Tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal more-or-less has an article by the paper’s Silicon Valley reporter, John Letzing, that resets all of the current, relevant information about the San Jose’s ballpark pursuit.
The takeaways are these:
- Lew Wolff declined to comment, deferring instead to A’s broadcasting veep Ken Pries.
- Giants spokesperson Staci Slaughter likewise refrained from comment on territorial rights.
- Oakland’s Dan Lindheim gave his brief statement in support of keeping the A’s, then declined further comment.
- Pries, for his part, said Wolff may not be willing to fund construction of a ballpark in Oakland.
- Longtime ballpark opponent Marc Morris thinks there are better uses for ballpark project money.
Then there’s this, which was sourced from San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed’s letter from Monday:
Last week, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed wrote to Mr. Selig, noting that seven years had passed since the A’s first considered moving to San Jose and added: “Despite your lengthy deliberative process, success is still achievable,” according to a copy of the letter Mr. Reed released.
Remember that Wolff joined the A’s in the venue development capacity in 2003, then exercised an option to buy the team in 2005. Also remember that then-Mayor Ron Gonzales made his ill-fated pitch at spring training in front of Phoenix Muni in March 2005. I even started this blog in March 2005. Obviously, something’s up with that, right?
Wolff’s job from 2003 until 2009 was to search all over the East Bay, including Oakland and Fremont. That he did, though the veracity with which he did his search will always be up for debate. If Gonzales came calling in 2004 or 2005, Wolff could take the call but he couldn’t work out any details, just as Wolff and Reed can’t do now. Back in 2004, Diridon was not the preferred site. In fact, it was considered one of the most difficult sites to make work simply because it had multiple owners, so it required multiple negotiations to acquire the entire site. The possibility or relocating the PG&E substation was also considered problematic. Territorial rights perhaps moreso. If someone’s looking for some great pipedream involving Wolff and Diridon – it wasn’t there.
However, there is absolutely nothing wrong with keeping San Jose a fallback option. Any businessman worth his salt would. As 2005 became 2006 and so on, Wolff focused on Fremont instead of Oakland because of the difficulty doing the land deal at Coliseum North – again, related to potentially complex negotiations with multiple landowners instead of one. When the economic collapse killed the major tenets of the Pacific Commons deal, Wolff went to Warm Springs and met a ton of hostility there. Knowing that he’d have to figure out a more “sure thing” in terms of financing a ballpark, he went to San Jose.
The thing I continually puzzle over is this obsession with Wolff’s intent, whether it was in 2003, 2005, 2009, or now. All I know is that Wolff’s intent is to build a ballpark. He was willing to forego San Jose if he could get cheap land and a financing mechanism in place in Fremont or Oakland. That blew up and he had to adapt. If he’s wrong in his assessment that it can’t be done in Oakland, Selig and his committee should able to prove Oakland’s economic fitness. If not, San Jose should not be dismissed. It’s much, much too late in this saga to worry which city’s first, and whose citizens are being offended. It’s time to lay cards on the table. If Wolff’s bluffing, we’ll know. If either Oakland’s or San Jose’s hand is a loser, we’ll know. Like Wolff, I’d rather get a decision than hang in the ether for years. Because when that decision comes we can focus on whatever gets built, whenever that is. And we can start healing the rift that has created by this whole mess.
Added 8:42 PM – At San Jose Inside, Josh Koehn considers the impact of San Jose putting Mayor Reed’s pension reform measure and a ballpark measure on the same ballot.
Added 5/19 10:30 AM – Dave Newhouse wrote about what happened after Andy Dolich’s email was hacked. (Interestingly, I got one of those emails too but recognized it as a Nigerian prince-type scam immediately so I deleted it.) Dolich maintains that the solution for the A’s (and Raiders/49ers) is at the Coliseum, whereas San Jose would be too costly due to T-rights and Victory Court doesn’t have the funding to get it done.
lots of past stuff in this posting. So, I will just mention again, that Lew said he would only build in SJ, as long ago as 1998. Lew is not being truthful with A’s fans.
Honestly David, I spend a good deal of time putting together one of these posts and your response is either what you just wrote or “Meh.” Frankly I wonder if you get anything from reading this site, and I wonder why you bother reading it.
@ML – We are A’s fans. The A’s need a new stadium. So, I come here, because you do a good job as a journalist. I do get a lot out of reading this site… I give my opinion. Don’t you want opinions? Well, that’s mine. I’ve written a whole lot more than “meh” on your site. With your last post to me and this one, i wonder if you just want to preach to the choir?
I told everyone here that I am all Oakland. I teach in Oakland. I was born in Oakland. I coach baseball in Oakland I want a stadium in Oakland. The folks over at AN, don’t want thread after thread about the stadium, so when i want to talk about that i come here, or LGO on Facebook. I make thoughtful posts, that reflect the feeling of a guy who has lived in Oakland 40 years and bleeds Green and Gold. Nothing to be “ashamed” about. If you can’t appreciate and let my voice stand on the record, I will not visit again.
David – yes, he was not being truthful spending millions of dollars on the Fremont land as well as EIR. Hell, even SJ has done this without any guarantees of a MLB franchise. How much as OAkland spent to date on land acquisition for the A’s? IF money speaks louder than words, then Oakland hasn’t said jack$#@ for the A’s. And who’s negotiating now with Al Davis on a new stadium? Maybe Oaklanders need to wake up from their delusional state and finally realize that the only ones that don’t really care about the a’s are themselves.
@ML – I didnt see anything new in the article that wasn’t mention before besides Reed’s letter to Selig that you mentioned. Unfortunately, most ProOaklanders will look over 90% of this post and just recite the old mantra that he lied and never tried, and sj yadadyaydadya….
“Lewie” spent three days with Bud during the last owners meeting. Staci Slaughter is now following a gag order on TRights.
I think Mr Wolff knows exactly how this thing ends. ;o)
@David – I highly appreciated your earlier comments, especially during the winter. If you want to write a short, dismissive comment, I’m not stopping you. I’ve become accustomed to expecting more from you than that.
@ML – No problem dude. I know where you stand. You are clear. Even knowing that, I respect your work so much – that invited you to sit with me at the Oakland meeting in December. I try to keep it cordial even when folks on here who would like a SJ
Oakland: Dismissing the A’s for 20 years and now playing the victim card.
What LW should have said is that he “can” only build a “privately financed” ballpark in SJ—Oakland boosters have yet to prove this theory wrong….its not LW fault….its just the economic realities…
it is obvious that bs has no balls….and is waiting for Oakland to hang itself….its also obvious that Oakland has no viable plan to support privately financing a ballpark is in a stall mode hoping for something to keep the A’s there–albeit in the same dump that they play in now. Since 1995 the city of Oakland has screwed the A’s fans over and they continue to do it by playing the shell game…but who is the real culprit here is bs who has shown zero leadership as the commissioner of baseball
Victory Court has many of the same problems as Diridon Station site in San Jose. Multiple ownership and lack of adequate parking, access problems, poor soils, to name a few costly items.
Isn’t the Diridon site almost fully purchased already by San Jose? VC has 16 businesses to move, etc. And any other site in Oakland still doesn’t solve the problem of a privately built ballpark in Oakland not being viable. Oakland’s plan is – and has been – believing it is entitled to a free ballpark whether the team owners make their money back or not.
Yes, Wolff said in 1998 he was only interested in San Jose. You seem to refuse to recognize that people reassess data as it comes in, change their minds, and sometimes compromise when they can’t get their first choice. They also make off-the-cuff statements which may include some hyperbole. The fact the A’s spent tens of millions of dollars trying to make Fremont happen is conclusive proof that Wolff’s 1998 comment was not an absolute. One comment from thirteen years ago does not mean all his efforts since then were insincere.
