When encroachment is not encroachment

Update 3/1 2:00 PM – Lew Wolff is keeping the campaign going. In a Bloomberg article, Wolff states that he is “aghast” at how the Giants could be so stubborn in guarding T-rights when the A’s are moving further away.

Thanks to jk-usa for getting hold of KCBS In Depth’s (Doug Sovern / Ed Cavagnaro) interview with Giants president Larry Baer. Nearly four minutes of the interview is spent talking about the A’s and territorial rights. Below is a transcription of the relevant section (starting at 17:30 of the interview).

KCBS: The other team in our market – the A’s – their owner still very much has his eye on San Jose. What is the Giants’ on this, has it changed at all as far as, is there something you would accept to give the A’s entry into San Jose?

Baer: No change. When we go back to 1992 and the team was acquired by this group, there was a territorial right that went with that purchase… the exclusive right to exhibit baseball in San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties… We understand the A’s situation. We believe that they need a new ballpark. There’s no doubt about that… but they need a new ballpark, not a new territory. Certainly in their exclusive areas, Alameda or Contra Costa County or anywhere else in this region whether it’s Sacramento or wherever, we wish the A’s luck and hope that they’re able – for the good of the sport – to get a stadium that’s to their liking.

KCBS: We know you have the right and that you’re opposed, but do you think that there’s any chance that the owners would allow the A’s to move to San Jose, and the odds that the San Jose people would be able to build a baseball stadium?

Baer: Well, there’s no precedent for stripping a team of its territory. People point to Baltimore-Washington. That’s a totally different situation because the Orioles did not have a territorial right to Washington. In fact, when Montreal moved to Washington there were reparations paid to the Orioles even though it wasn’t necessary. So in a way it argues our point that even when another team doesn’t own a territory, that it’s allowed to move close, there’s a chance for real destabilization of the existing team. So this has been kicked around forever. The commissioner has never indicated to us that he believes that the territorial right that we have is in doubt.

KCBS: How do you feel having the A’s in San Jose would harm the Giants?

Baer: Well if you look at the patterns, Ed, and you look at over the years what’s transpired… when the team was first acquired in ’92 or ’93 the team was in trouble. We were playing in Candlestick but the fans weren’t coming. We were thinking that it was franchise that maybe could not survive. We redoubled the marketing effort – San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties. That is our core. If you look at – even though Oakland may be closer to SF than San Jose – there’s a little thing that people forget called the San Francisco Bay. The path of travel in this region is really north-south. If you look at KCBS traffic reporters and where people are moving it’s a north-south grid. People are well versed and in the habit of coming up the train to San Francisco – we have to preserve Caltrain by the way – coming up the train to Giants games. They take buses, they take BART into parts of the South Bay. That is our fanbase. It’s a big part of who we are, it’s where our sponsors come from, and we’d be destabilized if the Giants had another team that was right there.

That part of the interview was sandwiched by talk about an arena in SF and CBA matters.

First off, I have to admit I admire the way Baer said that he hopes it works out for the A’s in Alameda/Contra Costa Counties and sneaks in a reference to Sacramento or other parts of “the region” in the same breath. The Giants certainly won’t be shedding any tears if the A’s moved to Sacramento. They’d probably pay for the Mayflower trucks. Of course, Sacramento is such a hamstrung market right now that any suggestion like this is clearly a straw man. Still – well played, Baer.

Next up – the path of travel is really north-south? That must explain the full Embarcadero BART platform before and after each Giants game. Or the record BART ridership the day of the championship parade. Or the fact that fans coming via Caltrain are 5% of a typical Giants gameday attendance. Or the 444,000 vehicles that take the three east-west bridges every day. Come on, let’s get real. We all know something that neither Larry Baer nor Bill Neukom are willing to say – that the Giants and AT&T Park have taken much of the East Bay fanbase, especially the casual fan. They have that and they want continued protection of their “core.” As much as fans may come from the South Bay, it still isn’t the most convenient kind of fandom. If a weeknight Giants game ends at 10 PM, fans aren’t leaving on the train until 10:30 and won’t arrive at their respective stations in Santa Clara County until at least 11-11:15. Add a drive home and it’s 11:30. That may be perfectly acceptable for diehard Giants fans (it is for me when going to A’s games) but it’s a tall task to get a truly significant number of fans from the South Bay. And the “BART into parts of the South Bay” business? That is truly rich.

Circles indicate a 20-mile radius from China Basin, Coliseum, Diridon sites

Circles indicate a 20-mile radius from China Basin, Coliseum, Diridon sites

The Giants frequently like to point out that 50% of their ticket sales come from south of the San Francisco City-County line. Roughly half of those come from Santa Clara County, and many of those are long-time Giants fans. Many are corporate interests who can’t or won’t buy into the A’s where they’re currently situated. Sometimes it’s both. If they’re that worried, why not measure it? Let’s set a baseline for how much revenue comes from the South Bay, and if the Giants see an attributable drop to the A’s move to San Jose, MLB can set compensation on a seasonal basis until the loans on AT&T Park are paid off. I’ve suggested in the past the the A’s simply shift part of their existing revenue sharing check – which basically is paid by the Giants anyway given the clubs’ relationship to the revenue sharing pool – and be done with it. Once the A’s move in, then use the baseline. The fact is that San Jose is too far from either San Francisco or Oakland to be even remotely optimized as a market. If MLB wants to maximize sales to the entire Bay Area, it needs to maximize the sales territory. Ever wonder why Oakland doesn’t have great retail shopping districts or a mall? It’s partly because long ago, retailers and developers decided they could get sales from Oakland without having to locate in Oakland by locating in Emeryville, San Leandro, and even SF for some major stores. At some point MLB will have to decide if it wants as much from the Bay Area as possible or not. The status quo will surely not provide that.

