If we can get the olive out of the bottle

Forum thread

Lew Wolff was interviewed by Greg Papa in a lengthy segment on Chronicle Live today, and for once just about everyone can find a little bit of hope in what he had to say. Wolff’s folksy demeanor shows up most when he sheepishly admits something, such as when he talked about his “silly tarping” idea (that won’t go over well) or when he didn’t realize that the A’s had the worst attendance in the league in 2009.

Papa did the right thing in progressing the questions from Oakland to San Jose. He asked why Oakland didn’t work and Wolff mentioned his notes, which would take an hour and 45 minutes to go over. I have gotten a look at these notes, and while there wasn’t time to go over everything, it was quite thorough and helps Wolff make his case rather clearly. That said, on two occasions Wolff mentioned that while he felt he was exhaustive in his search, the MLB panel could make another recommendation within Oakland or the East Bay. Whether or not the panel actually does that is another story. Still, it’s a glimmer of hope that the process will give Oakland another shot at getting everything together for a ballpark. (Cue the Oakland preso anytime now…)

When the subject switched to San Jose, Wolff played down San Jose in terms of economic virtues. Instead he framed his argument entirely within the confines of running the club: It’s the only place a ballpark can work now due to infrastructure there, and the concepts in Fremont and Oakland (Coliseum North) can’t work now because of the economy. Keep in mind that in the San Francisco Magazine article, Wolff said that he wasn’t pursuing additional land in the Diridon area, so building a mall or some other fancy development wouldn’t be in the cards.

On territorial rights, Wolff felt that the decision had to be made “in a measured manner,” with neither owner likely lobbying other owners on his behalf.

Among the other tasty tidbits from the interview

  • Wolff corrected Papa on the A’s 2008 revenue: not $160 million as Forbes reported, but rather $130 million. That includes the revenue sharing receipt ($32 million).
  • A ballpark in San Jose, if all the hurdles are cleared, would take 9-12 months to finish planning and 2 years to build. Wolff did not rule out a 2012 opening, but that’s not likely given that the public vote would likely be taken next November. Even if they break ground a day after the election, they’d still have only 16 months from that point until Opening Day 2012. So dont get too excited about 2012. The Mayans caused enough trouble there.
  • Wolff hinted that MLB may have some say in the eventual size of the ballpark – which may be where the 36,000 figure is coming from.

There’s another thing I’ve picked up from these public statements and others from other teams – there’s a palpable sense of kinship between the A’s, Raiders, and 49ers. The A’s, while they’ve criticized the Coliseum for not being baseball friendly, have not directly blamed the Raiders. They’ve said that a shared facility isn’t ideal long term and that’s that. It’s an important distinction, as all three teams know they’re in the same boat and it wouldn’t make sense to attack each other when it’s hard enough to get a deal done. Fans have the latitude to throw blame. Owners, not so much.

Want more? Watch the interview, which is almost 15 minutes long has been broken up into several segments on the CSNCA video section.

77 thoughts on “If we can get the olive out of the bottle

  1. ML. Remind me again… Does the vote have to happen for the ballpark to be built or is it a formality? Also, the vote won’t be until November?

    • Everything I’ve heard is that the thing will be put to a vote even if no public money is used. There’s some political CYA there. There’s also a chance that the vote may be more on more than just the ballpark, it could be a package of redevelopment stuff.

      November’s what I’ve heard so far. The primary’s ruled out in part because of the expense, partly because the 49ers vote will be in June.

      • Is it your understanding that if MLB granted T-rights before the vote, the A’s could lay signifigant groundwork to speed up the process?

      • There’s isn’t that much in the A’s control. It’s up to the City to get the EIR re-certified, the site completely acquired, and the ballot measure approved.

      • I was keying in on the statement Wolff made about a 9-12 month planning/permit timline. Wouldn’t that fit within a timeframe between now and the election? Or can that not happen until the vote?

      • Yes. It includes the items I described, but again the A’s really don’t have any control other than to submit their specific ballpark plans that presumably fit within the EIR guidelines. They must already have this ready.

  2. Interesting him not calling out the Raiders for their part. Guess it makes sense however. I hardly ever consider that despite their destruction of the Coliseum in 95 they’re technically in the same boat as the A’s and Raiders now due to the changes in the NFL stadium landscape in the last 15 years.

  3. ML,

    8 months ago when the BRC was formed, their stated purpose I believe was to evalute possible ballpark sites within the A’s current territory. It now seems that they have met with SJ on at least a couple of occasions. Any idea as to why such meetings would be necessary? Has the focus of the committee changed?

  4. Lou Wolff has intentionally made the attendance low in Oakland to force a move.

    They purposely close the 3rd deck of the stadium, even on series with the Yankees, Giants and Red Sox when they would easy sell out. Rickey Henderson Day? No 3rd deck seats available? C’mon.