Now, what I do take from that 1998 comment is that Wolff recognized, even back then, that economic factors would make building a privately-financed ballpark anywhere in the Bay Area but the South Bay (including Fremont) difficult or impossible, and all evidence since then supports that supposition. But I don’t think any rational person could say Wolff didn’t sincerely try to get a deal done in Fremont.
Please correct me if I am mistaken, yet didn’t Reed already tick off Selig by being pushy late last year: in order for SJ to beable to get the SJ vote done on time? Considering that the vote still hasn’t happened, and now Reed is using words such as “lengthy” and “deliberative”, should we expect a different reaction from Selig than that one? Reed may be trying to send a subtle message to Selig of ‘hurry the hell up’, which may possibly work in SJ’s favor. Or, it may be a recipe for disaster for SJ if Oakland really is making progress with MLB negotiations and the EIR? If the latter really is getting done, many of us would like to know, of course.
All Reed’s letter tells us is that the Mayor is frustrated because MLB hasn’t so much as hinted that a decision will be forthcoming in the near future.
Selig and his minions are very practical. Oakland’s past history of bad faith and lack of effort to keep the team is not going to affect their decision at all, particularly with a new administration in place. Likewise, Wolff’s wilingness or unwillingness to pay for an Oakland ballpark is irrelevant. The team will be located where Bud decides it will be located, and the parameters of the ballpark deal will be negotiated by MLB itself.
MLB’s internal politics make it impossible for him to broach the T-rights issue with the Giants until other avenues have been exhausted. From the point of view of fans or Mayor Reed (or Wolff) it may seem that the Oakland possibilty is exhausted. But there’s a new pro-baseball Mayor in Oakland, and an Oakland solution if possibility would not rock the boat within MLB ownership ranks. So Selig’s people are doing very thorough diligence to determine whether any kind of credible deal can still be made in Oakland, with Mayor Quan. If and when it becomes clear that Quan can’t deliver, then it’s on to San Jose.
Right now it’s up to Oakland to put together some kind of credible plan in reasonably short order. They probably have about 6-12 months, given that MLB considers the CBA negotiations, Dodgers saga and Mets financial troubles all to be more pressing issues than the A’s situation. Private or public financing doesn’t matter — however, the occasional suggestion here that the other 29 owners might chip in to fund a new A’s ballpark is laughably ridiculous. If anybody from Oakland even raises that possibility, Selig will probably announce the move to San Jose the next day.
Couldn’t read this earlier on my “Crap” berry. Simon, respectfully, you don’t know what the heck your talking about. On one hand you state that Selig has ultimate power to decide where the A’s play (which is true), but then you state that the T-Rights will be impossible to broach…what the @#$%!? Yeah, T-Rights are sacrosanct and have never changed/been altered before in MLB’s history. I’ll give you credit though: out of all the “Oakland-only” folk, you put together the most intelligent sounding post.
@DavidL–how can MLB negotiate on behalf of the A’s with the city of Oakland? As LW has already stated “they can tell me where I can’t build but they can’t tell me where I have to build”. Second–how would you define progress in Oakland? There is still no EIR—ML has a counter here—Peerless Coffee contacted ML and provided him an article indicating the challenges with ED—which to me would indicate they are not a willing seller and if you think for a moment that Mayor Reed’s letter wasn’t reviewed and supported by the A’s before it went out than you are seriously mistaken. In fact, given the timing of the letter, May 10th–with the owners meetings following the next several days I wouldn’t be suprised if it wasn’t hand delivered by LW to bs.
@simon- do you really believe that bs and his minnons can tell LW and Fischer that they have to spend $500M of their own money to build a ballpark in Oakland–sorry—-that is beyond the realm of reality—unless of course bs says they have secured a significant public contribution from the city of Oakland in which case you will still have Pittsburgh west–a newballpark with the same lousy attendance you have today….MLB cant afford to have too many more Pittsburgh’s–
The “they can tell me where I can’t build but they can’t tell me where I have to build” line basically means that Bud can tell Wolff that he can’t build in SJ, but they can’t stop him if he wanted to build in the shadow of Mt. Diablo, because it’s in their existing territory.
@GoA’s–Pittsburgh West is hogwash. I think it would be more like Seattle South or San Diego North. Packed the first few years for sure, solid if they’re winning and and tail off, but still respectable, if they’re losing. Diridon would be similar. You guys feel a SJ park will be packed for years like Fenway no matter what. Highly unlikely.
As much as some here want to believe, MLB IS NOT working WITH the City of Oakland on a VC ballpark.
They might have contacted Oak for their “study,” but to think they’re acquiring land, putting together sponsors, financing all for “The O” is insane.
In fairness, the same could be said about San Jose. However, SJ is doing/has done all the aforementioned actions WITHOUT MLB’s help.
RM, through your sources, can you find out what’s going on with the last two parcels at Diridon?
Hopefully my theory of closing by June is correct.
@LS–I’m so sick of LW’s whining “they can tell me where I can’t build but they can’t tell me where I have to build” line. Sounds like a bitter old man. Just sell Lew and go away!!
@Tony–it still won’t matter until the TR’s are figured out and apparently BS doesn’t want to deal with that, so Oakland’s still in the game if you like it or not. That disrespectful letter from Reed probably pissed off BS more than the last one.
@jk- I’m kinda tired of your same-old-same-old forget the facts and bash SJ every step of the way. Can you just go away?
re: Just sell Lew and go away!!
Sell to someone willing to plunk down $500 mill of their own money to give Oakland a ballpark? Who’d you have in mind besides the guy who wants another joint Raiders-A’s stadium? If a privately built Oakland ballpark is such a slam-dunk great idea, we wouldn’t need to find anyone to do it because Wolff and Fischer would. But they already know the realities.
Reed’s letter was totally appropriate. He pulled a ballot measure on the premise that MLB might pay for a spring 2011 election if San Jose waited a bit longer. Instead Selig does what he does best when it comes to making tough decisions: absolutely nothing. So the stalemate continues and continues. The A’s at the moment can only build in a place where there is no public or private money available to do so, and the fan support is terrible (currently ranked 27 out of 30 teams in attendance). Mr Rock, meet Mr Hard Place.
MLB pretty much negotiated around the Malrins ownership in Florida. There is no reason to think something similar couldn’t happen here.
And, it is entirely true that what happened in 1996 up to 2009 is irrelevant.
What isn’t irrelevant… Is financing. Whether public or private, there needs to be a way to raise $450M to build the stadium on top of whatever Oakland or San Jose lay out for infrastructure and site acquisition.
Where are the South Bay A’s fans? There are about 20 who post here… a couple of hundred on Facebook. I was at Great America last weekend and the Park was full of folks wearing giants hats. How many SJ folks drive up to Oakland to watch games? Folks keep saying that its “no big deal” for East Bay folks to drive down there. How come the Coli ain’t filled every night with rich IT people? Maybe they have the same reasons for not attending A’s games as EB folks? Its not the fan base, its the stadium and the stuff that Lew says that keep fans away.
In Miami, the mayor was recalled from office, in part for shoving a taxpayer-funded ballpark down the people’s throats. Oakland simply has no public $$ to spend on a ballpark. So what is there to negotiate if there won’t be any taxpayer funding from the city’s general fund?
How come the Coli ain’t filled every night with rich IT people?
If the East Bay is such a great sports market, why are the A’s currently ranked 27th in attendance? Why should South Bay fans be blamed for the A’s poor attendance when the ballpark is currently 30 miles away? Shouldn’t the “Keep the A’s in Oakland” crowd be selling out the place? Move the A’s to San Jose and they will soon get throngs of new South Bay fans and the current fan base is welcome to come down, too.
Where are those fans today? One of the arguments the Pro-SJ fans give the Oaklanders is that SJ is not far away (like San Antonio). Well that’s true for SB baseball fans too. How come there isn’t a waves of cars driving up 880 if its not far away?
re: I was at Great America last weekend and the Park was full of folks wearing giants hats
I was at Disneyland a couple years ago – across the street from where the Angels play – and the place was filled with people wearing Dodgers hats. Yet, the Angels still do quite well.
