News for 3/30/12

For the end of the week:

  • The NBA is stepping in to pay $3.25 million in predevelopment costs on the Sacramento ESC project after the Maloofs refused, saying that they shouldn’t have to pay since they’re tenants. It sure sounds like the Maloofs don’t see themselves as stakeholders in the arena, which is a bad sign. Everyone should be rowing in one direction. A group has organized to force the plan to a vote.
  • AEG’s downtown LA stadium plan seems to be stalled, as the company and the NFL can’t agree on terms for what AEG’s contribution and minority share should be. Now that the Dodgers ownership saga is ending, there are renewed calls for a stadium in Chavez Ravine, either to sit next to or replace Dodger Stadium.
  • The Giants unveiled several improvements to AT&T Park. The big changes are the new sponsor for the mezzanine club level, Virgin America, and the transformation of one of the field boxes down the first base line into the “Corona Beach Bar”, complete with sand. The narrow bridge on the promenade level next to the Fan Lot will finally be expanded. In addition, concession carts on the promenade level will be moved to the back walls, which will open up views of the field from the concourse.
  • Peter Guber, Warriors co-owner, may end up partnering with the Giants on an arena in SF, while the Giants compete with Guber’s Dodgers.
  • Rangers Ballpark will be serving a $26 hot dog this year. No, it is not made of unicorn meat.
  • Ray Ratto gives his thoughts on what the Dodgers sale might mean for the Giants and A’s.
  • The Atlantic compares two cities, Denver and Phoenix, and how building ballparks has impacted their respective downtowns. (thanks hecanfoos)
  • Defying convention, the Census Bureau lists the three most densely populated areas in the U.S. as #1 Los Angeles, #2 San Francisco/Oakland, and #3 San Jose. There are flaws in the methodology, in that #5 New York City includes all of the suburbs in New Jersey and Connecticut, but SF/OAK doesn’t include the 680 corridor or any of the North Bay besides parts of Marin County. History and trends have largely defined the specific urbanized areas the Census uses in its surveys.
  • Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley will not sell the team to Larry Ellison because of Ellison’s continued interest in moving the team to San Jose. From the article:

Heisley is asking $350 million for the Grizzlies and says he makes it clear with potential buyers that the team’s arena lease with the city and county is rigid. There are several clauses and financial penalties that make it a daunting task to move the Grizzlies before 2021.

  • The NY Post’s Peter Vecsey reports that David Stern was in SF “inspecting building plans and the site” for an arena across from AT&T Park. He also notes that Larry Ellison was not daunted by the cost to break the FedEx Forum lease, though that’s not exactly easy to prove or disprove.

More as it comes. Probably no new posts until Monday at the earliest unless big news breaks.

150 Responses to News for 3/30/12

  1. Briggs says:

    @Bartleby: “I think that’s a little bit of an overstatement. Nevertheless, it doesn’t really rebut my point that when one thinks of Baltimore, one thinks of brick; when one thinks of San Francisco, one thinks of Painted Ladies and Victorian architecture.”

    .

    Bartleby, it does rebut your point. You initially said the brick is jarring for the neighborhood. I simply offered a counter with explaination. Simply stating that brick is more appropriate for Baltimore again is failure to advance the discussion. The victorian homes are signatures of SF, but we’re talking about ballparks. Unless you can elaborate further, this discussion can’t proceed.

    .

    “Architecture is an art form.”

    .

    To a degree, yes, but we’re getting away from the discussion here. You said brick was a “questionable architectural choice.” It’s an aesthetic choice made by HOK, not a structural or practical choice, that’s all. Architecture is the engineering of buildings while taking in aesthetic considerations. There are plenty of sites of the interet where you can further compare these definitions if you’d like, but it’s really outside the scope of comment thread.

  2. martin says:

    @bartleby – I know A’s fans are pissed at the giants, but it seems odd to slam AT&T for small concourses and brick when, the SJ stadium will have small concourses and brick. dont you think?

  3. Demo J says:

    Anyone notice the increased level of advertising by both teams to South Bay baseball fans?

    Go to the Mercury News website and it’s just pelted with Athletics online banner ads.

    How about those VTA buses and lightrails? Just a ton of Giants orange and black painted all over.

    I know we’re all frustrated at how long this process is taking. In the meantime though, it’s kinda nice both teams are giving Santa Clara County so much attention.

  4. pjk says:

    Stomper (A’s mascot) showed up at a San Jose Unified student walkathon a few months ago. No sign of the Giants’ mascot, which resembles a large sewer rat.

