Buildup to Tuesday

ESPN’s Buster Olney had an Insider article (subscription required) with a bit of ballpark speculation in it:

Fremont, Calif., is going head-to-head with Oakland in its effort to get the Athletics. Heard this from some sources within major league baseball: The perception within the industry is that if Oakland doesn’t commit to a new ballpark for the Athletics, commissioner Bud Selig will step in and have to negotiate a territorial rights deal between the Giants and the Athletics. And if there is a deal, it will be very, very lucrative for the Giants, given the circumstances, along the lines of the Orioles’ deal to permit the Nationals into Washington.

Over at the Sacramento Bee there’s a profile of Let’s Go Oakland and its leader, Doug Boxer. At the Facebook page, Marty Glick is asking for Oakland business to commit to pony up for suites and advertising.

76 thoughts on “Buildup to Tuesday

  1. ML,
    In your view, what would MLB consider a “commitment” on Oakland’s part?

    • At the very least, Oakland should do what Fremont has been able to do so far. 1) Pick a site and an alternative. 2) Lay out the costs in detail. 3) Provide a realistic schedule for achieving goals and milestones. Pro/cons will be hashed out through the EIR/public vetting process.

      Some pledge of ticket/suite/ad buys from East Bay businesses would also be a major factor since the whole discussion boils down to improving revenue streams. I’m afraid that if what has been submitted so far from Oakland is the extent of the offer, it’ll be looked upon by the panel as token at best.

  2. I personally don’t think anything is contingent on what Oakland does, being that SJ is lights years ahead of The O in terms of everything. Besides, SJ is where Wolff and Fisher want to be, and you don’t do what’s in the best interest of ALL of MLB just because of one team.
    Separate the clubs by 40+ miles and make BOTH contributors to MLB revenue; the proverbial no brainer!

  3. That extra “very” before lucrative worries me

    • I don’t think it should. The deal with Baltimore was for guaranteed franchise value and MLB guaranteed revenues plus a controlling stake in a regional broadcast network that would play both the Nationals and Orioles games.

      The Orioles chief complaint was losing media revenue to a team in the same media market… not really a new problem here.

      If the Orioles deal is truly the pattern, then I think the A’s come out pretty good. MLB guarantees revenue and franchise value while the A’s pay some portion of the Giants mortgage until it is gone. I imagine that will be from the time the stadium opens until the mortgage is gone, so something like 2014 to 2017.

      • You beat me to it Jeffrey ;o)!

      • But the difference between Baltimore and the Bay Area is that we already have 2 teams, it’s not like we’re adding another team to the market like Baltimore/DC. The A’s would actually be moving farther away. The Giants don’t deserve shit.

    • GJ10,
      Perhaps the two “very”s are this: a guaranteed franchise value for the Giants and a portion of A’s TV revenue (from the MLB Network) for 10 years after the opening of Cisco Field in 2014. Let’s not forget that the Giants debt payments for privately financing their yard end in 7 years, the sole purpose for all their arguments re: territorial rights. That will be an “extra” $20 million a year for the Giants starting in 2018. A win, win all around if you ask me. Don’t worry to much GJ10.

      As for an “Oakland commitment,” I think at this point, with nearly 15 years under their belts, it doesn’t matter what they come up with in the next week, month, year. As has been stated before, a sound business/MLB plan will want the two Bay Area clubs separated by 40+ miles and both contributing to the revenue pot: not one as a welfare recipient and the other as a Silver Spooner. Again, Wolff and Fisher want SJ and SJ is ready to go: time to make it happen!

      Key phrase within the Olney piece is “perception within the industry.” By the way, what’s happening tomorrow (Tuesday)?

      • Don’t forget what Greg “Touchdown Raiders!” Papa said a few weeks back regarding The O. I’m sure the view of MLB’s brass is similar.

      • You still think that Greg Papa meant that there are fifty better locations and markets in the United States for sports franchises than the Oakland Metro Area? Unbelievable!

      • What do you think he meant? He said:

        “If you lay out a map and put teams in the most desirable places, I don’t think Oakland would be in the top 50 anymore,” Papa said. “It’s sad to say because I live in the East Bay and have worked with all these teams.”

        Putting aside the fact that you or I may not agree with that… What else does that mean?

