War of Words in Oakland

I wouldn’t have seen Guy Saperstein’s recent, brief letter to the Trib from over a week ago had BaseballOakland’s Garth Kimball not responded to it. In fairness, I’ll put both here in their entirety. First, Saperstein’s letter:

Need business plan

The City of Oakland, after many years of doing nothing to keep the A’s in town, have come up with three potential parcels of land, none very attractive for a baseball stadium site. But what the city’s proposal lacks is any business plan, let alone a viable business plan.

The A’s have been losing $30-plus million a year in Oakland for some time — an amount subsidized by Major League Baseball. No team owner wants to lose $30 million a year, nor can MLB be expected to continue subsidizing the A’s.

Unless Oakland produces a viable business plan for building a new stadium as well as successfully operating the team in Oakland without losing tens of millions of dollars every year — a plan that works not only for the team but also the city and its taxpayers — those who think finding a few parcels of land is enough to keep the A’s in Oakland are simply misleading the public.

Guy T. Saperstein

And now Kimball’s response:

My Word: Oakland A’s fans deserve better ownership

Guy Saperstein and the A’s ownership continue to distort the truth in an attempt to destroy the A’s fan base and to get Major League Baseball approval to move out of Oakland.

Saperstein’s Jan. 8 letter to the editor, “Need business plan,” about A’s ballpark sites failed to disclose that he is an A’s co-owner. He also wrote that Oakland does not have a ballpark business plan. Yet, Oakland officials recently announced that the city and MLB officials together have fully analyzed three waterfront sites and provided detailed ballpark and economic redevelopment plans to MLB’s Blue Ribbon Committee.

Saperstein mentioned the Jack London Square sites are just a few parcels of land and not very attractive for a stadium. Those three proposed sites total more than 90 acres and are ideal MLB stadium sites. Also, since when is a waterfront ballpark with wonderful transit options and beautiful views not attractive?

Saperstein also claims the A’s are losing $30 million per year. According to Forbes magazine, the A’s are one of MLB’s few teams that regularly turn a profit, due to their low payroll and their sweetheart Coliseum lease from the city of Oakland and Alameda County.

Meanwhile, A’s co-owners Lew Wolff and John Fisher have done nothing but depress attendance and hurt their own bottom line by providing poor customer service, trading away fan-favorite players, threatening to move every year and excluding many fans by tarping off the third deck.

Wolff has repeatedly stated he exhausted all efforts in Oakland. Yet, city officials last year quickly found two new excellent waterfront ballpark sites. All it took was effort and working with, not against, city leaders.

A new ballpark in Oakland certainly would be successful. However, what we need even more is ownership like the Haas family provided; an A’s ownership that will reach out to the entire East Bay and an ownership that will be committed to staying in Oakland and winning.

Oakland is a wonderfully diverse city with great transportation options. We deserve better than Wolff, Fisher and Saperstein, who whine instead of trying to win. The team should be put up for sale and a new ballpark should be built in Oakland.

As the 31,000 people (and growing) who have joined the “Let’s Go Oakland” Facebook page illustrate, A’s fans are yearning for MLB to grant the city of Oakland its first real chance since the Haas years to retain its team and return it to glory.

Saperstein warns about misleading the public. Unfortunately, if A’s fans and the public have been misled by anyone, it’s Wolff, Fisher, Saperstein and their fellow A’s co-owners. We deserve better.

I’ve mostly refrained from commenting on the Oakland plan simply because I don’t know much about all of the details. However, I wasn’t impressed with what I saw coming out of the press conference and I’m not sure the panel will be either. In light of the large amount of information that Fremont has released, Oakland has to come up with something approaching that level of detail to give an impression that they are really trying, not just posturing. And that’s why the one criticism I made at the time was that Oakland should be focusing on one site, not three. Now I suppose I can let loose:

  • Instead of buying web ads all over the place for Let’s Go Oakland, supporters could have used the money to get a feasibility study completed. A study for three sites might be prohibitively expensive, one site would be more cost-effective. The 2002 HOK study is incredibly outdated, another one is needed for any Oakland site.
  • Saperstein refers to a lack of a business plan. Kimball’s retort is that Oakland supplied redevelopment and ballpark plans. That’s not what Saperstein, the rest of A’s ownership, and MLB are looking for. We know why JLS is the preferred area in Oakland for several reasons, not the least of which is that there are plenty of business interests at JLS that would love to have an anchor like a ballpark where none exists currently. But it’s not about them. It’s about the A’s and MLB – how can you make it work for them? Simply claiming that it would be successful, and then citing figures from 20 years ago when a massive sea change has taken place since then, isn’t going to cut it. On the public side, Mayor Dellums has alluded to funding sources outside the city to help pay for land and infrastructure costs. Okay, since that’s a wildcard among wildcards, what is that funding? Will any of the Oakland options be dependent on this funding? How much of a risk does that entail?
  • Saperstein claims that the A’s lose $30 million a year – not for them, for MLB – and the annual revenue sharing check is proof of that. Kimball then cites the Forbes income numbers, which are bolstered by revenue sharing in the A’s case. In other words, the A’s are a long time money-losing franchise for MLB. If you’re focusing on just the A’s or Oakland, you’re missing the big picture.
  • While certain details of Oakland’s plans have been available to the panel and some of the media, they’re not available to the public. There’s a press release. There is no dedicated website, no pictures or downloadable documents, not even a FAQ. In fact, if you click on the “New Ballpark” link at BaseballOakland, you get a “Page not found” error. Let’s Go Oakland’s page hasn’t evolved past the petition drive stage. It’s great to rally the troops through a Facebook page, how about giving them something to chew on as well?

What I will agree with Kimball on is that Oakland deserves a fair chance to keep the A’s in town. I hope that through the process put forth by the panel, they’ll have that chance. What I’m afraid of is that Oakland is focusing its resources too much on P.R. and not on the meat of a deal, which if true doesn’t do anyone any good. That said, Kimball’s closing plea is for the A’s to be sold to someone more Oakland-friendly. Thanks for the oh-so-predictable cop-out. Let’s try proposing something a little more practical, shall we?

134 thoughts on “War of Words in Oakland

  1. Oakland needs to come up with a plan for one of those sites. Until they do they don’t have any plan or any chance to keep the A’s. But to date they’ve done nothing of the sort. They’ve just been throwing out sites like they’ve been doing since the 90′s so it looks like they’re doing something (Frankly I think they do it just so they have an excuse to point to and can get re-elected after Oakland loses the A’s). Which is really sad since the A’s have been the long term loyal team to the city of Oakland. They fell over themselves for the Raiders, but won’t do a damn thing beyond lip service to keep the A’s.

    • Yea, I agree. I think it’s simply so they can tell the public that they tried so it doesn’t look like they just rolled over. I feel really bad for those Oakland-stadium supporters who are being yanked around. On a related note, I’m thinking that Fremont is being yanked around too, just so MLB can say that they tried to keep them in the East Bay before they eventually decide that SJ is the best option.

      • Well to be fair if Fremont is getting yanked around they’re doing most of the yanking. The A’s and MLB to my knowledge haven’t really shown much interest in Fremont since the previous pair of Fremont plans failed. The A’s for their part have been fully committed to San Jose. But to Fremont’s credit they’ve done more in the last 2 weeks than Oakland has in the last 2 years.