Finally, there’s this matter of the Giants getting the South Bay baked into the $100 million purchase price paid by Peter Magowan and company in 1993. That price was a hometown discount, well shy of the $115 million offered by Vincent Piazza when he tried to move the team to St. Petersburg. We’re familiar with the hometown discount since it allowed Steve Schott and Ken Hofmann to get the A’s from Wally Haas for a cut rate. However, that brings up the question of how much the T-rights for the South Bay were worth back then and now. Below is a table showing the purchase prices for eight teams that changed hands in the early 90’s.


So Magowan paid about the same for a bigger market, greater legacy team as Drayton McLane and Nintendo did? Barely more than the two National League expansion franchises, both of whom were in inferior markets compared to the Giants? Incidentally, Magowan initially offered $95 million but may have brought in additional outside money to bolster the bid (at the time Magowan was worth a “measly” $60 million, hardly billionaire status).

If $95 million could be considered the Value of a Replacement Franchise, that doesn’t say much for having additional value baked into the 1993 price paid for the Giants, whether that value comes from T-rights to the South Bay or not. In all of the resale cases, franchise values may have been artificially depressed to maintain that team in-market. That’s fine, better that than a free-for-all. Let’s not kid ourselves about how much Santa Clara County was worth back then. In fact, in 1993 the A’s franchise valuation was $114 million, well north of the Giants, close to Piazza’s bid, and more reflective of an open market valuation. Shortly after Magowan assumed control, he inked Barry Bonds and the franchise value took off. It’s hard to argue that the South Bay had so much value in that transition when Magowan such a huge discount in the process. There’s more meat to the story if the value is baked into the financing of the stadium. But that’s done in 2017, and the Giants want the South Bay in perpetuity.

The funny thing is that I’ve spent over 1,000 words on what is essentially no change in position on the part of the Giants from 2009, when Neukom took the helm. While the A’s and South Bay interests have shifted to an appeal to decency, the Giants haven’t budged one bit. It’s clear that one team is better at playing this particular game, and it’s not the one who has more World Series trophies.

89 thoughts on “When encroachment is not encroachment

  1. I started reading this and had to stop, since it’s so upsetting. The Giants want to cage the A’s into a place where they will almost certainly not get a new ballpark and MLB is too cowardly to do anything about it. Meanwhile, some owners whine about revenue-sharing but won’t let the A’s move 30 miles to a profitable situation.

  2. What makes Larry Baer’s comments so dishonest is that the Giants were granted the territory in 1990 in order to build a new stadium in Santa Clara County which, the last time I sat in my seats at AT&T, they did not do. The team is worth so much more than the debt remaining on AT&T and has sufficient cash flows to deal with any bump from an A’s move to San Jose. And where do the Giants think those East Bay A’s fans will go when the team moves 30 miles further south? My guess is that many will go right over into the Giants stadium.

  3. the A’s need a new stadium, not a new territory! As ML has stated many times… this is business. I hate the giants, but their trying to do what’s best for their bottom line.
    The giants played in a hell-hole (candlestick), but they still didn’t complain. They signed Bonds. They didn’t talk bad about SF. The franchise was “buzzing”. They built AT&T and the rest is …

  4. Pjk,
    Don’t be upset over what this a$$hole says to the public. Its not up to him, Neukom, or the Giants whether the A’s can move to San Jose.
    I will say this about Baer and the Giants brass; they really think that we’re all a bunch of idiots with their explaining their position re: T-Rights.
    Baers statements are so outrageous, false, and reek of arrogance they beg the question; is he being real with listeners on what’s really going on with the Bay Area situation?
    Not that it really matters, but I say no! I’ll take Mr. Wolff’s cool demeanor any day over this “used car salesman.”.
    By the way, I remember on interview in late 09 with Baer, in which he was challenged by an A’s fan from Livermore re: T-Rights.
    Baers answer was basically “look, we’re not trying to fight anything. Whatever decision MLB makes we will abide by and follow.”. Glad to see the Giants position hasn’t changed! ;o)

  5. David,
    Yeah, the Giants didn’t complain…THEY JUST TRIED TO MOVE TO SAN JOSE! And when that fell through, ownership sold to a group bent on moving the G’s, only to be saved by MLB for a local group for less money.
    That local group WANTED to build privately in SF and did (key word being “wanted”). Its a “business” you say? Baer and the Giants have yet to state factually how the A’s in SJ would hurt them (bull shit doesn’t count brah).
    I’ll give you this though David; it is a business where MLB IS concerned, and MLB will be acting in the best interest of all teams, not just the arrogant/selfish Giants.

  6. Hey ML, it’s hard to be critical of the A’s strategy (or lack of a cohesive one.) They’re trying to fight precedent AND the Giants and they really aren’t getting anywhere. It makes sense to use different arguments. The Giants’ strategy is cohesive because the default decision here (staying in Oakland) is what they want. So, they just oppose unilaterally.

