Days of Reckoning

Governor Jerry Brown’s self-imposed budget deadline has come and gone, though Brown has asked for more time to work out details with the legislature. That body is trying to line up a floor vote next week, and they can waive the advance requirement for a public vote if they can get the budget basics outlined. If a compromise can’t be reached in the Capitol, Brown has warned of an “all cuts” budget in which every state agency and employee group will be in an “every man for himself” mode. It’s hard to conceive, but not out of the realm of possibility. It’s too early to know what such an impasse would mean for redevelopment, and for the various stadium projects throughout the state.

Speaking of redevelopment, Santa Clara County’s lawsuit against the City of San Jose and SJRA will have a hearing on Monday. The immediate issue at hand is the County’s request for an injunction against the transfer of the Diridon land to SJDDA. It’s a move that could have a paralyzing effect on ballpark efforts in San Jose, at least if the state goes through with the elimination of redevelopment agencies. One thing to keep in mind is that unlike many other Bay Area counties, Santa Clara County has no redevelopment agency of its own. That makes the County unique in that advocacy for curtailing or eliminating redevelopment presents no potential conflict of interest. San Jose has tendency to throw its weight around, so you can see why the County might feel it has to resort to a legal action.

If redevelopment goes away, it wouldn’t only threaten San Jose. Oakland, Santa Clara, and at least two or all three of SoCal football concepts would both see their stadium projects vanish (San Diego, City of Industry for certain, Downtown LA unclear).

Under Brown’s proposal, redevelopment agency property would be sold and the proceeds divided among the cities, counties, school districts and other local entities, finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said, so moves to protect the assets – transferring parking lots, buildings and other properties to a city, for example – could limit the amount those other local government bodies get if lawmakers eliminate redevelopment agencies.

Assuming that whatever lawsuits stem from the seizures get resolved, that would leave the various cities to work out deals where agreements and contracts already exist. That would include the Coliseum in Oakland and the Airport West property in San Jose.

In other news:

  • Chuck Greenberg is resigning from his CEO post with the Texas Rangers today, after only 8 months on the job. A shocker, and the background article is a worthwhile read.
  • The A’s will raise funds for victims of the Sendai earthquake and tsunami on April 3, a game against the Mariners. The day will also be called Japanese Heritage Day.
  • NFLPA appears to be ready to decertify itself, a move that would preempt a lockout. It would also set off a series of lawsuits. The two sides are said to be some $600-700 million apart n terms of sharing revenue, with the league offering 43% of the full pie ($9 Billion) and the players wanting 50%. By going down this path, both sides are setting a highly contentious precedent that could well be followed by the NBA this summer, MLB not so much. Update 1:19 PM – The league has reportedly upped their offer to 46%. Last minute talks are underway. Update 2:16 PM – False hope. Union is decertifying. Begin lockout posthaste.
  • Tim Kawakami continues to carry the torch for Larry Ellison’s NBA team ownership bid.

I need a drink.

91 thoughts on “Days of Reckoning

  1. Someone may want to look this up further, but on the surface, it may appear that Prop. 22 would prevent the state from seizing assets/land already owned by city RDA’s/city’s themselves. Again, Prop. 22 does nothing to prevent the states from disbanding RDA’s entirely (ending TIF, except for paying off current bonds, and future bonding capabilities), but seizing current assets or land?
    As for SCCo vs. San Jose, what difference does it make to the county if SJ controlled the land with RDA intact or not? The city was never going to sell off Diridon to pay SCCo, and (Prop. 22 aside) if the state somehow owned the land the county would definetely never see anything from it. Sounds like something that will definetely be settled out of court; I’m sure Larry Stone and Dave Cortese would agree.

  2. Thank you, Bud Selig, for ensuring the A’s are contracted…….

  3. UFC’s parent company just bought Strikeforce from SVSE.

  4. Time to start the rumor that SVSE will use the cash from the sale to move the Kings to HP. 😉

  5. NT,
    For how much?

  6. @Zonis–and thank you, Lew Wolff, for totally giving up on Oakland, possibly causing BS to contract our beloved A’s.

  7. Jk, to date, there still isn’t a workable plan in Oakland. The only one that had a workable funding mechanism was presented by Wolff.

  8. A little off topic here, but the one thing Wolff says that irks me is his insistence that the Fremont plan died due to “community opposition” when it was pretty clear that the collapse of the real estate market ended his plan to pay for the stadium with condo sales. He then tried a last minute pitch for a site near Warm Springs BART which DID encounter opposition but once Pacific Commons died, the Fremont stadium died too. And I don’t think for one second that it was the objection of the big box retailers, as Wolff could have worked out something with them.

  9. Jeffrey. An over the freeway ballpark above I-980 between 14th and 18th in Oakland need not rely on redevelopment funds. Its cost of $20 to $30 M for the ramp relocation could easily be paid for by a revenue bond, Mello Roos Tax Allocation Bond and/or from a benefit assessment district. Bonds would be repaid from land rent (the Port of SF collects $3.6M annual land rent from the Giants).

  10. Bryan… What about the actual $400M to build the stadium?

  11. Jeffrey,
    Such a “Floating Mountains” ballpark would probably cost a lot more than $400 million due to requiring base isolators, much like the international terminal at SFO.
    But I digress: you’re right, much like VC, who would pay for it?

  12. @Jeffrey– no workable plan? Whatever the condition of the/a plan, you and others may want to take a look at this link from White Elephant Parade:

    It mentions attorney Paul Jacobs hired by Oakland to “represent the city in negotiations with MLB”

    ***(mentioned) Oakland City Council President Jane Brunner had this to say:
    “We have been answering questions from Major League Baseball for two years and we haven’t been doing this in the media.” ***

  13. I failed to mention, but my previous post is from Matier & Ross of the Chronicle, not the WEP blogger himself.

  14. @DavidL – so Oakland owns the A’s now? They’ll negotiate with MLB to force the A’s to stay and then put up 1 billion dollar in public financing themselves for the stadium?
    @BryanG – another isolated Oakland ballpark proposal without any merit (or movement). You do realize that VC is in process, right?