      • “There was plenty skepticism about whether either move will actually materialize, however, in the survey conducted between Jan. 12 and Jan. 19 by the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal.

        About 37 percent of readers said neither the 49ers stadium in Santa Clara nor the A’s ballpark in San Jose will happen.

        About 33 percent said the 49ers would have a greater impact than the A’s, who garnered about 28 percent of the poll.”

        http://sanjose.bizjournals.com/sanjose/stories/2010/01/18/daily43.html

      • Interesting, but largely irrelevant and incorrect. Remember they interviewed readers, not necessarily people who have a clue. The expert they interviewed in the same article said it is no contest that the A’s would have a bigger impact on the south bay economy due to playing 81 times a year at a downtown location vs 8 in a parking lot. Also if 37 percent thought neither will happen, what happened to the other 63%?

        Also I find it funny they think the Niners, who will retain the name “San Francisco 49ers” and play 8 games a year would “highlight” the region better (ala E. Rutherford, NJ) than the San Jose Athletics playing in downtown SJ 81 times a year.

      • Just to add Dan; it was a survey, not a scientific poll. And anyone on the web can read the SJ/SV Bizjournal online and participate in the survey. Sorry R.M., back to the topic at hand.

      • What does that have to do with Oakland? Debate the topic, don’t change the subject.

      • Marine Layer, I know you don’t like to talk about a change of ownership, but realistically this is the only way that Oakland will once again have a successful ML franchise. Wolff, Fisher and Saperstein are completely biased against Oakland. There is no way Oakland will get a fair chance with these people in charge. They’ve never given Oakland a fair shot and they’re not about to start now.

      • The problem with that strategy is that it’s not realistic. The only forced ownership change in the last 30 years was Marge Schott and the Reds, and that was partly due to her being suspended multiple times. Even that one required a mutiny from within the Reds ownership group. The Lodge isn’t called The Lodge because the owners eat their own.

        Then again, maybe you can give Andy Dolich a call – since he’s free – so that he can rustle up a $300 million bid for the team (assuming a hometown discount) and $500 million in financing for a stadium. I’ll be right here when you’ve got that figured out.

      • Agree with you all the way on this one Nav.
        You can see why ESPN last year ranked the A’s ownership the worst in MLB, and 119 out of 122 teams in the 4 major sports.
        Walter Haas is rolling in his grave on what these guys have done to his beloved team.

      • Yup…and Wolff and company colluded with the Raiders to have Oakland build mt. Davis, forever ruining the Coli as a decent ballpark….and he also colluded with Mayor J. Brown to sell off the only reasonable site in Oakland to condo developers…yup—horrible owner

  2. …guess that means about 63% believe they will happen—all in how you want to look at numbers but I would say that the optimists outweigh the skeptics

    • Jk, That’s an incredible stat. I guess Oakland Athletic fans aren’t the only ones that believe that we are cursed with a horrible ownership. Go A’s, we’ve already established that Schott showed no interest in the uptown site. Can we please put that one to rest? Also, the “dank Mausoleum” wasn’t so “dank” when 57,000 showed up in the playoffs against the Yankees. It wasn’t “dank” when 50,000 showed up during the A’s 20 game win streak. Implying that free agents don’t want to come to Oakland because of the Coliseum is a “dank Mausoleum” is ridiculous. It’s all about the money and the attitude of ownership. That’s what matters. They could care less where they play or what the ballpark looks like, as long as the money is good and they have a chance to win. How long did Kirby Pucket play in the baggy dome? How long was Tony Gwyn in San Diego?

      • Jk somehow failed to mention that the Coli is ranked as number 121 out of 122—among all of the stadiums, ballparks and arenas in professional sports it is the second worst facility —-and yet Nav likes to claim that it has nothing to do with the peice of shit ballpark as to why free agents don’t want to come to Oakland—talk about a crediblity issue–

      • Pretty much every web page and publication I’ve seen has the Coli last or next to last of MLB venues. See thesportsroadtrip.com.

      • Your right, the Coli was ranked 121, but you can still have a good ownership in a lousy facility, and the A’s unfortunately don’t.

      • It’s funny you mention the streak. That year the Yankees came to town once during the regular season and averaged 40,000 per game. The previous week LAAoA came in and the first game of the series brought in 9,145. I was one of those scant few and I was certain there were less. That Friday night, the Coliseum was indeed quite dank and mausoleum-like. For every game you can point to that had 50,000 I can pull out two of around 10,000 that I actually attended – games that you in your principles didn’t attend even though they’re our home team.

        Why on earth are you bringing up Tony Gwynn and Kirby Puckett? One’s been out of ball long enough to be a HoF inductee, the other already was inducted and has been deceased for nearly a decade (RIP Kirby). Live in the now, Nav, not 20 years ago.

      • Marine Layer,

        I was one of those 57,000 fans against the Yankees in the playoffs. I sat in the now closed third deck. I stopped going to games when I realized that Lew Wolff was jerking Oakland around. I was at a game where Wolff spoke to the fans and promised that he would try very hard to build a new ballpark in Oakland. Wolff’s spoke during a game in which Walter Haas was honored. Wolff made a promise to Oakland Athlethics fans. After that point, all he did was propose one impossible plan, when he was renegotiating his sweetheart deal with Oakland, and then later, quickly threw out other locations like the Coliseum parking lot and quickly dismissed them because of “power lines” and other excuses. He then delayed and delayed until his self-imposed Oakland deadline expired. He lost my business, my family’s patronage, along with many other fans’ patronage by being disingenuous. Now, he won’t get one red cent from me, from my family, and from many of my friends, until he commits to Oakland. I’m not willing to contribute one dime to Lew Wolff’s Relocation Fund.

      • So you only come to games when the A’s are in the playoffs? Thanks for your support, so-called Oakland A’s fan.

        Once again, you don’t refute any of my points. Here’s one thing you should recognize about your protest: it doesn’t help your cause, it only hurts your cause because it fits into a much broader pattern that goes well back, beyond the so-called carpetbagger era.

        The better thing to do? Get a bunch of Oakland partisans. Show up to A’s games with bags over your heads or with Lew Wolff masks with a circle and a slash overlaid. You’d get more media attention, which is what you want right?

      • how does what navigator said come out to mean he only attends playoff games ??? not a good look ML

      • He’s already admitted that he doesn’t go to games out of protest of the “carpetbagger ownership.”

      • Tell the “it’s all about the money” to Marco Scutaro and Rafael Furcal.

      • Marco Scutaro was loved in Oakland, was a clutch player in Oakland, and seemed to enjoy performing for Oakland fans as they recited his name in unison. Do you actually think that Marco didn’t sign with the A’s because he thinks the Coliseum is “ugly?” More than likely it had to do with his desired role on the team or personal grievances against management.

      • What on earth does attendance for a single game have to do with the quality of the building?
        Yes, 57,000 people will go to a dank mausoleum to see a playoff game against the Yankees. I was one of them, so I can attest: It remained dank and mausoleum-like through the course of the game, just as it had all season.
        Same with the twenty-game win streak. I went to several of those games. Still dank. Still mausoleum like.
        Face it, 57,000 would show up for a playoff game against the Yankees if they played it in a landfill.