    Of course, they gloss over the fact that the territory situation in the BA is unique to it in terms of not sharing the entire thing. Plus, they know good and well that having only AC and CC in your territory can’t be good; they’d crap their pants if the shoe was on the other foot! Like you said, there are good business reasons for retailers to not locate in Oakland, just as there are good ones for the A’s to not be there.

  7. Baer is just one of many examples of why I hate the Giants more than any other team on the planet.

  8. The census bureau’s metropolitan divisions prove that commutes are more east-west than north-south, as San Francisco and Oakland are one metro area distinct from San Jose. Funny that we have to say this as a new bridge between the peninsula (or Yerba Buena Island) and east bay is being constructed. Pretty softball interview, really. It’s not hard to poke holes in their arguments.

    And on the anecdotal evidence front, I saw this weekend that people in Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek are big on Giants hats and shirts. It’s weird because they must be A’s fans since that is the east bay.

  9. I hate to admit it, but I am more sympathetic to the Giants position than I have been in the past.

    The A’s (Haas) signed a horrible agreement. Rightly or wrongly, the A’s have to live by the terms of that contract.

    There is no question that the A’s moving to San Jose would be financially detrimental to the Giants. How much is unclear, but the Giants have a right (and responsibility?) to defend the terms of the contract.

    Ultimately, the blame in all this has to be laid at the feet of the Haas family, and not at the Giants, because they signed a horrible agreement.

    The A’s need to take another look at Fremont if they want to build a ballpark that will serve the South Bay.

  10. Fremont? And have 700 NIMBYs a night protesting? Yes, that sounds like a great idea.

  11. Pudgie,
    MLB T-Rights aren’t subject to “contracts.” Whether they’re geographic or television, they can be altered anytime MLB sees it fit in the best interest of baseball.
    If, or when, SCCo becomes shared, the Giants retain all value associated with said territory and the A’s get a new ballpark/off of revenue sharing.
    Kind of OT: I read in The Merc about a month ago that the Giants needed permission from the Yankees and Mets to display the WS trophy in Harlem.
    That said, I’m almost certain that the Giants needed permission from the A’s to display the trophy in CoCo and Alameda County. Perhaps sportsmanship does exist behind the scenes between the A’s and Giants.
    Lastly, Baer sure sounds a lot like the Orioles Peter Angelos when MLB was “threatening” to move the Expos to DC, and we all know how that turned out (please, no straw man replies to this statement).

  12. @Tony – Baer said the territorial rights were woven into the purchase in ’93. Don’t all deals have to get approval by the league office? Either they were part of the deal or Baer is flat out lying.

  13. By the way RM, what “particular game” are the Giants winning here? Since it won’t be up to them whether the A’s are allowed SJ?
    I’ll take the A’s/South Bays decency and sportsmanship any day over the Giants arrogance and bull shit. I’m sure Selig and MLB would agree.

  14. @ pjk:

    The A’s have no “great” options at this point.

    – San Jose will require a sizable payout of tens of millions of dollars to the Giants, which may make the project financially impractical given that the ballpark will also cost upwards of $400 million.

    – The A’s can build a nice ballpark at Victory Court (a northern home plate orientation would be superior, IMHO), but it’s unclear if Oakland has the resources to pay for its share; furthermore, it is not clear if the market in Oakland/East Bay will allow for the A’s to finance a Victory Court ballpark privately.

    – Fremont appears to be dead at this point, but the area around the Warm Springs station is still the best general location for a ballpark within the A’s territorial rights.

    – And, of course, Vancouver, BC and Sacramento exist as options as well. 😉

  15. David,

    What Baer is saying, is that when this ownership group bought the Giants, Santa Clara County was exclusively theirs. Territorial Rights are governed in the MLB Constitution, which you can read in the side bar in the post tiled “Greener Grass, Episode 9: How it Could Work in San Jose.”

  16. @tony d. – Territorial rights only apply to a ballpark. Any marketing or sales efforts throughout the rest of the Bay Area can be done without T-rights.

    The Giants are winning the public opinion game, like it or not.

  17. @David,
    Baer is flat out lying throughout much (if not all) of the KCBS interview, so he’s most likely true to form on the T-Rights, purchase value stuff.
    But even if he was telling the truth, SO WHAT! Again, when SCCo goes back to being shared, the Giants will retain the value of “their” territory.
    MLB could even grant them guaranteed franchise value much like they did with the Orioles. This thing really isn’t that difficult people, unless you’re completely against the A’s moving to SJ.

  18. RM,
    Thanks for clarifying the “game”. I misunderstood what you were implying…the MARKETING game.
    Nice map of the Bay Area by the way! Waiting for Bartleby to come through with his “Daisy Cutter” of a post. ;o)

  19. i’m not a traffic expert. but that east-west 444,000 car movement is about getting to work. Does that hold true when it comes to entertainment? Are there tons of cars driving across the Dunbarton to hang out on Saturday nights?

  20. @ML or anyone who may know: how many fans take Bart from the east bay to Giants games? I know some G fans from the eastbay who work in SF will hang out after work, have dinner, catch a game and take Bart home. I can see that happening at the VC site.

  21. Regardless of what the Giants say San Jose is not going to stop even if it means a lawsuit challenging MLB’s Anti-Trust Exemption.

