Dominoes are falling

One by one, the various ownership crises facing baseball and Commissioner Bud Selig are being resolved. Yesterday, the Mets settled with a trustee in the ongoing Madoff suit for at most $162 million, probably less when the final bill comes due. Compared to the threat of a $1 billion judgement against the team, it’s a bargain. They’ll get even more of a reprieve by not having to make any payments for four years.

The Mets managed to pay off $65 million in short-term debt, thanks to a $240 million selloff of minority shares in the team (8 x $30 million). While Sandy Alderson will have to run the team on the lean side for at least this season, prospects for a rebound are decent.

On the other coast, MLB and Frank McCourt have narrowed down the lister of bidders for the Dodgers to four groups. MLB’s favorite appears to be the group headed by Magic Johnson and former Nats president Stan Kasten, largely because the bid is local. McCourt’s favorite may be the bid by New York hedge fund magnate Steven Cohen. The Cohen bid boost may have gotten a boost thanks to Patrick Soon-Shiong, an LA billionaire whose sudden presence as a minority partner gives Cohen some local bonafides. Unlike the Johnson-Kasten syndicate bid, Cohen was going solo (until Soon-Shiong) and is ready to post an incredible $900 million cash as part of his $1.4 billion (not highest) bid. Ironically, Soon-Shiong picked up Magic’s minority share of the Lakers last year. Magic vacated that share and his executive position within the organization to get his ducks lined up for the Dodgers bid.

The other two bids are by Rams owner Stan Kroenke and a joint bid by possibly outgoing Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley and LA financier Tony Ressler, who initially headed separate bids. By the terms of McCourt’s divorce settlement, he must pick a winning bidder and close the sale by April 30 so that he can make a massive $131 million payment to his ex-wife, Jamie McCourt.

All of this movement should put the A’s situation truly on the front burner, press release wars and gossip aside. That doesn’t mean that Selig will be able to come to a mutually beneficial agreement for the A’s and Giants – for some time my argument has been that this is the obstacle, not gathering votes or self-serving agendas. With the next owners meetings coming in mid-May, perhaps this is the chance to truly address the issue once and for all. Selig deserves as much blame for allowing the Mets and Dodgers to fester as he gets credit for saving them from the financial disaster, but from both quantitative and qualitative measure both teams are worth more (and deserve more attention) than the A’s and Giants’ squabble. Let’s hope, then, that he’ll be able to muster enough resources to resolve the A’s problems once and for all, instead of playing the perennial game of kick-the-can with the green and gold. Seven years is long enough.

120 thoughts on “Dominoes are falling

  1. Selig continuing to let this fester without end for years is pathetic. Either let the A’s into San Jose or tell the 29 owners to each pony up about $12 million apiece to buy the A’s and then be prepared to each shell out another million a year to cover the losses.

  2. His legacy is one of falling into successes. Hopefully someone will get off there butts and actually get these two parties at a table negotiating.

  3. The Giants have made it clear they won’t negotiate. Time to impose a settlement and for 2 or 3 holdout owners to dump the “If we let the A’s into San Jose, the Rays will move next door to my team” paranoia.

  4. re: StAy in Oakland. Please refer to about 35,752 previous posts that have already explained in full the issues with staying in Oakland.

  5. R.M.
    This blog is a God-send! Imagine if all we had to go by was what folks like Madden and M&R were crapping out. The truth of the matter is always refreshing to read. Thanks R.M….and Let those dominoes fall!!

  6. pjk, why would MLB buy the A’s when there are likely ownership groups lined up to get a chance to buy the team from Wolff?

  7. Ted: Please name at least one person in these prospective ownership groups. And I want ownership groups ready and willing to spend $1 billion to buy the team and build a stadium privately in Oakland. Anybody who does not meet these qualifications is just wasting our time, since MLB is not going to allow a new owner to commit to keeping the team in the 46-year-old Coliseum for the long term. A new ballpark is a must and it must be privately funded….While you’re at it, name the banks that are going to risk $500 million in financing for a ballpark in Oakland, in this tight money age.

  8. Ted: You believe MLB would be bad for San Jose, right? Can you name for us all the current MLB cities that believe they’d be better off without MLB? Not even do-nothing-for-the-A’s Oakland feels this way.

  9. pjk, there were reportedly two interested groups as of last week and if the A’s were for sale I am sure that others would be lined up to bid. MLB teams are in demand.
    $350 million for the A’s, $400 million for a stadium brings the total to $750k. There are multiple ways of financing a yard like that including naming rights, bonds and bank loans. I am not sure that Wolff and Fischer would even have to go to a bank to build a yard or that a new owner would either. Anyone who would own the team would have plenty of collateral.

    In regards to your question…Ask me about Miami in a few years. I think MLB would be good for restaurants and bars downtown, I am not sure that it will be good for people working downtown or commuting to Fremont for work.

  10. Reported ownership groups, huh? I asked for some names and you haven’t provided any. You also haven’t named which banks would risk their existence financing a ballpark in Oakland, either. $750 mill is not going to cut it for the team and ballpark. At least $150 mill more. As far as naming rights, San Jose has a naming rights deal already in place. Oakland? Zip. You just keep pitching those Giants talking points, though…In Miami, public financing for the new ballpark was shoved down the taxpayers’ throats, resulting in the recall of the city’s mayor. That’s what’ll happen if Oakland tries a similar stunt. So, no private financing + no public financing = no new ballpark in Oakland.

  11. Pjk vs Ted…I love it!

  12. You don;t think anyone would buy the A’s if they were for sale? I disagree. I think if they were put up for sale today multiple owners would be lined up to bid by the end of the week. I couldn’t tell you who would buy the Yankees or Red Sox if they were sold but I am sure there would be a market for them.
    Why would a stadium in Oakland cost so much to build? AT&T was built for a little over $300M, Busch was built for $350M, Great American Ballpark was arounf $350 million as well. The Miami Park is going to end up costing about $550 because of the roof.
    You don;t think naming rights could be sold for a stadium in Oakland? What is the current ballpark named?
    What bank is going to loan Wolff that $500+ million you claim it will cost to build a ballpark in San Jose? What owners would buy the A’s if they were in San Jose? Names please.

  13. Sigh. Please provide names of who is going to buy the team in Oakland instead of changing the subject.. Not anonymous rumors from unnamed sources providing no names of potential buyers. A new ballpark is going to cost about $400 million, plus interest. Think it’s going to cost less than that? Remember the so-called $936 million 49ers stadium now slated to come in at over $1 billion? And how much do you think naming rights will sell for in Oakland? Last I checked, naming rights on San Jose’s arena, which hosts nothing more than the TV wasteland NHL, fetched far more than Oakland’s stadium, which hosts both MLB and the ratings superstar NFL Cisco Field (yes, a corporate naming is already in place in San Jose) is already set with a $120 million naming rights deal. And Wolff doesn’t need to sell if he gets the OK for San Jose, where it will be easy to sell the place out. See: Silicon Valley Leadership Group, featuring tech giants, backs San Jose ballpark. Oakland has nothing close to compare. We already know how the A’s and Raiders have struggled to sell out luxury suites and sponsorships, critical for privately financing a ballpark.
    Facts: Yes.
    Giants Talking Points: No.

  14. I still don’t understand why the A’s should have to do more than the Expos did when they moved, especially since the Giants and A’s have shared the Bay since ’68…

  15. @ Ted – you take media fodder as gospel. For all we know, the “interested” groups were ones that dropped out of the Dodgers bidding so of course would answer yes even if you asked them if they would buy the Gnats. The other seems to be the SJ Gnats owner himself, so i would dismiss that report altogether.
    You keep on mentioning that it would negatively affect traffic downtown. . I’m sure it will to a certain extent, but again the EIR has already been studied for traffic impact, not to mention again that Diridon is slated to be a central transit hub. I mean do SF residents have to deal with traffic with the Gnats as well when they play? Anyhow the slight traffic uptick is well worth it for a $500 million dollar private investment into the city, not to mention a world class entertainment venue and additional revenue to the downtown area and the city general fund.

  16. Traffic fears: Standard fear about any and all development. Put a 7-11 at the corner and it’ll affect traffic. San Jose’s arena was supposed to be a traffic nightmare. Looks like some people guessed awfully wrong.

  17. pjk, no one will know the names of interested buyers until the A’s are for sale. No MLB team has had a hard time selling for a huge profit.
    I think a stadium could be built for a little less than $400 million and I think the A’s could sell for $350 million.
    I think we all understand the appeal of Silicon Valley for the A’s. What Oakland has to offer the A’s that Silicon Valley does not is territorial rights.

    Joe, the Orioles have never had territorial rights to DC.

