On Ronn Owens’ second hour (MP3) today, former San Jose Mayor Tom McEnery likened the Giants’ hold of the South Bay’s territorial rights to assigning Eastern European buffer states per the Warsaw Pact. A bit over the top? A postwar version of Godwin’s Law?
McEnery tried to appeal to Owens in terms of fairness for baseball and the Giants in terms of the A’s no longer having to receive revenue sharing. As a stand-in, Owens was steadfast in his defense of Bill Neukom’s position, arguing that “there’s nothing in it for (Neukom).” McEnery characterizes Neukom’s actions as “acting in an unseemly manner” in his defense of the T-rights. The Giants just won a World Series, have a reality show, what more do they want?
When confronted about corporate interests potentially fleeing the Giants for the A’s, McEnery brought up the big letter from SVLG. Owens replied that no corporate interest could guarantee its patronage, especially if the economy took a turn for the worse.
Regarding the Sharks and their previous resistance to the ballpark project, McEnery (SVSE board member) felt that the deal struck with the city last summer would take care of the Sharks’ concerns as long as it progressed properly and fairly.
It was certainly a disjointed debate, and I don’t think McEnery convinced anyone. I doubt that calling your opponent unseemly is a great way to bring him to the table. It’s pretty clear that judging from the comments on this blog and elsewhere that the public debate has ground down to an impasse long ago. It’s better that the talking heads let Selig and his people do their thing and stop the lobbying.
P.S. I missed one McEnery response I thought was interesting in when he fielded a question about SJRA buying land for the ballpark and Wolff buying other SJRA land, “In the context of the stadium, I think it’s a legitimate investment, but I’m sure if the A’s were allowed to come (to San Jose) they’d pay for that (Diridon) too.” He also put up a good defense for redevelopment – as it’s done in San Jose at least.
Tom McEnery won’t convince anyone since those north in the 415 think San Jose should forever be a colony of “Frisco.” But seriously, hats off to TMac for putting Owens in his place. The fact that he thinks Giants fans in SCC/SJ will switch allegiances shows you how much he knows. Owens also isn’t aware of the SVLG poll showing only 15% of SV corporations doing business with the Giants (probably a little higher percentage now that they won the WS); enough corporate pie for everyone! Lastly, I guess he doesn’t think Oakland having over 15 years to get something done for the A’s is enough time either. Oh well, interesting “debate” nonetheless. I salute you Mr. TMac!
The San Jose territorial rights come down to a straightforward business deal. It’s not about morality, fairness, or “seemliness”. The Giants own the rights, and the value of those rights were factored into the price the Shorenstein/Magowan group paid for the franchise, just as the lack of those rights enabled the A’s owners to buy the franchise at a discount.
There isn’t one chance in a million that Bud Selig will try to force a transfer of the SJ rights from the Giants to the A’s without compensation reasonably acceptable to Neukom. And we know from the Baltimore-Washington deal, which only involved “broadcast territories” (which can be changed much more easily that territorial rights under MLB rules), that the compensation awarded to the Giants will be very substantial. The Orioles received MLB revenue and minimum franchise price guarantees AND the Orioles-owned RSN controls the TV rights to all Nationals games FOREVER (subject to paying an annual fee). The Orioles would almost certainly have lost a lawsuit against MLB over the Expos relocation to DC, but Selig preferred to give Peter Angelos his huge payoff rather than deal with that kind of disturbance within the exclusive ownership club.
The hitch is that Selig was able to extend that largely undeserved compensation to the Orioles because the District of Columbia footed the whole bill for the Nationals ballpark. And that meant that in addition to adding a mostly untapped top 10 media market to its ranks, MLB was going to immediately receive $350 million cash from the sale of the Expos/Nats franchise.
San Jose is a hugely valuable market, but it simply doesn’t have the kind of compelling deal that DC had on the table in 2005. Moving the A’s to San Jose will obviously enrich the A’s – but that’s not Selig’s concern. It will ease the burden of revenue sharing on the other owners, but the difference won’t be material to the other owners. OTOH, it will certainly anger and probably do some long term financial damage to the Giants, and both Bud and the other 28 owners will want to avoid that at all events. So San Jose is never going to work unless someone, either at the A’s ownership level or in Santa Clara County, comes up with a significant new revenue stream for MLB that can be transferred to the Giants. Unless SJ were to publicly finance the ballpark (not going to happen, of course), I just don’t know what that is.
Absent a viable plan for Orioles-level compensation to the Giants, Bud’s obvious move here is to sit tight, do nothing, let Wolf and San Jose keep making noise about relocation, and use that leverage to get a new park build in Oakland. Not saying that’s right or wrong, or seemly or unseemly, but it’s the way the business works.
