Boras chimes in on Oakland/San Jose

We can now add über-agent Scott Boras to the list of people who hate Oakland, along Lew Wolff, John Fisher, Steve Schott, Ken Hofmann, Guy Saperstein, and just about everyone else in league with A’s ownership over the past 15 years. Ken Rosenthal reports that Boras, well, his words speak for themselves.

“The idea that we’re here, sitting on our hands and not letting this franchise get going is detrimental to the game,” says Boras, who grew up in Elk Grove, Calif., near Sacramento.

“A few franchises need to be evaluated and examined. Oakland can immediately improve and become a success if moved to San Jose. You would then have two well-run and successful franchises in the Bay Area.”

Now, let’s not read anything more into this than Boras’ own self-interest. I doubt he’s out there, rubbing his hands, actively conspiring to destroy Oakland. I doubt he cares for either Oakland or San Jose. What he wants is the ability to have one more suitor who could offer a nice, fat, nine-figure contract, whereby Boras gets his cut. That’s it.

It’s interesting that Boras’ comments were so pointed, when Joe Stiglich reported over the weekend that he talked to two unnamed agents who felt that the Coliseum’s condition being a factor in signing free agents was overblown. Instead free agents were turned off by the organization’s lack of commitment to winning. We’ll see how that equation changes this season and next.

The rest of Rosenthal’s article pretty much rehashes the current situation, though he editorializes quite strongly in favor of San Jose.

The three other AL West clubs — the Rangers, Angels and Mariners — play in terrific markets with terrific parks. The proposed 32,000-seat stadium in San Jose would be the smallest in the majors. But the A’s average home attendance would almost double if they filled the park, and premium seating and luxury suites would provide additional revenue.

It’s time. It’s past time.

“In the end, this is hurting baseball,” Boras says. “It’s depriving baseball players and baseball fans of a successful franchise. That’s wrong. We need to correct that.”

The solution is within reach.

Somewhere, the commissioner is twiddling his thumbs.

(Thanks gojohn10 for the link.)

30 thoughts on “Boras chimes in on Oakland/San Jose

  1. I am not a Boras fan but if his voice can help move the ballpark effort forward then so be it. Lew believes the committee is done with the report. So now we are just awaiting Selig. What will Selig say now when he is asked about the report? Let’s hope a decision will be made soon.

  2. Call me a pessimist… but it looks to me like they’re just stalling until they won’t have to make a decision anymore. And that most likely will mean that the A’s won’t be getting a new ballpark in the bay area period.

  3. @Ezra–a lot of guys think the same thing you are. I’m still hoping for an Oakland Hail Mary.

  4. unbelievable. europe was rebuilt faster after ww2 than selig and his stupid brc decision.

    this time, personally i have little hope that they’ll make the right choice.

  5. @Ezra, I think you’re dead on. Remember Selig never wanted a second team in the region to begin with. And the least controversial thing he could do would be to let the team simply leave the Bay Area of its own accord after the lease expires in 2013 or after a short extension. Hoping for an Oakland Hail Mary at this point, particularly with RDA now in jeopardy seems about as likely to happen as the Virgin Mary herself coming back posting on this website.

  6. My read of the Robothal/Boras piece is that it really isn’t about San Jose vs Oakland, or even the A’s per se — it’s all positioning in advance of the new labor negotiations. Boras wants a stadium plan in place before negotiations start; Bud doesn’t want one in place, so that he can hold the A’s (and Rays) hostage as potential contractees.

    Contraction isn’t likely, and I doubt that Bud actually wants to go through with it — but he (and the rest of ownership) certainly does want to have it available as a negotiating threat against the MLBPA.

    Consequently, he A’s stadium situation will not be resolved until AFTER the new labor agreement.

  7. @monkeyball–I had heard that rumor awhile ago from someone connected to the SJ effort—ML has discounted it in the past but based upon BS behaviour and lack of decision it definetely makes me think it may have legs—which ultimately might mean that the A’s will be gone—-neither SJ or Oakland can do this without having access to redevelopment tools that exist today–

  8. Boras makes sense for a change. Unfortunately, Selig and MLB are too cowardly to do right thing and Oakland building a new ballpark is extremely unlikely. So its probably A’s out of the Bay Area in a few years.

  9. Some of you are forgetting that Selig himself invited Wolff (aka ole Frat Brah!) to buy the A’s along with John Fisher, and that a new stadium was part of the deal. Do you really think that Selig/MLB would even consider relocating the A’s out of Bay (or contracting them) and end his friendship with Wolff JUST TO PLEASE THE GIANTS? Really all, think about it. Patience is a virtue my friends. By the way, if anyone deserves “praise” it’s Rosenthal; excellent article that sums up the truth of this whole situation.

  10. Tony D–patience may be a virtue but in this case it has now become a luxury we can’t afford if the A’s are to get a new ballpark in the Bay Area—the clock is truly ticking faster with proposed changes in RDA—by waiting this long BS has complicated the proposed deal—waiting even another month may all together eliminate the possibility

  11. With RDA’s about to be dissolved Oakland is in a very bad position. By the time they complete the EIR their RDA will be long gone. Therefore San Jose is the only option or its out of the Bay Area completely.

    San Jose even if their RDA is gone can have Wolff buy the rest of the land and they have already struck a deal with ATT to move out. The welding station is all that remains and Diridon is going to be the new transit hub for the Bay Area by 2018.