  15. Um, the fact that Oakland finally retained a lawyer after all this time somehow translates to having a “workable plan?” I just assumed they had retained lawyers long ago; I’m kind of shocked that they hadn’t.
    I actually am in partial agreement with Georob: I do think the A’s could have and still could work out a deal with the big box owners at Pacific Commons. In fact, as I’ve said before, I believe if the A’s don’t get the go-ahead for San Jose they’ll be right back at the bargaining table in Fremont. Especially if redevelopment agencies truly go away. After all, they’re sitting on a big parcel of land there and so far as I know are not dependent on redevelopment money for a Fremont park. They could capture most of the same Silicon Valley revenue streams in Fremont as they could in downtown SJ, so I don’t really believe they are dependent on the residential development for financing, either.
    In fact, I should have included a Fremont-revival in my previous post handicapping potential outcomes; that omission was a big oversight on my part.
    (Note: All such handicapping is for entertainment purposes only, and should not be the basis of any actual wagering).

  16. If San Jose doesn’t happen I think Wolff steps aside and the Fishers try to sell the team. He’s made it all too clear that SJ is the final option for them. In fact, that may be what Oakland is thinking in pushing Victory Court.

  17. @DavidL… no workable plan. Specifically, there is no funding for the construction of the stadium in Oakland, lawyer hired or not.
    It will be great if something comes together at Victory Court. I am pessimistic that it will.

  18. Jeffery. The is a workable plan, but there needs some A’s involvement to make it happen. There are flaws that could derail Didiron just as easy.

  19. @Georob “If San Jose doesn’t happen I think Wolff steps aside and the Fishers try to sell the team. He’s made it all too clear that SJ is the final option for them. In fact, that may be what Oakland is thinking in pushing Victory Court.”
    This is wishful thinking. There is a tendency on this board for people to put WAY too much stock in public pronouncements, whether it’s coming from lawyers or businesspeople.
    Everyone involved in this has an agenda, and necessarily has to spin their public statements a certain way. The Giants must say they’re going to fight to the death for T-rights, even though they know their legal options are limited and unattractive. Russo needs to say, “we’re reading the lease with a fine tooth comb, and are prepared for legal action if necessary,” even though he’s already read the lease and knows he’s got nothing. Wolff is trying to get a ballpark in SJ, and therefore must say: “There is no Plan B.” (This statement may be technically true – there may not in fact be a Plan B, yet – but that’s not the same as saying one couldn’t come together fairly quickly).
    Let’s put it this way, which of the following statements do you believe:
    “The check is in the mail;”
    “I won’t c— in your mouth;”
    “Hi, I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help you;”
    “There is no Plan B.”
    Whoever owns the team is going to need a new ballpark. A new ballpark is either financially viable in Oakland, or it isn’t. If it isn’t, there isn’t going to be a buyer who’s going to volunteer to build one. If it is, there’s no reason why Wolff and Fisher wouldn’t go ahead and build it if all other options have been finally ruled out. In they end, they are businessmen. They don’t have a grudge against Oakland; the project either pencils out or it doesn’t.
    But meanwhile, they’re sitting on a giant parcel of land in Fremont for which there is no other immediate demand. Think about it: If RDA’s go away, they’re going to suddenly have problems completing a site in either SJ or Oakland (especially Oakland) – or most of California, for that matter. They’ve got a big, ballpark ready site in Fremont which is also positioned to tap into Silicon Valley money (which is the ultimate objective). You and I both believe a deal with the big-box stores is out there. Why the hell wouldn’t they go ahead and build the park there?

  20. “The is a workable plan, but there needs some A’s involvement to make it happen”
    And by “some A’s involvement” you mean, “John Fisher must dig deep and build the thing and disregard whether he will make his money back or not.” That’s not a workable plan.

  21. opps *there.

  22. How is suburban Fremont going to be a long term viable option for the A’s? AT&T Park has it all, Attractive setting in active urban location, in one of the “best” cites in the world. There is no way a Pacific Commons ballpark that is not in a central location, has limited to non-existent transit access surrounded by suburban sprawl and lacking in urban activities will be able to draw the kind of popularity that AT&T park will offer. Be glad that Fremont is done.

  23. Explain the plan? The financing of the actual stadium in Oakland? How much did noted Oakland supporter Don Knauss put up for naming rights again? Before he moved the majority of his operations to Pleasanton, I mean. Or after, cause heck, either way it is still “0.”
    Personally, I think the “we haven’t talked about it in the media” meme from Oakland City Officials is code for “We haven’t talked about it in the media because there really isn’t all that much to it.” It begins and ends with this: “No Public Money.” There is not a large enough corporate base to make up the difference. I know, I know… there are tons of businesses from San Francisco lining up to support an Oakland stadium effort. So much so that it dwarfs the Silicon Valley’s ability to raise the private capital needed to build a stadium in San Jose. Ray Ratto pretty said so, right?
    Honestly, I could give a crap. The conjecture is old. It’s time for MLB to do something.

  24. Last time i checked Pleasanton was still in Alameda County and still close to Oakland as far as in the Area for corporate support. If we are going to get into an Oakland vs Pleasanton argument that why are the A’s even bothering with San Jose and should just move to Cupertino or Sunnyvale or Mountain View where the bigger Silicon Valley firms are. Clorox moving its R & D dept from Oakland to larger facilitates in Pleasanton is a separate issue affecting Oakland.
    I don’t care where the A’s play, but tried of people jumping to easy answers based on their own biases.

  25. Also the SVLG supports Wolff because Wolff went out and made partnerships with them, including Cisco (some he already had before due to his SJ real estate business) Wolff so far has yet to do so in Oakland. Wolff didn’t march down to San Jose and magically money appeared. Clorox even said that they had never had anyone from the A’s contact them for business deals.