      • “It’s sad to say because I live in the East Bay and have worked with all these teams.” The second sentence should tell you that he was talking about the futility of the three teams based in the city of Oakland. He was saying that he can’t think of a location with such crappy teams. Is it that difficult to understand? Common sense would tell you that there are NOT 50 better markets for sports than the 2.6 million resident, centrally located, Oakland Metro area. Maybe he thinks Nashville Tennessee or Boise Idaho are better markets than Oakland. Frankly, I’m tired of the sense of entitled and the arrogance coming from the San Jose crowd. This is far from over.

      • Nav, I think you are totally misinterpreting his statement. No where in his statement is there any hint of a reference regarding the performance of the teams playing in Oakland. Instead, he clearly states that Oakland is no longer one of the top 50 desirable places to play.

      • Nav—try and spin the first part of his quote…..“If you lay out a map and put teams in the most desirable places, I don’t think Oakland would be in the top 50…” the word desirable is not used to describe winning or losing—

  4. An interesting tidbit from the Sacramento Bee:

    Since starting Let’s Go Oakland in early November, the organization has galvanized East Bay civic and corporate leaders, all of whom hope Selig will reject Wolff’s efforts to move the team. Boxer also noted that 30,216 people have joined the group’s Facebook page and that more than 7,000 fans have signed an online petition asking the league to thwart the move.

    7,000 people have signed the petition? That’s it?

    • How many have signed the San Jose petition?

      • I don’t know. I don’t really follow online petitions, I don’t think there is even a San Jose petition.
        On a related note, weren’t you balloyhooing the 25,000 signatures just like 3 posts ago?

      • When will people stop quoting the Facebook page. 30,000 anons from anywhere on the face of the planet signing up for the “Let’s Go Oakland” page doesn’t amount to jack squat. There’s no limit to people who matter (ie: Bay Area residents), no limit on how many sock puppets can join, no limit on it being solely people who want the A’s to stay in Oakland. Of those 30,000 we don’t know how many are actual fans who live in the Bay Area and who actually want the A’s to ONLY stay in Oakland. Until that information is known that FB Group is just so much smoke and mirrors.

      • The highlight last night for me, was when someone from their Fremont Chamber of Commerce mentioned that people should join their facebook group! Awesome… dueling facebook groups.

        The triple threat match gets more interesting!

      • Looking at that facebook group, they have a founding supporters tab that includes execs from companies like Genentech, Clorox, Levi Strauss, Criedit Suisse, and Kaiser-Permanente. So it’s not merely a batch of anonymous internet yo-yos. I agree, the 31,000 member count doesn’t necessarily represent anything special without more definitive information.

      • If San Jose had 30,000 people on facebook wanting the team in San Jose, the San Jose crowd would certainly be pointing it out. Heck, they pointed out a letter from seven municipalities to “show support” for a ballpark in San Jose. Hopefully, this time in this Country the people will win and the wealthy and politically connected will lose. Let’s hope! Let’s Go Oakland!

      • Yes, Go Oakland!!

    • From the message board, on the topic of building a ballpark in Fremont:

      “…Traffic jams, crime, trash, big ugly hunk of concrete, sea gulls every where, slums around the ball park, drop in property values, vagrants”

      LOL, sounds like the Oakland Coliseum is the only stadium this person has ever seen in their life… and thinks it is the cause for the blight around that area.

  5. I’ve already seen a comment on the Fremont Citizens Network blog (the NIMBYs who killed the original Warm Springs project) to the effect that the NUMMI site will be opposed, too…

    • there is an elementary school, day care and kids park on the same street (Grimmer Blvd) and less than a mile from the proposed stadium site. I would be against it too. Your dealing with kids and cars which dont mix

      • Baseball games are mostly played from about 7pm to 10pm, or else on weekends. The practice in Oakland of the odd weekday afternoon game could be discontinued if that was a big issue to the neighborhood. That area to the other side of Paseo Padre should not actually get much traffic related to the stadium, except for local A’s fans from around Mission San Jose, or random people that get lost and wander several blocks in the wrong direction.

      • Anyone interested in looking at the traffic volume map can check it out here:

        City of Fremont Official Site – Traffic Maps

        I don’t know the year on that, but I assume it was done when the NUMMI plant was in full operation. The corner where the ballpark would be is 1.2 miles from Fred Wiebel school, which is on the other side of 680, where the “3660” is on Paseo Padre at Grimmer.