  5. Dan says:

    Not at all. Pointing out the Giants ballpark deficiencies does not in any way mean the A’s stadium won’t have the same problems. Nor does it mean the A’s park will be forgiven those issues either. Neither park AT&T and the designs we’ve seen for Cisco Field are the best of their post Camden Yards class of parks. Both do/will have deficiencies that lower them below several of their contemporaries. What is key though is that both are/will be a huge improvement over the parks they respectively replace.

  6. bartleby says:

    @Martin “I know A’s fans are pissed at the giants, but it seems odd to slam AT&T for small concourses and brick when, the SJ stadium will have small concourses and brick. dont you think?”
    .
    No. I think I’ve been pretty objective about the pros and cons of AT&T Park. Great location and views: Pro. Small concourses and unoriginal architecture: Con. I’ll be similarly objective if and when Cisco Field is ever built. If it has small concourses, I’ll admit that’s a flaw.
    .
    As far as the brick, to my knowledge Cisco Field is not planned to have brick, they’re intentionally trying to get away from the Camden Yards cliche and go with something more contemporary. If they do go with red brick, I will be deeply disappointed.

  7. Dan says:

    Don’t know what would make you say that bart. Cisco Field will have almost as much faux brick as AT&T Park does. And alot more of it visible from inside the ballpark thanks to the huge brick wall in right field.

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_HDMi-qgsh1Y/THLrzrsuaUI/AAAAAAAAAC0/Ados-qHDTiU/s1600/WestView_wContext.jpg

  8. Marine Layer says:

    @all – I don’t know where people are coming up with opinions one way or the other about the Cisco Field concourses.

  9. eb says:

    I really don’t like the renderings for Cisco field. Maybe it’s my biases coloring things, but it just seems incredibly uninspired. As of now, there is nothing about the park that is truly memorable or, well, beautiful. I hope the aesthetics of the park get a major face lift if SJ happens.

  10. pjk says:

    And I’m not seeing the point of bantering about the architecture and ambiance of an imaginary ballpark that the A’s don’t have any permission to build, and haven’t been able to get for several years.

  11. martin says:

    @bartleby – I agree, i hope SJ doesn’t go with brick (in the renderings it sure looks like red brick). At least all the buildings across King street from AT&T are red brick as well. SJ wont have that benefit.

    As for unoriginal architecture, we are going to have to disagree on that one. On of the great features at AT&T is the archways down the right field line allowing people to view the game for free. Where else can you stand 15ft from the right fielder for free? Another great feature is that the stadium is not “dug-down” which makes the stadium taller against its surroundings and provides better views from more seats.

  12. Dan says:

    ML, someone suggested that Cisco Field’s concourses would be as small as the ones at ATT Park. It’s not much to argue on I’ll grant you but the assertion was made however accurate or inaccurate it may be.

  13. martin says:

    @ML – One can assume that the concourses will be similar to AT&T due to SJ being of similar footprint (ie 12-14 acres).

  14. bartleby says:

    @ Briggs “Bartleby, it does rebut your point. You initially said the brick is jarring for the neighborhood. I simply offered a counter with explaination. Simply stating that brick is more appropriate for Baltimore again is failure to advance the discussion. The victorian homes are signatures of SF, but we’re talking about ballparks. Unless you can elaborate further, this discussion can’t proceed.”
    .
    I don’t think pointing out that some street level buildings in your neighborhood are brick really rebuts the basic point that brick is not a big part of San Francisco architecture. Good architecture blends or plays off its surroundings; in my opinion, the choice of brick for AT&T Park does not advance this objective. The fact that it has been done umpty-ump times before also does not advance the argument that this is great architecture.
    .
    “Architecture is an art form.”
    .
    “To a degree, yes, but we’re getting away from the discussion here. You said brick was a “questionable architectural choice.” It’s an aesthetic choice made by HOK, not a structural or practical choice, that’s all. Architecture is the engineering of buildings while taking in aesthetic considerations. There are plenty of sites of the interet where you can further compare these definitions if you’d like, but it’s really outside the scope of comment thread.”
    .
    Now who’s being intellectually dishonest. If your hair-splitting point is that aesthetics are only one part of architecture and not all of it, a poor aesthetic decision still represents a “questionable architectural choice.” Just as a decision that made the structure unsound would also represent a “questionable architectural choice.”
    .
    More to the point, when people talk about good architecture (especially in casual conversation as on this blog), they’re generally talking about how well a building achieves an aesthetic effect while serving its intended function. The elegance with which the building serves its function is inseparable from the overall aesthetic effect. I understand engineering is part of architecture, but no one is seriously worried that the bricks at AT&T Park are going to fall on our head. I seriously doubt that was Dan’s point when he brought this up.
    .
    The point is: Red brick for a ballpark is a cliche at this point, and does not have any special relationship or significance for San Francisco architecture as a whole that would make up for that. There were a lot of things the designers did right when they designed AT&T Park, but in my opinion this decision was not one of them. If you were to swap AT&T Park with a ballpark at a more generic location (say, Arlington, TX), I doubt the locals would consider themselves to have gotten a massive upgrade.