  3. ML–maybe where I disagree with you on this post is the use of tense–agree with Kimball that Oakland deserves a fair chance to keep the A’s in town….and I hope through the process that they will have that chance. How many mulligans are they going to get before someone puts the stake in them and says its over. They are reactive rather than pro-active and as I recall when Dellums released the latest sites in December he said we are going to wait to hear from the BRP before doing anything else? Fremont and SJ have done alot more things without the BRP having to direct them. From my perspective its time to move on—enough of the empty promises—

    • Slight correction GoA’s: the “BRP has met with SJ officials three times, so perhaps they are directing them. As for deserving another fair chance after 15+ years, how long would MLB give Oakland, when Wolff and SJ are at the ready? Hopefully, for the sake of the franchise, it won’t be that long. Do agree with you wholeheartedly GoA’s: it’s time to move on!

    • All three cities are waiting for the panel to make its recommendation, so there’s nothing wrong with that. What I have difficulty understanding is the approach.

      • Indeed. If Oakland wants the A’s to stay they need to be more proactive. They should have chosen a single site, should have started an EIR, should be looking into purchasing the land for the single chosen site, etc…

    • I don’t have a problem with Oakland getting a chance to stay in the game. What I do have a problem with is Oakland getting that chance at the exclusion of the other cities. I don’t see how they should be given exclusive negotiation rights, given the lack of progress they have made even over the last year.
      Being so far behind in the process is a killer for Oakland. Even if they could match San Jose or Fremont in every other way they are behind the eight ball. Getting the hell out of the Coliseum as soon as possible is the A’s #1 priority, and it should be. Those three or four extra years in the new ballpark are incredibly valuable.

      • Oakland has never had a fair shot at keeping the team since it was defrauded back in 1999 by Bud Selig and MLB. Selig colluded with Wolff and possibly the San Francisco Giants to make sure a pro -Oakland ownership would never get control of the franchise. in 1999 Schott wanted 120 million for the franchise, the Piccinini group offered 122 million and was rejected. MLB defrauded the City of Oakland in 1999 and 11 years later Selig is ready to seal Oakland’s fate. Oakland needs to sue MLB, Bud Selig, Lew Wolff, and the San Francisco Giants, for collusion in defrauding the City of Oakland of an opportunity to have the team sold to a pro-Oakland ownership in 1999 per a legal written agreement with Steve Schott and MLB. Instead, the team was sold in 2005, to Bud Selig’s frat brother who had intentions to move the A’s out of Oakland from day one. Read all about it: http://www.insidebayarea.com/columns/ci_14231902

      • “I can tell you there’s an executive with the Giants, who shall go unnamed,” Piccinini said. “I ran into him at a Warriors game. He said, ‘I hear you’re getting involved with the Padres. We want you in San Diego; we just didn’t want you here.’ ”

        Yet there are so many Oakland partisans who for some strange reason support SF and the Giants’ recent sabre-rattling efforts. Remember who the real enemy is.

      • Marine Layer, Oakland has more than one enemy. In 1999 Oakland was defrauded by MLB. Selig and Wolff were at the center of that conspiracy.

      • Piccinini said himself that can’t prove collusion. So what would happen if you put him on the stand of your dream lawsuit?

        And yes, I am aware that Oakland is constantly being attacked and its honor besmirched by neighboring cities, the media, and others who are obviously consumed by jealousy and envy. Blah blah blah.

      • Oakland Athletic fans aren’t stupid. They know what happened. They know that Lew Wolff, Bud Selig, San Jose, and the San Francisco Giants are colluding, and have colluded in the past, to make sure the A’s do not remain in Oakland. I don’t know what you’re getting at with your second paragraph. Don’t attack me personally, deal with the facts. You seem to put blinders on when it comes to possible collusion between Selig and Wolff. And you’re right, that would be a great show to have Selig and Wolff under oath.

      • That’s the problem. Where are the facts? All you might have is some loosely strung together circumstantial evidence. That’s not going to hold up. If you take it to court, MLB or the A’s will ask for a summary judgment. They’ll bring plenty of evidence that shows they made some – arguably token – gestures in Oakland, and greater ones throughout the East Bay. Then the burden will be upon the plaintiff -you or Oakland – to bring evidence to the contrary. What evidence will you have? How can you subpoena Selig when MLB has the antitrust exemption? The case will be thrown out because of a lack of evidence and the A’s will get off scot-free.

        Nav, I agree with you that Oakland has gotten the shaft from time to time. The problem is that right now no one’s going to make a deal by getting on a soapbox. For MLB, all that matters is the deal.

      • Hummm–the gints want nothing more than the A’s out of the Bay Area and are conducting low ball tactics to try and influence a future SJ vote….the A’s want nothing more than to stay in the Bay Area…and have chosen SJ as their site….and now Nav has the gints and the A’s colluding against Oakland…WOW

      • Exactly right ML—A’s have proven unsuccessful in Oakland and now the Gints are trying to use the last lever which is TR to force them out of the Bay Area—

      • Well we definitely know how the A’s ownership feels about SJ vs Oak, but how about Fremont? How does ownership feel about Fremont now?

      • Fremont has always been a consolation prize. However, I bet the prize is losing its luster since the housing market all but disappeared taking a Pacific Commons-like development with it.

      • Even if there was something to Navigator’s rant, the statute of limitations on fraud actions in California is three years. Sorry, game over.
        Further, what is commonly overlooked in discussion of potential lawsuits is, even if there was standing, even if claims could be established, even if the statute of limitations had not run, the end result would not be a court order for the team to stay in Oakland.
        Equitable remedies like injunctions or specific performance are extraordinary remedies. They are rarely awarded, and wouldn’t be awarded here. Seattle had the best case for specific performance I can imagine (a live lease with a specific stipulation for specific performance in the lease) backed up by a secondary action which could have kept the team in town longer than the lease term if the first action were successful (Mr. Coffee’s live fraud action to rescind the sale of the Sonics to Bennett). We all know where the Sonics are playing today.
        If a claim could be successfully brought, the remedy would be money damages, and these wouldn’t be large enough to change the course of events.

      • Don’t forget the court of public opinion. There is no statue of limitations on the truth. Oakland Athletic fans know what happened. Fair minded individuals know what happened. I even think you may have an idea of what happened in 1999.

      • There is a court of public opinion, but seriously, you’re kidding yourself if you think there are many people who care about this stuff beyond those posting on this board and the OAFC board.
        As far as what happened in 1999, I do know what happened, you and I might even agree on some of the salient facts. However, I’m sure we would characterize them differently.
        Things didn’t go Oakland’s way. Since you process all facts through a filter of your personal prejudices, this automatically equates to “bias, collusion, fraud.” It really doesnt matter how reasonable, straightforward, or understandable the decision-making process may or may not have been; you will judge solely based on whether you liked the outcome.
        For myself, I don’t doubt that MLB may have had qualms about jumping right in to a forty-some-odd year commitment to the City of Oakland. Dolich’s finances undoubtedly played a big role, but this could have been a factor as well.
        However, considering Oakland had supported the team poorly for thirty years, had unfavorable demographics relative to other parts of the region, had little of the corporate base needed to support a modern day MLB team, and was costing the league millions of dollars a year in subsidies, I wouldn’t call this bias, fraud or collusion. I would call it “sound business judgment.”

      • Q:Why did Piccini’s application sail through with the DBacks and Padres?
        A: Cause he wasn’t the majority owner and wasn’t responsible for the business plan.

        Collusion between Wolff and Selig in 1999? WTF?

        And the Giants want the A’s out of the Bay Area?!?!?!? No way!!!!!

