobs are—than are entering. Which means getting to A's games won't be all that bad for Alameda County folk.

Anonymous said...

"Why don't you leave now? Why hang around and take from the city which you despise?"

As has been pointed out, most of what he's "taking" is from the surrounding suburbs, not Oakland.

Anyway, that's a great idea, sacrifice the next three years (at least) of MLB and the millions of dollars it brings the city treasure to satisfy your deranged sense of moral outrage.

"The decent thing to do would be to leave now and allow the City of Oakland to use that stadium for something which would actually bring people and revenue to Oakland. International soccer matches where Oakland gets to keep the receipts would be a great idea. Concerts, motocross, conventions, etc."

Nothing stops Oakland from doing that now. There's plenty of open dates on the calendar. If you think there's anything they can bring in which makes up for the loss of 81 games of Major League Baseball, you're nuts.

"Also, here's a guy attempting to denigrate the history of the A's in Oakland"

Um, how? By pointing out actual attendance statistics?

"...while also denigrating the vibrancy of the city."

Um, again, how exactly? By pointing out the city's lack of corporate base? You seem to have an almost allergic reaction to actual facts.

"First of all, he fails to put the A's attendance in context with the Giants and what was considered the norm at the time."

Not really. The A's had bottom of the league attendance in the 70s. How does that compare to the "norm" for that time?

"Secondly, he fails to mention how despised Charlie Finley was as an owner in Oakland."

Yah, the guy moves here and almost immediately brings three consecutive world titles. What an A-hole.

"Lew Wolff has now sunken to the Charlie Finley level of popularity in Oakland."

As evidenced by, what exactly? The opinion of one deranged and irrational blogger?

"It makes a huge difference in a community to have committed ownership."

There's little evidence it makes much difference at all. Here are the top ten factors which factor into peoples' decision whether or not to attend a baseball game on any given day, in no particular order:

1. Weather.
2. Importance of the game (e.g. Is it a playoff game? Is it a pennant race?)
3. Quality of the team.
4. Quality of the venue.
5. Attractiveness of the opponent.
6. Vibrancy of the area around the ballpark.
7. Ticket cost.
8. Convenience of the venue.
9. Other entertainment options in the area.
10. Who's pitching?
11. Baseball orientedness of the fanbase (e.g. St. Louis and LA are baseball towns; Pittsburgh and Oakland are football towns).
12. What promotion are they running? Is it fireworks night?

Oops, that was twelve. See, "weird neurotic need to believe a sports owner loves me" doesn't even make the top twelve.

Marine Layer said...

Impressive list, 9:36.

Tony D. said...

Please, somebody give Guy Saperstein a Pulitzer for outstanding letter! Let me guess Rob, GS doesn't know what the hell he's talking about, and MLB will force the A's to consider Omaha or Anchorage before they ever consider San Jose (sorry R.M., I had to go there).

A little tid bit about Territorial Rights. I recently got a hold of a 2002 Mercury News article by Skip Bayless (now of ESPN) in which Peter Magowan offered Steve Schott/A's the territorial rights to SCCo. for $50 million (during the Great America A's ballpark bid). Somehow, for some reason, Magowan backed off and later claimed he made no such offer. Schott countered that Magowan in fact did make the offer, but that during Spring Training of that year the issue never again came up. In short, the T-Rights to SCCo./SJ aren't as sacred as we've been led to believe (money always talks!)

Fast forward to the near present. I know Magowan once said he had no problem with the A's in Fremont; yet, once Lew Wolff got serious with the idea, we heard nothing from the Giants. Once Fremont "died" (or was killed) and word got out that the A's were looking at San Jose, new Giants owner Bill Neukom went into an uproar about invading "their" territory and appealing to "the heart" of their fan and corporate base.

So, building an A's ballpark 4 miles north of the SCCo. border would have no affect on appealing to "the heart" of the Giants supposed fan and corporate base; yet magically cross the county line, propose an A's ballpark in downtown San Jose (8 miles south of the county line), and all of a sudden the sky is falling on the Giants. Neukom and Baer are smarter than that, and I know they have the ability to read a map. There's no difference in terms of appealing to Silicon Valley fans/businesses if the A's were in southern Fremont or downtown San Jose. They know this!

