Shaikin on A’s future, Wolff

Hopefully you’ve read LA Times baseball writer Bill Shaikin’s piece on the A’s from last night (I tweeted it shortly after I saw it in Google News). If not, take a few minutes to gather it in and then come back here.

Okay, ready? Let’s do a deep dive into the meaty parts of the column.

There are indications Selig might rule by the end of the year. Yet, rather than say yes or no, Selig appears to be considering a ruling that could challenge both the A’s and Giants to fulfill certain criteria.

“I think there will be an effort to be Solomonesque,” said someone who has spoken with Selig but declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue. “This is not a ‘yes or no’ sort of thing.”

The status quo works just fine for the Giants, but it is corroding the A’s.

Lew Wolff, the A’s owner, won’t say much about the process. But he will say this: If Selig puts conditions on his ruling that require a year or so to fulfill, the waiting game is over.

“That would be a no,” Wolff said. “They might as well just tell us no.”

For instance, the burden could be put on the A’s to guarantee their financial projections. If the A’s move to San Jose, pay to build the ballpark, and come off baseball’s welfare system of revenue sharing, how can the A’s ensure the long-term sustainability of a championship-caliber club?

First, let’s look at the “Solomonesque” effort. For some time, the level-headed among us have espoused this concept. It would mean the Giants wouldn’t be able to extract $200 million from the A’s or whatever the price was they won’t communicate in private or public. And it would mean that the A’s wouldn’t get San Jose for free. There is a price. The actual number and terms are still up for debate, but despite what many think of this arduous process, Selig is at least attempting to resolve this in a fair way. If it’s done right, both sides will come away happy and with something to complain about, as is the case in most big money negotiations.

The status quo item is something we’ve covered ad nauseum here. No need to rehash it now.

Then there’s Wolff’s comment. This is the big one because it shows that he has a limit as to how long he’ll wait for an answer. Shaikin confirms this in a tweet accompanying his column:

Remember that in May, Wolff asked for a vote on the territorial rights issue. That vote did not end up on the agenda for either the May or August owners meetings. That would make the November meetings pivotal for Wolff, if not for Selig or the other owners. With the sale of the Padres out of the way and national TV deals on their way to being sealed, the A’s should be on the front burner again. (I’m not getting my hopes up.)

If Selig asks for more time, the ball’s in Wolff’s court. He could sell, which has to date not shown a willingness to do. Despite the lack of a stadium deal and the A’s being stuck (for the time being) in Oakland, the A’s could fetch $500 million easily, especially if multiple bidders were involved. Selig and the other owners, sympathetic to the Wolff’s plight (Wolff is well-liked in the Lodge), would push hard for Wolff to get top dollar for his patience. If the team were to stay in Oakland, incoming owners would have to show that they had a stadium plan ready to go and funded. The CBA’s stipulation that the 15 teams in the largest markets (which include Oakland) have to stop taking in revenue sharing is all the motivation any ownership group needs. The worrying factor is the possible emergence of a Clay Bennett-type of bidder who seeks to move the A’s out of the area. It would be difficult to pull off, but not impossible, and with the legal issues that will arise with any T-rights battle, the idea could be considered an easier path to resolution than keeping the team in the Bay Area.

Wolff could try to make it work in the East Bay, but it seems like those bridges have been burned so badly that there’s no trust upon which a relationship can be built. I’m reminded of Tom Benson’s situation as owner of the New Orleans Saints both pre- and post-Katrina. At several points it seemed like the Saints were gone, especially as the Superdome was destroyed inside and out in the wake of the hurricane. It took $320 million in mostly federal and state money to bring the Superdome up to current NFL standards. The NFL only funded $15 million of it. It took an act of god to turn the Saints around and to reform Benson’s pariah image.

The last part about guaranteeing financial projections is a fair request. It’s not just a matter of making sure Wolff gets the best deal possible, it’s also about ensuring that if the team is sold down the line it isn’t saddled with really bad debt. If, as Wolff has indicated, the ownership group will put together a lot of upfront equity for Cisco Field, that’s a huge selling point to Selig. It would reduce outstanding debt and would positively impact any future franchise sale, since the team’s interest in the ballpark would be part of the sales price. Look at it this way: while many franchise rely on regular cash calls to fund operations, the A’s don’t have to do that because of revenue sharing and tidy fiscal management. Going out-of-pocket for the ballpark is a one-time, major cash call. Seems like ownership is already leaning in this direction, the question is how much?

Numerous short-term matters will also come into play, such as the Coliseum lease and whatever progress is being made by Oakland on its Howard Terminal effort. Whatever decision Selig and the owners make, it’s better than the uncertainty that has loomed over the franchise for so long. The Lodge owes A’s fans and A’s ownership that much.