@LS–How rude. I’m tired of all the Oakland bashing here by most of you, but I don’t want you all to go away. Lets face it, LW is not cut out as owner of a MLB team. He got the team from his buddy BS, which was a worse mistake than the A’s coming to Oakland. I know you guys will put up with this guy cuz the possibility of a SJ ballpark, which was his vision since 1998, but it’s probably not going to happen. He should cash out with a huge profit and move on. There will be huge interest locally I believe.
re: How come there isn’t a waves of cars driving up 880 if its not far away?
So are you saying East Bay fans, with the ballpark in their backyard and with great BART access, are to be excused for the lousy attendance, but South Bay fans, living 30 miles away with no BART access, are to be blamed?
I’m not playing the blame game. What i’m saying is: if its easy for Oaklanders to drive to SJ, then it is equally easy for SJ folks to drive to Oakland.
re: SJ ballpark, which was his vision since 1998, but it’s probably not going to happen.
If it doesn’t happen, then we have a problem because Oakland is not viable. San Jose losing does not = Oakland winning.
re: He should cash out with a huge profit
And once again, sell to someone willing to spend $500 mill of their own money to give Oakland a ballpark? Once again, who’d you have in mind?
Its often like divorce court on this site. People giving their position, blaming the other one. Trying to get the best settlement possible. Its not that simple, in my opinion.
re: I’m not playing the blame game. What i’m saying is: if its easy for Oaklanders to drive to SJ, then it is equally easy for SJ folks to drive to Oakland.
Unlike some people committed to abandoning the team if they move 30 miles south, I already drive to Oakland and would be happy to keep doing so for a new ballpark. But the economic realities weigh heavily against a new Oakland ballpark. So San Jose is all that’s left, unless we want to travel to San Antonio or some other faraway place to see the A’s.
How come more (rich) people aren’t driving up 880 with you pjk?
@pjk–semi-lousy park in blah area and big-time lousy ownership doesn’t help the attendance one bit. Throw in the G’s huge success and spiffy park, it’s a miracle the A’s are drawing what they’re drawing. Spiffy park at VC in nicer area, new owners that care, keeping the Oakland legacy/tradition going, all spells success for years to come..
jk: So I take it you do not have names of anyone willing to buy the team and then plunk down $500 mill of their money to give Oakland a free ballpark?
Once again, Oakland-Only people speaking with their emotions. No facts.
David: What’s this with the class envy? Take away “rich” people like Charlie Finley, the Haas’s, Steve Schott and John Fisher, and there wouldn’t be any A’s, ever. Anyone willing to buy the team and build a stadium in Oakland would have to be very very very rich. But so far, no takers that anyone knows of.
Funny thing is, the A’s, with their $2 tix, free parking Wednesdays and $38 for a behind-the-dugout seat (same ticket at PacBell is something like $135) should be professional sports’ working class team. The A’s “rich” owners let people in very cheaply. And how are they rewarded? With the 27th-highest attendance in MLB. And then they are demonized for not wanting to spend $500 mill on a new ballpark in Oakland.
We are fans, not headhunters. If anyone here had access to multi-millionaire investors, i’m sure they would speak up.
…The A’s need for a new ballpark and the fact that it would have to be privately built is no secret. Yet no one has come forward to take on this venture in Oakland. The silence is deafening.
I just added a link to a Dave Newhouse article at the bottom of the post. It reads as follows:
@pjk–the last I looked, the A’s weren’t up for sale. If they were, there would be much local interest like last time. I think Bob Piccinini would jump back in the game. His wealth from his grocery empire has increased substantially since 1999 when BS gave him the middle finger.
From the Dave Newhouse interview last year, Piccinini said “I think baseball is as appealing as ever.”
Would he try again to buy the A’s?
“As I sit here right now, I would say probably not,” he said. “However, never say never.”
There are some brutal comments on the link ML provided from: ‘San Jose Inside’ (Josh Koehn). Those comments seem to be from SJ residents.
@David – SJI commenters are typically small gov’t and anti City Hall. Reed was reelected last summer in a landslide. They’re at best a very small, vocal minority. I liked the site more when the commenters were all City Hall political operatives spreading gossip and sniping at each other.
“That disrespectful letter from Reed probably pissed off BS more than the last one.”
I didn’t see anything in the Reed letter that sounded disrespectful.
On the other hand, it’s obviously not the kind of letter you write if you have reason to believe that the situation will be resolved favorably for your city in the near future.
@David–yeah, i read those comments. People in SJ are pissed. A ballpark vote is no slam dunk like they thought it would be when they polled the people a few years ago. Things have changed dramatically there.
The 27th in attendance thing is really beside the point. The A’s along with Tampa Bay are the the only franchises that have unresolved stadium issues. Everyone else either has or is building a new, refurbished or classic ballpark that is state of the art. There’s no question that A’s attendance will grow substantially when they have a new stadium, whether it’s in SJ, Oakland, Fremont, or Vacaville.
To the extent A’s attendance is considered poor under the circumstances, it’s really a function of the weakness of their brand in the entire Bay Area. Rebranding the team “San Jose” may (or may not) alleviate that problem, but it won’t make it go away.
That Newhouse article is very strange. I’m having trouble understanding the segue between an email scam and the A’s stadium situation. Is he trying to insinuate that the A’s and/or Oakland is scamming the fans with their ballpark proposals?
@Simon–yeah, I take it back, maybe not disrespectful, but the tone was a bit harsh I think. I sense Reed’s frustration, but I wouldn’t rattle BS too much. Reed should say screw it and sell the Diridon land and restore city services that the citizens demand. That area will take years to pan out with or without a ballpark. Bart and HSR may take many years to come to DT SJ.
ML: What if Lew’s email was hacked?
I am Lewis Wolff, managing partner of the Oakland A’s and seventh son of the sultan of Freedonia. I’m stranded in Oakland, my credit cards were stolen and I need a mere $500 million plus a constuction site to get home and build a stadium. If you can send anything to help, I promise substantial dividends, season tickets and my granddaughter’s hand in marriage.
Polls have shown something like 60% support for a new ballpark in San Jose, particularly when its privately funded. There’s always going to be a few vocal “No matter what it is or who commenced it, I’m against it” folks. “Better Sense San Jose” thinks more empty office buildings would be a better idea, even though the workplace is moving to telecommuting and workplace offices are not as necessary as they used to be. These are likely the same people who opposed the SJ arena, which has been wildly successful. I asked one of the ballpark opponents if he had opposed the arena and he refused to answer. If a football stadium, partially funded, in Santa Clara passes, then a privately funded ballpark in San Jose should be a no-brainer.
Anyway, you folks who question San Jose’s support must have solid polling figures proving widespread support for a publicly funded $500 mill ballpark in Oakland, no?
@bc–lol. That’s a good one.
My sister had her Yahoo account hacked last year by the same stranded in London thing. It says she was held at gunpoint and all her cash and cc’s were stolen, along with her cell phone and that’s why she’s writing. She needs money wired to get plane fare back to the US. I knew it was bogus because it didn’t even sound like her kind of letter. I called her right away and everything was fine of course.
baycommuter: Is Wolff’s grand-daughter hot?
I would submit that MLB/Selig/the so-called “blue ribbon committee” have already finished their research regarding the A’s stadium problem and have decided to do something:
They will wait for angel investors to pour their money into a privately-financed venue; or
They will wait for a municipality (not necessarily in the Bay Area or even California) to pay for the whole thing and let the team keep the revenue; or
They will wait for Fisher/Wolff to get so frustrated that they sell the team, and start the process all over again; or
They will wait for the Giants to suddenly grow a conscience and renounce their territorial rights.