    Anon, the EIR report is a joke and San Francisco and San Jose are not at all similar. Most people in SF work in SF and take public transportation and most Giants fans take mass transit to the ballpark. Most people that live in San Jose take their cars to work and a large portion of them drive out of San Jose to get to work and mass transit from the East Bay to San Jose is terrible.
    I admitted that restaurants and bars would do better on game nights than they are doing on average nights now but I am not sure how much revenue the A’s would bring to the city and if it would be a net plus after the loss on the sale of the land, the tax breaks, the infrastructure upgrades and the added police that would be required for game days. Would it be worth it to me? No, it would make bars downtown unbearable around game time, clog up my roads and take money out of my favorite team’s war chest. Don’t bother calling me selfish, I realize that my POV is selfish.

  18. pjk, are you expecting 650,000 attendance for the year like the Sharks get? I

  19. Ted, your first point is correct. There is no doubt the A’s would have interested parties to buy it. You are wrong on the rest. So let’s just take your numbers. Let’s say the A’s will cost 375 million to buy and the new park will be another 375 million. A person or group is will purchase the A’s and a new Oakland stadium for 3/4 of a billion dollars. The stadium loan is a 20 year loan on the stadium *just a guess). Loan repayment probably is 23 million a year. The owner/ownership group has just spent 375 million to purchase the team, I’m guessing they are expecting to make enough money at least cover the cost of the money used to purchase the A’s. I’ll guess15 million a year is needed for servicing. 38 million a year is needed off the top to cover debt. So the stars align and everything falls perfectly and naming rights brings in 7 million a year and another net 3 million from events. So we are looking at 28 million a year needed for debt repayment.
    Now we have a very savvy business person or group, along with a bottom line oriented lending institution, and they are going to look at: attendance figure for the A’s going back for X amount of years, corporate spending and corporate $$ availability in the surrounding Oakland area, how well can the product sell (will they win consistently and keep public interest high), how much local competition will there be to get the sports public to spend their $$$, potential TV/radio revenue, is the immediate surrounding area a help to draw to the new stadium, how long will the stadium take to become operational, how cooperative will the local government be….among other things.
    How many of the above items appear to you to be a positive for a new owner(s)? If you can be brutally honest about it, you’d know the only way the A’s stay in Oakland is if the government comes in and finances a BIG chunk of the stadium. Essentially one of those stadium deals you hear about elsewhere, where the city/county government builds the stadium just to get the team there. Anything is possible but I think the chances of Oakland financing a stadium plan like that is extremely low. And what that means, logically speaking, the A’s are leaving Oakland. It will be to San Jose, maybe another city in the Bay Area (Fremont comes alive again?), or out of the Bay Area. A new owner will see this well before he signs on the dotted line to purchase the A’s/
    Sorry, just is what it is. If the Oakland only crowd would have put that energy into holding the Pols feet to to the fire, the A’s may have been in a new stadium for several years now (though likely maintaining a better standing in the poor team group – IMHO). They didn’t and, as one MLB owner put it (paraphrasing), ‘it’s time to move on (regarding Oakland)’.

  20. @Ted,
    Not that you care or anything, but the Expos to DC saga proved that, whether rights are geographic or broadcast territorial, things can change in MLB if it proves to be in its best interest. Territorial rights aren’t etched in stone after all. But go ahead and keep viewing this thing in complete black and white if you please.

  21. @Tony D.,

    Maybe I’m hopelessly optimistic, but when push comes to shove, I just don’t see Selig letting the Haas handshake prevent him from resolving the Santa Clara County rights issue. He and Lew are old Wisconsin buddies, after all, so even if Bud asked him to write a blank check to the Giants as compensation, it’ll come through. The lack of attention is undoubtedly the product of the Dodgers and Mets, whose problems are arguably more dangerous to MLB’s well-being.

    • @Tony D.,

      Maybe I’m hopelessly optimistic, but when push comes to shove, I just don’t see Selig letting the Haas handshake prevent him from resolving the Santa Clara County rights issue. He and Lew are old Wisconsin buddies, after all, so even if Bud asked him to write a blank check to the Giants as compensation, Wolff will come through. The lack of attention is undoubtedly the product of the Dodgers and Mets, whose problems are arguably more dangerous to MLB’s well-being.

  22. ML, from what I have read some feel that the report fails to address parking and traffic issues especially on days where there are events at HP Pavilion and I think the EIR assumed that a lot of road work will be done that has not been started or even funded as of yet.
    TW, you make some good points, I think Oakland could work but what is more important is that San Jose will not because of the TR issues.
    Tony, as far as I know Orioles broadcast rights were not protected in the MLB Constitution. Heck, the Braves, Cubs and White Sox have all had their games broadcast in Baltimore and every other market in the past 20 years. Territorial rights are etched in the MLB Constitution.

  23. JoeD, I think there is concern that allowing the A’s to take the Giants TR could result in the weakening of one of MLB’s stronger franchises.

  24. Can we please stop attacking anyone who dares to think that Oakland has a chance at keeping the team? Fact is that while San Jose is better on paper it is also far from a slam dunk. It’s also currently the Giants territory as most of baseball sees it and they’ve not letting go willingly. And to top it off the asshat who runs baseball, Selig, is the kind of guy who cannot make a decision without drawing it out as long as possible and getting unanimous agreement (something that may not be possible for the A’s to San Jose considering how agonizing the comparatively simple transactions in DC, Houston, and San Diego have been). And no MLB team has been hard to sell in recent years. There’s always someone willing to buy, and considering the amounts groups were/are considering dropping on the Dodgers, the A’s would be the MLB equivalent of picking up a team at Marshalls even having to finance a new ballpark in Oakland or elsewhere. And while the names of those two “parties” aren’t really known yet, the fact is they’ve been reported as existing. Whether they’re serious or not we don’t know until the A’s would go on the market. In addition to those good ole Bob may also be on the market again soon seeing as the group he’s part of in San Diego may never get control of that team. So to say no one out there would want the team is being naive or blinded by SJ bias.

  25. I can’t wait until the debating in the comments section of this blog deals with the differences in stadium design. We’re almost there…

  26. @Ted “there were reportedly two interested groups as of last week and if the A’s were for sale I am sure that others would be lined up to bid. MLB teams are in demand”
    .
    In general, MLB teams are in demand. However, the A’s are only available for sale if MLB says no to San Jose. This means build in Alameda County or move the team.
    .
    It’s very easy to be gung ho about buying a team in the abstract, but a prospective buyer is going to get to see the books before making a commitment. Given that something like 50% of an MLB teams’ stadium revenue comes from premium/charter seat sales, and given that 90% of the target market for this product is located between San Jose and San Francisco, it will be very apparent very quickly that a privately financed ballpark doesnt pencil out in Oakland. (Even if there was a decent site and a solvent, competent local government to push it through, which there also is not).
    .
    Basically, it’ll be like Obama campaigning against the Bush anti-terror policies. He talked a good game, but as soon as he got into office and got access to the same data Bush had, he continued almost all of them.
    .
    (As an aside, the above comment does not mean I support many of the Bush anti-terror policies; just using the example to illustrate the point).
    .
    In other words: talk is cheap.

  27. @Ted “No MLB team has had a hard time selling for a huge profit.”
    .
    No other MLB team has been anywhere near as hamstrung as the A’s currently are, either. Virtually all the others already had brand new, state-of-the-art ballparks. None of the others was subject to an artificial restraint preventing it from exploiting its own market.
    .
    “Most people in SF work in SF and take public transportation and most Giants fans take mass transit to the ballpark.”
    .
    I’d like to see some support for this statement. 101 and 280 south from San Francisco are just as congested and 101 and 280 north. Fact is, the South Bay/Peninsula is the primary job center for the Bay Area. Certainly there are a lot more people commuting from SF down the Peninsula than there are commuting from San Jose to Fremont.
    .
    “I admitted that restaurants and bars would do better on game nights than they are doing on average nights now but I am not sure how much revenue the A’s would bring to the city and if it would be a net plus after the loss on the sale of the land, the tax breaks, the infrastructure upgrades and the added police that would be required for game days.”
    .
    The tax boost provided by the $500 million construction project alone would more than cover the $7 million or so in supposed subsidy for the land, nevermind the other economic impacts. The infrastructure upgrades need to happen anyway. And the ballpark would not only fill up existing bars and restaurants, it would transform the entire downtown a la China Basin, LoDo or downtown SD. These are straw man arguments.
    .
    “Would it be worth it to me? No, it would make bars downtown unbearable around game time, clog up my roads and take money out of my favorite team’s war chest. Don’t bother calling me selfish, I realize that my POV is selfish.”
    .
    You should be careful what you wish for. I’ve long held that if San Jose doesn’t happen, by far the most likely place a ballpark will be built is Fremont. I know the A’s are saying Fremont is dead, but I don’t buy it. Of all the obstacles the A’s face, paying off a few big box stores at Pac Commons seems the path of least resistance. And if that happens, it will fuck up your commute even more than a downtown SJ park, with far less tax and other benefits to the City of San Jose.
    .
    “Territorial rights are etched in the MLB Constitution.”
    .
    Please. There are constitutions, and then there are constitutions. I think you keep saying things like this because you think it calls to mind something like the U.S. Constitution, which is sacrosanct and very difficult to amend. On the flip side, the California Constitution is absurdly easy to amend. The MLB Constitution even more so than that; it actually differs very little from a standard business Partnership Agreement, which will typically require some kind of supermajority vote for major decisions affecting the business.

