News for 4/13/11

Cal Baseball is safe for at least the next 7-10 years, thanks to relentless fundraising efforts.

Tonight marks the last NBA game to ever be played in Sacramento, at least for the foreseeable future.

As part of the new federal budget pact reached over the weekend, Congress is looking at numerous transit projects as low-hanging fruit for cuts including California’s High Speed Rail project and BART-to-Silicon Valley. It’s not enough to kill those projects, but it could stretch out planning while the projects try again for scarce federal funding in the future. BART-to-SV faces a lawsuit from a Milpitas industrial park owner whose access may be severely affected by construction of the line next to the property. The property owner wants an injunction against any further work until the issue is addressed.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan is getting creative in figuring out ways to overcome the City’s $58 million budget deficit, which is $12 million more than when she came into office. In addition to a $80/year parcel tax, Quan is looking at short-term financing of the City’s retired police and firefighters’ pension plan. The Contra Costa Times’ Daniel Borenstein has a scathing critique of the pension refinancing plan and the City’s previous (largely failed) attempts to rein in the costs. The more you read about the plan, the more it looks like the Raiders’ Coliseum deal, full of overly optimistic projections and heavy on risk to the City. The current budget shortfall doesn’t have any material impact on any Oakland ballpark efforts, but decisions made now that could adversely impact fiscal feasibility down the road could have a huge impact. has the first in a series of articles remembering the efforts needed and political battles waged to build Miller Park.

A study by the University of Toronto claims that the NHL is subsidizing numerous US-based teams and that Canada could support as many as 12 franchises (double the current number) thanks to high demand north of the border. I’d like to read this study before passing judgment.

A bill to authorize a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings has been introduced. However, it will not be heard until after April 26 and will have only a month to get through the legislature. Pundits are not giving the bill much of a chance of passing.

Two, count ’em, two ballparks are opening in Omaha over the next week. Werner Park, 9,000-capacity new suburban home of the Omaha Storm Chasers (AAA-Royals), seemed to be built in record time. TD Ameritrade Park in downtown Omaha, which is the new home of the College World Series, will host its first game next Tuesday when Creighton University hosts Nebraska (TV: CBS Sports Network/CBS College Sports). The 24,000-seat ballpark can expand to 35,000 for the CWS, though officials are quick to point out that even with the size, the ballpark is not a major league park.

A word on the Giants-Dodgers-Bryan Stow situation. As much as it’s heartwarming to see the outpouring of support for Stow, who remains in a coma following his beating following an Opening Day game two weeks ago, it’s important to remember that wasn’t the first incident, and sadly it won’t be the last. Two months ago, 20-year-old San Carlos resident Taylor Buckley pleaded guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter three years after the 2008 “sucker punch” killing of Anthony Giraudo outside a Giants game at AT&T Park. If anything, I’m surprised these incidents don’t happen more often. I look back at all of the A’s-Yankees games at the Coliseum, the Giants-Dodgers games at both AT&T and the ‘Stick, and I remember multiple fistfights and fans tumbling down the steps. More often than not, security gets there in time to stop the truly tragic from happening. Unfortunately, all it takes is for someone to hit his head on the edge of a concrete step, or for some thug to wait until he’s out in the parking lot to be an idiot, and then it’s a tragedy. It’s brutal and senseless, yet the line between a small no-harm skirmish and a tragedy can be so small. I want to believe in the better angels of our nature. Sometimes it’s not easy.

Lastly, and on a bittersweet note, the baseball season in Japan is starting, three weeks late and a month after the earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant ordeal began.

19 thoughts on “News for 4/13/11

  1. As my Juijitsu instructer would always tell us . . . “Tuck your chin because hitting your head on the ground is no different than someone grabbing a hand full of concrete and bashing your skull with it.”

  2. congrats to Cal baseball… a huge save for the University. If something such as that is possible, then we can only be optimistic that a new stadium for the A’s can be possible very soon… although on a much larger financial scale with many more challenges.

  3. I think we’ll see an MLB franchise in Mexico, or maybe Bolivia, before we see Calif. high speed rail come in operation.