      • “Why did Piccini’s application sail through with the DBacks and Padres?”
        Answer: Piccini’s application sailed through with the Padres because MLB isn’t biased against having a team in San Diego. Bud Selig has already made statements stating that having the team come to Oakland was a “horrible mistake” which “hurt the Giants.” Selig also admitted that the reason that the Blue Ribbon Commission purposely delayed and tabled the vote on the Piccinini offer of 122 million thereby ensuring that the terms of the contract with the City of Oakland would expire, was because “Schott didn’t want to sell” per the legal contract which he had with the City of Oakland, to sell the team to local buyers. The pressure from the SF Giants was also a factor. If Oakland winds up losing the Oakland Athlethics, we can directly point to the collusion and fraud in 1999 as the reason. Selig’s comments admitting this fraud, are all a matter of public record. Piccinini has now been brought in with a small interest in the Padres. Just because Piccinini can’t , or wont, prove collusion , doesn’t mean that The City of Oakland can’t prove fraud and collusion as a reason for possibility losing an economic asset. The evidence is quite clear. What happened was wrong and MLB will be held accountable.

      • What happened was wrong? I don’t get your rationale. It sounds to me that the terms of the contract were met. So what if MLB held out for a better deal after fulfilling their contractual obligations? No court is going to entertain the notion that a municipality has an inherent right to a sporting franchise or any other local business for that matter. By the way, it’s not illegal to “collude” with your business partners to form a mutually beneficial arrangement. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s illegal.

      • Jeff,
        It was also “wrong” for MLB to not allow the sale of the Giants to Florida businessman Vincent Piazza in the early 90′s. Despite Mr. Piazza offering Lurie/The Giants more cash than Magowan’s group, MLB “forced” Lurie to accept Magowan’s offer because they didn’t want to see Piazza take the G’s to Tampa/St. Pete. In actuality, it wasn’t “wrong,” it was simply the ANTI-TRUST EXEMPTION at work. That’s baseball’s biz baby!

      • “What happened was wrong? I don’t get your rationale. It sounds to me that the terms of the contract were met.”

        The terms of the contract were more than met. Everyone involved on the Oakland side understood MLB had veto power over the whole thing. Further, if I remember correctly, the promise was only to try to find someone who would have kept the team in Oakland through 2004. Here it is 2010, the team is still in Oakland, and will be for a number of years regardless of what happened.

        Bottom line: Oakland more than received the benefit of its bargain. Even if there was a claim here (which there isn’t), even if the statute of limitations had not run (which it has), Oakland suffered no legally recoverable damages. Legally speaking, there’s nothing here.

  4. Quite frankly i dnt feel that the reason the a’s have been unsuccessful is due to the fact that they play in oakland. These owners are businessmen, it is up to them to figure out how to run a successful franchise regardless the situation. If im wrong im wrong , but i do know this the a’s will always play second fiddle to the giants whether they play in oakland, fremont, san jose, or anywhere else in the bay area

    • OK , BigMal- if the Giants were still at Candlestick, how would you have filled THAT stadium to near capacity from year 2000 onward ?
      And how would you do that given 5 years , as the A’s new incoming owner ,do that to fill the Coliseum daily ?

      • We don’t need to speculate. The Giants did face a problem at Candlestick, and they solved that problem by paying to build a ballpark in San Francisco with a fair market lease on the land. The City of Oakland is offering the same deal to the A’s in JLS, but the team has decided that what was good enough for the Giants isn’t good enough for them. And in so choosing, they accept the t-rights issue, the threat of lawsuits, the PR problems in their existing fansbase, etc. It’s their choice as businessmen to take the hard road out of this situation.

      • Since when was Oakland offering a lease on those plots of land? Last time I checked they didn’t even own those plots yet.

      • San Jose doesn’t own all the land at Diridon South yet. It’s just a “plan” to buy it up and lease it to the A’s. San Jose has said, “We WILL provide the land, and the A’s will pay for the ballpark.” Mayor Dellums, after his talks with the BRP panel, said, “We WILL provide the land, and the A’s WILL pay for the ballpark.” This is how business deals get started. The fact that the A’s have responded to Mayor Dellums by saying, “No comment..” is simply a business choice by them.

      • Actually the city of San Jose owns most of the land at the Diridon site right now. I believe it’s approx. 10% that they do not currently own.

      • What deal are you talking about? Oakland has offered nothing but four potential sites.

      • There is no more signed paperwork between the A’s and San Jose than with Oakland. All this is about what the cities and the team are negotiating in principal. If the City of Oakland says they’ll provide this land, then it’ would normally be the responsibility of the A’s to look it over and say, “Yeah, if you clear that land out, that works for us….” or, “No, this location is not good enough..” They’ve chosen not to conduct business in a typical way, but instead, have involved the parent franchiser and SF Magazine as their proxies for some kind of weird real estate developer PR campaign.

      • As Saperstein points out – there is no business plan. Fremont has at least partly identified how it would acquire the land – TIF and county help. San Jose has acquired part of its site and has banked land for the rest. Oakland? Lots of fuzzy talk there.

      • There is publicly available info on San Jose and Fremont plans, with no input from the A’s (Fremont’s plan has info from the A’s but it was compiled during the Pacific Commons saga). High level, for certain, but still there is a plan. Oakland has nothing like that.

        The PR campaign is actually Oakland’s at this point. Throwing shit against the wall and saying “See we told you there are spots in the city where we could one day maybe buy land and lease it to the A’s! Look at our facebook page! We have 7,000 signatures on a petition” looks to be a last gasp effort to save face more than a real effort to build a baseball stadium.

        Argue, if you want, that the A’s belong in Oakland. But don’t pretend Oakland is doing much worthwhile especially compared to what San Jose or Fremont has done. In San Jose case, they did it without any guarantee of ever landing a team and at one point while the A’s were bound for Fremont.

      • Location, location, location. The fact that building a new ballpark in China Basin solved the Giants problems doesn’t mean building a new ballpark in JLS will solve the A’s problems, for the same reason a house in Nob Hill costs more than a house in West Oakland. A new ballpark didn’t solve Pittsburgh’s problem.
        And you continue to ignore, the Giants building a privately-financed ballpark with no meaningful competition nearby is not the same as the A’s trying to build a privately-financed ballpark effectively right next to AT&T Park.

      • I don’t ignore the pre-existence of AT&T Park. I just don’t think it’s any more of a factor than Candlestick was when Oakland built the Coliseum. AT&T will be 15 years old by the time a JLS park is completed. The East Bay has more people than the West Bay, and the A’s are a better team with a greater history. Nothing you can say suggests a new ballpark for the A’s in the East Bay can’t do better than a 15 year old park for the Giants in the West Bay.

