The other kind of walkoff

The A’s made hay in July via a series of walkoff wins. It’s fitting that the team is capitalizing on a phenomenon coined by former Athletic Dennis Eckersley, almost karmic (I’d rather have won the ’88 WS). The A’s soccer brethren, the Earthquakes, have also gotten into the act, stringing together several winning and tying goals in the waning moments of numerous games this season. Let’s just say that the organization is no stranger to theatrics.

That comes in stark contrast to the neverending ballpark struggle, which has entered its 41st month according to our counter, but really has gone on for more than twice that long if you count back to when the Wolff/Fisher group took ownership. And if you believe Jayson Stark’s take coming out of the owners meetings this week, there’s no end in sight:

For about the 78th consecutive meeting of baseball’s problem-solving owners, there was no resolution this week of the A’s-Giants standoff. But if it wasn’t clear before now, it’s more obvious than ever that, in the words of one baseball official, that moving the A’s to San Jose is, most likely, “never going to happen.”

One sports attorney who has looked into this told Rumblings that the Giants have “a hell of a case” — centered around a document signed by the commissioner defining their territorial rights to include San Jose. And that’s critical, because any move by the A’s, or by the sport, to ignore or override those territorial rights could open a messy can of larvae for baseball.

How? Well, if the Giants’ territorial rights were suddenly deemed to no longer apply, it could set a precedent that might inspire some other team to attempt to move to New York or Southern California, by arguing the territorial rights of the Yankees, Mets, Dodgers and Angels were no longer valid, either.

So if the A’s aren’t bound for San Jose, what is likely to happen to them? Behind the scenes, baseball people are predicting they’ll eventually have to give up on this battle and settle for a new, Pittsburgh-size park in Oakland — and then do their best to beat up on the Giants in interleague play.

Stark didn’t articulate how this ballpark would be paid for. It’s a legitimate question. Oakland isn’t alone here. Field of Schemes’ Neil deMause pointed out in a recent Slate article that Seattle is facing the same dilemma.

Stanford economist Roger Noll pegs the operating profits of a typical arena at somewhere between $20 and $30 million a year. That could be enough—barely—to pay off $400 million or so in arena debt. But then Hansen and his as-yet-unnamed investors will still need to put down a huge amount of money to purchase an NBA franchise to play there. If every penny of revenue is going to pay off construction debts, that will leave nothing to offer his moneymen as return on their investment. “The gross revenues of an NBA team in Seattle could not possibly be sufficient,” says Noll, to cover the costs of both building an arena and buying a team.

Replace Seattle with Oakland and “NBA team” with “Athletics” and you have the first half of our local quandary. The crux of the argument to keep the A’s in Oakland is that some sugar daddy ownership group (Don Knauss & Co.) will swoop in, buy the A’s from Wolff/Fisher ($500 million) and pay for a new ballpark ($500-600 million). Using deMause’s corollary, which we’ve espoused here repeatedly, how does this new ownership make money, or even prevent themselves from being buried in debt? Even in San Jose a $500 million ballpark will require tons of upfront commitments to ensure that Wolff/Fisher aren’t leveraged to the hilt.

Moreover, this ongoing stalemate does no one any favors except the Giants, who must love the status quo – except for that pesky drug suspension thing. If the other big market teams are truly afraid of breaking precedent, then the naysayers are right, there is no way to San Jose. We’ve never heard anything directly from any owner to confirm this, so it’s just more grist for the mill. Funny thing is that there are protections in the Major League Constitution to keep the two-team markets safe. From Doug Pappas’ old article dissection the Major League Rules (emphasis mine):

Under Rule 1(c), either league can move into a territory belonging to a club in the other league, so long as (a) 3/4 of the affected league’s teams consent; (b) the two parks are at least five air miles apart unless the two clubs mutually agree otherwise; (c) the newcomer pays the existing club $100,000 plus half of any previous indemnification to invade the territory; and (d) the move leaves no more than two clubs in the territory. This provision dates to late 1960, when it was adopted to establish the terms for the expansion Los Angeles Angels to play in the territory claimed by the Dodgers in 1958.

That leaves Boston and Philadelphia as the only “vulnerable” markets, and any move to either city would face just as many political and logistical obstacles as the A’s face going to San Jose, if not more. Even with that technicality out of the way, the big market owners may be looking at T-rights as sacrosanct and untouchable, nevermind the actual language.

Bringing us back to Stark’s blurb, what can Wolff do? He seems content to play the nice guy role among the owners and not push the matter. If the Giants are lined up looking to sue, the A’s can do the same. San Jose is putting together its own legal resources should a decision come down not in their favor. But there is one maneuver, one trump card that Wolff can play that we’ve only skirted around, and it’s fairly simple.

Wolff could refuse to negotiate a Coliseum lease extension.

Fitting that this last bit of “inaction” could finally force action. It worked for the Minnesota Vikings. It most certainly won’t get the kind of results Zygi Wilf got (a publicly financed stadium), but it would at least force the powers that be to act. It would absolutely burn the last bridge Wolff had with Oakland and would be the worst PR move ever on top of many other missteps, but as we’ve seen in the Vikings’ case, it’s practically standard operating procedure for owners looking to get new stadia. Oakland pols have bragged that the A’s have nowhere to play besides the Coliseum. Do they really want to make that bluff?

Wolff’s refusal would create a nightmare for MLB. MLB could proceed one of two ways, either A) rule once and for all on the T-rights matter and let the franchise move forward, or B) try to assume control of the A’s by alleging that Wolff was not acting as a proper caretaker of the franchise in the market. The A’s can’t be contracted through the rest of the current CBA. Two teams would have to be contracted as a matter of practice and the Rays are locked into their lease, making contraction impossible in the near term. If MLB rules for the Giants, then at least Wolff would be able to decide if he wants to build in Fremont or give up completely and sell the team. And if MLB rules for the A’s, then Wolff will have gotten what he wanted, although he had to be a dick to Selig and the Lodge to make it happen, and Selig would have to deal with the Giants’ legal onslaught.

Selig could try to buy Wolff’s silence by subsidizing an East Bay stadium (also unprecedented) or having the other owners buy out the Wolff/Fisher group, which won’t be cheap. Wolff/Fisher are in a strong position in that they don’t have to sell, at any price if they don’t like.

Now, if MLB were to try to wrest control of the A’s from Wolff, the league would land in litigation hell. Wolff could easily point to Selig’s committee’s 41 months with no plan or decision, and it would drag out for a long time. Unlike the McCourt-Dodgers fiasco, the Wolff/Fisher group are more than solvent (underneath it all A’s ownership is the 4th richest in baseball). T-rights would finally be dragged out into the open, in court. Meanwhile, MLB would have to step in and negotiate lease terms with Oakland/Alameda County for some unknown period. They can’t go around Wolff to negotiate a lease while he’s still the franchise’s control person, since he still has to sign on the line which is dotted. MLB can’t get an injunction on Wolff not doing something. Can they force him to negotiate a lease? We’ll see. Beyond the Bay Area, there will be at least one mayor who’ll look at the ending lease and make a play for the A’s, even if the resources aren’t there. Effectively the A’s would turn into the Expos, a team in limbo for an indeterminate period.

All of that’s possible from Wolff making a simple declaration. He doesn’t have to make it now. He could wait until the end of the 2013 season if he likes. The chaos would put a great toll on the franchise and the fanbase, and you’d have to wonder if, in the end, it’s worth it. Walking away from the lease could be the first domino. At least someone would be playing. We’ve been talking about post-2013 for a while now. The closer we get to that point without a resolution, the more likely someone’s going to make a move out of desperation. Often large bureaucratic organizations don’t make moves until things reach crisis mode. If Selig wanted to end his tenure without drama, this definitely wouldn’t be a way to do it.

137 thoughts on “The other kind of walkoff

  1. re: But there is one maneuver, one trump card that Wolff can play that we’ve only skirted around, and it’s fairly simple.

    Wolff could refuse to negotiate a Coliseum lease extension.

    …I like your thinking here. He also could, say, negotiate an airtight 30-year lease to stay at the Coliseum, in all its football glory. Steep, steep penalties if MLB tries to contract the team…

  2. Great summary ML–I do believe that LW/JF realize they have the trump card of the lease which is why he has been a good sport so far. One question I have for you is around the “mythical” gints lawsuit that seems to be bantered about even though an owner cannot sue MLB–so how would the gints pull this off and why supposedly is bs so afraid?

    Second- I do disagree with you on you stating that LW has made many PR mistakes. Given that bs/mlb has forced him to be dragged through the mud on this I believe he has handled it incredibly well. I find it so ironic that the bay area media who is outraged about the A’s moving to SJ hasn’t uttered a negative word about the W’s going to SF or the Raiders to LA–both of which are highly likely.

  3. btw–Doyel’s article on the gints being “Steroid Central” is right on mark–with today’s policy no team should be allowed to benefit from a cheater making a significant contribution—immediate impact should be the ncaa equivalent of no bowl games–team is prohibited from playing in the post season–tell me that wouldn’t by and large eliminate the issue in baseball–

  4. It’s the nuclear option!
    Call me naive, but I still can’t understand why no one grasps the difference between an intramarket move and an intermarket move. To this layman, moving the A’s within the Bay Area should have no bearing on a team trying to move into NY, LA, Chicago, Boston or Philly.