In other words, MLB will wait for a solution to fall out of the sky, and they don’t care how long it takes. If you don’t think they mind waiting, consider this: MLB maintains that Pete Rose’s application for re-instatement is still under review. They aren’t denying the application; they’re just waiting for him to die.
MLB would rather do nothing than submit to an audit, election or lawsuit.
Personal opinion: I think Reeds letter to BS is “fake” in the sense of its more to show local constituents that he’s being proactive on the ballpark front.
Even Reed (through Wolff) probably knows how this thing ends. Cisco Field will be Reeds legacy item as SJ Mayor, and the letter will be part of the history that made the ballpark happen.
Thanks RM for explaining SJInside to some here. I often post there and my progressive, GenX thinking gets slammed every time by the conservative geriatrics.
@ED — never thought about the Pete Rose review … that’s been moving real fast … you make some excellent points re: MLB/Selig.
@Jeffrey No shit. Serenity now!
Sharks and Warriors comments deleted due to irrelevance.
Ed – I agree that Bud is waiting for someone else to solve this problem. But you know if this was the Red Sox or the Yankees or as we’re seeing now, the Dodgers, BS wouldn’t be willing to wait around for a solution to present itself. He would be actively working for that solution. Since it’s just the A’s — a team that’s been nothing more than a nuisance to him — we can sit and rot for all he cares. Owners meetings will continue to come and go with not only no solution, but not even a discussion. The A’s don’t matter enough to even put on the agenda, let alone actually put forth an effort to address. Perhaps Lew should just give up on a new stadium, negotiate a long-term, super cheap Coliseum lease, continue collecting his revenue sharing checks and minimize payroll. Maybe we can suck enough money out of the rest of the league to get BS’s attention someday.
You do realize Bud and “Lewie” are good friends and frat brothers from Wisconsin. You do realize that Bud personally invited “Lewie” into the MLB fraternity by encouraging him to buy the A’s. The “inaction” probably has more to do with this thing all but being done than anything else. A few more plots at Diridon is probably all that remains. Dodgers, Mets much bigger fish to fry at this point.
re: Perhaps Lew should just give up on a new stadium, negotiate a long-term, super cheap Coliseum lease, continue collecting his revenue sharing checks and minimize payroll. Maybe we can suck enough money out of the rest of the league to get BS’s attention someday.
…this is the leverage Wolff has. If Selig is too terrified to take on Neukom and let Wolff go to San Jose and draw all that Silicon Valley $$, then sign on the dotted line at the Coliseum and maintain the A’s a league welfare recipient for years to come.
BS should recuse himself over this whole A’s ballpark mess, just based on that fact that he gave his old crony the team in the first place. If they’re forced to stay at the Coli for the foreseeable future, at least put some of that revenue sharing back in to the ballpark instead of their pockets. Yeah, i can barely stomach Mt. Davis, but how about a few video boards up in that area? Or at least upgrade the little ones they have on the sides. I hear they’re so old, they can’t find parts and the bulbs must constantly be replaced.
@jk–city of Oakland owns the Coli—its not LW’s fault it is a dump
It use to be one of the better parks, and now it’s a dump. Well, it’s our dump and visiting teams don’t like playing here, and that’s good. The big foul territories may put fans further from the action, but that has helped make this a pitchers park for years, and that’s has been our strength for most of our 43 years is the pitching. LW wants to build an intimate little bandbox park in SJ, and that’s not good for the pitchers. Have to find that happy medium.
“if its easy for Oaklanders to drive to SJ, then it is equally easy for SJ folks to drive to Oakland.”
Commute patterns make this not completely true. For a standard night game there is much more traffic going northbound 880 than southbound. I see this every time I’m in stop and go traffic on the way to an A’s game watching cars whip by me going the other way.
good pitching can pitch well in even hitter friendly parks that even if cisco field is more hitter friendly as you’d think it’d be according to those first images with the short distances from homeplate to the fences along with the warm temps in sj.
phi, arz, chw and the nyy had good to great pitching that did well and all of them played in bandboxes while winning the ws in the past decade.
re: It use to be one of the better parks, and now it’s a dump.
..Finally, we agree on something. The view of the Oakland hills, the flower-covered area by the bleachers, all gone, so Al Davis could have 100 never-used luxury boxes. Anyone who never saw it, rent “Angels in the Outfield.”
re: Well, it’s our dump and visiting teams don’t like playing here, and that’s good.
..unfortunately, this dislike extends to free agents, who won’t come to Oakland. For reference, see: Beltre, Adrian.
re: LW wants to build an intimate little bandbox park in SJ,
…the same type of park would be built in VC, too, if anyone was willing to pay for it. So far, no takers.
@pjk–with VC being a little bigger footprint, I’d hope it would be a less of a bandbox. AT&T is fairly neutral and that’s what the A’s should shoot for at VC, with or without LW. The A’s ranked 26th in hitter friendly parks; AT&T is 15th. Philly #5; AZ#3;CHW#7;NYY#10. Coors is rated #1.
For the rankings, based on 5 years of data, go here:
jk- did you read Andy Dolich’s take on VC? I would attend games at a park anywhere in the Bay Area, and I think Victory Court would be pretty cool from a fan experience perspective. Unfortunately, I agree with Dolich… Funding that a ballpark there isn’t really feasible, and it isn’t just stadium construction that make it a tough sell. Infrastructure improvements for pedestrians and cars will be ridiculously expensive.
Wolff or no… VC is going to be a rough sledding.
There’s no use bringing reality into the discussion, Jeffrey. It’s just ignored.
Hey, I know what the realities are. If VC blows up, building next to the Coli would be the next best option. Rebuild the exisitng Coli for the Raiders if they stay, and a new park on the South side for the A’s. Spruce up the area around it, adding a nice hotel, eateries, an Oakland sports museum, etc…This is what Rebecca Kaplan had in mind and I’ll take it over SJ or Fremont any day, even though I hope VC can be done.
Someone please correct me if I’m wrong, but hasn’t MLB rejected the coliseum site as a potential location for a new ballpark?
Some interesting points here, 74 comments in 3 hours is great!
@David- Do you know how bad traffic is going from San Jose to Oakland in rush hour? It is murder. Try it sometime and then speak about why South Bay fans do not want to drive up there. This plus the fact ATT Park there is zero traffic on 280 North going all the way there. So should one sit in traffic for 1.5 hrs or drive 1 hour and get to a much better place??? Your a teacher, do the math.
-Also keep in mind traffic goes the other way for the most part into San Jose at night, East Bay people would have a much easier time getting to San Jose than Vice Versa.
@Bryan Grunwald- Have you seen Diridon? There is tons of parking all around and there are 4 major freeways that intersect there. The HP Pavilion easily sits 18k people and there is little to no traffic in the area and one can even park down the street on Santa Clara for 5 bucks and walk to a game with no issues. While Diridon is not perfect it is far superior to VC and your “fantasy” 980 site.
@jk-usa- An Oakland ballpark needs public $$ to be constructed. I agree that a new Oakland park in VC would draw fans and would be very cool. But in reality how does it get built privately????
San Jose would adore the A’s as they do the Sharks all day long. People in San Jose unlike Oakland have tons of $$ to spend as evidenced by the 82k in median household income in the City. It dwarfs Oakland as a city in every demographic that predicts fan support.
Oakland even when the A’s were real good do not get good attendance over the years as Jeffrey pointed out clearly.
If San Jose falls through, they are going to sell the team and move it. Oakland cannot get this done and if they could this would have been done YEARS ago…
FWIW, Reggie Jackson was on 7Live with Brian Copeland 10 minutes ago, briefly talking about the A’s ballpark situation. He says he hopes they can get it done in Oakland. He loves the city and the people of Oakland, has owned homes there, loved playing there and hopes the people working on it and can make it happen.
