Them’s fightin’ words

A brief article in the Merc (with grafx) compares the San Jose and Oakland ballpark plans, such as they are. Bruce Newman has the Oakland side, while Tracy Seipel covers the San Jose angle (with a Fremont tidbit for good measure). In the broader piece is a choice quote from SJ booster Michael Mulcahy:

Yet it’s San Jose’s downtown proposal that Wolff has dubbed his best option, with the city contributing the land and Wolff building the stadium. After 17 months of study by an MLB committee, Wolff and others wonder if Oakland’s 11th-hour pitch is truly credible.

“Oakland’s effort is entirely smoke and mirrors,” said Michael Mulcahy, co-founder of the grassroots group Baseball San Jose. “There is no political will and no corporate community to mount a serious effort.”

Oakland disagrees, though the city has not yet committed any money to a stadium deal. Still, boosters have recruited 35 companies that have pledged a total of $500,000 in future sponsorships, naming rights and luxury suites.

As much as Oakland boosters tout Facebook supporters and emergent economic clout, I still get the sense that several parties there aren’t on the same page, at least when it comes to the A’s.

Disclosure: For this article I was contacted by the Merc about some of the 3-D sketches I put out a while back, especially in reference to Oakland. When asked for similar drawings, those in the know in Oakland didn’t have any. Not that hard to get a volunteer or two to learn Sketchup, Oakland boosters. I would’ve gladly provided sketches if asked, even improved on what I had previously done. At least it would’ve helped people visualize the potential.

70 thoughts on “Them’s fightin’ words

  1. That article about Oakland just reminded me what I tend to get so down on their “plan” for a new ballpark. The attitude of the Oakland side seems to typify everything that is wrong with Oakland. They’re waiting for the A’s to contact them like they’re living in some sort of entitlement state.

    Don’t they realize in a competition like this you need to be proactive and be the one calling the A’s? Don’t they realize they need to be committing resources if they’re really serious about keeping the team? One of two things is going on in Oakland. Either they really are that stupid and don’t realize what they actually need to do, or they’re really not interested and are just blowing smoke to cover their asses when the team leaves. And the longer they don’t actually do anything the more I think it’s the latter.

  2. Still have to wonder where Cisco stands on all this. Is it a case of Cisco stays and chips in $4 mill a year if the stadium goes in San Jose and bolts if it’s Oakland? Wolff has inked a fabulous corporate sponsor for the ballpark – the kind MLB desperately wants. But Selig and the rest of the MLB geniuses will probably chase them away and Cisco will end up with its name on the 49ers stadium instead.

  3. PJK, I think you just nailed exactly what will happen if the park goes back to Oakland. The A’s will be back to square one on the naming rights sponsor. Particularly since Clorox won’t call them.

  4. Again I ask, even if Oakland had a viable plan and serious political/corporate will, would it be the best option for the A’s (and MLB) long term? Hypothetically, two “copy cat” ballparks located 7 miles apart? Or two ballparks separated by 40 miles, with one located in the nations 10th largest city? Not to mention the corporate base and disposable income of San Jose/Silicon Valley. I know the committee is taking its sweet time in releasing its report, but seriously, if MLB saw Oakland as its future, we wouldn’t be having this conversation now would we.

  5. After 17 months, what stone has been left unturned? Maybe the comittee is waiting for a surprise big time corporate sponsor or a big financial promise from the city of Oakland. Or maybe they are crunching the numbers to figure out a reasonable payment to the Giants for the T-rights? As much as I sentimentally want the A’s to stay in Oakland, I want the best financial position for the team. I think that San Jose is the place that’s best for that reason. Whatever the case, I just wish this waiting game was over so we could move on to the next step.

  6. I think Selig is waiting for a volcanic eruption in the bay that will give Oakland the waterfront property it needs for a ballpark. The geniuses that run MLB have locked themselves out of lucrative Silicon Valley and are too cowardly to stand up to the bully Giants. Pathetic.

    Selig could demonstrate courage, similar to what Bowie Kuhn did when Charlie Finley tried to trade away all the team’s stars. Kuhn vetoed it. Or what Bart Giamatti did when he threw Pete Rose out of baseball. Selig apparently lacks the strength to make the bold move needed here so San Jose can get the A’s.

    Territorial rights are “sacred,” Selig says. So this mess goes on and on.

  7. I find it funny how Doug Boxer says “If we weren’t in the game, if this was just a slam dunk, then why is it taking so long?”

