Sorry Harold Camping, armageddon is actually in 2014

I’m amused reading Ray Ratto’s Twitter feed this morning. He’s fielding questions about the A’s stadium situation, perhaps in response to Chronicle Sports Editor Al Saracevic’s column on the front page of the Sporting Green today (paper/iPad app only until Tuesday). Ratto’s staying consistent in his belief that the Wolff/Fisher group doesn’t have the money to build in San Jose, making it the only reason the move hasn’t happened. As far as I can tell he’s the only media guy who has this particular opinion, though that shouldn’t discount it. It’s simply one of many takes on the subject.

Saracevic laments the possible loss of all three teams currently playing at the Coliseum. The A’s would leave for San Jose or Las Vegas (we’ve gone over that). The Raiders would be lured south to Los Angeles again, whereas the Warriors would head back over the bridge to San Francisco. The 49ers deal in Santa Clara will fall apart, forcing the team to work with SF again. The column is mostly prognostication without much depth, so like any opinion (including mine), take it with a grain of salt.

Howard Bryant mistakenly claimed that the A’s lease runs out after the 2012. In actuality, they could leave after the 2012 if they had a place to play. Since they won’t, they’ll be playing at the Coliseum through their last extension year, 2013. The Raiders’ lease also ends following the 2013 season. What happens in 2014? Jeffrey, Doug Boxer, and I puzzled over that question a few weeks ago. It’s been brought up in the comments with greater frequency recently.

With multiple tenants comes moving parts for stadium deals. When the Raiders sat down with the Coliseum Authority and hammered out their new stadium plan, the assumption was that the A’s would leave after the 2013 season for either downtown Oakland or San Jose. We’re now at the point were no permanent new home could be opened until 2015 at the earliest in either city due to the political process.

Oakland has 50% power in the Coliseum Authority relationship, and other than rejecting Lew Wolff’s most recent request for a lease extension, the city tends to rubber-stamp whatever the Authority does. By supporting what will probably be a $1 billion stadium at the Coliseum complex (plus carried over debt from the old Coliseum), nearly half a billion for Victory Court, and silently pushing for a new Oakland-friendly owner to take over should Wolff/Fisher give up the San Jose project completely due to frustration, they’re trying to have their cake and eat it too. Honestly, who could blame them? No private interests have ever invested a combined $2 billion in Oakland in this manner.

The harsh reality is Oakland will be fortunate to get $500 million in these economic times. (So would San Jose.) Both the A’s and Raiders projects will require varying amounts of redevelopment money, which as I’ve written several times, is near extinction. These projects have become much riskier and harder to pull off than ever before. It might be best if Oakland were to focus on one project it can really do well, instead of two in which having fewer resources available for both makes it more likely to half-ass both. The Raiders have a leg up in that the Coliseum Authority has its own ability to raise bonds, and with a few changes to the city charter could be given redevelopment powers over the complex. That isn’t possible at Victory Court, since Oakland is carrying the burden alone. Eventually, Oakland and the Authority are gonna have to make a decision about who to extend, whether for one year or several. Given their track record, it looks more likely that someone or something will make the decision for them.

As for the A’s, 2014 is a particularly dicey situation. Other than AT&T Park, there is no MLB-ready facility in the Bay Area if the Coli were taken away (natch). I went to a San Jose Giants game last week and tried to envision it with 10,000 extra seats so that it could host some MLB games. It didn’t work. I suppose Wolff could build a temporary facility alongside the Quakes stadium at Airport West and move some of the materials over when the time comes, but it seems like a logistical nightmare. If Bud Selig can’t convince the Coliseum Authority to re-up with the A’s for one year, we may see the A’s in some kind of yearlong barnstorming tour, a la the 2004 Expos.

116 thoughts on “Sorry Harold Camping, armageddon is actually in 2014

  1. ..the geniuses at MLB could have avoided this by approving the A’s to San Jose 2 years ago but a combination of a terrified commissioner and, probably, owners too concerned about their own selfish interests( “If I vote to change that territory. somebody might put another team in my backyard! AHHH!”) bring us where we are: No ballpark deal and no place to play at all if the Coliseum decides to kick the A’s out and the Giants don’t want a subtenant for a season. What a way to run a “business.”

  2. BTW, don’t put much stock in what Ratto says. He has no idea if Wolff doesn’t have the money for a San Jose ballpark but says it anyway…

  3. It’s impossible for me to believe that, when push comes to shove, the Coliseum Authority won’t extend the A’s lease. Leverage a higher lease payment, sure, but Oakland really isn’t in a position to pass on free millions of dollars out of spite. If they actually did, Oakland residents should head to City Hall with their torches and pitchforks.

  4. How about Stanford Stadium (since the T-rights would have been lifted if the A’s were building in San Jose) or Memorial Stadium as a temporary site?

  5. couldn’t the a’s play temperaily in STK or even up in SAC if somehow this worst case scenario happens where they can’t play at the coliseum if a new park in sj is being built.

  6. OK, I just have to say it: We have a sweep!

  7. …the best solution would be for the A’s to play at ATT Park for a season or two but the Giants have shown no indication of cooperating with anything that would help the A’s. In the mid-1970s while Yankee Stadium was being renovated, the Mets and Yankees shared Shea for a season or two. And the Jets and Giants were playing there at the time, too. Yikes!!

  8. I remember back in 1984 when then owner of the Giants Bob Lurie was so unhappy with the Stick that he wanted to play at the Coliseum. He thougt he had a deal with then A’s Prez Roy Eisenhardt, but there was some misunderstanding and it was quickly rebuffed by the Coliseum Authority and the A’s. These teams really don’t want to help each other out.

  9. It’s time for the A’s to leave the Bay Area. MLB has their collective heads up their asses, the Giants are recalcitrant, Oakland is pathetic, and San Jose, the entity that actually might be able to do something to get this thing off square one, does nothing. Selig and MLB are cowards and will do nothing unless forced to do so, which kind of puts the ball into San Jose’s court. San Jose, you want a team? Time for an antitrust suit. Time to test that phony exemption MLB’s enjoyed since the 20s. Today’s Supreme Court might view restraint of trade a whole lot differently than its predecessor. Football doesn’t get an exemption, nor do basketball and hockey. It’s a new century and it’s time to go after this stuff. That exemption for MLB is an embarrassment for the Supreme Court and it’s time for it to go.

    Time for the A’s to look at Charlotte, NC. Charlotte has a pretty nice Triple A stadium—actually just over the border in Rock Hill, South Carolina—with a field built to major league dimensions. Built in 1990, the stadium’s current seating capacity is 10K, but it could be expanded to hold 25-30K by 2013. Charlotte’s population is 730K, with the metro area being 1.7M. Combined statistical area population is 2.4M. I’ll guarantee you, Charlotte won’t treat the A’s the way they’re being treated in Oakland. I love how the Oakland lovers talk about how the A’s are mistreating that poor city. Well, that poor city ran right over the A’s in their haste to give a civic blowjob to the Raiders. They emphatically let the A’s know where they stood in the Oakland sports pecking order, to the tune of $100M for that abortion we call Mount Davis. The next blowjob went to the Warriors. Poor A’s. They haven’t gotten any BJs from Oakland. Maybe that explains why they’re real anxious to spend $500M in a city with a declining population and a ruined school district, whose major distinction in the past several years has been vying for that coveted “murder capital of the US” crown.

    Oakland guys, find someone with $500M who’s willing to build a stadium in your city. Alternatively, talk your city fathers and mothers into coming up with the $$. Of course, you know no private citizen in his right mind would ever make such a commitment to Oakland, nor does the city have any money at all. So you Oakland are just flannel mouthing. And, inexplicably, you’re bad mouthing San Jose—which has actually said they can accommodate the A’s—as well as the A’s ownership—which has actually offered to spend a ton of money to build a new ballpark in San Jose—because, I guess…well, I really don’t know why. I mean, it’s not as if this scenario sees the A’s moving out of the state. Shit, we’re talking less than an hour’s drive—right down a freeway. NY Giants and Jets fans go to another state. But, not you. Noooo. You won’t do that. It’s Oakland or nothing. Man, native Californian that I am, I never realized what a garden spot Oakland is. Y’all need to educate me and a whole lot of other folks on the wonders of Oakland.