    As always, great post.

  5. I just realized that what’s strange, for me, about this whole situation is that every outcome/scenario seems unlikely. But, then, something has to happen eventually, right?

  6. “Wolff could refuse to negotiate a Coliseum lease extension.”

    I got chills reading that. Let’s do it, Lew! Time to stir the pot a little.

  7. Interesting concept. As long as we are talking hypotheticals, here is alternative response by the MLB powers – They call Wolff’s bluff and schedule the 2012 season without the team. If there is nowhere for them to play, then they just don’t get to play. A nuclear response to the nuclear option.

    • @jgmj – How exactly does MLB schedule a 29-team league? Does every team take a series off every so often? Talk about nightmares. Then there’s the loss of around $200 million to the league annually for not having the 30th team play. Bad move.

      @Otter – When men fail to reason, extreme measures start to look reasonable.

  8. Then they’d have to come up with the money to pay Wolff for breach of contract as well as the money to pay the players salaries. Assuming the MLBPA doesn’t strike over the arbitrary loss of so many positions for their membership.

  9. The Giants are bluffing 100% and Selig is buying their flawed arguments.

    Regardless if the commissioner signed off on San Jose being in their territory years ago it is still a flimsy case as the whole Anti-Trust piece comes back into play….To forbid a competing business by geography goes against all American Business Values.

    The beautiful part about America is anyone can setup shop anywhere regardless of the competition’s location.

    The Giants cannot take two wrongs and expect it to be right. T-rights in itself are wrong and against the law. Baseball is not a game but a business and that has to come into this if they were to sue.

    It would get real messy and in the end baseball would come in line with the NFL, NBA, and NHL who have all tried in vain for an AE but cannot get one because their franchises are deemed separate businesses and not teams playing a game.

    Wolff I cannot believe has not gotten San Jose to sue in Anti-Trust court. They would have such a great case it would force Selig to do something….Or even force a vote amongst the owners.

    It is more clear now than ever he will not issue a vote unless the Giants broker a deal with the A’s. The other owners as ML pointed out have never stated once openly they support the Giants.

    While Reinsdorf in Chicago, Steinberg in Tampa Bay, and even Loria in Miami have all stated support for Wolff trying to get to San Jose.

    It is so sad the Giants control this whole situation. It shows the cowardice that is Bud Selig who won’t help his old friend whom he put into this mess years ago.

  10. How does Stark go from San Jose being blocked to Oakland having a specific stadium design? The Giants defending their territorial rights has no bearing on the viability of Oakland, so the team is no closer to a new home anywhere.

    More speculation posing as news. We’ve done this for years now.

  11. Hypothetical B – Schedule the season as they normally would and let the ownership deal with how they will hold games within their territory but not at the Coliseum. There are many ways this thing can play out that don’t involve MLB handing down a decision on the move to SJ.

  12. “When men fail to reason, extreme measures start to look reasonable.”

  13. @jgmj – And if no arrangements can be made?

  14. This should read 2 more years of debating..

  15. @ ML – Exactly. You have a team and an ownership that is unable to play home games by there own choosing. That might warrant takeover by MLB.

    • @jgmj – How so? They’ve left their fate in the hands of the Commissioner and his panel. Hard to be punitive when Selig has been saying all this time, “I got this.”

  16. Sigh….this is just getting ridiculous for an issue that is supposedly on the “front burner”. I wonder if at some point LW doesn’t get MLBP involved, since their’s an specific clause for the A’s in the CBA and without the additional revenues from a new stadium, the A’s salary will continually lag the league.

  17. It’s about time for Wolff to dismiss this notion that Selig is his “friend.” Selig is a coward who will continue to do nothing about the A’s because he is too terrified of the Giants. I hope Wolff indeed does something antagonistic like let the lease expire and then dare MLB to take the team from him. Then; let the lawsuits fly.

  18. “(a) 3/4 of the affected league’s teams consent;” Does this mean 3/4 of NL teams?

  19. Hello from hot ass Anaheim! And enough is @#$%& enough! I had vowed to remain silent until we heard officially from MLB on San Jose; sure seemed like I sure thing in the spring. But the utter nonsense that has engulfed this story (from the Howard Terminal nonsense to this Jayson stark BS) is to much to bear. I can no longer remain silent.
    This should have been very, very simple: MLB makes Santa Clara County a shared territory, allows the A’s San Jose, and compensates the Giants for any damages (even if all their bull shit about south Bay fanbase and revenue is just that…bull shit!). Heck, throw in guaranteed franchise value and yearly revenues to boot through 2017. Alas, we have come to this nonsense from Jayson stark. How in the hell did it ever come to this? I thought MLB, as Wolff himself alluded to, was a partnership? Anyhow, you all know where Larry Baer can rot!
    Its time for Wolff to tell his “buddy” Selig (glad I don’t have friends like that) and the Giants @#$%& YOU! I’m (or Keith) going back to Fremont, building my Pac Commons or Warm Springs ballpark, rename them the San Jose A’s and market the hell out of Silicon Valley! The A’s become big market, become San Jose /Silicon Valley’s team and the Giants don’t get shit!
    If it sounds like I’m pissed its BECAUSE I’M PISSED! please don’t delete RM, but I needed to get this out.
    Now, off to the “Happiest place on Earth,” and I will be happy for my daughter. Go A’s and Go San Jose!

  20. @TonyD – wassup? You pumped for this Raider Defense, or what!?

  21. @ML – Yes, they have left their fate in MLB’s hands and Bud has been saying “I got this” for years. It’s a waiting game for the A’s and if they make the move of not renewing at the Coliseum, then the ball is in MLB’s court. It would be an extremely unpopular to everyone, basically alienating the ownership from the fans and other teams. Why wouldn’t MLB call Wolff’s bluff and force them to sleep in the bed they have just made? That could then provide the opportunity to legally oust an owner who has just taken a divisive and radical position and who also who has been a thorn in their side for years.

    • @jgmj – The bed they made is “We got two extensions through 2013, that should be plenty of time for MLB to figure something out.” MLB doesn’t want the A’s at the Coliseum indefinitely, and the A’s certainly don’t either. So why should the A’s play at the Coliseum indefinitely because of Selig’s lack of wherewithal?

  22. And then what happens? MLB becomes the owner of one of the teams until new owners can be found willing to plunk down $1 billion+ (for the team and stadium in Oakland)? Or does MLB sell the team to the highest bidders in some other part of the country?

  23. all this talk of going nuclear and bluff calling makes sense form our (fan) perspective. But, in the real world – shit doesn’t work that way. Whichever way the wind ends up blowing, my bet is for no lawsuits, lots of smiles and profits for all!

  24. I don’t want the A’s moving to Kalamazoo (Is that Tiger’s territory?) as much as the rest of you, and who knows what the end result would be, but as far as MLB is concerned, they won’t have another owner who will be trying to challenge territorial rights.

  25. @David- I agree because the nuclear option would be so costly to mlb–it will force them to figure out how to get SJ done once and for all–but it is the trump card that LW can/will/should play behind the scenes to get bs to do his job.

  26. Stark’s thing is pretty lame, maybe not for the overall theme (because for all we know, it could be true) but for the details. Build a Pittsburgh sized stadium in Oakland? That’s what they were planning in SJ, anyway. Take territorial rights? There is a provision for that in MLB’s operating agreement… If it is exercised, how can that be grounds for a law suit?
    .
    Anyway, this shit is so old… But honestly, it makes sense from a monopoly’s perspective. Monopolies are not hungry businesses. They don’t take risks for greater reward. They try to keep things as is and milk more and more money from their advantage as they are the only game in “town.”
    .
    At this point, I don’t trust any news report we ever read about the thing and I don’t trust logic. I will agree with David, though. However this works out… All of these dudes will be much richer, it won’t play out in public and we won’t get any gory details.

  27. I think I posted it here or maybe another website. LW’s best option is to have Congress introduce legislation changing MLB’s anit-trust exemption. That is the only way it will be changed. It’s prob one of the reason’s why you have not seen someone start a lawsuit. There was talk about challenging baseball’s anit-trust exemption when the Twins was on the contraction table a decade ago.

  28. IHow would the MLBPA respond to Wolff-Fisher ignoring a Coliseum lease extension & effectively sidelining A’s players? LW probably wouldn’t get his annual 30 million bailout, but would still be expected to meet payroll, sounds like a major financial hit would come…I’m not a lawyer, yet the nuclear option sounds to me like a desperate hope of fans who wish to see the A’s only in San Jose.

    • @Ken – The revenue sharing check isn’t much of a factor since it doesn’t come until after the end of the season anyway. The point of the “nuclear option” is not to actually go through with it, it’s to force some sort of action by MLB. MLB has to have its schedule in place by late September. They have a lot to lose if one team isn’t on board. Every action or inaction has its own cost and consequences, it’s really about whether MLB has the balls to take care of it early.

      @Mike2 – You’re talking about Congress. (summons Allen Iverson) Congress? We’re talking about Congress. Not the league, Congress.

      One other thing – the Coliseum Authority (and by extension Oakland/Alameda County) might have to at some point offer lease terms to the A’s. This should be a given, but given the frosty relationship between the two, isn’t.