        Also, I thought the odd weekday game was so that schools or parents could take younger kids to a game during the week. I know many are against the practice of giving away free tickets, but I’d think you could work something out with the local schools to reward good kids and classrooms with ticket vouchers.

      • Yeah, I don’t think eliminating weekday afternoon games is necessarily a good idea, but there’s no reason the A’s and community leaders can’t discuss a satisfactory arrangement.

  6. What is wrong with the Coliseum? Sure it may seem like a huge sea of parking with a big slab of a concrete stadium. But the Coliseum Area has the necessary amenities to become America’s next big entertainment area. Redesign the Coliseum Area to both fit a Football & Baseball Stadium while keeping the Oracle Arena where it is, and adding shops in or around the Coliseum Area. The only problem with that is the huge cost.

    • And it is a dismal neighborhood. And it doesn’t allow the A’s to tap into the corporate/premium seating money necessary to make a private-financed ballpark pencil out.

      • I guess the Warriors tapped into Oracle in that same location and are selling $2,000 court side seats. Not bad for that “dismal neighborhood.”

    • I have heard this line for about 20 years now. Still waiting for the next big entertainment thing to magically sprout.

      • What’s really sad is after all these years of hosting not one, not two, but three major sports teams, but large numbers of other events at the Coli and Arena, the area can’t support even a single sports bar. What’s up with that?

      • bartleby, , You know better than that. You know the the Coliseum sits in a suburban setting with a freeway on one side and train tracks on the other. You also know that the hotels, bars and restaurant are on Hegenber Road. Also, you know darn well that the parking lot is where any development housing sports bars would go. And, the proposed San Jose site is across the freeway from downtown San Jose proper. There is nothing magical or beautiful about the Diridon site in San Jose.

      • Are you being willfully ignorant, or just disingenous? All of downtown San Jose is within one mile of the Diridon site. There are dozens of licensed nightclubs in this area, and dozens more restaurants and bars. Poor House Bistro is immediately next to the Diridon site, and there’s not even a ballpark there yet. Patty’s is so close it’ll probably have to be destroyed to make way for the ballpark. Thousand of people at every Sharks game have dinner downtown, then enjoy a leisurely stroll over to the Arena. Thousands more stay after games to party downtown. The Diridon site is a phenomenal site right in the heart of a lively, vibrant downtown.

        Have you ever even been to downtown San Jose?

        There are plenty of places they could put a sports bar next to the Coliseum. I’ve been going there for years, I’ve been a season ticket holder for both the Raiders and A’s, and I don’t know of a single one within one mile. If you do, please, tell me where it is.

      • I’ve been to downtown San Jose many times. I’ve been to the California Theater, (small but nice) it certainly isn’t the Fox or Paramount. I’ve been to the San Jose Repertory Theater. Again, a very small venue with maybe a couple of hundred seats. I’ve been to your beautiful Saint Joseph’s Cathedral. I’ve seen the restaurants on Santa Clara Street next to the massive garage. I’ve seen the sign in front of Saint Josephs indicating where San Jose Chinatown used to be. I’ve walked the “Paseo” between San Jose State and Lew Wolff’s Fairmont Hotel. I’ve seen your “Old Town” around 1st Street. I know exactly where HP Pavilion sits. I like San Jose, but I love Oakland. It’s as simple as that. I think Oakland has far more to offer in its various downtown neighborhoods, including Victory Court near Jack London Square.

      • Bartleby,

        Have YOU ever been to downtown Oakland? I’ll wager that I know downtown San Jose much better than you know downtown Oakland.

      • OK, so you’ve either been to downtown SJ, or you know how to work Google. So if you’re going to compare theaters, why omit the Center for Performing Arts, which is San Jose’s main theater and draws Broadway touring companies? And why harp on the fact that downtown SJ is bifurcated by a freeway, when Victory Court is just as much separated from the rest of downtown by a freeway? (Not to mention, I don’t see nearly as much foot traffic going up Broadway as between the Arena and downtown SJ).
        Knowing the facts is fine, but not very valuable if you don’t represent them fairly. It comes across as disingenous.
        Yes, I’ve been to downtown Oakland many times. I’ve had dinner many times in JLS, Chinatown, Old Oakland, and up near the Paramount. I’ve seen many shows at the Paramount. I’ve taken the kids to see Jack London’s cabin, and to the Oakland Museum. I have friends near Lake Merritt that I visit regularly. Downtown Oakland has improved somewhat, but it’s still nowhere near as lively as downtown SJ on a weekend.
        You like downtown Oakland better than SJ, fine, it’s a subjective opinion. But you lose a lot of cred when you’re also posting that the neighborhood around the Coli is in anyway comparable to Wrigleyville or Yawkey Way.

