09 July 2009

Neukom reaffirms territorial rights

Giants managing partner Bill Neukom headed down to a Los Altos Rotary Club event today, where he attempted to clear up some supposed misconceptions about territorial rights. From the Merc's Mike Swift:

Neukom said "there is a misunderstanding about the facts" relating to baseball's territorial rights, adding that the Giants established their formal claim of rights to the five counties from Marin to Monterey, with Santa Clara County at the center of that territory, as long ago as 1994.

"We asked for those counties because those are the natural counties for our fan base," Neukom said. "And those are the counties that we intend to continue to engage as Giants fans. Nobody else asked for any of those counties. Oakland asked for Alameda and Contra Costa counties, and got them."

That's news. Silly me, I thought Santa Clara County was granted so that the Giants could move there.

What's missing from the story? No threats. No mention of reprisals. It wouldn't sound so strange if it wasn't the same guy who legally reorganized the Giants ownership group as "San Francisco Baseball Associates L.P." Good lord, how much more legalese can it get than that?

Historically, the head Giant owner has deigned to grace the South Bay with his presence once or twice a year, but usually in a place like Los Altos or Palo Alto. Not that I expect Neukom and his bowtie to show up at the intersection of Tully and King, but why not hang out in San Jose for a lunch and talk to interested parties here? Nah, I suspect that as long as this continues Santa Clara County as a whole will be treated like a satellite, worthy of token outreach at best. Don't let the recent investment in the SJ Giants fool you. That's the baseball equivalent of setting up Vichy France. Vive le résistance!


Anonymous said...

Sounds as if Bud has lost complete control of this game---the ever analytical Bud has let the charade continue for far too long---maybe Larry Ellison will buy the A's as part of the package with the Warriors---LW at some point has got to throw up his hands and walk away from this joke----never thought I would feel this way but gotta believe at some point in the near future the A's are gonna be leaving the Bay Area

Anonymous said...

Nice revisionist history Mr. Neukom.

Paul said... long does Neukom think the Giants should hold those "rights?" 1,000 years? 2,000 years maybe? Circumstances have changed - the Giants are not ever moving to San Jose so the A's should be allowed to do so. Unless, of course, the Giants' intent is to drive the A's out of the Bay Area.

How about this - the Giants can keep Santa Clara provided:

* They relocate to Santa Clara County within 5 years, playing in a privately financed stadium, of course.
* They alone fork over the $32 mill a year that MLB pays to subsidize the A's.

Dan said...

Hate to agree with Anon 7:03, but I too am starting to think the shelf life of the A's in the region is quickly heading toward expiring. East Bay has no viable sites right now, and Oakland has no plan other than some nice platitudes that make Mayor Incompetent feel better about himself. The Giants are upping the heat on the South Bay, even though their claims are revisionist at best. And Bud is as spineless as ever and won't get the situation under control unless he gets all the owners to unanimously agree (which Neukom doesn't seem willing to do).

Fact is it would be a boon for the Giants if the A's leave. They'd have the whole market to themselves and it's pretty obvious that is their goal now. Enjoy the A's while they're here because they won't be in 5 years.

Anonymous said...

No, you guys are wrong. I read on OAFC that the Giants are super nice and just invoking their territorial rights as a kind gesture to Oakland. It's okay, for real.

Tony D. said...

anon 7:03 and Dan,

What the hell's a matter with you two!? Neukom completely changed the rationale for having the territorial rights (ie lied!) and you two bit like a bunch of busters! Good grief.

How many times must it be stated that the Giants were granted territorial rights to Santa Clara County back in 1992 BECAUSE THEY WERE SUPPOSE TO MOVE HERE! That's the truth; Get that throught your thick skulls!

Look, Neukom has no seniority as an owner (he's probably the lowest owner on the totum pole as we speak) and he's not a frat brother of Bud Selig. In other words, no pull within MLB! Also, this is an organization that pissed off MLB when they privately financed then Pac Bell Park, and then gave a drug dealer unfetterred access to its club house. Yet some think that somehow the Giants are untouchable and can't be reckoned with.

Look, it's quiet simple: San Jose gets it's ballpark plan together and the Giants WILL DEAL their stupid rights for compensation.

A's leaving the Bay Area? LW throw up his hands? Giants upping the heat on the South Bay? 5 more years of A's basebal? PLEASE!!

Anonymous said...

Nonsense. Neukom's comments are meaningless spin, "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." What would anyone expect him to say? We're just in a dead period for A's ballpark news, so any little comment any of the players goes into the blogsphere echo chamber where it gets magnified 1000 times.