  28. @Ted “from what I have read some feel that the report fails to address parking and traffic issues”
    .
    You could make that exact same statement about virtually every, single EIR ever conducted in the history of CEQA. Someone always has an agenda to say this. Fact is, the Diridon site is one of the best served by transit in the entire state, and will only become more so over time.

  29. Dan, It’s absolutely rare to see anyone around here say San Jose is a done deal. It isn’t even said if the TR thing gets worked out. Regarding Attacking an Oakland Only poster, with due respect have you not been reading this site for the past couple of years? Members of the Oakland Only crowd came on here and the stubborn illogic, the misinformation, the tin foil hat LW conspiracy, time and time again. Ted is actually a better example of the Oakland Only crowd but he still clings to the misinformation to make his argument. So I think you’ll find a lot of pro A’s to San jose people who come to this board, and they have had to battle some pretty adamant, disinformation spreading, logic refusing, tin hat wearing Oakland Only posters. You should expect the response will be quick for jumping/piling on an Oakland Only poster. Ted may not have been part of it but the Oakland Only crowd deserved having actual information PILED! on their misinformation. Keep in mind Pro SJ had to listen to the same misinformation from a Pro Giant and Pro oakland media. The board is one place to be all over that nonsense. ………….at least that is the way I see it.

  30. @ Ted – “Don’t bother calling me selfish, I realize that my POV is selfish.” – I guess there’s not more to debate then…..but any how research the following on your own before making more “selfish” uninformed comments: 1) Autumn way extension to address local traffic concerns 2) City revenue projections for the SJ ballpark 3) Subsidized infrastructure upgrades (police, transportation, tax breaks, land sale) for the Gnats at CB and whether it was worth it

    @ Dan – Not being facetious here, but do you think that Oakland still has a realistic chance?I agree with Bartleby that Fremont is the backup to SJ, especially after the VC debacle. As Wolf cited, MLB can tell him where he can’t go, but not were he should go….

  31. @Dan. best post ever so far.

  32. “the Oakland Only crowd came on here and the stubborn illogic, the misinformation, the tin foil hat LW conspiracy, time and time again.”
    I take it you’ve read a lot of the recent hard-stance SJ advocates comments on the past few threads? Belligerence and conspiracy theories are not specific to just one “side.”

  33. re: pjk, no one will know the names of interested buyers until the A’s are for sale. No MLB team has had a hard time selling for a huge profit.
    …um, the Warriors were not for sale but it was well known that Larry Ellison wanted to buy them. The 49ers were not for sale but it was well known that Steve Young wanted to buy them. Who has come forward eager to buy the A’s and pay for a stadium in Oakland? Nobody has. And I’d also like you to name one MLB city that wishes it didn’t have MLB, since you’re so convinced ML B would be an absolute horror for San Jose….
    Just Say No To Giants Talking Points!!!

  34. @Dan There is a huge difference between saying “someone is always out there willing to buy an MLB team” and “someone is out there willing to buy the A’s and build a privately-financed ballpark in Oakland. Ted is purposely conflating these two concepts because he has an agenda, but you shouldn’t fall into the same trap.
    .
    Look, Ted’s stated objective is not to take any money out of the Giants’ “warchest.” So if he’s advocating for a new ballpark only a few miles away from AT&T Park over one 45 miles away, is there any doubt whatsover he believes an Oakland ballpark would be financial disaster for the A’s?
    .
    Ted sees this, the Giants see this and the A’s see this. A prospective purchaser for the A’s will see it, too.

  35. Autumn St.

    Look at the Diridon area plans before the Baseball park and High Speed Rail was put into the EIR. The areas closest to Diridon looked exactly the same except for more blocks of buildings would replace where the ballpark is planned to be. Autumn parkway was planned to be modified exactly the same way as with the A’s stadium. Look at Google maps around the Coleman Ave. and the Target store. There is a street named New Autumn St that was built when the Coleman Ave. stores were built. It would connect with the new Autumn St. once the changes have been completed. The changes to Autumn St have been planned for a long time, Cisco Field only speeds up the process to make the changes.

    As for the affect on downtown San Jose, traffic through downtown San Jose during the evening rush hour is really not that busy. I do notice more traffic on Market St. when the Sharks have a home game but the amount of traffic in downtown San Jose during evening rush hour is not congested. We have seen the impact of HP Pavilion on downtown San Jose. During the NHL hockey strike, restaurants in San Pedro Square were greatly impacted. If HP Pavilion were to shut down, a number of bars and restaurants would probably shut down around San Pedro Square.

  36. Anon, Oakland doesn’t have a very good shot I’ll grant you that. If SJ is denied I think it’s equally if not more likely they’ll leave completely. That said, look at what has transpired in recent months. The Astros were sold for nearly 700 million at a discount and the Dodgers are going to be sold in the next few weeks for over 1 billion dollars. Now look at the valuation and likely purchase price of the A’s due to their “situation.” The A’s would be the bargain bin of MLB at 300-400 million for the team for any of those groups that lined up for the Dodgers who are still interested in buying a team. Now they’ll need a new park you say. Also true. But even the top end estimates put a new park in Oakland (or Cisco Field for that matter in SJ) at no more than 500 million. So even if a new ownership came in and had to drop maximum private scratch on a brand new ballpark and maximum price on the team they’d still be paying hundreds of millions less than they would have for the Dodgers and the now 50 year old Dodger Stadium (note the Dodger Stadium parking lots are not currently included in the sale due to McCourt permanently fucking the Dodgers, but that’s another story for another day). So while we all know the white knight scenario is really the only way Oakland keeps the team, and mind you it has to be a white knight who is willing to keep them in the Bay Area, it’s not as far fetched an idea as it might have seemed say a year ago with the prices involved in the latest pair of team sales and the amount of interest that was generated by both those sales and Bob Pacini(sp?) possibly being on the market again as well due to problems in San Diego.

    The other big issue is of course though, how will they make the money back? Oakland has less corporate base, less immediate population, etc… all the arguments you, and everyone on here know so well. First of all, Oakland does have some corporate base of its own. Second, a shiny new ballpark is going to attract attention anywhere it is located in the Bay Area, particularly in a downtown setting (hint hint Oakland, drop the moronic Coliseum City idea). So it would be foolish to assume that just because a park is in Oakland its not going to draw in corporate interest from around the entire region including SF and SJ just as they do to some extent today (either that or I’m dreaming that the Warriors play in Oracle Arena and that the A’s played 10 years in McAfee Coliseum and I sat in the CDW box at the Coliseum). Finally there’s the attendance issue with regular joes like you and I, yes attendance has been overall pretty bad in Oakland. The only years it was good was when Wally Haas was spending like there was no tomorrow. However therein lies the rub, Wally spent like there was no tomorrow but did so in what was then a 20 year old donut clone stadium without any of the modern bells and whistles to make ancillary revenue like a team would have today. In other words he was less able to make a return on that player spending like a team with luxury suites, luxury boxes, kiddie play lands, etc… is able to today. And Wally also didn’t have nearly the ability to advertise the team like an owner today would. You put Wally in charge today in a nice modern ballpark, and we’d not only be winning, he’d be making money doing it.

  37. Wally lost money running the A’s – and they were the best team in baseball. And as far as I know, he never made any effort at all to get the A’s a new ballpark. Not really needed at the time and it was before ATT Park and the ruination of the Coliseum, of course. Think Wally would have shelled out $500 mill of his own money for a new ballpark in Oakland? Seems unlikely but obviously we’ll never know.

  38. You missed the point.

  39. @Dan
    Two big issues with what you said.
    .
    1) Haas was paying substantially LESS for the players than he would now and was STILL losing money hand over fist. He couldn’t make a profit with LESS competition for dollars, with FEWER expenses. Using him as an example is just foolish at best.
    .
    2) The biggest difference between the Astros & Dodgers situations and the A’s, is that there is less competition for those high end dollars with a larger, unobstructed pool of people for them to go after to get those dollars. The Astros are making their money off the new stadium and a lack of overall major league competition in the area. The Dodgers are making it off huge LA money and they don’t even have to compete with football. The A’s have the Giants right next door, a basketball team, two football teams and a hockey team. The revenue streams just aren’t there in comparison to those two teams.