    If Oakland were truly viable and Lew Wolff missed something then it would have been brought to his attention. Instead Doug Boxer is trying to “bash” the ownership not being viable and that is going to be seriously frowned upon by the other 30 owners when it comes time to vote.

    Vote? That is why this process is taking so long. Bud Selig is a “consensus builder” and he has never put anything to vote without having the outcome pre-determined with the owners. Selig is almost done with this as evidenced by the fact of MLB offering to pay for a spring election in San Jose.

    To build a consensus he has to be thorough about this and he has stated that this decision will “effect two franchises” and he wants to get it done “right”.

    He just needs to get a few more votes before going all the way with this in San Jose. That is the only logical explanation as Oakland has not contacted Lew Wolff with anything new in 17 months. Which brings me to my next point.

    I agree with Dan above, Oakland should be calling Wolff on their own and trying to propose something now instead they sit and do nothing and have guys like Doug Boxer bash Lew Wolff in the public eye. With no logical explanation on why they have not. It is because Lew Wolff already has gone through those sites at JLS North, Victory Court, and Coliseum North years ago and he or the city shot them all down.

    Oakland is the A’s current territory so any decision from MLB is a moot point and it would reflect in this the process if Oakland had something that work. Why wait?

    It is obvious Oakland has nothing new to show Wolff that he does not already know in his 227 page book.

    The City Council has not endorsed anything in 17 months even though they have proposed 3 sites. Pick one and get vocal about it to show MLB they care which as the previous A’s owners have found the hard way…They don’t.

    In conclusion this process dragging out only favors San Jose as Oakland is their current home and they have not come to Lew Wolff with anything of substance that would be considered new information.

    Lew Wolff has also stated he will pay for the entire 461 million dollar project in San Jose and has Cisco in his back pocket. That alone dwarfs the 500k and 35 companies Doug Boxer has from the East Bay alone. Lew Wolff will not pay for this 100% in Oakland, he needs a public subsidy which Oakland is not willing to do.

    Oakland is living on a prayer that MLB upholds the Giants territorial rights to San Jose and forces Lew Wolff to sell. Not a good as if that happens the A’s maybe forced to leave the Bay Area and that possibility is something Doug Boxer and Pro-Oak fans refuse to admit is out there.

  8. OK, Boxer. If you don’t like Lew Wolff. please come up with someone who will not only buy the team but also will buy all the land needed and build the stadium in Oakland, where corporate support is minimal and where the A’s have had dismal attendance for most of their 40 years there. We’re obviously looking for someone extremely charitable – someone who is willing pony up at least $1 billion.

    Here’s my suggestions: Claus, Santa; Address: North Pole.. Wizard, Address: Oz.

  9. @pjk- Amen brotha! I don’t mind an Oakland ballpark in the right place but please will someone stand up and buy the team and not care losing money in Oakland?

    I forgot, this is a business and it does not make business sense if you compare San Jose and Oakland as cities in any sense.

    To all Pro-Oak fans:
    If BS and the owners shoot down a “shared Bay Area” with the Giants would you rather see them leave?
    Or would you support the team if they stayed in the Bay Area and moved to San Jose?

    Ask yourself which is worse?

    That is what is so infuriating about this…Pro-Oak fans feel San Jose is the Midwest and not 35 miles down the road in the same market.

    San Jose has answered “100 questions” as Lew Wolff put it. Either Oakland step up with a legit proposal or let it go.

  10. Apparently, the Oakland A’s are supposed to be run as a charitable venture. Maybe the Oakland crowd will want to be let into the new ballpark free, too. And free hot dogs and beer, I suppose.

    Yes, to some folks, the A’s moving 20 miles away = the A’s moving to the South Pole.

  11. pjk–I hope the City of Oakland does find someone to buy the team. But I’m sure BS and his cronies will shoot them down too like they did 10 years ago and then they’ll leave. Your billion+ figure is a tad high. The city will cover the land cost through redevelopment funds (about $80 mill). The team should sell for about 280-300 mil, a nice tidy profit of over 120 mill for LW/Fisher –in only 5 years!!, And a stadium will cost about 450 mill. LW, being one of the worst rated owners in MLB, should retire down south where he lives with all his millions and never set foot in the town he hates so much, Oakland. We still got John Fisher, a Walmart type heir. Just stay in SF and don’t say a word like you have the last 5 years.

  12. @pjk: Don’t forget Willy Wonka, too. I hear he’s looking to expand.

  13. pjk–why move at all if you have a viable site in a town you’ve played in for 42 years? I know, it’s all about the money. Fans and community shouldn’t really matter in this day and age.