    They also are investing in prospect players so that the team on the field isn’t up to par with others.

    Watch, the minute they move they’ll somehow start signing some top free agents for $$$ to build up the team on the field. They don’t have any desire to do it now because they want a pathetic team with dismal attendance to force a move.

    • Humm—you mean the Holliday deal last year was so that he could screw Oakland and the team…and of course—once they move to SJ they will have more money to sign free agents–that’s the whole point of this–

      15,000 additional seats when you have a season tix base of 8,000—ever heard of supply and demand economics–sell the 35,000 first and than remove the tarps–btw–a stadium in SJ will be the same size of a “tarped” stadium in Oakland–which is about the same size as Fenway and Wrigley

      • GoA’s

        Good post. It always puzzles me why fans criticize the closing of the upper deck, when we can’t even sellout the seats downstairs. In fact I believe only one out of the 3 games againt the Yankees was soldout. The other two games were not even close to sellouts. Same for the series against the Bosox.

      • I like how you mention only the Holiday deal as if one man makes a lineup. He doesn’t. You pitch around him since backing him up was a freebie castoff like Giambi…who was later outright released for nothing.

        It’s the typical pick where they probably did it because they know they can get compensation draft picks after he’s gone in July since they didn’t fill holes in other areas. So instead they have the youngest starting pitching rotation in the league to pay them peanuts, and the latest rumor is that they will trade Cust for a single-A prospect. Wow. The team doesn’t have to move at all since all the players move for them. Why not just call the A’s the Rivercats and call them what they really are.

        As for the 3rd deck, no one is saying to have it open for every game. Please read what I actually wrote. There are definitely certain times when there is far more demand than the stadium will hold. These are games like I actually mentioned in my post. (Yankees, Giants and Red Sox, Rickey Henderson Day, etc.) Ever heard of supply and demand there?

      • Hmmm, let’s see, the A’s trade away Haren to get 6 prospects including Carlos Gonzalez, and they get criticized. Then they trade away Gonzalez along with two pitchers for an All Star, and they get criticized.

        BTW, I’d be surprised if the A’s had more than 5 sellouts last year. Even if they opened up the upper deck for those games and brought in an additonal 30K per game, that would have been an additional 150K or 1851 per game. That still would have only put us in second to the last place in attendance.

      • Ding ding ding! The A’s had exactly 5 sellouts last year. Pick up your prize at the concierge, FC.

      • Your math assumes extra ticket sales at those five sellouts only. But in reality, without tarps, the A’s would have sold more tickets for other games too. This may or may not have helped the team’s net profit from ticket sales, but it would assuredly have helped the raw attendance total, which is why it’s so disingenuous for Lew to cite attendance numbers.

      • I’m not so sure about that, FSU. If we’re talking about the in-contention A’s of the early part of the decade, you’d be correct. If we’re talking about the rebuilding A’s of a decade ago, not so much. 1998: 15,214/game. 1999: 17,712/game. We’ve seen this movie before.

      • FreeSeatUpgrade is dead on correct. That’s my exact point. Everyone is also forgetting the special pricing on those 3rd deck seats. I have been to many A’s games in 2009 where the special outfield cheap seats are SOLD OUT. The only option then is to pony up for more expensive seats or go home. Many people with families in this economy simply can’t afford it so they stay home in the first place. If special-priced tix were available for 3rd deck, it may not increase revenue (no one knows) but it would definitely raise attendance.

      • So Mike M—let’s bring you back to reality–whereever a ballpark is built—Oakland or SJ–it will be about the same size as a tarped Oakland–and it will be privately financed–meaning whoever is the private financer will expect to be paid back through tix sales etc—so guess what–tix prices are going to be high and the ballpark is going to be small—so if your claim now is that fans in Oakland don’t go to the game because they don’t have enough cheap tix than I can only imagine what will happen if they build it in Oakland and tix are alot more costly-

      • GoA’s, let’s bring YOU back to reality. I’m not saying that a new ballpark in Oakland is the answer. Did you read me saying that? In fact, I think they can still play in the current one. The team and the fans don’t NEED a new ballpark at all. In fact look at teams like the Yankees and the NY football Giants. New stadiums usually mean that the average fan can no longer afford to go to the games. So who NEEDS a new stadium? The owners and major league baseball do. MLB wants to retire old multipurpose stadiums from their portfolio and owners know that a new stadium (and especially a new town) means $$$$. Ultimately, the fans lose. That’s a huge difference that needs to be highlighted.

        I’ve been a lifelong A’s fan, and I was there when the A’s handed out the “2,000,000 Thank Yous” pennants when they broke that number in 1988. Same stadium. The difference was that there was a winning product on the field. Baseball has changed with small markets not truly being able to compete via payroll figures that can’t be matched by small market clubs. But a new stadium will do nothing to change that. A new location/market will. So that’s why Wolff & Co. want to move the team. That’s the reality of what’s going on.