  40. @Dan Financing a ballpark in Oakland is a problem. But regardless of whether there’s some deep pocket owner willing to pay cash, regardless of whether banks could lend the money, they’re not going to do it unless the ROI is there. Basically, they need a new park to generate enough additional revenue to get their money back.
    .
    Oakland having “some corporate base of its own” just isn’t good enough. They need to sell something like 70 suites and 10,000 club/charter seats for 81 home games a year on five year contracts. Everyone thought this was a big risk when the Giants did it, despite the fact that SF has much more corporate base than Oakland, far better access to Silicon Valley than Oakland, and no meaningful competition for the baseball premium seat market. Oakland has none of these; it’s just not happening.
    .
    “Drawing in corporate interest” from around the region also isn’t good enough. There will be plenty of interest in taking in a game or two per season to check out the new yard. There will be little interest in committing to drag clients through 90 minutes to two hours of hideous traffic 81 games per year for five years, especially with the Giants half the travel distance away.

  41. dmoas, I thought the Bay Area is this huge vibrant economy that we’re always being told about by Tony? He’s right by the way, the Bay Area has a GDP just shy of $500 billion dolllars. And yes we’re home to 2 football teams, 2 baseball teams, 1 basketball, 1 hockey. But you forget LA is home to 2 baseball, 2 basketball, and 2 hockey. Seems to me LA has just as much competition for those dollars you were talking about since the competition may not play in big football stadiums but they do play far more games in LA than they do here (seeing as football only play 8 games a year). And LA are drawing from a pool of large companies that’s not really any bigger than the one the Bay Area has. I mean the Bay Area has 29 Fortune 500 companies, the LA area only had 19. While the Bay Area is the smaller market population wise, the money is here to support all our teams.

    And yes Haas was paying less for players then, but his revenue streams were also far lower than they would be today. And if you look at it historically, while players salaries have ballooned since 1990, they’ve not kept pace with the extreme ballooning of the revenue streams the owners suck in or the franchise valuation inflation. While the players have been making bank in recent years, it’s the owners who have been raking in MASSIVE amounts of cash. The economics of baseball have swung heavily in the owners favor since Wally’s day.

  42. bart, not sure why you’d think a city 45 miles from Silicon Valley (SF) has any better or worse access to it than a city 40 miles away (Oakland). Both have shitty access from the South Bay. But it hasn’t stopped corporations from signing up with the Giants, Niners, Raiders, or Warriors. Hell it hasn’t even stopped corporations from signing up with the A’s in years past.

  43. @Dan
    Here’s the thing, putting them all in one centralized location is the problem. LA may be home to all that (but still considerably less than the bay area), but for the most part (and a especially for baseball), there’s major separation between the two sets of franchises that allows them to maximize the market. The A’s may be “centralized” to the bay area as a whole, but they’re literally right next door to the competition. I’m not nearly has high as everyone else about the bay area’s sports market. It’s big, sure. It can kind of sort of handle all these franchises, enough that I wouldn’t advocate any of them leaving, but if you stick five franchises right next to each other, don’t expect all of them to be successful. Moving south so that you can create two separate spheres of interest will attract a much broader client/fan/revenue base and make an over-saturated market more balanced.

  44. @Dan “bart, not sure why you’d think a city 45 miles from Silicon Valley (SF) has any better or worse access to it than a city 40 miles away (Oakland).”
    .
    That’s an easy one: There are two freeways from Silicon Valley to SF, one of which (280) is one of the most lightly trafficked freeways in the Bay Area. From Page Mill Road in Palo Alto (which has one of the highest concentrations of potential premium seat customers), you can drive to a Giants game on a weeknight and be sitting in your seat in less than an hour. Or, you can take Caltrain and be dropped right on the steps of the ballpark in less than an hour.
    .
    Conversely, there is only one freeway from the South Bay to Oakland, and it has crappy congestion. Also, depending on where you’re coming from, you may need to cross a bridge, which is a separate nightmare. Coming from Page Mill Road, you have to fight your way up Oregon Expressway, which has lots of lights and narrows to one lane at one point. Then you have to struggle with the shit-fest on the 101. Then you get to fight surface streets and lights again to get to the Dumbarton Bridge. I’ve done this many times, and it can easily take 45 minutes just to get to the WEST side of the bridge.
    .
    And, there’s no convenient transit option from the South Bay/Peninsula to Oakland. You can drive to Union City or Fremont and take BART, but both are quite a ways off the freeway and by then you’ve already endured the worst of the traffic, so you’re not saving any time.
    .
    Bottom line, from Page Mill you need to allow 90 minutes to two hours to have any hope of being in your seat at the Coliseum for first pitch. And it’s an excruciating 90 minutes to two hours. (If you built a park in downtown Oakland, you’d need to add 15 -20 minutes to this.
    .
    “Both have shitty access from the South Bay.”
    .
    As noted above, access to AT&T Park from the South Bay is actually pretty good. It’s still 40 miles away, but you have a brisk freeway option and also a transit option.
    .
    “But it hasn’t stopped corporations from signing up with the Giants, Niners, Raiders, or Warriors.”
    .
    You say this based on what? Let’s take each in turn:
    .
    Giants: As noted above, less than one hour door-to-door plus a convenient transit option.
    .
    Niners: The team has virtually no premium seating, so this is not a valid data point.
    .
    Raiders: The Raiders have struggled mightily to sell club seats their entire time in Oakland, despite no meaningful competition for this market from the Niners and only eight home games to sell. Every supposedly “sold out” home game last season, you could see acres of empty seats in the East Side Club.
    .
    “Hell it hasn’t even stopped corporations from signing up with the A’s in years past.”
    .
    Again, you say this based on what? The A’s have never had club seats. They also struggle mightily to sell suites, which can be had for $900 on a single game basis at the Coli (compared to $3K and up on a multi-year basis at AT&T Park), and are sometimes given away free with partial season ticket plans.
    .
    Don’t confuse advertising sponsorship with premium seat sales. Anyone from any location can agree to put their name on a sign. Signing one of these premium seat deals requires a commitment to get bodies up to the ballpark on an extremely frequent basis, which requires proximity.

  45. dmoas, I agree in theory, but it may not be possible due to the Giants and Bud. And if it’s not possible Wolff will be selling so you have to look to the next best possibility, and that’s unfortunately the White Knight idea for Oakland. Particularly now that Fremont is now even more of a non starter with their new anti-ballpark leadership.

  46. @ Dan – thank you for your sincere, informed response. I would only add that in addition to the huge upfront costs of a franchise (and I don’t think they will be discounted), the associated mortgage of a new stadium, the ballooning player salaries (especially if they wanted to break the cycle of losing / trading away players), the barely existent corporate base, and the typical below average attendance, the A’s also have to deal with the media and novelty that is PhoneBoothPark just 10 miles away. I’m sure as philanthropic as Wally was in his hay days, he could deal with 2 or 3 of those items, but definitely not all of them. With those challenges in mind, the universal constant would apply of going towards the path of least resistance which would be Fremont. Again, MLB can’t just force LW/JF to stay in Oakland or sell the team. They can only govern where he can and can’t move to.

  47. So your whole argument is based on driving from Page Mill Rd?

  48. Anon, unfortunately with Bob Wasserman’s death Fremont is no longer an option. The new mayor was the biggest opponent of the ballpark when Wolff tried building in Fremont the last time. Not to mention the NIMBYs haven’t gone away, nor have the big box stores which blocked it last time.

  49. @Dan “So your whole argument is based on driving from Page Mill Rd?”
    .
    No. I used that as a useful data point for two reasons: (a) It has a large concentration of big corporations, law firms, and financial firms, and therefore is a critical part of the target customer base; and (b) I worked there for many years and have driven to both AT&T Park and the Coliseum from there many times, so I have a decent sample and know of what I speak.
    .
    Having said that, I’ve also done the drive to both locations many times from different points in San Jose, Los Gatos, Mountain View, Saratoga, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale over many years and feel my comments generally hold true for the rest of the region.

  50. I mean, you’re using the same freeways, dealing with the same traffic patterns, and have the same transit options from pretty much anywhere you’re coming from in the South Bay.

  51. Having done both drives myself we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that one. Particularly as the traffic has become worse on 280 over the last 10 years.

  52. Bay area traffic sucks big donkey balls, no matter how you cut it. Get over it.
    .
    Meaning, traffic is a completely sorry-ass excuse for not building a ballpark in downtown SJ.

  53. @ Dan I don’t think you can reasonably dispute that: (a) being served by two freeways is better than one; (b) AT&T Park has a direct transit link from the South Bay while the Coli does not; (c) depending on where you’re coming from on the Peninsula, you may have to cross a bridge to get to the Coli while you would never have to do so to get to AT&T; (d) bridge traffic sucks; (e) the Dumbarton Bridge is not directly served by a freeway and is an especially horrible choke point; (f) the fact that the East Bay has cheaper housing while the South Bay has jobs means the traffic in that direction is especially bad; and (g) whether traffic on 280 north has gotten worse over the last ten years or not (and we can agree to disagree on much this is true), it’s still a lot better than either 101 north or 880 north.

  54. @J-A We’re not debating whether traffic is a reason not to build a ballpark in downtown SJ. We’re debating whether it makes an Oakland ballbark non-viable.
    .
    Traffic in downtown SJ is far less of an issue because the target customers are much closer and have direct transit links.

