When it’s hard to make a deal

Relationships can be complicated. Especially in business. What may seem like a simple, straight line path to getting things accomplished can often end up needlessly difficult and mindbogglingly frustrating thanks to various rules among governmental and non-governmental bodies. So it goes for the Sharks, A’s, and City of San Jose. A report by the Merc’s Tracy Seipel on Friday alludes to just how difficult it is.

“All we’re asking for is a plan,” said Greg Jamison, chief executive of SVSE. “We’ve had meetings and discussions and we are still waiting for the layout and overall strategy as to what is going to happen” with traffic and parking.

Don Gralnek, Sharks executive vice president and general counsel, added that the team also worries about the impacts of other future projects in the Diridon Station area, including plans to add BART and high-speed rail.

“It’s not a comment on the A’s proposal,” Gralnek said. “This is about trying to protect our customers’ experience at the HP Pavilion.”

The sentiments above appear to belie the Merc’s headline (“Sharks join chorus of groups concerned about plans for ballpark in downtown San Jose”), no? To get to the heart of the after, it’s worth reading the comments submitted to the City’s planning department, all of which have been complied into a single, 147-page PDF.

This problem could be pretty easily remedied if MLB simply got off its ass and made a ruling on territorial rights. Right now the City and Diridon area affected parties (such as SVSE) can only talk in theoreticals, since they don’t have the opinion of the party that will actually affect everyone, the A’s. That’s extremely problematic when you’re trying to lock in not only an EIR but also a larger development plan for the area. (Both processes are happening in parallel, with frequent overlap.)

SVSE/Sharks want above all two maintain the viability of HP Pavilion. Forget for the moment about the various family ties between Tom McEnery and Lew Wolff. Favors can only go far before you start to give up too much. In this case, there are over 3,000 spaces that are at stake. Without guidance, the City is entertaining the idea of not having any parking built, or any other new road infrastructure for that matter. That’s what is raising the ire of SVSE and many others. It seems impractical that a new TPMP (Transportation and Parking Management Program) could alone mitigate the new stresses that would be placed existing roads around Diridon.

The simple solution could be to build a new garage where the existing arena main lot is located, west of HP Pavilion. The garage fits the multiple-use strategy by its placement close to the train station. Unforttunately, even a very aggressive construction schedule could heavily affect the arena’s parking availability. Somewhere, temporary replacement parking would have to be built. Many are residents would prefer that no parking garages be built in the six blocks between the arena and the ballpark site. The Downtown Association would prefer that a new garage be built within the downtown core on the other side of CA-87.

And that’s not all. Since the area is expected to have a major uptick in terms of pedestrian traffic, many are calling for grade separating people from cars, an infrastructure change that would create the need for perhaps several footbridges.

The easiest way to handle both the foot and car traffic issue is to incorporate both parking and grade separation into the six block area. Transform one-way Montgomery Street into a pedestrian throughfare, while giving development rights to a potentially interested party (I’ll give you one guess) as long as the developer commits to building both the pedestrian bridges some of the backfill parking that will be needed. Of course, those conversations can’t take place right now except in the ether and maybe in some back rooms. Grant T-rights, and suddenly everything can be done out in the open, with cost estimates, scheduling, and impact assessments. No worries about sunshine law violations. No awkward situations where the A’s, who would clearly want and need parking if a ballpark were built, might have to “nudge” their friends at the Sharks to make a request on their behalf, one that would clearly benefit both. Until MLB makes a decision, so much of the planning process remains up in the air. It’s too bad.

101 thoughts on “When it’s hard to make a deal

  1. ML:

    I haven’t been in the Bay Area for 4 years now, so I don’t get much (any) info on these developments outside of this site. Who is “calling for grade separating people from cars”? From the standpoint of creating a vibrant pedestrian-friendly mixed-use district, the idea of a grade seperation sounds terrible.

    Keep up the good work.

    Rob (who is white)

  2. It’s in the comments. Mix people and cars, and there’s greater potential for gridlock. It’s the same thinking behind the pedestrian overpasses over The Strip in Las Vegas. It is something that is being considered, and just for reference’s sake, Andrew Watkins of Harvard GSD’s design study explores it as well (previous post covering subject).

  3. Pedestrian overpasses seem unnecessary to me. They aren’t needed in downtown SF and along the Embarcadero, where there is way more pedestrian activity every day than you’ll ever see in SJ. Yes, when there’s an event at the arena, you have a very short period of time where there is a large crowd on the street. I don’t think you build a bunch of eye-sore bridges to address that though. You just deal with it for an hour here and there.

    As for the rest, like everyone else I sure wish MLB would $#!+ or get off the pot. I guess they’re dealing with the same issue. It’s hard to make a deal sometimes.

  4. I agreed this is the perfect location for the downtown and a A’s Stadium.
    What to do with the NUMMI?
    “In 20 to 25 years, I envision that as Fremont’s downtown,” Councilwoman Anu Natarajan said.

    “There’s tremendous opportunity to have a project that has visibility like no other project that has been built,” said Scott Connelly, a project manager with San Jose-based developer Barry Swenson Builder.

    Fremont has proposed developing a section of the NUMMI site nearest to the future BART station as the Oakland A’s new home, even though the club says San Jose is its first choice. Although a stadium at South Grimmer and Fremont boulevards is considered a long shot, city officials say it would spur development activity and generate enough investment to jump-start infrastructure improvements. 

    “If you put a stadium there, you’re telling every real-estate person in the world, ‘Here’s a location where you’re going to have 2 million consumers a year,’ ” Fremont Mayor Bob Wasserman said. “That’s where they’ll want to be.”

    The studies are expected to result in new zoning rules allowing nonindustrial uses and taller buildings, especially near the future BART station.

    Like those developments, the mayor anticipates “commercial areas that are walkable and have attractive things that people are always saying they want: Whole Foods, Nordstrom, whatever.”  

    http://www.insidebayarea.com/argus/localnews/ci_14805743

    Fremont is pushing for the A’s come to Fremont.
    http://www.youtube.com/astofremont

  5. Don Gralnek is worried about plans to add High-Speed Rail and BART to the Diridon area? Uhh, OK. Most arenas and ballparks across the nation would kill to have that kind of transit access. So what exactly is Gralnek talking about? In terms of pedestrian bridges, I somewhat agree with Dude. The only places I would consider bridges would be over Santa Clara St. from a new HP Pavilion garage to Montgomery St. and over the future Park Ave./Autumn Parkway intersection; the area between the ballpark and The Childrens Discovery Museum LR station should get a lot of pedestrian traffic in the future. Love the making Montgomery St. into a pedestrian thoroughfare idea R.M.; our own version of Camden Yards Eutaw Street or Fenway’s Yawkey Way.

    • I agree that pedestrian bridges seem unnecessary (and may even be a detriment). Just close the street temporarily to cars so only pedestrians and busses can go through. They do that with 1st Ave in Seattle for Mariners games and it works great. People driving will learn to avoid those streets during game time.

  6. Its even harder to negotiate a deal when you’re trying negotiate with an entity that doesn’t want anything to do with a deal. The Giants are not interested in accepting money to allow the A’s to become an equal opportunity partner in the Bay Area, they want the A’s to be second class citizens in the Coli for as long as possible or OUT of the Bay Area.

    The only deal I would do if I were the Giants would be to demand that MLB guarantee that their franchise is always worth what the Red Sox franchise is worth, because that’s probably what it would be worth if MLB hadn’t screwed the Giants by moving the A’s here in 1968. And I want some of the A’s TV and radio revenue.