My point to what has become a long tid bit on T-Rights; I don't think the Giants are trying to make the Bay Area a one-team market. Perhaps during the Magowan years. Now...no. I believe all their huffing and puffing in the media is reminiscent of Peter Angelos "fighting" the Expos move to DC; just trying to set themselves up for a nice pay day when MLB declares San Jose open for the A's. Sorry Omaha and Anchorage!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree San Jose is the best site. Because we have a downtown. Lets give Lew what ever he wants.

Who cares about City Services and the stuppid Libraries we can have MLB and thats most important. San Jose doen't need more cops it needs bigger events.


Tom

thisplanetsux said...

"That is 100%, exactly his point. That the coming of free agency made it almost impossible to sustain competitive teams, unless one was willing to deficit spend like Walter Haas."

No that is not his point. He never connects that dot with respect to the late Finley team. He clearly tries instead to deceive the Senator into believing those were pre-free-agency clubs that did not have the pressure to profit under high player salaries that modern clubs do. That's what he tells her in this letter without qualification or reference to the 299 loses that occurred because Finley played minor leaguers at the Coliseum for 3 seasons. He references the AVERAGE attendance for the decade and the abysmal 1979 season, AFTER talking about how good those teames were. Why? Because A's fans suck. Look how badly they supported this great 1970s pre-free-agency organization, as if there was never any other issue that occurred in Oakland to affect the AVERAGE attendance of the team in the 1970s. There's truth, then there's truth that's part of a deception.

Marine Layer said...

Saperstein isn't concealing anything. During the dynasty era (1971-74), the A's came in 7th, 5th, 8th, and astoundingly, 11th or next-to-last in 1974. They averaged less than 1 million fans during that period. I would've gone if I could, but I was still in an ovary back then.

How on earth does a championship dynasty only come in 11th out of 12 teams? After a ho-hum April, the A's took the division lead and never looked back. All of the heroes were still there, to the point that they some of them had just about enough of one another. So many home games had tallies in the low 4-digits, yet the team was a great draw on the road.

I hear a lot of complaining from certain Oakland partisans that they brought the A's to water regarding ballpark options, but they couldn't make the A's drink. It's easy to say the same thing about our fans, unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cQkulCUtdc This should be posted on the blog.

thisplanetsux said...

"Saperstein isn't concealing anything. During the dynasty era (1971-74), the A's came in 7th, 5th, 8th, and astoundingly, 11th or next-to-last in 1974. They averaged less than 1 million fans during that period. I would've gone if I could, but I was still in an ovary back then."

I played Little League in 1972, 1973, and 1974. Let me tell you why I didn't get to go to very many A's games in those years: Because my mom didn't want me "going down into the ghetto." There were Zodiac killers and Zebra killers and Black Panthers and the SLA and all kinds of shiite back then to keep people away from chaos zones like the Coliseum area which are too far from the warm and cozy you get it in a real neighborhood. Some of the kids I played ball with NEVER got to go to games back then (including black kids, btw). It hasn't gotten much better around there, but security and BART improvements and other upgrades have made it palatable for a decent number of diehards. But ugh, then there's Mt. Davis :( Anyway, my family went downtown and all over town, all the time, and without worries. The fact has always been there for anyone to see. The Coliseum was built in a sucky part of Oakland. Just like Candlestick Park on the other side of the Bay. There's your great big mystery solved.

Now, of course Saperstein isn't going to go into any of that because his mission is to get a San Jose ballpark built. Fine. I still don't like the fact that he speaks to Senator Boxer like she's a neophyte dependent upon him to spell out the expert, hands-on, birds-eye viewpoint on the topic of "Oakland Athletics Attendance Through the Years," but chooses to selectively only tell her the parts that make the fans look bad, not any parts relevant to the A's and MLB history that might reasonably/negatively affect the attendance. Obviously his argument isn't quite so strong if he says, "They only drew 306,000 fans in 1979, though of course they did lose 108 games, at the tail of end of a three year span where they averaged 100 losses, as a result of the owner dumping his name players for minor league talent when free-agency arrived in 1976." No he goes out of his way to tell this neophyte who is not likely to know the details, or do any research, that:

A) The A's had great teams in the 1970s (note, he doesn't say EARLY 70s, it's the whole decade if you're ignorant, right?)