  14. Key word there, JK, is Viable.

  15. re: 42 years. And they’ve had dismal attendance most of those 43 years, including World Series tickets available to walk-ups on game days. No one with any business sense is going to privately fund a ballpark in a city like Oakland. Maybe you should petition the Salvation Army or Catholic Charities to buy the team? They run decent charitable operations.

    We’re talking $1 billion in private funds for land and a ballpark in a place that has had several decades to prove its not viable

  16. @pjk–you don’t think Victory Ct. is viable? Because Wolff said so, huh? That is a cool up-and-coming little area with huge potential, close to JLS, the lake area, Bart, Amtrak. (I’m going to the Eat Real Festival at JLS in about 3 hours. It was awesome last year! 100k people expected for the weekend). At VC, you can run shuttles from the cool club/eating scene in Uptown. Just take a few minutes, rather than the shuttle plan in Fremont’s 5 mile trip from Bart, which would take about 10+. That site really blowed and i’m glad it died. It will now come back to Oakland, hopefully.
    LW wanted a mega site to build a village, but none were available, except Fremont, which went bust. Back to the small ballpark site, and it’s back to SJ, his first choice all along, and it gets all the attention now, but it won’t be that easy. The political fallout will be tremendous.

  17. I don’t know anything about Victory Court. How much property would have to be acquired? How many property owners are involved? How much money would it cost and how long would it take?

    I do know this:
    San Jose – great corporate support, 1 million population, high per capita income, outstanding support of Sharks
    Oakland – lousy corporate support, 350,000 population, notsohigh per capita income, lousy support of A’s and Raiders.

    The only reason Oakland is in this is because of the territorial rights nonsense whereupon MLB has locked itself out of lucrative Silicon Valley and is stuck in the floundering East Bay. Otherwise, it’s no contest between San Jose and Oakland. It would be like The 49ers playing Menlo-Atherton High School.

  18. @jk-usa – Rebecca Kaplan doesn’t seem to think highly of Victory Court, instead touting the Coliseum.

  19. @jk-usa: What do you mean by “The political fallout will be tremendous”?

  20. @ML– I was at the Kaplan event the other night–you’re right that she talked a lot about the Coliseum, but she also said explicitly said that the A’s needed to have a baseball-only stadium, and that the Raiders-Niners should share a state-of-the-art stadium. Kaplan may have little regard for Victory Court, but judging from her comments on Thursday, I think the best we can infer is that we don’t know what her take is on the site.

    • @Matt – IMHO her silence on Victory Court is telling. So is her comment on the “impossible dream,” a.k.a. pipedream. Are there any other pro sports in Oakland projects that could fit that description? At least redoing the Coli for two NFL teams wouldn’t require starting from scratch.

  21. I believe the comment on political fallout is referencing Barbara Boxer and other, similar, politicians who have written letters of support for Oakland.
    Maybe they will repeal the Antitrust Exemption for MLB. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the A’s moving to San Jose resulted in congress REVOKING the very thing that is keeping them in Oakland?

  22. R.M.,
    The Seipel article made reference to Cisco’s naming rights and stating something to the likes of “we dont’ know yet how much Cisco will pay into the project.” You mean to tell me that the $120 million over 30-years for Cisco Field/Fremont won’t apply to Cisco Field/San Jose? Can you clarify? Cisco Systems has been doing very well financially as of late, even with the recession. Is it possible they will up the ante for a San Jose ballpark? $120 mil for 30 is great but even more would be sweeter; would make the decision from MLB even easier!

    By the way, kind of relating to all the sweet renderings we’ve been salivating over. Does Lew Wolff go through the troubles of commissioning 360Architecture to design a SJ ballpark if he doesn’t already know how MLB will rule? I say no. And who doesn’t think that Selig, DuPuy or the other owners haven’t seen the renderings/concept yet?

  23. FYI, let’s all remeber that Barbara Boxer is the Senator for California AND San Jose, not just Oakland. She has a lot of constituents, supporters and donors in Silicon Valley/San Jose.