111 thoughts on “Shaikin on A’s future, Wolff

  1. Well, the “good news” is that San Jose appears to be alive and well and a real consideration for MLB. The “bad news”? Not sure, but why would Wolff think that extra conditions would take over a year to complete, considering all that MLB knows at this point? That line doesn’t make any sense to me at all. Further study, over a year, for the A’s to complete? If this thing will truly come down to some “solomonesque” effort, what about the burden on the Giants? Why nothing stated for their burden? Anyhow, to those who doubted a deal was in the making, so much for that thought. It appears its now just a matter of what the A’s and Giants will have to give up. Yes way SJ!
    BTW, why do I get this feeling that Wolff is also Shaikins anonymous person close to Selig…

  2. So if MLB says “Here’s Howard Terminal, this is your site,” and Wolff sticks to his guns that the site won’t work, he then can just stay at the Coliseum and keep collecting revenue-sharing and refuse to sell. He does have some leverage.

  3. OMG – “Despite the lack of a stadium deal and the A’s being stuck (for the time being) in Oakland”
    .
    “stuck”?
    .
    They are the “Oakland” Athletics!

  4. Nice to see the huge crowds over the past few days. Where have they been for so many years? Huge crowds when it had nothing to do with the Giants, Red $ox, Yankee$ or fireworks. How much difference will it make in Wolff’s thinking? Probably none….

  5. 20,000 on a Sunday for a game in the middle of a pennant race is not a huge crowd. In fact it was the third lowest in MLB yesterday.

  6. 20,000 for the A’s when it’s not against one of the three teams I mentioned is, comparatively speaking, a huge crowd. Historically, the A’s being in a pennant race has not been enough to get them into the top half of attendance. 2006 – A’s are AL runnerups, just four wins from the World Series, but still only finish 26th in attendance.

  7. mlb wants the A’s off of revenue sharing (an event dependent on a new stadium, if I remember the most recent labor agreement correctly), and mlb wants the A’s to begin to pay the Giants, over time, for the TRs. We’ve known those facts for months. Problem is, that approach creates a significant negative swing in income for Wolff/Fisher. They udoubtedly have San Jose development plans that will generate profits after the A’s move to SJ, even if the A’s do not draw particularly well. But the team has to break even financially for that plan to work–very profitably. Payments to the Giaints would cut into the team’s earnings and the break would become very uneven if the franchise isn’t thriving. So Wolff/Fisher are looking at an obvious risk issue: Do they really think they can turn the A’s into a popular, money-making franchise in SJ? If so, take the mlb deal and pay off the Giants–they’ll be able to afford it. If not, then get out of the baseball business and focus on investing in hotels and second-rate office towers.

  8. @TonyD – I’m sure the Giants requirements will have something to do with proving that they’ll suffer a large long-term loss in revenue when the A’s move to SJ.

  9. 20K for Saturday and Sunday games in the middle of a pennant race is embarrassing.
    .
    @pjk, The A’s attendance for the most part has always been mediocre at best. Don’t fall into the trap of using historical data as a benchmark when determining what is good and acceptable.

  10. Now I see where I messed up. I read my Saturday morning box score, with the tiny type, at about 6:30 am when it was still kind of dark outside and I was half asleep. I thought I read “30,000″ when it was actually “20,000.” Therefore I mistakenly thought we had back-to-back 30,00+ games. I just checked and it was actually 20,342 on Saturday. Sorry about that.

  11. @david –> josh Reddick ‏@joshreddick16

    Dear O.co security. It’s September learn who your players are

  12. re: If the team were to stay in Oakland, incoming owners would have to show that they had a stadium plan ready to go and funded.

    …Absolutely. We want this ironclad. No “We’ll buy the team and take five years investigating whether we can build in Oakland or not.” Enough already.

  13. Just get it done somewhere in the Bay Area, please.

  14. Either way, it looks like we might finally get an answer. Not sure it’s going to be the answer Wolff wants, particularly if as Shaikin makes it seem the answer will involve more time and questions, but at least we’ll have it. And then Wolff can get on with the business of selling to a Clay Bennett type and the A’s can leave like the Giants always wanted.

  15. re: And then Wolff can get on with the business of selling to a Clay Bennett type and the A’s can leave like the Giants always wanted.

    …that’s a distinct possibility. I’ve always maintained that the “A’s will have to stay in Oakland because they have nowhere to go” crowd will be a bit shocked when cities come crawling out of the woodwork for a chance get Major League Baseball.

  16. C’mon Dan! You’re getting your Quakes SSS, but don’t give up on us getting our SJ ballpark. This isn’t going to be a case of “no” to San Jose but rather “make sure you have all your pieces in place before I give the official go ahead.” It will also entail a compromise between the A’s and Giants, BOTH teams not liking certain aspects of the deal.

  17. @pjk,
    No, its not a distinct possibility. Worst case scenario is spelled F R E M O N T. But I’m more confident than ever that it won’t come down to that.