      • “I just don’t think it’s any more of a factor than Candlestick was when Oakland built the Coliseum.”
        This is patently absurd.
        - The Coli and the Stick are 21 miles apart; AT&T Park and a JLS ballpark would be only 6 miles apart. When you factor in drivetimes (and the lack of transit and hideous road access to the Stick), the difference is far greater.
        - The Stick was a monstrosity the day it was built. The Coli had an immediate and substantial advantage over the Stick on location, weather, transit, accessibility, and venue quality. Conversely, AT&T Park is a gem and will be just as much a gem when it’s fifteen years old. The A’s will be fortunate to equal AT&T Park, but there’s no way they can outclass it the way the Coli outclassed the Stick.
        - Fifteen years? Seriously? Wrigley is a gem 100 years later. Age matters, but not nearly as much as other factors. Tropicana Field is a much newer venue, but Wrigley still wins hands down on nearly every measure.
        - And again, you continue to ignore the importance of first mover advantage, and the East Bay’s lack of corporate base. You have argued previously that SF, the East Bay, and North Bay together have almost as many Fortune 1000 companies as the South Bay itself. (It is debatable whether this is the best measure, and it’s kind of a pathetic argument in and of itself, but I understand it’s the best you can do on this point). Even accepting your premise that we should measure seven counties against two, this is barely enough to support one MLB team, but clearly not enough to support two. The Giants have the advantage in that what corporate base there is in this area is primarily in SF itself. They also have the advantage of having established relationships with most of the companies in this area interested in supporting an MLB team. If the A’s try to go head-to-head in this regard, they’re going to lose.
        - BTW, I love the way when you’re trying to lay claim to corporate base, you count seven counties with the East Bay, but when you’re arguing population it’s just two against two. Nice.

      • Tps is right. A new ballpark in Jack London Square will be closer to the A’s fanbase strongholds of north Oakland, Piedmont, Walnut Creek and Danville along with the wealthy communities of Lafayette, Orinda, and Moraga. Let’s use the Fox Oakland Theater as an example of how a beautiful venue in Oakland competes favorably with any theater in San Francisco. The Fox Oakland has brought people from throughout the Bay Area and even from San Francisco to Oakland. The Fox is hands down the best small concert venue in the Bay Area. Oakland will have no trouble competing, since as TPS mentioned, it will be a new venue in a wonderful waterfront setting. Another example of how Jack London Square out did San Francisco is when 60,000 people showed up at the Oakland “Eat Real Festival” last summer. Jack London Square was greatly praised by event organizers and by patrons. The festival was a great success and outdrew the sister event in San Francisco by tens of thousands. Putting a beautiful ballpark in Jack London Square will siphon off much of the traffic which now heads over the Bay Bridge for baseball. There are far more people in the East Bay then in San Francisco or the Peninsula. There are about 2.7 million residents in Alameda and Contra Costa counties compared to 1 million in SF and the Peninsula. A beautiful urban waterfront ballpark on Victory Court in Jack London Square would be the new hot ticket in town. At&T Park would be yesterday’s news to many East Bay residents. The only thing stopping this from happening is a chicken little ownership whose had a hard on for the South Bay from day one. These cowards want to run away from the Giants like little girls instead of meeting them head on Oakland’s home turf in the absolute center of the Bay Area. What a bunch of whinny cowards!

      • C’mon, the Eat Real Fest was a 3 day event in JLS while the Street Food Fest in SF was 8 hrs in a two block area. I went to both events and thought both were successful.

      • ob – if i were coming into this situation i would do what i needed to do to make sure i get the most people to the games as possible plain and simple because that would be my job and right now ownership is not doing that.

      • BigMal, care to elaborate a little more? How would you go about achieving this goal? It’s easy to state how you want things to be, a little more difficult to come up with sound solutions.

      • Besides putting a winning team on the field, here are some other suggestions if the A’s want to increase attendance:

        A) Open up the 3rd deck, at least for Giants, Yankees, and BoSox games, or all weekend games, if not all games.
        B) Market the team by (indirectly) pointing out how the weather is nicer, the ballpark has more history and is more convenient, the team is more successful, etc. Concerts by John Fogerty or Carlos Santana instead of Jordin Sparks…
        C) Pay up for big name talent in the TV booth
        D) Open a dialog with the host city, and make statements that indicate the existing ticket buying fanbase is not in fact regarded as suburban Mogadishu. This probably requires the replacement of Lew Wolff as managing partner.

      • A) Out of the 9 games played against the Red Sox, Giants and Yankees, only 3 of the games were sellout. The other 6 games averaged 25,572. What good would it do opening up the 3rd deck, if you can’t even come close to selling out the downstairs?

        B) Post game concerts are great, but I don’t see it as being a long-term solution. Besides, I have to believe it’s not cheap putting these events together. How many of these concerts would you have, because you’ll need to have a lot of these in order to make a dent in the attendance figures.

        c) Agreed, the A’s need better talent on the TV side. It’s obvious the Giants recognize the importance of having good announcers. IMO, you can’t even compare the two broadcast teams.

        D) Not really sure how a dialog with the host city would impact attendance, but I would agree that the A’s need to do a lot better job of taking care of their fanbase, especially their season ticketholders. We’re both A’s and Warriors season ticketholders. I have never received a phone call or email from my A’s account rep. I don’t even know whether I have one. My Warriors account rep on the otherhand regularly emails me, and calls me at least twice during the season to make sure everything was okay. Just little things to convey their appreciation for our support.

  5. navigator, no one’s attacking you personally (I don’t even know who you are) but it’s pretty hard not to criticize a one-note discussion-killing troll whose main job seems to be to interrupt threads devoted to various issues with polemics.

    • I’m sorry I make you uncomfortable. What I’m saying isn’t relevant to this situation or discussion? You don’t like to hear how we’ve gotten to this point? And, what is my “one-note?” The truth that Oakland has gotten the shaft from MLB? You don’t like to hear that? The truth hurts when it doesn’t serve your agenda.

      • Dude, it’s the rampant sense of entitlement that puts people off. If you have a copy of your birth certificate, read it carefully. I’m fairly certain that you won’t find a written guarantee that life will always be fair.

      • No one takes you seriously enough to make them feel uncomfortable. Have you never noticed how people usually react to trolls? That’s all you are — an Oakland troll with a tinfoil hat. You are a nuisance, a fly, a gnat. Some of us like to swat you from time to time. But beyond that entertainment value, you don’t add anything that any reasonable person would ever consider substantial. Just a bunch of nonsense about how the whole world is colluding to bring down poor Oakland. The reality is that all of Oakland’s problems are its own. Not the media, not neighboring cities, not Selig or Wolff. Stop blaming the rest of the planet for your city’s ineptitude. Instead, try looking in the proverbial mirror.

      • I’m a troll? Is this “a new San Jose ballpark” site? Dude, why don’t you read what the potential buyer of the Oakland Athletics had to say to Dave Newhouse before you start making broad statements about Oakland’s problems. I didn’t say the “whole world was colluding against Oakland.” Just Selig, Schott, Wolff and the SF Giants in 1999.

      • You are no troll Nav.You are passionate Oakland A’s fan like myself, who loves and respect the Oakland A’s legacy. Many so-called A’s fans here are ignoring the real facts of the slimy dealings MLB and the previous 2 A’s owners have dealt this once proud franchise. It’s hard to imagine that there’s 3 worse owners in all of sports than the A’s. They are: the Atlanta Thrashers (#120); NJ Nets (#121); and the Phoenix Coyotes (#122).

      • Wolff is absolutely one of the BEST owners in all professional sports. How many other professional sports owners are building venues mostly or entirely with their own money? A handful. How many do so without first trying to squeeze the public for funds? I can’t think of any (including the Giants).

      • If you’re so incensed at MLB for giving Oakland the shaft, DON’T BE A FRICKIN’ A’S FAN!!!!!!! The A’s are a MLB franchise. If you support the A’s, you support MLB. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!!