    The A’s are wasting time on SJ

    • The Giants don’t have a veto, however. Two-thirds of the clubs can overturn their rights and leave them with nothing, if it comes to that. MLB doesn’t want to do that, so the Giants will be able to negotiate something, probably worth less than the real value of Brett Anderson’s below market years.

      • “The Giants don’t have a veto, however. Two-thirds of the clubs can overturn their rights and leave them with nothing, if it comes to that.”
        .
        Actually, it’s three-quarters, rounded up to the next full integer. A super-supermajority. So 7 of 30 owners (23%) can block such an action. This makes the US Congress look pretty good in comparison, and that’s why Bud “Consensus” Selig moves so slowly on so many things.

    • The Giants won’t get to set terms, if there is a deal. The Orioles got nothing remotely like what you are proposing and in that case there was a team coming from another country to 40 miles away, not one moving from a neighboring city to 40 miles away. (I know, those numbers aren’t exact).

      If MLB would hurry up and make a flipping decision, this would be moot. I honestly feel like the opposite of most speculation could be true… That Bud is trying like hell to find a way to make Fremont work, rather than trying to find a way to sell stripping of TR’s. I hope we all see something from MLB soon.

      • Oh thats right I forgot about the two thirds vote thing. Selig is like that official that reviewed the tuck rule play against the Raiders, the longer that replay got the more you knew something bad was going to happen. I’m starting to feel that way here, Selig is not trustworthy, he said in the past that the A’s hurt the Giants by coming here, everyone agrees with that. Although that ship has sailed and the A’s now belong here. But maybe Selig doesn’t see it that way.

      • The tuck rule… ugh.

      • Jeffrey I agree with you that they are trying to figure out how to make Fremont work so that BS doesn’t have to deal with territorial rights–what they are missing is that Fremont will be incredibly complex and controversial and no where near a 2012 ground breaking—more like 2015 if at all—the land is not owned by the city or county but by NUMMI and as the Fremont politico’s have indicated–its prime property that someone is going to have to pay for.

        LW I am sure has some interest–swap whatever land he did acquire in Fremont for additional land around the ballpark—ideal—no—-but bottom line is BS doesn’t have the testicular fortitude to pull the trigger on SJ so Fremont is the next best option while not having to give the gints a red cent and still be able to change the name to the San Jose A’s and market to Silicon Valley–

      • The City will approach the Alameda County to buy the land to build a A’s Stadium in Fremont at the NUMMI. I heard that Alameda County will sell the land in Dublin and Pleasanton to buy the land for the A’s Stadium.

      • I heard that San Jose has two parcels left to buy. And that Toyota still owns NUMMI.

        Honestly, Fremont is a last resort, as it was when Lew Wolff originally pitched it and then bought the land himself after working for a stadium in Oakland and then trying to talk to the Giants about San Jose.

        I am okay if Fremont happens. I am more okay if the A’s are in San Jose or Oakland.

      • agree it is a last resort–but sometimes the 2 at 10 becomes a 10 at 2—LW has been very patient with MLB—at this point I would be suprised if he even has the interest of beginning all over again in Fremont—

  7. If pedestrian overpasses were such a good idea for ballparks, there would be dozens of them by now.
    So where are they?

    • I can think of several that have overpasses just off the top of my head:

      Petco has one over Harbor Dr., and a small one from the Omni hotel.
      U.S. Cellular has one over 35th St.
      Miller Park has one over Miller Park Way.
      Safeco has at least one.
      Old Busch and Riverfront had them, haven’t been to the new versions of either yet.

      I’m sure there are others.

      • Don’t forget the BART ramp!

      • D’oh! (smacks head).

      • Pedestrian overpasses are devices to cross the street without encountering vehicular traffic. They connect one sidewalk with another, making you walk up, over, and then back down.
        They are not the same as skybridges, which connect two buildings above street level, and don’t engage the sidewalk. The Adobe HQ in downtown SJ is an example.
        .
        The Petco hotel-ballpark connection is a skybridge. The Safeco garage-ballpark connection is also a skybridge.
        .
        I’m unfamiliar with the Harbor Drive, Miller Park, and 35th St. connectors. Were they put in after the parks opened?
        .
        I don’t remember an overpass at old Busch. Riverfront was built on top of a parking garage, so it made sense to use a bridge to both go over the expressway and to get up to the plaza level, which was the ballpark’s ground level. This was an unusual arrangement to deal with an unusual situation.
        .
        True overpasses at ballparks are/were very rare. You’ve cited fewer than a handful, out of a universe of perhaps seventy ML parks active since 1950. If there were a real need for, and real benefits from these structures, they would be far more common.

      • The difference in SJ is that the ballpark will be adjacent to what’s supposed to be a heavily used, 19+ hours/day transit hub. Not only will it be expected to have BART and HSR, a new local bus transit hub could go underground, and the local Greyhound station will be moved to the area. We’re talking at least 10 million pedestrians per year in the area in addition to the baseball and arena crowds. Perhaps traffic and crowd control will be deficient. I’d rather they plan it right than play it by ear.

      • I didn’t try to put together a comprehensive list, nor will I try. I clearly said off the top of my head. Things I’ve seen and used my self or remembered.

        The “real need” for something like this is site-dependent, no? If they tried to put a ballpark at JLS, would there be a “real need” to bridge the tracks? Probably. Could HP Pavilion use one, when Santa Clara St. virtually shuts down die to pedestrian traffic after a concert or Sharks game? Maybe.

        As for the ones I mentioned:

        San Diego is still a work in progress. It spans the trolley tracks and a busy road. From the looks of it last season, I thought they’d be done by now, but not yet:

        http://www.ccdc.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/projects.pedestrian_bridge

        Gives you an idea of the costs involved as well.

        Miler Park has an overpass to connect their east parking lots with the complex itself. An at-grade crossing of that busy road would be very difficult at best. This has been there since they opened. http://www.iaei.org/magazine/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/01dcloserlook_ph1_104876308.jpg

        The White Sox have a tower with stairs connecting to an multi-level overpass from their lots on the North side of 35th st. Once you’re across the street, there are multiple entrances on different levels. I believe this was built after the demolition of Old Comiskey, but part of the original plans.
        http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/91/US_Cellular_Field_%28USGS%29.png

        You can cross 35th St. at grade near I-90/94 near the L station, otherwise, they make you use the stairs/ramp.

        Here’s a good shot of Old Busch Stadium with ramps: http://www.bestsportsphotos.com/images/PF/BuschStadiumAerialView.jpg

        Safeco/Qwest has a new bridge for this season (again, thought this was done by now):

        http://blog.seattlepi.com/transportation/archives/194553.asp

        “In addition, crews are building a new overpass to carry traffic and pedestrians from South Royal Brougham Way over the railroad tracks immediately east of Safeco Field. The overpass will include a bike lane and pedestrian walkway, as well as a small bridge to the Qwest Center parking garage, according to WSDOT. Pedestrians will no longer have to cross the railroad tracks, improving safety, WSDOT officials said”

        Since a man was hit in 2004 while crossing those tracks, seems like a good idea, no?

        .

  8. It’s amazing what the hold up in the MLB committee report is doing to some minds here. Selig trying to figure out how to make Fremont work? Oh boy! Nothing against Fremont; nice town which acts as an excellent back up if somehow San Jose screws this thing all up. And nothing’s happening at NUMMI for at least another 10 years; Wasserman said so himself. Anyhow, one thing that everyone seems to be overlooking (and guess what, it relates to the original purpose of this thread!) is this: SVSE/Sharks don’t express “concern” regarding parking at Diridon if the A’s WEREN’T destined for San Jose. You don’t think the MLB committee, in particular Corey Busch, haven’t spoken to members of SVSE or Wolff himself? I’m almost certain this has happened at some capacity. If the A’s weren’t coming, then Seipel doesn’t have a story about SVSE/Sharks being concerned about the A’s at Diridon now does she. Some of you just need to chill out and (suggestion) re-read the Lew Wolff/San Fran Mag article of December; a good way of putting your “fears” and impatience at ease. One last thing; regardless of your opinion on all of this, please don’t bring up the TUCK RULE! That one hurts way to much.