B) The owners had a magic wand back in the 1970s that modern teams don't have, called "The Reserve Clause" that let them keep their players forever like slaves, so they never had ups and downs like modern teams and could continue to be good for... THE WHOLE DECADE. He never says otherwise, how's she supposed to interpret what he's telling her other than believe exactly whay he says.

C) A's fans repaid all this magical, constant, decade-long brilliance, with crap attendance all decade long.

You see, he never once tells her the teams were horrific in the late 1970s, or the ballpark was mistakenly built in a crap neighborhood. Nope, there's no excuses: THEY HAD EVERYTHING THEY EVER COULD WANT, OAKLAND JUST SUCKS FOR BASEBALL, nothing else needs be looked at here.

Anyway, that paragraph is really the crux of the whole letter. If you twist it into an overstated case against A's fans, gloss over or lie about mitigating factors, then you just need a bunch of random mumbo jumbo about 2/3 control of the market, and Giants are outdrawing the A's (duh, she's clueless right?), Haas family lost money, blah blah blah whatever, she's not even paying attention anymore.

linusalf said...

yes attendance THIRTY YEARS AGO is relevant today......im sorry marine layer....your grasping at ANYTHING to make a san jose argument.

gojohn10 said...

Don't waste your breath trying argue that the A's attendance hasn't sucked during their time in Oakland, because it has. Instead, it would make more sense to concentrate on how it could be improved with a new stadium. Could the A's attract 30K+ every game? Could they sell out the luxury suites? How could the model work in Oakland?

Georob said...

Again, I'll repeat what I've said. If we're pretty close to a deal to allow the A's to move to Santa Clara County, then why is Lew Wolff sounding so dour?

Quiet is one thing. Resigned and pessimistic is quite another and THAT'S the impression I got from his interview with Blez.

One thing I've always said San Jose should do and even Mark Purdy agrees is to do the math and show that an A's team in San Jose would have little(if any) effect on the Giants' revenues. Do that and I know you'll get enough owners to approve changing TR's.

But I guess that's too much work for the SJ Partisans, who'd rather huddle around shouting "WE'RE NUMBER TEN, WE'RE NUMBER TEN"!

Anonymous said...

Tom- San Jose, like all cities, needs continued economic development to generate revenues that feed the general fund which in turn supports libraries, police officers etc--

Look at what the arena has contributed to SJ bottom line and you can quickly understand that a ballpark, holding twice as many fans for twice as many dates/year will have a significant benefit for SJ's general fund---and counter to what you suggest---I don't hear LW asking for anything from SJ's general fund nor have I heard the city offering anything--

Truth Police said...

"No that is not his point. He never connects that dot with respect to the late Finley team. He clearly tries instead to deceive the Senator into believing those were pre-free-agency clubs that did not have the pressure to profit under high player salaries that modern clubs do."

Um, the A's championship teams WERE pre-free-agency clubs that did not have nearly the same pressure to profit under high player salaries that modern clubs do. And they had pitiful attendance, ANYWAY. I think you need to re-read your own truth and deception blather.

"That's what he tells her in this letter without qualification or reference to the 299 loses that occurred because Finley played minor leaguers at the Coliseum for 3 seasons."

I think it's you who are not connecting the dots. WHY did Finley play minor leaguers at the Coliseum for three seasons? Maybe he said to himself, "Hmm, I fielded all-star teams which won three consecutive titles and could not even sell out World Series games. My cost of fielding star players just skyrocketed. Do I (a) continue to field star players and take millions of losses for an unresponsive, ungrateful fanbase, or (b) cut payroll so I can run a profitable business."

Anyway, that's Sapersteins point. Not that Oakland's support in the early 70s was impressive in any way, but that even that modest level of success was not repeatable in the modern era.

"He references the AVERAGE attendance for the decade and the abysmal 1979 season, AFTER talking about how good those teames were."

So, what, you want to talk about yearly statistics rather than average? OK. The A's did break 1 million in two individual years in the 70s. In each case, they were barely a PUBIC HAIR over 1 million. So your apparent thesis that Saperstein is bundling late seventies years in with good attendance years to make average attendance look bad is wrong. Attendance was poor, considering the success of the team, EVERY SINGLE YEAR of the 70s.

"Why? Because A's fans suck. Look how badly they supported this great 1970s pre-free-agency organization,"

Look, I'm an A's fan myself. But objectively, A's attendance has consistently sucked, particularly compared to the success of the team, virtually the entire time since they've been here.