Just about every former A’s ballplayer feels the same way when asked. Stew and Rickey as of late. Ray Fosse, a long time A’s employee/announcer and former player, is the only one publicly who likes SJ. The Wolff lackey, big time homer, will say anything not to stir the pot and hang on to his job.
Is this the same Reggie Jackson whose Hall of Fame plaque sports a Yankee$ cap instead of an A’s cap because he said the Yanks were a “better fit,” even though he spent far more years and won more titles in Oakland? Now there’s somebody with some credibility when it comes to praising Oakland. Reggie Jackson is Case A1 when it comes to the A’s developing superstars that they couldn’t keep once free agency started. If we want the A’s to continue in the Reggie Jackson vein – as in being unable to retain top stars – Oakland is the place. If we want them to have more money so they can keep players, it’s San Jose all the way.
Again, only emotions, and name calling.
Boxer was the one that mentioned the Coliseum was ruled out by mlb. From ML’s interview nuggests:
@pjk–yeah, whatever you say…lol. Sorry, SJ rah rah’s, but not much will change in the way the A’s operate if SJ happens. Even Wolff said he enjoys the running the team on the cheap and that it’s fun.
@gojohn–okay, it’s VC then. Gotta make it happen, cuz SJ isn’t.
@JK I’m really not interested in third or fourth options at this point. VC or Diridon or bust.
…so that leaves us with some Oakland advocates wanting a Coliseum rebuild, which has been ruled out by MLB, and some wanting Victory Court, which will require piles of money for infrastructure and business relocations but no way to pay for any of it. And that’s not even getting to actual ballpark construction. OK. Why am I not confident about Oakland’s chances?
@sid – FYI, according to the sanjoseca.gov website itself, the median income is 78,660 citywide, but what’s a few grand, right? BTW, that is quite a sorry argument even bringing up median income. “Dwarfing” Oakland in median income means nothing. The fanbase is more than just Oakland. I have been in my business 11 years and many of my wealthiest clients come from San Mateo Co., Marin, and the East Bay, specifically the Oakland/Berkeley hills, Piedmont, Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, Moraga, Lafayette, Orinda, Diablo, Alamo, Danville, Blackhawk, San Ramon, Pleasanton, etc. One of my biggest clients lived in Pleasanton before he moved to Santa Cruz and he held tickets behind home plate for years. My sister is an RN and works for 3 doctors who all have season tickets; 2 live in Piedmont and 1 lives in the new Stonebrae Hayward Hills location. Bringing up income like you did shows zero class and the typical bullying SJ tactics, i.e. trying to further stigmatize the Oakland name by bringing up income. C’mon now, are we really comparing income to the ghetto areas of Oakland like you are insinuating? What, San Jose doesn’t have ghettos with low income? According to the map I saw on the SJ website there are definitely pockets of wealth in SJ but there are also big pockets of not-so-great wealth. You guys and the nonsensical rationales to pump the SJ stadium is getting beyond ridiculous. “Even when the teams were good they had bad attendance.” Really? Uh, o.k. Whatever you say.
FWIW, Reggie Jackson was part of an ownership group with (IIRC) Steve Stone who wanted to buy the A’s at the same time the Dolich/Piccinni group wanted to – and he wanted to move em to VEGAS, baby!
So, Reggie is not exactly the knight in shining armor that you are making him appear to be, jk-usa.
Columbo, attendance (something that comes up all the time here) has been objectively bad. The thought that attendance was bad even when they were good is based on the fact that they have been below median MLB attendance every year but 7. They have been to the playoffs twice as many times. Being in the bottom half of attendance performers while in the top tier of on field performers is objectively bad, no?
I am not being facetious, I am really asking.
jk- when you write:
“@pjk–yeah, whatever you say…lol. Sorry, SJ rah rah’s, but not much will change in the way the A’s operate if SJ happens. Even Wolff said he enjoys the running the team on the cheap and that it’s fun.”
You are missing the point of what has happened everywhere else in MLB. It may shock you to know, but just about every MLB team spends the similar percentage of revenues on payroll. This is the legacy of the MLB Blue Ribbon Panel on competitive balance in the late 90’s. The reason the Yankees have a huge payroll is because they have a huge revenue stream… According to Forbes they spend 55% of their revenue on players while the A’s spend 49%. Not that big of a difference.
So “staying the course” means spending a similar percentage of revenues on players… In a new stadium, with higher revenue streams, that means higher payrolls. Will the A’s have a $200M payroll in San Jose? Nope. They won’t have that anywhere. But, in a new stadium they will have a higher payroll. It si naive to think otherwise.
@jeffrey – I have looked at MLB attendance since all of this talk began awhile back and have come to some conclusions. I am not complete as of yet and have only finished the years 1968-1999, mainly because I do have a full-time job and a family to support, but also because new ballparks started popping up subsequent to this and I wanted to really focus on apples-to-apples first. I wanted to try to see if I could pinpoint something in my analysis. BTW, I have analyzed the entire MLB taking into consideration population, record, playoffs, capacity, etc. Firstly, I have issues regarding the meaningless remarks regarding attendance. Furthermore, the supposition is always that “Oakland is not an MLB city but SJ is.” My problem with this is what are you basing this on? What makes you think an SJ stadium will sell out more than a VC or other East Bay site? I’m not talking about funding a ballpark in this particular conversation, I’m asking a simple question. Are you basing it on these baseless remarks by simply showing below median figures? If so, then this is not taking everything into consideration. For instance, from the years 1968-1999 the Bay Area had an average population of 5.623 million people. That is, for the purposes of my analysis I simply averaged the yearly population figures in the region over that period of time to have some basis for comparision. During the same time period, the A’s/Giants drew 2.642 million fans (A’s had nearly 28k more). Again, I simply took an average of the attendance during those years. Crudely, this means that, in any given year during 1968-1999, 47% of the average population attended an A’s/Giants game. Again, this is not a scientific study and is only used as a comparison to other markets. Certainly you can point to 1979 and say that the measly A’s attendance that year didn’t fall in this category but I prefer to look at a longer time horizon for my comparison. Stay with me now. During the same time period, the 2 So. Cal teams had an average population of 12.753 million and drew 4.622 million fans, or 36%. The 2 NY teams had an average population of 19.860 million and drew 3.867 million, or 19.5%. Finally, the 2 Chicago teams had an average population of 8.400 million and drew 3.226 million, or 38%. Just in case you’re wondering about capacity, So Cal teams had an avg capacity of 51%, NY 41.5%, Chi 45.3%, and the Bay Area 31% (Oak 34%). In simplistic terms, we could deduce that, during 1968-1999, the 2 So. Cal teams had an average population that was 127% higher than the Bay Area but only drew 75% more fans. NY had a avg pop of +253% but only drew 46% more fans. Chi had a 49% higher avg pop but drew only 22% more fans. What am I trying to say here? These ridiculous attendance arguments don’t hold water in my book, especially the argument that SJ will draw better “just because.” I’m sure you’ll come back with some argument about recent attendance figures and below median numbers but I’m not going to get into a philosophical discussion about what I believe are the causes of that. However, what I will say is that, there is definitely an argument that during the late 60’s, 70’s, and even early 80’s, the Bay Area may not have been big enough for two teams. If you really study those years you will see a shift between the A’s and Giants, i.e. if the A’s were doing well their attendance was higher than the Giants, etc. There’s only so many people available for games and the Bay’s population back in those days was miniscule compared to the other 2-market teams. However, the area has grown and can accommodate 2 teams now. I am simply saying that I don’t believe the attendance argument is as simple as saying A) the A’s have had historically bad attendance, and B) SJ will sell out every night. It’s baseless. The Giants had horrific attendance in certain years during this time and so did many other teams. I believe that this continual complaint about low attendance that is being regurgitated daily by the pro-SJ crowd is far too simplistic and is not taking everything into consideration.