    So, I’m betting Charlotte. You don’t like Charlotte? How about San Antonio? Given current the current trajectory, it’s going to happen. One fine day, you guys are going to wake up and find the A’s gone.

  10. …San Jose leaders are keeping the lawsuit option on the table, based on what I was told several months ago. It might happen but not yet…

  11. re: Well, that poor city ran right over the A’s in their haste to give a civic **** to the Raiders. They emphatically let the A’s know where they stood in the Oakland sports pecking order, to the tune of $100M for that abortion we call Mount Davis…

    …couldn’t agree more. It’s head-scratching to hear all the “we’re innocent victims of the rich meanie A’s owners” coming from the Oakland-only crow…

  12. Old Blue: I’ve been trying to convince the Oakland-only folks that knocking San Jose out of contention doesn’t leave Oakland standing alone in the battle for the A’s. It just opens up the field for a whole list of new contenders (places like San Antonio, Las Vegas, Portland and – now that you mention it – Charlotte). Any of them willing to spend public funds (Oakland isn’t) for ballpark construction automatically leaps ahead of Oakland in the running.

  13. Stupid quesion: Oakland wants the A’s to stay, but doesn’t renew the Coliseum lease losing out on the A’s and additional revenue. Why is this again?

  14. @ML-You seem to ignore 980 Park as the home for the A’s. Located on free land over the 980 freeway between 14th and 18th. This ballpark would cost the city $15M to relocate two freeway ramps–hence that this the land cost. Compare that with $50-100M for either Victory Court or San Jose–maybe as much as $200M with infrastructure upgrades. With land rent paying for the $15-20M site improvement cost, 980 Park could be paid for with a revenue bond. It does not need redevelopment, eminent domain or costly infrastructure upgrades like parking and access roads.
    –You keep ignoring this site. The only reason is that it does not have political support, which means Wolff or other monied interests don’t like it. All the surrounding neighborhood groups have endorsed the concept, but they don’t have any money. Keep tuned to who will support it.

  15. I have looked, albeit haphazardly, for explanations as to where the $500M would come from regardless of whether in OAK or SJO. Revenue bonds? Cash?

    And re SJ Muni: if Raley Field can’t be expanded without buttressing/replacing the foundation, I can’t imagine Muni could ever be turned into anything, at least without totally knocking it down to start over.

  16. @Bryan Grunwald – Political support is what matters most. If you don’t have it you’re tilting at windmills. Another thing – we don’t really have a good estimate as to the cost of the air rights. You’ve said they might be $30 million and maybe you’re right. Then again, maybe not. I’d like to get Caltrans’ figure before I appraise 980 Park.

  17. Old Blue is dead on….San Jose needs to file an anti-trust soon next year. Regardless of what happens with the A’s unless San Jose challenges MLB and the Giants they may never get a team period.

    Turns out Vincent Piazza sued MLB in 1992 in a Anti-trust case when his group was denied purchasing the Giants and relocating them to Tampa Bay.

    MLB moved to have the case dismissed citing their anti-trust exemption but the Florida Supreme court ruled the Anti-Trust exemption only applied to the reserve system and not the entire sport of baseball. This paved the way for Piazza and his group to sue MLB directly and have them hand over evidence of the Giants sale.

    MLB instead of fighting this or appealing to the US Supreme Court and perhaps face “certain doom” cut a deal with Piazza. They paid him 20M to shut up and privately promised an expansion team in 3 years. In 1995 they were granted the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

    It has been proven MLB will do anything to protect their AE, even pay off someone and do deals under the table as in the case with Piazza.

    If San Jose took a similar step of an Anti-Trust lawsuit the likelihood of Bud Selig cutting a deal would increase dramatically in a far shorter period of time.

    Selig feels he can do anything but as you saw with Piazza he put his head between his legs and cut a deal when the pressure was on.

    This is clear evidence that a lawsuit would have the desired affect of getting the A’s to San Jose.

    Otherwise at this point why would Selig do anything as evidenced in the past 2.5 years??

    “Absolute power corrupts Absolutely”

  18. Old Blue=a big time Oakland hater with a filthy mouth. Not the type of guy I’d hang out with or will reply to on here.

  19. re: Old Blue=a big time Oakland hater

    Rule #1: When facts are not on your side in a logical argument, call your opponent names.

  20. Charlotte, San Antonio, and Portland are not realistic options for the A’s. First, no city hoping to acquire a team will even be given the time of day by MLB without an active effort and commitment by the local government to build a stadium. Past ballpark efforts in those cities have died, and there’s no political prospect of reviving them.
    Second, any of these places would be small and marginal baseball markets at best. Vegas would be even weaker. 81 home games in 40,000 seat ballparks means that baseball requires a larger population base to sustain than other sports. All things being equal, the A’s are better off with a share of the Bay Area market than having sole control of a place like San Antonio. And remember that if territorial rights were no issue, the next expansion/relocation sites would be New York/New Jersey and L.A./Riverside, not a market the size of Portland or Charlotte.
    And if all of that isn’t enough to rule out these small markets from stealing away the A’s, consider that broadcast rights to Charlotte belong to the Braves, San Antonio to the Rangers and Astros jointly, and Portland to the Mariners. Until 2005, broadcast rights were considered fairly trivial, since MLB rules allow them to be changed by the Executive Committee without even going to an ownership vote. But after Peter Angelos extracted compensation for loss of broadcast rights (only) in Washington, a precedent was set that will add to the cost of almost all future relocations.

  21. …San Antonio ( a bigger city than San Jose) already went after the Marlins. When the Fremont project was faltering, Selig told Wolff to start looking at other cities. Don’t believe for a second there are no other cities for the A’s to go. Once the A’s are officially in play, look for the list of cities to only get longer. If the option are: keep playing in an empty football stadium forever, move the team, or contract the team, I’m betting the first of these options could be the least desirable….Oakland ought to be recruiting somebody rich willing to buy the team and donate a $500 mill stadium. Good luck with that.

  22. @pjk – I would agree with you on that rule… in other circumstances. Old Blue is clearly being hostile toward Oakland and I’d hope that you’d agree. “Oakland is pathetic.” Sarcasm about Oakland being a “garden spot” and how we should educate him and a “whole lot of others on the wonders of Oakland.” I’m not going to say there haven’t been derogatory comments made toward San Jose by us Oakland guys because I haven’t been on here long enough to know. I can only speak from my personal experience and I haven’t read one thing where someone called San Jose names like “crap” or “pathetic” or sarcastically questioned anything good about the city. I have very thick skin from being in financial sales for too long but his comments are offensive, unwarranted, and out-of-line for a “logical” argument as you put it.

  23. …I think Old Blue’s point was the ridiculousness of Oakland-only folks’ utter refusal to drive 30 whole miles to see the team, if that’s what necessary to keep the team in the Bay Area.

  24. @sid As we’ve discussed before, you’re putting WAY too much weight on that Piazza decision. First, defeating a motion to dismiss is very easy to do because you don’t actually have to prove any facts at that stage. Second, even at the time it was issued, it was not binding precedent on any other court. Third, and most importantly, since Piazza Congress has effectively codified the antitrust exemption. The legal rules are completely different than when Piazza was decided. Although the AE was originally a creation of the Supreme Court, it is now a creature of statute and would almost certainly require an act of Congress to change. The Supremes can’t do it on their own.
    It’s remotely possible San Jose could file a lawsuit anyway. But make no mistake, if they do it is a desperation Hail Mary solely for the purpose of bringing negative publicity into play. This may have worked in the case of Piazza, but I don’t expect the same outcome as Piazza because this time MLB will not be at risk of actually having the AE overturned through the courts.
    A better, more effective move would be for San Jose to get its congressional delegation to start talking about repealing the AE, or better yet actually introducing a bill in Congress. Now THAT might actually get MLB’s attention. Write your Congressperson.