      • It’s Bud Selig, the owners lackey, we don”t support. Besides him saying the A’s should of never come to Oakland, he turned a blind eye to steroids; created the idiotic idea of using the All Star Game to determine which league has home field for the World Series ; and caused the cancellation of the 1994 World Series among other things.
        The commissioner’s office is supposed to be an impartial, arbitrary office between owners and the players (union). Before selling the Brewers to his daughter for $1, he was owner, chairman and king poo-bah of the Brewers. How can that go uncontested?
        If you’re a true baseball fan, he is The worst Commissioner EVER!!

      • Are you saying that moving the A’s into a new park, where they will quickly stop receiving a revenue sharing check is not in the interest of the league as a whole? Because when you or Nav or anyone else say that Bud is conspiring with Lew to move the A’s, that’s basically what you are implying. Bud is doing this for the good of the league over any other reason.
        Also…
        Me being a true baseball fan has nothing to do with Bud Selig. Stop attacking A’s fans and claiming they are not true fans just because they desire to see the A’s in a new ballpark, even if it is in Fremont or San Jose. I’d rather they stay on the Bay Area rather than move to Portland or Las Vegas or Tijuana.
        This comments on this site are getting harder and harder to read due to trolls that refuse to understand the facts and instead look at everything as if it were a personal attack on the city of Oakland.
        ML and Jeff and others have mentioned it many times: Oakland is behind the game here, and they don’t really seem to be showing signs that they are doing anything other than going through the motions so they can claim they tried. They may be trying, but they aren’t trying their best.

      • People need to really stop with the “I’d rather they stay on the Bay Area rather than move to Portland or Las Vegas or Tijuana.” It’s getting really old and tiresome when there is absolutely NO GUARANTEE that the A’s would be moving out of the Bay Area!!! Only rumors and speculations…just like this ballpark issue and which city everyone knows “for sure” the A’s will end up. No one knows a damn thing so quit talking out your ass too…please! Where will the A’s go? Even sorry Lew Wolff is obviously clueless on how to get this ballpark built regardless of which city he’s trying to get it done in. You think he’s going to have the will to try and negotiate a deal in another city to build a ballpark outside of California? Highly doubtful and I’m sure most of you can agree with me on that. Also I’ve heard from sources that for sure there will be far more local buyers interested in purchasing and keeping the A’s in Oakland (if MLB and the commissioner will allow that to ever happen!) if it were to come down to the sale of the franchise. Either way Lew Wolff will not be losing any money and probably won’t give a shit who it ends up being sold to…especially if MLB decides not to do anything with this whole t-rights issue and just move on.

      • Now lets take a look at Rankopedia and see where Commissioner Selig was sitting pretty at regarding the greatest Commissioners in US professional sports history as of this past November 2009….
        .
        It looks like good old Alan is ranked number 22 out of 25 on the all time list. Who would’ve guessed, right?? What a sorry ass! I’m so glad he’ll be stepping down as the commissioner soon enough.
        .
        Now I know some of you are hating on these so called rankings by ESPN etc. but if you any of you can come up with something else for us to look at that shows Lew Wolf and his fraternity “lover” Selig are actually doing a pretty decent job as far as the consensus goes…then I would love to take a look.
        .

        http://www.rankopedia.com/ZoneID=3/26649/Greatest_Commissioner_in_US_Professional_Sports_History/Step1/8549.htm

      • Just to clarify, I do know that this Rankopedia doesn’t prove anything (I just randomly came across this site) since the obvious low number of votes…but from what I’ve read in the past and sports fanatics that I’ve talked to over the years, all couldn’t agree more regarding how terrible a commissioner Selig has been.

      • OA–your buddy Nav is all over the conspiracy theory that the gints want the A’s out of the Bay Area—you seem content with the A’s playing in the worst ballpark in MLB and being on welfare every year…..affords you the opportunity to pay for a cheap seat and move down to the field level…but its only a matter of time before they either move to SJ or move out of the area—at some point enough is enough.

      • Not sure what you’re arguing here, Oa.
        The only thing approaching a defense of Selig anyone’s ever made is that he runs MLB like a corporation, which is a double-edged sword. Do you honestly think Selig’s successor will be any less business-minded. If anything he’ll be moreso and he’ll be a much smoother public face on baseball. He’ll be as much a tool of the owners as Selig, and he’ll probably be a lawyer, which means he’ll do everything in his power to unite them against the union. If you’re looking for a more “Oakland-friendly” commissioner, it’s not happening.
        Even Sandy Alderson, who was being groomed as Selig’s successor, ended up going to the Padres because he wasn’t considered a proper fit as commish. When asked about Santa Clara County’s T-rights recently, he felt he and Wally Haas made a mistake in not including a sunset clause for the Giants. That’s not exactly a pro-Oakland stance.

      • Dude, this is exactly the sort of blind zealotry that irritates A’s fans on this site. Selig is far from the worst commissioner to have ever held the office. Just the opposite from any impartial observation of the games history. When it’s all said and done, Selig may well be remembered as the greatest, or second greatest commissioner behind only Landis.

  6. Nav said…”Don’t forget the court of public opinion”

    You don’t own the court of public opinion; opinions are varied and many…one again, you do not speak for all fans of the Oakland Athletic.

    You’ve just gone from suggesting that Oakland would win a collusion suit in court to saying that well gosh, “don’t forget the court of public opinion”, when that ludicrous notion was comprehensively shot down.

    Your circular arguments keep circling down the drain Nav.

    • Ok, I let it pass earlier, but WTF is an Oakland Athletic or an Oakland Athletic fan? Is there some other team that plays in Oakland because last time I checked the team’s name was the Oakland Athletics and fans of that team are Oakland Athletics fans…

  7. I’m not backing down at all from the fraud committed by MLB. I’m saying that public opinion in a business where you need to attract the public, also counts. Wolff hasn’t been designated one of the worst ownerships in all of sports by ESPN because he’s done all the right things by the fanbase. Come on, Wolff is ranked as the worst owner in MLB and 119 out of 122 owners in all sports, as JK pointed out.

    • Do you have a link to that article? I’d be interested what they said about him and how they decided he was worst, particularly since Jeffery Loria is still an owner in MLB.

      • Here’s the link: ESPN Ultimate Standings

        There is a link on the right to look up your team, and also a description of how they put the rankings together. I don’t think it explains very well, so check out this press release that goes into it a tad further.

        Franchise Scoring

        Oakland Athletics direct link.

        “Ownership – overall commitment and effort owner makes to players, coaches and fans, as well as a willingness to spend money and commit to winning:”

        And surprise, they don’t actually say anything about the owners, but they do mention that the stadium sucks.

      • So in other words, the owners don’t suck, the stadium sucks. Big shock there. The Coliseum with the demise of the Metrodome is now the worst stadium in MLB.

      • You forgot Tropicana Field, the Toronto Skydome, that massive airplane hangar in Phoenix, etc. Also, that Houston ballpark isn’t anything to write home about either. The Coliseum has a beautiful field, comfortable seats with backs, plenty of leg room, a modern restaurant and club behind home plate, plenty of rest rooms, a BART station, green grass, blue skies, great food, cold beer, etc. I remember having a guest from out of state at an A’s game for the first time. He looked at the beautiful field, the gorgeous day, the sunshine and said “this is a beautiful stadium.” He was from out of the area and hadn’t been conditioned. I also remember an interview with actress Penny Marshal, (of Lavern & Shirley fame) in an interview at the Coliseum before a playoff game. She was asked about the stadium and responded, “It’s nice, I like it better than Boston.” Again, someone who wasn’t told what to think, but just made a personal observation based on comfort and personal appeal.