  18. Fremont? Where in Fremont? Think MLB wants 700 people a night protesting like the last time? I doubt it. I think we could anticipate a wave of CEQA lawsuits if Fremont is tried again. Fremont’s ship has sailed….

  19. Anyone who can simply say the tired phrase “Frat boy bud Lew” with a straight face is delusional. If anything, this process has shown that there is absolutely no preferential treatment, even though Bud personally brought in Wolff as an owner. This has dragged on so long and it’s pathetic.

  20. Tony, I understand that. And if Wolff is to believed, he’ll treat that answer as a de facto “no” and act accordingly. He wants a “yes”, not a “give us your plans, projections, etc…”
    .
    Frankly this article gives A’s fans little to be hopeful for. Because it sure doesn’t look like Wolff is going to get the answer he wants and we know Oakland won’t come up with some white knight owner who can guarantee a privately funded ballpark. Seems far more likely some out of town billionaire looking for a new plaything will be able to come up with a ballpark in a state not nearly as anti-building/business as California to move the A’s to.

  21. Dan: I also don’t see much room in there for optimism and I’m trying to be optimistic. Looks like Wolff will only get San Jose if he meets onerous conditions that won’t be met. Then, he either:
    * Keeps the team at the Coliseum with all its problems and collects revenue-sharing for years to come.
    * Sells to some other party willing to fork over more than $1 billion of their own money to buy the team and build in Oakland.
    * Sells to out-of-town buyers who will move the team.

  22. The question is, would MLB even allow any owner to spend a billion dollars in Oakland? Next to the AT & T baseball cathedral? With a historically bad attendance record? That prospect, while having been shared often, seems very unlikely. Just because there may be some that say Howard Terminal can be done doesn’t mean that site’s issues go away. And by the way, I haven’t heard the words “Coliseum City” in a while now. Anything happening from anyone?

  23. davey, that’s a good point. It sure doesn’t jive with MLB’s newest debt rules. I mean if they have concerns about Wolff’s long term debt load building a ballpark alone, what is the debt load of a new owner with both the significantly increased team purchase price debt (over what Wolff paid) and the ballpark price in Oakland going to do to their chances of getting approval from MLB.

  24. As far as I know, Coliseum City is still going through review. The City is spending a lot of money vetting it ($3.5M). Developments like that take a lot of planning and preparation (which is why I was skeptical that it would keep the A’s in town or that it would break ground this decade).
    .
    If the A’s are going to stay in Oakland, it’s Howard Terminal or bust. That is the site that fits the model of Denver, San Diego, San Francisco, Baltimore, etc. Adjacent to downtown, already scheduled for development (JLS, Oak 2 9th, etc). Oakland shouldn’t be wasting a second on a baseball stadium at the Coliseum site (football is a different story).

  25. I do know one thing about Howard Terminal….how are you going to get there when a train goes by. Oakland is wasting its time considering this site.

  26. After 3.5 years, they need another year to get more “facts”?!!! Perpetual purgatory here we come…sigh.

  27. Looks like Wolff’s posturing could put Selig in a position of either approving San Jose under conditions favorable to Wolff or else let the whole mess fester for many, many more years.

  28. Well these are my Solomon thoughts and predictions.

    MLB will not be part of the compensation for the Giants. They will not give revenue or club value appreciation guarantees. This will be between the Giants and A’s only.

    Wolff will be asked to pay a one-time fee or an annual “rent” to the Giants for the South Bay Territory.

    The Giants will be required to open their books to the A’s on Santa Clara County. This will determine what the fee or rent would be.

    The Giants will not receive any additional territory in trade.

    Would Wolff move to SJ under those conditions? That is the question.

  29. The Utah Athletics!! SLC is fitting since there are NO AL TEAMS IN THE MT ZONE and there must and needs to be one so that AL Teams can go to Utah and it will definitely let the Jazz fit with the A’s!!

  30. I’m about as optimistic as Dan…ugh.

    On the plus side, got my playoff tickets this morning. Can’t believe this season!

  31. …Just a couple more weeks before MLB can “showcase” the Coliseum on national TV, with the most critical games of the year being played on a messed-up field with yard line markers all over it. Nationwide, viewers can see that the facility problems that existed in 2006 when the A’s went to the ALCS are no closer to resolution.

  32. How much worse is it to wait one more year? Perhaps Selig’s conditions are not going to be as Draconian as perceived (maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part).
    .
    Got tickets to the Wild Card Game and ALDS “Game 2″ (hopefully ALDS Game 4 if we win the division), both nights in the Plaza Club.

  33. way to jinx us, pjk. ix-nay on the layoffs-pay talk.

  34. Ethan, I don’t think many (reasonable) folks think Howard Terminal is a great idea… but it is probably the only shot Oakland really has anymore… What other site do you think they can push at this point?