  25. “…San Antonio ( a bigger city than San Jose) already went after the Marlins. ”
    The size of a CITY is barely even a factor in deciding where to locate a sports team. What matters is the size of the MARKET. San Antonio would be a very small market, regardless of how many people in that market happen to live within the SA city limits.
    More importantly, SA’s effort to get the Marlins never got off the ground. They didn’t have a credible stadium plan, and the Astros objected to allowing a team to move there without compensation for the broadcast rights.
    San Antonio was so obviously unworkable that the Marlins actually killed the talks and admitted that publicly before their Miami stadium deal was done.

  26. simon94072: So if relocation is not possible and a new ballpark in Oakland is not possible (without some massively charitable person donating a new ballpark), what is your solution?… Just read a news article from 2005 about Marlins-to-San Antonio and it notes Selig gave the Marlins permission to look at new cities. Why give permission to look at new sites if, as you say, there aren’t any?

  27. Although I would love the idea of the A’s moving to Charlotte (live in NC)……it just would not happen. I’m not sure about the other cities (Portland/San Antonio/Las Vegas), but there is no way in hell that an MLB team will move to Charlotte. The total Metro-area population of the Charlotte area is 1.7M which includes the Charlotte city population, so it’s not 2.5M. The stadium Blue speaks of on the NC/SC border stinks and the City and AAA team (Knights) are actively pursuing land downtown to build a new AAA stadium. Good, bad or indifferent, the stadium suffers from the ‘lack of amenities’ stigma that all pre-1992 stadium suffer from AND it’s in the middle of nowhere. However, they’ve been working on that problem for the last 3-5 years with little success, in an effort to build a new stadium in downtown Charlotte close to the Bobcats and Panthers facilities. Will they get the stadium built?……yes, but they had lawsuit after lawsuit over the sites. Of course, the guy bringing up the lawsuits is doing so in hopes of landing a MLB team, but I just don’t see it. Charlotte would be THE smallest market in MLB. At least Portland stands a chance at 2.2-2.5M.

    Like many other cities, stadiums/arenas construction is a sore subject in Charlotte. The voters voted AGAINST a new arena for an NBA team, but the city leaders built it anyway. The city has also suffered a great deal from the recession since the majority of the city’s economy is banking/financial. More info than what you guys want to hear, but just figured I would share.

  28. The reason San Antonio (or anywhere else) may be alluring is a public financing plan coupled with the Astros (Insert Mariners for Portland, etc) getting the rights to show A’s games on their own RSN (which is what happened in Baltimore) may be less costly than a privately financed stadium and paying off the Giants for territorial rights. The devil is in the details, of course.

  29. @pjk – “Why give permission to look at new sites if, as you say, there aren’t any?”
    Leverage. That’s all the Marlins-to-San Antonio charade was about, and it was barely concealed. To get a new stadium in an existing city, MLB almost always has to create the impression that the team could, if worse comes to worst, move elsewhere.
    @Jeffrey – agreed. Relocation is still possible, but the broadcast territory compensation issue just adds to the potential cost. In Washington, that hurdle was overcome because on top of the effects on revenue-sharing, the Expos/Nationals were owned by the other 29 team owners who stood to realize a $250 million profit on the sale of the club after it moved to Washington. In other situations, the incentives for MLB to get the deal done will be different. But for markets like San Antonio, Charlotte, Portland, it all starts with a publicly financed stadium, and there’s no sign of that right now in any of those places.


  30. Think that those that dismiss the viability of markets outside the bay area only need to look at the NBA moving to OKC-

  31. @pjk – “So if relocation is not possible and a new ballpark in Oakland is not possible (without some massively charitable person donating a new ballpark), what is your solution?” I don’t have one — this is an unusual situation, and I don’t think even Bud Selig knows yet how it will play out. As you say, the status quo is clearly unacceptable. There is no realistic relocation option outside the Bay Area in the near future. Without public financing, San Jose’s offer is not even close to what MLB is used to accepting, and it requires sorting out the messy T-rights issue. And Oakland has no stadium plan on the table, only a vague commitment to explore one at Victory Court.
    In both the Expos/Nationals and Marlins situations, MLB was willing to live with the unacceptable status quo for many years longer than anybody following those situations ever thought possible — and in both cases MLB eventually found a local government willing to build a ballpark and give it to the team as a windfall. Maybe that is Selig’s thinking here, although it is hard to imagine a publicly financed stadium in California in the foreseeable future. Or maybe there is no plan at all, and Selig’s just trying to let the problem solve itself somehow.

  32. OT: McCourt’s Fox deal has been rejected… Divorce settlement off, in 2 weeks, MLB will be selling that team…

  33. “Think that those that dismiss the viability of markets outside the bay area only need to look at the NBA moving to OKC-”
    @GoA’s – The NBA and NHL only need to fill arenas 40 times a year, and those arenas are much smaller than baseball parks. The upshot is that NBA teams can be placed in markets that are way too small to be considered for baseball or football — Salt Lake, Oklahoma City, etc. And that means they have lots of relocation options. But now that Washington has a baseball team, there is no longer any major market in the U.S. without one. Oklahoma wouldn’t even get the time of day from MLB, and places like Vegas, San Antonio, Charlotte, Portland, Sacramento, New Orleans, Buffalo, etc. would be weak and marginal MLB markets.

  34. @Simon- the bay area is the smallest of all 2 team markets- some like the giants question if it is in fact a two team market- eliminating a bay area team will greatly strengthen the giants and perhaps make what is a marginal MLB city today more viable from an overall health of baseball perspective- also need to look attitude trends for these metro areas- us population is growing after all-

  35. @ML–The air rights over 980 are free, they actually belong to Oakland. My conversations with CalTrans and Federal Highway Administration staff confirm this.
    –What is needed is for the city of Oakland to line up a buyer, and condemn the team. That will get the ball rolling.

  36. Condemn the team? Wow! @GoA’s, the Bay Area is only slightly smaller than Baltimore-Washington,
    and MLB recently made that market two-team. Also to consider that with nearly 8 million the Bay Area will continue to grow; maybe 10 million by 2020?
    Point is that the Bay Area is by far the best market for the A’s now and in the future.
    Finally, despite what some think here, let’s all be thankful rhe Bay Area and MLB universes don’t revolve around the Giants.
    The A’s have as much right to the Bay as that team they just swepped.

  37. @Tony- don’t disagree with you but bs seems to be having a problem sharing the bay area territory- so the question may be is a ballpark in Oakland, albeit one that has no financing plan in place,better than pursuing other markets outside of the bay area?

  38. @GoA’s – the view that the Bay Area is too small for two teams was the prevailing one back in the 70s and into the 1980s, but it is out of date today. Northern California is a huge and wealthy market. If MLB were distributing the 30 franchises from scratch today, they still might not put two teams in the Bay Area (there would probably only be 26 or 28 teams, and NY and LA would each have 3). But two teams splitting the Bay Area is better than putting a team in San Antonio or Portland, unless those places decide to heavily subsidize a team with public funds.

  39. If I am as diabolical as Bud, I am intrigued at the idea of moving the A’s out of the Bay Area. Perhaps I get lucky and a small market like Charlotte turns into the next OKC. If not, it’s probably a lateral move anyway. The real benefit will be the making of the Giants into an MLB superpower. I could market the crap out of a SF-LA megamarket rivalry and make them into a national league, west coast version of Yankees-Red Sox. The Giants have a young team and a strong fanbase and are poised to turn into that franchise I envision. As for the Dodgers, although things appear bleak, the team is historically among the top five in revenues every year. As a bonus, I could even hand pick who I wanted to take over the Dodgers to ensure the team is led in the direction I want them to go.

  40. “The real benefit will be the making of the Giants into an MLB superpower.” GJ10, respectfully…HUHH?! Again, the MLB universe does not revolve around one team; it’s about the financial success of ALL the teams. Look, if MLB wanted a region such as the Bay Area to be a one-team market, they would have never relocated the Expos from Canada to DC. Besides, the Giants are doing very well even with the A’s existing in the Bay Area. And guess what else; with the A’s in a new yard in either San Jose or Oakland, the Giants will continue to do well (as long as they field competitive teams). Again, this isn’t about the Giants, it’s about ALL of MLB (A’s included).