  55. @bartleby
    My post was mostly aimed at Ted, who is just grasping at straws for excuses to not allow the A’s to build in SJ.

  56. We’re back to the same “Somebody will build a ballpark in Oakland!… No they won’t:” arguments that have been beaten to death for years in here. Bottom line is until someone can replace the “somebody”: in this equation with some actual people, then we still don’t have any evidence that a new ballpark could ever happen there. Anybody interested would have made their interest known ages ago. No one has. Just a couple of dead-on-arrival proposals so far to either “make the Coliseum work” or build a new joint A’s-Raiders stadium, which would have both ML B and the NFL cringing.

  57. Fremont ain’t gonna happen ;

    1) Warms Springs was next to Fremont’s wealthiest and most politically connected neighborhoods

    2) The Pacific Commons ” Wrigleyville West ” site included 25 acres for a revenue producing ” Ballpark Village ” which has subsequently been developed by Catellus into ” The Block” , where a big Target opened last week, and a 16 screen theater complex anchoring a trendy ” park in front of the business “-type open air boutique mall of fountains and trees and benches will open in the next 6-12 months.
    ( think Tracy or Manteca version of Santana Row !)

  58. Yes, Fremont is not happening. Even though the spot near the Warm Springs BART stop sounds tailor-made for a ballpark, we know the NIMBYs there will never let it happen. Fremont’s ship has sailed.

  59. @Joe D – “I didn’t realize Baltimore didn’t have rights to DC, thanks for pointing that out. One thing that still doesn’t make sense to me is why the TV blackout regions (http://bizofbaseball.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3157&Itemid=170) are not synonymous with territorial rights. This is how it should be, IMO.”

    They are totally different concepts in the MLB world. Territorial rights are a team’s core geographic region, usually only a handful of counties. The vast majority of the United States is not under any team’s Territorial Rights. There is no precedent for a franchise’s territorial rights being reduced or taken away, which is the real hangup preventing the Giants’ grip on SJ being released without their consent.
    .
    Exclusive broadcast rights are much broader, and almost every part of the U.S. and Canada is under one or several teams’ TV and radio control. These rights can be changed more or less on a whim by simple majority vote of the MLB Executive Committee.
    .
    One very bad precedent was MLB’s decision to award Peter Angelos compensation for being required to share the Washington broadcast market with the Nationals. It is a huge market, but the Orioles were the “home” team there only in the way the San Diego Chargers might be considered L.A.’s “home” NFL team. Some market penetration, but most Washingtonians and Virginians never cared much for the Baltimore Orioles.
    .
    Still, Angelos got his compensation package from the National — which he was clearly NOT entitled to either by law or under MLB rules. And that makes it very hard politically for MLB now to take away part of the Giants official territory, which is a more protected right under MLB rules, without significant compensation. Especially with the Giants taking the position that the territory is literally priceless and non-negotiable.

  60. “The Pacific Commons ” Wrigleyville West ” site included 25 acres for a revenue producing ” Ballpark Village ” which has subsequently been developed by Catellus into ” The Block” , where a big Target opened last week, and a 16 screen theater complex anchoring a trendy ” park in front of the business “-type open air boutique mall of fountains and trees and benches will open in the next 6-12 months.”
    .
    So what? So, the entertainment component of the project has already been built. To the extent the point of that development was synergy with the ballpark, that’s a plus. To the extent it was revenue to fund the ballpark, just because that was the funding mechanism that was originally contemplated doesn’t mean it is the only possibility.
    .
    Fremont offers nearly the same access to Silicon Valley corporations as downtown SJ. For this reason, the financing mechanisms to be used in SJ could also be used in Fremont.
    .
    As far as the current Mayor’s opposition: As ML has pointed out, his term is almost up.
    .
    The bottom line is, you can’t write off Fremont because it’s the only location in the A’s current territory that is economically viable for a new ballpark.

  61. Bart, you can write Fremont off however because of NIMBYs, not just the mayor. NIMBYs in Warm Springs, even more powerful big box NIMBYs at Pacific Commons. Neither group wants the ballpark there, and they have the means and clout (and in the big box stores case the contract) to make sure that sticks. IF it were to be in Fremont it won’t be at either of the sites explored so far in Fremont.

  62. @Simon,
    There is however precedent for two-team markets to be a shared territory (instead of being insanely gerrymandered) and for a territory to be expanded to allow a ballpark to be built in said county (see SF Giants territorial expansion of 1992). Moral to the story: things can change within MLB if it’s in the best interest of ALL of baseball.

  63. @Dan The Niners were willing to purchase an entire theme park (not exactly their core business) to get rid of a complaining neighbor. I just don’t see paying off the big box stores (or even buying them out) as an insurmountable obstacle. How much different would this be than paying off the Giants?
    .
    Also, time has passed since the last negotiations with the big box stores. Circumstances have changed. Management may have changed. I’ve been involved in enough business negotiations to know, just because a deal died four years ago doesn’t mean it may not land on my desk again today.
    .
    The Warm Springs neighbors are concerned about their quality of life, so they may not be appeasable. The big box stores at Pac Commons are businesses; everything comes down to the bottom line. For the right price, they can be had.

  64. Bartleby, arguing how crappy 880 is on a weekday afternoon seems to illustrate part of the problem with moving a team from Oakland down the evil Nimitz to San Jose. Also, your point about SV businesses that choose to spend money on the Giants rather than the A’s seems to prop up the Giants point about how important SV TR are for them. You seem to want to hurt the Giants in order to help the A’s. About traffic problems associated with a Fremont stadium, I would be commuting from San Jose to Fremont in the morning and leaving Fremont an hour or two prior to game time and driving away from the stadium. About the MLBC, a super majority vote of support is not going to be easy for Wolff.
    ML, I will try to get to the actual EIR to see how these concerns will be addressed.
    Anon, where can I find the “city revenue projections for the SJ ballpark”?
    Jeff-Athletic, the biggest reason not to let the A’s build in San Jose is the TR issue. The traffic is just one reason why the stadium would suck for me and other San Jose residents not interested in the A’s.

  65. Oh, the poor poor Giants. Charging Cadillac prices and selling out, crying “territorial rights” and then sticking a Giants team store right smack in A’s territory. Boo hoo. San Jose is a major city – the 10th largest in the country. Traffic kind of comes with the territory when a city has those credentials. But once again, traffic is the boilerplate complaint about any and all development. The arena was supposed to have awful traffic but instead it’s been a breeze…

  66. Traffic on 880 north is significantly worse than 880 south in the afternoon. Not to say it’s empty and clear sailing on 880 south but it’s notably better than the slog north.

  67. Pjk, Don’t know why people are getting on the Giants for putting a team store in “A’s territory.” I know Wolff was complaining about that in his letter last week and frankly it annoyed the hell out of me. Fact is if he really wanted an A’s store in SF he could do so right now. For some reason he’s choosing not to pump up his brand in that way. Frankly if I were him I’d do exactly that, open an A’s store in SF across the street from ATT Park as a big “fuck you” to the Giants. Nothing is stopping Wolff in that regard except Wolff. As much as I loathe them, the Giants were well within their rights to open that store as the “territory” only refers to stadiums, nothing more, nothing less.

  68. It’s completely hypocritical to preach the precious sanctity of “territorial rights” and then open a team store in another team’s territory. More of the Giants’ rubbing the A’s noses in Haas’s bad decision to give away rights to Santa Clara County.

  69. Not at all. Stores are not part of the “territorial rights” that the Giants are preaching. As I said, the A’s could choose to open a Dugout Store on 3rd Street if they wanted to (or ANY dugout store for that matter) but the last two ownership groups have been too disinterested to do so. Don’t blame the Giants for the A’s failure in that regard. What would be hypocritical would be the Giants trying to move the Single A Giants to Hayward or something like that since that DOES violate territorial rights. But stores do not.

  70. the only thing territorial rights really impact is where teams can place stadiums

  71. The whole territorial rights nonsense is built on a house of cards that nobody wants to challenge. It’s based on MLB ‘s anti-trust exemption, granted on the premise that MLB is not really a business, which is total nonsense. Of course it’s a business.

  72. pjk, why is it hypocritical? Territorial rights have nothing to do with retail operations. If they did the Giants would have been blocked from opening a store in CC or Alameda county. This isn’t even an apples and oranges comparison, it is more like apples and stones. The A’s benefit from that retail store as well. It’s too bad Wolff isn’t willing to market the A’s and MLB like the Giants do. Other franchise businesses are restricted from placing stores wherever they choose just like MLB teams.

  73. What’s annoying about the store issue, is the Giants have as many team stores in the East Bay as the A’s do (counting the Coliseum store.) Am I wrong about that? Wolff/Fischer simply aren’t pushing the brand like the Giants do.

  74. Giants: “You can’t move into our precious territory, but we’ll set up a retail store in yours.” Hypocritical? Yes…Should MLB have an anti-trust exemption? No. Absolutely not.