    • Also the SVLG supports Wolff because Wolff went out and made partnerships with them, including Cisco (some he already had before due to his SJ real estate business) Wolff so far has yet to do so in Oakland. Wolff didn’t march down to San Jose and magically money appeared. Clorox even said that they had never had anyone from the A’s contact them for business deals.

      Clorox also moved to Tri-Valley (ouch!).

  26. White Elephant Parade?! Chronicle clowns M & R?! Some of you are kidding here, right? We already know how bias the SF media is towards SJ; of course they going to put out crap like that! As for this hiring of an attorney which somehow equates to a plan; is Jacobs going to pay for the ballpark in Oakland? “Jacobs Field” (again) at VC? And why do these so-called “negotiations” have to be done in secret, especially since Oakland is already in A’s territory? And what could MLB possibly be negotiating with Oakland? Either they acquire the land at VC and pay for the ballpark…OR THEY DON’T! It’s that simply; what’s there to negotiate? I think in this instance, “negotiations” equates to “non-existant.” Not bashing The O, just asking some legitimate, serious questions on Oakland’s ability to do anything (especially with the current RDA, economic realities).
    Agree with Bartelby and (gulp!) Rob that Mr. Wolff would go back to Fremont if San Jose failed or was denied, but as the enternal SJ optimist, that isn’t going to happen! FWIW, California ballparks Dodger Stadium, Angels Stadium and Petco Park (just trolley) do well without any real transit connections; a ballpark at Pac Commons/Fremont would do the same.

  27. “How is suburban Fremont going to be a long term viable option for the A’s?”
    The same way suburban locations and long term viable options for a host of other teams, such as the Angels, Rangers, Brewers, etc.
    ” AT&T Park has it all, Attractive setting in active urban location, in one of the “best” cites in the world.”
    That’s why you don’t build a competing park only eight miles away – but on the wrong side of a bridge that separates you from the corporate money you need to survive.
    “There is no way a Pacific Commons ballpark that is not in a central location,
    Pacific Commons IS central to the target market. If 50% or more of your gate revenue comes from corporate premium-seat customers, it makes no sense whatsover to build a park in a location where such customers would have to fight two hours of traffic to get to it.
    “has limited to non-existent transit access”
    Nice to have, but not make-or-break from a financial perspective.
    “surrounded by suburban sprawl and lacking in urban activities”
    Surrounded by a clean slate on which lots of ancillary, revenue-generating businesses can be developed over time.
    “will be able to draw the kind of popularity that AT&T park will offer.”
    Maybe, maybe not. But we’re only talking 32,000 seats. Plus, you’re completely ignoring the fact that a VC park could be wildly popular but still a money-losing failure if it cannot draw suite and club seat customers.
    Look, all things being equal, I agree a downtown, urban site is better, no question. That’s why the A’s are trying so hard to get to downtown SJ, even though the T-rights issue makes that a much more difficult path. That’s why Fremont is a fallback. But if SJ is not possible, the most important consideration is being close to the target market. Notwithstanding what tps will tell you, it is NOT at all convenient to get to Oakland from the South Bay or Peninsula during rush hour, as one must do for something like 2/3 of the games. Proximity is critically important, especially for the corporate customer. Competition is critically
    important. And if RDA’s go away, neither San Jose or Oakland may be possible. They will still need a new ballpark somewhere.
    “Be glad that Fremont is done.”
    We shall see.

  28. “Last time i checked Pleasanton was still in Alameda County and still close to Oakland as far as in the Area for corporate support.”
    Pleasanton is roughly equidistant from Diridon Station and Jack London Square. It actually takes significantly less time to drive from Pleasanton to San Jose during rush hour than to downtown Oakland. If most of the corporate base you’re relying on for an Oakland ballpark is in the Tri-Valley area, that’s an even stronger argument for building in San Jose where you could capture Silicon Valley plus the Tri-Valley companies as well.

  29. D Jr. I live in Pleasanton, I know exactly where it is and how close it is to Oakland (and to Bartleby’s point how close Diridon is, which is pretty much the same distance from Victory Court). The point I was making is that you have guys like Don Knauss, CEO of Clorox, speaking boldly of his support for the City of Oakland and a ballpark in the city while moving 65% of his employees out of Oakland to Pleasanton.
    All he has to do is say publicly, “We will match Cisco’s naming rights pledge in San Jose should a stadium be built in Oakland.” If so, $130M of the estimated $460M down, $330M to go! But he hasn’t.
    The financing of the stadium is the critical component that leads me to believe San Jose will eventually be the home of the A’s. If something comes together in Oakland, awesome. I already own season tickets for a baseball team that plays there!

  30. The financing plan for the stadium seems to be: “Fisher is rich. He must build us a free ballpark in Oakland because we are entitled to one!”

  31. re: California ballparks Dodger Stadium, Angels Stadium and Petco Park (just trolley) do well without any real transit connections;

    …and the Oakland Coliseum does awfully with superb public transit connections.

  32. I don’t have a “crystal ball”, but i can tell you one thing: there are many people on this blog and in the Oakland and SJ communities, who have gone “all in” emotionally with the plan as they see it. There are going to be some bad feelings and disappointed A’s fans, once this is all decided (if ever).

    I would love it if a Pro-SJ A’s fan could be objective about the dwindling attendance since 2005. Oh well …

  33. @David–I ‘m truly worried about TonyD if SJ gets shot down. If Oakland loses out, I’ll be bummed, but will move on. No more A’s games for me, or posting on blogs like this. I’ll spend my time and money on more worthwhile things. I may be done with pro sports altogether. The greed is sickening. The NFL is shooting themselves in the foot, and I’ve had it with Al Davis; the W’s are hopeless; and not really into Hockey or Soccer.
    I remember hearing about A’s and Raider players back in the early 70’s, getting jobs during the off season with local moving companies to supplement their modest salaries. Now you got Barry Zito, making 17 mill a a year and not even used in the playoffs…lol.