  41. @go john- exactly- the net benefit is greater than individual sums- neukom seems to have huge influence over bud and you can bet he is actively promoting this option-

  42. @gojohn10. That doesn’t make any sense. Making a powerhouse team is ultimately about getting people to buy tickets and pack stadiums. When it comes down to it, the Giants already have more demand for their product on most days than they can sell. This is also true in LA/Riverside and NYC, where a 3rd team does make sense. The owners of those five teams obviously want the most demand as possible, but from the standpoint of increasing overall MLB attendance, the A’s are an undercapitalized team. In other words, it makes no sense to promote an SF-LA rivalry when both teams are among the best attended already.

  43. @TonyD–you’re right, DC/Balty is a little bigger than the Bay Area:8.2 mill to 7.4 million. I didn’t realize that, but they keep saying we’re the smallest two team market and that confirms it.
    Combined attendance in the two team markets as of 6/19:
    Note: All teams are down from last year except SF and Oak.

  44. Condemn the A’s? Seriously? There’s no legal basis for that. Oakland already tried that with the Raiders back in ’83, and got their butts handed to them in court.
    I don’t see this situation getting resolved through litigation. To be clear, the cities of San Francisco and Oakland have no legitimate legal claims. The city of San Jose might, but for the codification of the antitrust exemption. The Giants might, but for MLB bylaws preventing them from suing.
    The only legal strategy I see that might (emphasize MIGHT) work, and it would be extremely risky (and is therefore highly unlikely), would be for the A’s to just say “screw it” and move to San Jose without MLB’s blessing. Lew Wolff would instantly become the Al Davis/Clay Bennett of MLB, and the A’s would clearly be in breach of contract. However, this does not necessarily mean MLB would be able to get an injunction to prevent this. They would still have the hurdle of establishing that MLB and the Giants could not be made whole by payment of money damages, and this they might not be able to do.

  45. @bartleby, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense for the A’s to try to move without permission to San Jose unless a ballpark had already been built there. And neither Lew Wolff nor anyone else is going to spend the hundreds of millions necessary to build a ballpark unless it’s absolutely clear that a team will be allowed to move into it.

  46. DC and Baltimore are really two separate media markets, with VERY different fan bases, demographics local economies and cultures. Orioles/Ravens fans are a tiny minority in DC and Northern Virginia. A somewhat larger minority in DC’s Maryland suburbs. Nationals/Redskins fans basically do not exist at all in the Greater Baltimore area.
    The interesting thing is that in order to make Peter Angelos happy, far beyond anything he was legally entitled to, MLB chose to treat Baltimore and DC as if it were a single, 2-team market. Bud and MLB’s Bob DuPuy brokered the deal for MASN, the Orioles-owned RSN which holds perpetual rights to all Nationals’ broadcasts (in exchange for a large annual fee), and the right to broadcast both Nationals and Orioles games throughout the Greater Washington area.
    So that suggests that Bud sees some synergies that are available in 2 team markets that might not be available to a team with exclusive control of a smaller market.

  47. @bartleby–I can’t see the A’s just moving to SJ without MLB’s approval. Wolff lucked out to even buying the team, thanks to his frat bro Bud. He wouldn’t do anything as risky as that. I do think the friendship is quite strained at this point.

  48. @ PJK: this situation could have been avoided had Uncle Lew actually tried to get a stadium done in Oakland, instead of doing everything but (and wasting time making it look like he was). It’s pathetic to think SJ is the only option. That theory was started by Lew, simply because he said he exhausted all possibilities, when in fact, that is one of the most laughable statements ever made. He could have a stadium in Oakland and he could have had one years ago (admittedly, it’s even easier now). If he stopped wasting time (eg. refusing to talk to the city of Oakland etc) he could get this situated and be done with it. But what he wants is a deal in SJ so he can then sell the team a few years after a park opens there and make a bigger profit. Those fans thinking the A’s will magically raise their payroll or do anything different than what they are doing now, just because they have a stadium in SJ, is absolutely fooling themselves.

  49. @asch- sounds like you know how a ballpark could be built in Oakland- enlighten us all where the 500M comes from?

  50. @asch–LW even said he wouldn’t change much on how they do things if he gets his SJ park, that it’s fun the way BB does his job, wheeling and dealing, on the cheap. You would see a slight bump in payroll. With only 32k capacity they’d have to sell out forever just to be at an average payroll. The G’s said if they fall to 2.5 mill, they’re in deep doo doo. 32kX81 games is 2.592 mill. Ouch!

  51. @jk- Not that I agree with your numbers or your logic, but I’d like to know what you think would be different about Oakland that would allow a higher payroll bump.

  52. @LS–it would be the same for Oakland I’m sure. But a lot on here thinks San Jose is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and the A’s will spend all this money, that things will be so great, etc..

  53. @ simon94022 “it wouldn’t make a lot of sense for the A’s to try to move without permission to San Jose unless a ballpark had already been built there. And neither Lew Wolff nor anyone else is going to spend the hundreds of millions necessary to build a ballpark unless it’s absolutely clear that a team will be allowed to move into it.”
    I didn’t say I thought this was going to happen; on the contrary, I specifically said I thought it was highly unlikely and high-risk. However, people on this board keep bringing up harebrained schemes by which the situation supposedly could get resolved through litigation. So, I thought I’d throw something out there which, from a legal perspective, could actually work.
    The basic premise is that the A’s would be better positioned as a defendant than as a plaintiff. Laypeople sometimes assume that just because a contract says one party is supposed to do something, a court will automatically order them to do it. In fact, the opposite is true: A court will typically only order a party to honor a contract if the other party can show that no amount of money could possibly make them whole.

    For example: You agree to sell me a Van Gogh. It is a unique and priceless work, no amount of money would be equivalent to having it hanging in my living room. A court may well order you to sell me the Van Gogh. But this isn’t the Giants case. Their argument is that an A’s move to San Jose will cost them money. Their damages (if any) can be quantified, and they can certainly be made whole by money.

    Certainly the A’s wouldn’t take this gamble unless San Jose had all its ducks in a row. The Diridon site would need to be complete, the public vote taken, and agreements with the city would need to be in place. Assuming these conditions were satisfied, the ballpark wouldn’t necessarily have to be actually built. Please follow along with me.

    In one possible scenario, the A’s announce their move to San Jose and play a season or two at Spartan Stadium. (Not great for baseball, I know, but not much worse than the Coliseum. It could accommodate the size crowds the A’s current draw. It wouldn’t allow for much premium seat revenue, but the A’s don’t see much at the Coli, either. So not a big revenue hit). Meanwhile, they work on whatever agreements they need to begin construction.

    Presumably, MLB sues. They actually have a winning case, because the A’s would clearly be in breach of contract. But that doesn’t mean MLB can easily get a court order sending the A’s back to Oakland. The presumptive remedy will normally be money damages, with MLB having the burden of proving money is not sufficient to make them whole. Also, since an order for specific performance such as the one MLB would be seeking is an equitable remedy rather than a legal one, the court will consider the equities, which strongly favor the A’s. For example, a court would consider (a) the fact the A’s gave T-rights to Santa Clara County for nothing, (b) the A’s financial struggles, (c) the A’s lack of viable alternatives, (d) the strong public policy against monopolistic behavior such as is being engaged in by the Giants and MLB which – but for the AE – would likely be illegal. All of these factors would be irrelevant to the underlying breach of contract claim, but highly relevant to a request for specific performance (i.e. “go back to Oakland.”) Another relevant factor: If the litigation occurs while the A’s are actually playing in San Jose, and it hasn’t caused catastrophic damage to the Giants’ business, it strongly undermines the MLB case.

