News for 1/17/12

Today I did an TV interview on Get Real with Brian Stuckey, a show produced out of CreaTV San Jose. CreaTV is a non-profit to whom Comcast has farmed out all of their public access programming for much of the South Bay. The segment will air January 30 on Comcast channel 15 with a web stream simulcast, so my ugly mug won’t show up until then. I doubt anything will have fundamentally changed by then, but you never know.

On to the news.

  • Matier and Ross report that nothing official happened on the A’s-to-San Jose front. That’s true at least when it comes to making a decision or coming to a compromise plan. We set those expectations going into the owners meetings. Yet background work did occur, including the presentation to the executive committee and Selig’s statement that the A’s are now on the front burner. Write that off all you want, it’s movement that wasn’t happening six, nine, twelve months ago. Remember that as incalcitrant the Giants are, there’s always the threat of binding arbitration to force the Giants’ hand. Commissioner Selig won’t give San Jose a greenlight for a vote (for either MLB owners or the city referendum) unless the Giants drop their lawsuit, making the legal action the last real weapon in the Giants’ arsenal to block the A’s efforts.
  • While the Giants are doing everything possible to stop A’s ownership, they’re actively encouraging new arena deals. We all know about their overtures towards the Warriors. Yesterday, Larry Baer gave a pep talk to Sacramento civic leaders pushing for a new downtown Kings arena. Baer said that after four defeats at the ballot box, the effort to get a ballpark going was “worth the fight.” I imagine that Lew Wolff feels the exact same way, Larry.

“It can be done, don’t give up,” Baer said. “You must persevere, you must exercise patience, you must have strong leadership in the private and public sector.”

When a man’s right, he’s right.

  • While the Oakland-only crowd was eager to jump on a graf in the M&R report, they buried the lead: Thanks to the death of redevelopment, the City of Oakland will have to cut 200 jobs and hand out 1,500 pink slips. The Mayor and City Council may also have to take huge cuts in pay on top of cuts already taken last year. How does this affect San Jose? Not that much, since as of the end of 2011 there were only about 10-12 people left in SJRA, with budget cuts and changes already enacted. Not that San Jose actually anticipated the change. SJRA’s fiscal issues forced it shut down early.
  • Less than three months from the opening of the Marlins Ballpark in Miami, and there’s no solution for funding transit options that can bring fans from downtown or the nearest Metrorail (BART-like) station.
  • The Cubs are replacing their right field bleacher section with a Green Monster Seats-style party deck, fronted by one of those new-fangled LED scoreboards.
  • Santa Clara’s City Attorney declared a petition effort by 49er stadium opponents illegal. That doesn’t mean the opponents can’t sue. We’ll see if they have the resources to sue for the right. We’ve seen this happen before.

On a lighter note – since Jeffrey and I will both be at FanFest, would any readers like to do a meetup? Not exactly sure of where we could do it, we can talk through the details.

69 Responses to News for 1/17/12

  1. pjk says:

    re: The city has bent over backward to persuade them to stay, he said…

    …I’d say the city has bent over backward to chase them away.

  2. Nicosan says:

    @Al I would imagine most of the subsidy is for the Raider improvements. The A’s part I would imagine is moderate.

    The gist of it is IDLF, Haggerty, and other commissioners are going to try to squeeze a more money, which they probably can and will get. But really in the end of things, is it really a ton? Probably not in the scheme of things. As Noll and Zimbalist point out, Oakland doesn’t have much leverage.

    Brunner saying that this will bring the A’s to the negotiating table to stay in Oakland, (read: Coliseum) is beyond laughable. The A’s have stated for years that they will no longer play second fiddle at the Coliseum, and with redevelopment dead, VC is dead and likely Coliseum City at least for the foreseeable future. If the Coliseum would like less revenue during a hard economic time, they are welcome to try denying the A’s.

    Oakland Residents, How does a Councilmember like IDLF get elected and reelected? I mean beyond the hot air I don’t see anything he has brought to the table. Does he have any big challengers in the election?

    @ML, you still sticking to the Zito contract being the likely compensation? It makes sense, 3 years and over $50 million left. Do you think the way this is going to go about is suddenly we are going to see reports pop up in March that a deal has been reached and a vote on the issue is “eminent” followed shortly after of a news release that Stand Up San Jose has dropped it’s lawsuit?

    The way MLB operates seems to indicate this is going to all fall in place very suddenly, with little notice.

    Lastly, who is going to volunteer for the ballot effort in San Jose? Are Wolff/Fisher or Reed going to hire a strong campaign staff to run this? They are going to need a lot of people on the ground, I imagine the Builders, IBEW, Carpenters and other unions will be ready to jump on that bandwagon with volunteers.

  3. RC says:

    Doesn’t the RiverCats stadium already hold 14K? How much of an upgrade would be necessary to make it MLB ready if you know the A’s already average under 20K per game in their own town?

  4. Brian says:

    If you think the attendance at the Coliseum this season will be bad, I can’t imagine the attendance when an Oakland team plays home games in San Francisco, having already flipped Oakland the proverbial bird. You’d be better off marketing to SJ, staying put, making good seats in the new place dependent upon buying season tickets the last Oakland season, and milking the nostalgic aspect.

  5. pjk says:

    If the team is going to market to San Jose, they could play the games at ATT Park until the San Jose ballpark is built. How did the San Jose Sharks do as playing in Daly City? Sold out all 11,000 seats sold out almost every night. It would be preferable to get an extension in Oakland, but if that is going to be difficult, then move the A’s to Frisco for two years – A’s get a state-of-the-art ballpark connected directly to San Jose via CalTrain, Giants get some extra cash to pay off their mortgage. Instead of booking an just occasional monster truck race or a concert , the Giant get another 81 dates filled. The Yankees shared Shea with the Mets for a season or two in the ’70s.