  34. @Bartleby- What are your thoughts on the Vincent Piazza vs. MLB lawsuit in 1993?

    MLB wanted the case thrown out because of their “Anti-Trust exemption” and were denied.

    While Vincent Piazza who was trying to move the Giants (the irony) to the Tampa Area argued that MLB Anti-Trust exemption only extended to the reserve clause and not Franchise relocation amongst other things.

    Turns out MLB settled the case with Piazza for 6 million because they were afraid of having their precious AE eroded in court.

    Seems to me that MLB is playing by rules with the the A’s/Giants that are in fact against Anti-Trust law.

    If the City of San Jose were to file an anti-trust lawsuit against MLB challenging the Giants T-rights how far do you think it would get?

    Seeing Piazza get 6 million tells MLB would prefer to settle than litigate anything that pertains to their AE.

  35. Forgot to mention that MLB also then gave Tampa Bay an expansion franchise a few years later because of his lawsuit….Seems they bent over backwards to avoid an Anti-Trust lawsuit.

  36. David,
    I’m objective about attendance since 05…its all about the decrepit quasi-football/baseball, cookie cutter behemoth! (that was easy)
    Didn’t the A’s go to the ALCS in 06?

  37. @TonyD–the A’s drew decent in that same decrepit park a few years earlier, packing 58k in some games. The Barry Bonds freak show across the bay in 2006/7 didn’t help the A’s any too. The poor economy in 2008 to the present has hurt some, but the Fremont plan and the one foot at the door from day 1 by LW really hurt I believe. I haven’t bought a package of games since the Fremont announcement, I was so pissed. I’ve bought packages 22 of the previous 25 years before LW and company.

  38. I am 100% objective about attendance. Look at the entire history and you will see that the decline is entirely in line with similar periods of on field malaise throughout the teams history in Oakland. When you add in the tarps, and how they make the Yankees and Red Sox and Giants games less attended, it is pretty was to understand why attendance is where it is. Simply put, it is what it always has been.

  39. I’m a loyal A’s fan who comes to this site to check on any news of the A’s new ball park. Ultimately, I don’t care where the new ball park is. I’ll show up to any bay area location. I haven’t had the opportunity to be a season ticket holder, but I’m hoping soon. In my opinion, I think SJ makes a better location due to the opportunity of revenue and distancing them from the Giants. Although, I would hate the idea of calling them the San JosA’s… The yard will be packed once ownership puts a winner on the field, but profits will be made once the season tickets and luxury boxes are sold (not much help from the marketing dept.). Selig will hold off as long as he can because he can. Let’s hope something get’s decided soon so we can move on and cheer for our A’s wherever they play.

  40. re: I am 100% objective about attendance. Look at the entire history and you will see that the decline is entirely in line with similar periods of on field malaise throughout the teams history in Oakland. When you add in the tarps, and how they make the Yankees and Red Sox and Giants games less attended,

    Did the Yankees games sell out last year? In 2006, the A’s were one series away from the World Series, a Top 4 team, so to speak. They finished 26th out of 30 teams in attendance.

  41. @Sid I should start by qualifying that I am an experienced commercial attorney with a general background in antitrust. I am not an antitrust specialist. (I wouldn’t mind if I were; antitrust is one of the most complex, fact dependent and nuanced areas of the law, and those guys frequently bill over $1000/hr). Also, I have given Piazza only a quick skim; I am not researching this issue as though I were preparing a brief for court.
    In other words: My off-the-cuff blog musings do not constitute legal advice and should be considered for entertainment purposes only.
    Having said that, here are some 10,000-foot level observations:
    – Piazza is a District court decision, and therefore does not constitute binding precedent on other courts. Even at the appellate court level, you are likely to find conflicting decisions in different circuits, especially in the antitrust area.
    – Piazza was a ruling on a motion to dismiss, for which certain alleged facts must be assumed in favor of the plaintiff. It simply meant Piazza would be allowed to go to trial; he still would have had to prove his case. In other words, he hadn’t actually won his case, even at the District court level.
    – The fact that Piazza settled a matter of this magnitude for only $6 million suggests to me that his lawyers felt he still had significant risk if he proceeded.
    – Since it predated the Curt Flood Act (which arguably enshrined the antitrust exemption for franchise relocations in a manner which would require Congressional action to remove) it seems questionable whether Piazza has any relevance today.
    As far as San Jose bringing an antitrust lawsuit, I just don’t see it. The original 1922 Supreme Court case which created the AE rested on some shaky reasoning, and the Court can always overrule its own precedent. However, it has a strong bias against doing so, and trying to get there is a time consuming, risky and expensive proposition under the best of circumstances. For one thing, the process could take so long that something else could happen in the meantime (e.g. Mr. Wolff passes away or sells the team) which kills the whole deal and makes the whole thing moot. Seattle had a much easier case to win with the Sonics, and they ultimately decided not to pursue it. And, as discussed before, getting the AE overturned became a lot more complicated and difficult with the passage of the Curt Flood Act. Even if you got your case to the Court, it could easily decide “We no longer have the power to overrule the exemption; this will require congressional action.”

  42. @JK – WHEN the A’s move, I imagine you’ll done with proSports as much as you’re done with the Raiders, even with ol’ Al giving you the middle finger for LA…..
    @David – Unlike you Oakland-only homers, we south Bay fans would attend either locations (and do presently). It doesn’t change anything much for us besides locality and ensuring a thriving franchise to root for years. Hearing guys like JK whine if a move happened tells me that you are much more emotionally involved as opposed to SJ backers which are more realist/logic based….food for thought.

  43. “I would love it if a Pro-SJ A’s fan could be objective about the dwindling attendance since 2005.”
    I don’t really understand what this is supposed to mean. However, I would point out, again, that Walter Haas hemorrhaged attendance at a much faster rate than Wolff from 1991-1995 despite coming off an astounding run of success immediately prior and fielding a team which went to the ALCS in 1992.
    The two biggest factors in fluctuations in the A’s attendance history are winning percentage and the macro economic climate. “Owner love” is an insignificant factor.