    • Tony—SVSE had a window of opportunity to comment on the SEIR—they had no choice but to voice their concerns–it doesn’t reflect any insider information. i would guess that LW is as perplexed and frustrated as the rest of us in the lack of progress by MLB—another year plus is gone by and BS talking about having the decision sometime before mid-July–bottom line is BS has failed ot deliver the goods–his own indecisiveness opened the window for the gints to create confusion and they seized upon it and have been pretty effective. This has nothing to do with SJ blowing it–quite the opposite–they are the only city that has shown any leadership throughout this whole process–

      • I hear yah GoA’s and respect your opinion. But again, I believe patience is a virtue my friend. As R.M. will tell you I’ve been wanting this SJ thing to happen since early 05. As I’ve said before, even if we had heard from the committee last year or yesterday, it wouldn’t change the fact that SJ STILL hasn’t acquired all of the Diridon plots (just two left!) and the revised EIR hasn’t been certified yet. Heck, in theory because SJ wants to put this forth to the voters, we wouldn’t know where SJ really stands until November! Not that it would happen, but imagine Selig giving the A’s Rights to SJ and the voters shoot down a ballpark initiative? How would that look to MLB? In closing, I don’t think it will come down to a vote in November, but that’s just my own opinion and left for a future thread. Now, need to watch me some baseball!

      • In order to put it to the voters in November you need 2 parties willing to negotiate–without the nod from MLB there is nothing to negotiate–in order to get it on a November ballot I believe that the deal would have to be finalized and ready for council approval by June recognizing summer recess and other factors–believe that mid-August is the latest when the language for a ballot initiative has to be approved–last 2 parcels–believe they might be ED—no use in going after that unless you have the green light to move forward–

        I agree that SJ has done a great job of preparing–its unfortunate that MLB doesn’t have its act together

  9. ML-
    How about an opening night thread. My visit to the Colisuem last night only solidified what a dump the place is – especially for baseball. Small crowd, too. And it seems like the staff has kind of given up on the place. No one really seems to care. Going with my two-year son also changes the perspective – the place is not kid or family friendly at all. Two of the three lights were out in the stomper fun zone – a stretch of the definition of ‘fun” as it is – and there is just one picnic table there and two small 19 inch TVs mounted about 20 feet up the wall. Dark, dangerous, and damp – not things I associate with fun. And the concession stand workers get more and more incompetent every year. It also seems like they were understaffed on ushers. Horrible. Need a new yard – NOW!

  10. Anyone watching TV last night see who LW was sitting next to? BDP, and apparently he has been in and out of Bay Area last couple of weeks. Check sunshine reports, calendars in your city to see if you are the “lucky” one.

  11. LW: Gee Bob look at all the empty seats on opening night even with the upper deck capped off, its a shame isnt it.

    BDP: Sure is Lew.

    LW: This wouldn’t happen in San Jose.

    BDP: exactly LEw, in San Jose you could insult the fan base repeatedly, insult the intelligence of the entire area, allow your GM to make strange moves like trade away Carlos Gonzalez one year away from stardom, for a veteran Holiday one year away from a 9 figure contract, trade away Blanton and Harden while just 4 games out and the fans would still show up in San Jose.

    LW: Um yeah, thats right. It’s not like we’re going to stop doing absurd things once we get what we want.

    • Sorry Jesse you’ll be “insulted” by the A’s simply moving 35 miles south of their current, abysmal location. Oh well.

      • Try to move to San Jose, fine. But don’t stop managing the team properly and as a consequence make it much easier for people to believe that Oakland is the new Montreal. Its too damn obvious to me and its insulting to anyone involved.
        You cant have the A’s winning and drawing 2.3 million fans when you’re trying to convince baseball that you cant fill a brand new state of the art Jack London Square ballpark with a seating capacity that could only draw 2.6 million max. You can’t do that. Remember, there are owners out there who believe that San Jose is closer to San Francisco than Oakland, in part because of false statements made by Giants ownership allegedly, so both these teams are trying to win hearts and minds of the other owners Wolff want’s to move to SJ primarily for the benefit of his hotels in San Jose.

      • While I also think there are some eerie similarities between the Expos and the A’s, I don’t think it’s intentional. In 2008, the A’s did everything they could to build a competitive team with players like Holiday, Giambi, Cabrera, and Garciaparra. During the offseason, they made honest efforts to sign Beltre and Scutaro. I can’t see how these are actions of a team that’s simply rolling over and dying. The Expos was a sad story, but not the same story as the A’s are playing out now. The Expos were leaving their city and their nation. The A’s are simply trying to reposition themselves within their region.

      • LW wants to move to SJ for the primary benefit of his hotels?? I would hope that he has larger expectations than increasing occupancy rates—come on man–struggling with that comment

      • Its one of the benefits.

      • you didn’t say it was one of the benefits. you said it was the primary reason.

      • Nice hat. I love foil.

      • I’m just frustrated, I know the A’s can do better.

      • That’s cool. We’ve all been frustrated with Beane’s moves at some point or another. But when you start believing the team is purposely building a crappy team to drive fans away, you’re venturing into Reynolds Wrap wardrobe territory. And hey, they’re 3-1!

      • LOL, whatever you say Jesse. Montreal used to trade for MVP candidates like Matt Holliday in their prime, right? Don’t tell me Wolff and Beane knew that Holliday would feel so ‘insulted’ in Oakland and not be able to carry the team? It’s a conspiracy, you’re right!

        BTW, Gonzalez is not a ‘star’ yet. He hasn’t even yet accomplished as much as Ben Grieve did.

    • I will take the A’s track record of avoiding absurd things over one trade any day.

      I personally have real trouble buying into the “no one shows up because Lew Wolff insulted Oakland” meme when the pathetic attendance is not new. I know Oakland Only people gloss this crap over, but the A’s have always sucked wind at the gate. The Haas years, the pinnacle of Oakland love and fan worship, were not an exception. 15 years of ownership, 7 years in the top half of MLB home attendance and 8 years in the bottom half.

      The problem in Oakland is that more folks want to go to San Francisco to watch a game and spend the day. After reading Frank DeFord’s piece from 1968, and seeing all the parallels that exist between now and then… I have a hard time believing a new stadium in JLS would actually improve things for more than a year or two.

      For the simple reason that there is more going on along the Embarcadero in SF than there is in JLS and there always will be. I really don’t know what the best solution in Oakland would be, but I have felt for a long time that many are fixated on recreating AT&T Park just across the bay from AT&T Park and I think that is a strategic blunder.

      Oakland is not going to out San Francisco San Francisco. If it were me, I would be looking for something like Broadway Auto Row (which is taken), the original Uptown plan (which is taken), basically anything that doesn’t seem like a copy cat of the park across the Bay. A more Urban environment, similar to Wrigley or Fenway, would be the blueprint for me. The best way to be better than your direct competition is to be different.

      • Damn straight again Jeffrey! As an A’s fan in the early 2000’s, when SJ was nowhere on the A’s radar, I was actually a supporter and hoped for an Uptown ballpark. That would have been awesome! Oakland-only folk can thank your old friend Jerry Brown for that not happening (not Lew Wolff).