"as if there was never any other issue that occurred in Oakland to affect the AVERAGE attendance of the team in the 1970s."

Your new Oakland A's fan slogan: "40 Years of Excuses!"

Or, "Hey, it's not our fault. All we need is a new, state of art, privately funded half-billion dollar stadium, a $20 million dollar per year payroll subsidy, and consistent World Series appearances and we'll show up for some games. Maybe. Well, anyway, we'll think about it."

Anonymous said...

"yes attendance THIRTY YEARS AGO is relevant today......im sorry marine layer....your grasping at ANYTHING to make a san jose argument."

The Oakland side has always selectively pointed to good times in the '80s when arguing that Oakland can, on occasion, support the team. Why is that period so much more relevant? What's the cut-off?

Anonymous said...

Georob--you are completely misinformed as to what is going on in parallel paths in SJ while the blue ribbon commission looks at Oakland. Already the Silicon Valley Leadership
group has released survey results that show little impact to SF with south bay companies willing to support two teams--one in San Francisco and one in San Jose---conclusion--little impact on the Giants revenues stream from the south bay. And you can bet the blue ribbon committee is also looking at these results and validating the conclusions.

Second, ever heard of good guy/bad guy---LW has nothing to gain by puffing his chest out and shouting from the mountain tops that he wants to move to SJ---he has an independent authority who will make that call--thats the blue ribbon commission---hard to phatom how anyone could find the establishment of the blue ribbon commission as a negative for SJ-somebody finally will make a decision--near term.

Last, in case you missed it in a recent post by ML, SJ has not only finalzied the Earthquakes proposed stadium but they have also establish a TIF for the Diridon area which will help to pay for infrastructure improvements for a proposed ballpark--

So SJ has the property, they have a completed EIR, they have a financing mechanism for infrastructure improvements, they are working with neighborhood groups to address concerns---as GS notes--SJ is ready for baseball.

So before you conclude that SJ has/is doing nothing but yelling were number "10" maybe do a bit of research and recognize that there is a significant amount of work that is going on--and out in the public domain---rather than the hush hush top secret meetings in Oakland right now-

bartleby said...

Rob,
Dunno what you have against San Jose. Did you get mugged here at some point? You constantly take a negative view of all things San Jose with the flimsiest pretexts.

How the hell is Wolff "sounding so dour?" You're reading his tone of voice based on a printed interview?

It is to Wolff's benefit to stay humble and deferential where the League is concerned. He knows the Blue Ribbon Commission is going to reach the same conclusion he did. Talking about San Jose too much or sounding "optimistic" is just going to fuel the lunatic fringe's claims of collusion or the like.

BTW, I'd like to point out all of this is playing out almost exactly as I predicted two years ago. I thought the Fremont plan would go, but this is how I saw the end game going if for some reason it did not.

Marine Layer said...

I jump in at times when I feel some presentation of facts is needed. linusalf, did my explanation about why South Philly is different from Oakland suffice (it's twice as large and they torn down venues)? I notice you didn't have a response.

Over the years A's fans have established a familiar pattern regarding attendance. It's middling-to-good when the team is good, and awful when the team is awful. For some that's fine. We as A's fans fans should be better than that.

Rob, I'd be dour too if I felt that local columnists were giving me the shaft and the commish was telling me to shut up. It wouldn't have been the way I wanted to carry this out. Them's the breaks. Try to move a team, even a short drive away, and someone will paint you as a villain.

thisplanetsux, you are projecting your own historical view onto Saperstein's letter. Zodiac killer? Ghetto? Those sound a lot like excuses. Ever heard of safety in numbers?

hamachi said...

I imagine things will be a little quiet until the meeting on the 12th. But I can't wait to hear what happens after that.


and has there been any info from the blue ribbon panel? do they have a date to publish any results?

thisplanetsux said...

"Look, I'm an A's fan myself. But objectively, A's attendance has consistently sucked, particularly compared to the success of the team, virtually the entire time since they've been here."

I'm not arguing this. We know this. Senator Boxer probably knows this. The important questions are "why" and "what to do about it".