        Wolff is trying to use attendance numbers as a key reason as to why a new ballpark is needed, but it’s disingenuous when there are steps taken to willfully limit the attendance to save costs. They didn’t even open the 3rd deck during the PLAYOFFS. What a complete joke. If it’s supply/demand, open up the 3rd deck on those games when the demand is sky high (Iike what I have mentioned) or offer discounted tickets and then at least be honest with the attendance figures because right now they are not.

      • Two things

        1) The Coliseum is not quite the same as it was in 1988. They built this thing called Mt. Davis. Perhaps you’ve heard of it?

        2) Maybe they didn’t open the 3rd deck in the 2006 playoffs because the last time the A’s played the Twins in the playoffs, the third deck was half empty. I don’t blame them for wanting to avoid that embarrassment.

  5. There are some very insightful commenters in this blog, and they add a lot to the information level and the quality of ideas here. Their goal seems to be to explore the topic with sincerity and reasonably open minds, and to expand our collective knowledge of this subject.
    .
    There are aslo some highly clueless, emotional, irrational, and repetitious commenters with very little grasp of the facts and very little knowledge of how the world really works, and they dramatically drag down the level of discussion and pollute the general ambience here. Their goal seems to be to force the discussion into constricted and uninteresting channels that suit their limited worldview and narrow agenda.
    .
    Is there some way to create an invited sub-group of the former, where the discussion can reach more of its full potential, free of the trolls and low-information posters? This could either be closed to the trolls, or set up in a way that they could read but not post.
    .
    Would this be desirable, or unforgivably elitist?

    • It’s tempting to make comments open to only registered users, but I’m keeping it open. I want free flowing debate even if it gets ugly once in a while. If people really go over the line, I can ban them now, which I couldn’t do at the old site.

      I can add a recommendation option so that voted down posts “disappear.” Does that sound like something you’d be interested in?

      • ML,

        I’m not sure the voting down idea is a good idea. As Vincent said, this is a blog and it should be an open debate. Maybe you could have a thumbs up or down thingy, like the Chronicle board.

        Whatever the case, I’m just glad there aren’t 100 Anons anymore.

      • Thumbs up

      • Actually, I was thinking of leaving the main blog as it is, but adding an “adults room” for people who have shown a willingness and ability to advance the discussion intelligently.
        .
        Voting down problem posts on the main blog and making them disappear doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. Having a thumbs-up and thumbs-down capability (a rating system
        rather than an enforcement system) is not a bad idea.
        .
        A mechanical suggestion: is it possible to add a preview function?
        And why can’t I see complete lines as I type within the reply box?

      • They have that, its called the Forums.

        Just no ones on it yet

      • Bingo. Which is why I’m surprised the forums only option is winning in the poll, it seems like people like the convenience of commenting directly on a post.

    • ML,

      Long time reader, just never a poster.

      Why not just link to the forums using the comment link instead? Anyone else finding it hard to read the comments which are posted on this new setup besides me? Seems that the newest posts are no longer at the end?

      • That’s what happens when you have a threaded comments page. At least you have the list of recent comments that allows direct links to the latest. I’m trying to fix the date/time display in each comment box.

        Even though the vote favors the forums, the amount of activity in the comments speaks for itself. There is a link to the forum thread at the top of each article post, and registered users are welcome to start their own threads.

  6. I know I am new to commenting here but have been reading this blog for awhile. But if you was to do a vote about comments that would on the surface be a great idea ( You would not have to read the same old whining about Wolf being the devil) you might actually get something new.

    But I belive the whole idea of the blog is to be a open debate (Even if some people go over board and don’t care about there teams future just they name of “OAKLAND”

    Wolf said it best when it came to voting. This is California I am sure if they was to find a cure for cancer some one would vote it down.

  7. Connie Mack, enough with the back room talks. Baseball belongs to the masses. Unfortunately, you Wolff and Fisher, don’t like to hear what the people are saying. The fans are speaking loudly. They’re saying that they want this ballpark built in Oakland. I can understand you wanting to narrow the discussion towards what a few wealthy and politically connected interests want. Unfortunately, what your proposing is anti-democratic and anti-American. It’s very much like the way Wolff and Fisher are currently doing business. It’s called back room deals with the wealthy and well-connected while what the fans have to say doesn’t matter.

    • It’s cute that you hint at fascism while calling him anti-American. You’re a master of satire.

    • Nav, you need to understand that you are not “the people” or “the fans”, and it’s delusional (not to mention irritating and boring) to keep insisting, over and over again, that you are.
      Have you considered testing your theories by running for office on the platform of bringing a ballpark to Oakland? Or forming a group to raise money for that purpose?

    • Enough with the back room talks, Wealthy and politically connected interests,
      Anti-democratic and anti-American.