      • Which is why SJ is so attractive. SJ is more different than the competition because it is further from SF. That and the Diridon site has the “urban environment” feel that a park at broadway or uptown site would have.

      • “The Haas years, the pinnacle of Oakland love and fan worship, were not an exception. 15 years of ownership, 7 years in the top half of MLB home attendance and 8 years in the bottom half.”
        .
        I’m sure you’re aware that a marketplace of “half the Bay Area” puts the A’s and Giants well into the lower division of market potential for MLB, and that the A’s were over .500 in only 7 of those 15 seasons. I think the gate performance in that timeframe was about as good as any reasoned, objective analysis should expect. I don’t understand what standard you apply that produces a “sucks wind” conclusion for this era. There’s no magic available to MLB to produce 5+ million residents each for the A’s and Giants.. Two teams in the Bay Area have only middle of the road potential, best-case. Haas ownership at least achieved that.

      • Of course you don’t see why it sucks wind. You are not objective on the subject.

      • I’m not objective because I refute your random thoughts with clear facts?

      • No. Because I have read all of your posts over a long period of time (on here and over at AN as buidlang). You are clearly an Oakland Only guy. And, for the record… I started with a clear fact, that the idea everything was hunky dory in Oakland during the Haas years is refuted by actual attendance numbers.

        You then spun those numbers with an Oakland apologist slant. That’s cool. I am not hating on you for your opinion, and I appreciate what you do in your posts. For instance, the Scarborough reports you linked on AN are very cool information. The Nate Silver Baseball Prospectus article about trying to gauge market size was another very good read (though I never read the other two articles).

        In short, I appreciate your passion for Oakland, but I also recognize that it makes you lack objectivity. You start with an argument and then try to find facts to back it up rather than taking the broad view of pro’s and con’s.

      • Yeah, it’s got to be about me and my subjective views. Never mind how your faulty conclusions are not even supported by the facts you present. I’m very comfortable with pros and cons, assuming you can tell which ones matter, and what they actually represent.

      • The facts- The A’s have been below median attendance in MLB for all but 7 seasons in Oakland. This is despite 15 playoff appearances in those 40+ years.
        The best owner in team history (well, unless you are counting by world series titles) had more seasons below median than above.

        How do those facts not square with Oakland having a history of craptastic attendance?

      • Jeffrey, despite their fab ballpark, great media presence, and no significant pressure from woeful A’s teams, the Giants ranked 7th in NL attendance each of the past two seasons. Without a big playoff run, they’re headed back to their usual low relative attendance rankings. Below median attendance here is just a fact of life. Below median attendance for the A’s is not a “pro” for any other location in the Bay Area, or a “con” for an Oakland location. It’s simply a demographic reality for MLB with two teams here. I count at least 17 MLB franchises that have significantly larger populations to draw from than a split Bay Area, and 3 or 4 others pretty similar. That’s where we live. In the bottom 10. It’s been 20 years since the A’s won a pennant. Let’s get over holding Oakland to the same attendance standard as Philadelphia and Houston, just because we used to be really good, and look a the real numbers that affect attendance: population. San Jose? Really?

  12. Is there any information on who specifically comprises the MLB survey committee evaulating the East/South Bay ballpark issue?

    • The committee ischaired by Bob Starkey, a former Arthur Andersen accountant who has done extensive work for Selig and the Minnesota Twins. Corey Busch, a former San Francisco Giants executive vice president under Bob Lurie who helped negotiate Frank McCourt’s acquisition of the Los Angeles Dodgers, also is on the committee. Irwin Raij, a lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP who worked on ballparks for the Washington Nationals and Florida Marlins, and baseball chief operating officer Bob DuPuy.

      • Thanks for the info.

      • One other thing of note is that Corey Busch was behind the Giants original overtures to the South Bay back in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

      • Well, it’s been one full year since the announcement of the MLB review/survey committee. I hope there’s been at least 6 solid months of ground work during this period. From just a bystander’s point of view, I was hoping to hear something by at least Opening Day.

      • Jeffrey,
        Busch also worked very closely with former SJ mayor Susann Hammer during the late 80’s/early 90’s, who’s now a member of the Pro Baseball for San Jose group. Irwin Raij was instrumental in getting the Montreal Expos to relocate to DC; he’s currently hard at work not only on this committee but in transfering ownership of the Texas Rangers to a group led by Nolan Ryan. Don’t know much about Starkey.
        Interestingly, and again related to the original topic of this thread, Pro Baseball for San Jose lists the San Jose Sports Authority as a partner, which is the umbrella group of SVSE, which is supposedly having an issue with the A’s at Diridon?

  13. This isn’t related to ML’s top post, but it deals with the potential A’s ballpark.

    http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/sports/pro/baseball&id=7369652

    I really can’t understand why some Oakland/ Al. County residents stay they’ll refuse to support the team should the A’s move to the South Bay. This could be all bark and no bite, but who knows. As far as I can tell, the A’s are a Bay Area team, not Oakland’s exclusively. I’m concerned that further stories like these might paint the picture of the A’s abandoning Oakland rather than the A’s seeking to stay in the Bay Area.

    • The guys they talked to are leftfield bleacher regulars who have been attending every home game for many years. One of them (the “510”) comes from Santa Rosa. It’ll be 100 miles each way for him to Diridon. I doubt anyone in this blog has a leg to stand on in comparing their level of fan support against those guys.

      • What about 510 guy from Morgan Hill or Salinas? Oakland Only seems to be about two things 1) convenience, and 2) trying to hold on to something that helps Oakland feel like a big city and compete with SF. And I am a current Oakland resident and lifetime Bay Area resident, so I know a little about the ethos going on there.

      • Don’t forget Hollister!

      • That’s really the worst part of relocating south. I lived in Santa Cruz for a few years and could only make the drive up to Oakland 4-5 times a season.In the ned, I want what’s best for for keeping the A’s in the Bay Area. Should SJ become an impossibility, the I’d be happy with a new ballpark in Oakland or even Fremont. Though, as a fan and as a commuter, I’d like to have them in SJ. Unfortunately, I’m not a San Jose resident, so you I’m harmless in the Pro/Anti SJ vote.

      • Well, then let’s get 30,000+ more of “those guys” at the Coliseum and you Oakland-only folk will have a case! Until that happens…

      • TPS- a serious question for you. Did you once say you live in San Mateo County? I remember reading that once, maybe I am wrong. But this guy from Santa Rosa (a beautiful city which I once called home) has me thinking.

        Why does it seem most of the pro Oakland people posting to web sites and such are people who have chosen to move away from Oakland? I am not casting any judgment here, it could be a strength for Oakland’s case that people outside of the the the city limits want the team to stay put or it could a weakness that people like Diamond Lil at the OAFC live in Marin County and are bigger boosters of a stadium than folks inside the City.

        I am just wondering why it is that it seems like the biggest boosters come from outside Oakland. Do you know?

      • Yes, I live out on the San Mateo coast. Over the past 50 years, I’ve lived in Fremont, Hayward, Alameda, Oakland, Hercules, Larkspur, San Rafael, Kentfield, San Francisco, Pacifica, and Half Moon Bay. I love them all, great places to live, the Bay Area rocks. People in the Bay Area like to move around a lot and sample all the wares. Most of my neighbors out here have lived in many other parts of the Bay Area over their lifetimes. I have no idea if there’s an answer to your question about where people who want the Oakland A’s to stay in Oakland live.

      • As one of those people in the Bay Area I can agree. I have lived in San Leandro, Pleasanton, Pleasant Hill, Concord, San Jose, Fremont, Oakland, San Francisco, and Santa Rosa just to name a few.