  44. @Bartleby- Thanks for your thoughts, I appreciate the detail.

    I think MLB settled it with Piazza because they promised an expansion franchise within 3-5 years. Which as we all know became the Tampa Bay Rays…..That would be more than enough for Piazza to drop his case.

    The fact that court was willing to hear it (even on a lower level court) shows that even they were not sure if MLB’s AE extended that far.

    This was pre-Curt Flood and I see your point on that. But if MLB was so confident in their AE encompassing franchise relocation then why did they settle it with Piazza and give Tampa Bay a franchise as part of it?

    That part is a mystery to me as it would seem MLB paid off Piazza to shut his mouth and let them do what they wanted.

    Congress passed the Curt Flood Act but I ask why would a player sue MLB for Franchise relocation?

    If MLBPA were to de-certify like the NFLPA just did then a player could sue MLB in an anti-trust case regarding franchise relocation based on the Curt Flood Act. (Section 27, part b, paragraph 3)

    I ask how does that make any sense? Why would a player individually do that? Why would Congress put that into the act when we all know an individual player could care less where a franchise moves to or its relative location?

    Something does not make sense about this act, it seems Congress was not clear on each line and how far it extended to.

  45. @Jeffrey–Sorry late in responding. The $400M for the stadium is to be paid for by the team and MLB. However, if the land rent is anything like the Giant’s stadium ($3.8M/year) or call it $3M/year, then a revenue bond could easily yield $50M. Enough for the ramp relocation ($20M) plus a 400 car garage (say $10M) plus a $20M contingency, some of which may used for plaza construction; hence reducing the cost of the stadium portion cost by $30M. Other sources of financing such a benefit assessment district on surrounding properties may be used to upgrade the surrounding area including additional public safety outlays. In short, not having to acquire land and relocate tenants brings about huge savings that San Jose will never be able to match. Plus the Over the Freeway site has better access, BART, and parking assets that San Jose doesn’t have. I don’t know why your blog isn’t advocating the Over the Freeway alternative in Oakland.

    • @BG – It is not this site’s responsibility to advocate for your site or any site. We write about sites as information comes up. We were the first media outlet of any kind to give your concept any real coverage, and it’s that coverage that allowed the print media to cover it in kind. You asked me if I could create a site for your proposal. I said I was too busy to do it as I have other work and projects to do. You’ve had several months to work with someone in Oakland or elsewhere to come up with something and you’ve haven’t done it for some reason. And now you’re blaming us? Get off your high horse.

      @jk-usa – Can’t dignify your comment with a response.

  46. @Bryan–“I don’t know why your blog isn’t advocating the Over the Freeway alternative in Oakland.”
    Because, Bryan, this is pretty much a new San Jose Ball Park blog, not an Oakland blog. If you dare bring up anything about Oakland, you will be bashed and ridiculed to no end by the gang on here who think they know everything.

  47. @jk “this is pretty much a new San Jose Ball Park blog, not an Oakland blog.”

    A wildly unfair characterization. My observation is there are a few “Oakland-only” posters on this site, a few San Jose partisans, and an awful lot of people (maybe a majority) who are somewhere in the middle. Lots of these folks say stuff like “My preferred site is Oakland, but realistically San Jose seems the best chance to keep the team in the area.” Or, “I don’t care where the ballpark is built (as long as it’s in the Bay Area), but the economics don’t seem to work for a privately-financed project in Oakland.” Or maybe they just say, “Either site is fine, I think it’s great they’re both moving forward; I hope the financing works out.” I’d call this middle group “the realists.” The thing is, the Oakland-only’ers tag anyone who doesn’t toe their party line as a San Jose partisan. There is no room for moderates or neutrals in their philosophy.
    Compare this site to OAFC: Here, we have debate. There, last time I checked they were literally blocking anyone who dared post an opinion that went against the party line.

  48. @Sid “If MLBPA were to de-certify like the NFLPA just did then a player could sue MLB in an anti-trust case regarding franchise relocation based on the Curt Flood Act. (Section 27, part b, paragraph 3).”
    I read the Curt Flood Act as saying exactly the opposite. Specifically:
    Sec 27a (b): “No court shall rely on the enactment of this section as a basis for changing the application of the antitrust laws to any conduct, acts, practices, or agreements other than those set forth in subsection (a) of this section.”
    Subsection (a) removes the AE with respect to employment matters. This sentence therefore states that the Curt Flood Act does not change any aspect of antitrust law except as specifically pertaining to employment matters. Because antitrust law at the time of the Curt Flood Act included an exemption for other antitrust issues, including franchise relocation, per Supreme Court decision, this sentence arguably enshrines those Supreme Court decisions into statutory law. (Meaning, an act of Congress is now required to alter that body of decisional law).
    Sec 27a (b) and (b)(3): “This section does not create, permit or imply a cause of action by which to challenge under the antitrust laws, or otherwise apply the antitrust laws to, any conduct, acts, practices, or agreements that do not directly relate to or affect employment of major league baseball players to play baseball at the major league level, including but not limited to … any conduct, acts, practices, or agreements of persons engaging in, conducting or participating in the business of organized professional baseball relating to or affecting franchise expansion, location or relocation…”
    This section is saying, just in case the first sentence of 27a(b) wasn’t clear enough, the Curt Flood Act does not create or allow any antitrust lawsuits other than those pertaining to employment matters, and that matters of franchise relocation are NOT considered employment matters. This sentence also arguably enshrines the AE as pertaining to franchise relocation into Federal statutory law.

  49. @bartleby–you just described fans to a tee when it comes to pro-SJ, pro-Oak, in the middle, prefer the O but SJ will be okay, prefer SJ but the O will be okay, etc….
    This is so overwhelmingly pro-SJ, it’s not even funny. I bet it’s 10% very pro-Oakland, 70% very pro SJ, and 20% in the middle, either city is okay with them.
    I wish ML would do a poll on this to confirm it.