      Wow Nav’ I didn’t know we was talking about the Cold War I thought we was just talking about the A’s getting a new stadium/, Shit……. I am scared now

    • And here I thought America was a Capitalist society…. I thought the business belonging to the people was back with the communists?

  8. Connie Mack, the only delusional people here are the ones who don’t acknowledge the fact that the vast majority of Oakland A’s fans want the team to remain in Oakland. The Facebook figures, the petition, and comments say so. The approval for comments on stories in the Chronicle say so. The passion for the team to remain in Oakland stands in stark contrast to the apathy for the team in San Jose. No rational individual without an agenda can deny this. In Oakland, it’s grassroots support from passionate Oakland A’s fans. In San Jose, it’s a few politicians and well connected wealthy individuals trying to make a buck off of Oakland’s team. I never claimed that I speak for Oakland A’s fans. They’re doing a damn good job of speaking for themselves. If only the wealthy and well connected would listen to them.

    • Connie Mack,
      Don’t try to reason with the above; it’ll only get this thread shut down by ML/Admin. By the way CM, glad to see your alive after all these years!

      Nav,
      I served in the military during the First Gulf War, am a proud A’s fan, and want to see a new ballpark in downtown San Jose. Does any of this make me “anti-American” or “anti-Democratic?”

    • Who is this “vast majority”, Nav? That is only an opinion, not a verafible fact.

      I think (see – I am stating my opinion and not presenting it as fact) that most fans want the A’s to remain in the Bay Area, and if Oakland can work, then great, but that San Jose is a good alternative.

      This same majority that I think exists, recognizes that Oakland, especially in light of the Raiders debacle, coupled with the fact that the last two mayors (one a do nothing, the other openly disdainful of the A’s) has neither the political will nor the financial means get anything done.

  9. Tony, of course you have the right to your opinion. I think that you know that I was speaking of Connie Mack’s proposal to close off discussions on this site. Plrraz, I can verify that over 22,000 people are on the Let’s Go Oakland site and only hundreds on the San Jose site. I can verify that pro staying in Oakland comments on the Chronicle receive many positive responses with thumbs up, while pro San Jose comments get thumbs down. I think these facts along with the fact that only 46% of San Jose residents want the Oakland A’s in their city according to a recent poll. I’m not making this stuff up. I’m backing up my assertion that based on all available evidence ” the vast majority of Oakland A’s fans want the A’s to remain in Oakland. If you can show me figures that state that most Oakland A’s fans want the A’s in San Jose, or just in the Bay Area, let’s see them. The numbers for those sites say that’s not the case.

    • Right now, there are 185,607 fans on the “Oakland Athletics” Facebook page. Meanwhile, there are 22,336 people in the “Let’s Go Oakland” group. By my calculations, that’s about 12% of A’s fans who want them to stay. Even that is assuming everyone in LGO is of the Oakland-only persuasion, which we know is not true. Doesn’t look like a majority, Nav. If you want to keep citing Facebook stats, be prepared to have them cited back. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

    • Also, you should know better than to reference Chronicle comments. I see you in to defend Oakland every time a murder is reported, which is sadly more often these days. You get lost in a sea of bitter, derogatory comments, most of which get the prestigious thumbs up.

    • There is also the fact that the A’s own sales data shows TWICE the number of A’s ticket purchasers live NORTH of the Coliseum as SOUTH of it. How logical would it be for someone to the north, to support a move 45 miles further south, when that’s the part of the Bay Area currently offering the poorest fan support.

      • TPS—may be a fact but an insignificant fact as we are talking 8000 season tix holders and 17,000 avg fans/game—so your talking in the 4-8k range using your number–in a city of a million, county of nearly 2M finding 4-8k new fans when the ballpark is in your backyard will not be very difficult

      • The thought that so many supposed A’s fans would alienate their team because it moves some 40 miles away is disappointing. I have been a fan for 30 years. During this tine I have lived in 3 different cities of varying distance from Oakland (San Leandro being the closest). I currently live 1.5 hours from the Coliseum and go to a minimum of 15 games a season. Wherever in the Bay Area the team moves,true fans will follow. Real fans will go whether it’s Oakland or San Jose!

      • Amen–keep ‘em in the Bay Area!

      • LOL The A’s obviously can not live on “real fans” like you! “Real fans” like you are already going to the Coliseum 15 times a year, and attendance still sucks. They need to locate where they will sell the most tickets. That means, in addition to moving into a better facility, and putting a better team on the field, they need to get close to the most people likely to buy tickets (sorry, “real fans” need not apply in the modern era of baseball economics). To the best of our knowledge, that place is somewhere north of the Coliseum. Sure they can have some success, especially in the novelty phase, by building in San Jose. But I thought most people in here wanted what was “best for the team”.