Neukom is opposed to the A's moving to SC County, and will continue to be vocally opposed. But we knew that. Notwithstanding, he has no legal options other than persuading Selig or 1/4 of the other owners to back him.

Ultimately, those owners will do what is in their own best interest, and that of the league. It is in their interest to have the A's get off the dole, and expand the market for MLB overall. If there was another unserved market out there which was better than half the Bay Area, I would agree the A's were likely on their way out. But if there is, I can't see it. A third team in metro New York maybe, but that seems less politically feasible than giving the A's San Jose. In the end, the owners will make the smart economic decision, which I believe will mean a yard at Diridon.

If anyone out there thinks there is a market which would be better for MLB overall than letting the A's move to Santa Clara county, please make your case.

Jeffrey said...

Here is some market comparison, external and Bay Area specific.

The short answer is, and ML has done much analysis on this as well, there is no market outside of the Bay Area that is much more than another Kansas City. It's Bay Area, or larger revenue sharing checks.

Jesse said...

The article says that Selig was impressed with sites in Alameda and Contra Costa. Any idea which site in Contra Costa, if any?

dogfather said...

Nuke 'im.

monkeyball said...

ML, doesn't Godwin's Law say that you've now lost the argument?

Marine Layer said...

I'd say yes if it were for the tongue firmly planted in cheek. Perhaps I should throw in an LOL every now and then?

Anonymous said...

What argument has ML lost?

monkeyball said...

The Jamie Quirk Exception?

Anonymous said...

In monkeyball universe, only monkeyball is allowed to be funny.

Pork chops and applesauce said...

Jesse-Actually, the article says the blue ribbon panel has been "impressed" by the potential sites in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, not Selig.

Anonymous said...

there have been plenty of possible sites, after the giants no hitter im thinking though, if san jose wants to build then let san jose build.

alt sites all: oakland parking lot, oakland waterfront, undisclosed site not in san jose, or san jose(territorial rights(bs))

80 home games, its better than a 49'rs stadium.

to compensate oakland fans: a bus that runs from the operating bart station, or 5 or 8 busses. we'll talk about bus numbers later.

that would be great.

let san jose build, with busses to bart.(bus rapid transit article from NYT front page

Paul said...

...meanwhile, the NUMMI plant might close, which could open up a perfect site for the ballpark. Fremonters would have to ask themselves if they want to keep scaring away the As' because of nonsensical NIMBY concerns if the town's biggest employer - NUMMI - leaves...

The place is right along the highway and not too far from where the new BART station would go.

Anonymous said...

When asked about Fremont being a possiblity again now that NUMMI has closed LW said he has moved on and has no interest in revisiting Fremont--period.

Anonymous said...

Good, I was never a fan of the Fremont move.

Marine Layer said...

A's Drumbeat blogger Vlae Kershner asked me about this last week. Here was my response:

On the surface it might seem that way. The land that was considered for a ballpark was to be used by the GM side if they had decided to add a parts inventory operation there. Toyota's just-in-time manufacturing process reduces overhead by eliminating such facilities. So in a Toyota-only mode there's a possibility.

Unfortunately it's a lot more complicated. Toyota still wouldn't be in favor of a ballpark interfering with its operations. Land ownership in the area's a bit of a mess, with it partly owned by GM, Toyota and the NUMMI partnership. If the plant were to be shut down, there would still be the matter of divesting all of the land, which probably would take years and a very lengthy development process. The only other major car plant in the Bay Area was in Milpitas, a Ford plant. It took 20 years after it was shut down to be redeveloped, and it's now an outlet mall.

Then there's still the NIMBY issue. Santa Clara residents had a long memory regarding the A's failed efforts in 2002, I don't expect Fremont residents to forget easily either.

Steve said...

Someone please educate me on the territorial rights. I am under the impression that if the “Blue Ribbon” review concludes that San Jose is a good location for a new A’s ballpark then a territorial amendment would be voted on by MLB team owners. Is this a simple majority vote, some kind of 2/3 rd’s majority, or a unanimous vote? I’ve also read that a struggling franchise, such as the A’s who have one of the lowest average ticket sales per season, must often be subsidized by the league. If this is the case, then as long as it’s not a unanimous vote I think we can count on the owners to overwhelmingly support a territorial amendment. If it is unanimous then San Jose should stop wasting its time because there’s obviously going to be at least one “nay” vote.

Marine Layer said...