    What if MLB doesn’t play ball, and doesn’t sue? I agree the A’s probably won’t sink $500 million into a ballpark unless they know they can play in it. In this case, they probably seek a declaratory judgment limited to the question of whether MLB can get an order of specific performance.

    (If they had the balls to do it, actually going forward with construction would increase the A’s risk but help their legal case. As we saw in the Seattle/Oklahoma City situation, the further things go, the less likely a court is to try to unwind it. A big risk, to be sure, but probably not as big a risk as building a $500 million privately financed ballpark in Oakland.)

    Again, this is not a prediction on my part, I don’t think it will actually happen. I’m just saying, it’s a viable (if high risk) legal strategy, unlike San Jose suing on antitrust grounds, Oakland trying to condemn the team, or San Francisco suing on any theory. One can’t ignore – similar strategies worked for both the LA Raiders and the Oklahoma City Thunder, with little repercussion.

  54. @jk “With only 32k capacity they’d have to sell out forever just to be at an average payroll.”
    Not true. You consistently (and I think willfully) ignore the difference between attendance and revenue. (Small wonder, since it’s very clear Oakland doesn’t have enough corporate base to generate sufficient amounts of the latter).
    Here’s the thing: The upper deck, those extra 7,000 or so seats you’re blathering about? It doesn’t actually make money. That deck is the most expensive part of the park to build, and generates the least revenue. On nights the park is not full, that’s the section where most of the empty seats will be. And it’s mere presence – the abundance of cheap seats available last minute – undermines both season ticket sales and seat pricing. It’s a loss leader. That’s why it isn’t going to be built at Cisco Field. And although it may be counterintuitive to those who don’t get MLB economics, it’s absence makes the park more profitable, not less.

    “The G’s said if they fall to 2.5 mill, they’re in deep doo doo.”
    Um, you really can’t see that the Giants are, um, y’know….lying through their teeth? (I am shocked! Shocked!). As ML recently noted, the Giants previously said at 2.5 million they are just fine. And in a couple years when the ballpark is paid off, they’ll be more than fine at that number, they’ll be wildly profitable. Not that an A’s move to San Jose is going to make their overall attendance fall off.

  55. @bartleby–talking about lying through their teeth, do you believe LW saying that the A’s barely broke even last year? Financial figs from Forbes showed they’ve made profits from $10-15 mill every year Wolff has owned the team.

  56. If Lew wants a ballpark in Oakland, a ballpark can be built in Oakland. Everyone seems to think it’s SJ or bust – that’s just not accurate. First, you need an owner to commit to a place. Then you need a city to support it, funds, land etc. Oakland has the same issues that SJ has. The only difference is that the owner doesn’t want to keep the team in the city that has hosted them for 40 years. That’s just sad.

  57. @asch–agree with your post 100%. I’m still hoping that they sell locally to a group that’s committed to keeping them and building a new yard in Oakland. There will be great interest, even though the pro-SJ folkes on here say there won’t be.

  58. @asch “Oakland has the same issues that SJ has. The only difference is that the owner doesn’t want to keep the team in the city that has hosted them for 40 years.”
    This is simply not true. The deciding difference is, San Jose has access to far greater revenue streams than Oakland does and does not have AT&T Park only eight miles away. This is why a privately-financed ballpark is a flat impossibility in Oakland.
    AT&T Park was considered a big gamble for the Giants at the time they built it. And they had no real competition and all the corporate money for that area on their side of the bridge. Victory Court is simply a stalling tactic.

  59. @jk “There will be great interest”
    And you say this based on what exactly? There is no evidence to support this notion. There is certainly no evidence that a buyer exists who wants to build a privately-financed yard in Oakland. It is a religious belief.

  60. @jk “do you believe LW saying that the A’s barely broke even last year? Financial figs from Forbes showed they’ve made profits from $10-15 mill every year Wolff has owned the team.”
    If they did make a profit it was from revenue sharing, and is therefore irrelevant to this discussion. Charity from your business partners is not a viable business plan, and revenue sharing can be reduced or eliminated in any collective bargaining agreement.

  61. @asch – Judging from the process it is not San Jose or bust. However, there are legitimate questions about how the City of Oakland can make the land and infrastructure deal work, as well as questions about whether or not the revenue streams will come in for a $30 million-per-year mortgage. Just the same, there are legitimate concerns in San Jose over whether or not the price for T-rights will be too high. None of these things can simply be wished away.

  62. The Raiders are not for sale and are not leaving the Bay Area. The Warriors have not revealed any “plan” to leave Oakland. Press conferences in SF, shouldn’t bother anyone. The Warriors belong to the whole Bay Area. They should have some press conference in SJ too!

  63. There are legitimate concerns in SJ about how the entire thing will work too. Frankly, that seems to get swept under the rug a bit more because there is some fairytale about SJ being a cure-all for this organization. It just is not so.

    A new stadium (in oakland or sj) will attract more fans – as every/any new stadium does. However, if this team continues to the be the team that it is, that will wear off (as it does in most new stadium situations that have a bad team). Frankly, being in SJ is not going to help the a’s inability to draft hitters, or their problem with every pitcher getting hurt. And, the cure for bringing in Free agents, is winning. Once this team starts winning, things will fall into place much more in those regards.

    I am curious for someone to show me the proof of how much better the organization will be in SJ over Oakland. Or for that matter, in Portland or China. Everything is conjecture until it happens. The main point is that an organization should be trying to work on staying in their hometown until it’s apparent that it cannot work. THAT has not been done. Allowing teams to be bought, so they can be moved, is absolutely wrong. MLB/Selig blocked pro-oakland ownership in the past and shepherded the sale to Lew/Fisher. It’s wrong and it’s frigging disgusting too. Selig has stated the A’s never did well for themselves in Oakland and moving there was a mistake. Oakland’s legacy in the bay area is MUCH greater than SF’s – it’s just a shame that they haven’t had more supportive ownership in the last 20 years.

  64. re: Financial figs from Forbes showed they’ve made profits from $10-15 mill every year Wolff has owned the team.

    ..Once again, does Forbes base its numbers on viewing the actual books? Nope. It’s all guesswork.

  65. Another Ray Ratto column from today does not bode well for San Jose in his honest opinion. He says because of the Dodgers situation, the A’s are not just on the back burner but behind the stove. The San Jose plan is withering if not completely dead. They need an owner who wants to make his stand in Oakland, whether it be on the present site, Victory Court, or in the Piedmont hills. The franchise needs an owner who frankly is willing to forgo the unicorn of San Jose and get people believing that this team has its own intrinsic value.
    Bash away, call him a hack, ignorant, etc.. Just another interesting read i want to share.

  66. And Ratto gets his paycheck from…. where? Oh, that’s right. Comcast Sports Net Bay Area. Who owns CSNBA? Oh, let’s see here…. 30% SF Giants.

  67. @LS–Only 30%? Not enough to convince me.

  68. thought rr premise yesterday was LW doesn’t have the money to build in San Jose and thats why it hasn’t happened—today seems to be a new premise…more national inquirer style of reporting by rr–stirred by his own imagination rather than any fact based scenarios–hard to believe that this guy has a job–

  69. Ratto produces zero evidence that “The San Jose plan is withering if not completely dead.”

  70. I’d probably say the same thing if the Giants were paying me millions (or hundreds of thousands).

  71. Ray Ratto, Forbes: Pinnacles of reliable information? Uh, no.

  72. Can we rely on Frisco and East Bay writers to give us proper, reliable perspectives on A’s-to-San Jose? No we can’t. They have made up their minds that they will not consider it under any circumstances and are not interested in any facts or reality that might force them to change their cast-in-granite beliefs. They’ve got their story and they’re sticking to it.

  73. Can we rely on national writers to accurately portray the situation with the A’s? No. Rosenthal has written 2 horrible articles that talk about why the A’s “need” to move to SJ because there are no other options. There was NO mention of Victory Court or any of the work that the city of oakland has done. He even used Scott Boras and Lew Wolff as his “sources” for why the A’s need to move. It’s laughable.