        AND DAMN I LOVE MARK ELLIS

  14. Interesting development—San Jose Mercury article tonight–“Top Major League Baseball official meets with San Jose mayor, Oakland A’s owner to discuss team’s possible move”. Reed wne ton to say—“We talked about baseball and opening day,” adding that DuPuy, with whom he has talked on the phone before, “wanted to see San Jose in person.”

    Maybe the fat lady is ready to sing—at least the next verse—

    http://www.mercurynews.com/top-stories/ci_14832024?nclick_check=1

  15. “Jeffrey, despite their fab ballpark, great media presence, and no significant pressure from woeful A’s teams, the Giants ranked 7th in NL attendance each of the past two seasons.”
    Considering they were coming off four losing seasons before last year, and considering they do compete directly with another MLB team, this is phenomenal performance. Many of the larger and/or one team markets would kill for performance like this during rebuilding years.
    “Without a big playoff run, they’re headed back to their usual low relative attendance rankings.”
    This is pure speculation. As has been demonstrated here before, all teams suffer impact to attendance during losing years.
    “Below median attendance here is just a fact of life.”
    This is certainly not evidenced by the Giants post-AT&T experience.
    “Below median attendance for the A’s is not a “pro” for any other location in the Bay Area, or a “con” for an Oakland location. It’s simply a demographic reality for MLB with two teams here.”
    This again is speculation, and defies common sense. Common sense tells us: Geography is an important factor in how often people go to games. If the goal is to maximize attendance in a two team region, the logical way to do it is not to put two teams in virtually the same location so that half of the region is convenient to two teams and half are convenient to zero. The people who are close to two teams will not go to twice as many games as a result.

    • It’s a full time job to go over the total B.S. you try to pass off as “common sense”. Twice as many people do go to twice as many games, as half as many people do. There’s no actual math to support all your phony contentions. It’s absurd how I’ve yet to get 1 single pro-San-Jose booster club member in here to ever acknowledge the A’s poor recent performance on the field as a factor in their big attendance downturn, yet BAM, there it is for the Giants in their glorious digs. It’s all about Oakland not being a baseball town, not the park, not the win-loss record, not the lousy media coverage, not the team marketing, not the public relations. Here you accuse me of relying on speculation, as you try to pass off your own speculation and selective B.S. as common sense.

      • “It’s a full time job to go over the total B.S. you try to pass off as “common sense”. Twice as many people do go to twice as many games, as half as many people do.”
        Twice as many people do not automatically go to twice as many games if you position the ballparks so that half of them have to travel up to two hours to do so. It is common sense that you will yield more attendance if you position two ballparks so that the greatest number of people can get there in twenty or thirty minutes rather than putting them both in what is functionally the same location. COMMON SENSE.
        “There’s no actual math to support all your phony contentions.”
        Now I’m getting a lecture on math from the guy who’s telling me 17th out of 30 is “bottom 10″? (With the number 17 being totally made up, to boot).
        “It’s absurd how I’ve yet to get 1 single pro-San-Jose booster club member in here to ever acknowledge the A’s poor recent performance on the field as a factor in their big attendance downturn, yet BAM, there it is for the Giants in their glorious digs.”
        It’s absurd how you don’t actually read what people you disagree with write. I personally have specifically acknowledged this point in pointing out repeatedly that attendance fell off faster under Haas than Wolff under similar circumstances. Everyone acknowledges the role on field performance plays in attendance; we’ve had many detailed posts on here analyzing attendance versus performance. What you and the rest of the Oakland-only Taliban refuse to acknowledge is how badly Oakland attendance has underperformed WHEN THE A’S ARE WINNING CHAMPIONSHIPS.
        “It’s all about Oakland not being a baseball town, not the park, not the win-loss record, not the lousy media coverage, not the team marketing, not the public relations”
        Oakland attendance sucked when the park was new and relatively state-of-the-art. Oakland attendance sucked the years they were winning pennants and championships. Oakland attendance sucked before there was an AT&T Park to compete with. Oakland attendance sucked before premium seats became the main profit driver in baseball, an area in which Oakland does not have the demographics to compete. Lousy media coverage is a chicken-and-egg thing relative to the level of local interest. And no one here has provided any convincing evidence that team marketing is subpar or provided examples of ways it could reasonably be improved. So yes, while there is a small core of very passionate fans (as there is in every city) I think it’s fair to rule out most of the factors you cited and state that Oakland just isn’t a baseball town. The fact Oakland basically chose the Raiders over the A’s speaks volumes.

  16. ” I count at least 17 MLB franchises that have significantly larger populations to draw from than a split Bay Area, and 3 or 4 others pretty similar.”
    First of all, define “significantly larger populations.” Second, name them. I count maybe 12 MLB markets that I would consider “significantly larger” than half the Bay Area.
    You also ignore the fact that, with thoughtfully located teams (meaning not Oakland), a two team market can attain higher attendance per capita by placing more people within twenty minutes of a ballpark. Metro Houston may have a lot of people, but it sprawls, and lots of those people have to drive a long way to get to a game.
    You also ignore the fact that several of your “significantly larger” markets (Houston, Detroit, Atlanta, Phoenix) have significantly less disposable income and therefore less overall revenue potential.
    “That’s where we live. In the bottom 10.”
    Even using your specious numbers and assumptions, half the Bay Area market falls squarely in the middle. And as explained about, simply splitting the market in half does not really gauge attendance or revenue potential.
    ” It’s been 20 years since the A’s won a pennant. Let’s get over holding Oakland to the same attendance standard as Philadelphia and Houston, just because we used to be really good, and look a the real numbers that affect attendance: population.” First of all, as noted above, population isn’t the only factor which affects attendance. Location matters. Income matters. And some towns (e.g. Oakland) are just not baseball towns.
    “San Jose? Really?”
    Yes, really. Because in the end, it’s not about selling a few thousand more seats in the upper deck each game, or some artificial attendance target. It’s about keeping the premium seats on the first two decks occupied, or at least sold

    • First, population is the single biggest factor in pro sports attendance, we know that. What irks me is that it gets completely ignored by Jeffrey and others “analyzing” attendance patterns. Gee, we’ve been better than the Dodgers the past 40 years, why can’t we outdraw them? We must not like baseball as much as them!
      .
      Second, the disposable income question is tricky. I don’t believe you consider the cost of property, or property tax, or sales taxes, or many other costs to live in an area to determine “disposable income”. Plus ticket prices and transit and parking costs all vary a great deal from team to team as well, so I’m waiting on you to drop some real research in here to back up all the speculation you pass off as definitive on these maters. In other words, the A’s are consistently one of the more expensive teams to go see, as well as being in an area where everyone is strapped with high cost of living, high taxes, etc. Oh, just as an aside, I thought I’d point out that this 2006 government report shows the SF/Oakland metro region had higher disposible income per-capita than the SJ metro region.
      .
      Also, the sprawl issue isn’t helpful. The Bay Area is pretty sprawling too. It’s a 100 miles from Santa Rosa to San Jose. There are over a million people in the 4 “remote” northern counties. so if we’re counting the entire 7 million official Bay Area population, there’s no need to try and discount outlying residents of other areas.
      .
      So, using 3.5 million as the “1/2 Bay Area” figure, and 4 million as the threshold of “significantly more” than that, the following teams are in a metro region that meets that:

      1 Yankees
      2 Mets
      3 Dodgers
      4 Angels
      5 Cubs
      6 White Sox
      7 Rangers
      8 Phillies
      9 Astros
      10 Marlins
      11 Blue Jays
      12 Nationals
      13 Orioles
      14 Braves
      15 Red Sox
      16 Tigers
      17 D’Backs

      Then you’ve got over 3 million residents in the Seattle, San Diego, and Minneapolis areas.. That’s 20 franchises with a great opportunity to occupy the top-15 attendance ranks and keep the A’s below median.

