Another weekend, another op-ed

Following up on last week’s volley by San Jose booster Larry Stone, Oakland supporter and one-time A’s executive Andy Dolich fires back on the home city’s behalf. He brings up a great point in showing how Oakland has been counted out time and time again, only to emerge as still having its teams. His tack is left a bit wanting, as he repeatedly mines the not-so-recent past for Oakland’s success while not pointing at all to the future, or recent failures. His only hint at the future is a hope that someone will swoop in and buy the A’s out from the Wolff/Fisher group.

The A’s will most likely get their new stadium in Oakland because the A’s will follow the Giants example. In the Giants’ darkest moment, a group came together to keep the team in its rightful place in San Francisco. Oakland elected officials and private, civic-minded business leaders will find a way to build a new ballpark. When fans of the Green and Gold are celebrating their fifth world championship, it will be in Oakland.

I’ve heard this multiple times, yet I’ve never heard it articulated in any meaningful way. Is the idea to wait out the process, hope San Jose fails, Wolff gives up, and sells the team in short order to an Oakland-only interest (that MLB approves of)? It’s not impossible, but it’s not really a strategy. It’s like waiting for your boss to give you a promotion at work even though you’ve been playing Farmville at your desk everytime he drops by. Moreover, is Dolich suggesting that he would be part of the angel ownership group, just as he was part of the Piccinini group? If that happened, then suddenly there would be something concrete. It’s hard to say what other pieces would be part of such an investor group, but at least one would have to be a billionaire in order to carry the weight required to get a new ballpark deal done. Hell, I would love to start that rumor myself, but it would be completely out of thin air.

Speaking of a new ballpark, Dolich cites the Giants the prime example to get something done in Oakland.

It took the Giants 16 years and four failed elections to get their gem of a privately financed jewel at China Basin. It’s a bear to build a new sports venue in today’s California, no matter how much rose coloring you add to your glasses or how much of the owners’ privately funded millions are put into the project.

Point of distinction: When the Giants proposed their “privately financed jewel,” it took only one election to get it approved. The previous three initiatives all involved publicly financed venues in either San Francisco or Santa Clara County. Big difference. Whether in Oakland or San Jose, it’s not hard to envision a ballpark happening once a Yes vote is obtained. Oakland does not have a voting requirement for a stadium, which boosters like to point out frequently, but at the same time it’s remarkably bad form to spend up $50-100 million on land and infrastructure in a budget crunch without getting public approval, especially in light of the Coliseum renovation debacle.

If Oakland and its boosters really want to get citizens of the city and the region out of its collective apathy or disaffection, they need to articulate how this can all be done. It doesn’t have to be done now, but it needs to be done steadily and completely. I’ve received conflicting reports on whether that’s happening, though Mark Purdy, in his latest repetitious plea to Bud Selig, thinks the MLB panel may be working with Oakland interests on such a plan. Personally, I hope that it is happening, whether it’s to perform due diligence throughout the East Bay or to create a viable Plan B if San Jose doesn’t work out. In the constant battling between the two factions, it’s easy to lose sight of the goal of keeping the A’s in the Bay Area. I don’t tire of the posturing since that’s all it is, posturing. Soon, the dog days will be upon us and work will begin anew.

7 thoughts on “Another weekend, another op-ed

  1. If the A’s had just stuck with Fremont, we’d not be 16 months into a committee decision. The EIR would be done and most likely any lawsuit would be settled by now. 2013 a likely opening date. Instead the A’s are in any scenario several years away from a new ballpark. The Giants are content, A’s fans aren’t. Thanks a lot Lew. Good job buddy.

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  3. It’s important for all A’s fan to remember all this ballpark hoopla is about keeping the A’s in the Bay Area. Who knows, Moneyball the movie could reignite the passions of the causual A’s fan and help the ballpark movement. As far as the substance behind Oakland’s pursuits, I dont think much more can be said about it at this point. Though whether it’s San Jose or Oakland, it’s worth keeping in mind that Lew Wolff’s financial avenues for privately financing a ballpark can stay open forever. The same investors he had backing the SJ ballpark in 2007 might not be there in 2011 for any number of reasons. All I can suggest to the Pro SJ or Oakland crowd is to go to more games if you can. Buy tickets online sonMLB has some more demographics to pull from. Let’s just get a ballpark built before the end of te decade.

  4. Oops. I meant, “Lew Wolff’s financial avenues for privately financing a ballpark CAN’T stay open forever. “

  5. * Oakland fails because the politicians haven’t wanted anything to do with the project. Their solution is pointing out some privately owned properties and telling the A’s “You can build here!”
    * Fremont fails because the housing market collapsed and NIMBYs caused bigtime problems at both sites.
    * San Jose is stalled because Selig apparently doesn’t have the courage to do what’s right and open up San Jose to the A’s.

  6. I don’t get how strong NIMBY support opposing the park and the economic downturn was Lew’s fault, jesse.

  7. It seems apparent the Fremont NIMBYs would have filed lawsuit after lawsuit to stop the project. Selig himself has said he doesn’t want to put major league baseball where it’s not wanted…

    Now, it appears MLB is too afraid of the Giants to do what needs to be done on the San Jose site.

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