  75. It’s tough for the A’s to push their “brand” when they are stuck in the league’s worst stadium, with landlords who deliberately wrecked the place. Game time experience is a huge factor these days in drawing in folks who are not, well, enamored with the nuances of the game itself. The A’s have nothing to offer these people except a few hours in an empty football stadium with no ambiance. So the A’s try to do the right thing and get a new stadium and are stopped at every step – by the City of Oakland (which ruined the current stadium and fought off attempts by the A’s to get a new one), by the governor (and former Oakland mayor) who took redevelopment funds away, by NIMBYs in Fremont, by MLB and by the Giants. But Lew Wolff is the bad guy in all this? Sorry, not buying it.

  76. “The A’s have nothing to offer these people except a few hours in an empty football stadium with no ambiance. ” See, while I wholeheartedly agree a new stadium is a must, I simply cannot agree with that viewpoint at all. A tough situation doesn’t mean you shut down shop. I think having as many team stores in your territory (and yours is basically in the stadium) as your local rival is a poor reflection of ownership. That’s not to say they don’t do some marketing that isn’t clever or positive, but it’s hard to ignore that they are getting trounced by the Giants at almost every turn PR/marketing wise. It’s frustrating.

  77. The Giants would not have a problem with the A’s opening a store in San Francisco so they are not being hypocritical.

  78. The A’s need a new stadium and can’t get one in their current territory without the owners risking bankruptcy. Selig’s solution? Do absolutely nothing, of course.

  79. re: The Giants would not have a problem with the A’s opening a store in San Francisco so they are not being hypocritical.

    …Absolutely, they are. Preaching the sanctity of each team having its own territory and then invading the A’s territory with their own team store? Does that add up? No.

  80. There really isn’t anything hypocritical about the store itself. The only thing opening that store does is show how tenuously stupid the T-rights are to begin with. It would be one thing if the T-rights held a specific “circle” of protection, i.e. not within X miles of another park. That makes perfect sense within a business environment. But a business construct that doesn’t allow one franchise to move it’s headquarters further *away* from another, is simply an unfair and illegal business practice. No other business would be able to get away with that kind of rule. Hence the real issue with the anti-trust. If the only thing keeping the A’s out of SJ is the T-rights, odds are the A’s will end up there, precedence or not. But that’s only if the A’s and SJ are willing to fight for it.
    .
    As for the pjk’s notion that it’s tough to push their brand, etc. etc. That’s a cop-out. The A’s for the last decade plus have been horrible at marketing themselves. Just horrible. I get the difficulties and they certainly exist, but lots of businesses have to cope with poor market positions and overall business failures. The ones that don’t get innovative and smart with their approach typically fold up and die out.

    If the A’s plan on staying in the bay area at all (anywhere), they should be doing a full court press to get their name out and become something more than the forgotten step child of the bay area sports. The only reason to not do that is a) pure incompetence b) an attempt to enhance the “woh is me” factor to their small market position and leave people thinking they can’t compete where they are when the truth isn’t quite that simple. Yes putting in the time and money to do so will likely put them in the red, but if they get the SJ move, it’ll pay off much bigger than sitting on their collective asses now. Their real worry is what would happen if it starts to work (albeit not quite as well as they’d “like”) in Oakland.

  81. If you buy the data that says that most baseball fans that go to games live within 20 miles of the ballpark, then clearly AT&T and anything in Oakland have major overlap issues, while San Jose would be almost like an entirely separate baseball market. And that’s not even taking into consideration some of San Jose’s obvious advantages.

  82. Not sure what more the A’s are supposed to do in marketing. They have TV commercials, billboards, slogans, etc. Not to mention probably the best uniforms in baseball. But they also have the worst stadium in the league. Remember the “They’re building a stadium, we’re building a team” campaign? Thud. But what else did they have? The A’s don’t have an attractive place to play and can’t get one because Selig is too terrified to act.

  83. A universally truth: A’s marketing leaves a lot to be desired. Not sure if it is a lack of effort, but it is needs to be rethought and has for a good while.

  84. pjk, the A’s could do a HELL of alot more marketing wise. They could buy a radio network, they could flood TV, print and radio with A’s ads far beyond their currently piddling efforts, they could payoff TV reporters and print writers to give them more coverage (either directly or through perks), they could open a few dugout stores like almost every other team in baseball has but the A’s have of late refused to do (after they closed all the old ones that existed in the Haas days). They could clean their shithole of a stadium up. Sure it would be putting lipstick on a pig but it would also improve their prospects of selling their product and earn them some good will with the public and the media. The current ownership group’s biggest problem is a perception that they just don’t give a shit until they get their SJ approval (which may or may not come). And so far they’ve done little to discourage that opinion both locally and nationally which is why they’re always rated some of the worst owners in all of major sports. They put little effort into the team beyond what Billy does on field.

  85. @Ted “Bartleby, arguing how crappy 880 is on a weekday afternoon seems to illustrate part of the problem with moving a team from Oakland down the evil Nimitz to San Jose.”
    .
    Quite the contrary: It’s 880 North that’s miserable, not 880 South. Reversing the A’s related traffic from the more congested direction to the less congested direction makes all the sense in the world, and will benefit far more people than it inconveniences.
    .
    “Also, your point about SV businesses that choose to spend money on the Giants rather than the A’s seems to prop up the Giants point about how important SV TR are for them. You seem to want to hurt the Giants in order to help the A’s.”
    .
    It is questionable whether an A’s move to SJ will hurt the Giants at all, and if it does, I believe the effect will be minimal. It’s not a zero sum game. The South Bay is a largely untapped market because of the relative inconvenience of both SF and Oakland, and an A’s move will greatly increase MLB revenue overall. A lot of companies that currently buy no premium seating because it’s inconvenient will buy from the A’s. That’s business the Giants weren’t going to get anyway.
    .
    Further, there will be benefits to the Giants that will partially or entirely offset any negative impact of an A’s move. From an overall attendance standpoint, it will be a net plus because the number of people in the East Bay and North Bay is far greater than the South Bay. The Giants will suddenly be the most convenient MLB option for more people than they will lose from the South Bay.
    .
    Also, the Giants will pretty much have the East Bay/North Bay corporate market to themselves. It’s not big enough to support a second ballpark in Oakland by itself, but given its proximity to AT&T Park the Giants can capture a much bigger percentage of it than they currently get from the South Bay corporate market. (Meaning, they can get enough to offset any losses they sustain in the South Bay).
    .
    Finally, as a philosophical matter, I just don’t believe the Giants should be artificially protected from competition, whether it hurts them or not. They should sink or swim on their own merit. They will still have a fantastic location and a gem of a ballpark. If they invest in the team and field an entertaining product, they’ll be fine. If they don’t, they deserve what they get.
    .
    “About traffic problems associated with a Fremont stadium, I would be commuting from San Jose to Fremont in the morning and leaving Fremont an hour or two prior to game time and driving away from the stadium.”
    .
    You say that without knowing exactly where in Fremont the ballpark would be. As you can see from today’s comments, there’s some debate on that subject.
    .
    “About the MLBC, a super majority vote of support is not going to be easy for Wolff.”
    .
    If he gets Selig’s endorsement, I think it will be all but automatic. Of the teams who would supposedly be concerned (e.g. big, two team markets), the White Sox have already come out vocally in support. Anyway, the fact that TRs are “etched in the MLB constitution” as you say doesn’t connote the sacredness and permanence you are implying. It’s basically a Partnership Agreement. Virtually all Partnership Agreement’s include a supermajority requirement for significant decisions. You’d see the same thing in the foundation documents for a rock band, among other business enterprises. It doesn’t mean significant decisions don’t get made.

  86. There used to be an A’s dugout store in Milpitas about 10 years ago. I’m guessing it closed because it did not earn enough revenues.

  87. I apologize if this link has been given in the past. It’s a legal argument in defense of MLB’s ATE. Page 21 part B is where the author argues MLB’s relocation restrictions do not warrant the revocation of its ATE. Conveniently San Jose is not mentioned. But it’s an interesting read. – http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1905748

  88. pjk, Territorial rights don’t cover retail operations and the A’s are more than welcome to open a store wherever they choose.
    I believe the A’s get the same cut from Giants revenue that the Giants do.
    As far as marketing, the A’s could advertise more, try to sell more merchandize and they could keep their players rather than trading them. Before you cite how mahstrung Wolff is and how he can’t afford to sign players take a look at the profits taken from various teams.
    Operating income from 2007-2010 (according to Forbes):
    OAK: $86.8 million
    SFG: $95.7 million
    NYY: $ .4 million

  89. BTW, the mobile free health clinic at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland opens for registration 3:30 a.m. tomorrow AM , and starts seeing patients daily at 5:30 . They expect massive crowds the next 4 days .