  35. Lew can tell BS that the A’s will not ask for revenue help from MLB even if they lose 50 mils a year in SJ. There is no way that the A’s can guarantee profits even with a new park in SJ. So many variables/factors are involved.

    If the conditions are tough to comply with then Lew should ask for an up or down vote. If the fellow owners reject the requested move then Lew can decide his next step and SJ can decide if they want to sue.

    Lets settle this stoopid thing NOW.

  36. Wolff has been holding folks back from making the AT legals threats. A defacto “No” that further prolongs things may simply be the final straw for him to stop holding that back. All a “No” or otherwise negative decision does is it take the game to the next inning. How it plays out is really anyone’s guess.

  37. How can Wolff show #s when he has no way of showing prior results in San Jose?

    All he has are #s from Oakland over 40 plus years from a revenue and attendance perspective. He can predict suite sales, club seats, and PSLs perhaps but how can predict exactly what his profit margin or revenue is going to be?

    We can all assume a new ballpark in San Jose or Oakland would improve revenue but would it make the A’s more profitable? I ask that because the ballpark has to be privately financed. In that case the answer would be no in Oakland based on previous history.

    In Oakland, a sizable public subsidy would be needed as ATT Park and the Giants are too close for a privately financed ballpark to work and for MLB to approve it.

    In San Jose, it is very well possible after watching the 49ers succeed big time in nearby Santa Clara that a privately financed ballpark has a higher chance of succeeding in Silicon Valley.

    In the case with San Jose, the Giants cannot be compensated unless they can prove (which they cannot) how much $$ they will lose if the A’s move there…..it actually can be argued the Giants would make more $$ as they are essentially trading the East Bay for Santa Clara, Monterey, and Santa Cruz counties….all those counties are too far for a majority of fans to be season ticket holders.

    The Giants piece is a such a variable that Selig cannot affix a value to it….This is why he cannot broker a deal, both teams are giving exact opposite arguments. The Giants argue a Silicon Valley team would cripple them despite being further away….While the A’s state a Silicon Valley team would create 2 revenue sharing winners in what is the wealthiest market in the baseball.

    This argument is the reason why the other 2-team markets are shared….It voids the argument from the perspective of both teams involved.

    Selig created this mess, and he needs to do something or he will start seeing lawsuits.

  38. Even Apple can’t guarantee that they will be profitable for next 10 years or so. It is impossible to guarantee or plan.

  39. I could see a “deal” in which the A’s pay a small amount for SJ, but then have to be on the hook to guarantee the Giants’ value for X number of years. The A’s get what they want, but if they kill the Giants’ value, they’re hurt by it. And the Giants lose what they want, but are guaranteed not to be hurt by it.

  40. well, i guess things will finally shake out. It’s 10:00AM folks. 2 hours till the high-noon shootout. In the past I know its been discussed about a number that the A’s would pay the Giants (along the lines of the Washington-Baltimore deal). At what number does it become impossible for Lew to accept? Is it $200, $300, $400 million? I would assume that Lew would not be forced to start paying until the stadium opened which would give him a few more years on the dole.

  41. All LW has to do is say one time, “I want to stay in Oakland.” The City will rejoice. The fans will come back and the City will do whatever it can to either chip in on construction or help find someone who will.

    It’s up to him, really.

  42. Not sure it’s going to get to the amounts you’re talking about either.

  43. Wow! I leave for a few hours and…well, I’ll just leave it at WOW! look, everyone has a right to be pessimistic and go off on wild tangents based on what’s reported in the media. But (like previous articles over the past 4 months) what part of Shaikins piece is fact? A couple of words from Wolff and quotes from someone “close” to Selig (Wolff again?). Everything else is an assumption: ie San Jose may need more study, etc. Based on my right of being optimistic, I interpret Shaikins piece of simply stating this: a deal will be worked out that won’t be completely to the A’s and Giants liking…THAT’S IT!

  44. Sometimes I wonder if you people actually read the articles.

  45. @Marine Layer

    Lmao I did read the article I posted it on the news for 9/14. I did like the idea at the bottom of the article where is said if the A’s and the Giants met in the WS they should battle for the rights to SJ .

  46. only thing I question is this…”It also is unclear how Selig might rule on Oakland, where Wolff says there are no viable sites for a new ballpark. Selig apparently believes otherwise, but city funding has all but disappeared with the extinction of redevelopment agencies…”

    I think that BS absolutely questions Oakland and is doing everything he can to forge the SJ solution–what professional sports franchise wouldn’t want access to SV riches–especially after reading how solid the ’9ers sales have been already. Failure to deliver on SJ would be a huge black mark for him—people can forget the ridiculous amount of time it took if there is a successful conclusion but to spend 4 years and come up empty and have no alternative plan for Oakland/Fremont would be a lasting blemish for him as he retires.