  29. @Ken: Actually it sounds like a desperate option for everyone, not just the San Jose boosters. I would imagine the Oakland fans want it resolved as well.

  30. The A’s (and SJ) need to just go ahead and sue MLB and the Giants.

  31. @ML- I believe you already covered this but I don’t remember the answer- Oakland decides to build a new stadium at Coli- how does the location of that impact the current Ballpark?

    • @GoA’s – The original Coliseum City sketch showed what appeared to be a slight overlap in the footprints of the current Coliseum and the future Raiders’ stadium. That’s subject to change, and I figure it could be worked around if it got to that point.

  32. Let me expand on my statement re: suing.

    The antitrust exemption was issued by the courts, NOT Congress. As such, the courts can overturn it. They will find plenty of precedent about how do define “business” that they can use, and also cite the changed circumstances of MLB since the 1920’s to find that it no longer applies – and no court would uphold the exemption today. Not a single one.

    MLB knows that, and the other owners know or will be told that. Therefore, should the A’s begin a lawsuit, MLB will get off their backsides to get a deal before a court gets to rule on it. THAT will be the timeline in which it will get done.

  33. Jason Stark is not the foremost MLB expert, and his comments should be dismissed along with the pro-giant hacks, Jenkins, Bill Madden, Ostler, and Tim Kawakami.

  34. @Marine Layer – Yes I was talking about Congress. Congress (Our Do Nothing Congress) is the only body that has the authority that can remove/revoke Baseball’s AT laws. Thanks to the Curtis Flood Act (1998) and the original 1922 Supreme court ruling. In 1922 the supreme court considered MLB as a sport and not a business this gave MLB the AT protection that it enjoyed for the next 50+ years. It is the main reason why you don’t see teams move more frequently in baseball as you would a sport like Hockey. It is also the only reason why you have not seen an Anti-Trust lawsuit filed against MLB. If that was the case the A’s would have been building a new stadium in San Jose by now.

    Food for thought the A’s ownership has waited over 4 years on MLB decision to move the team, they can afford to make the cities of Oakland and San Jose and most important us (fans) wait another 14 months taking the nice guy approach to try and force MLB to decide what is best for the team and it’s fan base.

  35. @ Mike2:
    No, the courts can overturn the antitrust exemption. The Curt Llood act cut out an exception to it, but did not actually codify the AT exemption (commonly misunderstood).

  36. Wolff can afford to play the waiting game, the A’s are not subject to a time limit with the MLB revenue sharing. There is no incentive for Wolff to refuse a new lease with Oakland. When the lease expires, the A’s will likely renegotiate a new lease with Oakland and the waiting game will continue. Wolff bought the A’s in ’05 for $170 mil.- now the team is likely worth over $400 mil or possibly even much or than that – a very good return on investment. The A’s are doing well under the current situation and have no need to do something drastic.

  37. Also, one doesn’t need to be a legal wiz to know that the ATE is on wobbly ground. The current Tampa Bay owners group pierced it twice (that is why Selig likely awarded them the Rays franchise) – the A”s case is much stronger than theirs was. The Raiders (who have had more revenue problems than the A’s do) took on the mega-bucks NFL in court twice and won in both cases. The A’s should certainly be able to take on MLB and the giant’s mgt.’s “army of attorneys” if need be – sue MLB, and get the thing over with.

  38. @David,
    The only thing I’ll ever agree with you on…DEFENSE! (clap, clap) DEFENSE! (clap, clap). GO RAIDERS!

  39. Spot on Duffer. Let’s not forget the fact the A’s will get another $200M in annual revenue. Not too shabby for the A’s ownership. I think Ray Ratto said it best, A’s leadership wants to do a real estate deal, not own a baseball team.

  40. @ethan- provide some facts to support your claim

  41. @Ethan: Can you tell me where the A’s owners would be doing a real estate deal?

  42. It would be kind of funny/ironic if the Raiders, the NFL, & Oakland were able to make a stadium deal that involved having to tear down the Coli. If they somehow do or even make headway for it, it would have an effect on any lease the A’s tried to get. Hell, it might be an incentive to not tie up the Coli with another tenant.

  43. @Ethan – Please. You’re a real estate guy. Educate us.

  44. Nam Turk has it right. First, in regard to TR/SJ, I think it is plausible to believe the ‘Lodge’ may be paranoid about changing TR in any way. Though not likely given the obvious special circumstances to a move to SJ, those who live in an ivory tower (like the Lodge) can become disconnected from the reality on the ground. But then, second, Stark takes no move to SJ allowed and says the A’s must build in Oakland. IMHO this is what makes his article suspect. Given LW’s statements about Oakland and his very real attempt to move to Fremont, remaining in Oakland is absolutely NO WHERE near Stark’s assertion of it must be Oakland.
    So why would someone make a ‘no move allowed to SJ’ equals ‘the A’s must stay in Oakland’ given the obvious untruth of it? Either (1) Stark is just a parroting, lazy writer who does not do his homework and/or (2) he is an Oakland water carrier and/or (3) he was fed Giants propaganda and ate it up like a piece of cake.
    Is he a lazy, idiotic writer? Sadly this is ALWAYS possible. Is he an Oakland water carrier and believes the A’s belong in Oakland no matter the reality (like a Monte Poole)? I don’t see that connection. Is he doing the Giants bidding (wittingly or unwittingly)? Let me answer that one this way: If one is to believe a stadium in SJ would hurt the Giants (and the Giants vociferously claim this is true), one then has to believe a Fremont stadium for the San Jose A’s will also hurt the Giants (though to a lesser degree than a downtown SJ site). So short of the A’s leaving the Bay Area altogether, the VERY best outcome for the Giants is for the A’s to have a stadium as far from SCC as possible.
    While not conclusive, it is oddly coincidental that Stark brought up none of the obvious special circumstances of Oakland moving to SJ (versus a team invading a market), made an absolute connection of ‘no SJ’ move to it has to be Oakland, his story describes the best possible outcome for the Giants, and it is a fact the Giants are playing a subterfuge PR game with TR. Again, not conclusive but very suspicious. If a handful of months from now the A’s are given the permission from MLB to move to SJ (not a negotiated settlement), Stark can and should be labeled a con artist writer.

  45. The A’s if nothing works out in the Bay Area have either Sacramento, or Salt Lake City. Since there are no AL teams based in the MT Zone, the A’s can establish a new home in SLC to be tied with the Utah Jazz and the Miller family can help build and restore order in Utah to have the A’s be in a new rivalry with the Diamondbacks and Rockies during Interleague Play!!! There must and needs to be an AL Team in the MT Zone.

  46. Yes I have a real estate license but more importantly for this blog, I am a baseball fan who lives in Oakland. I had season tickets for the A’s when I lived in San Francisco. I decided not to renew for two reasons: Fremont and dismantling of the 2006 team. I am sorry but since Lew Wolff has been the owner of the A’s his emphasis has been moving the team and doing a real estate deal. He has not concentrated on being a baseball owner.

    First year after he gets the team he dismantles a team that made a deep run in the playoffs. He gives Billy Beane ownership therefore having a GM who’s not accountable to build a winner. His disinterest in Oakland is so extreme he makes excuses the A’s can’t win because they are in Oakland (even though Oakland is only behind New York and St. Louis when it comes to trophies). Now that the A’s are in position to make a playoff run, the team does nothing at the trade deadline. In fact they trade a player that is no worse to what they have playing now to shed some salary. One thing the A’s owners have that Wally Haas, a great baseball owner, never had is a fat (I mean fat) revenue stream from TV deals.

    Last time I checked you buy a baseball team to win championships, not make a real estate deal. I also understand the limitations of having the poorest attendance figures in MLB. But the sports biz is about winning the entertainment dollar. If you keep winning the fans will come, you will sell a lot more hats if you keep winning, and corporations love winners too. Yes it is hard epecially for the A’s. I am just saying the owners need to show they care since they bought the team in 2006. Based on the projected market value of the franchise, an additional $200M annual income, the team’s success this year, and the fact they are not going to San Jose anytime soon, Lew needs to go for it. Show us Oakland “haters/dreamers” wrong, show us you are a baseball owner not just a real estate developer.

  47. Duffer writes “”Wolff can afford to play the waiting game, the A’s are not subject to a time limit with the MLB revenue sharing. There is no incentive for Wolff to refuse a new lease with Oakland. When the lease expires, the A’s will likely renegotiate a new lease with Oakland and the waiting game will continue.””
    Totally agree. It is of benefit to the A’s and Oakland for the A’s to play as many games in the Coli as possible. When there isn’t a benefit to either side for a change, occam’s razor says the situation will not change. For the A;s, I wouldn’t bet 2 pennies on LW trying the “nuclear” option (or their moving temporarily to another venue). If LW was that kind of owner, he would have already pulled out the heavy weapons in the fight for SJ. LW will live and die as a good member of the ‘Lodge’. For Oakland’s side, they are going to turn down several million in $$$ from the A’s playing games in the Coli out of hurt feelings? That lacks pragmatism that even a Politician can’t deny…… and they would get tarred and feathered (eventually) by the media if they were to make a decision like that. If I were Oakland, I would ask for a bump in fees. The A’s/LW will pay more as it is in their interest to remain at the Coli until the new park is done.
    I also agree that LW can wait and it doesn’t really hurt him/the A’s. However, I believe everyone in A’s management has a string desire to get moving on a new stadium. I suspect it is more than $$$ to these guys…..and the frustration of not having a new stadium will bubble over eventually (and maybe not too far down the line). I do not believe that will be the nuclear option…..I do believe it will be in the form of a forced vote by MLB or an ATE lawsuit (with SJ the front man for it).