    Oakland would have to float bonds now but they cannot without a completed EIR. MLB’s delay has essentially eliminated Oakland from the running.

    No “hail mary’s” here as simple logic and deduction show Oakland is finished. Too bad they started so late as if they started the EIR in 2009 when the BRC was first appointed they would be in position to float bonds and use eminent domain on the 16 businesses at the VC site.

    I agree with PJK, the A’s are done in the Bay Area as Selig doesn’t have the votes to over turn the Giants T-rights.

  12. This is good news for the pro-San Jose forces. Boras is bringing the economic interest of the players into the discussion, which the union, Selig and ultimately the owners can use as ammunition in overturning the Giants territorial rights.

  13. Uh, Cisco Field opening in 2015 anyone? Which is 4 years away, not 4 weeks.
    Now, if its 2013 and we’re in the same situation as today, then even I’ll become a pessimist and start worrying. Patience!

  14. I like baycommuter’s line of thinking on this. We may need, of all people, the players union and agents to get us a San Jose ballpark.

  15. @baycommuter – was thinking this the other day on why the MLBPA doesn’t get involved and force Selig’s hand. Higher revenue stream for a team would mean high payrolls for the union.
    @ML – correct me if I’m wrong, but the Diridon land already purchased is worth about $90 million or so? If so, why doesn’t Wolf negotiate it to buy it outright (about the same amount paid for the FMC land)?

  16. @ST – Wolff is not going to spend a penny more than he absolutely has to. The last 6 years has cost enough.

    It’s important to keep the A’s situation in perspective. The difference in annual A’s revenue between now and in a new SJ stadium is $20-40 million. Great for the A’s, but worth being a wedge issue between MLB and MLBPA? At around 0.5% of total league revenue, I doubt it. I can’t see MLBPA wanting to wade into what is ostensibly a debate among the owners. Doing so might unite and galvanize the owners.

  17. ST,
    I believe that the city acquired property at Diridon cost $23 million total. Add the $22 million for final two parcels and you’re looking at a little north of $40 million for entire plot; not $90 million.
    By the way, good to see that the “BRC” report is completed. And Wolff is STILL planning for SJ…gee, wonder what the panel recommended?

  18. re: I can’t see MLBPA wanting to wade into what is ostensibly a debate among the owners. Doing so might unite and galvanize the owners.

    I can see the union saying, “Owners condemn the A’s to a big-time money-losing situation when a profitable solution to the problem is staring them in the face but they ignore it. And they have the gall to say they need givebacks from us when they are deliberately suppressing MLB’s earning potential and franchise values.”.

    • @pjk – First of all, what givebacks? Did you not read my MLB CBA overview? What would be worth fighting this battle?
      Second, the owners can quickly come back and say, “Since you’re so concerned about the league’s economics, perhaps you’d like to set aside a portion of your salaries in an escrow account for future stadium building. How does that sound?”
      The players will then take the item off the table in record time.
      Seriously guys, think about it.

  19. What givebacks? Guess we’ll have to wait and see. It was a hypothetical I was presenting. If owners throw a contraction threat at the players, the players union could quickly counter that owners seem to prefer a money-losing situation in Oakland or contraction over the profitable solution staring them in the face in San Jose.

    Future stadium-building? Nobody needs a new stadium anymore except the A’s and Rays, since Boston and the Cubs seem content in their century-old digs. Who else is left that needs a new ballpark?

  20. The Dodgers would be third on the list, I think, but since the franchise is so strong it’s not really an MLB issue. I disagree that the Cubs are content, they’re just stuck in a historic landmark, like the Red Sox, except that Boston has found it easier to make improvements. Some hard-core Cubs fans think they’d be better off in a waterfront park at Navy Pier, keeping the ivy and other traditional Wrigley features.

    • It’s not just about new parks. Ongoing maintenance to old ones counts as well. I figure that could be worth $50-100 million per year for all 30 teams combined. The Cubs in particular are looking for Chicago to help out with some very expensive upgrades to Wrigley. Bottom line: the owners won’t stand for the players telling them how to run their business.

  21. The Dodgers have remodeled their stadium and added some amenities. I don’t think they’re looking to replace Dodger Stadium.

  22. In 2005, they did some major renovations, including replacing all the seats. In 2008, the Dodgers announced a $500 million dollar project to build a Dodger museum, shops, and restaurants around Dodger Stadium. That place is there to stay.

  23. Lest we forget that Anaheim’s stadium is 45 years old.

    Lest we forget that Toronto’s is marginally better than the Riverfront/Three Rivers/Atlanta/Busch ’66 etc., just newer and with some more luxury boxes.

    Then there are the misses amongst the new stadium hits of the places built in the last 20 years, like new Comiskey, Miller Park, Arlington.

  24. Anaheim’s stadium was completely renovated after the Rams left.

  25. Actually Comiskey isn’t much of a miss anymore after the major renovations it underwent. And Not sure why you’d say Arlington and Miller were misses. Both are vast improvements over their predecessors.

  26. Arlington has the heat problem. They needed to build it with a roof so that it can be airconditioned (like in Houston).

  27. Doubt very much the Rangers would agree. They seem to like the home field advantage it gives them.

  28. Hmmm… you might want to ask all those high profile free agents that they signed throughout the years about that…. The simple fact is most players don’t want to play in that heat every day. Even if it gives a “home field advantage” there are disadvantages that more than make up for it too.

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