      • “First, population is the single biggest factor in pro sports attendance, we know that.”
        So how do you explain the St. Louis Cardinals? I would also point out, Cleveland and Denver were far more successful at the gate during their runs of success than Oakland has been.

        “In other words, the A’s are consistently one of the more expensive teams to go see”
        Yeah, those $2 Wednesday night tickets are brutal, not to mention the free A’s tickets I get thrown at me every time I fill my gas tank.
        Where exactly are you getting this contention from? Last I saw, average non-premium ticket price ranges from $14 (D’Backs) to about $50 (Cubs, Red Sox, revised Yankees figures) and the A’s were somewhere around $25 (meaning, lower middle). And the average figures don’t tell the full story. I’ve personally been to see 25 of the MLB teams in their home parks. When you consider the cost of getting through the gate and getting a decent seat, the A’s are cost-competive with any of them. Consider $2 Wednesdays, the new $12 value deck (whichh puts you right behind home plate, with a $6 concession credit to boot), and the fact that the West Side Club is open to anyone with a ticket – you tell me who’s offering better deals.

        “Oh, just as an aside, I thought I’d point out that this 2006 government report shows the SF/Oakland metro region had higher disposible income per-capita than the SJ metro region.:”
        LOL. There you go again, trying to pretend SF and Marin statistics are Oakland statistics, as if they don’t already have their own team.
        .
        “Also, the sprawl issue isn’t helpful. The Bay Area is pretty sprawling too. It’s a 100 miles from Santa Rosa to San Jose. There are over a million people in the 4 “remote” northern counties. so if we’re counting the entire 7 million official Bay Area population, there’s no need to try and discount outlying residents of other areas.”
        Yes, which is why the Bay Area should take advantage of the fact that it has two teams and position their ballparks so they’re not in the same place. Spread out the yards to mitigate the sprawl. Houston doesn’t have the luxury of doing this. Thank you for helping make my case.
        .
        “So, using 3.5 million as the “1/2 Bay Area” figure, and 4 million as the threshold of “significantly more” than that, the following teams are in a metro region that meets that:

        1 Yankees
        2 Mets
        3 Dodgers
        4 Angels
        5 Cubs
        6 White Sox
        7 Rangers
        8 Phillies
        9 Astros
        10 Marlins
        11 Blue Jays
        12 Nationals
        13 Orioles
        14 Braves
        15 Red Sox
        16 Tigers
        17 D’Backs”

        Your 4 million cut off is arbitrary and self-serving. I would debate whether the difference between 3.5 million and 4 is especially significant where attendance is concerned. Baltimore/DC are right at 4 million (which is no doubt why you chose it as your threshold). Phoenix and Detroit are just a few hundred thousand more than that. When you consider the sprawl factor in Houston and Atlanta, I’m not sure they number of people within “weeknight game” range is much greater than here.

        “Then you’ve got over 3 million residents in the Seattle, San Diego, and Minneapolis areas.. That’s 20 franchises with a great opportunity to occupy the top-15 attendance ranks and keep the A’s below median.”
        All of which establishes that, even using your numbers and assumptions, half of the Bay Area puts us smack dab in the middle of MLB markets. Not “bottom 10.” The A’s should have been able to draw MUCH better in Oakland than they have historically, considering their 4 World Championships.

      • Here is the info on cost to attend MLB. The A’s have ranked 10th and 13th the past two seasons, while having a poor team, a lousy ballpark, and a smallish market size. The Giants were 17th in ’08, cheaper than the A’s. $2 Wednesdays? That’s for a couple sections at the end of the 2nd deck, beyond the LF foul pole, in total shade under the 3rd deck.

        “Twice as many people do not automatically go to twice as many games if you position the ballparks so that half of them have to travel up to two hours to do so. It is common sense that you will yield more attendance if you position two ballparks so that the greatest number of people can get there in twenty or thirty minutes rather than putting them both in what is functionally the same location. COMMON SENSE.”

        NONSENSE. The 5 million Bay Area residents living north from San Mateo and Hayward make San Jose a non-starter if you actually cared to locate the teams “thoughtfully”. You are taking over 2 million people in the 5 northern counties, almost entirely out of the equation for the A’s to a much worse degree than the South Bay’s access to Oakland, splitting the lower 5 million with the Giants, instead of splitting 7 million. Now if the Giants happened to vacate the center to say Richmond or Concord, then you’ve got a case.

      • Question, what would motivate people up north and on the peninsula to come to Oakland if they can go to SF for less money?

      • “The A’s have ranked 10th and 13th the past two seasons, while having a poor team, a lousy ballpark, and a smallish market size.”

        Some of the FMR data is useful to this discussion. The FCI itself is a joke. It assumes purchase of a bundle of products which nobody actually buys. A family of four buying two programs and two ballcaps to every game they go to? Please.

        The main data that’s truly relevant to fan cost is (a) ticket price, and (b) parking. Almost everything else are avoidable costs.

        The truth is, the A’s are middle of the road in average non-premium ticket cost at $25 (as I originally stated). Their actual average cost ranking is far lower because they currently have almost NO premium seating. And the deals they run make attending a game as cheap as any team in baseball.

        “The Giants were 17th in ‘08, cheaper than the A’s”

        You’re seriously going to argue it’s cheaper to go to a Giants game than an A’s game? You’re even more disingenous than I thought.

        All one has to do is go look at the two teams pricing maps to see this is not true. The most expensive A’s ticket, an MVP seat behind home plate for a premium game, costs $55. The same seat for a Giants premium game is $150. The Giants get $30 for bleacher seats some nights. And on and on.

  17. “$2 Wednesdays? That’s for a couple sections at the end of the 2nd deck, beyond the LF foul pole, in total shade under the 3rd deck.”

    First of all, it also includes Plaza Reserved. It’s not difficult to get the $2 tickets. Second, many of the Plaza Outfield tickets are not shaded. Third of all, you know darn well once you’re in the gate you can generally sit whereever you want.

    “NONSENSE. The 5 million Bay Area residents living north from San Mateo and Hayward make San Jose a non-starter if you actually cared to locate the teams “thoughtfully”

    The Bay Area is roughly triangular. You just can’t seem to resist the tendency to snip off a tiny piece of the lower point and compare it to the rest of the triangle in framing your arguments. It makes it very hard to have an intellectually honest debate.

    Your line drawing is completely suspect. Folks in San Mateo and Hayward would have about as easy a time getting to downtown San Jose as they would to downtown Oakland. The same could be said of large portions of Alameda and Contra Costa County.

    Finally, the point isn’t how close people in the North Bay are to the A’s. The point is how close they are to an MLB team. Downtown SF is a push for most of them compared to Downtown Oakland, so moving the team south does not impair their ability to go see live MLB.

    “You are taking over 2 million people in the 5 northern counties,”

    Again with the disingenuous line drawing. Why in these discussions is it always one county against three or one county against five? You think the Santa Clara County line has some invisible fence preventing people from crossing from Alameda, Contra Costa or San Mateo?

    Anyway, Santa Clara County is 2 million people by itself. Plus, it has the corporate base necessary to make the venture viable, while the North Bay does not. So if you had to trade one for the other (and this is a false choice, since those folks can go to AT&T Park), yes, Santa Clara would be the way to go.