  48. @Ethan – First of all, you’ve misinterpreted what I’ve written now twice. The A’s are not going to make an extra $200 million annual income from anything. They could get $40 million more as a result of new national TV money. Trouble is that every other team will too, so it doesn’t change the financial fundamentals for the team. Plus it doesn’t kick in until 2014. Overall they still get a pittance compared to the other big market teams in the league.

    You’re right about one thing. Wolff has been very focused on the stadium issue and the business side of franchise, perhaps to a fault. He also isn’t meddling much with the personnel situation and he lets Billy Beane do his job. Haas didn’t have fat TV revenue. Then again, neither did the Yankees or Red Sox. Now they do. Do you know that the Angels make as much money just from TV as the A’s make from all sources of revenue? That is the big difference between 20 years ago and today. That’s the reality. Teams compete with what they have. Low revenue teams have less room for error. The Angels, even with all of their money and talent, and 1.5 games behind the A’s at the moment.

    I’m puzzled by this demand that the A’s win and the fans will come. Yes they did. Once. In A’s history. Then they left as quickly as they came. Wally Haas still owned the team while the fans left and there was nothing he could do about it. The strike hurt baseball. Haas was losing money and couldn’t keep up with the changing economic reality, so he had Sandy Alderson trade Canseco, Rickey, Eck, and Big Mac while letting Stew go in free agency. And just around the corner was the Coliseum Authority luring the Raiders back to the Coliseum, killing the stadium for baseball. Haas built this empire, only to sell it when he realized that he couldn’t sustain it. The Raiders comeback deal was struck only three months before he died. That brought on the awful mid-late 90’s, which begat the Moneyball era, which dipped to more rebuilding fits and starts, which brings us to today.

    It’s funny how so many only remember the glory days yet don’t remember the awful, slow dismantling. I do. It’s cyclical. It’s how low revenue teams have to operate. Sometimes they can load up on draft picks who develop properly, stay healthy, and become franchise cornerstones (Big 3, Giambi, Miggy, Bash Brothers). Sometimes they become busts (Van Poppel, Karsay, Grieve, Crosby, Prieto, the lost Chavez years). That’s how the game works. Demand winning? That’s some sense of entitlement. If only it were that easy.

  49. Any chance that Oakland’s meeting with NFL went well. They do find a way to build a stadium. Say sorry A’s our media game that we care is over. We’re not building you a stadium and thankfully your lease is up because we’re tearing down the Coli for the Raiders new digs. So renewing a lease or not may not even be up to the A’s. Once that lease is up Oakland owes them nothing.

  50. Ethan writes “”He has not concentrated on being a baseball owner. “.
    So what does a baseball owner do in your view? What should an owner be doing/what LW should be doing during work hours?
    BB runs the on field operation and by most accounts runs it well for a low revenue team. Doesn’t that leave the owner to tend mostly to the business side? And when a team is revenue poor compared to almost the entire league and said team plays in arguably the worst venue in the entire league, what do you think an owner should be make one his top priorities?
    Fyi, LW wants a new stadium. That is plainly clear. It is utter nonsense to say he really “wants to do a land deal” as you can have no idea if there are ulterior motives. Further, your revisionist history and over emotional positions lend even less credence to your opinions. Bottom line, you don’t like that the A’s are trying to move to a venue out of Oakland and you are holding that against them. Ok, it’s every fan’s right to like or dislike a team for whatever reason they want. Hell, I even understand why that would cause bad feelings. But then trying to take those hard feelings and turn it to some logical stand of valor is laughable, utterly transparent and easily refuted.

  51. The old rule 1(c) is obsolete. There is no longer a blanket restriction on number of teams in one market. And with adoption of the MLB Constitution, the AL and NL ceased to exist as separate legal entities. So there are no circumstances in which 3/4 of “NL owners” have to vote for something along with a majority of AL owners. MLB is a single league now, and the AL and NL are legally no different from divisions, like the NFL’s two conferences.

  52. @Simon,
    So if the rule is obsolete, who else is gonna move if the A’s are allowed to relocate 35 miles within their existing region (Bay Area)? I’ve read some silly account’s over the past month stating an A’s move to San Jose could then mean the Indians moving to Boston, the Royals moving to Chicago, the Pirates moving to LA, etc. Really? Its not as if the Giants at one time tried to relocate to San Jose themselves, thus moving further from the A’s and creating the existing territorial exclusivity to said city. What was done can (and should) be undone WITHOUT affecting other markets.
    “They can tell me where I can’t build, but they can’t tell me where to build” = Fremont. Pac Commons or Warm Springs probably represents a “in case of fire, break glass” option in the event MLB remains stupid on this issue. So yes, TW nailed it: MLB saying no to San Jose doesn’t mean yes to Oakland. Give up Cisco namings rights, Silicon Valley corporate support and disposable income of South Bay because the Giants want to be assholes? Don’t think so!

  53. I really dislike how hardworking local Journalists get libeled on this blog, when certain articles they publish don’t connect the dots, the way some people like. Most of the venom toward Wolff has toned down considerably. What hasn’t lost its edge is: Quan-hating, Oakland POL-hating, Ocuppy-hating and knee-jerk attacks on local media.
    .
    Stark must be in the Giants’ back pocket? I’m sure at some point he wrote the opposite and the haters – cheered him. smh …

  54. I’m still trying to figure out what real estate deal @ethan says Wolff is trying to do in San Jose. Other than the land the ballpark is going on, what is there?
    .
    The last time I can remember Wolff wanting to do real estate was in Fremont, where it was to help pay for the ballpark. Now we hear that a real estate developer is showing up to the Oakland meetings where building rights will need to be sold… and even though that’s the same thing Wolff wanted to do, they aren’t painted as the bad guys like Wolff is.

  55. @david,
    After years of being at this, lets just agree that ALL journalist who write about this (including the so-called haters who are pro-SJ) are speaking from their rear. Nothing should matter from hear on out unless it comes directly from Selig or MLB.
    BTW RM, my last comment still isn’t showing up. Not inflaming at all and no profanity. Is it become I’m in Anaheim?

  56. Thanks RM,
    FWIW, the retail businesses down here with parking seem to coexist nicely near Angels Stadium. Pac Commons can still work out if push came to shove. Off to see Mickey, behave yourselves all!

  57. I really don’t see the need to hate on Jayson Stark over his A’s blip on the ESPN article. From how i read “Behind the scenes, baseball people are predicting…” , he sounds like he spoke to some team’s legal counsel and staff – probably not the Giants – and passed along their insights/opinions. This wasn’t a full blown 3 page piece on the A’s situation, he’s just getting the quick hits from the meeting.
    .
    I’m curious if Wolff pulls this nuclear option, if MLB has the option of just putting them on the road for every game, or would this violate the contract?
    .
    As far as finding people to invest $1B into a takeover IF Wolff even sold it, I don’t think it’d be to hard. The valuation of baseball franchises have exploded along with media rights and perhaps purchasing a stake in a franchise is safer than stock investment options.
    .
    I want this over as much as the next fan, but if the MLB owners won’t give LW what he needs to build a successful franchise, then do what cha gotta do.

  58. But no other team in MLB has “territorial rights”, teams feasibly could move to NYC right now. In fact, Brooklyn has sent out feelers to the Rays & A’s brass asking them if they saw BK as an option. That official has no idea what he’s talking about and is probably just another Giants shill.

  59. @PL – All teams have clearly defined territories. The NY teams share the five boroughs plus suburbs in NJ and CT. It’s set enough that when the Mets wanted to have a minor league team in Brooklyn, it had to strike a deal with the Yankees so that they could have their own minor league team nearby in Staten Island. What makes the Bay Area unique is that broader territory is not shared, it’s gerrymandered along county lines.