  15. bartleby says:

    @Dan I’m probably being dense, but it’s really not obvious to me from that picture that there will be a lot of brick. Maybe those structures off to the right, but I’m not seeing a massive brick wall in right field.
    .
    Anyway, regardless, if Cisco Field winds up all red brick and Kelley green seats, I’ll disagree with that architectural choice as well.

  16. Marine Layer says:

    @Dan/martin – Bad or no info is nothing to go on. Target Field has a very small footprint, yet its concourses are vast. My estimates of the Cisco Field are at least 40′ wide concourses, though there’s much left to learn about how they will be designed or filled.

    @all – I wouldn’t assume that the images are final. Wolff intimated to me that Fisher’s taste for modern and contemporary architecture would push the design in a much bolder direction.

  17. bartleby says:

    @martin “As for unoriginal architecture, we are going to have to disagree on that one. On of the great features at AT&T is the archways down the right field line allowing people to view the game for free. Where else can you stand 15ft from the right fielder for free? Another great feature is that the stadium is not “dug-down” which makes the stadium taller against its surroundings and provides better views from more seats.”
    .
    I agree with you about those features. However, individual design features have a smaller overall impact than basic choices in style or building materials.
    .
    Anyway, I never said it was a bad building, I said it was an average building. When you’ve got fifteen or whatever ballparks that are all going with the red brick-iron gates motif, it makes it a lot harder for any one of them to stand out from each other.

  18. bartleby says:

    @pjk The banter wasn’t really focused on the architectural merits of an imaginary ballpark, it was about the merits of the existing ballpark at China Basin.

  19. Tony D. says:

    Personally R.M., it’ll be nice when we can actually talk about the design of Cisco Field AND compare it with other MLB ballparks. Sure will beat discussing “insider” nonsense and what’s/what’s not on the MLB oven.

  20. Dan says:

    Bart, you can see a couple different design angles here

    http://baseballsanjose.blogspot.com/2010/08/we-proudly-introduce-cisco-field.html

    Brick is in the initial design on the RF wall, LF corner, on the home plate side outside facade, and the building in LF/CF behind the LF grandstand.

  21. simon94022 says:

    Do the choices really have to limited to red brick on the one hand and “modern and contemporary” on the other? This was Washington’s dilemma when Nationals Park was built — they did not want to copy the red brick of nearby Camden Yards in Baltimore. Instead they went with an ultra-modern glass/steel design that was supposedly reminiscent of one I.M. Pei’s National Gallery of Art building in DC.
    .
    Result: Nationals Park is a nice place, like all the modern ballparks. But modernist architecture almost by definition fails to stand the test of time. It will never be a city icon the way Camden Yards is to Baltimore. It’s just another boring Turner Field kind of place with modern amenities inside. A HUGE upgrade over decrepit RFK Stadium, but the choice of architectural style was bungled. Could have used classical motiffs that echoed DC’s great monuments and public buildings.
    .
    IMHO, San Jose’s ballpark should include elements of the Spanish colonial/Mission style that reflects the region’s history, distinguishes it from the SF ballpark, and avoids the glass/steel/modernist trap that wins architectural critic raves but also guarantees that the building will be widely perceived 20 years from now as ordinary at best, hideous eyesore at worst.

  22. Tony D. says:

    @Simon,
    I’d like to see Cisco Field pay homage to SJ/SCCO’s cannery history; in the mold of Monterey’s Cannery Row would be nice as well.

  23. Briggs says:

    @Bartleby: I really dig ballpark talk. I’ve elaborated my point with each response; moving from how it fits into the neighborhood, then what brick evokes and how it’s a common material in SF. You haven’t elaborated since initial opinion that brick isn’t an appropriate material for AT&T Park despite the length of your responses. I’d love to talk about ballpark/neighborhood aesthetics with you, but unless you provide alternative materials/design, you’re arguing about arguing.