  50. so jk–ML runs this blog completely indifferent to where the ballpark is built–so the fact that more people who visit this site are pro-SJ or in the middle maybe is more indicative of what most A’s fans feel–also–if this site is so horrible for you why are you here so often?

  51. @jk Not surprisingly, I would project the percentages very differently.
    Just to throw out a theory, I think part of why it may seem to you the sentiment here is so pro-SJ is because a lot of the most heated discussion on this board centers on a few factual issues which recur over and over. For example, “How good has attendance historically been in Oakland?” and “Does the East Bay have as much economic potential as the South Bay with AT&T Park in China Basin?” A lot of people will argue “Attendance has historically been poor in Oakland relative to the team’s success on the field” and “The South Bay presently has more economic potential than the East Bay for MLB” because, frankly, that’s the way that the evidence points. That doesn’t necessarily reflect where their hearts are, and doesn’t mean all those people favor San Jose.
    A poll such as you suggest would be interesting. It would, however, be unscientific, so I don’t know that it would settle the debate. The wording of the question would also of course be very important.

  52. Just my opinion, but I feel that most who post here are “Pro Realistic”, with a small minority favoring just Oak or SJ.

  53. @Bartleby–speaking of polls, and I bought this up before, AN had this poll back in November. It reads like this:
    Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Lew Wolff’s stint as owner of the Oakland Athletics?
    402 votes
    850 votes

    I know strictly unscientific, but it’s interesting what the ultimate online A’s fan site thinks of LW.
    Do that poll on here and it would be reversed. You guys love the Wolff and always get on my case for criticizing him. He’s never to blame for any of the probs on and off the field. IMO, he shouldn’t be in baseball, and should stick to his hotels and real estate developing. The annual ratings of pro sports owners, the Wolff and Co. are always ranked towards the bottom of the MLB pack. Hmm, I wonder why?

    Did any of you see the full page ad from the Warriors owners in the Sunday sports? It’s also on their website. They have a Contract with their season tickets holders on several goals for next season. If they don’t make the playoffs, they won’t raise prices in 2012-13; if they don’t have an all-star, there will be a drawing for fans to see the all-star game in Orlando next year; if they don’t win 25 games at home, fans will have a 2 hour autograph session with the players; and some risk-free renewal guarantee with 5% interest.
    Well at least they’re trying, and anything ‘s better than the dreadful Cohan days, but this team is cursed I believe. They should of changed the name to Oakland and gave Rick Barry, the ultimate Warrior, a coaching shot years ago.

    Here’s the link with the contract on there, which also appeared in all of the papers in the BA on Sunday:

  54. That AN poll is legit. Lew is not well liked, by your “average” Oakland Athletics fan.

  55. David,
    That AN poll is not legit because it isn’t even a poll; its just an online survey. And who in the hell made AN the “Almighty” site for serious A’s fans? I for one never go there; no need to.

  56. All
    I feel compelled to speak up a bit.
    This site as run by ML, and assisted by me on occasion, should be nothing but proud of the way that it approaches each of the stadium sites. Nobody would know about Bryan’s potential site, one which I still think has potential, were it not for me spending a few hours of my own time talking to multiple people in Oakland. ML has spent countless more hours of his personal time digging into sites all over the Bay Area. There is no editorial bias towards Oakland or San Jose.
    The editorial staff of the blog, ML and sometimes me, are 100% in favor of a ballpark in the Bay Area proper. For Pro Oaklanders, that means we are Pro San Jose. That is partially accurate… We are Pro San Jose to the extent that San Jose is in the Bay Area. We are also Pro Oakland for the same reason.
    I have had numerous discussions with ML about the potential sites, and I can tell you we share the opinion that a ballpark in the Bay Area, be it Victory Court, Diridon, Fremont, or anywhere else would be 100% okay with us.
    Lew Wolff is neither our hero nor the bane of our existence. We are not starting a fan club for him. We understand the problems he faces. We understand some of them are his own doing (ML has called him out more than once). Personally, I like him better than my other favorite team’s owner (Jed York). But it isn’t like either of these two guys are the class of professional sports owners. They aren’t Donald Sterling, by any stretch, either.
    All of that said, we also feel the duty to be realistic and present facts. When I asked Bryan to explain how it would be funded, I completely expected a “here is how you pay for the infrastructure” answer with the whole caveat of “The A’s have to come up with the rest.” Look at the other markets that have constructed stadiums recently. Look at the corporate presence in each. Look at the funding mix. This is all out there. If you don’t want to take my word for it, do some research on your own. An “if you approve it, they will build it” approach isn’t likely to work here. Oakland needs a financing method… For more than infrastructure. It is hard to see where it comes from. San Jose is different… Just look at the financial reports of the companies that have pledged to support a San Jose stadium and combine that with the naming rights Cisco has already pledged and there is path to paying for it.
    That is the rub.
    I will play my part in any stadium scenario. If we are asked to buy charter seats, I will buy charter seats. If we are asked to buy bricks with cool slogans, I will buy a brick with a cool slogan. That only goes so far. $400M is a lot of scratch. Where does it come from in Oakland? Ultimately, finding that, or not, will be the reason the A’s stay in Oaktown or move somewhere else.

  57. Anyone’s opinion of Lew Wolf is irrelevant to the A’s ballpark hunt. The low fan interest (attendance, TV/radio ratings, etc.) has existed for decades. I’m not saying Wolff hasn’t played his part, but he’s essentially just a face to blame for people looking for easy answers.

  58. Excellent post above Jeffrey. Probably won’t change the minds of some who post here, but nonetheless, excellent.
    OT: Thanks to RM and yourself for not wasting a thread on the “contraction” bull shit that has been popping up over the past couple of weeks (Chron, NY Daily News). Even Biz of Baseball shot down such nonsense. Again, hats off for ignoring!