ML-Earlier today as I was reading the recent comments of this particular post, I found your quote, “spreading gossip and sniping at each other” in regard to San Jose Inside, to be sardonically apropos to the predictability of the cyclic arguments by various commenters.
@Hoyt – You are absolutely on target with that observation.
Wait… I have never said a San Jose stadium will sell out every night and I am not a member of the Pro SJ crowd (I am pro anywhere in the Bay Area). So the way you frame the discussion is off base. The attendance question is essentially a choice between a known (historical numbers) vs. an unknown. And as an owner do you want to bet on a substantial, sustainable change in the existing city or bet things will improve in a different city, 35ish miles away. I haven’t ever argued that there is a certain answer either way. I think we could all assume what Lew Wolff thinks…
You can assume what you want, I will stick with real numbers… That means, we know how attendance has rolled in Oakland, or more how many tickets have been sold (to nitpick myself). We have no idea how it will roll in San Jose (I don’t use the Sharks as a gauge). There are 43 years of attendance numbers, various ownership groups, various marketing approaches, various median incomes, various average populations (which I agree the Bay Area wasn’t big enough to be a two team market in 1968 and up through the 80’s at least but is now), various payrolls relative to the rest of the league, various on the field performances… The large sample size of information (3,500 games over 4 decades) accounts for the various outside influences on attendance. When you start stripping it down to a smaller sample size, you actually make it less relevant.
The question is, “Will Oakland be like Pittsburgh and Chicago (White Sox)?” or “Do we believe that Oakland will be like San Francisco?” and then “Why?” There is a lot to it, we agree on that… But, when you say things like ” “Even when the teams were good they had bad attendance.” Really? Uh, o.k. Whatever you say.” and then completely ignore that the team has been in the bottom half of MLB gate performance in playoff seasons, and instead start writing a dissertation about average populations of various metropolitan areas (by the way, the Bay Area includes San Jose, so any metro based population numbers are mostly a wash) and what percentage of that average walked through the turn styles of other teams… it stretches credibility. In other words, you are starting with an assumption and trying to tailor data to fit that assumption.
And I, too, have full time job, one that I actually work about 70 hours a week (from where I just wrote this comment).
Point taken, Hoyt.
@jeffrey – What am I assuming? Did I not just present real numbers? As to your question regarding “will the A’s become like Pit, etc.,” I can only give you my personal opinion on this. All else being equal, I think an AT&T-style park in the East Bay would draw big time. Again, I’d rather not go into further discussion on this because I have opinions on ownership, marketing, etc. that I want to avoid on this site. I’d rather stick with numbers. You say I’m ignoring playoff season attendance. I notice you said bottom-half of MLB. I will have to recheck my overall MLB numbers tonight but, for the purposes of AL attendance, in the years 1968-1999, the A”s made the playoffs 10 times and were in the bottom-half 3 times. From 2000 onward they made the playoffs 5 times and were in the bottom-half 3 times. So, they made the playoffs 15 times and were in the bottom-half of attendance 6 times. Of those 6 times, 2 were awful, ’74 and ’06 as they finished right near the bottom. Maybe I’d add ’00 to that as they were in the middle of the bottom-half. The other 3 times were bad as 2 of those times they finished at the top of the bottom-half. I agree that a playoff team shouldn’t be in the bottom-half at all. I’m not disputing that. BTW, where are you getting your numbers from? Are you counting 7th of 14 as being in the bottom-half? If you are that is wrong as the median point of 14 teams lies between #’s 7 and 8. In other words, there are 7 teams from 1-7 and 7 teams from 8-14. A team falling in 7th place out of 14 would be in the upper half.
Here again you make a blanket statement about the A’s being in the bottom-half during playoff seasons without anything to back it up. That is the issue I have with some of the statements I read. Here I have the data before me and the A’s were in the upper half 9 of those 15 playoff seasons yet I’m sure you’ll argue back to me that 7th out of 14 or 6th out of 12 is the bottom-half? Take a piece of paper and write 1, 2, 3, 4, …14 from top to bottom. Draw a line at the halfway point. Does not the midpoint fall between 7 and 8? Would not 7 then be in the upper half?
I don’t buy that you are pro-anywhere. Please don’t be offended by that. I think everyone has a right to his/her opinion and I respect that. It’s just that I read comments that just irk me when there is no basis. To say the A’s have had historically bad attendance, would it not be prudent to follow that up by saying something concrete. I have given you a “dissertation,” as you say, on real figures showing how the early A’s/Giants attendance might be a bit skewed due to the fact that the Bay was such a small market back then. However, the A’s outdrew the Giants during the period 1968-1999. Once AT&T Park was built, the game changed altogether. Actually, I’ll take a step back and say Mt. Davis changed things first and then AT&T sealed the deal.
Also, I never said anything about SJ not being part of the Bay Area. Lastly, you can think what you want, but I am not making any assumptions and tailoring things to fit anything. Whether you understand it, agree, disagree with it, I doesn’t matter to me. I’m just trying to provide some alternative data to consider before saying such blanket statements about attendance.
@jeffrey – I stand corrected on the bottom-half issue. I quickly checked my MLB numbers from 1968-1999 (which is what I have here) and found that the A’s were in the top half 5 out of those 10 playoff years. I do apologize as I was referring to AL attendance.
@jeffrey – I did some more checking and you were correct on the post 1999 years as well. The A’s didn’t fall in the upper-half in any of those years for MLB attendance. Again, I was referring to AL attendance in my first post. During the 32-year period from 1968-1999, the NL outdrew the AL 27 times, capturing a whopping 55% of the market from 68-79. The A’s/Giants during the same period had 50.5% and 49.5% of the area’s mkt share respectively. Once AT&T was built, the Giants regularly garnished over 62% of the mkt share. Did AT&T steal the thunder of the A’s playoff years? I’m not making excuses by any means but we had a shiny new park, Barry Bonds, and a WS contender during these years. Does this justify finishing 22/30, 19/30, 18/30, and 16/30 in attendance during the playoff years of ’00-’03? No it doesn’t. I will agree with that. However, put a similar park in JLS and I do believe you’d see a major difference, especially with a contender.
Read over to the right—>
there is a series called “Greener Grass” that I wrote. It covers a lot of stuff.
@jeffrey – Thanks. I’ve already read a couple of them and they were really good and informative.
I finished an epic attendance analysis last week. I’ve been sitting on it because in the grand scheme of things, I’m not sure how much of a difference it makes. But since you guys are debating it here, what the heck. The method I used has the benefit of accounting for all team related factors that result in fluctuations in attendance. Therefore, any differences in the numbers should be due to other criteria such as the ownership group, the stadium, weather, etc. What I found was pretty interesting and one of the those good news/ bad news situations for “Oakland only” supporters. First the good news. The Haas family left the other ownership groups in the dust. For the bad news, Haas was still well below the median.
@gj10 – Sarcasm so thick you can cut it with a knife. Ouch!
@Columbo – gojohn10’s not being sarcastic. I have his spreadsheet and it’s impressive data. I haven’t had enough time to pore over the methodology, but it looks solid at first glance.
@gojohn10 – Speaking of which, would you like to post the data and provide a backgrounder? It’d have to be prettied up a bit.
@gojohn–yes, Haas faired much better overall than Finley, Schottman and LW/JF, but still decent compared to the AL clubs. I know ML hates when I do this, but since everyone’s talking attendance from the past I’ll do it too!! I’ve poured over the figs, and came up with this:
Under Haas, the A’s averaged 23,850 per game from 1981-1995. The AL average was around 24,600 in that same period. Those oh so popular Giant’s packed them in from 1981-1995 with 19,940 per game, and the NL averaged 24,840 per.
Okay, to satisfy Jeffrey, who hates actual attendance numbers and only likes the median, the A’s finished, starting with 1981 out of the 14 AL teams: 4th, 6th, 11th, 11th, 11th, 11th, 11th, 7th, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 11th, 13, and 12th for an average of 7.8 out of 14 teams. Not great, but just a hair below average.