  24. Dan says:

    simon, bingo. We should be taking a page out of what they did in a place like San Diego. A retro modern park that incorporated aspects of what THAT city is about with things that made Camden Yards great. The sandstone facade that mirrors the nearby cliffs on Pt. Loma and up toward Del Mar and La Jolla (far more appropriate to a California Park than brick), white steel that looks a lot like many of the surrounding buildings including the convention center and parts of the nearby military bases, and the blue seats that reflect the color of the neighboring bay, the team’s uniforms, and the navy’s dress uniforms. And it has a VERY open design taking advantage of the great weather in SD and views of that city.

    Cisco Field’s goal should be to do something similar and unique. Spanish colonial like the Mission in Santa Clara would be a great way to go. A stucco and red tile steel colored ballpark would be striking and VERY unique. Green seats (possibly some gold) would be a must with the A’s color scheme. And a nice signature feature would be something like a bell tower behind the plate or even better out in center field ala a mission. Add into that some glass and tech savvy highlights and Cisco Field could be a unique and wonderful addition to MLB rather than just some Camden clone like AT&T Park or modernist mistake like in DC.

  25. bartleby says:

    @Briggs I agree we seem to be talking past each other, but am not really sure how to advance the debate from here. Perhaps it’s exhausted itself. My points about red brick for ballparks remain that it is: (a) trite at this point; and (b) not tied into SF enough to make up for the fact that it’s trite at this point. None of the points that you’ve made really refutes these points.
    .
    As far as proposing an alternative, my main alternative would be “anything but red brick.” But I see Tony, Simon and Dan have all made some good suggestions.

  26. bartleby says:

    OK, here’s an example of innovative stadium design. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/05/sports/olympics/05nest.html?pagewanted=all

  27. jeff-athletic says:

    FWIW – my favorite of all the new ballparks is Petco Park. It’s a great design, in a great location, looks very comfortable with fabulous site lines, big concourses, and a great field.
    .
    AT&T’s best attributes are McCovey cove, and, in particular, the view of the bay bridge and Oakland, just to remind the gnats fans who the superior baseball team (at least historically) really is ;-)

  28. Marine Layer says:

    I suppose this is as good a time as any to say this – I’ll be in San Diego for three weeks starting at the end of the month for my brother’s wedding and a long housesit. I plan to go to Petco at least twice, plus trips to the Big A and Dodger Stadium if I can work out the details for those.

  29. Briggs says:

    For Cisco @ Diridon, a spanish mission-themed facade would be interesting. It’d be tricky though. Once you put neon lights on it, it might look like a giant Taco Bell.

  30. bartleby says:

    @Briggs I’ll still take a giant Taco Bell over more red brick :-)

  31. Dan says:

    ML, definitely take advantage of the new Hodad’s stands on the Toyota Terrace (2nd Deck) behind home plate. Their burgers are outstanding and on top of that they’re cheap ($4.75 for their “mini” burger which dwarfs a Quarter Pounder). The Padres invited Hodad’s in (they’re a local 2 shop chain) after the now CEO Tom Garfinkel asked fans via Twitter what local vendor they’d like added to the park this season. Hodad’s was the overwhelming response.

  32. Marine Layer says:

    @Dan – Hodad’s in the park? That’s it, Petco’s my new fave. Target Field doesn’t have anything like that.

  33. Dan says:

    Yeah Gaslampball did a behind the scenes preview of it last week. It looks amazing. They’ll have at least 2 locations in the park in the restaurant tower and on the 2nd deck. Add one of the microbrews from the slew of beer stands they have around PETCO and it’s a recipe for a wonderful afternoon.

  34. Annon says:

    I might be in the minority here, but I’m not really digging the retro thing, especially trying to copy other stadium elements. I think Cisco field should be more avant garde to flaunt the Valley’s rich tech industry and do something in the fashion of the new SJC Airport’s design language: modern and sleek (without the stange hands “mural” of course). Regardless, if they build it…I’m sure people will come! :)

  35. Dan says:

    Problem with “modern” is it quickly becomes obsolete (as everything in the tech industry does) as everything moves to “post modern” and then “neo modern”. Soon that will be obsolete. As for the SJ Airport. I wouldn’t take any design queues from that boondoggle. Talk about a waste of money and time. Best not to be associated with it in the slightest.

  36. Dan says:

    Mind I’m not saying it should be retro east coast style like Coors Field, Pac Bell, Camden Yards, Ballpark in Arlington, SAFECO Field, etc… that’s been played out to the extreme and doesn’t reflect the Bay Area at all. The Spanish colonial idea or the Cannery ideas are far better suggestions that would be timeless.