  60. I’ve posted this link before. I think any A’s fan would want to review pages 208-230. There’s some baseball history earlier in the piece, as well. The inference is inescapable: Haas’s heirs did not want to continue subsidizing the A’s, so when he was wrappiing up his affairs, at the end of his life, he put the team up for sale. Here’s a couple of free tickets for the first 5 callers:
    .
    “Lage: But the team brings so much to the community.
    .
    “Haas: Yes, baseball is important in the community. That’s why I bought the team: it helps economically, it helps the pride of a community. It’s an extremely nearly vital asset for Oakland. So I felt that it was an important thing to do to save the team, and now I think it’s an important thing to keep it in Oakland. As you know, we’ve offered the team for sale at a bargain price if they keep it in
    Oakland. At the moment, there seem to be two legitimate offers, which frankly is two more than I expected.
    .
    “Lage: You weren’t that confident about finding a local buyer?
    .
    “Haas: No, I wasn’t sure with the uncertainty of baseball, but it looks like they’re legitimate. That would, of course, please me no end, if not only was I able to keep it fifteen years ago, but also to
    keep the team in Oakland now for an indefinite period.
    .
    “Lage: What will happen if these two offers don’t work out?
    .
    “Haas: Then we have the right to sell the team elsewhere, for probably a lot more money. There are always people who want to buy teams. I just hope it doesn’t get to that. There’s quite a lot of money
    involved. I’d rather keep it in Oakland.”
    —————————————————————————
    .
    Haas: “My involvement with the A’s, although less [that with Levis], was also bringing an institution that was in trouble to the heights, and recognition and respect.”
    .
    http://www.archive.org/stream/levistraussco00haasrich/levistraussco00haasrich_djvu.txt

  61. David: Hardworking local journalist? Jayson Stark lives in Philly and works for ESPN, hardly local. Besides, he’s a columnist and opinion spreader and therefore it’s reasonable people who disagree might spout back. Particularly when the reporter throws out anonymous and unsourced quotes it’s hard to take him very seriously. The only thing the reactions show is the bias of the person reacting. In this case pro-Oakland folks cheered, pro-San Jose folks booed and the rest of us, who live in the Bay Area, follow the A’s and don’t really care which town they play in but just want a decision to be made just groaned because the upshot is that until someone with authority to act, acts, it’s all just speculation and noise.

  62. @Baynativeguy I think David was speaking about the hate on here for Poole, M & R, Ratto, Kawakami, Ostler, and basically anyone who isn’t Mark Purdy.

  63. …The problem with these local absolutely-no-way-to-San-Jose local columnists is they just hate on Wolff and never offer a serious solution to the problems of: a, finding an adequate site in Oakland, and b. paying for it (except the usual John-Fischer-is-rich-and-should-donate-a-ballpark plan). They also only want to look at a brief period of good attendance for the A’s while ignoring decades and decades of poor attendance. These writers are useful dupes of the Giants but are far to proud to realize it.

  64. Yes I know the Angels have a huge TV deal and make more revenue than the A’s alone from it. Their on the field winning and inept ownership (McCourt) and financial uncertainty of the their cross town rival created a windfall for the Angels via a Fox Sports TV deal. That is how they signed Albert Puljos. Yes ownership and their public persona does impact the organization when it comes to revenue and building a winner.

    BTW Billy Beane is vastly overrated when it comes to baseball operations. Look at the on field success between Oakland and Tampa Bay, the two low revenue darlings with stadium issues, the last decade. Who has the better on field resume? What Billy Beane move has had sustained success since 2006? The Holiday trade? He does a good job at avoiding 100 loss seasons though.

    Regarding real estate deal, Lew Wolff as reported by ML the A’s will buy the remaining land parcels for San Jose’s proposed site if he gets approval by MLB to move there. He will have to do this because of the death of the redevelopment agencies. Buying real estate is a real esate deal. Hey Lew Wolff owns some great real estate in downtown SJ, no wonder he wants to buy more real estate for a stadium. In addition there is huge corporate partnership potential in SJ. His problem is he can’t build a baseball stadium in San Jose because of the territorial rights which was the fact when he bought the team. Sometimes life ain’t fair and things don’t make sense. But rules are rules and it appears nobody at the Lodge is fired up on changing them and give the A’s San Jose for whatever reason. We hear of the Lodge’s unhappiness of Oakland’s participation in revenue sharing, yet they will not give the green (and gold) light a change in territorial rights. Speaking of emotional, the San Jose folks get really emotional about the TRs and it lessens the credence of your opinions.

    Hey Lew can continue to pursue his San Jose dream but publicly saying he has no plan B and the continued rebuilding process on the field is not good PR. Yes he wants a new stadium but only in San Jose. That is obvious. There are a lot more of people like me out there who share these views. Most go to Giant games, instead I am an Oakland A’s fan who comes and voices my opinion on ML’s blog. I love the debate but refrain from the hate.

    • BTW Billy Beane is vastly overrated when it comes to baseball operations.Look at the on field success between Oakland and Tampa Bay, the two low revenue darlings with stadium issues, the last decade.Who has the better on field resume?What Billy Beane move has had sustained success since 2006?The Holiday trade?

      Wait, you’re seriously going to compare the success of the Rays vs. the A’s after “earning” top 5 picks year in and year out from tanking so much? Seriously? /facepalm

      Speaking of emotional, the San Jose folks get really emotional about the TRs and it lessens the credence of your opinions.
      You must be new to this blog, as the only rationale on the pro-Oakland side is emotion and pride itself. Their is no logic involved in their support, unless you can discuss how Oakland be a viable option and compete with corporate dollars and guarantee attendance (particularly STH) that it hasn’t demonstrated for the past 44 years of the franchise.

      There are a lot more of people like me out there who share these views.Most go to Giant games, instead I am an Oakland A’s fan who comes and voices my opinion on ML’s blog. I love the debate but refrain from the hate.

      So you’re asking Gnats fans of their opinions on the A’s? That’s um…interesting. Debate typically has merits on logic, facts, and data points. Most of your arguments are based on speculation, emotion, and generally disdain for ownership. If you speak trying to appeal by civic pride (a la Lakeshore), I can understand the sentiment, but if go off on wild insinuations and illogical conclusions, don’t be surprised to get called out on it.

    • @Ethan – Give Beane 10 straight Top-8 draft picks (of which 9 are Top-6 including four #1’s) and he could do better than the Rays. The Rays were putrid for the first decade of their existence. It’s pretty easy to play armchair GM, isn’t it?

  65. The pro-Giants shills lose their credibility when they claim that the Giants have always been the long-time bay area and San Jose fanbase favorite. (We know that’s false – Lurie thought so much of the giants bay area and San Jose fanbase that he gave up on it and attempted to sell the team to the current Tampa Bay Rays owners group) Even the local SF police chief at that time joked about the giants situation. When asked about the safety about going to the Stick for Giants night games – he said “go to A’s games instead”. Where was the so called “strong support from the south bay” then? Contrary to what the Giants shill’s claim – at least 50% of San Jose residents were A’s fans in those days.

    These local giants shills also lose their credibility when they support the Giants ownership’s claim that the A’s are intruding into Giants territory by moving 40 miles further away from SF. (This must be a first in professional sports – where in a two team fanbase situation – one team opposes the other team moving further (40 miles) further away from it – very bizzare and comical) I’m sorry – anyone, including the Giants shills, who supports that concept is foolish.

  66. @Ethan,
    You’d get emotional to if Oakland was banned from obtaining MLB. Just release the chains and may the best town win re a new A’s ballpark. (Relying on a territorial restriction to “hopefully” win a ruling from MLB is quite pathetic)

  67. “”Behind the scenes, baseball people are predicting they’ll eventually have to give up on this battle and settle for a new, Pittsburgh-size park in Oakland””

    It’s at best inaccurate and that is quantifiable. When you put in writing something so easily refuted, you are either a lazy, incompetent writer or you are a shill (and should be called a such). I doubt even pro Oakland folks believe that all they need is SJ to be ruled off limits for the A’s to remain in Oakland. For instance, pragmatism says IF SJ/SCC are that valuable, having an A’s stadium on the SCC border (southern Fremont) is arguably optimal for the “San Jose A’s”. With that said, I agree with the poster who said all columns need to be ignored unless it quotes BS or MLB (though if Peter Gammons speaks out based on his inside source, I would give that credence).
    Side note on someone saying “Monte Poole” et al being attacked because they aren’t Mark Purdy, yep that’s right. Monte Poole’s writing has been so factually inaccurate as well as biased, he SHOULD be called on it!

  68. @TW,
    Just my opinion, but I’d add Ken Rosenthal to Gammons re MLB insider credibility. And no, it’s not just because he stated in May that MLB was focused on getting the A’s San Jose. Mostly has to do with his work on the MLB Network and the access he gets to franchises (much like Gammons). Now, if Rosenthal comes out with a Jayson Stark-like piece, I will personally give up on the A’s moving to San Jose proper…and begin focusing on getting them to Mission San Jose! ;)

  69. BTW RM,
    wouldn’t it be awesome if MLB agreed to subsidize an East Bay ballpark and it went to a Pac Commons or Warm Springs yard, literally the doorstep of San Jose, Silicon Valley.

  70. It would be awesome…and unprecedented. MLB% publicly funded ballparks, not MLB-funded ballparks.

  71. …MLB wants100% publicly funded

  72. ML if you are going to make the excuses for Billy Beane, I will say the Rays were an expansion team that plays in the same division as the Yankees and Red Sox. What first round pick in the last 10 years has panned out for the A’s? Richie Robnett? Cliff Penington? James Simmons? Ok the jury is still out on Jemilie Weeks. Nick Swisher had some success but he was traded. Yeah its easy to play armchair GM and easy to say the Rays have had much more on field success the past decade. The best move Billy Beane recently made is the hiring of Bob Melvin.

    Anon, I am referring to the casual baseball fan who goes to Giant games rather than A’s games. One reason is the ballpark but more importantly the Giants are drawing because they finally won a trophy and have continued to stay in contention since. Now I will remind you of some data and merit. SJ belongs to the Giants, not the A’s, because of territorial rights. None of us wrote the rules but “thems” the rules and Bud Selig and the Lodge are in no hurry change them. Yes it is illogical but so is this season’s playoff run. Isn’t baseball a funny game? Now please refer me to my speculation!!!