Thus, my concern with the letter from Saperstein is that it's ostensibly a history lesson, intended to provide insight, or even answers to solving the A's attendance problem. Right? Well, if you're going to teach history, then teach history. Do not selectively lay out only a few facts supporting a view in line with your own self-interest, conceal other information, provide false information, all while pretending to be genuine and helpful.

Is it intellectually honest to write, "You neglect to mention how Oakland fans responded to these great teams. These teams drew less than a million fans per year and that number dwindled to 306,000 in 1979..." as if the 1979 A's was one of the great teams of the '70s?

Was the team's record that year a factor in attendance? If so, how about other years? Is it pertinent that attendance increased each year from 1969 to 1973, fell precipitously in '74, then back up to a new all-time high in 1975? What happened in 1974? Were there obvious mistakes in the design or location of the Coliseum factoring in? How big a problem is it to share the stadium with the Raiders? How much of the A's problem is proximity to the Giants? Everyone's aware BART did not begin running until the 1973 season, right? Yay, 3 whole seasons with BART before the catasprophe of free-agency.

I dunno, it's excuse making, sure. But isn't that what Saperstein is doing? It's all Oakland's fault! They're messed up and stupid poops at city hall! The Giants get all the breaks, it's not fair to us I tell you! Nothing ever went wrong on our part over the years, all we ever do is win, it's just those those doodoo head fans not coming that's all! I hate them all and just want to go to San Jose to fix all our problems! Fine, Guy, show us the plan and shut up!

49er fan said...

Seems like two of the Bay area teams are looking at San Jose, but can they afford both the 49ers and the A's?

Mario L said...

So Bartelby, this is "almost exactly as you predicted two years ago"

In other words, you saw the real estate collapse happening when no one else on the frigging planet did? Cause we all know that's why Fremont really failed and San Jose got another chance.

Perhaps we should go back into the blog history to verify if you made such statements two years ago, huh?

Or is this just more of the South Bay blowhardedness that Georob and others speak of?

baycommuter said...

as I recall, what happened in '74 was that the Arabs put an embargo on gasoline during the Yom Kippur war in '73, the economy tanked, gas prices tripled and there were days when you couldn't buy it even if you wanted it. this crisis is mild by comparison.

Anonymous said...

49er fan--the 49er proposal is with the city of Santa Clara---location, which I personally think is great for a football stadium, is located off 101--not too far from San Jose Int'l--10 minutes max from downtown SJ.

A's ballpark is in downtown San Jose--so both projects are not with the same city. Santa Clara will be voting on the '9er stadium in November--includes about a $70M public contribution--

thisplanetsux said...

"as I recall, what happened in '74 was that the Arabs put an embargo on gasoline during the Yom Kippur war in '73, the economy tanked, gas prices tripled and there were days when you couldn't buy it even if you wanted it. this crisis is mild by comparison."

Ah, I was 12, but I do remember how we had to wait in gas lines for half an hour on odd/even days. People were uptight and arguing in the streets, it was pretty weird.

bartleby said...

"In other words, you saw the real estate collapse happening when no one else on the frigging planet did? Cause we all know that's why Fremont really failed and San Jose got another chance."

No, I didn't. Apparently, you couldn't be bothered to read my entire post. (It was a lot of words, I know, and some had more than two syllables). As I specifically stated, "I thought the Fremont plan would go, but this is how I saw the end game going if for some reason it did not."

In other words, like almost everyone else I believed the Fremont plan would succeed. However, I did corrrectly predict the end-game we see playing out before us if the Fremont plan were to fail for any reason.

The entire series of posts were part of a debate with Georob, who had stated, basically, that if Santa Clara County were the great undiscovered goldmine we all believed, MLB would have revoked the T-rights by then. He believed Selig would never take on the Giants.

My response was that there was no need to stir up the lodge and expend diplomatic capital within MLB when Fremont offered nearly the same access to SC county while allowing the T-rights issue to be sidestepped. However, I predicted that if Fremont failed for any reason, the endgame would be: A's throw up their hands and state they have exhausted all options in the East Bay. MLB steps in and confirms this is the case. At this point, PROVIDED THAT San Jose has done the savvy thing and kept a premium site available, ready to be gift-wrapped and presented with a bow, MLB would revoke the T-rights (subject to some form of compensation to the Giants).

"Perhaps we should go back into the blog history to verify if you made such statements two years ago, huh?"