      • I’ve been to all of those parks. The only advantage the Coliseum has is the climate it’s in. Everything else, from amenities to seat angles to foul territory is better in all of those parks – even the Trop and Rogers (Skydome).

      • You’re telling me that a dome is better than the Coliseum?

      • Not at all. However, three of the four you cited have retractable domes. Not all domes are created equal. The great Mediterranean, dry climate that we pay extra to enjoy here in the Bay Area is not to the Coliseum’s credit. It’s to the region’s credit. Those domes made the best of their environment. The Coliseum may well do the worst for its environment.

        And if you want to credit the climate to the Coli, then I should give it a demerit for being so cold during April and May nights. Call it even, then?

      • Your defense of the Coliseum is laughable. But, what else is new?

      • The Sky Dome in Toronto is a disgrace with multi colored patched looking artificial turf and an overall horrible sterile feel. Also, all climate in the Bay Area is not created equal. We have micro climates here in the Bay Area. Honestly, I like the Coliseum. The Coliseum has green plastic seats with backs just like AT&T Park. The Coliseum has a more beautiful field, in my opinion, than AT&T Park and the grass is just as green. The sky in Oakland is just as blue as the sky in San Francisco, with perhaps a little more sunshine. Bart stops at the Coliseum and not at AT&T. As Willie Mays once said about AT&T Park when someone asked him about the view “we’re not talking about a condo here.” Just give the fans a winning team with a committed owner who respects them and the community, and they’ll show up just like they did for Walter Haas. I want a ballpark in Jack London Square because it would be great for the city, it would be great for the fanbase, and the owners are using the ballpark issue as an excuse for a long desired relocation.

      • That right there is why it’s hard to take you seriously Nav. Your defense is all over the place, cherry picking which criteria matter, then dismissing the whole thing entirely by going back to the same old tired anti-ownership argument. You claim things would be good for Oakland, for the fanbase (such as it is), but don’t mention anything about the club. Why would you? Your actual sense of A’s fandom is remote and detached at best, archaic at worst.
        Seriously, do you bother reading what you write before you post it?

      • The A’s ranked 101th (not 119th). The Raiders among the 10 worst @ 116th. There is a common theme among the write-ups for the two Oakland teams
        A’s: “universally reviled Coliseum, voted the worst stadium in baseball (and one away from the worst in pro sports)”
        Raiders: “Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum has been likened to a prison cell”

      • The A’s overall ranked 101/122. But ownership is ranked 119/122.

      • beat me to it

      • Thank you :)

      • Ah, a second look explains the discrepancy. Each category is individually ranked. The A’s ownership ranked 119th, two notches above the stadium. Something tells me though, if they secure a new park, they will rank much higher (regardless of where that stadium might be built).

      • Absolutely, but coaching at 110/122 and fan relations at 89/122 are also both pretty terrible. That wouldn’t necessarily change with a new facility.
        .
        When ownership is ranked fourth to last and fan relations is in the bottom fourth, it’s pretty clear that the ownership is not handling the situation very well. Say what you will about where the ballpark should be located, but Wolff & Co. have some bad PR skills.

      • What I’ve noticed is how much the A’s ownership ranking has dropped since after the ’05 season.
        .
        2005-84, 2006-74, 2007-105, 2008-115, 2009-119
        .
        We’ve even managed to drop lower than Al Davis and the Raiders….so sad!

      • Also if you sort by MLB alone, Lew Wolff and Co. was dead last in 2009. We have managed to also stay within the bottom 10 out of 30 teams in MLB since 2005.

      • PR Skills issues granted… but any list that ranks the awesomeness of sports franchises that is a) produced by ESPN and b) ranks any owner below Jeff Lurie or Al Davis is not something I would be using as evidence of anything.

      • Well said, Eric.

  8. ML,
    Someone at BaseballOakland must have read this post because the “New Ball Park” link now has three PDFs of the potential sites to view instead of the “Page Not Found” error.

    • Nah, those tabs have always been up and working. It was just down yesterday for some reason.

      • I want to be impressed, but laying down PNC Park overhead a satellite photo and then adding a few circles to show transit doesn’t indicate that much work was done there. Maybe it’s in other documentation, not those PDF’s. I’d like to see that they did more than what I can bang out in an hour or two.

  9. Marine Layer, How come sometimes the “Reply” link doesn’t come on?

    • Yeah, I wanted to reply to one of your posts above.

      First off, SF and San Mateo counties have a combined population of around 1.6 million, not 1 million.

      Since you want to compare number, SF & SM with a combined population 1.6 million = 2.86 million for the Giants. CC & A with a combined populationof 2.7 million = 1.40 million for the A’s. What’s up with that?

      • FC, You’re right. As of 2008 the US Census Bureau sates that San Mateo County had 712,000 residents and SF had 808,000. So, a little over 1.5 million. Also, the attendance numbers a reflective of one ownership which takes pride in its community and has ingrained itself into the fabric of said community by investing in that community with a beautiful new waterfront ballpark. Giant fans know they have their team win or lose, good or bad, for their lifetime and probably for their kids lifetime. They’ve responded with 2.7 million fans. On the Oakland side of the bridge attendance has gone down since 2005. In this period of time we’ve had an ownership who has alienated the fanbase at every turn with constant talk of relocation, closing off the third deck, trading fan favorites, denigrating their host city and ballpark at every opportunity, etc. If you remember the Oakland A’s were drawing about 2.2 million fans when Wolff took over. The Oakland A’s now are last in the league in attendance with 1.4 million fans. Same stadium but an owner who openly talks about relocation and who has actually drawn up plans in another city. An owner who advertises this proposed relocation during the team’s broadcasts to the current fanbase in Oakland?Berkeley, Walnut Creek/Concord, the North Bay, and San Francisco. And you have to ask why one team draws 2,7 and the other 1.4? FC, I think you know the answer.

      • Pure drivel. Attendance is down because the team is in the midst of a cyclical downturn in performance, which happens for virtually all teams (especially those in small markets).
        If your argument had any validity at all then why, pray tell, did Oakland fans abandon ship at a MUCH faster rate for Mr. Haas when performance slipped than they have for Mr. Wolff?
        Possiblity A: “Owner love” has little to do with attendance.
        Possibility B: Mr. Wolff is beloved by a rational fanbase who appreciates his effort to build a new privately-financed ballpark in the home market without trying to extort money from cities.
        There is no Possibility C.

      • I’m not so sure that they “abandoned ship” only in Oakland. MLB attendance as a whole slipped significantly between 1990-1995. Yes, the A’s lost a very significant number, but look at other teams …
        .
        Anaheim Angels > 1,000,000
        St. Louis Cardinals > 700,000
        San Francisco Giants > 7,000,000
        Chicago White Sox > 1,300,000
        San Diego Padres > 800,000
        Kansas City Royals > 1,200,000
        Minnesota Twins > 700,000
        Oakland Athletics > 1,600,000
        New York Mets > 1,500,000
        Toronto Blue Jays > 1,000,000
        Pittsburg Pirates > 1,100,000
        .
        Overall attendance dropped in MLB significantly between 1990-1995. It wasn’t until 1998 when baseball was “saved.” So sure, performance is an issue, but so are overall trends in baseball.
        .

        http://www.ballparksofbaseball.com/1990-99attendance.htm

        .