  4. @ Larry E: There was only one sac king in the NBA and his name was Wilt Chamberlain

  5. was listening to 1140 this morning and hosts and fans thought that if sac can somehow build a arena, that they’d be near the top of the list to get a team back? really? i think they’re behind cities like kc who already has a state of the art arena, sea which i think would be a much more desirable location for a new team, and of course you got sj who also had a arena albeit one who’ll need to be upgraded a bit with the whole ellison factor too as i doubt the nba is gonna want to turn away one of the richest humans on the planet if he indeed wants to buy an nba team like the hornets and move them to sj.

  6. amick reporting from nyc that billionaire burkle wants to buy the kings and keep them in sac?

  7. Burkle is also looking into buying another team and bringing them to Sac. Which makes sense since the Maloofs are not selling at the moment.

  8. who does the nba choose, ellison or this burkle guy? if the rumors were true that ellison wants to buy and move a team to sj, would the nba then allow burkle to buy another nba team and move them to sac? that means 3 teams in norcal and socal? 6 teams in the state of cali? just can’t see it.

  9. Why would the NBA move another team into Sac when the last one didn’t succeed?

  10. Because the last one succeeded until the owners gutted the team and started fielding crap while doing nothing to upkeep what is now the cheapest made, smallest and one of the oldest arenas in the NBA. Kinda what some people claim happened in Oakland with the A’s (except in Sac’s case it’s actually true that when they fielded good teams they had several years of sell outs).

    Sac would do fine if they could get an ownership group that wasn’t both cheap and broke, and into a new arena that wasn’t built on the cheap.

  11. well it’s one or the other, imo there will be two teams in nocal eventually. question is which does the nba choose? ellison/hornets in sj or burkle/whoever in sac.

    problem for sac just like with oak comparing it with sj is the corporate base just doesn’t compare to sj. not to mention ellison is one of the richest men in the world although burkle being a billionaire himself isn’t chump change, he’s still no ellison.

  12. letsgoas, I suspect Burkle NOT being Ellison is actually a selling point. The NBA has twice now spurned Ellison in New Orleans and Golden State. I’m starting to get the feeling they just don’t want him involved. As for Burkle in Sac, if Burkle and Sac can get an arena done I suspect the NBA won’t care about “corporate” base since they’ve had good success from a support standpoint in the market (and a team is already there). But if the Kings stay there is no way SJ gets a team (hell I’m not convinced SJ gets a team anyway since GS is already in the region and would demand 150 million for their rights to SJ and the SJ arena is not NBA ready).

  13. 150 million for a payment to move to the south bay at this time for ellison is nothing for him. the guy spends hundreds of millions on a boat race most of the country could care less about so i doubt even a 9 figures is gonna stop him from getting finally his nba team. have heard about that 150 million claim for months now although don’t know how realistic that fee would be. some think that the lacob/guber group overpaid for the franchise when they bought the w’s at that high of a price knowing that potentially some team would move down to sj and they’d get paid back maybe a 100+ million amount in a territorial payment.

    if you’re the nba, unlike mlb which moves at a snail’s pace as we’ve seen, i think they’d make a decision soon as the hornets lease with the city runs out after next season and at this time not many think they can support a nba team for 40+ games a season unlike the 8-10 they get for the nfl and nfl games are more of an event.

    the nba is still a business and having what the 5th or 6th richest man in the world ALONG with the corporate money down in the silicon valley that will be put into a league where they’re supposedly having finanical issues may be too much for the nba to pass up with ellison/sj.

  14. The Kings only “succeeded” when the Maloofs poured daddy’s money into the team during the rather brief Chris Webber era. The massive debt they’re carrying seems to indicate that didn’t work out so well.

  15. News for 4/18:
    Lew Wolff can now add SF as a place he can’t build. Let see, he’s having trouble in SJ, thanks to the Giants and TR’s; he flopped in Fremont due to the housing meltdown and NIMBYISM; he kinda, sorta tried in Oakland, but his heart was never in it, and now he wants no part of Oak no matter if VC is viable or not.
    And now him and some Saudi prince want to convert part of the SF Fairmont into condos, but the union’s said “NO WAY, it’s gonna cost us jobs!”

    • @jk-usa – That’s the difference between SF and Oakland. In SF a union can kill your dev plans. If Wolff proposed a luxury hotel/condo project in Oakland Mayor Quan and the City Council would be rolling out the red carpet and shoving each other out of the way to make it happen, even if it isn’t viable. Now the Fairmont will likely be sold, that other tower will simply remain vacant due to the lack of demand, and many will lose their jobs in the process.

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