  10. TBS—definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result—attendance statistics speak for themselves—-seems as if all those “fans” north of the Colisieum have other interests than the A’s

    • So, who is repeating a mistake looking for a new outcome: someone who builds their fancy new ballpark where people have been buying tickets, or someone who builds their fancy new ballpark 45 miles away, where people haven’t been buying tickets? If the A’s got the same level of support from the South Bay as they get from the North Bay, we wouldn’t be having this conversation and this blog wouldn’t exist. Great, let’s get sane here, put 50 miles between us and our strongest base of support, and move to an area where we’re not especially popular…

      • I think GoA’s makes a good point. Just because more than twice as many STH come from “north of the coliseum” doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the direction we ought to be looking. I think it’s logical to assume a lot of these buyers come from Oakland, Danville, Concord, and the cities along the I-80 corridor. Admittedly getting to the coliseum from these citlies is a lot easier than coming from the peninsula and south bay, which is probably why there are a greater number of buyers coming from these areas.

        The questions you need to be asking is why do the A’s only have 8K STH, and why are there only 5-6K STH coming from the area north of the coliseum?

      • It’s probably safe to assume that A’s ticket sales are in severe decline from ALL directions because they are a last-place team, with no star players. And even with some ticket price drops last year, they were still around ML average cost to attend (tickets + parking + concessions), and in ’08 were the 10th most expensive team in baseball–costlier than many teams with nice, newer ballparks, like the Giants, Mariners, Rangers, Pirates, Reds, Brewers, etc. And way, way more expensive than the Angels, who were cheaper than anyone in baseball but the Rays. This info is lifted from Fan Cost Index at http://www.teammarketing.com/fancost/mlb/

        So we know the team is not good, the ballpark is not good, and it’s expensive to go there. We also know that they directly trimmed probably a couple hundred thousand ticket sales overall since tarping before the ’06 season. How do we jump to the conclusion, that the people buying the most tickets are the ones to blame?

      • “How do we jump to the conclusion, that the people buying the most tickets are the ones to blame?”

        The phrase “the most tickets” is a relative term. 8K STH is nothing to get excited about. As an extreme example if I told you the A’s had 500 STH south of the coliseum, and they had 10 times that amount to the north, would you be excited about that? I hope not, because that would mean their STH count would be around 5500.

        So what if the fans to the north are “buying the most tickets”. The point is given where the A’s now play ball, not enough fans are buying tickets period.

      • FC, the reply button on your post was absent, so this won’t appear quite where it should.

        Why do you go out of your way to ignore the team’s performance, current ballpark situation, and high cost to attend in order to blame the metro area for the team’s attendance problems? We have seen over and over again, that teams like the Giants, Indians, Orioles, Rangers, Mariners, Brewers, Pirates, Padres, Reds, White Sox, Tigers, etc. can go from having similar attendance to the A’s in Oakland when playing in their previous, rundown ballparks, to having much better attendance after simply moving into a modern facility. And those teams have been driving the A’s attendance records steadily down the list over the past 20 years or so. When you stop ignoring the obvious to instead grasp for simple-minded, deceptive, and insulting claims, I’ll take you more seriously.

  11. TPS—“…where people have been buying tickets..” lets put it this way—not alot of tix are being sold…so losing this bit amount and focusing on an area as large as SJ which continues to grow not only seems logical to the A’s ownership…but also to the Gints…who obviously find more value in Silicon Valley/San Jose than they do in Oakland and the East Bay…otherwise “T” rights would have long gone away.

    At the end of the day its hard to argue that Oakland/East Bay is a better market than San Jose/Silicon Valley when both ownership groups are fighting over one territory….and it ain’t Oakland—

    • Again, San Mateo County and Santa Clara County are certainly not hotbeds of A’s fandom like the East Bay is. The Giants have not done anything to have to absorb a shift in their current business model, which counts on X number of ticket buyers from SM and SC county and X number of ticket buyers from the East Bay. That’s two different X values you’re now being asked to juggle. If you already have an ongoing profitable enterprise, you’re going to fight someone asking you to take over their territory from them, while they move into a territory you’ve spent the past 50 years cultivating. The Giants actually control a much greater ratio of the fanbase in San Mateo County than in San Francisco itself, which supports the A’s pretty well already. Putting the A’s equidistant from the Giants for much of their Caltrain/101 core support on the Peninsula is just not acceptable to them.

  12. The A’s know exactly where their ticket holders are. The fact that they are determined to move south (first Fremont, now SJ) says something about how “strong” their fan base is near and to the north of the Coliseum, compared to what they think it can be south of the Coliseum.
    .
    All this passionate Oakland booster talk about where the fans are is unfounded speculation, wishful thinking, or pure ignorance. The A’s are the ones with the solid demographic info, and they are in this to make the most money, not to avoid stepping on the toes of Oaklanders who have not supported the team very well over 40 years. Look at the historic attendance figures — they are far worse than the team’s on-field performance would merit. The Bay Area may be a good market, but Oakland isn’t.