  37. bartleby says:

    “Problem with “modern” is it quickly becomes obsolete (as everything in the tech industry does) as everything moves to “post modern” and then “neo modern”. Soon that will be obsolete.”
    .
    This is a risk, but it’s not universally true. Some “modern” styles turn out to be tomorrow’s classics.
    .
    On the other hand, if you go with a style that’s already classic, you’re safe. It’s the same reason you’re safer buying the jersey of a Kenny Stabler or a Jim Plunkett than your team’s hot new #1 draft pick QB who has not achieved anything yet besides a Sugar Bowl win.
    .
    “As for the SJ Airport. I wouldn’t take any design queues from that boondoggle. Talk about a waste of money and time. Best not to be associated with it in the slightest.”
    .
    Whether or not it’s justified on a cost-benefit basis, I think it’s a beautiful building. My biggest crit is the giant garage blocking the view of it. Time will tell whether it ultimately is considered a classic or becomes obsolete.

  38. bartleby says:

    “Mind I’m not saying it should be retro east coast style like Coors Field, Pac Bell, Camden Yards, Ballpark in Arlington, SAFECO Field, etc… that’s been played out to the extreme and doesn’t reflect the Bay Area at all. The Spanish colonial idea or the Cannery ideas are far better suggestions that would be timeless.”
    .
    Agreed.

  39. GoA's says:

    Agree Bartleby- SJ Airport is beautiful- and for someone who flys 100k+ a year it’s also pretty good from a functional perspective- agree on the parking garage and my only other gripe- as much as I like the location for convenience I don’t like that it limits heights in the downtown core

  40. Tony D. says:

    SJC’s location sucks (see no skyscrapers in downtown SJ). Moffett Field would (or will) make a better location for a future SJ airport. Hangar One would also become the most iconic airport terminal in the entire US (maybe even world). Sorry for going way OT R.M.; I’ll stop.

  41. Dan says:

    Tony, you’re 20 years, a dismantled contaminated hangar and 2 billion dollars too late.

  42. Tony D. says:

    OT: Hate the Giants and their brass, but there’s a good article over at SFGate that talks about the Giants planned “Mission Rock” development and the positive effects it will have on the teams bottom-line and SF’s as well. Parking lot’s that are currently earning SF $2 million per year could generate over $900 million in property taxes if fully developed? For SF sounds like a no brainer. And to those who have doubt that Cisco Field won’t do the same for San Jose, read the SFGate article.
    By the way, thanks R.M. for ignoring the recent Bull Shit from Neil DeMause (Slate Mag article) and Ballpark Digest. The nonsense continues unabated…a decision would finally silence the idiocy. Hopefully soon.

  43. pjk says:

    A’s-to-San Jose is like a bill before the House of Representatives that gets bottled up in committee. Not formally approved, not formally disapproved, just not acted upon, which is tantamount to being disapproved. Selig and a few owners don’t have the courage to move on San Jose. We’ve had several years of inaction that makes this clear.

  44. GoA's says:

    It will be ironic if any settlement on TR is ultimately a key piece of building a downtown arena for the W’s in SF. Sine the gints are partners they will need to bring some cash to the table to get that arena deal done-

  45. Dan says:

    What bullshit is that from BPD and Neil?

  46. Marine Layer says:

    deMause is just spitballing about the A’s moving to NY and upsetting the Yankees’ hegemony. He’s advocated a third NY team for some time.

  47. Tony D. says:

    @Dan,
    As R.M. alluded two, bringing in a third-team to the NY market…THE A’S! Both DeMouse (spelling intentional) and BPD rant the same ole nonsense: the “sanctity” of the territorial rights and the “terrible precedence” allowing the A’s to SJ will cause. It’s always a “one size fits all” take on the current state of affairs that completely ignores the realities/uniqueness of the Bay Area market. NO..this isn’t some third team relocating 1,000+ miles to “invade” the territories of the Yankees/Mets; this is an A’s team that’s existed in the same market as the Giants since 1968 and that wants to move 35 miles FURTHER south of the Giants. Can’t personally wait to tell DeMouse that he was wrong all along.
    @GoA’s,
    Interesting point: with the Giants recently inking Cain to $100 million + and moving forward with the Mission Rock development (possible arena), I can see a correlation to a settlement with the A’s re SCC/SJ.

  48. pjk says:

    Whatever settlement the Giants could get would pale in comparison to the value of the franchise going up if the A’s are forced from the Bay Area. Looks like this stalemate continues for years to come. The Giants have made it clear they won’t settle and Selig is too terrified to dictate a settlement. All this is obvious…

  49. Tony D. says:

    @pjk,
    For crying out loud, will you @#$% stop already!

  50. GoA's says:

    @pjk- Selig wants new ballparks for both the A’s and Rays- denying SJ won’t solve this problem- patience….

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