  59. Lew is hurting attendance PERIOD …. He needs to bring FanFest back and treat Oakland with respect. Lew sent Stomper and a couple of players to Walnut Creek, Oakland and SJ for winter events. Do you want to guess which one of these three events didn’t have access to players? He should just STFU and wait for Selig to rule.

  60. I don’t think of it as ignored, more addressed my ML a short time ago.

  61. @ David: The current attendance has virtually nothing to do with the A’s needing a new ballpark.

  62. David, I think the most significant impact Lew Wolff has had on attendance is by putting tarps on seats and minimizing crowds for “event” type games.
    Here is an analysis I wrote of attendance from day one in 1968 through 2009. You can see, clearly, that peaks and valleys, and mostly valleys, has been a consistent pattern in Oakland. Rationalize it however you want, but thems the facts.

  63. Excellent post above David. Nailed it again. Probably won’t change the minds of MOST who post here, but nonetheless, excellent, superb, magnifico.

  64. @Jeffrey – I read your analysis. Excellent work, but …

    Are trying to tell me that:

    1. Ending FanFest (where tickets are/were sold) has no impact on attendance?
    2. Talking about SJ since 1998 HAS NO EFFECT?
    3. Sending players to chat and mingle in WC and SJ and not Oakland, has no effect?

  65. @David: The 3 items you listed are really small potatoes when it comes to the A’s overall image and drawing power. But please respond, why is the A’s current attendance relevant to the A’s ballpark hunt?

    • @ jk-usa

      But please respond, why is the A’s current attendance relevant to the A’s ballpark hunt?


      @ Briggs: Why do you even bother?

  66. @Briggs-David’s #2 reason is huge. This behavior has kept me away from a lot of games. Only saw 7 games last year, my lowest ever I think. I saw more games in the late 70’s when they really sucked and crowds were very sparse.

  67. @Briggs – I disagree. I think they are very important. I took my now eight year old to Fan fest when he was 2 or 3. He met Eric Byrnes walking around and he fell in love with the A’s all by himself. He sleeps with the plastic A’s bat I bought for him, to this day!

    re: attendance. The attendance has been used as an excuse for being a “small market” team. I don’t believe there all small markets. If you do, we can agree to disagree, because i’m not hearing that argument one bit.

  68. I am sure that each has some effect, but none nearly as great as limiting seats at the high water games.
    In order:
    1. Yep, there should be a FanFest. Regardless of ticket sales it is just good for the fans to be able to come out and get excited. Of the three you point out, this one probably has the most relevance to ticket sales.
    2. This one, I don’t think is all that significant. There has been talk of Oakland, Santa Clara, Fremont and San Jose over this period (1998 to 2011). Are you specifically talking about Lew Wolff here? He wasn’t part of the ownership in 1998.
    3. I think this has absolutely no bearing at all on ticket sales. A’s players make appearances all over the Bay Area, including Oakland, throughout the season. One holiday parade in which the A’s participate but no players are around to sign autographs after is minuscule compared to number 1 above (where the A’s sold what, 15-20k tickets each year?) and not even a blip compared to leaving 15K seats empty at Yankees, Giants, Red Sox and Fireworks nights (in an average year that could mean a delta of 210k (9 games v big draws/5 fireworks shows) in attendance vs. 20k tickets at a FanFest v. 100 at a parade).
    Attendance issues are more impacted by AT&T Park syphoning away casual fans than any of the above. Also, the past few seasons are consistent with other periods of losing baseball in Oakland. People don’t show up in droves for a sub .500 team almost anywhere. Certainly they won’t show up in droves to a subpar stadium.

  69. @David & jk-usa: No one of any importance is saying the East Bay is a small market. The A’s need a new venue. The success of this ballpark search rests on the economic feasibility of the project. The A’s aren’t looking towards SJ because Oakland is a small market, because it isn’t. The A’s ownership is looking towards SJ because the the conditions are ideal for sucessful ballpark.

  70. ATT Park being 12 miles away absolutely kills the A’s attendance on top of the fact the Coliseum is a dump of a location that has no ancillary development around it.

    For Baseball with 81 games a year, casual fans need something else to do nearby or you need a place with a great view and location….ATT Park has all of that.

    Essentially the Giants own 3/4 of the Bay Area and that includes half of the East Bay.

    That leaves the A’s with only half the East Bay in total and that is the reason why their attendance is not good.

    Even with a new ballpark in Oakland this would only increase the attendance by 20% or so because the Giants are so nearby.

    In San Jose, people from Monterey, Santa Cruz, Salinas, Los Banos, and the East Bay could all make the trip opposite of traffic to San Jose for a game.

    Oakland is way too far from these locations and most people go to San Francisco just to visit and have fun outside of baseball in general. Therefore tagging along a game to a weekend getaway that was already planned is pretty easy for casual fans.

    The A’s, even when they have winning teams do not draw as outlined in Jeffrey’s excellent article. The A’s need to move away from the Giants as far as possible.

    The Giants, know Oakland cannot deliver for the A’s therefore they hold San Jose hostage because of it.

    If Oakland could get something up and ATT Park East Bay has even a “remote” chance of popping up 12 miles away….The Giants would negotiate away San Jose in a heartbeat as they would be hurt by far more with an Oakland ballpark than a San Jose ballpark.

    Despite the Giants arguments that a San Jose ballpark would hurt them only 25% of Silicon Valley corporations do business with the Giants that means most of their sponsors come from SF and the East Bay.

    A new Oakland ballpark would drain from these sponsors and leave Silicon Valley the way it is….Ultimately Selig or the Supreme Court will have to let the A’s into San Jose.

    Oakland needs public money that is not there…..

  71. @Briggs–you can have a successful ballpark in Oakland too. Why throw away 43 years of great history and tradition, and alienate your loyal fan base in the east bay just to possibly make a bigger buck in SJ?
    I wish LW would get with mayor Quan and at least talk about the ballpark situation in case BS shoots down SJ. He didn’t even congratulate her on her victory, and he blew off Dellums (don’t break your pick on this one). But he did try to put the corrupt Perata in with a huge contribution. Thankfully, that blew up.
    Lack of class this Wolff guy. Please retire from baseball.