    Before you go on about Oakland is weak and I am “out there”. Let’s enjoy the win tonight, 30,000 fans showed up for a Cleveland game on a non fireworks game (ok I will acknowledge it is a special movie night), and the team is only a half game out of a post season berth on August 18th. Great job Lew Wolff! Great job Billy Beane! I don’t disdain either of you, I just think you can do better.

    • Anon, I am referring to the casual baseball fan who goes to Giant games rather than A’s games. One reason is the ballpark but more importantly the Giants are drawing because they finally won a trophy and have continued to stay in contention since.Now I will remind you of some data and merit.SJ belongs to the Giants, not the A’s, because of territorial rights.

      Wait, now your source is not only A Gnat fan, but bandwagon ones at that?!! And as fir “them” rules, i guess longtime SJ resident A’s fan like myself didn’t get the memo. /rolleyes . You haven’t supported your stance on the viability of Oakland, instead continually bash on hate a’s management and try to fall back on the TR as ur saving grace. I guess that if MLB grants SJ to the A’s then you’ll fully endorse it since it’ll be “them” rules, right?! :x

  73. Tony D, interesting thought. Would MLB make any $$$ assistance contingent on it being within Oakland city limits?
    First, I highly doubt MLB will do anything for the A’s except, maybe, guarantees that help secure lower % loans — unless the help is a ‘we’re sorry’ payoff for the SJ no vote. But does anyone believe MLB will kick in some serious $$$ — along the lines of 75 to 100million? Considering the price tag of a new stadium, that is the kind of $$$ help that will make a difference.
    Second, if MLB was to tie any help with building a stadium to it must be within the city limits of Oakland, LW would, justifiably, throw a fit. LW would/should think “so the Giants get their way and the lions share of the bay area remains theirs. Now MLB is pushing me around within my own lesser TR area”?
    IMHO, if this ‘No to SJ’ payoff (as unlikely as it is) in the form of stadium $$$ help occurred, it would have to be for anywhere within their bay area TR. The stadium then ending up in Oakland would be up to Oakland to get their act together. It would also allow LW a better bargaining position with Oakland (or Fremont or wherever).

  74. @Ethan – The A’s picked in the high-20’s throughout much of the decade. The yields for those picks are generally low, anyone who follows the draft knows that. Seriously, look at any first round from 2002 through 2007. The pickings are very slim. 2 or 3 All-Stars and handful of starting quality guys out of 60 players. You want cornerstones? Suck hard for a while and pile up Top-10 picks. Worked for the Rays. Worked for the Giants and now the Nats. It’ll probably work for Houston in the future. The draft can be a crapshoot. It’s much harder when you don’t have access to blue chip players in the Top-10.

    @TW / Tony D. / pjk – Come on. For the price of building a ballpark in Oakland, MLB could buy the A’s, move them, get some other city to pay $$$ for a ballpark, and sell the franchise for a profit.

  75. @Ethan,
    You do realize why San Jose “belongs” to the Giants, do you? Drive around the South Bay sometime…no AT&T Park in sight! Pss..it’s 40 miles up the road in some smaller town named after a saint. The Giants territory was changed/altered to allow their move to San Jose; it should be altered again to allow the A’s access to San Jose. Again, what was done can and should be undone. Very, very simple (at least it should be).

  76. @RM,
    just messing around with the subsidizing ballpark thing. It will never happen. At least if Wolff (Lew and Keith)going are forced to stay in their territory, they won’t have to worry about any indemnification for the Giants…not one penny. That in itself could be viewed as a nice “subsidy” for staying in your territory: enjoy the riches of San Jose and Silicon Valley from Fremont without having to pay the Giants squat. One more day with Mickey, wish me luck…

  77. I don’t get the whole “Oh, Giants have a really good case” thing because they have some sort of signed evidence. So what – the bottom line has always been “can Selig/Wolff get 75% of owners to sign off on this SJ plan?” I would imagine whatever Selig signed isn’t legally actionable; in fact, owners agree NOT to sue. If either team (or someone on their behalf) sues, they then break the rules anyway and all bets are off.

    It’s funny – if the Giants sued and broke the “no litigation” rule, why wouldn’t the A’s say “well, why should we play by the rules if they aren’t going to? Start building!”

  78. ml totally disagree with you on the draft and player development when it comes to the A’s vs. Rays. James Shields was not a top 10 pick. I think I know the draft well from a player development perspective. I certainly don’t know it well from the statistical success rate of first round picks. I think we can agree the A’s drafts have been below average since 2006. Let’s do the Angels vs. A’s comparison on player development since they draft lower than the A’s every year. Hey scouts and minor league coaches are cheap investments. Hire a few more of them. Use some of that $40M that is coming in two years.

    Tony D it has been at minimum 41 months, so it must not be that simple. Hey it would have been done, even I will concede this to the pro San Jose fans. Cisco would likely come online this next season. But it did not happen and not anytime soon. Time to focus on the baseball side of things. Remember Oakland has more World Series trophies than Los Angeles, San Francisco, Baltimore, Philadelphia, the whole state of Texas, and Boston despite lousy attendance. Baseball is a funny game!

  79. @Ethan, if you’re disagreeing with the draft and player development thing, it shows you don’t have a grasp on the realities of baseball.
    .
    Beane does so well with what little he has that the team continually gets middle of the road picks. Some people argue they should just tank on purpose for a few years just so they can get the high draft picks.

  80. @Ethan: yet despite all the World Series the A’s have won (most of them a long time ago) they still don’t attract the love that say the Cubs, Red Sox or Dodgers have attracted. Yes baseball is a funny game, an unfair one too. Maybe it’s taken 41 months not so much due to the complexity of the issues but just because no one in MLB cares that much? I’ll bet if a similar issue involved the Cubs or the Red Sox that MLB would’ve tripped over itself to set things right.

  81. I disagree with you on Billy Beane does so well. The A’s have historically been at a disadvantage when it comes to revenue, yet they they have won championships, an impressive amount. I have to admit this is one reason why the A’s have always endeared me.

    Since Mr. Wolff has taken over what is their winning percentage (2007-2011)? The answer is .471. Tampa Bay? .536. Doesn’t Tampa Bay play at least 30 games a season against revenue titans, the Red Sox and Yankees? Post season appearances Tampa Bay 3, Oakland A’s 0. Anybody want more data? (I kid, I kid).

    I will finally give you all some speculation. The A’s don’t want to tank for a reason. They don’t want to deal with Scott Boras and the huge salaries he commands for his clients. Again this is pure speculation but something to think about when questioning the A’s approach to the baseball business.

  82. Scott Boras has publicly stated that the A’s should move to SJ so that they can compete

  83. lets not kid ourselves. A’s to san jose is not going to happen at this point. ever since don knauss emerged ive been pretty confident that howard terminal would be once again evaluated. sure enough, it was and is now the #1 site.

    with regards to the raiders, i have no doubt that they will stay in oakland and build at the current coliseum site. imo, i dont want a new stadium, they should just spend a small amount of money to slightly renovate the coliseum. this would keep ticket prices cheap, and would continue to bring more fans from the north bay and san francisco who will have no reason to go to 49ers games. the only thing that irks me is quans proposal for a dome stadium. in all seriousness, that could be the single DUMBEST thing i have ever heard in my life.

  84. Baynative’s post=Speculation. I will speculate on his speculation. Perhaps the Lodge is very scared about the POSSIBILITY of the Cubs and Red Sox being in the same position as the A’s if San Jose is granted to the A’s. Thus LW and Bud Selig don’t have the 75% approval for a move to San Jose. Ok now this is some more speculation.

  85. @ACV,
    Fremont Pac Commons or Warm Springs would happen WAY before Howard Terminal. What was that again about they can’t tell me where to build? Sorry. Now, back on over to the DLand …

  86. Ethan: well of course it’s speculation, 99% of the comments on here are! :). I imagine if someone is really “in the know” (assuming there’s anything to know) they’re not going to be here jabbering about it like the rest of us.

    Another speculative reason is that Wolff has not forced the issue but has taken a patient, hands off approach. It would be interesting to see what happens if that changed.

  87. Ethan: nice cherry picking. You start *AFTER* the A’s have their playoff run and right when the Rays began theirs. That’s not a fair evaluation. At all. That’s about as fair as me choosing July 2012 to refute your claim and makes about as much sense.
    .
    As for the SJ stadium issue. Reasons it’s taken so long:
    .
    1) MLB doesn’t care *that* much about the A’s, especially when they’re still making money and having varied success.
    2) MLB doesn’t like team’s paying for their own stadium and the longer they delay the likelihood another city might pay for it.
    3) They have their doubts about SJ they want cleared up before overturning T-Rights (the legality of the property rights, etc.)
    4) There’s still a possibility (however small) that Oakland might finally have something worth pursuing.
    5) Lots of potential legal action available depending on their decision (from both sides and independents) and they want to make sure they have all their ducks in a row over each possibility.
    6) Determining fair compensation values for both team’s depending on their decision.
    7) MLB’s hope of Deus Ex Machina to get them out of all this mess.
    8) All of the above and more.
    .
    Just looking at those possibilities shows how complicated the issue is and that a ruling one way or the other is pushing down the first in a very, complex series of dominoes that will fall very fast and be completely out of MLB’s control. From that perspective, it’s quite understandable why it’s taken this long and why it’ll still take even longer before a decision will be made. I’m also sure that at times it really has been a tentative “Yes” and a tentative “No” inside the lodge for SJ and why until Selig steps up and sends out a legitimate press release about it, nothing is final.