  90. @Burton,
    Nice find. However, revocation of the ATE to address the Bay Area situation is not necessary one bit. Again, the situation that exists in the Bay Area re the A’s and Giants is unique amongst all of baseball: a two-team market that is not shared but unnecessarily gerrymandered. By making Santa Clara County, or the entire Bay Area, shared just like NY, LA and Chi, the region would be brought back in line with a precedent already in existence. The A’s would be allowed to relocate 35 miles south within the same consolidated metro area, and the Giants would maintain value in keeping Santa Clara County. I’d argue that the Giants value could even increase if Alameda, Contra Costa Counties were officially included into their defined territory (2-3 million residents!). Like I’ve said before, no harm to the ATE and a win, win all around (unless, of course, you’re Ted).

  91. Bartleby, as I have said before, I drove 880 south from Decoto to Hamilton at about 5:00 PM daily for virtually all of 2009 and it was usually a 45 minute drive and sometimes took an hour or more. Also, the A’s fanbase is in the East Bay moreso than San Jose.
    You keep arguing about how businesses that usually go to Giants games now do so because it is easier than going to A’s games and that a San Jose stadium would make it easier for them to go to A’s games instead of Giants games. You seem to be arguing out of both sides of your mouth about South Bay business. The way you make it sound the Giants are crazy for not jumping at a chance to increase their revenue and franchise value greatly by surrendering SV to the A’s. Are the Giants owners just bad business people?

  92. Tony,
    lol@unless, of course, you’re Ted

  93. re: hey could keep their players rather than trading them. Before you cite how mahstrung Wolff is and how he can’t afford to sign players take a look at the profits taken from various teams.
    Operating income from 2007-2010 (according to Forbes):

    …Before you go citing Forbes, you should know they don’t have access to any team’s books. It’s all guesswork on their part. I wouldn’t rely on their numbers. And yes, it is tough for the A’s to keep players when they don’t sell enough tickets to pay players what other teams can. And no, the Haas strategy of running the team as a money-losing charity is not coming back.

  94. I would bet the A’s make enough money to pay the players they traded away this past offseason and then some.
    You think the Forbes numbers are off?

  95. Do you go to A’s games and see the entire sections of empty seats? Dozens of empty luxury suites? “Keep the A’s in Oakland” banners flying alongside thousands of empty seats? Didn’t think so. Forbes traditionally has guessed its numbers based on what it thinks the figures are, rather than having any access to actual books. So no, their team income numbers at least are not reliable.

  96. Sure Ted,

    But as you know, its all about being able to retain those players after they’ve become established stars, something that A’s fans are all to familiar with…but you already knew that.

  97. @Ted “Bartleby, as I have said before, I drove 880 south from Decoto to Hamilton at about 5:00 PM daily for virtually all of 2009 and it was usually a 45 minute drive and sometimes took an hour or more.”
    .
    And I commuted to the East Bay for three months last year. The route you’re describing gets a little slow between downtown and 101, but mostly isn’t too bad in the countercommute direction. You could also avoid the slowdown by taking 280 to 680 then cutting over at Mission.
    .
    Anyway, I never said there was zero traffic going in that direction, just that it’s far worse going in the other direction.
    .
    “Also, the A’s fanbase is in the East Bay moreso than San Jose.”
    .
    As of today, because they play in the East Bay. If and when they play in San Jose, the bulk of their fans will come from the South Bay.
    .
    “You keep arguing about how businesses that usually go to Giants games now do so because it is easier than going to A’s games and that a San Jose stadium would make it easier for them to go to A’s games instead of Giants games.”
    .
    You are misreading what I said. I said South Bay businesses who buy baseball tickets will choose SF over Oakland, if those are the choices, because it’s much quicker and easier to get there. But I also pointed out the vast majority choose not to buy baseball tickets at all because neither location is particularly close.
    .
    If the A’s move to San Jose, they will bring in a large number of companies currently doing business with neither team. The Giants may lose some existing customers, but they may well be able to replace them with new customers from the East and North Bay. Regardless, the overall MLB pie will be bigger.
    .
    I actually think it’s fairly likely that the A’s will persistently sell out that product, and cease to be much of a factor for the Giants corporate sales.
    .
    “You seem to be arguing out of both sides of your mouth about South Bay business.”
    .
    Not at all. It should be obvious that either team’s penetration of any given market will bear some inverse relationship to distance. Currently, we’ve been told the Giants do business with about 15% of Silicon Valley corporations.
    .
    Making up some numbers just to illustrate the point: Let’s say the South Bay corporate market is three times as big as the East Bay corporate market. Let’s also say South Bay corporations are, on average, an hour from AT&T Park, and East Bay corporations are, on average, thirty minutes from AT&T Park.
    .
    If you plotted a graph of the relationship between distance and market penetration, it would probably bend sharply the closer you got. Lets say for argument’s sake that cutting the difference in half multiplies market penetration by three. Thus:
    .
    South Bay: 300 x 15% = 45
    East Bay: 100 x 45% = 45
    .
    My numbers are make up, but my basic point is the overall effect could easily be minimal.
    .
    “The way you make it sound the Giants are crazy for not jumping at a chance to increase their revenue and franchise value greatly by surrendering SV to the A’s.”
    .
    Once again, I never said that. I said I thought the overall impact on the Giants’ business is likely to be minor. I did not say there was no risk, or that there would be no negative impact.
    .
    Let’s assume you are an extremely selfish and greedy organization. By standing on your territorial rights, one of the following outcomes occurs:
    .
    1. The A’s are allowed to move to SJ, but pay you a big settlement.
    2. The A’s are not allowed to move to SJ, and are forced to move out of the area.
    3. The A’s are not allowed to move to SJ, and continue to rot at the Coliseum indefinitely, living off subsidies
    4. The A’s are allowed to move to SJ, and pay you nothing.
    5. The A’s build a new ballpark in Fremont.
    .
    As you can see, the first three possibilities have major upside for the Giants, while the latter two leave them no worse off than if they just allowed the move. While letting the A’s move to SJ has little downside for the Giants, it also has little upside and does entail some risk.
    .
    The Giants may be evil, but they’re not irrational.

    “Are the Giants owners just bad business people?”
    .
    Well, we can’t rule this possibility out entirely. After all, this is the organization that signed that Zito contract.

  98. Because of MLB subsidies, the A’s do generate some profit they could spend on players. However, it’s been pretty convincingly demonstrated by Haas and subsequent owners that making that investment does not have any return. You spend more money, you just pinch your margins. You do not generate enough additional revenue to get back the spend.
    .
    So what is the rationale for doing it? I’d much rather have them save that money for a new ballpark. Until their venue situation is resolved, I’m quite willing to give them a pass on that. The money is going to have to come from somewhere.
    .
    The Giants, on the other hand, have little excuse.

  99. @ Ted Of course the numbers are off. These are private companies; Forbes does not have access to their books. These figures are guesses with questionable value, but like the U.S. News college rankings, they sell. So they get published.

  100. Bartleby, the crawl south from Fremont to San Jose starts north of 237 and continues to 280 and the other direction really isn’t really relative IMO we aren’t talking about changing anything that affects that direction.
    15% seems like a pretty large percentage of corporations.
    The A’s and the Giants are extremely selfish and greedy organizations, that is the way the business works. Why did you leave out the option of the A’s staying put in their city and building a new yard there?
    Touche on the Zito deal, that was a huge mistake that thankfully did not cost the Giants a chance to win the WS.
    What excuse do the Giants need? They made less money over the last 5 years than the A’s and are in the top 1/3 of the league for payroll.

  101. @Ted “Bartleby, the crawl south from Fremont to San Jose starts north of 237 and continues to 280″
    .
    In my experience – which is recent, and quite substantial – that simply isn’t true. I did that commute for three months, and never hit traffic north of 237.
    .
    Anyway, as I’ve pointed out multiple times, you can largely avoid the slowdown by taking 280 to 680.
    .
    “and the other direction really isn’t really relative IMO we aren’t talking about changing anything that affects that direction.”
    .
    Of course we are. Right now, stadium traffic from the South Bay to Oakland goes north. If there’s a downtown SJ park, stadium traffic from the East Bay to SJ will go south. The volume of stadium traffic will be similar, especially over the long haul. Good traffic planning suggests you want the stadium traffic going in the countercommute direction if possible.
    .
    “15% seems like a pretty large percentage of corporations.”
    .
    If I recall correctly, that is a figure cited by either ML or Jeffrey.
    .
    “The A’s and the Giants are extremely selfish and greedy organizations, that is the way the business works.”
    .
    Not necessarily, and the two are not remotely comparable. When the Giants needed help getting a new venue, their partner, the A’s, gave it for nothing. When it came around the other way, the Giants basically said “bend over.”
    .
    “Why did you leave out the option of the A’s staying put in their city and building a new yard there?”
    .
    Because, as I’ve explained about 100,000 times before, a privately-financed ballpark for the A’s simply is not viable. There just isn’t enough corporate base nearby to support it with the Giants at China Basin; the A’s would never get their investment back. You know this too; otherwise, with your stated concern for protecting the Giants’ “war chest,” you would not be stating a preference for a new SOTA ballpark 12 miles from AT&T Park over one 45 miles from AT&T Park.
    .
    But if you want to include this as a fantasy option, it’s roughly equivalent to #3, where the A’s basically struggle on, crippled, in Oakland, with a giant mortgage they can’t pay and no longer having a subsidy.
    .
    “What excuse do the Giants need? They made less money over the last 5 years than the A’s and are in the top 1/3 of the league for payroll.”
    .
    Again, you don’t know that, the Forbes numbers are guesses. The excuse they need is that they are in position to invest in a few bats and make a real run at another title. They won’t, however, because they’re selling out anyway and they know they won’t get that much return. The A’s excuse is that they (hopefully) have a $500 million bill coming up soon to save up for.