    “almost entirely out of the equation for the A’s to a much worse degree than the South Bay’s access to Oakland”

    Simply not true. From Palo Alto, it can easily take two hours to get to Oakland for a weeknight game. I just don’t believe it takes most people in the North Bay two hours to get to AT&T Park. And for those it does, they have the option of a pleasant ferry ride, rather than a fighting gruesome traffic on the Nimitz.

    “splitting the lower 5 million with the Giants, instead of splitting 7 million.”

    Another false choice. They’re not really splitting the 7 million now, because it’s inconvenient enough to get to either park that neither team is fully realizing the South Bay potential fanbase.

    The truth is, it’s the premium seating in the lower two decks which drive profitability in modern MLB. If you can keep those seats full, you’re in good shape regardless of what’s going on on the upper deck. The South Bay has the corporate base which drives these sales, the East and North Bay do not. Any ballpark placement strategy which double-serves the East and North Bay and neglects the South Bay is a dumb strategy.

    • Another point on the FMR data which warrants emphasis. I couldn’t figure out how the Giant’s average ticket price could be lower than the A’s, when pretty much every seating category is SIGNIFICANTLY more expensive at AT&T for every comparable game.
      After reading the fine print, the answer is two-fold:
      (a) Premium seating is excluded. If you look at the Giants seat map, this eliminates most of the first and second deck.
      (b) Figures are not based on tickets actually purchased or the price actually paid. Rather, they are based on the season ticket holder price and the proportion of seats in each category.
      In other words, it tells us what the average price would be for non-premium seating if each ballpark were totally sold out to season ticket holders, which is clearly not the case in Oakland. It therefore does not reflect any discounts or promotions any time might regularly run.
      Considering these factors, I think it’s pretty clear that if you ran data for actual price paid for each ticket and included premium seating, the A’s would be one of the cheapest teams in baseball to go see, if not the cheapest.

    • “Your line drawing is completely suspect. Folks in San Mateo and Hayward would have about as easy a time getting to downtown San Jose as they would to downtown Oakland. The same could be said of large portions of Alameda and Contra Costa County.”

      Like I said, a full time job to follow you around and correct the perpetual falsehoods and gross exaggerations you spew. For the record, let’s edit out, “Large portions of Alameda and Contra Consta County” and replace that with an accurate statement like, “Not one square inch of Contra Costa County, and nothing but the cities of Fremont, Newark and Union City in Alameda County.” Hayward? How could you screw that up? It’s twice as far to San Jose as Oakland. San Mateo? Okay, you got one right. It’s only maybe a mile or two further to drive to Diridon than to JLS from Bay Meadows, pretty close…

      • This has been entertaining.

      • “Like I said, a full time job to follow you around and correct the perpetual falsehoods and gross exaggerations you spew.”

        I love getting the lecture on exaggeration and accuracy from the guy responsible for “17 out of 30 is bottom 10,” “the A’s are one of the most expensive teams to go see,” and “A’s attendance has been good over the years relative to team performance.”

        “For the record, let’s edit out, “Large portions of Alameda and Contra Consta County” and replace that with an accurate statement like, “Not one square inch of Contra Costa County, and nothing but the cities of Fremont, Newark and Union City in Alameda County.”

        Let’s not. The issue is drive time, not distance. We’re talking about how long it takes to get to a downtown SJ park versus a downtown Oakland park on a weeknight, meaning during rush hour. I’ve gone from Walnut Creek to the Coli and also to downtown SJ during rush hour a number of times, and I stand by my statement.

        “Hayward? How could you screw that up? It’s twice as far to San Jose as Oakland.”

        Yes, but going north you have rush hour traffic and going south you have countercommute. I’ll admit it still takes slightly longer to get to downtown San Jose, but my original comment was that the difference was not significant, not that it was exactly the same. Plus, there’s a lot better chance that Hayward guy actually works in the South Bay than that South Bay guy actually works up in Oakland.

        “San Mateo? Okay, you got one right. It’s only maybe a mile or two further to drive to Diridon than to JLS from Bay Meadows, pretty close…”

        Actually it is far more painful to get to Oakland from San Mateo than to downtown SJ on a weeknight because of bridge and Nimitz traffic. As I have posted before, I have a buddy who lives in San Mateo who likes basketball more than hockey. Nevertheless, he buys season tickets to the Sharks rather than the Warriors solely because of the hassle of getting to the Coli (and of course to downtown Oakland it would be worse). From San Mateo, it’s a smooth sail down 280 to San Jose; there is rarely significant traffic. Distance is irrelevant, it’s drive time that matters. This is why it is no profoundly irritating when some member of the Oakland-only Taliban starts spouting off about how Oakland is “convenient to the entire Bay Area.”

      • Driving to downtown Oakland during a weekday evening is a nightmare. No offense to Oakland, but it’s true. I live in in the Lower Haight of SF (so I’m right near a 101 entrance. You’d figure getting across the Bay Bridge to Oakland would be a snap? Nope. It is a royal pain pretty much any day of the week. I’d much rather drive to downtown San Jose during rush hour, and that’s my honest answer whether I’m talking about go to a court date, or going to a ballgame. I work at Stanford and getting to DT SJ is also much easier than geting to DT Oakland. Caltrain goes straight to SJ, while I’d have to take Caltrain to Milbrae and BART to Oakland.

      • Gee, Bartleby and Briggs work in Santa Clara County and are liking their after work drive into SJ over Oakland… So much so, that they’re trying to sucker people in the Haight and Walnut Creek to go for it too.
        .
        Please Briggs, either Muni/BART or driving, for anyone from the Haight during commute hours to downtown Oakland. is easily half the time of getting to SJ. You may prefer the slow moving scenery through SSF, Milbrae, San Mateo, Redwood City, Mountain View, and Santa Clara, but I tend to prefer the much shorter-lived views from the Bay Bridge.

      • For the benefit of anyone unwilling to accept the, “My opinions carry more weight than any data…” presentation from Bartleby, here are the google maps reported mileage, normal drive time, and heavy traffic drive times from 4 pertinent locations to (specifically) 260 Victory Court in Oakland and Diridon Station in San Jose:
        .
        Southland Mall Hayward -> Victory Court: 15 mi 18 min->30 min.
        Southland Mall Hayward -> Diridon Station: 29 mi 37 min->50 min
        .
        Chevron San Ramon -> Victory Court: 28 mi 29 min->40 min
        Chevron San Ramon -> Diridon Station:39 mi 43 min->60 min
        .
        Safeway Inc. Pleasanton -> Victory Court: 23 mi 24 min->35 min
        Safeway Inc. Pleasanton -> Diridon Station: 34 mi 39 min->55 min

        Hillsdale Mall San Mateo -> Victory Court: 30 mi. 31 min->50 min
        Hillsdale Mall San Mateo -> Diridon Station: 29 mi. 35 min->45 min

        That San Mateo trip would be MY drive to weeknight A’s games, and I can vouch for it It rarely takes me even an hour to get to the Coliseum for a weeknight game from way the hell out in Half Moon Bay, and it’s hardly any better to shlep down 280 (forget 101!) 30 miles through the heart of the valley that time of night.

        Now, the Chevron drive is the BEST-CASE drive to SJ from anywhere in Contra Costa County, and the Southland and Safeway drives would be about the BEST-CASE drives from anywhere in Alameda County (should we actually count Sunol?), other than the Tri-Cities area. In other words, google maps entirely backs up what I’ve been saying, and entirely refutes what Bartleby keeps claiming. And just for grins, here is the google maps data for Walnut Creek:
        .
        Walnut Creek BART -> Victory Court: 17 mi. 21 min->30 min
        Walnut Creek BART -> Diridon Station: 50 mi. 55 min->70 min

        Never mind that SF, Walnut Creek, Hayward, Pleasanton. also have nice leisurely BART rides to complement the better drive times.