    MLB right now has held San Jose at bay but the city’s patience is wearing very thin. Chuck Reed is a former lawyer and so are a couple of his council people.

    I have spoken to a few city council people and they feel a lawsuit is “premature” right now but it is something they have considered. The property taxes from a new ballpark and ancillary development from it is well worth the lawsuit….One could consider it an “investment”.

    San Jose is playing by MLB’s rules until it no longer behooves them too. The Giants are playing a very “dangerous” game here that could alienate all 30 owners.

    If San Jose sues MLB the Giants were to have opened the biggest “can of worms” in MLB history that will strip them of their treasured AE….because of their greed and selfishness.

    The NFL, NBA, NHL have all set precedents that they are in fact 30 separate businesses and not a “game” as the Supreme Court ruled about MLB in 1922.

    Supreme Court decisions have been challenged and overturned on several occasions in the past. MLB has a very weak argument if this goes to court and the Giants could be the very reason MLB loses their AE.

  22. There is one person who can do something about this and its bs—and by all accounts he is working on it right now–otherwise he would have told LW hands off awhile ago—as LW said recently he would prefer knowing now v. later if the answer is no so that he can move on—and we all know that there is no answer—-second—to baer’s credit he alluded to the gints ultimate objective by suggesting sacto may be the area for the A’s—any A’s fan regardless of your loyalties to Oakland or SJ should be pissed by that comment—

  23. Speaking of Victory Court, check out the map above. If you moved the Coliseum yellow circle to correspond with VC, the yellow and pink AT&T circles would nearly cancel each other out like an eclipse.
    The teal circle that is Diridon is where MLB is looking at.

  24. Well, I’m sure a lot of North Bay A’s fans would greatly prefer Sacramento to San Jose, if those were the only choices.

  25. I used to go on country drives west of Davis and would sometimes end up in Napa and thereabouts. I guarantee that most of the north bay would not be thrilled about the A’s going to Sac. It’s not that convenient at all, even taking major highways like 101 to 37 to 80.

    Additionally, the A’s would become like the Kings on TV, technically being televised on CSNCA but blacked out in the bay.

  26. Well, I didn’t say they’d be thilled about it, only that they’d prefer it to San Jose. 101 -> 37 -> 80 is Marin County access, way further west than the areas I was thinking of: Vallejo, Fairfield, Antioch, Stockton…

  27. Oh, and the Kings are only blocked because of NBA territorial rules. The A’s and Giants already share TV rights throughout all of Northern California, and a _new_ TV territorial rights map would need to be drawn up to specifically black out the A’s in the Bay Area. I doubt that would occur (not that there’s really much chance the A’s will ever wind up in Sacto mind you).

  28. If the Giants believe that Sacramento is a viable area, why don’t we just move the Giants to Sacto, and then the A’s can go to SF, or go to SJ and we can just leave Phone Booth as a memorial to stupidity?

  29. Sorry for being OT (again), but I heard a cool song called San Francisco on KFOG the other day. I researched it and it’s over 2 years old, sung by a northern California native Brett Dennen. He sings about moving to SF and all the neighborhoods in the City.
    He ends the song with:
    ” Deep in the tenderloin you can get anything you want
    Over in the mission it’s always a sunny day
    It’s a real good baseball town but my team is across the bay”

    YESS!!! An Oakland A’s fan!! I wonder what he’d think of a SJ move? How would you change the lyrics on that one? “but my team is down the 101?”..LOL

    Here’s the video, it’s 3:56 long, and the line is at the 3:05 mark.

  30. @jk-usa – Yikes. I like Brett Dennen but you’ve somehow reduced him to Justin Bieber status with your fawning.

  31. @ML–Now, after the Giants WS win and everybody and their grandmother is a Giants fan, if he sang that song in SF, they’d probably boo him off the stage!

  32. @jk-usa – Then it’s a good thing his next Bay Area gig is at the Fox Oakland.

  33. @ML–is he really? LOL..I love it. Just checked tix on this one. $61, not bad. Elvis Costello is coming in May, too. Been to 4 shows already there. Great venue. Sound has been spotty at best though.
    Anyway,that’s the kind of music I love. I’m a Fog Head and have all the KFOG Live from the Archives CD’s from the last 17 years.
    P.S. I’m not fawning over this guy. Reduced to Justin Bieber? too funny, ML. I’m 49, not 12..lol. I barely know who he is, and just thought it was a cool song with that great last line.

  34. “Let’s set a baseline for how much revenue comes from the South Bay, and if the Giants see an attributable drop to the A’s move to San Jose, MLB can set compensation on a seasonal basis until the loans on AT&T Park are paid off. ”
    I’m not seeing how this is relevant at all. The Giants made a deal, apparently, where T-rights were included, and privately-financed their stadium with this in mind. When building the stadium, they must have presumed that it would last more than 20 years, and that they would continue to reap the benefits of increased revenue past the 20 year loan period. They picked a 20-year loan period, where they could have picked 30 or possibly even a 40 or 50 year loan period if a bank had been agreeable (I don’t know if they were or if the Giants tried, I’m just saying).
    Basically, the cost of AT&T was a sunk cost back in 1997 when they first started building it. They had to pay back $300 mil (or whatever it was) over some amount of time. So if they had elected for a 40-year loan (with half as much of the principal paid off each year), would the A’s owe them money until 2037? If so, they’re being penalized for being fiscally responsible and not assuming too much long-term debt (a big MLB no-no). I don’t see MLB caring how much was paid off each year. I see them caring about how much the rights are actually worth to the A’s/Giants at this point in time and how much of the sunk investment by the Giants would be harmed by their loss.