    Happy to see LW putting a bit of pressure on in terms of timeframe—hope that he follows thru—

  47. I would think at this point Wolff has already supplied Selig with all the financial projections. If there are requirements, it might be a sneaky way to get the Giants to report something, which would lead directly into the compensation discussion. You don’t report? Ok, the damage must be $0. I just hope it’s not a year away.
    .
    And as far as ‘Solomonesque’ goes, it certainly seems like Selig is subscribing to the idea of “Gam zeh ya’avor.”

  48. A World Series challenge would be the world’s worst dilemma for the pro-Oakland/”Oakland Only” people like myself. A’s win the World Series, the team moves. Team loses the World Series, the team stays/moves to Albuquerque.

  49. This was the part that most piqued my interest in ML’s post:
    ” the ownership group will put together a lot of upfront equity for Cisco Field, that’s a huge selling point to Selig.”
    .
    That’s the key to the financial projections that were raised. The less they finance stadium construction up front, the less they are dependent on the long-term financial success from the baseball operation to continue to be successful. If the ownership group decides to pay for stadium construction (or at least a sizable chunk) out of their own considerable resources, then the long-term success and value of the franchise is not in jeopardy because there are no (or at least limited) long-term financial obligations to account for. From baseball’s perspective, that’s as good as a publicly financed stadium because there is no related liability on the team’s balance sheet.
    .
    But I wonder: could part of the financial assessment that Selig is making possibly include the thought that the city will fund some of the construction as well? It might explain his lack of urgency if he thinks San Jose will eventually get desperate enough to fund some of the construction. I think that’s a non-starter, but who knows what goes on in the mind of Bud.

  50. BTW,
    after reading the article again, it appears that Shaikin was the one bringing up the whole extra year and a half study scenario, with Wolff simply answering his question by stating that would equate to a “no” answer. Kind of like when reporters asked Selig if Wolff would consider moving outside of the Bay Area, he replied simply that was a question for Wolff to answer: all of a sudden Selig was suggesting the A’s were leaving the Bay Area! Gotta love our mainstream media!

  51. Shakin’s story is likely newspaper filler only. The A’s are hardly “corroding away” – Wolff bought the A’s in ’05 for $170 mil. The team is now worth over $500 mil. easily. Also, because of MLB’s revenue sharing, the A’s are profitable. The giants organization seems to be having financial difficulty though, (Sabean admitted that the team’s payroll is limited to $130 mi.) Even if Selig refuses the A’s move, Wolff could wait until Selig retires after the ’13 season and the new commish would hopefully be more decisive than Selig has been.

    Wolff does not appear to be selling the team – why would the A’s hire attorney Allen Ruby (said to be a bay area heavyweight) if Wolff was planning on selling? The A’s instead appear to be preparing for a legal battle against the giants, with their recent actions to demonstrate a link between “Stand for San Jose” and the giants owners group.

  52. A’s are profitable because of revenue-sharing. IE, the team loses money but is subsidized by the other teams, an arrangement that really doesn’t work. The A’s are like a chain store that loses money in a chain where the other stores make money. I agree it looks like Wolff is bracing for a legal battle if the decision doesn’t go his way. And if he can’t negotiate a new lease with the Coliseum, then we’re moving to uncharted territory with the team having no place to play after next season. (Thanks, Mr. Selig, for having the courage to solve this problem in a prompt fashion. It’s not like it’s been festering for several years. Oh wait a second – it has.)

  53. @pjk Re: Coliseum lease
    .
    It might be messy (read: De La Fuente grandstanding), but a new Coliseum lease extension should happen without too much uncertainty. Look for MLB to negotiate with the Authority or at least MLB acting as a middleman between the A’s and the Authority.

  54. Has MLB ever acted as intermediary between a team and a city’s stadium board?

  55. Totally unrealistic, but I wonder how much the Giants would be willing to pay to have the A’s stay in Oakland.

  56. @mike,
    Worst thing about NBC Bay Area? They’re actually a San Jose-based station, but they act like they’re located in Frisco. A crying shame if you ask me.

  57. I love the timing of all this. Unless I’m wrong in thinking that there’s a court date on Friday that could possibly lead to the “Stand for San Jose” lawsuit being thrown out. Maybe that doesn’t happen, and nothing of interest comes out of Friday’s hearing, but this story certainly changes public discourse for the week doesn’t it? I don’t think Shaikin is in the tank for the Giants, especially since he has quotes directly from Wolff; but the Giants PR is fabulous and I wouldn’t be shocked if the Giants had at the very least a helping hand in getting this story out, especially if everything is still a go for Friday morning.

  58. I’m so numb to this process that I’d be satisfied with MLB coming up with a solution results in an A’s ballpark at Howard Terminal. What’s another 3-4 years? It’s only time. At least the team is playing well.