3/4 of the owners, or 23 of 30, would be required to vote in favor of the move after it's pushed by the commish and the executive committee. However, Selig likes to show a united front, so he won't even bring it to a vote unless he has near unanimity, around 29-1 or 28-2.

FC said...


Wasn't the amended EIR and Economic report suppose to be out by now?

Anonymous said...

ML--in your opinion are the A's being pro-active in educating the other owners on how territorial rights were established (i.e--so the Giants could move to SJ, how the A's will be further from the Giants, impact on revenue sharing etc? Two things recently have shown to me that the Giants are out in front of trying to inform/mis-inform the owners groups--one when an owner emailed LW and said he would be hard for him to support the A's moving closer to the Giants and second when Neukom spoke in Los Altos and stated that the Giants pursued territorial rights to SJ/SCC because they are part of the Giants "natural territory"?

I would have expected MLB or at minimum the A's to establish a fact sheet around the issue for other MLB owners to avoid the PR BS that the Giants are trying to do--

Anonymous said...

Based on the realities of outside markets compared to the Bay Area (great links Jeffrey), I see know reason for MLB to give the entire Bay Area to the Giants.
If that was the case, MLB would not have potentially allowed Fremont to become a reality.
Jeffrey summed it up nicely earlier: nicely compensate the Giants for allowing the A's in San Jose, or move the A's out of the Bay and pay them $100 million yearly in revenue sharing?

Steve said...

Thanks Marine Layer. Call me optimistic but I feel that a move to San Jose has already been set in motion. I never got my hopes up a few years back when this issue first came up but times are much different now. There are so many factors which support a move to SJ but the most important is the city's unique enthusiasm to land a team in this economy. A few years back there were many cities willing to roll out the red carpet whose economies have since tanked, i.e. Las Vegas. Ironically, It's the weak economy which finally forced MLB to acknowledge SJ. A few years back Mr. Selig wouldn't even answer his phone when he saw (408) on the caller ID. Now we have a "Blue Ribbon" panel which, let’s not kid ourselves, was put together for the sole purpose to show the Giants that MLB studied all possibilities and has determined that San Jose is the only viable option. When the vote goes before the owners Mr. Selig will be able to wash his hands and tell Neukom that he did all he could do, the panel findings are indisputable. I'm already getting SJ embroidered on my A's cap!

Marine Layer said...

BTW - City of San Jose is on recess for the month of July. The reports may not surface until towards the end of the month or August prior to the next City Council session.

Anonymous said...

Keep dreaming Steve...

Anonymous said...

Here is the problem the only site the Giant's could possible consider (without major damage to their fan base) would be a site in the South bay not on the Cal Train line. Sites on The Cal Train line will steal the Giant's fanbase away from them, up and down the line between San Jose and SF.

Hint--Hint A site in the South Bay not on CALTRAIN but on another train line that can maintain current A's fans would be the answer. Suggestion The San Jose A's of Santa Clara.

A Santa Clara site would save over $100 mill. over Diridon -- in land costs and infrastructure including widening of roads for access. (NO LAND TO BUY)

Maintaining a major portion of the current A's base by train, while letting the Giant's secure a majority of their fans that take CAL TRAIN --MAKES SENSE.

Lew and Keith are both smart cookies and I believe will come to this conclusion before the cookie crumbles. If you are going to pitch a deal to MLB make sure you take the bat of The Giant Lawyer.


Marine Layer said...

That's a good one, Gary. Santa Clara works best because a small fraction of the 5% of its fanbase that takes Caltrain is supposedly threatened? Let's play Solomon and split that 5% in half. So that's 1000 fans x 81 games x $36 in spending = $3 million per year. Not enough to make or break any stadium deal.

You've just highlighted why the Great America site isn't the transit hub its proponents are claiming it is.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:07,
Some dreams do come true.

If your one of the less than 5% hard-core Giants fan who takes Caltrain to AT&T Park, you will remain one even with the A's in downtown San Jose. Its called fan loyalty and love for ones team.

An A's ballpark on the Caltrain line is a non-issue.

Anonymous said...

I hate the Giants with a passion. I'm actually rooting for the Rockies to take the wild card spot away from them.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts on your site. My friend gave up because He said you were closed minded. I do not believe that. I also appreciate your opinions and enjoy reading your background information.

I know you want to see the A's in the South Bay at the best location and so do I! Even though we disagee thats o.k.

We need options, one option is to pick another site in San Jose and there is one out there.