    • Exactly CM. The A’s didn’t just throw a dart at the map and decide on San Jose. This is where the team will be able to operate successfully for years to come with millions of people to draw fans from.

      • Mr. Wolff has been developing large-scale real estate projects in San Jose since the 1960s. No one is suggesting a dart was thrown at any map.

        So, you’re completely uninterested in the affects a crappy team playing in a crappy ballpark with premium prices should actually have on attendance? Your silence on this topic is deafening. Oh well, I just let you guys get back to working overtime on the San Jose ballpark initiative, I’m sure you’ve got plenty on your plates.

      • TPS–might make sense if the attendance issues were something new–Coli used to be a very nice baseball ballpark–before the return of the Raiders—attendance wasn’t all that good back then either–what’s deafening is how this is all going to change in a ballpark where tix prices are going to go up to pay off the ballpark—unless of course the citizens of Oakland want to add to their 20M annual debt to pay off the current debacle–

      • I don’t understan the deafening reference in regards to people being willing to pay more for a new facility. It’s happened over and over throughout the major leagues, and most cities where it’s happened have nowhere near the affluence of the East Bay, and had not established any greater attendance pattern than Oakland in their older ballparks.

  13. Marine Layer has all the numbers of where paying Oakland A’s fans come from. Oakland has the highest number of fans per capita than any other city in the Bay Area.. Alameda and Contra Costa Counties have the highest number of paying customers, followed by San Francisco County. The support for the A’s south of Hayward is minuscule. As a matter of fact, support from San Jose is downright embarrassing. Marine Layer has already put out those numbers. Unfortunately, San Jose Boosters aren’t interested in the facts. Also, there is a “Let’s keep the A’s in Oakland” site with 22,423 members and a site to “bring the A’s to San Jose” along with a site to just “keep the A’s in the Bay Area.” Question: As we compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges, which of these sites has by far the most supporters?

    • Nav…always fun to twist stat’s to paint any picture we like….”…highest number per capita…? Oakland is a city of less than 400k people—even though it is “something” to make this claim it means “nothing” when you look at horrible attendance numbers…which by any standard are not bragging rights for Oakland or the East Bay in general…

      Once again..you have both ownership groups coveting the same territory…meaning that “something” that you brag about for Oakland/East Bay means “nothing” to the Gints owners even though it would be much closer than SJ/Silicon Valley

      • You and others have a tendency to mischaracterize A’s attendance. Look at it this way:

        Despite playing in a crap, concrete, multi-purpose ballpark with high costs to attend, the first half of this decade, and with head to head competition across the bay from a pennant-winning club (in a brand-new waterfront baseball palace AND a player setting the all-time home run record), the A’s still hovered exactly at AL median attendance five straight years from 2001-2005. While this is not exactly exciting news, being consistently that high in attendance under those circumstance is pretty decent, when you also consider the Yankees, Red Sox, and Angels totally own the top three spots, and you’re really looking at slot #4 as a resounding success in this league… And that sort of showing is simply not deserving of the level of derision you and others constantly dish out. We know the A’s could have drawn much better those seasons in Oakland, in a better facility than the Coliseum. We also know the SF ballpark is no longer the trendy new destination it once was, and that Barry Bonds is long gone, so there is every right for the A’s to pull a traditional Bay Area attendance switch on the Giants, as has happened over and over again throughout their history of cohabitation.

        It seems obvious to me, that you and a few others make a point to blatantly exaggerating or spin attendance problems to pin every conceivable negative viewpoint on the metro area, because you want the team to move closer to you, while you completely ignore the foul-ups by Mr. Wolff that are driving the _current_ descent in attendance figures from average to pathetic.

      • So TPS–answer one question–why do both ownerships covet the Silicon Valley/SJ over Oakland and the East Bay? Why is Neukom so fearful of MLB allowing the Bay Area to do business like all other MLB 2 team areas and share the counties? What does he lose in having his competition move 40 miles further away into an area that according to the Oakland boosters on this blog are not fans of that team and therefore won’t go to any games?

        Based upon your logic that the EB is a baseball hotbed and none of these fans will travel to SJ to see the A’s play than Neukom should be salivating over the area—foregoing territorial rights so he can take advantage of the incredible number of baseball fans in the EB and get his competition 50 miles away instead of 10—

        What does he and the evil Wolff know TPS that you and the other Oakland diehards don’t?

      • It’s possible that Neukom prefers to have the A’s move to San Jose, but he opposes it in public to keep the A’s in their crappy ballpark as long as possible and to maximize his compensation once the move is approved.

      • Go A’s, since we’re talking about attendance right now I’ll answer your question and say that both ownerships want to move to Silicon Valley/SJ because of the corporate dollars only and nothing else. It has absolutely nothing to do with the fans. It’s purely money and politics and no tradition or the love for the game involved. There is no guarantee that a new ballpark in San Jose will draw better attendance than a new ballpark in Oakland.