  24. @pjk, This is on Victory Court. Honestly, a stadium there wouldn’t be horrible. I’d go as foten as I would in San Jose.
    There are 12 landowners (maybe 13, I forgot to write it in the original post and I can’t find my old spreadsheet), I believe. Most of the site is currently in private landowner hands (all but 4 of 20 Acres). There are a few business that would need to be relocated, it won’t be cheap.
    The biggest issue with the site, from my perspective, revolve around freeway infrastructure in the area. The 5th street off ramp sucks because it is too short and has a quick, sharp turn, is another way I would put it. BART isn’t far away, and Amtrak is right there as well. So transportation may be an issue, or it may be mitigated by the work Caltrans is already doing in the area, though I can’t imagine 5th Ave will be much better.
    The biggest issue, in general, would be paying for a stadium in Oakland. I don’t know if 35 sponsors putting up $500k is really good or bad, but it sounds like it is less than a drop in the bucket of what would be needed to make it go. I always bring up the Giants ballpark financing formula, where about half the money was raised through naming rights and charter seats sales to Corporations. That would mean between naming rights and presales for premium seating, at least $230M dollars would need to be raised. Excuse me, an additional $229.5 M, I should say. That will be tough in San Jose, but way tough in Oakland.
    The alternative would be MLB pushing for Oakland to kick down money, whatever the delta between $230M is and whatever the $500k can be grown to. I’d imagine that number will be something like $100M, at least.
    We can infer that San Jose/Lewie have already scoped out raising the scratch for Diridon. I am not confident that Oakland has done the same.

  25. @Tony, Barbara Boxer also has a son leading the charge in Oakland.

    • @Tony, Barbara Boxer also has a son leading the charge in Oakland.

      I’m aware of that brother, and he has every right to lead their charge. Just saying moms shouldn’t be expected to come to Oaklands rescue in this thing; don’t bite the hands (SJ/SV) that feed yah!

      Off topic, Maury has an excellent column out over at Biz of Baseball titled “Leaked Tampa Bay Rays Docs Make Case For Revenue-Sharing, New Ballpark.” You can probably substitute “Rays” with “A’s” and BAM, the case has been made!

  26. @Matt, if she was in favor of Victory Court… why wouldn’t she just say that instead of talking up the Coliseum? I was under the impression that she didn’t mention Victory Court, but did specifically say the Coliseum was the spot for the A’s, Raiders and 49ers. Is that not the case?

  27. I wonder if the A’s had just moved to San Jose in 1968 and played in a foot ball stadium for decades, would the attendance have been the same throughout the decades or better? And if they played their now in the equivalent of the Coliseum and 40 years of history in SJ would they draw better than the A’s are now? I’m not sure. I know that if you build a new park in SJ right now it would do well, but I have feeling that would be the case anywhere you build it right now.

  28. You also assume alot when you say Barbara is a senator. Alot can change come November ;). She’d do well to remember that.

  29. @Dan, right. I don’t see much of a chance of her losing, honestly.

  30. OT again:
    By the way, Wolff (and other MLB owners/former U of Wisconsin frat brothers) recently presented a “gift” to the University of Wisconsin in Bud Selig’s name (scholarship program). Perhaps it’s just me and my rose-colored San Jose glasses, but I just don’t see Selig letting his boy down at this point in the game ;o)

  31. I don’t know why everyone is getting so worked up over 2 meaningless articles. What they are saying is nothing new….just a repeat of what we already know.

  32. I agree with Jeffrey and that Victory Court would need major infrastructure improvements to exits and to 880 itself.

    That area of Oakland has some of the worst traffic in the Bay Area and is only a 55 MPH speed limit. To drive there would be murder and even with BART nearby that will not fly as only a fraction of the fans take public transportation while a majority still drive.

    Even on Saturday/Sunday afternoons the traffic is bad through there and no stadium exists right now. Weekday/Weeknight games would be such a hassle a lot of people wouldn’t go,

    JLS North has major zoning issues and Howard Terminal has sewer lines that cannot be moved that are underground. Lew Wolff looked at these sites years ago and as he stated the new Oakland politicians have no idea on why these sites were deemed not viable years ago as they have not called him in 17 months period.

    Forget the businesses that need to be bought or relocated for a second here.

    All 3 sites are near the water and from the naked eye great locations but each has issues that one would never know unless they did some major digging like Lew Wolff did years ago.

    San Jose is the only way left and Bud Selig knows this otherwise he wouldn’t have appointed his committee. I am sure the committee saw what Lew Wolff saw and hence the delay as BS rallies votes to change the Bay Area territory to shared as Lew Wolff has requested.

    The committee is just sitting around now plowing through #s on what they believe the other owners will agree is fair compensation for the Giants.

    The next 3 months are going to be very interesting.

  33. @Sid you impress me more and more each time I read your comments. You really know a lot about what going on. And I appreciate your insights as to what Bud Selig and the Oakland politicians are thinking. You are very good. Keep up the good work!