  35. @Brian – Point taken. The loan was for $170 million. The rest of the financing was done via sponsorships, naming rights, charter seats and upfront suite deals. If you go with the idea that 25% of the fanbase comes from the South Bay, that puts that liability at $42.5 million. With inflation that figure is $58.3 million. Does that sound like a reasonable amount? And should Wolff have to pay for that all upfront? The Giants didn’t have to pay for their ballpark all upfront.

  36. Funny how many pro-Oaklanders seem to be closet Giants fans all of a sudden. LOL
    @ML – would it be far fetched to suggest that MLB would front the TR $$ to SF via the welfare revenue checks the A’s would have received if they stayed in Oakland?

  37. This isn’t really all that difficult people. The Giants debt payments of $20 million sunsets in 2017; they will have paid off in full their privately financed ballpark! But even if that wasn’t true, it’s utterly impossible to prove that the A’s in San Jose would hurt the SF Giants financially. Consider:
    1) The SVLG poll of company’s over a year ago. Over 75% of respondents didn’t do any business whatsover with the Giants. Those that did would continue EVEN WITH the A’s in San Jose; probably more so now that they won the WS.
    2) Whatever the Giants fanbase percentage originating in the South Bay is, they aren’t going to jump ship on “their” team just because the A’s are in San Jose. Remember, the A’s already exist in the Bay Area; they wouldn’t be moving to San Jose from Alaska or Canada. Besides, it’s impossible to prove the fanbase would all of a suddent disappear with a San Jose A’s team; it’s also a straw man argument to suggest such.
    3) Cisco, as well as other tech titans of Silicon Valley, have committed to an A’s team in San Jose, and it sure hasn’t hurt the Giants financially one bit! The pie is way big enough for both teams.
    In closing we could talk all day about sunk costs, debt payments, loan terms, fanbases, yada yada yada. Bottom line that this won’t be that hard to work out and the Giants will do just fine with an A’s team in San Jose.

  38. @ST – It isn’t anymore far-fetched than anything else I’ve heard.

  39. sf just doesn’t want the a’s do get anything from silicon vally corporations. at worst nobody gets it. sf doesn’t want the a’s to come even close to equal footing imo with the off the field money from sponsors where at this time the a’s are lagging way behind and it’s not even close.

  40. @ST–i have NEVER EVER been a Giants fan, but am envious of their cool ballpark and solid ownership, who do give a damn about their fans, unlike the A’s owners. I do despise the G’s a bit less now that Barry “The Cheater” Bonds is retired.

  41. Tony is correct that SVLG only has 25% of its members doing business with the Giants currently. That leaves 75% untapped and the Giants fear two things.

    1. Corporations supporting the A’s on a level far higher than they could ever fathom in San Francisco.
    2. Losing future fans (Which I expand on below)

    If the A’s move to San Jose; the die hards will always be that. The Giants are afraid of the kids growing up in San Jose whose parents don’t go to Oakland (like myself 20 years ago) but go to San Francisco on the weekends all the time.

    Thus the kids go to Giants games versus A’s games because of this.

    With the A’s in San Jose those kids will now take light rail or have their parents (who could very well be Giants fans) drop off their kids at the game and then pick them up afterwords because they do not want to drive to San Francisco with a safe alternative in mind nearby.

    The Giants would lose “future fans” in Silicon Valley that would normally have ended up Giants fans like myself.

    My parents would drop me and my brother at Candlestick all the time growing up in the 1990s….not because Oakland is unsafe because lets face it Candlestick is not in the best of neighborhoods but because San Francisco is a great place for tourists and locals to come to on the weekends and “chill”.

    My parents would never go to Oakland because SF is just that much more attractive of a city and San Jose pails in comparison of SF as well….Do not get me wrong.

    Therefore it was an automatic decision for me as a kid being a Giants fan versus and A’s fan growing up. It was not until my teenage years when I got a driver’s license where I started to head to A’s games and became of a fan of them as well.

    This is what the Giants fear, they could care less about the East Bay because they got half of that sub-market in the Bay Area already. I worked in Dublin and now Livermore and you see Giants hats and t-shirts everywhere…..So it is relative.

    They are afraid Silicon Valley would become a powerhouse market for the A’s that they know will be very competitive with sellout crowds, new fans becoming SJ A’s fans not SF Giants fans, and corporations pumping money into Cisco Field all day long.

    This is their worst nightmare and even if Oakland got something done you would see attendance drop off really fast at Victory Court because there is no way Oakland can top ATT Park as it is ranked #1 in MLB even after 11 years in existence……They are too close to each other.

    But in San Jose 50 miles away you would see a new dynamic that the Giants fear beyond belief……San Jose will have to sue as if the A’s leave they will never get a team. That is the bottom line.

  42. I agree that Baer is clueless about Sacramento possibly getting the A’s– won’t happen. Fremont– don’t see it occurring even if possible land and territory-wise, with reasons given earlier; NIMBY-ism at best there.
    I don’t know if Baer is lying or telling the truth, yet agree with those who say it is up to BS. If Baer is being truthful, especially with the Nationals/Orioles situation, then it can give Oakland a little more hope. That is _not_ to say that things will work out for Oakland, and the efforts have to continue; all I mean by that is if the money is there for Oakland and negotiations somehow work out with businesses at VC, then a park there is still a possibility.