  59. Personally I see 3 events recently that I believe are related and bode well for SJ- first is the announcement that they are breaking ground on the EQ new stadium- there was always talk of one project following the other in quick succession and gaining some benefits from the contractors. Second, the move to begin to pursue the issue with S4SJ- why invest money in this if LW believes there is going to be a thumbs down to SJ- finally- this article indicating that BS may have a framework in mind for moving forward on reaching a resolution with the gints- sure we have heard that before but find it interesting that the other 2 pieces are moving forward after a long period of waiting. Btw- doesn’t hurt that the sale of both the EQ and ’9ers suites and club seats are going so well- says something about the strength of the south bay market to support privately financed stadiums-

  60. Ah during the Marlins last years in Dolphin Stadium?

    • @Dan – Yes, but more along the lines of the negotiations for Marlins Park. Jeff Loria stepped away and had his son-in-law, David Samson, become the public face of the club. Actual negotiations were done by Bob DuPuy and MLB’s panel – the same three members of “our” panel. The scare tactics that worked in Miami won’t work here because MLB can’t scare any serious money out of any cities/counties here.

  61. I like the idea of settling this sh*t in the World Series… but I think if the Giants lose, THEY should have to move to San Jose.

  62. “Worst thing about NBC Bay Area? They’re actually a San Jose-based station, but they act like they’re located in Frisco. A crying shame if you ask me.”
    ….
    -can say the same thing about ktvu being based in oakland which if pro oaklanders have their way the a’s new park at howard terminal would be what less than a mile away from the ktvu headquarters.

  63. “Second, the move to begin to pursue the issue with S4SJ- why invest money in this if LW believes there is going to be a thumbs down to SJ . . .”
    .
    Lew Wolff (his LLC) got sued. Of course they’re going to fight back. If you don’t, you lose automatically. As Mayor Reed said a week or two back, the writ proceeding S4SJ filed is SOP delay tactic — in fact, Mayor Reed said, in the interview snippet I heard on the radio, “We’ve [ie., San Jose has] done that more than a few times.”

  64. .and the fact that they have begun to address the delay tactic means what xootsuit? Seems to me some wheels are starting to move again-

  65. You’d think MLB learned from Marlins Park… They are celebrating a 2M attendance season for the first time since 1997… 2M is bottom half. MLB should just GTFO of the way. I know Oakland proponents don’t really want that, but MLB isn’t about to get Oakland to pay for 70% of a $600M stadium and Oakland proponents shouldn’t want that anyway.

  66. GoAs: S4SJ brought a small writ proceeding with a bunch of fire power, and Lew Wolff et al. have responded in kind. Defendants often do that. It’s not an important lawsuit. It is interesting, however, because by instigating and funding the litigation, the SF Giants managed to sue the A’s without violating the mlb constitution. Maybe the A’s lawyers will take a cue. . . .
    .
    As I calculate, based on the currently posted hearing calendar, S4SJ’s opposition to the SJ/A’s motion to compel deposition etc. should’ve been filed today. Be interesting to see the brief, etc.. For some reason, the Santa Clara County Superior Court website doesn’t make scanned copies of filed papers available online. Many superior courts do. I believe ML came up with the moving papers a couple weeks ago on his own. Hope he posts the opposition papers, too. Might be worth a look.

  67. Pointing out that most of the people that go to A’s games thinks Wolff sucks is a smear campaign? If I say the Raiders are 0-2 is that a smear campaign too?

  68. @Brian,
    Got proof that “most” of the people that attend A’s games think Wolff “sucks?” That’s what I thought…
    (Just more Oakland-only BS…)

  69. Whether you’re for or against the A’s moving to San Jose, you have to agree it was a bad idea for Wolff to discuss his intentions to move to San Jose before getting the green light from MLB, Giants, etc. The Chip Johnson column goes after low-hanging fruit, but unfortunately in this matter perception is reality.

  70. Unfortunately in this matter, perception is reality. Has Wolff been excessively vilified? Probably. However, opening discussing intentions to move the A’s to San Jose before getting all the proper approvals was a disaster.

  71. @Briggs–given the MLB TR issue how else would he have done it…not to mention he was brought on by the previous ownership group to find a site in Oakland—hence his report that there are no options in Oakland….which seems to be supported by the BRC findings at this point—

    Still find it interesting that the W’s indicated their desire to move and no one has raised a discouraging word–heck–even SOS has an article on their blog that promtotes the move to SF- why the double standard?

    http://www.modernluxury.com/san-francisco/story/just-couple-of-dreamers

  72. @Briggs,
    But perception IS NOT reality! Besides, that “reality” only exists with the Oakland-only crowd and traditional SF media.