  34. I have to throw this out there to the pro San Jose guys, which is 99% of the posters on here.
    I know you prefer the SJ site over anywhere else on earth, and I’ll admit it’s not a bad design in a decent little area of town that will probably work stadium wise and financially for at least the first 4 or 5 years, even though I think it’s the wrong move. But lets say the BRC insists it must be in Alameda county. Would you guys pick the site in Fremont near Nummi, where a potential village may work when the economy picks up in a few years, or do you prefer the Victory Ct. site (or JLS North) in Oakland? (Exisiting Coli site won’t work IMO). And if they come back and say Oak is off the table and it’s Fremont/Nummi or SJ, I may actually lean towards SJ. Fremont(and Milpitas) is the blandest suburb in the BA, hands down. A park should be in an urban setting. Trying to Santana Row it, it’s still Fremont. I also have a major problem with the name change. Silicon Valley A’s of Fremont? WTF?? That’s a bad joke.

  35. JK, the problem with that choice is that neither VIctory Court (money) nor Fremont (NIMBYs) is viable. If the Oakland site could magically become financially doable, I’d prefer that, thinking out 30-40 years the price of gas will probably be such that public transit access/urban location will probably be the most important single factor, which also argues in favor of San Jose.

  36. @Jessie

    The A’s could never have survived in San Jose in 1968, so that argument doesn’t take reality into account. The reason the A’s are looking to move to San Jose is that the dynamics of the Bay Area have changed over the last 30 years. In 1968 Oakland was the second biggest city in the bay area, existed at a time when he overhead of running a team was minuscule compared to today, and was the best fit for a baseball team. San Jose was a mission and orchards.

    Now San Jose is the biggest city in the bay area with over 1,000,000 people (the second biggest in California next to LA and 10th in the US), and has billions of dollars in fortune 500 companies and venture capital start-ups to support a team when you need a payroll of over 100,000,000 to compete every year.

    The reason the A’s want to move out of Oakland is not because the Colosseum gives them low attendance, it’s because the bay area and the dynamics of baseball are different today then they were 30 years ago. Saying that if the A’s played in the Colosseum in San Jose they would be moving to Oakland now makes no sense.

  37. If the A’s can’t survive and draw well in the Coliseum, how come they drew over two million fans just a few years ago?

    Point to this question? It’s fine to point out the merits of San Jose – as 99 percent of the people do on this board per “JK-USA” – but can we stick to emperical facts when it comes to this issue?

    While I agree that the A’s would be better off in a new stadium, the argument that the A’s have “never” drawn well at the Coliseum – even post Mt. Davis – simply isn’t true.

    As you can probably tell, I want the A’s to stay in Oakland but I’m very clear that ownership has wanted to take the team to San Jose since it purchased the team (I don’t think it ever really wanted to stay in Oakland; just an opinion).

    But please, just the facts.

    PS. I won’t respond to vitriol.

  38. do disagree about those who say the a’s never drew in oakland.

    if you take out pre at&t which was 68-99, the a’s outdrew sf like 17-14 in attendance. the a’s had like 6 of the top 7 attendance figures for a single season. funny you never heard how sf could never draw fans pre at&t, least you rarely hear about it now.

    pretty sure when the a’s make the move down to sj, they’ll draw well and the constant bashing the a’s org and a’s fans get for not showing up will soon be a distant memory just as it has become for the other side of the bay when they could draw at the stick even when they were winning.

    even as one who would ultimately like to see the a’s move to sj because of what’s been said about the positive that would come with that with the high population and especially the money, to say the a’s have never done well with attendance while in oakland is untrue. even in the first half of the 2000s, they drew relatively well considering the dump they played in and the total non commitment of the a’s owners during this time to oakland.


    sure it wasn’t as great as it was back in the late 80s-early 90s when from 88-92 they averaged 2.5 million. but then they had a quality baseball park and an owner committed not only to winning but doing all they could to attract fans to come to the park.

    i do think a park in sj will be a better long term option than if you built that same park somewhere in downtown oakland/waterfront. but i do get tired time after time on different a’s message boards and blogs, that say the a’s didn’t get much support from the fans while in oakland.

  39. Why don’t the A’s hire Andy Dolich? I hear he is no longer with the Niners and that guy really helped with attendance before. I feel like the A’s aren’t trying hard enough on any level.