  43. Regarding ballpark locations,
    Better Sense San José posted a video link recently, which dates back to December:
    it is short, and includes the following blurb:
    “During a well attended walking tour of the stadium site organized by the neighborhood on Nov 11, Kip Harkness of the RDA explains the constraints of the site and how the lack of funds of the RDA makes it even harder to fit a baseball stadium that would not simply be *the* hitter’s paradise …”

    Sorry if I missed this being posted already, ML, yet interesting nonetheless.

  44. @DavidL – I haven’t seen the video but a bunch of us had a discussion over the constraints of the site and our own worries about the ballpark being a bandbox. I also came up with a solution that would allow the ballpark to have fair or neutral dimensions by simply rotating the field orientation 5 degrees.

    The original vision for the ballpark would’ve had the PG&E substation relocated nearby or at least reconfigured to be more compatible. As of now it will remain as is, which really limits the ways the ballpark can be placed at the site. What Harkness and Better Sense San Jose were referring to was the original concept’s inclusion of a park across the street, where that pot club and a few other businesses sit. Removing that land from the project scope saved the RDA millions of dollars.

    • “ Mourn them do not. Miss them do not. Attachment leads to jealously. The shadow of greed, that is.”

      the original concept’s inclusion of a park across the street, where that pot club and a few other businesses sit.


      Score for ST!

  45. ProOaklanders, heed the words of the wise: “ Mourn them do not. Miss them do not. Attachment leads to jealously. The shadow of greed, that is.”
    Do not envy the Giants, instead accept the path of least resistance and a great future for the A’s. Would you whole heartedly endorse and copy China’s fledging economy (based on the cheap labor of its people and the blatant ip infringement), or try to continue to evolve and be one step ahead with better alternatives?

  46. Holy crap… TPS is back.

  47. Gotta love how time never existed b4 1992. How easy it is to forget how the A’s gave the Giants these “Terirorial Rights”, just in case the Giants wanted to stay in the Bay Area, and move to the South Bay, instead of Tampa Bay. Thankfully they were able to move 10 miles farther north of their so called “core”. I’m glad the Giants only had to wait 18 years for their first world title(since they didn’t exist until 1993). I wouldn’t want remeber how the Giant’s own “Core” territory voted NO, on a new stadium in the South Bay, either. We should have let these greedy goons move to Tampa.
    South Bay Giant’s fans should be ashamed of their teams position. Nice to know that your own team thinks you would surrender you aligiance, if the A’s moved to town.

  48. I would love to have the Victory Court preliminary EIR come back and say: “We only need $10-$20 million to move the businesses and build the infrastructure and we have that. And we’ve lined up the financing needed to make the ballpark happen.” But I don’t believe in fairy tales or Santa Claus. The odds against an Oakland ballpark are mighty as long as Oakland maintains its stance of refusing to spend any general fund revenues on the A’s. That’s a deal-breaker for reasons already covered on this site.

  49. Speaking of invading other team’s “territory”, the Sacramento Kings were granted an extension until April 18th to decide on/finish up the Anaheim deal. What is worrisome from a Sac POV is that the new date still does not give the city’s ICON/Taylor group time to finish their report on a new arena in Sac (at 90 days they were already saying it was going to be ambitious to try and finish that fast which means the ICON report won’t be done until mid May).


  50. I still maintain that if neither Oakland nor San Jose work out, why isn’t Pleasanton/Dublin being considered? It appears to have everything that you need…better weather, somewhat equidistant from most of the fan base…East Bay, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Joaquin; BART line, a huge open field right next to the BART station, a somewhat decent corporate base (Safeway, Oracle, to name a few), right next to an existing commercial/retail/entertainment venue. Why was this site dismissed?

  51. @Bill- Lew Wolff already looked at Pleasanton years ago. He considered I-580 and El Charro Road on the southwest corner of the intersection.

    Problem is there is no ancillary development for miles and traffic is horrendous on I-580 East in the evenings. Without a pre-built Downtown the A’s would have to create one on their own much like they were trying to do in Fremont…..That part falling apart is why the A’s gave up in Fremont.

    It would be a bad place as people from the East and South Bay would be stuck in traffic to get there. People go that way to head home and a ballpark wouldn’t succeed in that situation.

    While going to San Jose is opposite commute in most cases and they have a pre-built Downtown centrally located to support the ballpark.

  52. The place I am thinking of is the intersection of I-580 and Hacienda Rd. It’s a big empty lot directly between the BART station and Hacienda Commons, home to movie theaters, restaurants, and shopping. It seems to me to be a natural, traffic aside, for a ballpark location with freeway access, public transportation, retail/commercial, entertainment, and a nearby corporate base.

  53. Problem is I think that land is already owned and slated for use by another group. That and the twin issues of access (you can’t just dismiss the traffic as it is terrible in that are), and location. It’s not in a downtown area which seems to be the preferred building location for MLB venues in the last 20 years. In Fremont they were planning to build a de facto downtown for Fremont (a city that doesn’t have one). Hacienda Commons is nothing but a big strip mall with a movie theater. It’s not really an “entertainment” district or downtown.