  7. re: Redesign the Coliseum Area to both fit a Football & Baseball Stadium

    Who’s going to pay for this? It’s $500 mill+ for a baseball stadium and $1 bill for a football stadium. The city and county don’t have the money. The state certainly doesn’t have the money. Wolff was planning to build in Fremont by using profits from adjacent residential real estate sales to underwrite the costs of the A’s stadium. This is not doable at the Coliseum site, unless the Coliseum authority wants to give him the whole parking lot to build condos and townhouses.

  8. Re: the usual complaints of traffic, crime, slums, etc.

    I work down the street from the Giants ballpark and according to these Fremont folks, I must be taking my life in my hands walking near – gasp – a ballpark! Meanwhile, offices, townhouses, a new Safeway, other stores continue to sprout up in the neighborhood. Apparently, these developers and residents didn’t get the message about what “horror” a ballpark is.

    Incidentally, the Fremont Citizens Network also talks about some other development proposed in Fremont and – surprise – they’re against that, too.

    “No matter what it is or who commenced it, I’m against it.” – Groucho Marx, from the film, “Horsefeathers.”

    • This is the heart of the matter… These folks don’t want development. That is their prerogative.

      I sort of agree that the best spot for the A’s is an urban joint. Oakland or San Jose… but I will go to games in Fremont just the same.

      • Fremont is a large and diverse city with a serious problem on it’s hands regarding how to handle the NUMMI closure. This is something the entire city should be voting on, not something a vocal minority can hijack.
        I hope the citizens at least get a chance to see all sides of the issue and make a rational decision, rather than have the sea gull person rule the day.

      • I don’t disagree.

      • Ditto here.

  9. ..isn’t the problem, though, the even if Fremont en masse votes for the A’s stadium, the NIMBYs can still file lawsuit after lawsuit to gum it all up?

    • I think they’ll be less likely to go that route, spending their money on lawyers, after an election was held. Usually, you get post-election lawsuits paid for by non-profits like the ACLU or Sierra Club, what have you. Anyone like that on board with the NIMBYs?

      • Vinnie Bacon is a prominent member of the local Sierra Club chapter. He ran for City Council and lost last year, he’s already announced he’s running again. Should the ballpark matter move forward he’ll make his opposition a major plank in his platform.

      • In what way is a ballpark (on industrial land) more harmful to the environment than an auto plant (on industrial land)?

      • Yeah, a selling point for anyone who cares about the effect of the auto plant on the local environment, is the rapid cleanup that will occur as part of this proposal.

  10. Some gems in the Doug Boxer article.

    “Boxer, the son of Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, said that like Dellums, the Let’s Go Oakland effort is about appealing not to Wolff but to Selig and Major League Baseball.”

    – To bad Selig or MLB don’t actually own the team.

    “All three are within easy walking distance of Jack London Square proper and its restaurants, hotels and shops. Boxer said no public opposition has surfaced to any of the sites.”

    – Does the opposition from business owners whose land you have to buy count at all?

    And, what, it’s been a month since Oakland’s “big splash” announcement on the JLS sites. Anything since then? Nope. Crickets. And that silence has basically allowed Fremont to jump Oakland’s place in line behind SJ.

    I am an Oakland resident and attending games in SJ will be more difficult, but I just don’t see my city’s hopeless leadership being able to do anything to prevent that outcome.

  11. This is why Pacific Commons ( which is already developed with Costco, Kohls, etc ) is the best Fremont site . No NIMBYs as the nearest homes are about 1 – 2 miles away and on the other side of 880 ,quite far away.

    • But weren’t Kohls and other businesses there essentially the NIMBYs that killed that first site?

    • those stores were the original NIMBY’s

    • That site was the worst of all sites discussed. What was Lew thinking?
      This one near NUMMI is better but it won’t happen.Fremont can’t afford all the costs. It’s either Oakland or possibly SJ, if Lew wants to pay for TR.

  12. …guess it never occured to them that A’s fans might actually stop on the way home and buy something from their stores. Now, they not only don’t have to worry about pesky A’s fans buying from them, they won’t have to worry about NUMMI employees doing that, either. NUMMI workers soon will be gone from the neighborhood.