Be my guest. Rob and I went back and forth quite a bit, so it shouldn't be too hard. Or perhaps some long time reader of this blog will recall the exchange.

"Or is this just more of the South Bay blowhardedness that Georob and others speak of?"

No shortage of blowhards on the Oakland-only side, as your post makes clear. Along with some reading comprehension issues.

Navigator said...

Saperstein's letter is so disingenuous and full of outright distortions.

Let's take the irrelevant argument of the population of Oakland and San Jose. Saperstein claims that Oakland grew by only 40,000 residents from when the A's arrived here in 1968, to the present. Saperstein, makes the argument that San Jose had under 300,000 residents at the time, and know has 1 million residents. Therefore, it's more "vibrant" than Oakland, and by definition deserves a team because it has a larger population.

What Saperstein doesn't mention, is that Oakland is much smaller in area, and a much denser city than San Jose. Oakland is only 57 square miles, while San Jose is a huge expansive sprawling suburban city. San Jose had the open space within its city limits to grow bigger. The growth in Oakland happened in the surrounding suburbs of the Oakland Metropolitan Area which encompass Alameda and Contra Costa County with a population of 2.4 million residents. Saperstein knows that the population of each city is irrelevant.

Saperstein and Wolff know that its the regional population and access to that population which is important. This is just another example of the distortions coming from the carpetbagger side. The truth is, that on accessibility to the existing fan base and potential fan base, Oakland wins hands down every time with a great central location to the entire Bay Area.

Wolff and Saperstein have failed at their business. It's not the location, it's the failure of these individuals to capitalize on their superior location. It's the alienation of Oakland and Oakland A's fans, which has led to this franchise becoming irrelevant.

Knocking the vibrancy of Oakland also doesn't cut it. In today's Chronicle, Michael Bower claims that Oakland's dining scene is "on fire" There are more new restaurants opening up in Oakland than even in New York. Even the New York Times did a special on their front page of the Travel Section titled "36 hours in Oakland." This exposure is usually reserved for destinations like Rome and Paris.

Saperstein, Wolff, and Selig, are rich old white guys who still hold the same outdated and stereotypical views of Oakland. Sure, Oakland may not have as many corporations as San Jose, but, it does have some pretty good ones.

Oakland has Clorox, Kaiser, Ask Jeeves, Cost Plus, Dryer's, Zhone Technologies, etc, to go along with access to the corporation in the Walnut Creek/Concord area, Tri Valley, and San Francisco. I'll include San Francisco because there is no law that I know of that states that San Francisco corporations, which by the way, have most of their employees and many of their executives living in the East Bay, are prohibited from supporting a successful baseball franchise in Oakland. Again, blame the failures on the ownership for not being able to exploit the tremendous potential in the 25 mile radius of their ballpark.

Anonymous said...

For those of you who have missed the news segment (Oakland bars and restaurants scene) about a month or so ago...

http://de.truveo.com/OAKLAND-Bars-and-Restaurants-Open-Despite-Tough/id/252201619704441220

Old Blue said...

"Wolff and Saperstein have failed at their business."

Navigator, their business is business, not making you happy. And, as we've seen, they've succeeded because they've actually managed to make money, no thanks to Oakland fans, but to MLB's revenue sharing welfare plan.

"Again, blame the failures on the ownership for not being able to exploit the tremendous potential in the 25 mile radius of their ballpark."

Navigator, ever hear the expression, "build it and they will come"? The ballpark was there. The mostly successful team was there. The food was hot and the beer was cold. I know, because I used to come all of the way from San Jose.

The people did not come. So far as I know, the A's ownership did not check IDs and deny entry to those living within that 25-mile radius of the ballpark. The Coliseum was open for some 80 dates every year. Based on attendance figures, all of those wonderful fans came out in droves to fill the Coliseum to 50-60% of capacity, for a team that for several years was in the upper tier of baseball.

What were they supposed to do, send personalized invitations to all of those wonderful fans within a 25-mile radius? Did all of you wonderful fans within the 25-mile radius get upset because you didn't get an invitation and accordingly decide to boycott the team? Me, I didn't need an invitation. I just checked the sports section and headed on out to the ball park.

I thought you'd given up, Navigator. I thought you wanted the A's out of Oakland before sunset. But you continue to beat the dead horse. Very strange.