I’ve generally stayed away from direct comparisons to the DC-Baltimore shift because of fundamental differences. I think it’s a mistake to think that the lessons learned in DC/NoVA are fully applicable in the Bay Area. Times have changed. Oakland doesn’t have the resources to do what was done in DC. Not even close.
Some guy called in bashing the “O” in being very dangerous. Do any of you fear for your lives going to an A’s game in Oakland, or fear being shot going to dinner after a game? I don’t. Never have in 40 years going to games. I wish there was more/better dinner options near the Coli, but there’s many cool spots DT/JLS area (and more to come) and that’s where VC will be right in the middle of.
New guy Simon,
Welcome to the blog. The Giants don’t “own” the territorial rights to SCC/SJ. MLB owns all territories and licenses them to the individual franchises.
And the only reason the Giants have SCC/SJ in their territory is because they were going to relocate here. As for Selig using SJ and his frat brother to get the “best business deal” out of Oakland for a ballpark…YEAH RIGHT! In reality, its the other way around my friend.
By the way Simon, since you know so much about “business,” where would you put a Major League franchise?
In downtown San Jose or Oakland/VC? Now explain your “business” reasoning. Thanks.
actually I think Simon makes valid points but as ML alluded to the quandry for BS is that there is no option in Oakland—so trying to use San Jose as leverage to get a better deal out of Oakland isn’t going to happen—and BS knows this—–rather the scenario more likely to happen at some point if SJ isn’t approved is that MLB would buy out the A’s and ultimately move them as they did the Expo’s–this proved fairly lucrative the last time. Having said that and knowing that BS had to talk Fisher into coming into the ownership group I gotta believe there was some level of committment in making sure he helped the A’s get into a new ballpark in Fremont first and than SJ if indeed Oakland was not viable—all of those who believe that BS does as he pleases and the owners follow may have to reevaluate his role and power if he can’t steer this the way he most likely committed to–
Respectfully, your scenario involving an A’s relocation, MLB buying the A’s Expos style, etc. assumes that MLB favors the Giants over the A’s. This is simply not true. It’s the financial well being of ALL the clubs of MLB, not just the Giants. If the A’s in SJ means a brighter financial future for all clubs, including the Giants with compensation, then it will happen. Just relax will yah!
haas is rolling in his grave to see what his goodwill gester has become. alderson himself said the one thing he’d love to take back was not having a grandfather clause in that deal.
i didn’t buy the argument used during last postseason that sf winning the ws would mean maybe that it would show they didn’t need the rights to sj to be successful. think it’ll be the opposite, sfg org has become more arrogant and power hungrey thinking that they possibly could become the nyy or bos of the west coast as written by a recent blog article by kawakami a week or two ago and that getting the rights to sj will be tougher than before.
makes me disgusted to think how the a’s fate is so up in the air and who knows when selig will have the balls to come up with a decision.
@GoA’s– no option in Oakland? Hmm, then why does the BRC like the VC site, and have spent much time and money on it? Sure, VC has some hurdles, but it’s still a very viable option.
@jk–until someone shows specifically how the city of Oakland will fund a $100M of bonds to buy the land without most likely the benefit of a redevelopment agencyand a $500M investment in a ballpark that will require a public vote–there is no option– to assume that the city of Oakland would benefit from only the 3rd private funded ballpark in the county is a bit of a stretch for most logical minds-
@GoA’s–the RDA agencies aren’t dead yet. I think Brown will lose on this one. A new local owner will come forward when LW sells, then Wolff can put all his energies into his beloved soccer franchise.
@jk–not into one of your rambling debates—two facts—a new owner won’t address the financial challenges of privately financing the building of a ballpark in Oakland and second, the city of Oakland will be hard pressed to find put together $100M to buy the land and supporting infrastructure—not to mention manage the litigation—impossible no—improbable yes—
re: then why does the BRC like the VC site,
Unless the BRC has someone in mind who is ready to spend $500 mill on the ballpark (since Oakland can’t), then the BRC is just spinning its wheels on a pie-in-the-sky idea. Obviously, Wolff does not feel the VC site is financially viable or I’m sure he’d be glad to build there. But some people want him to run the team as a money-losing charity.
@Simon “The Giants own the rights, and the value of those rights were factored into the price the Shorenstein/Magowan group paid for the franchise.”
Shorenstein/Magowan were well aware at the time of the purchase that the territorial rights were subject to termination, at any time, for any reason, and without compensation, by 3/4 vote of the other owners. The fact they got the rights from the A’s in the first place based on a premise which didn’t occur and for no compensation should have alerted them that, as a matter of equity, this was a real possibility, especially vis-a-vis the A’s.