  72. jk, I find it humorous that you rail on about the blog and biases and yet your answer to everything is some variation of “Lew Wolff is an evil man who eats puppies.”

  73. @jk-usa: There’s no guarantee that SJ will be the land of riches but as it stands, it’s the best opportunity for the A’s when it comes down to feasibility of the project. All that talk about tradition being throw away is baseless. I’m a fan now and I’ll be a fan if they’re in SJ. Their legacy isn’t being threatened.

    @Briggs A: This is really going no where.
    @Briggs B: I know, but it’s late in the afternoon and I’m slacking off at work.
    @Briggs A: There has to be something better you could be doing with your time.
    @ Briggs B: You’re not really in a position to say what’s the best use of my time.
    @ Briggs A: Fair enough. Has your gold A’s jersey arrive in the mail?
    @ Briggs B: No… 14 business days and it hasn’t even shipped.
    @ Briggs A: Bummer.

  74. Do they have replica gold jerseys for sale yet? I am cheap.

  75. @Jeffrey–please don’t put words in my mouth. I never said he was evil, just disingenuous at best and not cut out for baseball, IMHO. Eating puppies is very sick and evil and not called for on here. I’m hugging my dog right now.

  76. Is briggs talking to himself?

  77. @ JK – “loyal fan base”…yes so says the attendance figures, LOL…got the $25k for the LGO FB ballpark escrow yet? 😉

  78. @ST–good luck digging up 25-30k loyal A’s fans in the South Bay day in and day out at the high prices LW’s gonna screw you with, because you south bay guys are loaded and can afford it. And don’t believe payroll will increase much, cuz it won’t. LW likes playing ball on the cheap, he even said it recently.
    And SJ, if it happens and i believe it won’t, will never beat the all time A’s season record of 2.9 mill fans, and single day record of over 58k.

  79. well if cisco field is built to the capacity of 32k as it’s been reported than yeah the a’s will never draw over the record 2.9 it drew back in 1990. the highest it could draw is around 2.6 million.

    if the a’s average draw in sj were 30k per game the total attendance would be around 2.4 million which would put it just under the average attendance from the “glory years” from 88-92 where they averaged around 2.6 million.

    course the thing i think the a’s would worry about is the luxury boxes being sold and that’s where the business community would be huge down in the south bay with so many of the corporations especially those that signed that svlg letter buying up boxes, not to mention wealthy private citizens who’d also buy up boxes. pretty sure if the a’s did move down to sj that the luxury boxes would be sold out in most games.

  80. @letsgoA;s–the 32k capacity for Cisco is just too small imho. Who wants be known as the smallest capacity in baseball, like they are now, thanks to the tarpage? 39-40k is perfect, and have 10k set aside for families at affordable prices, if that’s possible. In the lean times, when you get 20-22k, it will still be over half filled. The smallest crowd I’ve been to was in 1979, where 1225 people showed up. The modern day record, that same year, was 653 at the Coli. I’ve been to G’s games in the mid 70’s, with a crowds just over 1000 also..Hard to imagine that. Everyone says they’ve been a Giants fan for years. Where the hell were they back then?

  81. I think 36 k would be the best number, with room for future expansion.
    JK, no offense intended. I don’t think eating puppies is very good either. Apologize to your dog.

  82. i agree about the small capacity. the smallest parks built over the past few decades i think were pnc which is just over 38k so cisco’s 32 rumored capacity would be by far the smallest.

    always though 36k-38k is the ideal size but you hope if it is 32k that it would have room to expand a couple of thousand in the future although looking at the first renderings of cisco field i don’t know where they could expand for more seats.

    also i think building such a smaller park with only 2 decks would decrease the cost to build a park which the newest # i saw was 400 million. now pnc is also two decks and mentioned above is a 38k capacity.

  83. @jeffery–no prob. Apology accepted, and the dog’s cool with it..
    I dug up some old attendance figures, and the A’s have drawn less than 1000 twice, both times in that dreadful 1979 season. 653 and 750. They lost 108 games that year and drew 306k total. Ouch.
    The Giants, who were at a respectable 80-81 in 1975, dew 522k fans that year and had crowds of 987 and 851. In 1974, they had their lowest ever at 750. We hear 10k now at the Coli and we cringe, but 10k on a weekend game against the Yanks was a big crowd back in those bleak days, but sadly they were mostly Yankee I look at those cheap ass super thin programs in those last Finley years and still get a little nostalgic though.

  84. Damn!!! Sorry I spelled jeffery again, jeffrey…lol.

  85. @JK – thanks for deflecting the comment again, but i’ll play. If corporate support is high as LW and the SVLG indicates, then there is no need to sell out day in and day out. The key isn’t attendance figures, but rather a sustainable revenue stream so the team can stop being a wannabe-SF team. For reference, see the Nats model, it’s worked out quite well for the franchise.

  86. @ST– I’m still scratching my head on your whacky math from the other day. $100k times 45,000 LGO fans=$4.5 billion to buy the A’s. So they’re worth more than the Cowboys, Yankees and Lakers combined?
    You need to get out of your dark, damp basement and get some natural light to charge up your calculator.

    (Normally I don’t take shots at fellow posters, but ST has been a major pain on here for some time).

  87. JK – There you go deflecting again ignoring the relevant facts. You really ought to stop taking the meds. I explained it clearly to you that all you wannabe-so-called-loyalist LGO eHeroes would need 2500 each just for the facility. If you wanted to buy the team, you’d have to fork over a lot more money to an owner you’ve constantly berated, libeled and slandered, and flat out disrespected (i guess he ran over your grandma or something?). Seriously bro, stop smoking that crack pipe, think rationally for once, and say something that isn’t totally scripted and devoid of any intelligence.

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