Marine Layer said...

For the love of Pete, Nav, please stop bringing up Ask and Zhone. At 5%, Ask is a bit player among search engines, while Google and Yahoo have a combined 80% of the market. It's also owned by IAC, so its presence in Oakland isn't nearly as permanent as you might like. For whatever reason, Ask chose to spends its sports sponsorship dollars not on Oakland or Bay Area teams, but rather NASCAR. Why don't you jump all over them for that?Last I checked, Zhone was trading under $1 and its market cap was under $50M. I'm glad that it prides itself on being a "fully" American operation, but it's nearly irrelevant at this point.

Anonymous said...

Nice find anon 5:47!! I too have been seeing that area of downtown Oakland sprawling with new venues and nightlife as well as very good eating establishments. It seems that although it's a long process, that area of Oakland is becoming an alternative destination spot for nightlife. A ballpark downtown by JLS would bring so much more life and business to Oakland.

Thanks!

FC said...

Can we please stop using the "Oakland is central to the Bay Area" argument. Last I checked, Oakland has been central to the Bay Area for at least the last 41 years, and yet attendance for most of those years has been below average.

Also, if you're going to use the "suburb" argument, isn't Fremont (the Bay Area's 4th largest city) more of a burb to SJ than Oakland?

Bottomline is this, a ballpark in Oakland would be good, but not great. And as GS noted, if I were spending half a billion dollars on a ballpark, I'd sure like it to be in an area which has a sound economic foundation.

Navigator said...

Old Blue,

Oakland's attendance during the Schott era was in the middle of the pack. That's pretty good considering that the team consistently chocked in the playoffs and couldn't get to the next level where attendance would have increased.

Also, the fact that Steve Schott always took the opportunity to dampen Oakland's spirits with constant whinnying about the ballpark, whinnying about attendance, whinning even after attendance was improving. Also, Schott's constant flirtation with Santa Clara and relocation didn't help attendance get to the next level. I still remember the infamous, "our future is not in Oakland" remark to the Santa Clara City Council.

Even when the A's were drawing 2.2 million fans, there was always a threat of relocation. There was always the denigration of their own venue. The fans never complained about the Coliseum. This entire the "Coliseum sucks" propaganda was perpetuated by Schott and his organization.

In reality, the Coliseum while not luxurious, is a comfortable clean venue with great access. If you want to see a crummy decrepit uncomfortable stadium, try Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, or Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Or, for that matter, Fennway Park in Boston, if we're really being honest here.

Also, you want to talk about a sterile monstrosity with artificial turf where somehow it's OK to have a cavernous, charmless, symmetric ballpark? I give you Toronto of the multi colored stitched together artificial turf. Where's Bud Selig on that one? What's the matter, he cant extort the Canadians?

As I said previously, I'm tired of the carpetbaggers thinking they're bigger than Oakland. They're not.
If they agree to leave next year and allow Oakland to make much better use of that venue, other then leasing it to incompetent businessmen who can barely get 10,000 people in the place, the City of Oakland would be that much better for it.

Mr. Wolff, if you don't like it, then break you lease and get the h-ll out. Oakland is going to grow and prosper with, or without you.

I wish you luck in the southern corner of the Bay Area. Hopefully, you'll be able to convert many Giant fans down there because after all the nasty letters, the denigration of Oakland, the disregard for the current fan base, don't expect support north of Fremont. You'll succeed in handing Alameda and Contra Costa Counties to the San Francisco Giants while trying to convince the vast majority of fans in the South Bay to change their allegiance. Good luck with THAT business plan.

Anonymous said...

Navigator,
Will you please stop talking as if you represent the entire A's fan base with your nonsense...You don't! There are many A's fans, like myself, who are looking forward to a new yard in San Jose. And no, not all South Bay baseball fans are Giants fans. Again, enough nonsense from ya!

Anonymous said...

"In reality, the Coliseum while not luxurious, is a comfortable clean venue with great access. If you want to see a crummy decrepit uncomfortable stadium, try... Fennway Park in Boston, if we're really being honest here."

You know I always thought Navigator was a bit nutty, but that comment takes the cake. You have to be completely out of touch with reality if you think Fenway is crummy.

Anonymous said...