    Think a ballpark and 400 homes might have been good for business at these stores? Nah – it’s all about protecting parking spaces.

  13. The stores at Pacific Commons were opposed to thousands of new residents and homes plus a ballpark village as neighbors . Never could figure out why that is a bad thing for retail . In fact high traffic is what most retailers want and drives what landlords charge in rents !
    Since then , sev biz there have gone belly up and many of the remainder momand pop ones are scraping by .

    • Just to keep it in perspective, the only real resistance came from the big box stores. The restaurants and other small businesses were largely in favor of the ballpark village. Unfortunately, only the big boxes had veto power.

      • They also were worried about baseball fans using their parking on game days. Most of the parking spots were over a half mile away, except if you paid a premium or bought one of those new overpriced condos Lew wanted to sell.

      • In every town across the country , these big box chains ( Costco based in Washintgon state, Kohl’s based in Wisconsin ) ca come in and funnel profits back to the home office , enabling them to wipe out local businesses as well as block local ideas of improving citizens choices in other retail and recreational activity . what a world we live in now , freeway exit after freeway exit ” power centers ” from coast to coast of the same fTarget/Kohls/Costco/WalMart/BestBuy . All Fremont wanted was a unique ballpark village to distinguish this off ramp from the hundreds of thousands of others just like it everywhere else .

    • The truth? Maybe the A’s have a change of heart. The economy is down, no more profit from the proposed housing in Fremont; also San Jose is getting closer to reality. For two years, the A’s cannot negotiate a deal with Pacific Commons tenants. They are not willing to compromise with the big retailers. This (and residents opposition) is a good excuse to pull out from Fremont and pursuit their dream.

      San JosA’s is where they want to be.

      • Please remind me what the A’s didn’t want to compromise with the PC Big Box stores. I remember the stores were worried about parking; the A’s offered to pay for security guards to shoo the baseball cars away.

      • Security guards alone might not be enough. Otherwise, the A’s and the big retailers would have worked out an agreement long time ago. If there is enough money incentive, both sides will comprise. But in A’s case, it’s to their benefit to walk away from Fremont.

        In Lew Wolff’s words to MLB, the only way for the A’s to prosperous in bay area is a “new stadium” in “San Jose.”

      • I’m still wondering what the issues were that the A’s “are not willing to compromise with the big retailers.”

        Also, are you Pro-San Jose or just Anti-Fremont?

      • Hahaha, great question. It’s obvious there are multiple points of view for everyone supporting/disparaging each of the three sites on the table now. This is shaping up into a great book deal for someone.

      • I shouldn’t speak for NoAsWS but the name says it all—-he/she was a very passionate poster here the first time around with Fremont–they are anti-ballpark in Fremont—

  14. …I remember one Pacific Commons restaurant(?) owner aghast at the landlord opposing the A’s development. All that potential business down the drain. But I’ll bet there’s plenty of parking and will be even more once the NUMMI workers leave town.

    • Too bad NUMMI couldn’t be saved. A factory of 5000 workers making $60k a year(plus 1000’s of suppliers jobs) is much better than some temporary low paying jobs a stadium would provide. You have 25 millionaire athletes who spend their money outside of the community and that’s all the good paying jobs. The Great Mall used to be a Ford plant. Eastmont Mall used to be a GM plant. So sad. We don’t need any more malls. We need good manufacturing jobs, but they’re good as gone 😦

    • “Fremont is basically a parking lot with a mayor”

      Don’t fuck with their parking lots!

  15. …Stifling CA regulations, NIMBY’s, high costs of land acquisition and development and high wages make manufacturing pretty much something that no one wants to do in this state. San Jose has a bunch of land zoned “industrial” but of course no one is beating down the door to build any industrial facilities on any of it.

    FWIW, if a ballpark, some homes, retail and offices is what they can get on the NUMMI plant site, then that’s what will have to suffice.

  16. Got to believe the BRP will be observing tonights discussion pretty closely—also suspect that their own polling found a favorable majority of fremont voters to support a ballpark—otherwise they wouldn’t have pressed the city for a plan. I am assuming that a supportive city council with limited NIMBY outbursts will push this plan forward with the opportunity for residents to vote in November. OTOH—if the NIMBY’s are too vocal tonight and the council delays than its anyones guess if they go forward in Fremont–

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