  73. I will say this… It is a stretch to say this year is anything like Major League. There are quotes in the article that say there is open animosity between the owner and players, that is outright untrue. There is no contractual clause that would be triggered with low attendance. Lew Wolff isn’t trying to move the team a thousand miles away. It’d be nice if people realized that embellishing the truth puts a negative spin on your legitimate arguments.

  74. … and I’d rather have Wild Thing Rick Vaungh closing games for the green n’ gold.

  75. GoA’s, I’ve been wondering the same thing since SOS started this whole save our teams thing. They’ve utterly ignored the one team that has been a consistent gate winner for the city treating them like they’ve already left.

  76. @Tony,
    And as of now the “reality” is they still are the OAKLAND A’s. When you spend 6 years constantly reminding everyone you’re only here temporarily and you’re not happy about it, people are going to resent you. You’re going to lose fans.

    • And as of now the “reality” is they still are the OAKLAND A’s. When you spend 6 years constantly reminding everyone you’re only here temporarily and you’re not happy about it, people are going to resent you. You’re going to lose fans.

      I find this comment comical. Oakland pundits have consistently said that their target market is the East Bay, meaning Contra Costa / Alameda counties. Yet, when LW was about to finalize on Fremont in their TR, the same Oakland supporters were silent AND attendance still declined. After the Fremont NIMBYs gave the middle finger to the A’s, they expressed their desire to move a mere 10-15 miles further south and suddenly people are not happy about it by declining attendance? Really?! It’s not as if the A’s haven’t been the red-headed stepchild for the past 15+ years playing second fiddle to both the W’s and the Raiders. “Reality” will settle in soon for OAKLANDers that you can’t just ignore your supposed beloved team and think they won’t run away…..

  77. Correction to Tim’s post above: “SOME people are going to resent you. You’re going to lose SOME fans.” Much better. BTW, people aren’t showing up to the Coliseum BECAUSE OF THE COLISEUM! Yes, an opinion, but one probably shared by most…including Mr. Fosse ;)

  78. The pro-Oakland fans don’t like Wolff and the pro-SJ fans don’t see the problem. Everyone has to admit it’s not a good sports business strategy to remind everyone you’re only staying in a place temporarily against your will and that you are going to cheapskate your team until you get your new stadium in a new city. I don’t think Lew was planning on doing this for six years, but that’s where we are and that drives away a large percentage of your fans

  79. Here’s the thing that annys the hell out of me… Go back and look at the attendance history of the Oakland A’s. Look at 1999 (the first year of contention after 5-6 years of no contention) and this year pretty much lines up directly with that one. Who has been driven away? People are showing up in the same numbers as they always have in Oakland, more or less.

  80. @Tim-really? What about the W’s moving to SF—from what I can tell in the media and in Oakland no one cares—so how is Lacob’s/Grubers business strategy different than LW’s?

  81. Well I can speak for myself and all my friends (save a few more diehard than me). I was there 30-40 games in 1999 and I haven’t been to that many combined in the past six years. All the downsides with the current venue were there in 1999. Coliseum was old and crappy and in a bad part of town.

  82. Less than more is probably a better way to put it. They’ve had one sell out during this amazing stretch run. And it took a joint city/SOS effort tied in with what was already a fireworks/Star Wars day to do it. That’s just pitiful. Especially when you consider the Coliseum is the “smallest” ballpark in MLB to sell out.

  83. What about the Warriors? I’d prefer they stay in Oakland but I don’t blame them for wanting to go to SF. Their SF arena will be closer to my house than the Coliseum is now. They’re the only NBA team around here – they already draw plenty of SF fans. I haven’t really heard anyone else blame them for wanting to go to SF, so I don’t think many are upset at the ownership. Long way to go on this one though so who knows.

    • What about the Warriors? I’d prefer they stay in Oakland but I don’t blame them for wanting to go to SF. Their SF arena will be closer to my house than the Coliseum is now. They’re the only NBA team around here – they already draw plenty of SF fans. I haven’t really heard anyone else blame them for wanting to go to SF, so I don’t think many are upset at the ownership. Long way to go on this one though so who knows.

      Okay, let’s go with your logic above:
      1) You don’t blame them for wanting to go to SF to get more revenue and have a better team on the court, yet you cry foul when LW wants the same thing?!
      2) The arena will be closer to your house so it’s okay. On that same line of thought, since the A’s moving to SJ will be closer to my house, it is absolutely okay as well, right?
      3) The W’s are the only team in the Bay Area. Hmm, so since there’s 2 MLB teams in the Bay area within 10 miles of each other, it would definitely make more sense for the A’s to move farther south away from the competition, right?!
      4) You haven’t heard anyone blame the W’s for going to SF, so it’s okay. So, if I and others say it’s great that the A’s move to the SB, then it’s okay as well? Are you that much of a sheep? Read up more on this site and make your own informed opinions…

  84. The fans are the last group anyone should be pointing fingers at for the A’s financial situation. The A’s and their games are products. If the consumer isn’t interested in your product, the burden of failure falls on Oakland and the A’s.