FWIW, those amazing Giant’s averaged 9th out of 12 NL teams from 1981-92, and 9.7 out of 14 teams from 93-95.
You guys can rip Haas all you want fo those last couple years taking a big slide, and the losing didn’t help, but it was still a huge turn around from those depressing Finley years. Haas’ worst year was better than Finley’s best year. Haas’ best year was almost 3 times better than Finley’s. Haas worst year was almost 4 times better than Finley’s worst.
Jk- average attendance numbers aren’t “actual” attendance numbers. Median is the correct measurement because it removes outposts and gives a tire picture of actual performance. Therefore, taking actual attendance numbers and measuring them against the MLB median is the right way to measure performance over time.
iPhone fail- outpost should be outliers and tire should be true.
Also, why would you measure the A’s only against the AL? That removes half the league…
@ML Sure, but I want to go over the data again to check I haven’t made any mistakes. Should have some time this weekend.
It is actually the Oakland-only’ers who consistently refuse to take all factors into consideration when making these “Giants attendance as bad as the A’s”-type arguments. Namely, during most or all of the period in question (pre-2000):
-the A’s played in what was then considered a beautiful, state of the art stadium, while the Giants played in an awkward, ugly, red-headed stepchild of a stadium.
– the A’s were centrally located and had great freeway and transit access. The Giant’s were inconveniently located, had hideous traffic access and no transit access.
– the A’s had decent weather; the Giants played in freezing winds (arguably the worst weather in MLB).
– the Giants had a much larger following in the area, as indicated by TV ratings.
– the A’s won multiple championships, the Giants none
– when the Giants built AT&T Park, they did not have a strong competitor playing in a comparable facility right next door.
Thus, there are many good reasons to believe the “new ballpark solved Giants’ attendance problems, therefore new new ballpark in Oakland will solve A’s attendance problems” argument is not true. Please make sure to account for each of these in your future analysis before accusing others of “not taking all factors into consideration.”
Further, the whole attendance debate is largely beside the point, because MLB economics are no longer driven by getting regular fans through the turnstiles. They are driven by premium seat sales, for which the target market is mostly large corporations, law firms and the like which are plentiful in the South Bay but very limited in the East Bay. This is the reason Wolff has ruled out Victory Court without needing to see the site.
Let’s put it this way: The Great Mall in Milpitas does raging good business. That doesn’t mean it’s a good location for a Cartier store: The target market isn’t there.
@bartelby – I’m not going to get into a big debate on why’s because I am out-gunned on this site and it would be a futile effort on my part. Let me clarify the intent of my attendance posts. Too often I hear many (not all) SJ supporters make blanket statements about attendance. Example – “Geez, only 15k last night. Oakland cannot support this team.” Or my favorite, “Oakland has always had terrible attendance.” I simply wanted to address this and provide some information, such as the market size of the bay area for the first 12-14 years of the A’s and how that may have played a role, i.e. too small of a market for 2 teams at that time. Also, I find many contradictory statements, such as yours above. You say MLB economics has changed such that it is now corporate-driven yet the past attendance keeps being brought up as justification for a move. Why even bring up past attendance if that is no longer the key driver? If it’s going to play little role in current revenue streams what relevance is it to the argument? Also, why do many (not all) SJ supporters bring up the term “Oakland” when mentioning spendable income yet somehow SJ includes all of the outlying cities stretching into both SM and Alameda counties? What happened to the richer suburbs of the east bay in that calculation? Case in point. Not long ago I heard a laughable comment by a clearly SJ supporter. He went on and on about how Fremont corporations are part of “Silicon Valley” even though it’s located in Alameda County. Fine, I have little problem with that. However, when the subject of Chevron came into play, this poster’s reply was dismissive due to it not being near the fanbase. I grew up in the east bay and San Ramon is just a 10 minute drive through Crow Canyon Road from Castro Valley. I find these attempts to dismiss “Oakland” a joke because THAT is an example of not taking things into consideration, i.e. blanket statements with a clear agenda. Lastly, I find your first statement to be absolutely false. I have clearly stated that the A’s had the more accessible facility. I cannot speak for other pro-Oak folks but I politely disagree in that I have taken many of these factors into consideration and still firmly believe that a similar park in downtown Oakland would thrive.
Awesome… so now that we got all that out of the way again… Go A’s!
For the first time I am going to miss watching the A’s in San Francisco…. It is something I look forward to all year, representing at the Phone Booth. Stupid work trip.
@Coloumbo- You do realize that those rich people who live in Contra Costa County are only 10-15 minutes further away from ATT Park than your “fantasy” Oakland ballpark?
The Giants beat the A’s to market years ago for those fans. It is sad but the truth is the Giants own most of the East Bay because those people think “Why should I go to Oakland when I can drive 10 more minutes and see the Giants in their shiny park?”
That stats show the Giants get a big chunk of season ticket holders from the area you spoke about. They get more in fact from Contra Costa County than Santa Clara County by far. Why is that?
It is because those people you speak about have a choice since both teams are located so close to them. In the South Bay there are so many fans who just cannot make the 1 hour trip each way either to Oakland or SF for that matter.
That is why the A’s need to move to San Jose where its infact a different metro area seperate from the San Francisco-Oakland Area. There are 2M plus people who are being underserved plus the corporations and their support would be ridiculous.
This is why I do not understand Pro-Oakland supporters……Why build 10 miles from the #1 ballpark in MLB (Forbes.com) when you can build 50 miles away in a place where a site, funding, and corporate support are ready to go??
That is bad business and not smart for the A’s to be so close to the Giants…It is killing them right now because those fans you talk about have a choice….
@sid – Look, I don’t want to squabble. The A’s are playing the Vagiants this weekend. We’re all A’s fans and I hate bickering over things like this. However, I will say that many things (as you know) contributed to where we are today. Oakland Gov’t, Mt. Davis, Raiders, Ownership, AT&T Park, Barry Bonds hysteria, Bandwagon fans, Combination thereof, etc. that caused an avalanche of people to prefer G’s over A’s. We could go on and on. All I am saying is that a shiny new park in a beautiful setting in JLS would thrive….. in my opinion. If I’m a rich guy in Orinda (or just a middle-class guy anywhere in the east bay) and have the chance to see a game at a beautiful new park in downtown Oak, I personally would not choose to “drive 10 minutes further” to AT&T. I’m not claiming everyone thinks the way I do. You do not have to agree and that is fine. Let’s leave it at that and let’s hope for a sweep by the A’s this weekend.
Ok, Ok, we get it: a “shiny new park in a beautiful setting in JLS would thrive…” And you know what Columbo, I don’t disagree with you. But now we’re right back to square one with the same basic question that has yet to be answered: WHO’S GONNA PAY FOR IT!? (silence)…that was easy.