    Besides maybe one or 2 writers in the bay area, almost every article vomits pro-SJ verbiage with no mention of how horrible and shady the A’s past two ownership groups and MLB have been with the stadium situation:

    1. MLB/Selig blocked pro-Oakland ownership during the schott / Hoffman years. MLB allowed Schott/Hoffman to put the A’s up for sale, for the sole purpose of triggering beneficial clauses in their coli lease – they had no intention to sell the team at that time and actually admitted this. So even though the prospective group came up with what was needed, they were DENIED for no reason whatsoever. Only possible reasons? Selig was trying to have the team sold to be moved, or MLB/Selig didn’t like that one of the main owners last name ended with a vowel. Either way, disgusting.

    2. The A’s have not sent a member of their organization to any city meetings in like, 15 – 20 years.

    3. Lew Wolff was hired to “research” Oakland options prior to being handed the ownership of the team. He somehow only found ONE “feasible” option – and as we all know, that option was not feasible. When it didn’t work out, that was the end of Oakland. Nice way to show you are trying while actually doing nothing.

    4. The past 2 ownership groups have consistently crapped on their host city and their fans, while threatening to leave every single year. The Lew years have seen horrible marketing turn to no marketing, turn to destructive marketing (tarping the upper decks, changing their “flagship” station every year while using radio stations with signals weaker than that of a community college, etc etc.

    The list goes on and on, including Selig’s quotes in the past about how the A’s move to the bay area hurt the giants, that it was a mistake to allow them to move to Oakland in the first place, and that they have never really done well for themselves. Really? I seem to remember the A’s having a pretty successful 40 years in Oakland overall. But, hey, many people would never know that since ownership group refuses to celebrate any of their terrific history. Did you see that 40th anniversary “celebration”? I have put on better keggers than that. Fan fest? Canceled. Laughable.

    Look, if you want fans to come out, then get a good team on the field and don’t crap on your fans. It’s really not brain surgery. If this team were winning, employing something above what is arguably one of the most boring brands of baseball (to people who aren’t hardcore fans like we are), promoting their product instead of asking players to stay away, and actually being nice to fans, their attendance would increase (as has been shown in the past). When you tell your fans not to come, they won’t. Period. This organization is sabotaging their product to show they “have” to move to SJ. The fact is, they don’t have to move to SJ. They CAN build a new stadium in Oakland, they just have to want to. Fans will not see a damned difference in the baseball operations, payroll, or anything else, between a new stadium in SJ and a new one in Oakland.

    Teams should not be sold to be moved (it’s a very slippery slope) – and that’s what was/is happening here.

  74. re: This organization is sabotaging their product to show they “have” to move to SJ. The fact is, they don’t have to move to SJ. They CAN build a new stadium in Oakland, they just have to want to.

    …You mean they have to be willing to lose big $$$ out of their own pockets by charitably donating a $500 mill ballpark to Oakland. Can’t for the life of me figure out why they don’t want to….

  75. …So far, the Oakland A’s have had four ownerships (Finley, Haas, Schott, Wolff). Three of the four have wanted to leave Oakland and the other bailed (Haas). Is it that these were all just mean meanies who want to take away the team or are there perhaps sound business reasons why nobody seems to want to operate a baseball team in Oakland?

  76. @pjk – how do you root for such a rag-tag team, in a city you feel so … hopeful for? how long have you felt like this about the Oakland A’s??

  77. @jk- you crack me up, 30% ownership isn’t enough to convince you, yet a mere donation by LW to Peralta incriminates him? BTW – The unicorn is actually Oakland…unless you have a plan for funding it?
    @asch – how do you propose Oakland build a new stadium? via public or private means? if private, by whom?
    @David – you didn’t answer my last question directly…would you still support Oakland if it required public funding maybe 4X what was done for the Raiders PSL debacle?

    It’s pretty telling how emotional and irrational the oaktown crowd is, but this argument is getting tiresome after being regurgitated how many times now? It’s simple folks…if they (the a’s) stay in oakland, what is the business plan to 1) acquire land 2) build a stadium and 3) maintain a revenue stream well past the “shiny new stadium” years?

  78. @anon – if I had the training to answer that question – i would apply for a job. I’m a fan. Go A’s!

  79. @anon – where’d you come up with “4X”? it all depends on the bottom-line.

  80. @anon and pjk: How? It starts by having the owner of the friggin team, meet with the city, who has put plans together and a initiated course of action. Without communication from the damned organization, NOTHING will happen. Until our ownership group does due diligence to get a stadium in oakland, talk of SJ is absolutely disgusting. They have spent more time looking at every option but Oakland. And despite Lew crying about it, his failure to do so, his inability to stop from degrading the city and fans, his insistence to drive fans away from his product, the team’s inability to field a quality and entertaining product, etc etc – those are the things keeping fans away. Less so the stadium. More so everything else.

    The comment from any of the myopic Pro-SJ fans in regards to why ownership wouldn’t want to work something out in Oakland – again, franchises should not be sold to be moved. The pro SJ crybabies only point to difficulty of dealing with the city. First, guess what, getting stadium deals done and working with cities are both extremely hard (look what happened in Florida recently with the Marlins). People who bring up Jerry Browne and things that have been done by the city, mistakes, whatever – I get all of that. I do. But it was 15-20 friggin years ago. What about over the last few to several years? Shouldn’t our owner have been actually trying to work something out? Well, he didn’t try.

    You ask how? There are plans in place by the city that been released (of course, nobody outside of Oakland talks about it because of course we all know, SJ is the only option). I suggest you read up on the internets to see why this is so ridiculous.

    Would Wolff and ownership make more money in SJ? Maybe, nobody can say that for sure. Because….will they raise payroll more or do anything different / better than they would over a new stadium in Oakland? Absolutely and utterly doubtful. The fans of this team would not see ONE damned difference between the two cities in regards to the actual and physical team. If you want to argue the league could possibly make more money? Well, that’s just silly – I am sure there are many other areas that would produce more revenue than what some teams make now. Does that mean that the MLB franchise owners should be able to just pick up and move to any city that could potentially make them more money? If you agree, then there is no reason for me to waste my time talk to you about this situation.

    • @asch – In addition to the Coliseum North/High Street option, Wolff has proposed a ballpark at the Malibu/HomeBase site adjacent to the Coliseum. The Coliseum Authority wouldn’t even foot part of the bill for the study so the plan died. Yet last year they agreed to foot ALL of the costs for a new study for the Raiders.

      I don’t know how many times Wolff has met in person with the City. I do know of numerous emails and other correspondence sent from him to both the City and Port of Oakland in order to investigate additional sites. For you to keep trotting out the tired line that Wolff never tried – well, that’s just as disingenuous as Wolff.

      As for plans that have been released, what plans? I don’t see any plans other than an economic impact study and PNC Park overlays on sites. I’m debating over email with Doug Boxer about why Oakland is being so secretive, and why they won’t challenge Wolff directly on his notion that Oakland’s options have been exhausted. I implored him to get renderings of a Victory Court ballpark out so that Oakland fans could have something to rally around. Maybe it’ll happen, maybe not. At this point, both sides deserve blame and BOTH look extremely childish.

  81. asch: Why should Wolff meet with the city that has wrecked the existing stadium, beat back previous efforts to get a new stadium (even fired the city manager for doing so) and has no money whatsoever to help pay for construction of a ballpark? (Hear about the protests this week over Oakland closing most of its public libraries?)
    How can Wolff spend more on the team when free agents and others want nothing to do with playing in an empty football stadium. Beltre refused to come here, for example. I’ve heard of another with a no-trade-to-Oakland clause in his contract.
    So, given the poor corporate and fan support and lack of public funding in Oakland, how do you propose a new ballpark get built in Oakland other than as a charitable contribution by the owners?

  82. David: Facts are stubborn things. Name one other team that has had 3 owners in 4 since the 1970’s who’ve wanted to move the team. You think I like this nonsense? It would be so much easier to root for the Giants – best park in baseball, World Series champ. But I’m sticking with the A’s.

