Blog fave Dave Newhouse reports on a panel held for the four leading Oakland mayoral candidates about two major sports issues affecting Oakland. The one with the most ink is the matter of whether the Golden State Warriors will finally adopt the Oakland moniker. I suspect the answer for incoming W’s owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber lies in money. Chris Cohan hinted a long time ago that some amount of relief from the team’s lease might do it. It’s not clear whether the same thing would satisfy the new owners. There is also some question as to what value each designation has. Is “Oakland Warriors” more or less valuable as a brand than “Golden State Warriors?” Some sports marketing folks out there know the answer to that better than I do.
Following that question of pride was a question about a pending fall. All four were asked to address the A’s situation:
(Jean) Quan: “I think this (city) is the soul of Major League Baseball — great diversity, ethnically and income-wise. I met Lew Wolff after I got elected. He didn’t say ‘girlie,’ but almost. There’s not a transit-rich (baseball) site that’s more ready to go in the entire Bay Area than ‘Victory Court’ (in Jack London Square). We own most of it, and could develop it as an entertainment (center).”
(Rebecca) Kaplan: “I love the A’s. Lew Wolff felt (Mayor) Jerry Brown didn’t care. The A’s could succeed here very well. I believe we could have a football and baseball stadium on the Coliseum site. We own the land. San Jose is not a done deal. They have a local law that requires a ballot measure, and they did not put it on the November ballot. So there’s a window of opportunity here.”
(Joe) Tuman: “I’ll be blunt. In professional sports, it’s ‘show me the money.’ … I won’t spend a dime of public money on keeping the Oakland Athletics here when I can’t pay for police officers or keep the streets safe. I’m not saying it can’t work, but let’s be objective.”
(Don) Perata: “I probably know a little more about this stuff than most people. I was part of two Raider deals that both failed. We got held up; we really did — by both (the A’s and Raiders). We got rid of the Coliseum board and then politicized it. … In retrospect, it was a disaster. I don’t think the A’s are going to stay here. We can’t play in this game, putting up the money. We haven’t been smart with our franchises.”
So from this, we can gather that one candidate backs Victory Court, another backs a Coliseum-sited ballpark, another won’t put up a dime, and the frontrunner has given up. Well, no one can ever say Oakland lacks diversity, and that goes for sports politics too.
According to this DIY poll by TellFi (via The Oakbook), Perata is garnering 34% of the vote, with Quan at 27%, Kaplan at 16%, and Tuman at 10%. If Perata and his rather brutally honest mindset prevails, it’s probably curtains for MLB in Oakland. Absent a simple majority, Perata would have to win via the instant runoff that would occur on election day.
Strangely, Newhouse follows up Perata’s comment by writing, “But we’ve been smart enough to keep them.” I’m not sure that smart is the operative word, Dave.
Quick postscript: I wonder how linusalf will spin this Newhouse article? Update 10/8: He finally did, and it doesn’t say much. Also, supposedly Lowell Cohn was on Ken Dito’s show this morning and is no longer opposing a move south because of Oakland’s inaction. Wonders never cease.