  6. Briggs says:

    @Brian: If the A’s were to play a season or two at AT&T Park (which they most likely won’t– but if), I’m guess their attendance would improve. Think what you will about the Giants organization, but AT&T Park is a stellar place to take in a game. Most fans are casual and don’t get too worked up over zipcodes. I’d probably buy season tickets (even with this crappy roster).

  7. Dan says:

    RC, Raley Field in West Sac only has 11,000 permanent seats currently plus about 3,000 in berm/SRO spots. It would have to be nearly doubled in size to work as a temp venue. That said I suppose it would be possible (not unlike what the San Jose Earthquakes have been doing the last few years at Santa Clara’s Buck Shaw Stadium). Temp grandstands could be erected in LF, RF and down the 1st baseline on the current berms that would probably suffice for a few seasons. Frankly I’d like to see the A’s do this as Raley Field, even in a temp capacity, is a nicer ballpark than the Coliseum.

  8. dan says:

    I don’t see how the A’s could play at AT&T since the Giants have the territorial rights to S.F. The owners aren’t going to vote to change that eh?

  9. Dan says:

    Yeah it won’t be happening in SF. MacGowan may not speak for the ownership in SF, but if the Giants aren’t willingly working with the A’s on SJ they’re not going to invite them in to disrupt their own baseball ops at Pac Bell either. And Candlestick is incapable of being converted back to baseball anymore to say nothing of the territorial issues.

  10. RC says:

    Thanks Dan. Yeah I don’t know if it is a great idea or not, I’ve never actually been there, but Raley Field looks cool driving by on the freeway. Somehow I doubt the Giants would ever let the A’s play to the heart of their fan base, so Raley Field may be their best bet for a couple of years. It doesn’t sound like an expensive modification. I guess the only real losers would be the RiverCats, who would now have to share their digs with the big club and possibly have fan interest decline.

  11. pjk says:

    Let’s throw this one out: Suspension of the team’s operations for 2 years until they can go to San Jose? Loan Jemile Weeks and the other critical players to other teams for two years? Sound insane? Of course, MLB could have approved the SJ move two years ago and there would be no need for a lease extension. Construction would be under way.

  12. jeff-athletic says:

    Being that I live in the greater Sacto area, I would love the A’s having temp digs at Raley Field.
    It would be tough though. I’ve gone to Raley several times. I could only see temp grand stands being put on the right field grass area, the left field lounge area, and the 1st base line BBQ/patio area. I could see that adding maybe 7-8 thousand seats. Total capacity would be just about 20 grand. But being that the A’s draw average 18 grand, it’s doable.
    In the end, the most realistic option is a lease extension at the Coli. Really, why would the city of Oakland and the Colisuem Authority not want to extend the lease? It’s an extra year or two of money coming it. And if they don’t extend the lease, they gain nothing, except the local politicians looking incredibly stupid (well, even more stupid than they already look).

  13. pjk says:

    Didn’t Jerry Brown believe the A’s were a “cost center,” as in, they cost the city money rather than bringing it in? The location of the Coliseum means Oakland restaurants, etc get nothing out of the games. The only folks that benefit outside of the actual facility are the guy with the hot dog stand in the BART stop and the gas station off the 880 exit.

  14. Simon94022 says:

    They’ll probably work something out at, though IDLF’s comments are a beautiful example of how brain dead the East Bay politicians are on this issue.
    Don’t rule out some kind of traveling circus act in 2014. MLB sent the Expos down to San Juan Puerto Rico for 15-25 games per year in 2003-2004, in a stadium that didn’t even meet minor league standards. The A’s could play 40 or 50 games in Oakland and the rest of their schedule in Sacto or Vegas.

  15. Briggs says:

    Wouldn’t it be fitting if the A’s continued to play at the Coliseum while the city deconstructs Mount Davis as Phase One for clearing the site for Coliseum Citay?

  16. RC says:

    Yeah like it or not, the A’s and the Coliseum Authority need each other. Awkward. But if the city of Oakland plays the jilted lover card, it’s good to look at plan B ahead of time. The two years before the move to San Jose could be pretty interesting. I believe that you would have more A’s fans coming from the South Bay to support their team, much like the Sharks fans did in Daily City, and to get the foot in the door on season tickets. If the A’s did have a brief affair with Sacramento, I think that they would draw pretty well because of the novelty of the situation. Imagine the Yankees blowing in to play a weekend series at Raley field!

  17. Dan says:

    That and Raley Field, even with a bunch of those skeletal temp bleachers, is still a superior park to Hiram Bithorn Stadium in Puerto Rico and Cashman Field in Vegas (which is so bad the Vegas 51′s minor league team down there is threatening to leave).

  18. Al says:

    AT&T is out of the question. Not only are the Giants, well, giant doucheb*gs, the players’ union and MLB are not going to want the scheduling nightmare it would entail. Doubling up is doable for weekly NFL games, not near-daily MLB games.

    The Union would also complain of having to play in a minor league stadium, so Raley Field would be out. There’s the old Olympic Stadium in Montreal, but that would make AL West travel a nightmare.

    As has been said, it’ll be the Coliseum. The politicos will make a stink, but in the end the city needs the revenue more than it needs to spite the A’s.

  19. Dan says:

    The union could raise a stink about Raley, but not sure how much of a stink since Raley, while not officially MLB caliber, isn’t that far off the pitiful surroundings the A’s and their visitors find themselves in now at the remains of the Coliseum.

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