There is a big difference between rights that are vested always and forever, and rights that are subject to termination for convenience. The Giants should have factored this into their valuation decision when buying the franchise (and almost certainly did); this would have significantly reduced any portion of that valuation which was predicated on the T-rights.
@jk I will point out again that, to the best of my knowledge, no one in the history of the A’s franchise has said they were willing to build a privately-financed ballpark in Oakland (unless of course, you count Mr. Wolff earlier in his tenure). Not the sainted Mr. Haas, not the Dolich group, not Larry Ellison, not anyone else. If this was an unattractive proposition before, it is far less attractive now with the Giants entrenched in China Basin. If a local billionaire exists who is willing to spend close to a billion dollars buying the team, buying the land at Victory Court, and building the ballpark, all with a questionable possibility of getting his investment back, solely for the sake of local pride, now would be the time for him to speak up, with the future of the team on the line. The crickets you hear chirping should tell you something.
@GoA’s: it was mentioned long ago that Oakland owns the land where VC is proposed, and that there is no vote required; SJ would have to vote, and should have by now, but (a) either push it back or (b) miss their deadline. The biggest challenge perhaps for Oakland, even if they have the money, is the negotiating process with business owners. I like the idea of Peerless becoming a big sponsor and having their building adjacent on one side, to the VC park…or very close to anyway. If VC’s west street is Fallon, Peerless is not in the way, and the stadium could even be sized down slightly to eliminate any other worry. As for the other biz owners, we will see what they say.
SJ only needs a vote if taxpayer funds or RDA bonds go directly towards ballpark construction (Cisco Field will be privately financed). If SJ sells or leases the Diridon plot to the A’s, a vote won’t be necessary (per SJ Muni Code).
@David–can you cite the reference that shows Oakland owns the VC property–as I recall there were 20 or so landowners involved that would need to be bought out—second relative to a vote–if redevelopement agencies are ended as proposed by Brown than Oakland will need to raise $100M of bond money for the land and infrastructure which will require it to be paid back by the revenue fromt he general fund—i.e–no TIF anymore—I have a hard time believign that any city will allow its general fund to be impacted in any scenario—
jk, don’t fear for my life in Oakland during a game. However it is the only stadium I’ve ever visited where I’ve had the “pleasure” of hearing gunshots from a semi-auto in the distance. As for having dinner before or after the game, I also don’t fear for my life, because I’m usually having dinner somewhere there are actual restaurants, which isn’t near the Coliseum.
@simon – revenue sharing not material to the owners? $837 million just in the last two years:
Deemac, I didn’t say revenue sharing as a whole is not material. But the impact on each of the other 29 clubs of shifting the A’s from recipient to possible contributor isn’t large enough to drive this deal. If it were, Selig would already have given the A’s the go-ahead for San Jose.
Territorial rights aren’t some mere “license” from MLB. They are spelled out in detail club by club in the MLB Constitutions. The rights can be changed through a 3/4 vote of clubs, because that’s what’s required to amend the Constitutions.
Broadcast territories are assigned by MLB, and those can be changed at any time by the MLB Executive Committee. In the DC case, Orioles owner Peter Angelos argued that the value of broadcast rights to the Washington area (where the Orioles had no territorial rights) had been priced into the value of the Orioles when he purchased the team. It was a weak legal argument, but MLB paid the man off in a big way. Anybody who thinks the Giants won’t get at least as big a payoff for giving up territorial rights, which are much stronger, is living in fantasy land. The fact that San Jose won’t bring MLB the infusion of new cash that DC did is precisely what has kept Bud and his phantom committee from greenlighting the South Bay.
I don’t think Bud is necessarily trying to keep the A’s in Oakland. But he’s looking for the kind of deal that will enrich all 30 clubs and facilitate a massive comp package for the Giants, not just make the A’s a healthier franchise. His track record suggests he’s willing to wait many years with the A’s in limbo until he gets what he wants, either from SJ or Oakland or someplace else.
I just love how you post like you know what your talking about when in fact you don’t know what you’re talking about. Yes, some of the re-hashing of territorial rights and such is correct (you’re preaching to the choir my friend), but then you add your own tidbits about BS keeping the A’s in limbo, track records, looking for certain deals, big payoff for the Giants, blah blah blah. But I’ll give you an A for effort rookie. Again, welcome to the blog!
@ Tony D. : He’s just speculating based on educated guesses, the same as everyone else. No one knows how this is gonna turn out. The length of time someone has followed this story doesn’t even necessarily reflect how well they understand what’s going on. There are definitely crazy rantings that go on here, but they’re somehow more conducive to discussion than the “I’m right and you’re wrong” mentality.