  54. Interesting read on the update that ML posted today- will be a fascinating assessment of whether bs leads or is being led- seems so easy to me- all 2 team territories are shared- end of story

  55. @Bill – As someone who has been working in that exact area for over a year, I can tell you is that Dublin has been anti-stadium for a while. There may also be some development in the pipeline for that exact location that was deferred due to the economic downturn.

  56. Interesting read indeed GoA’s. What’s really interesting is that Mr. Wolff goes after Baer and not Neukom…hmm? Ray Ratto once referred to Baer as Peter Magowan’s “trusty macaw.” That tells you a lot about Larry Baer.
    I don’t know about others here, but IMHO San Jose is looking more likely with every passing day. Now, will the city get a move on those final two parcels!

  57. Funny, I don’t hear a peep out of the proOakland crowd when it comes to other sites even within the A’s present TR. Why is that when they are so vehemently opposed to SJ?
    @ Bill – that area is a nightmare especially during evening commutes since it is the main exchange to the Brentwood/Tracy/Stockton area. And IMHO, the more affluent Pleasanton area would oppose any stadium effort. The perfect compromise would of been Fremont, but that was shot down by the Nimbys.

  58. ST, to be fair I heard fair bit of bellyaching when Fremont was their intended destination a few years ago. But to be fair to you I’ve heard even more about San Jose.

  59. Could be more bellyaching with SJ now because:
    * It sunk in that Oakland could really lose the A’s.
    * Change of thought/people in Oakland’s government.
    * Giants are against SJ and have started talking.
    * Giants are funding/influencing opposition groups.
    * Economy was not quite as bad when the Fremont plan started up.
    * The other Alameda/CC sites haven’t been talked about with as much seriousness as SJ.

  60. I don’t know about the last one. Fremont was very serious (so much so that the owners dropped a fair bit of coin to buy the land before being stymied by the NIMBY big box stores west of 880). I think it has more to do with it being even further away and outside what is perceived as the current A’s sphere of influence (even if such an idea is meaningless due to the Giants inroads everywhere). The second issue I think has to do more with the Giants being so opposed to it and fermenting that both officially and unofficially among both their own fans and indeed Oakland only fans. Third I think is the reality that Oakland is running out of time unlike they were previously combined with Oakland actually having an opposing plan for the first time in a decade even if it’s a half baked and highly unlikely to happen plan.

  61. Wolff is 75 now. Wow. He’s probably aged 20 years in the last 2 years. His plan B should be is to put the team up for sale to a local group. No doubt, you’d will get interest like you always have. Owning a major league team is very prestigious and there’s plenty of money out there. Sorry for repeating myself, but I’d hope Piccinini/Dolich/Zimmer or maybe one of the Warriors owners would be interested.
    @Dan–Oakland running out of time? What’s the rush? I’m patient, and can wait till 2016-17 for one of the coolest parks in MLB to be built. It’s way more than half baked and CAN happen.

  62. @jk-LW at 75 can run circles around most guys in their 50’s- age isn’t a factor- and explain to all of us one more time how a new ownership solves the dimema of how you privately finance a ballpark in Oakland…. Ahhh …. that’s right- there is no likely plan

  63. @GoA’s–fwiw, during the Jorge Leon meeting with Wolff in his luxury box, LW had problems answering some tough questions by Jorge, and often said “I’m too old for this” or I’m done here.”
    What a guy!

    • @jk-usa – I wouldn’t be surprised if Jorge Leon misinterpreted Wolff’s normal self-effacing manner (at least in public). I’ll say this – Jeffrey wiped the floor with Jorge in the Athletics After Dark debate. No question.

      • @jk-usa – I wouldn’t be surprised if Jorge Leon misinterpreted Wolff’s normal self-effacing manner (at least in public). I’ll say this – Jeffrey wiped the floor with Jorge in the Athletics After Dark debate. No question.


        Jorge Leon is NOT the guy Oakland-only-ers want speaking on their behalf. I’m still shaking my head from how horribly Leon carried himself and his cause during that debate.

  64. re: His plan B should be is to put the team up for sale to a local group.

    …No one is going to buy the team and keep it in Oakland without a set-in-stone plan for a publicly financed ballpark. And Oakland has vowed to spend no general fund revenues for the ballpark so good luck finding a group to keep the team in Oakland.

  65. @jk- rest assured lw is not selling and he is not building in Oakland without a few hundred mil from the public-and wasn’t jk the one who made the false claim that he left the game in the 7th during DB’s perfect game when in fact he went to the owners box- yup lots of creditability jl has

  66. @GoA’s–nope, it wasn’t me. Didn’t say that. Is my credibility still intact? According to BaseballOakland with the Leon interview, didn’t LW leave in the 6th inning to go up and talk to the Rays President?

  67. @ jk- meant jl- and did lw levee jl- absolutely – kudos for lw to spend anytime with Jim at all- did he leave the ballpark as jl claimed-nope- relative to your credibility- tell me how Oakland pays for a privately financed ballpark and than you might have some in my book-

  68. @Dan – by ‘other Alameda/CC sites’ I meant other than Fremont. I know how serious they were about Fremont. So was the Fremont government.

  69. …(pin drops)…..yes folks, that’s the sound of Oakland’s ballpark financing plan…..