    • @all – We’re going around in circles on this attendance thing again. Why is 2 million a good number, and not 1.5 million or 2.5 million? Inventing an arbitrary standard to support one’s arguments is not a valid device. Jeffrey has already gone over historical attendance ad nauseum, look it up. Besides, you know what really helps attendance? Wins. That’s it.

      @jesse – Dolich is a hired gun at this point. He’s not on board with what Wolff/Fisher are trying to do in the South Bay, and his occasional campaigning on behalf of Oakland sounds like campaigning for a front office job if another ownership group were to magically surface. I don’t doubt Dolich could help matters, but he wouldn’t see eye-to-eye with the owners.

  40. Like winning titles, it most important to gauge the A’s historical attendance relative to the performance of other teams. Not the arbitrary 2 million figure.
    Keeping that in mind, the important number is how did the A’s stack up against median attendance league wide.the A’s have been in the upper half of attendance 7 times in 43 years.

  41. Jeffrey–cant find your post on attendance but wondered how many of the 43 years the A’s were at the median and how many years they were below the median (by 5% or more)

  42. Comparing A’s to the rest of the AL in attendance:
    8 years over AL average (81, 82, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 03)
    3 years at 95%-99% of AL average (72, 75, 02)
    7 years at 85%-94% of AL average (71, 73, 87, 93, 01, 04, 05)

    The rest are less that 85% of AL average with a low of 19.2% in 79. The high was in 1990 with 133.9% of AL average.

    Numbers from

  43. I’m writing because 68 A’s fan said he wouldn’t respond to me. The A’s did draw well for several years, but we don’t have the figure for total gate receipts, and a lot of their attendance has always come on the heavily discounted night (now Wednesday). The main reason they put the tarps on was to increase scarcity and avg. ticket price, except for 2006 it hasn’t really worked.
    Suspect that the average ticket price would be quite a bit higher in San Jose, the elasticity curves would respond to a higher average income in the area.

  44. Nathan, using AL specific numbers removes more than half the league from the equation.
    Additionally, average is not the right way to compare numbers. Median is. The A’s have been at or above major league median 7 times in 43 years.

  45. GoA’s, I have to dig through my old thumbdrive to pull up the ol spreadsheet.
    You can find the raw data at

  46. To “Vitriol” – I didn’t say I wouldn’t respond to all queries but that I wouldn’t respond to vitriolic remarks.

    I’ll always respond to civil comments.

    68 A’s fan

  47. FWIW, the Wikipedia entry on Cisco Field has shifted from being a ballpark that had been proposed for Fremont to a ballpark proposed for San Jose. The previous entry had the project pretty much dead; the current entry has it coming alive in San Jose. Take that for what it’s worth.

  48. Pjk,
    I’m the biggest SJ booster here, but I’d still take everything stated in Wikipedia with a grain of salt.

  49. @tony d.–I was going to say the exact same thing about Wiki.

  50. This is a very cool site (someone else put it on here previously) but shows all of the ballparks and what is going on—pictures of the San Jose ballpark are high resolution—cool to see what is also going on for the Dodgers and others—-

  51. Wikipedia can be edited by anyone so I agree with Tony D and jk-usa to take it with a grain of salt.

    If Oakland could get its act together and pick one site and bring Lew Wolff a financing plan then I say lets go for it. This MLB territorial thing is “retarded” and any other business would not be restricted normally because of the anti-trust exemption MLB has. Since it exists, if Oakland is the easiest way without Bud Selig being involved I am all for it. But it is not turning out that way as the process keeps dragging along.

    Look at Clippers and Raiders who moved to LA without the owners consenting on it. No anti-trust equals The Phoenix Coyotes judge was a moron and when he shot down the sale to move the team to Hamilton when it was the best deal on the table for the creditors. It looks like they are heading to Winnipeg anyways since the NHL cannot find a owner to keep the team in Phoenix…Hence the same problem the A’s have except the current owners want to move the team in the same region.

    Phoenix is not fit for hockey while Oakland is not fit for baseball and both teams have had pretty bad attendance even when they were good….Striking similarities, except the A’s make $$ while the Coyotes lose money all day long.

    San Jose seems like the only way as Oakland doesn’t have anything even close to what San Jose has on the table fiscally that makes sense. If so why has their been silence from Oakland for 17 months? They have nothing to gain by waiting for MLB to decide on this as the A’s are already in Oakland….Only San Jose can benefit from a MLB decision.

    Oakland needs to get pro-active and with Fremont falling through this is their chance to get creative. But as history has proven it has been futile for the A’s owners dealing with Oakland.