@ Simonnumbers: There’s the bigger issue from simply granting the A’s access to the South Bay. It’s recognizing the Bay Area as a shared territory, which would be necessary because what do you do with the East Bay? Since we’re not privy to any discussions (if any) within MLB, it’s all speculation but I can’t see any owners being comfortable with MLB redefining the landscape like that. After the first year of waiting, it was suggested this whole situation might not be addressed until after the next CBA. It seemed a littled excessive at the time, but here we are. The CBA expires at the end of the year. It’s not so crazy anymore to think that the CBA will take priority over everything else until it’s finished.
I like Simon’s theory on San Jose not putting in public money for the stadium like Washington DC did as a main factor in the delay.
Something does not make sense after over 2 years of waiting for a BRC conclusion. MLB frowned on the Giants when they built their stadium privately years ago and the same thing is happening now….Simon is right on in that regard as if San Jose was going to pay $450M with public money this would have moved forward days ago….The owners want “handouts” from the taxpayers and if the A’s succeed with a private ballpark in San Jose like the Giants did years ago then the other cities will start telling their teams “do what the A’s and Giants” did and don’t ask us for $$$.
Tony is right though that MLB territorial rights have been changed in the past and can be again but if there is not a 3/4 vote to make it happen then of course that would be reason for the delay too.
On the other hand I agree with Tony to an extent that because San Jose doesn’t have all the land ready that could be another reason for the delay. Even though they have an EIR and most of the land in hand, they even have Lew Wolff stating that he would buy the rest of the land plus an very convincing letter from SVLG.
In conclusion it is obvious BS put himself into this mess without doing his due diligence in advance. He should have not announced a BRC and should have had them working in “stealth mode”, gathering the facts before doing anything in the public eye….Then again we all know how “bright” BS is! LOL
If wolff is telling Selig that he will privately finance Cisco Field/SJ using corporate sponsors, naming rights, equity, television revenue, charter seats (“all I need is the land!”) then MLB should have no problem with no public funds coming out of SJ.
By the way, I’d say the Giants have done just fine privately financing their Yard. And their success financially, at the gate, and on the field had nothing to do with holding SCCo/SJ hostage.
MLB has redefined the landscape many times when it was in their best interest; when the SF Giants territory was expanded in 1992 to include SCCo/SJ and recently when the Orioles TV territory was altered to make way for the DC Nationals/Expos (to name just a few examples).
It can be done. What irritates me with people like Simon is that they make the Giants territorial rights over SCCo/SJ sound so sacrosanct as if they were etched into the Ten Commandments.
And they do this because they simply don’t want to see the A’s move down the road to SJ. By the way, curious, what city/town is 94022 located?
@TonyD–FWIW, Bud Selig on 7/14/09 (4 months after the BRC started) at the Baseball Writers’ Association of America meeting in St.Louis: “”Territorial rights are always sacred.”
BTW, 94022 is in Los Altos, if that indeed is Simon’s zip code.
This is partly just crazy talk but when the Coliseum lease expires, I’d love to see the A’s temporarily play their home games at AT&T. I know this is highly/extremely/completely unlikely, but setting aside all bias, it’d be a beautiful venue that could spark the interest of casual fans.
So if “territorial rights” are sacred and there is pretty much no chance of a new ballpark being built in Oakland, then it’s bye bye A’s, obviously. I believe there are some people who would prefer the A’s leave the Bay Area altogether than go to San Jose.
@Briggs–The A’s at AT&T I don’t believe will happen. The G’s wouldn’t stand for it,162 games there over 6 months, fighting over prime dates for games, and these two teams ownerships don’t like each other. Period. LW was bashing Neukom last year about blocking the SJ ballpark plans.
@pjk–you still think VC is dead? The city and the BRC don’t seem to think so.
Not sure why my comments enraged people. I’m certainly not claiming to have any inside information on what Selig thinks or what he’ll do. It’s just my speculation based on his track record. Whatever theories people may have about what MLB thinks about SJ, they need to take into account the fact that Selig hasn’t touched the territorial rights issue and hasn’t given SJ a green light to move forward for several years now since it became obvious that nothing was happening in Oakland.
Territorial rights are not completely unchangeable (although jk-usa’s quote says a lot about how MLB views them). But they are a lot harder to change than the TV/radio territories which were in play in Baltimore/DC involved. I am not aware of any territorial rights change in MLB (other than the award of previously unclaimed territory to the Rays and D’Backs in 1997 and to the Nationals in 2005) since the merger of the two leagues into “Major League Baseball” in 1996. Before then, the AL and NL were separate legal entities and they only had limited obligations which evoved over time to respect each other’s territorial rights. It’s a different situation now, with each team’s boundaries written into the MLB Constitutions, and Bud obviously determined never to have an unhappy or litigious owner inside his tent.