  88. @Ethan,
    Those scenarios of rampant franchise relocations if the A’s are allowed to move 35 FURTHER within their own region is pure strawman logic. Stop with that nonsense! MLB might be stupid collectively on this whole issue, but they’re not that stupid: they realize the Bay Area is already a two-team market and they can probably read a map re SJ’s distance from SF/OAK.

  89. Go A’s Boras is talking about in the interest of his current, veteran clients when he talks San Jose. It does not make a difference if the A’s are in San Jose or Oakland if he is representing a 10 ten draft pick when it comes to signing a draft pick.

    ACV the dome stadium in Oakland is absolutely the stupidest ideas ever. If the A’s move, redo the West side of the Stadium. Call it Mt. Marc. In all seriousness look at the ways the Packers renovated Lambeau Field over the years. Have all the conventions in the vacant Arena when the Warriors move to SF. I am going to the game now. I can’t wait for your comments while I am gone.

  90. @ACV- let’s not kid ourselves- the odds of Oakland happening, without a significant public subsidy, are less than SJ happening. If you really believe that Knauss is the great savior then he will need upwards of $600M in cash and second, revenue streams to support financing costs associated with another $500M. After dealing with McCourt there is no way the will relax their debt to equity requirements.

    OT-amazing story about how Melky lied to try and cover up his steroid use- buying a website and trying to post a fake product on it-

  91. The idea the MLB doesn’t care about the A’s status might not be accurate, Baynativeguy. There is a good deal of pressure being applied to Selig about the A’s need for a new ballpark. Listen in on the opposing teams broadcasters comments when they play the A’s at the Coliseum (when they stream the games via over the ‘net), you will discover that they typically mention that the Coliseum is a dump, that the A’s need a new stadium, and that the Giants ownership is attempting to hose the A’s – I’ve even heard this on the MLB network. Also, don’t forget that Tony LaRussa (a big advocate of the A’s moving to SJ, and a attorney) is currently employed as a special advisor to MLB, La Russa obviously has Selig’s ear – Selig is definetly getting the business about the A’s need for a new stadium.

  92. Duffer: I’m sure that Selig hears from people, but it hasn’t resulted in much yet. Action, not words. I wouldn’t overestimate the grumblings out out of town broadcasters (remember they’ve been making jokes about the Coliseum, err the Oakland Masoleum for decades) but perhaps don’t care is too harsh. However, maybe there’s always something just more important to deal with. While the semantics may be off, the results are essentially the same.

    My perception of MLB is its conservative, steeped in its sense of tradition and therefore slow to change. It may be that 41 months is just the pace the baseball bureaucracy feels comfortable grinding along at.

  93. Pretty soon they ought to just demolish Mount Davis and call it a ballpark again.

    It’s been an absurd length of time to get this done. Pick a place … Oakland, Fremont, San Jose … and get going.

  94. @Ethan,
    I’m sure the owners realize by now that 1) the A’s and Giants have coexisted in the Bay Area since1968, 2) the Giants hold exclusivity to San Jose/Santa Clara for the sole purpose of relocating themselves and 3) the largest city in the Bay Area is 35 miles further south from San Francisco then Oakland. Long story short, the situation that exists in the Bay Area is unique amongst all of baseball and does not exist anywhere else. So no, the A’s getting San Jose does not mean the Pirates abandoning gorgeous PNC Park for Boston, or the Indians dumping majestic Progressive Field for Philly.

  95. Not sure if this is a sign or not, but Fireworks on Friday 9/14 and Atléticos Tote Bags on Sunday 9/16 have been removed from the Promotional Schedule.
    .
    Noooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!

  96. @Ethan

    How is the city going to renovate the Coliseum as is? They are still paying on Mount Davis and the Raider subsidies. Oakland is not Green Bay where the city owns the team and the stadium. The Raiders stadium deal is 2nd worst sports subsidies in the country. The city still has to pay over $100,000,000 on Mount Davis and currently has over 1 Billion Dollars in debt. They are not going to build a new Coliseum city or any new convention centers/sports centers in the city without some major fiscal miracle happening.

    http://www.oaklandnet.com/government/fwawebsite/treasury/treasury_summary99.htm

  97. in 44 years, the A’s have only outdrawn their record (attendance rank vs. win% rank) in the AL twice (1991 and 1993).

    42 of the 44 years, their record (win%) rank was better than their attendance rank in the AL

  98. @Pudgie – I see them on the main schedule. As of a couple games ago, they had the SW Fireworks advertised behind the plate.

  99. @ Mike2,

    The City of Green Bay does not own the Packers. The team is owned by private stockholders and the city does not share in profits (neither do shareholders since the team is a nonprofit).

    In fact, the stadium is owned by the city and was originally named Green Bay City Stadium. After the death of Curly Lambeau, the city-owned stadium was renamed for said individual, which still bothers some of us as Mr. Lambeau did not pay for the stadium’s construction.

  100. @ LoneStranger,

    You are correct, they are back on the schedule. They had been off the schedule for a couple of days. I had assumed that they had been replaced by the Breast Cancer Awareness umbrellas on Labor Day Weekend.

  101. Ethan still hasn’t stated one data to support a stadium in Oakland, only instead continuing to deflect the real issues (financing and viability of long term stadium) on A’s management. If i didn’t know any better, i would say he’s some viral contractor working for the city itself lol.

    OT: check out the admission by the Sharks owner losing money and doing cash calls to cover it! No wonder pro teams are so interested in tapping the riches of the SB!

  102. Sharks lose $$ because the players are guaranteed something like 53 percent of revenues. NHL teams make their money in the playoffs, and the Sharks are playoff failures,. A whole 2 home playoff games last year. The NJ Devils cashed in an extra $26 million by getting to the Stanley Cup Finals last season. The Sharks have never made it that far.

  103. @Pudgie2

    Yes I do know the Packers are owned by individual stock holders. I was trying to point out the fact that the city of Oakland is too far in debt to renovate the Coliseum area or build a convention center/Coliseum CIty without a 3rd party helping out.

  104. You have to remember that Bud Selig is on record as opposing the Bay Area as a two-team market. He said moving the A’s there in 1968 was a mistake. I have never seen him redact those statements.

    MLB doesn’t want to mess with territorial rights and doesn’t have any great desire to see the A’s in San Jose. If the status quo with a new ballpark continues they’ll survive, that’s their neutral position. San Jose is a negative for MLB.

    Say hello to your Montreal A’s or your Sacramento A’s – that is the direction this is all heading. From MLB’s perspective that is a much better situation. Montreal is the true stocking-horse in all of this. They are a viable MLB market with an existing MLB facility. The A’s could be sold and moved to Montreal over a weekend.

  105. Here are some links about what is going on in Quebec:

    http://ballparkdigest.com/201107284047/major-league-baseball/news/more-mlb-dreams-in-montreal

    http://ballparkdigest.com/201107103979/major-league-baseball/news/montreal-capable-of-supporting-mlb-if-theres-an-owner-with-deep-pockets

    Quebecor Media is moving forward with Quebec City building an NHL arena. The price tag is $400

    They are doing this to establish themselves as the premier provider in the province and across Canada. Bell, their main competitor, owns the Blue Jays. Quebecor is launching a new French-language sports network and owns french-language Blue Jays broadcasting rights. They also have some Montreal Candians rights. For this station to be a big hit they want/need more content. An MLB team in Montreal would fit in very well with their plans and that’s why it’s been discussed. Quebecor was in the conversation at the end before the Expos left town ten years ago. This is not a fanciful notion.

    Montreal has been experiencing a development boom. Large projects are happening there. Big projects. There was a good plan for an MLB stadium (http://stadiumpage.blogspot.com/2010/02/unrealized-concepts-volume-3-labatt.html) that only failed at the last minute largely because the Loria group who had taken control of the Expos AFTER the initial Labatt Park plan was floated had poisoned the well. as we’ve seen in Miami Loria is not the kind of guy you want to do a stadium deal with haha. Montreal didn’t fall for the extortion.

    Quebecor Media is as local as it gets. They are the kind of group that can make this project happen. I highly recommend you take it seriously because this is MLB’s backup plan for the A’s. They know exactly how good a market Montreal is. If you go there today you will see tons of Expos hats – they are new with bright colors. Nobody likes the Blue Jays. Montreal is a baseball town going way back and the A’s are the perfect franchise for them. The history, character, everything, is perfectly suited for Montreal.

  106. Lew Wolff – time to man up and sue baseball. Or help the city of SJ sue baseball. Sign whatever needs to be done, start building the stadium, put your money where your mouth is, and will anyone say San Jose has no right to have a mlb team?

    The territorial rights are just a legal fiction, empowered because everyone kowtows to Selig and MLB. The moment nobody cares about what MLB thinks, and pulls an Al Davis type move, then SJ will be done.