  70. @PJK: I don’t understand why you keep mentioning Oakland’s (g)eneral (f)und as a way to fund the ballpark. As with other cities when having their ballparks built, it is not practical to draw from the gf with the cuts that have had to be made to erase gf deficits each year. Yes, Oakland needs to find a way, but I agree with officials that the gf is currently not the answer. Oakland needs a way to build up its tax revenue, which is happening too slowly right now, and even moreso if the RDA funds were to be stripped by Gov’r Brown. This is a big month for Oakland, as they wrap up stage 1 of the EIR, and find what MLB will say to them next. We will also find out if Oakland can hang onto RDA money or not, along with other cities including SJ.

  71. JKUSA writes “Wolff is 75 now. Wow. He’s probably aged 20 years in the last 2 years”
    Interesting thought. Then again, Al Davis is still alive ‘n kicking…figuratively for the latter, regarding coaches getting the boot every year or so.
    Back to being on topic…Wolff has alot to say, whether people call it whining or not. I really wonder if he even gave the Victory Court site the slightest thought of optimism before or among his repetitious “exhausted options” phase. My guess…no.

  72. So I’m still not hearing of a plan on how Oakland pays for the ballpark without public funds. The only way a ballpark gets built is if MLB decides to pay for the thing itself, something it’s never done.

  73. @DavidL- VC is a non-starter because there is no way to privately finance a ballpark in Oakland—take the challenge–inform all of us here how Oakland will be able to do it and than maybe I will see VC as an opportunity–but to hope that if Oakland buys the land someone else will build the infrastructure and the ballpark with their own dime is a pipe dream…or as they say in the sales world–hope is not a strategy-

  74. Oakland acts like Major League Baseball is privileged to be in Oakland when really the opposite is true. Other places will happily swoop in and take the A’s if Oakland won’t do what is necessary to keep the team and San Jose is forever banned from hosting Major League Baseball. San Antonio, Las Vegas – there will be plenty of suitors once the team is in play.

  75. It would be interesting to see the same map as above, but instead of the 20mi radius from each location, see the distance along major highways and trains for actual 20mi reach. I imagine that the coverage from the existing stadiums would be reduced across the bay.

  76. @pjk–outside of a 3rd team in NYC/NJ area, there’s no real place for the A’s to go. Both Texas teams are kind of struggling and S. Antonio is even a smaller are. Vegas’ economy’s in the tank and too transient, and there’s also that gambling thing. Just keep them in the “O”, where they’ve played the last 43 years. It’s been a 43 year roller-coaster ride, 3 out of 4 crappy ownerships, but some great success, great fans, and a much colorful history.
    I’ll give LW one more chance to redeem himself. Work with the city on the VC site. If not, sell to someone who will.

  77. No place? San Antonio, which is bigger than San Jose, already took a shot at getting the Marlins. Las Vegas also is a possibility. As is contraction. They won’t be playing in the Coliseum on into eternity, requiring massive subsidies each and every year.

  78. re: Work with the city on the VC site. If not, sell to someone who will.

    …As in: Wolff’s personal contribution: $400 mill; Oakland City contribution: $0, right?

  79. Isn’t that the deal for SJ too?

  80. San Jose has the corporate backing to make a privately built park work; Oakland does not. Seems unfair but these are the breaks: No public subsidy outside the land contribution is needed in San Jose; massive public subsidies are needed in Oakland. But that has been the case with most ballparks, in places such as Cleveland, Miami, etc. If Oakland wants to insist, “If you build it privately in San Jose, then you can do that here,” then Oakland will join Montreal as a former Major League Baseball city.

  81. @pjk–true, San Antonio has a larger population than SJ. It’s 1.3 mill spread out over 400 sq. miles with room to grow. It’s metro area has just over 2 mill. Sounds like SJ Texas style.

  82. @pjk, I don’t get your obsession with San Antonio. You’ve mentioned the city several times as of late. The city is in a metro region that is only the 28th largest in the US. They would need to build a new stadium (most likely with a retractable roof) from scratch. The Alamo Dome won’t work as a baseball stadium, the roof is too low. Furthermore, it would hard to configure a baseball field into the dome. A lot of football seating and existing foundation would need to be taken out. When the Marlins were flirting with San Antonio, the Alamo Dome was never mentioned once. They wanted a brand new stadium.

    I still don’t think there are any markets for the A’s to relocate to that are even close to ideal if you’re MLB.

  83. …Is San Antonio a major city? Yes (even bigger than San Jose). Has San Antonio expressed an interest in Major League Baseball? Yes. Does San Antonio have the territorial rights problems that San Jose has? Not that I’m aware of. Does San Antonio expect a Knight in Shining Armor to build a free ballpark like Oakland does? I guess we’ll have to see.

  84. don’t know alot about SA specific but I do know that the owners of the Saints football team tried to move them there permanently after Katrina—but the move was rejected by the NFL–keep in mind that sometimes all it takes is a strong community supporter with deep pockets—(OKC Thunder for example)—if the A’s quest for SJ is rejected I would bet that there will be more than a few cities that come knockin’

  85. That’s correct. A smaller “less ideal” market willing to provide a publicly funded stadium will win out over a larger, theoretically better market that refuses to do so. Just look at the aforementioned move of the SuperSonics to a smaller market in Oklahoma City. Or the Oilers’ move from Houston to Nashville.

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