  52. Jeffrey cited:

    “Maybe they will repeal the Antitrust Exemption for MLB. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the A’s moving to San Jose resulted in congress REVOKING the very thing that is keeping them in Oakland?”

    Actually revoking the AE will allow SJ to decide whom they want to choose without input from MLB. That’s why they whole thing is really ironic. If MLB does decide to favor the SJ and Neukum and/or Oakland decides to challenge the AE, it will in effect allow the A’s to move to SJ more readily.

    re: attendance figures.

    I already have a chart I compiled on A’s attendance vs. MLB average since day 1 in Oakland:

    As you can see, even during the year we went to the ALCS, attended still declined year over year and we’re on a trajectory to be less than 50% of the MLB average.

  53. ST, average is not that great of a measurement. Use the excel wizard for median and the numbers will be more statistically relevant. Of course, you could always just point out that the A’s have been above MLB median 7 times in 43 years, yet won their division 14 times (and a Wild Card) over that time period. Which means that in 8 seasons, in which the A’s won their division and/or went to the playoffs, there have been at least 8 teams that didn’t make the playoffs that outdrew or matched the A’s.
    Add to that the fact that league wide numbers tell us that the only real correlation with attendance, sustained attendance, growth is winning and the A’s haven’t really even had that to count on.
    You can’t rationalize that away. Attendance has been a problem for a looooong time. Even when the A’s had a great season in 8 cases.
    It’s all Lew Wolff’s fault, of course.

  54. @jeffrey–I’d discount those Finley years into the equation. When he sold to the Haas family, it turned things around much more for the better. Made the stadium more fan friendly and great promotions.They barely avg a mill during those great 71-75 seasons, but were 2.5-2.9 mill in the late 80’s, early 90’s. 300k in that dreaded 79 season, but always pulled in over a mill or higher since the Finley era, even with some lousy teams. You take the Finley and Wolff years out, the A’s are right in the middle of the pack. New ownership will improve attendance 25%+ even in the Coli, and would pack a new park anywhere in Oakland.

  55. @jk-usa – Well that’s fair. Casually dismiss a major part of history, including the man responsible for bringing a team to Oakland, because it doesn’t fit your argument. Why not disown the three world championships won under his ownership while you’re at it?

    The record is written. You can’t cherry pick statistics. We’re A’s fans fer chrissakes. Fans should be fans regardless of ownership – to let your feelings be so influenced by that is, frankly, fairweather at best.

  56. Um, during the Haas years, the A’s had what was considered a nice, sunny ballpark while the Giants were stuck in perhaps the worst ballpark in major league history. Now, the A’s play in a football stadium while the Giants play in an amusement park, replete with an injury-inducing Coke bottle slide.

    It’s pointless to look at the circumstances of the Haas years and the circumstances now and say the A’s could do that again.

    And what are the A’s supposed to do these days to make the stadium more “fan-friendly” without doing one of those Angels Stadium-style renovations that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars and would necessitate the Raiders’ departure?

    Please. Can we get some reality here?

  57. Oh, I forgot. To some, the A’s moving 25 miles down 880 is akin to the A’s relocating to Mars. 25 miles is simply far, far, far away. A’s fans in Alameda County will need the space shuttle to transport them to games, San Jose is so far away.

  58. @jk-usa… You do realize that during the Haas years, the A’s had more below median years than above median years… right?

  59. The A’s attendance has always been bad and when they were good it was still below average.

    Charlie Finley knew about 3-4 years in that moving to Oakland was a mistake and that the Bay Area was really on a 1 team market in the 1970s.

    His teams won WS championships, division titles, pennants, they were a damn good team. Then in 1978 he tried moving the team to Denver and got shot down by the other owners.

    The demographics of the Bay Area today do in fact show that 2 teams can survive if they are placed in the richest areas..Hence San Francisco and San Jose.

    Oakland is the 3rd largest sub-market in the Bay Area in terms of $$. The East Bay may have 3 million people while the South Bay only 2 million but would you rather have 1 fan spend $15 in San Jose per game outside of tickets sales vs. 2 fans spending 5 each in Oakland?

    Therefore population does not factor in here and it is really about the wealth of the fans in general in the area as you only need a fraction of the population to attend anyways. This defeats good old Zennie Abraham’s economic model alone.

    If Charlie Finley knew San Jose would go from 204,000 to 1,150,000 from 1968 until now you better believe he would have moved the team to the South Bay years ago.

    I am sure he is “rolling over in his grave” right now.