    Otherwise please sell to the folks that want to keep the team in Oakland, as I couldn’t stand to lose my beloved A’s to some other state!

  107. Montreal is not going to build a stadium for any team considering what happened to the Expos after the 95 strike. Star players sold and traded, attendance was a joke, and MLB taking control of the franchise. Another one of Bud Selig’s highlights as The Commish.

  108. - Chances of an A’s move to Montreal? By rounding off to the nearest hundredth of a percentage point, the answer is Zero.
    – BS is against the Bay Area being a two team market as well as SJ being a negative for MLB? Reality of that statement is easily refuted by this: BS/MLB allowed the A’s and the Giants to negotiate a move to SJ. MLB might not move very smart as a collective but they don’t move idiotic-ly either. If they saw SJ as a negative, they would not have allowed negotiations to commence. Further, with great corporate money to mine as well as significant wealth in SJ, it lacks business acumen to say SJ is a negative. As far as the bay area as a non two team market, add up the two team attendance total and divide by 2. Now take that total and compare to many single market teams. Question answered.
    – The lack of a decision after almost 4 years means? It is simple what it means. When a party remains undecided and/or moves incredibly slowly on taking a position, it means that party is uncertain of the cost-benefit ramifications in choosing a position. The party will remain undecided until such time the cost-benefit ramifications are clear enough to take a position that best serves that party. And when that time comes that a position is clear enough in its cost-benefit value, voile! The long suffering stadium issue will finally be at the beginning of the end.

  109. @anonasfan – As your links suggest, it’s going to take someone with really deep pockets to buy the team AND build a stadium in Montreal. Sounds familiar, right? Quebecor could do a Rogers-style deal in that it owns the team and stadium. Problem is, Quebecor is small potatoes. Its market cap is around $2.2 Billion. No chance.

  110. @TW
    I’m sure all the MLB owners have the dollar-sign-eyes when SJ is brought up, but enough of them have to be hesitant about precedent – otherwise we would have had a resolution by now. I think i missed the point where the Giants and A’s started negotiations, any info on that? I assume you’re talking about the Giants public position of “no move into our ‘territory’.”
    .
    As I’ve said before, I’m all on board w/ SJ making the most sense for the A’s ownership and turning a profit, but this drumbeat of comments from staff at the meetings saying either “no resolution yet” or “Giant’s have a tough case…” are not good signs.
    I don’t want to get into the validity of the sources – fans can b*tch and moan about Starke or Madden not naming sources, but this isn’t politics, there’s nobody on the other end calling for that person’s head for commenting and force them to name names, it’s sports writing for gosh sake.
    It would appear, from this year’s indicator phantom comments, that the Giant’s are outmaneuvering Wolff’s “aw shucks” approach and proved as much but getting the A’s to prove they were hot under the collar during the dueling press releases on the T Rights earlier this year.
    I don’t know if Wolff would press the nuclear button as an F-U to baseball, but it could be his exit strategy to give Fisher the biggest ROI possible w/o having to shell out on a new stadium – let the next sorry owner have to deal with that headache of learning French and getting dual citizenship.

  111. @ru155,
    See my previous comment. I believe the idea of the owners being afraid of setting “precedent” is ridiculous because allowing the A’s San Jose won’t equate to rampant franchise relocations. See all the new ballparks built since 1992. Take care of the A’s and Rays and MLB is set for the long haul; no relocations or expansions at least until mid-century!

  112. OT Are the shots from Moneyball where Billy is in his car taken from Howard Terminal? I don’t think they are, but it would be too ironic if they were.

  113. Marine Layer –

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quebecor

    Quebecor is a multi-headed hydra. Their market cap is closer to $10 billion. Their big revenue growth is coming from tv but also the Videotron segment (cable, mobile phones, etc). The financing model for the Quebec city arena is half team half municipality. And there is no NHL team right now!

    It takes exactly this sort of ownership group to make this happen in Montreal. Objectively this is a terrific MLB market by all measurements right now. The previous bad blood and lack of trust would prevent an expansion team from going in there but a desperate relocation situation? Tailor-made for Montreal. This is a legitimate option.

    One thing to note is that English-language press on the topic is going to be pessimistic. This is just a Canada thing. Montreal is 75% French and the views you will find in that press are very different. There is public support for using money to build an MLB stadium. Nothing like what you find in Oakland or even San Jose. Hell, you could get the city to cough up a couple hundred million just to bulldoze Olympic stadium and make it a park and you’d get public support.

    • @anonasfan – Er, no, their revenue is $9.4 billion. Their market cap is $2.2 billion. They don’t have the cash to pull off anything big. That is the very definition of small potatoes. John Fisher alone has about as much money as Quebecor and he’s probably not tied up in $3.6B in debt like Quebecor.

  114. @Tony D.
    If they’re unafraid, it would have been done already. The longer you let things linger like this the less likely it is that Wolff will be able to build momentum among ownership to make a stand with him against the Giants.
    Do you think Selig didn’t try to push this through at some point? Selig runs it like Congress, he’s constantly taking the temperature of owners and waiting for the right moment when he hits that 75% mark to present the measure for a successful vote with the blue ribbon being the never ending cover story. 3 years in to the blue ribbon, no dice, ownership hasn’t come on board.
    Sorry if i sound abrasive, but this would have been done years ago if the other owners in the lodge were on board – they’re not.

  115. I for one dont believe that bs has tried to push it through so I think for anyone to question the support of lack of support for the A’s moving to SJ is premature. I am going to say again that early on in this process (2009) I was told that bs didn’t want it to happen until 2017–not sure why but it does coincides with their payoff of the ATT mortgage. Its obvious to all that if bs is working to try and negotiate a TR settlement that the BRC thinks SJ is better for MLB—my timeframe again for decision–early 2013 before season starts—vote in SJ in November of 2013–design and construction of ballpark takes next 3 years—opening date in SJ –2017—

  116. Santa Barbara sure is beautiful. Agree with GoA’s, its looking more like Cisco Field Opening Day 2017. If its a sure thing, I can wait.
    @ru155,
    This thing is to complicated to simply state that it would have happened a long time ago if BS wanted it to happen. Read up on the Expos to DC saga for how difficult there things can be. Difficult yes, but not impossible.

  117. ML – They’re the ones talking about it, it’s not my idea. I imagine they would be partners with others. The takeway isn’t to nitpick the group, it is that interest exists.

    • @anonasfan – Lovely. Another group interested in a team that’s not for sale with no clear path to a new stadium (which you disingenuously did not point out in your links). Get in line. BTW, this is a niche site covering a niche subject matter for a fringe team. Nitpicking is our stock and trade, if you haven’t noticed.

  118. @anonasfan – I’m interested in buying the team. Should I call up the newspapers to get it reported?

  119. The A’s will never get a staduim because the giants wants the A’s to leave the Bay Area and this why they are stopping the A’s from building.

  120. RU155 writes: “”I’m sure all the MLB owners have the dollar-sign-eyes when SJ is brought up, but enough of them have to be hesitant about precedent – otherwise we would have had a resolution by now. “”
    Totally agree. The only certainty that can be drawn from the delay is that MLB believes no decision best serves them.

    RU155 writes: “”I think i missed the point where the Giants and A’s started negotiations, any info on that?””
    It was a story blurb posted here which quoted about the teams negotiating. Sorry I don’t have the blurb handy. However, I wouldn’t take it as ‘ the teams are now negotiating’ and a resolution is coming. The negotiation appeared to simply be MLB trying to have the decision made for them (made easy). Though I have heard nothing further, the CW says the A’s and SF are miles apart — and the issue is entirely in the hands of BS.
    My bringing up of the negotiation was solely about refuting a post that said SJ “was a negative for MLB”.

  121. @Carl,
    Thanks for enlightening us all.
    Re “negotiations,” when Larry Baer declines to comment on the situation and states it’s in the hands of the commissioner and committee; when Lew Wolff states, albeit long, that the process is fair; considering the committee completed its work earlier this year, turned in its report to the executive council, which put the process on the “front burner,”…..this all leads me to believe a resolution is being formulated and negotiations are occurring. Just my opinion of course, but that’s how I interpret the aforementioned.

  122. ru155 FYI: the giants “do not have a tough case.” Jason Stark is not the last word as an MLB source. Stark enjoys stirring the pot – his comments are rarely relevent. One doesn’t need to be a legal wiz to know that the ATE is on wobbly ground. The current Tampa Bay Rays owners group have pierced it twice in court (and that is likely why Selig awarded them the Rays franchise) The A’s case (one would believe) is much stronger than the Tampa Bay group’s was. The A’s haven’t moved to SJ yet because Selig likely wishes to avoid opening a legal can of worms by either the A’s or giants management. Also, Lew Wolff, Selig’s frat buddy, doesn’t wish to offend Selig and the MLB club members.

    Besides, Wolff is doing quite nicely with the current arrangement, the A’s are profitable because ot the MLB revenue sharing arrangement, and the A’s have likely more than doubled in value from the $170 that Wolff bought the team in ’05.

    This link will explain that the ATE has more holes than a brick of swiss cheese: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1905748.

    The giants managment appears to be bluffing with a weak hand. If and when Wolff decides to sue MLB and/or the giants – the A’s stand a good chance of winning.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s