@tony d. – Ok, Ok, we get it: “WHO’S GONNA PAY FOR IT!?” blah, blah, blah. Unfortunately, I do not have the luxury of having the entire A’s organization on my side who have been vocal about their plans. Ergo, SJ fans know how the park will be financed there. Since I don’t work for the Oakland city gov’t I don’t have a clue what is going on because nothing has been said. You could interpret the silence from them as a “sure sign” that there is nothing forthcoming and that is perfectly fine. I, however, prefer to wait until I am told something concrete. Why continue to ask these financing questionsof pro-Oakland fans. We don’t know! Or at least I don’t. If someone does please speak up. While we’re on the subject, LW says he will “privately” finance the SJ ballpark and this has been treated as gospel. I’ve even heard people spouting that “Lew will pay for it with his own money.” Really? I didn’t realize the guy was loaded like that. I’ve read many a blog/article that has said that there is a big smokescreen here and SJ will end up paying way more for the park than what they’re being told. Without telling me the usual thing that those writers are being paid by the Giants, has anyone ever actually seen the financing plan in detail? Or has it just been LW’s word that it will be privately financed? Maybe it’s out there and I haven’t seen it. If he has displayed the details of it I sincerely apologize. I know the CSCO naming rights were set up awhile back for the Fremont park but I don’t anything more than that. I do know that I have read some pretty good articles showing the potential cost to the city, including lost prop tax revenues. BTW, I have NEVER even asked about the SJ financing plans once….ever. Why? Because I’m assuming all of you must be up to speed on the details due to the overwhelming arguments against the supposedly non-existent Oakland financing plan. Reading those questions over and over I’m thinking to myself…..”gee, they must know a concrete plan is in place for SJ that is 100% privately financed. Otherwise they wouldn’t be harping on the plan for Oakland, right?” So I guess I’ll ask the question. What are the exact details of the SJ financing plan to construct the nearly $500 million stadium and who knows how much for infrastructure? Again, I sincerely apologize if this has been posted already and I didn’t see it. I do not read every article on this site nor the AN site so I could have easily missed it.
@Columbo – Here’s what we know about the financing plans for the sites and the ballpark.
Either city (Oakland or San Jose) will pay for land acquisition costs and infrastructure. The second item’s cost is well known in SJ, it is completely unknown in Oakland until an EIR is certified and mitigation measures have a specific price tag.
San Jose’s infrastructures have been reduced over time. Oakland may be able to do the same but we really don’t know at this point.
Wolff has gone on record saying he has the financing lined up in SJ. While I haven’t seen exactly what he means by this, I think I know how he’s going to do it and have written about it here. I was also the first person anywhere to identify the financing mechanism for both Fremont (Pacific Commons) and Oakland in 2005 (Coliseum North).
Let’s Go Oakland’s Doug Boxer admitted two weeks ago that the owner (Wolff or someone else) would have to finance the construction of a Victory Court ballpark.
We here at the blog would be happy to see a ballpark at Victory Court, but remain skeptical of how it would be financed.
Andy Dolich said he doesn’t know how Victory Court would be financed, which is a big deal because he knows the Bay Area like a book and has built a venue in the past (FedEx Forum in Memphis).
Look, there are some rather vociferous pro-SJ commenters here. There are many more here who really don’t care where it’s built as long as it’s in the Bay Area, we’ll always be fans regardless. There are some who are pro-Oakland and others who are Oakland-only. That kind of diverse opinion is always welcome here, even though it seems like the pro-SJ crowd drowns out the others.
Cisco Field will be privately financed pretty much the same way AT&T Park was privately financed: private loan (ala the Giants $170 million loan through Chase), sale of charter seats (psl’s), naming rights through Cisco, other Silicon Valley corporate sponsorships, private equity (Wolff’s words, not mine), TV/Radio revenue, etc. Did I miss anything? Probably. By the way, welcome to the blog.
@ML – Thanks for the reply. Is there a link to Boxer’s comments that you could provide? I have heard nothing of this and this would be quite a disappointment if true. Would this not suggest little to no sponsorships, naming rights, etc., i.e. there is nothing in the pipeline ready to go? BTW for what it’s worth, I’m not opposed to an SJ site at all. I like SJ quite a bit actually. A couple of my buddies played ball for SJSU back in the early 90’s. One even got to A-ball for the Lake Elsinore Padres back in the day as a pitcher but eventually fizzled out at the tender age of 25. I used to go down there and watch them when they’d play the SJ Giants. We’d party in downtown afterward and it was a lot of fun. I don’t think I ever paid for a beer during these times!!!! I have nothing against SJ at all so let me make that clear. I even tried to convince the wife to move down there a few years ago but she didn’t want to. I’m from the east bay and she’s a peninsula girl forever. I don’t want to start a whole new issue here but, I am not opposed to a move IF it’s the only real solution, I just don’t like the way things have developed over the past decade. I’m not going to make accusations but I will quote something from a movie and you can take from it what you will. In the movie All The President’s Men, Robert Redford says to Dustin Hoffman, “I don’t mind WHAT you did. I mind HOW you did it.”
Here’s the transcription from Boxer’s interview on Townsend’s show:
“Vertical” in Boxer’s quote means ballpark construction.
@ML – Thank you.
So there you have it: A’s ownership is expected to shell out $500 mill for a ballpark in a place where attendance has historically been bad and corporate support is lacking. What if the owners lose piles and piles of money on such a venture? Not Oakland’s problem.
You’re alright Brah! So I guess it was true all along: MLB gave San Jose, Oakland (and perhaps Fremont) marching orders two years ago to get land acquisitions and infrastructure improvements in place for the A’s to build a privately financed ballpark (under the veil of “MLB Blue Ribbon Committee study”). Whoever got there/crossed the finished line first would be the “winner” in the A’s ballpark sweepstake. The “results of the study” haven’t been announced yet (going on 800 days by ML’s counter) because said cities haven’t completed anything…yet. I’ll just leave it at that.
“Also, I find many contradictory statements, such as yours above. You say MLB economics has changed such that it is now corporate-driven yet the past attendance keeps being brought up as justification for a move. Why even bring up past attendance if that is no longer the key driver?”
The statements are not contradictory. Decent attendance is obviously desirable. However, it is not, by itself, in 2011, sufficient to fund a privately-financed ballpark. Corporate-driven premium seat money is the difference between breaking even or not in this scenario. This is what paid for the construction of AT&T Park.
Take a look at the AT&T Park seating map and the prices the Giants charge for premium-seating. I would make a rough guesstimate it’s about 50% of their entire gate revenue. One suite at $5K per game sold on a seven year commitment makes up for an awful lot of unsold upper deck seats. It’s not hard to see why, if you build in a location where the target market for those suites does not exist, you’re at significant risk of losing money.
I’ve always thought the attendance argument is kind of a sideshow argument. The historically poor attendance in Oakland is cause for concern, sure. But it’s the lack of corporate base which is why Mr. Wolff doesn’t want to build there, that’s the deal-breaker.
“Also, why do many (not all) SJ supporters bring up the term “Oakland” when mentioning spendable income yet somehow SJ includes all of the outlying cities stretching into both SM and Alameda counties? What happened to the richer suburbs of the east bay in that calculation?”
Actually, if you were a long time reader of this blog, you’d see plenty of that kind of sophistry going the other way. There is a certain Oakland-only poster who is constantly making ridiculous San Francisco/Napa/Sonoma/Alameda/Contra Costa vs. Santa-Clara-County-all-by-itself comparisons, ignoring issues like bridges, travel times etc.
As far as “richer suburbs” go, every area has its “richer suburbs,” including maligned cities like Cleveland or Detroit. But rich guys really aren’t the biggest part of the market for suites, etc. Big corporations are.
“Case in point. Not long ago I heard a laughable comment by a clearly SJ supporter. He went on and on about how Fremont corporations are part of “Silicon Valley” even though it’s located in Alameda County. Fine, I have little problem with that. However, when the subject of Chevron came into play, this poster’s reply was dismissive due to it not being near the fanbase. I grew up in the east bay and San Ramon is just a 10 minute drive through Crow Canyon Road from Castro Valley.”
Here’s the thing: The overwhelming majority of target premium seat customers (big corporations, law firms, accounting firms, VCs) are located in SF or the Peninsula/South Ba. A large portion of the East Bay corporate base is located in the Tri-Valley Area – which, considering traffic patterns, is about equally convenient to San Jose and Oakland. (I ought to know, as I am currently commuting to Pleasanton every day on a work project in the heart of rush hour). By building in Oakland, you would be making yourself inconvenient to the vast majority of the group of customers who are going to make or break your financing plan. And for most of the corporate base for which Oakland is convenient, San Jose is about equally convenient. It’s just not a logical thing to do.