    • The fans are the last group anyone should be pointing fingers at for the A’s financial situation. The A’s and their games are products. If the consumer isn’t interested in your product, the burden of failure falls on Oakland and the A’s.

      Hmm, the A’s are fielding a team with the 4th BEST (!!!!) record in all of baseball now, yet they can’t sell out a game with major wildcard implications without resorting to gimmicks and fireworks. Who does this fall upon? A’s ownership, marketing, or ?

  85. @Anon
    1) Yes I cry foul. LW is free to do what he wants with his team, but I don’t have to like it. Were Expo fans supposed to support the move to Washington because it was good for the franchise? It’s a business – they don’t have my unconditional support. My support is contingent on them being my hometown team, not the team of some city 50 miles away.
    2) You’re free to support a move to SJ.
    3) If my interest were served by MLB maximizing their revenue out of this market, then yes I would support that. But I don’t really give a damn about MLB maximizing revenue out of this market.
    4) See 2)

    • @Anon
      1) Yes I cry foul. LW is free to do what he wants with his team, but I don’t have to like it. Were Expo fans supposed to support the move to Washington because it was good for the franchise? It’s a business – they don’t have my unconditional support. My support is contingent on them being my hometown team, not the team of some city 50 miles away.
      2) You’re free to support a move to SJ.
      3) If my interest were served by MLB maximizing their revenue out of this market, then yes I would support that. But I don’t really give a damn about MLB maximizing revenue out of this market.
      4) See 2)

      Thanks for reinforcing the proverbial double standard….

  86. Frankly, anybody who feels abandoned by the A’s moving down the road to San Jose needs therapy.

  87. What double standard?

  88. @Tim

    Uhmmmmmmmmmmm THIS:

    “What about the Warriors? I’d prefer they stay in Oakland but I don’t blame them for wanting to go to SF. Their SF arena will be closer to my house than the Coliseum is now.”

    Yet you “Cry Foul” about the A’s potential move to SJ, but you “don’t blame” the Warriors for wanting to move to SF.

    Out of curiosity, are you a Bay Area sports columnist?

  89. 1) I am an A’s fan not a Warriors fan, so hence me caring about the A’s moving and not caring about the Warriors.
    2) Warriors will not be moving farther away. A’s will be moving 40 miles away.
    3) SF is different than SJ. If the A’s were the only MLB team here for 40 years and decided they wanted a waterfront ballpark in SF, I wouldn’t blame them either. I like hopping on the train and going to SF. I do not like hopping on the freeway and sitting in traffic for an hour or two to get to SJ. I will not be doing that.

  90. Tim, you do realize you can hop on a train and go to SJ too right?
    .
    And yes your position is entirely hypocritical, and far too common among Oakland fans and the local media. The Warriors are doing exactly what the A’s are doing, yet get a free pass because they’re moving to smaller SF not SJ.

  91. A BART ride to the city is a lot easier than an Amtrak ride to San Jose. Most importantly Basketball in the Bay Area is a one team market. MLB is a two team market with Territorial Rights like them or not assigned to each team. So it is comparing apples to oranges.

  92. @Ethan,
    Actually, when discussing the reasons why the Warriors and A’s want to leave Oakland (greater opportunities for revenue, enhanced franchise value, etc.) IT IS NOT apples and oranges. And the territorial rights that you Oakland-only type champion so much are irrelevant to that discussion. They both want to leave Oakland for greener pastures, one gets blasted while the other gets a free pass, THAT’S IT! End of discussion!

  93. Ethan he’s in SF. Caltrain…

  94. BART is still a better option.

  95. As Ethan mentioned, it would only be hypocritical if this weren’t apples and oranges, and even if that were the case, I don’t really care if it’s hypocritical (see the part about “don’t give a damn” above). I wouldn’t support the A’s moving to Portland “for the good of the franchise” just like I don’t support them moving to SJ. I would go to the same number of games.

  96. How so? Both are trains, both get you there in about the same time respective of distance. About the only difference is that one is grade separated and runs on non-standard and noisy as all hell tracks.

  97. Well Tim, you are the one who brought the Warriors in as a comparison. Whether you see it or not, your stance is hypocritical.

  98. I did not bring up the Warriors, GoA’s did one page back. As mentioned multiple times by me, I am not a Warriors fan so that’s why they don’t get crap from me. But since they were brought up, it was also noted by me that they are moving closer to me, not 40 miles further away – therefore: apples and oranges.

    When you say hypocritical, it sounds like you mean inconsistent. I have been quite consistent. I am a fan of some teams and others I don’t care about. They all have the right to do what they think is in their best interest. And I don’t have to be a fan.

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