        This whole argument that moving 40 miles away is better the Giants is just nonsense in my opinion. Since the Bay Area has two MLB teams, the South Bay market is and will always be pretty much the same distance from SF as it is to Oakland. Our territory is split by a couple of bridges and a large body of water so it gives us an even split. We’re both just situated at the upper half’s of the split.

      • From the Giants point of view, I’ve already spelled out for you the obvious problem here. It does not matter which of the two locations is best in the long-term. The Giants will either: A) lose out long-term, or B) take a long time, gradually losing fans in one area, and gradually winning fans in another to end up the eventual winner.

        They are understandably hesitant to just accept the gamble and say, okay, let’s go along with this and start a 10 year program for convincing A’s fans to become Giants fans, it might eventually work out in our favor–when they’re already doing just fine with things the way they are. This, I think is an especially valid position for them, considering the A’s already cold-cocked them once in 1968, and they just dug themelves out of that hole by building a ballpark and a solid fanbase with the A’s sitting in Oakland. Now the A’s are changing the freaking landscape again!

        And from the A’s point of view, come on… Mayor Reed and Mr. Wolff are plowing ahead on a major property development in downtown San Jose. Gee, that’s what they both do in their day jobs, right? There doesn’t have to be any evidence that San Jose is as good or better than Oakland for the A’s, their fans, MLB, the Giants, or anyone. Profit is all either of them need to see to move forward on this 400+ million dollar project. As long as the ducks can be lined up, and the project completed before they expire, they both figure to come out shiny on the other end, from purely the real estate development aspects. This ballpark will immediately become an asset of the franchise and drive up the franchise value before even one fan sets foot inside. And I realize that all this is a selling point for San Jose. I’m not knocking anyone or anything. I’m simply pointing out to you that the real justification for this ballpark is not “Oakland sucks”, like you love to claim, but that Mr. Wolff might have the contacts and right partners to actually get it done in the next few years. Period. Let’s quit bullshitting on the other stupid stuff, and recognize the real warts that do exist here in terms of population questions, traditional fanbase shifting, traffic problems, insufficient public transit, etc., K?

      • Do you San Jose partisans really believe that if a new ballpark was built in Downtown Oakland by the waterfront that the attendance would continue to be terrible? I’m sure you all might even say what about after the novelty wears off after a few years? Well at that point it would be entirely up to our management to continue put quality competitive teams out on the field and the fans will continue to come as well as they did in the past. There’s also no reason why we couldn’t get corporate sponsors given it’s in the right location (3rd & Oak?) and with the right people on board with us.

        It’s all quite simple. The formula is build a ballpark in a kiss ass location (regardless of the city), close proximity to downtown/urban area with restaurant and bars, plenty of parking, quick and easy access to freeway on/off ramps and close enough to mass transit. These are all things which Oakland does have and could be very successful with if the right people who could just show some support for the vision. I really do feel that with all things be considered, this BRC is giving us some serious consideration.

        They’ve probably only met with San Jose officials to make sure they don’t miss any cracks with possible “alternate” locations throughout the entire Bay Area (including Giants’ territory) in the event they were unable to determine a suitable site in Oakland. I’m sure they are sticking by their original assessment to first see if they can find a new site in the Athletics’ CURRENT TERRITORY.

        I mean if Selig is going to step down in about two years, I’m sure he’s not planning on waiting around for the Giants to battle this out in court for several years before the A’s ever get their new ballpark. Causing a disturbance between the owners is also something Selig is not too fond of doing, so I guess we shall all have to just wait and see what happens?!

      • Here’s another way of looking at it. During that time, the A’s were 2nd to only the Yankees in wins per season, yet only had average attendance.

      • Yeah, that’s true, but the Angels, White Sox, and Red Sox, playing in gigantic markets also won a World Series in that period, while the A’s did not even win a playoff series; the Mariners were in a fantastic, spanking new ballpark and won 116 games one season; the Orioles, Rangers, and Indians continue to draw great in their beautiful, newer facilities, even when they aren’t very good (even though in their old ballparks they could only outdraw the A’s by having a better record)… These are the teams the A’s are having trouble getting past in the attendance ranks while playing in a 45 year old concrete mausoleum. Let’s apply some grey matter to the process for a change.