      • “For the benefit of anyone unwilling to accept the, “My opinions carry more weight than any data…” presentation from Bartleby,”

        Actually, my repeated, real world experience of a particular route DOES carry more weight than some web site algorithm. Plus that of other South Bay residents who have reported similar experiences. You’ve never had Google Maps try to send you through a dead end, or the wrong way down a one-way street?

        “here are the google maps reported mileage, normal drive time, and heavy traffic drive times…”

        Lies, damn lies, and statistics. As soon as I made that last post, I knew you’d be throwing Google Maps data out there.

        Google Maps “normal” drive times are, in fact, reasonably accurate. (How could they not be? You just take mileage and divide by 60.)

        Google Maps “heavy traffic” figures, however, are pure fantasy. These are the ones which matter for purposes of our discussion, because of the preponderance of weeknight games.

        To use an example which is very familiar to me, Google Maps tells us it takes 39 minutes to get from Page Mill Road in Palo Alto to the Coliseum in normal conditions, 50 minutes with traffic. This is pure fantasy. The reality is, during rush hour, it can easily take 50 minutes or more just to get to the East Palo Alto side of the Dumbarton.
        Page Mill hosts dozens of large Silicon Valley firms. During rush hour, their employees all pour out and clog up the Oregon Expressway (which has tons of lights and narrows to one lane at one point). Then you get to fight your way onto the 101 for a few miles, which is often also clogged Then you get to fight your way up several more clogged, traffic light-ridden miles of East Palo Alto surface streets to the Dumbarton along with all the East Bay folks trying to get home. And of course, the Dumbarton and the Nimitz themselves are no picnic.

        The truth is, southbound 280 and southbound 680 are two of the Bay Area’s least congested freeways during evening rush hour. Contrary to the Google Maps figures, I routinely make it from Walnut Creek BART to downtown SJ in less than an hour; from San Ramon in about 50 minutes. Conversely, although I’ve not done it as frequently, on the occasions I’ve tried to make it to the Coli for a game, I’ve found 580W to be very congested; likewise Nimitz North.

        “That San Mateo trip would be MY drive to weeknight A’s games, and I can vouch for it It rarely takes me even an hour to get to the Coliseum for a weeknight game from way the hell out in Half Moon Bay, and it’s hardly any better to shlep down 280 (forget 101!) 30 miles through the heart of the valley that time of night.”

        Actually, it’s usually going to be quite a bit better. Granted, the San Mateo bridge is better than the Dumbarton. You aren’t forced on surface streets to get there, and it doesn’t clog quite as much. But it does clog, while 280 southbound virtually never does. Even Google Maps seems to recognize this – it doesn’t even provide a “heavy traffic” estimate for the 280 South route to San Jose from Half Moon Bay.

        “In other words, google maps entirely backs up what I’ve been saying, and entirely refutes what Bartleby keeps claiming.”
        It doesn’t actually back up what you’re saying about Half Moon Bay to San Jose vs. Oakland. In any event, it’s wrong. Just as the Fan Cost Index data you threw out there was wrong. I may not convince you, but I’m pretty confident anyone from the South Bay who’s actually driven these routes knows what I’m talking about.

      • I’ve never contested your claims about congested surface street traffic causing lengthy delays for people coming from West Santa Clara County to Oakland. As a consultant with clients all over the Bay Area, I’ve done plenty of 150+ mile days on these freeways, and all I’m saying is that your claim that Hayward and “large portions of Alameda and Contra Costa County” would have similar weeknight drive times to San Jose as they would to Oakland, is pure fantasy.

      • Hi TPS,
        For the record, I’m not trying to “sucker” anyone into believing anything. I’m speaking purely from my own preference and personal. I’ve taken MUNI to BART to the Coliseum more times than I can remember and I don’t’ have any problem with it. Also (I know this is just the reality of internet communication), but you don’t have to take such a hostile tone in your responses. It hampers the exchange of ideas and thoughts. If a new ballpark is built in Oakland, of course I’m still going to games traffic or not. That said, San Jose is a transit hub with Caltrain, VTA, 280, 101, 880, Hwy 17 and hopefully BART & Ca HS Rail within our lifetime. After work, there is usually X, Y and Z that need to be done before I can embark to the ballgame and at different points in life, these individual transit modes become most convenient from time to time. As time goes on, I can’t foresee what obstacles I’ll encounter, but I like knowing I have all these transit options. I don’t care which city ends up on the A’s away jerseys, I just want to the A’s to be put in a situation where they can thrive. There isn’t a perfect location for the A’s; whether it’s Oakland, Fremont, San Jose or your backyard. Some people will have a harder time getting to the ballpark than others and that’s unavoidable. Whether I’m leaving from home or work, I’d rather head to San Jose, especially if I’m meeting up with people who may be taking BART, VTA, Caltrain, driving, whichever. If I had to pick a happy medium, it’d be San Jose.

      • Wrong again. I played with Google Maps a little more. Here are the drive times I got for Pleasanton:

        Pleasanton – Jack London Square: 28.7 miles 32 minutes (normal) 45 minutes (traffic)
        Pleasanton – Diridon Station: 30.4 miles 36 minutes (no figure provided for “heavy traffic”)

        You seem to have gone out of your way to find specific addresses which would support your argument. Here are some other drive times:

        Livermore – JLS 32.6 miles 35 minutes (normal) 50 minutes (traffic)
        Livermore – Diridon 34.3 miles 43 minutes (no figure for “traffic”)

        Dublin – JLS 22.9 miles 24 min (normal) 35 min (traffic)
        Dublin – Diridon 34.3 miles 39 minutes (no figure for traffic)

        San Ramon – JLS 27.3 miles 31 minutes
        San Ramon – Diridon 39.6 miles 44 minutes

        San Ramon still shows closer for Oakland, but not by much. Also, it’s not clear why it didn’t offer a “traffic” figure for San Ramon to Oakland when it did for other cities using the same route. I still contend traffic issues make this a push.

        I still contend Google Maps understates the factor light traffic on 680S vs. heavier traffic on 880 and 580 plays. However, even using Google Maps figures, the following cities are clearly going to have similar or better drive times to San Jose vs. downtown Oakland:

        Fremont
        Newark
        Union City
        Pleasanton
        Dublin
        Livermore
        San Ramon

        I still contend that Danville and South Hayward will not see major differences. While downtown Oakland would clearly be more convenient for Walnut Creek, I don’t think downtown San Jose will be much worse for those folks than they currently experience going to the Coli. And there’s a lot to be said for a smooth hour of cruising versus 45 minutes of fighting traffic.

        Also, the Google Maps drive times considered overall do support my contention that there is little traffic on 280S and 680S while there is significant traffic on 880 and 580.

      • Note: The East Bay cities I’ve listed above (or below, depending on how this displays) do constitute a large portion of Alameda and Contra Costa county. In fact, more than a third of Alameda County residents will have comparable or better weeknight drive times to a ballpark in San Jose.
        Further, you continue to ignore the large number of East Bay residents WHO ALREADY WORK IN THE SOUTH BAY.

      • Okay well, I give up. Might as well blow up the Caldecott and the Bay Bridge since it’s just as easy to get to San Jose as Oakland from apparently any point on the map. Whatever.

  18. By the way, I apologize for the use of all caps. If someone can tell me how to use italics or bolding when emphasis is wanted, I’ll use those instead.

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