  60. @Sid–where the hec do you get this $15 per fan spending in SJ? Do Shark fans spend that at games?And your last sentence is silly at best. Shouldof, couldof, wouldof. If I would of bought that Apple stock I was talking about 15 years ago, I’d be a millionaire!! The A’s have come along way attendance wise since the Finley era, tripling attendance in good years and bad years, but still below average most years I agree. A new ballpark in Oak would help for sure, and would do at least better than Pitt, KC, Clev, and Balti during those lean years. Our economy and wealth in the eastbay trumps theirs.
    I still love your posts. Very entertaining, and you seem like a decent hardcore SJ fanatic.

  61. @jk-usa- The $15 dollar # is from the San Jose EIR.

    The $5 dollar # for Oakland came from the Baseball Oakland report on a new JLS stadium.

    These #s are outside of ticket sales and are a prediction of what a common fan will pay for concessions on average.

    I am taking these #s from real reports as I know old boy Jeffrey who helps ML run this terrific website likes real #s. 🙂

    The math does not lie, that # is why the A’s want to move to San Jose.

    I maybe from San Jose but I am fair and if Oakland could get a new ballpark and compete with the Giants I am OK with that.

    But the #s are not even close between the two cities that it just does not make sense for the A’s to stay in Oakland when they can stay in the same market and move to San Jose.

  62. the year the a’s went to the alcs in 06, wasn’t that the first year of the infamous tarps.

    i think from 99-05, the attendance had increased slowly each season. maybe there was one year of a dropoff but from 06 to now, yeah the attendance has been dropping due to the tarp, poor play on the field and this whole uncertainty of the team’s future home.

  63. @Sid–Yeah, I’ve seen the Baseball Oakland report that said $5 per fan, up from $3.38 (I read somewhere) per fan presently. But this $15 per fan in SJ sounds way high to me. Spending 3 times more per fan in a slightly more affluent area is out of whack in my book. I think Oakland was conservative in their estimates and SJ was rather optimistic.
    @letsgoas–it’s sickening this downhill trend in attendance, and it’s 99.9% ownership’s fault.I went to today’s game for breast cancer awareness and they only drew 16k. If they fall short for the playoffs this next month, next year will be even worse support wise, especially if they announce a SJ move. If they announce an Oakland move and possible new ownership, it will go up. I fear the move to SJ will ruin (and curse) this once great franchise. It’s not right and it shouldn’t happen. Wolff/Fisher should of never been able to buy the team. Just a richer version of Schottman. I hate carpetbagger!!

  64. jk,
    Just like the moves from Philly and KC to Oakland “ruined” and “cursed” the A’s? And let’s come back to reality; the only reason attendance is low is because they play in a crappy venue; I suppose that football gridiron superimposed over the diamond is attractive to you? Lastly jk, what has the City of Oakland done for you lately? Or over the past 15 years?

  65. @TonyD–Well, the city Of Oaklnd has been far from perfect the last 15 years I admit, picking the Raiders over the A’s more or less when the Coli was redone, but they did supply a local group to buy the team in 1999 that was shot down by MLB and haven’t had a good relationship since with Schott and then Wolff. BUT, they’re doing something now to try to keep the A’s with a viable JLS site that LW thinks isn’t so viable, because his heart isn’t into Oakland but SJ. We’ll see what the BRC comes up with. A new Oakland ballpark decision will get way more positive press than a SJ one, except for the Mercury News hack Mark Purdy, who washes Lew’s cars on weekends I hear.

  66. @jk-usa- The LA Angles are around $13 per fan in Orange County which has a lower per capita then Santa Clara County and a smaller corporate base although they make up for it with sheer # of people in the market. (This is from their financial statements)

    The $15 estimate is low for Santa Clara County as the corporations buying luxury boxes in the area could boost that #.

    The San Jose EIR is “low balling” the #s on purpose for obvious reasons.

    Oakland is just “that poor” compared to San Jose and any business man sees this including MLB hence the delay with the BRC decision….I compared Oakland to Pittsburgh and the # matched at around $5 per head.

    Oakland ballpark decision? Come to reality dude….Oakland can move forward anytime they want if they have a viable site. No one is stopping them from taking matters into their own hands. Only San Jose needs to wait for a BRC decision.

    If the BRC felt JLS or Victory Court or the blue sky hovering over Oakland was viable they would be moving on it already.

    I have not yet a heard a decent argument from anyone on why this is not true..Ples

    Oakland lost the A’s years ago….San Jose is going to be their new home for the next 50 years.

    Accept it already as how can one even compare the 2 cities?

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