      • Uhhh… what sticks out about those numbers? Maybe there is one team that led the pack? Hmmm.

        A’s attendance has ALWAYS been a problem in Oakland. Out of 42 seasons, they have been below league median attendance 35 times.

        So macro trends are good and all, but you can’t dismiss the fact that the A’s have hardly ever even been above the mdipoint in elague attendance.

        Also… want to guess if they ahd more seasons above or below median during th Haas years? That’s right, more below.

        The better argument for Oakland Only types is that attendance is not as big of a deal as it once was because of media revenue, internet revenue, revenue sharing and so on and so forth.

      • How many times were the Giants below league average before Bud Selig came in and put a stop to the relocation to Florida?

    • The “Reply” link is only active for the first 4-5 levels of the thread. After that it’s gone.

      • Where’s the piece from Dave Newhouse re: the A’s? How about putting that up in the ‘interest of fairness’?

      • It’s getting plenty of play here in this thread. Besides, if you’re going to talk fairness, it’s not like Newhouse got any perspective other than Piccinini’s.

      • But ML you actually put up Kimball’s piece and Saperstein’s piece.

        In the interest of journalistic fairness, I would think Newhouse’s piece should be posted rather than just some of the issues Newhouse raises vaguely referred to.

        I understood that this website’s purpose was to chronicle all the articles that are written about the A’s and the stadium issues.

        I’m not saying I agree with anything any reporter writes but I’m asking for fairness; put it up and then let your readers decide.

        Isn’t that fair?

      • With all due respect, should I put up yet another article that will turn into yet another comment pissing match? Or should I just allow it to be confined to this thread? I’m trying to exercise editorial control here.

        One other thing – I don’t post entire articles unless they are letters to the editor because of copyright concerns.

      • First of all, Navigator already posted the link to the Newhouse column.
        Secondly, Newhouse isn’t a reporter, he’s a columnist. His piece isn’t a news article, it’s an opinion column. Not surprisingly, it is short on facts and long on speculation and Newhouse’s own personal biases.
        Thirdly, ML by posting both Kimball’s and Saperstein’s letters, ML has already presented alternate viewpoints.
        There is little reason to believe Piccinini would have built a privately-financed ballpark in Oakland. I’ve scoured the internet for articles from the relevant time period, and haven’t found anything where he even promised anything of the sort. What I find instead are articles where Dolich says he thinks he can make the existing venue work. Most objective observers would conclude that, had Dolich and Piccinini bought the team, reality would have hit them in the face by now and they’d either be (a) seeking public funds for a ballpark in Oakland; (b) looking at Fremont or San Jose; or (c) looking to sell the team (if they had not already sold it).

      • Bartleby,

        You seem to be doing a whole lot of speculating on what a Piccinini ownership would have done in Oakland. Piccinini is a very wealthy individual at this point, what makes you think that he would be asking for a bigger public subsidy in Oakland than what Wolff will ask for in San Jose? Come on, you know there won’t be any free ride in San Jose. One thing is certain, with a Piccinini/Dolich ownership, the negativity and the denigrating of the Coliseum as a venue, and Oakland as a city, would not be happening. Piccinini understands that the Oakland A’s need to survive in their present form. In the Newhouse article, Piccinini says even if the team were to move to Fremont they should still be called the “Oakland”Athlethics. Obviously he has a soft spot for the legacy and history in Oakland. Wolff on the other hand, doesn’t have a clue. Unfortunately, 1999 is a year which will go down in infamy in Oakland Athletics history.

      • Nav, people have been denigrating the Coliseum ever since Al Davis had that horrible pile of concrete put in the outfield.

      • “Nav, people have been denigrating the Coliseum ever since Al Davis had that horrible pile of concrete put in the outfield.”

        Heck I remember the brouhaha over Sparky Anderson calling the Coliseum “an ugly place” before game 3 of the ’72 World Series.

    • I’m not going. Long, fun weekend, just flew up from SoCal this morning and went straight to work, need the rest tonight.

      • nice of you to drop by my neck of the woods, it’s nice to get some sun down here in socal, but it was still way too cold. supposed to rain again the middle of this week and I think to myself, one reason why i left the bay area was because I hated the rain.

        anyways i have some friends in fremont who are going to tonight’s meeting – not sure how it will turn out, i think there will be some NIMBYs across the st.

  10. “You seem to be doing a whole lot of speculating on what a Piccinini ownership would have done in Oakland.”

    I’m not doing any more speculating than Dave Newhouse or anyone else on the “Oakland-only” side is doing. The idea that if Dolich/Piccinini bought the team it would have forever stayed in Oakland and everything would have been wonderful is a speculative fantasy.

    I haven’t seen any published comments from Dolich or Piccinini which suggest that they were contemplating a privately-financed ballpark in Oakland. Given that MLB had concerns whether they even had sufficient capital to OPERATE the team in Oakland; it seems highly unlikely they had the extra hundreds of millions to build a new venue.

    From what I have read, their plan was simply to try to increase attendance in the current venue. Well, this is exactly what Steve Schott succeeded in doing. This works as long as MLB is willing to continue massive subsidies to the team. However, in the long run Dolich/Piccinini would have had to face the same economic realities as Wolff.

    “Piccinini is a very wealthy individual at this point, what makes you think that he would be asking for a bigger public subsidy in Oakland than what Wolff will ask for in San Jose?”

    First of all, there’s wealthy and then there’s wealthy. You can be pretty wealthy and still not have enough scratch to drop hundreds of millions of dollars in a losing business venture.

    Second of all, Wolff has already stated he will not be asking for a public subsidy in San Jose. He may get a break on the land, similar to what was done in San Francisco.

    But to answer your question, very simply, a ballpark in Oakland does not have the same economic potential as one in San Jose. Santa Clara County is more affluent, less sports-saturated, would compete less directly with the Giants, and most importantly, has the corporate base necessary to sell the premium seating required to make the whole thing pencil out. I know you loathe these inconvenient facts, but everyone with a financial stake in this has drawn this conclusion.

    “One thing is certain, with a Piccinini/Dolich ownership, the negativity and the denigrating of the Coliseum as a venue, and Oakland as a city, would not be happening.”

    Possibly Piccinini/Dolich would have complained less about the venue for a period of time (though we’ll never really know for sure). However, sooner or later economic reality would have hit them in the face and they would have had to do something.

    I haven’t seen anything from current ownership denigrating the City of Oakland. Noting that the East Bay has little corporate base and attendance in Oakland has historically been poor are obvious factual observations, not denigration of the city.

    “Piccinini understands that the Oakland A’s need to survive in their present form.”

    Now you’re just doing what you always seem to do here, project your own views on others. While Piccinini may have a soft spot for Oakland, I haven’t seen any published comments from him that go this far. In fact, his published comments seem to contemplate the possibility of a move to Fremont.

  11. Wasn’t Reggie Jackson part of the proposed Piccinini ownership group? I read an ESPN The Magazine article about 4 years back that stated Jackson, as prospective owner of the A’s, had plans to move them to Las Vegas. I’ll try to dig up the edition out of my archives (ie boxes in the garage). Anyhow, fun to speculate with not much going on right now.

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