  83. @David – i assume from the lack of a clear answer on a very simple question that you do not support public financing and expect a $500 million + project to be done privately w/o a realistic business plan.
    @aasc – nice rant .. So in other words you expect rhe owners to foot the bill, yet have no control of their own destiny. You also have a dim view of us SJ who already has the EIR, most of the land, and the owners support all without needing people to call them. Tell me again what Oakland has or has done? If it was so difficult to start on a new stadium deal, whyhave the oakland started discussions with the Raiders already? Food for thought…

  84. The A’s have been playing virtually rent free for years – another reason they make so much money. I also heard they get a cut of Raiders concession sales too. Hand over fist.

    Regarding Free Agents: you can stop that silliness – you are buying into the hype. Free Agents don’t want to come to Oakland for many reasons and ONE of those is the stadium. Lets look at a few other reasons in absolutely no particular owners:

    1. Cheap ownership
    2. approach to baseball that many players don’t care about
    3. Have you seen what has been said about how much the team cares about managers here?
    4. Have you seen the managers that the A’s have brought in?
    5. Team stinks and has for a few years now.
    6. Low attendance (see previous post on the biggest reasons why that is happening).

    And so on. And so forth. There are many many reasons.

    @ Marinelayers:
    So Wolff tried? He exhausted all possibilities? He acted in good faith? Do you honestly believe that? Take out your pro-SJ thoughts for a minute and be objective. Can you honestly sit here and say, that after MLB/Selig blocked pro-ownership, handed the franchise to Lew/current ownership, that the organization actually did due diligence in getting a park built in Oakland. Please answer that honestly.

    You have connections with the organization right? Why don’t you see if Lew will release the documents that he always talks about – about how much work he did in getting a stadium in Oakland. He offers to sit down with people and go over it with them? Has anyone done that yet? No. Know why? Because everyone knows he did as little as he could, so that he could then explain there were no options and he could look elsewhere.

    MLB blocked pro-Oakland ownership, brought in a pro-southern cali owner (selig’s friend), they GAVE him the ownership group, and he’s been negotiating behind closed doors (and in front of them) for years. It’s not a disingenuous comment, it’s what has already been shown.

    See the following information, which was posted by someone on a different a’s forum regarding Howard Bryant’s recent ESPN article:

    Although Bryant’s article is long and appears to be thorough, it contains several factual errors. Here’s a portion of my e-mail to him.

    The six-site study done by HOK was not commissioned by Lew Wolff or by the A’s management. It was commissioned and paid for by the City of Oakland in 2001, not 2006. There was no participation by the A’s. In fact, when the results of that study were presented at a public meeting of the Oakland City Council, I was there, along with many A’s fans jamming the council chambers, but no representative of the A’s was in attendance. Jerry Brown, who was then mayor of Oakland, strong-armed the Council into granting exclusive development rights to the Uptown site to Forest City, a huge real estate development firm. Thus, the site favored by the HOK study was made unavailable for a ballpark, even if A’s ownership (Steve Schott and Ken Hofmann at the time) had been interested. Here are a few links from the SF Chronicle: 001/12/14/MN45456.DTL 002/01/30/SP155581.DTL 002/01/31/SP133800.DTL 002/03/14/ED172729.DTL

    There was a half-hearted and unrealistic proposal put forth by Lew Wolff in 2005 that included a stretch of industrial land near the Oakland Coliseum, but that land was owned by over 100 different businesses and would have been extremely difficult to acquire. Wolff knew this, and not surprisingly, the proposal went nowhere. In fact, business owners were quoted in news stories as saying that they were never contacted by the A’s even to inquire if they would be willing to sell their property. Another link: 005/08/13/MNGMHE7IMP1.DTL

    When that sham proposal failed, Wolff next set his sights on Fremont, but neighborhood opposition stopped that plan in its tracks. 006/11/09/BAGJFM8UGA23.DTL 006/11/14/SPG88MCHCC7.DTL 009/02/21/MNAK161PL7.DTL 009/02/25/BAF7164BRL.DTL

  85. @Anon: The city of Oakland wasn’t really asked much to be involved by A’s ownership – so they had to initiate their work on their own. Makes it a little harder to actually try and force a conversation, right?
    @pjk: past ownership…..Schott and Hoffman didn’t even want to buy a baseball team. The Haas family needed buyers and sold at an ENORMOUS discount in exchange for owners promising to keep the org in Oakland. Schott and Hoffman were looking to buy a football team and MLB/Selig convinced them to buy the A’s. They spent their entire ownership time complaining – however, most of that due to the sitiuation with A’s coming back and the stadium being converted. That said, they given even MORE money by the sweetheart lease deal they were given. They wanted the moon and put the team up for sale (after they/mlb blocked PRO OAKLAND ownership) and it was literally given to Wolff who is selig’s old frat brother. We have already established what selig thinks of the a’s.

    Now, if the pro-Oakland ownership wasn’t mysteriously blocked, do you think they would have been talking about moving the team out of Oakland every year of their ownership tenure? Alienating fans?

  86. re: Haas family needed buyers and sold at an ENORMOUS discount in exchange for owners promising to keep the org in Oakland.

    …Thanks for confirming that there are few people interested in operating a baseball team in Oakland…Which pro-Oakland ownership are you talking about? The guy who wants another joint Raiders-A’s stadium? A total and complete non-starter in not just MLB but probably the NFL too)…As far as threatening to move, threats to move the A’s have been going on since the early-1970s. Wonder why?

  87. They needed owners because of Haas dying.

    • @asch – Do you read what I write? If you did you’d know that I assign equal blame to Oakland and Wolff and previous ownerships. Trying to pick nits beyond that or assigning 60/40 is a complete distraction and is counterproductive. It also shows that many are not interested in solutions, only in playing the blame game. I haven’t spoken to Wolff in over two years, that’s how connected I am.

      According to George Vukasin Sr., Haas initiated talks to sell the team before he became ill.

  88. Yes I do read it, and I absolutely agree that both parties are to blame. Both could have done more. However, I very RARELY read anything on these boards with regards to blaming Lew. Mostly, it’s how the city blew it and that’s just not fully accurate. In the last few to several years, Lew and others from the org have shut down and blocked any progress. By sabotaging his own product to make a point, he’s making the team, city and himself look foolish. It’s so sad.

    • @asch – Can we call it a stalemate? The pro-Oakland crowd will never believe that Wolff tried his hardest, while others will think Oakland screwed the A’s over. This constant vilification (and this goes for the pro-SJ crowd too) is pointless.

  89. Mr. Asch,
    Alright already! You’re right and Mr. Wolff, the rest of us are all wrong. There!…You happy? By the way, welcome to the blog.

  90. @TonyD–yeah Tony, you finally came to your senses!! Don’t buy into Wolff’s lies and deceptions, you’re smarter than that.

  91. @jk – still quick to blame everything on ownership, yet never look in the mirror. you still haven’t answered my question why you ignore 30% ownership of CSN by the Giants but lament a paltry donation by Wolf to Perata…
    @aasch – love your passion, however misguided it is…if only for once you cold take off your hatred for anything not oakland related, you’d actually see that many on these boards here, especially the proSJ folks, would love to see a new ballpark in Oakland. Unfortunately, it isn’t feasible nor sustainable without public support. Are you in favor of such subsidizing? Or are you one of the “myopic” types that will kill your allegiance to the A’s if the left Oakland to trek a few miles further south.

  92. @Anon–$25k is not paltry for a city Oakland’s size. It was unprecedented by a local sports team to give to a mayors campaign. The media and the other candidates were rather shocked and it smelled to high heaven.
    I haven’t ignored the 30%. Ratto isn’t saying contract the A’s or move them out of the state like the Giant’s would like.
    And please, don’t say you and the other pro-SJ guys would love to see the A’s get a park in Oakland. If it happens, you’ll criticize it all the way, hoping for problems and it blowing up, and SJ still being in the picture.