Fenway is equal to the Colisieum?? What be in that pipe of yours....come on Nav---this may be therapy for you but its really getting old for the rest of us--you said your good bye's yesterday---please stick with it---and spare us all your preaching from the mount--

SexFlavoredPez said...

Nav,

Rogers Communications, who owns the Blue Jays, purchased the SkyDome back in 2000. This allowed the team to REPLACE THE ASTROTURF and make other improvements, like the video scoreboards in the outfield walls. I'd ask you to do about 30 seconds of googling to check your facts before you run your mouth, but I know better.

Anonymous said...

"Saperstein knows that the population of each city is irrelevant. Saperstein and Wolff know that its the regional population and access to that population which is important."

This is classic. As I recall, YOU were author of a post comparing the population of the City of San Jose with Alameda and Contra Costa counties combined just within the last few weeks. Several bloggers posted the absurdity of this comparison. Do not not even notice your own hypocrisy?

"Wolff and Saperstein have failed at their business."

Along with Finley, Schott, and Haas (i.e. every single Oakland A's owner). None of them have been able to combine championship teams with good attendance and break even in Oakland in 40 years. Wow, what an unlucky run of bad management for such a great location, huh?

"It's the alienation of Oakland and Oakland A's fans, which has led to this franchise becoming irrelevant."

You have cited no evidence whatsoever either for the proposition that Oakland A's fans are alienated or that the team is any more or less relevant than it ever was in Oakland. Attendance is pretty consistent with past history, allowing for variance in the win-loss record. Show a little respect for the facts, and actually provide some.

"Knocking the vibrancy of Oakland also doesn't cut it. In today's Chronicle, Michael Bower claims that Oakland's dining scene is "on fire""

Oooh, hyperbole in a newspaper column. Well, that's pretty indisputable evidence.

"There are more new restaurants opening up in Oakland than even in New York."

I read that article, and nowhere does it say this. Bower mentions that in a recent visit to New York, he observed that not that many new restaurants have opened since he was last there in January. This is a passing comment based on one man's casual observation, not a scientific study. And it makes no comparison with Oakland. Based on population size alone, I see virtually no way the statement that more restaurants have opened in the City of Oakland in the last four months than in New York City could possibly be true. If you know different, cite your source.

Navigator said...

Facts please.

Saperstein and Wolff are the ones who are attempting to make irrelevant comparison's between the populations of each city. As I've said many times, it's the population of the region and accessibility to those fans which is important. And in those terms, Oakland wins hands down because of its irrefutably much more central location to the entire Bay Area than San Jose. Do you not know how to read a map?

Also,Oakland is a vibrant city full of great restaurants. That's the point! As Mr. Bauer stated in his article, "Oakland is on fire." I'll put up the restaurants, clubs, and theaters in Oakland against those in San Jose any day of the week. http://www.meetdowntownoak.com/index.php

Walter Haas had a great run in Oakland and the fans came in droves. Live with it! Oakland fans did their part and Oakland drew 2.9, 2.7, and 2.6 million fans. Oakland was the center of baseball over that time. If Mr. Haas over payed for some contracts, that's a business decision. Stop denigrating Oakland fans. They did their share when they had an owner who was responsive to his customers and cared about the city and community.

Finally, Oakland is too good a place for these carpetbaggers. Personally, with this group of people as owners, I would not support the team again, even if they were forced to stay in Oakland. These disingenuous carpetbaggers have burned too many bridges, and have denigrated this city time after time. The damage has been done.

Without new ownership they can take a hike. And, the sooner the better so that Oakland can begin utilizing its ballpark for the benefit of the citizens of Oakland. Oakland is a growing city which doesn't need the negativity of these carpetbaggers stunting its growth.

Mr. Wolff and Mr. Saperstein, if you want to leave, then leave NOW. Not many people care anymore. Your act is getting old.

Anonymous said...

Nav--what is really getting old is your rants and your attitude that you represent the fan base of the Oakland A's---you don't---

GS clearly stated the facts about Oakland and about why SJ makes business sense in light of todays MLB economics. Of course since you don't like the facts you continue to try and paint him as a villian---he happens to be an Oakland resident like yourself--only difference is he is an A's fan--and willing to accept some personal inconvenience if it means the A's will become a stronger franchise.

And once again---I agree with you--lets get the A's out of Oakland asap---you've stated the point--there is concensus---so no need to continue to rant about it--