      • Look at the Mariners situation as a comparison. languishing for years with a mediocre team at the Kingdome. Then 2000 comes and the new Safeco field opens (this coincided with the M’s making the playoffs) – attendance has grown every season despite what most would consider a mediocre team as of late. The M’s put money on the ballpark experience as a way to fill the seats, having an actual good team is gravy. I think Wolff and co. are trying to follow this concept by the book in the quickest way they know how – SJ

  14. oakA’s–happy to hear that you at least acknowledge the importance of corporate dollars in supporting a modern sports franchise…and that SJ has a significant edge over Oakland in this category…that admission by you is progress from my perspective. Yet to imply that 10 miles and one bridge equals 40 plus freeway miles to the south is a bit of a stretch.

    tps–not even sure where to start with your response—the obvious reason as to why the gints are fighting T-rights is because they want one thing—the Bay Area all to themselves. They know that the odds of something happening in Oak are zero to none…regardless of how many potential sights are thrown into the mix…and SJ is the A’s last hope before they pack up their bags and head elsewhere-

    I don’t see the “real warts” of moving to SJ that you do–I have and will continue to travel up to Oakland to see games as long as they are there–as oakA’s said–SJ is far superior to Oakland in terms of corporate dollars–key to today’s sports business model–traffic problems—freeways work both ways, as do trains— those that are fans will be thrilled to have a new ballpark so that the team can compete–in a great downtown location.

    And btw—-I have never said, nor do I believe the city of Oakland sucks…but they are not a destination city for sports franchises.

    • Okay, we’ve hammered away plenty, and we’re obviously seeing things way differently. I’ll just drop a few extra credit story problems on transit for you to consider.

      A) If an A’s fan gets in his car near Diridon Station and drives up the 880 corridor to the Coliseum, and the majority of A’s fans using 880 to get to the Coliseum came from the opposite direction, will the traffic south be the same for an A’s fan leaving the Coliseum area to drive down the 880 corridor for a game at Diridon?

      B) If a person in San Jose can get in his car and drive to Fremont, park it and ride BART to Oakland, can someone in Oakland walk to BART, ride to Fremont, then get in a car and drive to San Jose?

      C) If the current 98 million dollar budget deficit for VTA results in service cutbacks mentioned here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/43028, will car traffic in San Jose get worse or better in the coming years? And if car traffic gets worse, will that affect the enthusiasm for building a major traffic generator in the downtown area?

      • Considering how incredibly off-topic many of you have gotten in this comment thread, I’ll point out that it would be far more appropriate to start a forum thread with this line of questioning. Just saying.

      • This is a layup.

        A) The traffic south will be far lighter than the traffic north for a weeknight game, because it is the counter-commute direction. Huge numbers of East Bay folks work in Silicon Valley. Virtually no South Bay/Peninsula folks work in the East Bay. East Bay folks will have a smooth sail to games in SJ, in contrast to the traffic nightmare we South Bay/Peninsula folks currently endure to attend weeknight games at the Coli.

        In addition, because of the foregoing, a large number of East Bay folks will not have to endure rush hour traffic at all to attend games in SJ, because they’re already down here for their jobs. In fact, they’ll get to avoid the rush hour traffic they otherwise face on a daily basis. They can work their normal hours, go out for dinner in downtown SJ, and then stroll over to the park. After the game, they can cruise home after commute hours with virtually no traffic.

        In contrast, those of us who must cross a bridge to get to the Coli must currently allow two hours to be assured of making first pitch. For many of us, this means leaving the office early, and still does not allow time for a decent dinner before the game.

        It makes me laugh every time some Oakland partisan starts rambling on about how Oakland is “convenient for the entire Bay Area,” or Navigator starts blathering about how more season ticket holders hail from Alameda County than Santa Clara County (surprise, surprise).

        B) Of course not. At least, not right now. Hopefully within a few years of a new ballpark opening, BART will reach downtown SJ.

        But let me tell you, the Fremont BART option is no great convenience for South Bay fans. It’s like twenty minutes off the freeway, plus time waiting for the train, plus the ride itself, plus time walking across the BART bridge. It saves you the stadium traffic, but In the end, it still takes close to two hours. I usually do it anyway because I REALLY hate traffic, but most people don’t bother. ML has posted many times only 15% of A’s fans take BART to the trains anyway, but I’d bet almost anything that number is way lower for South Bay fans.

        C) If VTA cuts back service I suspect the overall impact on South Bay traffic will be minimal because, sadly, the rate of ridership is so low to begin with. Plus, the reason VTA and other transit systems have budget problems is because the economy is so bad. Unemployment will likely more than offset any traffic impact due to transit cuts. When the economy improves and more people are driving, presumably more revenue will flow in and cuts can be restored.

        Anyway, is it your belief East Bay transit systems will avoid budget cuts? A lot more people ride East Bay transit than South Bay transit, so one can reasonably expect the traffic impact of East Bay cuts to be more severe.

  15. I would hardly call 880 South on a weeknight a “counter-commute.” It’s still painful most nights.

    • To be clear, we’re talking about 880 south of the Coliseum. Below the San Mateo bridge especially, the difference is significant.

      South Bay: Lots of jobs
      East Bay: Cheaper real estate.

      Classic counter commute.

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