Bottom line is the A’s may well find their way to San Jose, but it will involve very substantial compensation to the Giants. That compensation won’t come out of the pockets of the other 29 clubs — Bud needs an outside cash infusion, which normally comes from a 100% publicly financed ballpark, but in this case it may be something else. SJ backers need to figure out what that something else is.
@Simon–welcome to this board. I’ve enjoyed your take on this whole saga. Interesting perspective and can’t really disagree with what you’ve said. It all kind of makes sense.
My comments enrage some people on here too, but I don’t mean any harm. The names people call me kind of bum me out sometimes. I’m just a die-hard Oakland A’s fan who wants then to stay in the “O.” , their home for the last 43 years. Their rich, wacky, colorful history there is unlike any other franchise around. And we can sure use the construction and stadium jobs in the city/county.
re: The city and the BRC don’t seem to think so.
…Oakland and the BRC have $500 mill for a new ballpark? Can I see some proof of that? Because if there is no money, there is no ballpark. Oakland wants a free ballpark and no one has come forward ready to give them one.
@ pjk-usa : Do you two ever get tired of saying the same things to each other?
@Simon–find your comments interesting and they don’t enrage me—help me understand the notion that a publically funded ballpark helps the other owners out—while it would improve the A’s balance sheet by may $15M or so by removing the “mortgage payment” it will hardly have a measurable impact on 29 other owners–what am I missing?
jk–when you can show me the financing plan for a publically financed ballpark in Oakland and how they will gain the public’s support then I will have some respect for what you offer–other than that you offer emotional arguments based upon the premise that Oakland is entitled to the A’s and LW is a bad guy—nothing insightful or useful to figuring out how the A’s are going to stay in the Bay Area
Well, if T-Rights are so “sacred,” then the Giants would have never moved to SF from NY (Bay Area once Boston Red Sox territory due to minor league affiliation with defunct SF Seals of old PCL) or SCCo would never have been part of SF Giants territory.
Yeah! They’re “sacred” alright, until the best interest of MLB is at stake.
@Briggs–not really. I kind of like pjk’s same old same old., but I disagree with him that the A’s are gonna be gone out of the area. They have no where to go but the “O.” I’m hoping a search for a new owner is going on with city and LGO.
@GoA’s–LW is not a bad guy, and some say he’s quite likeable. He’s probably a wonderful husband, father and granddad, but is not cut out for this MLB stuff IMHO. You couldn’t ask for a poorer spokesman. He should stick to his hotels. Sometimes there’s more to it than the bottom line when it comes to this emotional game called sports. Guys like Walter Haas and Detroit’s Ilitch, both great icons in the community, generous philanthropists and true winners with their teams have set the bar. LW/JF giving $25k to Don Perata’s mayoral campaign was unprecedented for local sports owners. Some local charities could of put that money to better use.
@TonyD—Bud’s words, not mine– and he’s calling the shots in this game.
@jk–once again help me understand how a change in ownership changes the financial picture of building a ballpark in Oakland? While you might revere Haas and Ilitch neither of them ever offered or did build a ballpark with their own money. Relative to BS being quoted as saying TR are sacred—last time they were changed was 1990—and there was no compensation exchanged for the change—BS was an owner at this time—-obviously they weren’t sacred then–
LATE BREAKING NEWS:
Oakland’s Police Chief Anthony Batts does not, I repeat, does not, get San Jose’s top cop job.
OAKLAND — Police Chief Anthony Batts may be sticking around.
Batts did not get the chief job in San Jose for which he had been one of two finalists, he said Thursday. News broke of his candidacy last week, prompting a whirlwind of public concern over the potential departure of perhaps the city’s most widely liked government leader.
The city of San Jose chose Acting San Jose Police Chief Chris Moore, and so Batts said he’s hoping to stick around — as long as the city starts supporting the police department in a way he said has been lacking.
“I work my butt off,” Batts said. “Unless there’s support on all sides, there’s no need for me to be here.”
Batts issued his challenge not just to City Hall, but to his own command staff and to the community as a whole, to do “anything it takes to save the lives of young kids in this city.”
“Buds…calling the shots in this game.” Damn straight he is! Not the Giants or Bill Neukom…BUD! Enough from me on this thread.
@jk-usa: Is any of that really relevant to this site’s scope? Is it just that the story involves Oakland and San Jose?
This thread has outlived its usefulness.