  102. Bartleny, we are going to have to disagree on the traffic thing. I still drive up to Union City for work on occasion and the slowdown after 5 starts before 237.
    The A’s have relatively few fans in San Jose driving up to games in Oakland because they draw primarily from the East Bay and the A’s are already in Oakland whereas in San Jose they would be creating new traffic problems.
    15% seems like a substantial % of corporations doing business with MLB. How much should we expect that % to rise if the A’s move to San Jose?
    The A’s ownership group that owned the team multiple ownership changes ago is irrelevant but I will say that I have no reason to believe that Haas did anything to help the Giants. Haas wanted the Giants out of San Francisco to make the A’s stronger.
    I have seen no proof that there is not enough corporate support to make a stadium work in Oakland. I’d prefer that the A’s wouldn’t take SV dollars out of the Giants’ pockets.
    What makes you think that the Giants are in position to add a lot more payroll than they already have while the A’s are not?
    You know what the Giants did in preparation for Pac Bell Park? They increased payroll year after year at Candlestick building their brand, fanbase and team.

  103. @ Ted – “I will say that I have no reason to believe that Haas did anything to help the Giants. Haas wanted the Giants out of San Francisco to make the A’s stronger.” This is the most ignorant thing you have said yet. Please research what transpired when Lurie wanted to move to SC/SJ and who he went to for permission thereof. Now in terms of proving Oakland has lack of corporate support, please research who has gone on record for the EB to even come close the $130million in naming rights deal Cisco has with the A’s. Gnats ownership has already gone on record about stashing away some of the profits realized after their WS win. In fact, one of the reasons Neukum was ousted was supposedly his disagreements with other owners how to utilize that money (he wanted to spend it now).

  104. @Ted “The A’s have relatively few fans in San Jose driving up to games in Oakland because they draw primarily from the East Bay and the A’s are already in Oakland whereas in San Jose they would be creating new traffic problems.”
    .
    Why do you persist in insisting that just because a situation exists today, it will always exist in the future. MLB teams – indeed, all entertainment venues – draw primarily from their immediate surroundings. The further out you go, the smaller the percentage of customers.
    .
    The A’s draw primarily from the East Bay today because they play in the East Bay. When the A’s play in the South Bay, they will draw primarily from the South Bay. And if the number of South Bay fans heading north on weeknights today is small, so too will be the number of East Bay fans heading south in the future. They’ll do the same things South Bay fans do today, and for the same reasons: Go to fewer games, and go mostly on the weekends.
    .
    “15% seems like a substantial % of corporations doing business with MLB. How much should we expect that % to rise if the A’s move to San Jose?”
    .
    You’re asking me to speculate. OK, I’ll bite: I think the number can more than double.
    .
    “I have seen no proof that there is not enough corporate support to make a stadium work in Oakland. I’d prefer that the A’s wouldn’t take SV dollars out of the Giants’ pockets.”
    .
    This is completely disingenuous. Dollars are dollars, it doesn’t matter where they come from. If you didn’t know this statement to be true, you (and the Giants) would be trembling at the prospect of an Oakland ballpark, and helping the A’s pack the moving vans.
    .
    “What makes you think that the Giants are in position to add a lot more payroll than they already have while the A’s are not?”
    .
    The A’s need to save up for a ballpark. The Giants do not. They have no excuses.
    .
    “You know what the Giants did in preparation for Pac Bell Park? They increased payroll year after year at Candlestick building their brand, fanbase and team.”
    .
    They did this knowing they had a new ballpark coming, or at least knowing they had no artificial obstacles to building one. Until the A’s get the green light on San Jose, increasing payroll is likely to be money down a rat hole. If any when they do get the green light, I fully expect they’ll proceed as the Giants did, preparing a winner to open the new yard.

  105. Having lived in Fremont for five years, and doing a bunch of weekday Sharks games every year, I usually left the house between 5:30 and 6:00. The question was always “Will the traffic start at Montague or Brokaw?” Occasionally it started earlier, and sometimes I breezed on through past 101, but for the most part, it was usually somewhere between the two exits.

  106. Anon, why do you think Haas wanted the Giants to move to San Jose or Santa Clara?
    Bartleby, I have a hard time imagining 3 in 10 companies doing business with MLB. These are kinda ambiguous figures since I am not sure what qualifies as a South Bay corporation and what qualifies as business.
    The Giants payroll ranks in line with their revenue and franchise value like most other teams’ payroll. The A’s aren;t saving for a stadium they are taking profits from revenue sharing. The Giants increased payroll year after year in the late 90s rather than saving up for a stadium. Wolff is simply pocketing revenue sharing. Why would you expect Lew Wolff to ever spend money on payroll, what has he done to show you that he will?
    LR, getting on 880 from Decoto at 5:10 I would feel lucky if I made it to Montague at anything better than a stop and go pace. It was a rare occasion when that happened.

  107. @ Ted – please stop responding to question with more questions because you have anything to support your original assertions. Please support your conclusion that “Haas did anything to help the Giants” with some evidence. Regarding spending money, LW has gone on record saying that they’ve barely broken even last year, even after their revenue sharing check. Also, since you trust Forbes so much suddenly, notice how they mentioned that “Oakland averaged a wins-per-player-costs index of 134, meaning that Beane has delivered 34% more wins per dollar of payroll than the typical baseball team” while the Gnats were much lower than that mark for the past decade. Just the A’s spend wisely and not foolishly, doesn’t mean they don’t spend. A prime example would be in the ALCS run in 2006, they traded away Eithier to get bring on more salary and a vet in Bradley. They also did the same thing the a couple of years hoping that Holliday would bring them the same magic that Thomas did prior. I could go on about the FA pursuits they have, and even recent Cespedes signing, but you’re a krukow kool aid drinking Gnats fan, so i wouldn’t expect you to know….

  108. Anon, Haas wanted the Giants to move to San Jose so that they would be out of San Francisco. I never thought his motivation was considered by many to be anything other than getting the Giants out of SF.
    I trust Forbes more than I trust Lew Wolff. Lew Wolff has no reason to tell the public that he made a profit.
    Good for the A’s and Billy Beane, he has done some good things with limited resources.

  109. @ Ted – Have you ever read up on Wally Haas Jr. before today? Did you know that he owned the A’s as a philanthropic gesture to the Oakland community? Did you know that he lost millions during his tenure as owner as well? If he wanted the Gnats out of the area, he could of just as easily denied the South Bay altogether since Lurie was on his way to St. Petersburgh at the time anyway and SC was a last resort to stay in the Bay Area. Please get your facts straight and your head out of Neukom’s arse.

  110. Anon, The A’s books were not open to the public but we do know that Haas sold the A’s for a lot more than he bought them for. It really doesn’t matter anyway.
    The Giants didn’t move to Santa Clara and they didn’t move to St Pete so Santa Clara was clearly not the last resort. Lurie sold The Giants to ownership that kept the team in Candlestick and committed to San Francisco.

    You keep mentioning Krukow and now you bring up Neukom. I have never heard Krukow talk about the A’s other than when the two teams are playing and he is providing commentary on the game and Neukom isn’t the managing partner of the Giants.

  111. @ Ted – there you go again with your “we know” statements without a concrete facts backing it up. And it does matter, because it makes your original argument moot. And again, you’re either making up your own revisionist history or ignoring the entire facts surrounding how/why the TR’s are the way it is now. This is critical to the whole premise surrounding the validity of the TR’s themselves. Also, i find it interesting that as a Gnats fan, you dont’ realize that Krukow is the biggest Gnats homer bar none and that Neukum as the managing partner was the most defiant in terms of TR’s, especially compared to McGowan before him….But then again, we A’s fan seem to know a bit more about the Gnats then they do themselves it seems…

  112. Anon, what does Krukow have to do with TR and the A’s? Neukom, Magowan and now Baer all have been adamant about keeping TR so SCC because they are responsible first and foremost for looking out for the Giants franchise.

  113. @ Ted – I’ll connect the dots for you (again). Krukow is the biggest homer on the Gnats fanbase station. That station is a sounding board for the Gnats, since they’re part owners. Given the propaganda from the Halloween camp lately combined with their SFSJ front, it was to illustrate how you have been brainwashed to exactly mimic all the same arguments the Gnats make without any factual basis. Comprende?

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