I am also 100% confident no site in the Southbay is better than the Santa Clara/Great America Site because of the 8 lane Great America Parkway. That is why the Santa Clara County Stadium Assoc. chose Santa Clara as the number #1 location for A MLB Baseball Park.

Getting out of the concert tonight at the SJ arena took 45 minutes because there isn't enough lanes to feed the small access roads.

Now lets Double the fans from 19,000 to 38,000 +++++ with events going on at the same time ie; A's night game against The Dodgers and a major concert. Results would be a complete mess unless San Jose plans on adding many lanes out there. That would make the SJ site a great option.

But since you believe The Santa Clara transportaion options are poor, maybe we should scratch the San Jose A's of Santa Clara option off the chart for now.

Go San Jose A's!


Marine Layer said...

Gary, I think you misinterpret my mission on this blog. Contrary to popular belief, I am not all about moving the A's to the South Bay. I am all about keeping them in the Bay Area, wherever that may be. The South Bay for the moment appears to be the best (and perhaps only) place, that may change at some point.

I can't fathom why it would take 45 minutes to leave HP Pavilion. I've gone to several dozen events there, including Sharks and Sabercats games, concerts, and other types of events. It's never taken me more than 15 minutes to get out of either the main lot or the surrounding lots. 15 minutes to walk to the downtown lots. 30 minutes to walk home.

Anonymous said...

Gary- I am a Sharks season tix holder and I was at the concert on Sunday evening--never does it take me more than 15-20 minutes to get out of the Tank and be headed home to LG---The benefit of a downtown venue is you have dispersed parking throughout the city core which helps to manage the traffic flow--HP Pavillion does this really well--

Jane Jacobs said...

An isolated suburban site, vast parking lot, an 8-lane access road, and an environment scaled for cars rather than people is the last thing you want for a modern ballpark.

The current wisdom runs toward downtown sites, dispersed (but still nearby and plentiful) parking, pedestrian friendliness, other businesses and attractions, and a good balance of public and private transportation modes.

IOW, Diridon and not great America.

Anonymous said...

the bart line to santa clara county has been voted yes. how about a merge of the bart project with the stadium site so that the stadium is or even could be part of the bart santa clara line.

Dan said...

Anon 11:57, that's exactly what the Diridon site would do. It would be in downtown San Jose AND be right on the proposed BART to San Jose/Santa Clara line, as well as the future High Speed Rail line, the current Caltrain Line, current VTA light rail, current Amtrak Capital Corridor line, and the ACE commuter rail line. Not to mention close proximity to both CA 87 and I-280.

The 49ers Santa Clara site by comparison is only located on the VTA light rail and relatively close to the Capital Corridor and ACE lines. It is no where near Caltrain, BART to SJ/SC or the high speed rail lines, though it is close to CA 237 and US 101.

Steve said...

That is one thing that dampens my enthusiasm for the new 49er's stadium. Such an enormous gathering space served by very little public transit. I daydream about a future BART extension which would continue from its currently planned terminus at the Santa Clara Caltrain station north along the ACE tracks terminating just east of the planned stadium. From there it will hang a left and continue up the peninsula where it will connect to Milbrae and the BART bay circuit will finally be complete! Now I really am dreaming.

bbison said...

Gary: I make it home (to Gilroy) from Sharks games or concerts in 45 minutes or less, every time.
The only way I can see being stuck getting out of a lot for an extended time post-HP Pavilion event is if you park either in the poorly designed lot that's directly under 87 or at the very top of the San Pedro Square garage.

On the other hand--any proposal of a facility for consistent weeknight use in Santa Clara is just a little nuts. The traffic there is horrible every night from Mountain View to North San Jose. There are days I've left SFO (via 280/85) and have beaten my wife (leaving Sunnyvale or Santa Clara) home.

Anonymous said...

the downtown tunnel part of bart is too expensive. it cant be built with the current funding. so the stadium would have to be moved from the diridon site to around the proposed berryessa station.

just about any parking lot will do for a site. currently.

Anonymous said...

The leaders of SCC and SVLG are currently working to attract Federal funding to help facilitate the total development of BART including the downtown tunnel--having a ballpark right next to one of those stops and significantly increasing demand on the system will help to support these requests and move up the timeframe of construction--

At the end of the day---still waiting on Bud and MLB to give SJ the go ahead---

Dan said...

Why would it have to be moved to Berryessa? Even IF BART never makes it to Diridon Station the site is still better integrated into the current transit grid, and you could still transfer in E SJ to Light Rail from BART and come into down town that way.