  93. @asch “And despite Lew crying about it, his failure to do so, his inability to stop from degrading the city and fans, his insistence to drive fans away from his product, the team’s inability to field a quality and entertaining product, etc etc – those are the things keeping fans away. Less so the stadium. More so everything else.”
    There is no evidence of this whatsover. Attendance has been mediocre relative to team performance during the A’s entire history in Oakland. Fans abandoned Wally Haas’ teams when they stopped winning more rapidly than they have abandoned Mr. Wolff. It may be hard for a die hard fan to understand, but “does my billionaire owner love me enough” doesn’t even rate on most fans lists of factors driving them to go to games. Team performance and venue quality, on the other hand, are right at the top of the list.
    “The comment from any of the myopic Pro-SJ fans in regards to why ownership wouldn’t want to work something out in Oakland – again, franchises should not be sold to be moved. The pro SJ crybabies only point to difficulty of dealing with the city.”
    That’s just ridiculous. What most of us point to first, second, forty-fifth and last is the fact that Oakland lacks the economic fundamentals to support a privately-financed ballpark with AT&T Park right across the bridge. Corporate premium seat money drives MLB economics these days, and Silicon Valley has an order of magnitude more of it than the East Bay. At the end of the day, the ballpark has to be paid for.

  94. @ JK – If there is even some semblance of a bona fide business plan that can be turned to actuality, you’ll here more people in favor of Oakland. However, there is none and it is just delaying the inevitable and making the team stuck in perpetual neutral. I attend games now in Oakland (about 5-6 a year) and would still attend regardless of whether its in SJ, Oakland, or Fremont. Would you?

  95. @Anon – this is a blog. In the real world, real decisions (taxes) are made thoughtfully. I don’t know what the cost of the Raiders deal was. 4 times what? Who pays? Is it a sales tax? Another Parcel tax? Bonds? details, man, details!
    @asch – folks around here are experts at the ‘talking points’.

  96. Yes, it’s a stalemate. However, someone like me needs to come in here and explain what many of you either don’t know or refuse to accept. Such as Selig tabling a pro-Oakland ownership with deep pockets for absolutely no reason.

    I can’t speak for others who are pro-Oakland, but for me, the disgustingness of the collusion that has taken place in order to get something done outside of Oakland (or not get something done – as is the case with blocking pro-Oakland ownership) makes me sick. And I also feel it’s very important for all the facts to be out there. When I see Rosenthal and others writing articles about this situation, completely ill-informed, it makes me want to vomit.

    You can certainly point to hypothetical “better options” in SJ, like I can point to better options in some other city. And still, SJ needs a bit more than just approval from MLB to get this thing done.

    I am happy to agree to disagree – but for some reason, I am finding the anti-Oakland crowd is extremely misguided on the facts of what has progressed here, and utilizes 2 major points about why SJ would be better. I think it’s important for you all to understand the other side of this (and understand the facts that make many of us extremely sick).

    • @asch – Get over yourself. I’ve had to correct two or three of your frequently used pieces of misinformation just in this discussion alone and you refuse to acknowledge it. Selective memories are common on both sides.

      Frankly, none of us know what the Dolich-Piccinini group would have been able to do if they got the reins. They had to bring in new partners twice over a short span because it was felt they were undercapitalized. Their bid was lower than Mandalay’s bid because the team was to be kept in Oakland, yet the team was sold to neither group. If Dolich-Piccinini made its own college try or two and inevitably failed in Oakland because the political climate for a ballpark was so poisonous, would you be so willing to praise them once they turned to Sacramento/Silicon Valley?

  97. Which so-called pro-Oakland ownership are you referring to? Once again, is it the Dolich group, which wants another joint Raiders-A’s stadium? Talk about a dead on arrival project.

  98. @asch “Such as Selig tabling a pro-Oakland ownership with deep pockets for absolutely no reason.
    I can’t speak for others who are pro-Oakland, but for me, the disgustingness of the collusion that has taken place in order to get something done outside of Oakland (or not get something done – as is the case with blocking pro-Oakland ownership) makes me sick.”
    This defies common sense. Your theory is that Selig colluded to find ownership that would move the team outside of Oakland, got his frat buddy Wolff to buy the team, and then….refused to let him move the team outside of Oakland and left him twisting in the wind for two years while he studied an Oakland ballpark. I’m sorry, it’s ridiculous.
    “You can certainly point to hypothetical “better options” in SJ,”
    It’s not hypothetical. Inconvenient facts: Corporate premium seat money drives MLB economics these days. Silicon Valley has one of the biggest concentration of wealthy corporations in the country. Oakland has very little, and what exists nearby is mostly on the wrong side of a very congested bridge in a city which has its own, very successful team. You’ve said nothing that refutes any of this, all you’ve done is blathered about some old history that supposedly shows failure to spend enough time on a market which is clearly not economically viable to begin with constitutes some kind of evil conspiracy.

    “like I can point to better options in some other city.”
    Um, betcha can’t. OK, go!

  99. @bartleby – this purely speculative, but “asch’s” theory has some validity. Maybe Selig thought the T-rights wouldn’t become an issue. Maybe ML can clear this up – but didn’t Schott get the 3/4 of the owners behind a move? If so, maybe the scenario ‘asch’ put out, is plausible?
    Lastly, do you always have to say pro-Oakland A’s fans are “blathering”? Bust out that old Thesaurus and wow us with your vocabulary!

  100. @ML–let me remind you of Piccinini’s extreme wealth increase the last 10 years (since Selig effed him) from his growing grocery empire. He said he’d make that deal of 120 mill any day of the week, that MLB is a great investment. Can he afford $300 mill to buy the A’s now and another 500 mill for a ballpark? I don’t know. I think his name will pop up if LW gives up and sells. Piccinini has a huge passion for baseball, like Cuban does for basketball. Not sure what LW’s passion is. Big real estate deals and making money probably.
    BTW, Piccinini was commited to Oakland and the community, whereas LW isn’t. They would of got something done in the Town. He would of tried much harder than Wolff’s half-ass attempts. (LW, 1998–i wouldn’t spend 5 minutes in any other city besides SJ).

  101. ..There’s nothing stopping Piccinini from bidding on the team right now. If he’s so interested, why doesn’t he? Nothing stopping him from making a public announcement that he wants to buy the team and privately finance a $500 mill baseball-only stadium in Oakland…

  102. running your mouth about wanting to take over someone’s company, is why Larry Ellison isn’t the owner of the Warriors. Maybe, if you asked quietly, the present ownership might work with you and not take a lower deal like Cohan did (out of spite).

    • It’s amazing that this anti-Oakland cabal has been working for over 40 years at destroying Oakland yet nothing substantial has happened. Why? Because it’s a figment of your imagination, that’s why. If Selig really hates Oakland that much, by now he would’ve done the A’s Montreal style and gotten rid of them or moved them like the teams in the 60’s-70’s. He already has the blueprint. What really hurts is that the actual city is immaterial except for whatever brings in $. For Oakland that doesn’t mean being hated. It means being irrelevant.

      Also – Ellison was late with his bid. Lacob-Guber didn’t win because of “spite.”

  103. @David “this purely speculative, but “asch’s” theory has some validity. Maybe Selig thought the T-rights wouldn’t become an issue.”
    Please re-read what you just wrote. Does this sound remotely plausible to you? To call it naive would be an understatement.
    “Maybe ML can clear this up – but didn’t Schott get the 3/4 of the owners behind a move? If so, maybe the scenario ‘asch’ put out, is plausible?”
    I’m pretty sure if 3/4 of the owners had formally endorsed the idea, the A’s would be playing in San Jose right now. Anyway, if the owners are formally behind the idea, it certainly undercuts the theory that Selig conspired to get his friend Lew to San Jose, because that means he is unilaterally holding it up.
    “Lastly, do you always have to say pro-Oakland A’s fans are “blathering”? Bust out that old Thesaurus and wow us with your vocabulary!”
    In the last few days, Asch has given us 50,000 words or so which appear to make the following points:
    1. Attempting to move a team, even within the same market, and even if there is no economically viable alternative, is evil. Expecting to break even on your investment is evil. MLB owners should expect to lose money annually. If they accidentally show any profits after building a showplace ballpark for their historically ungrateful fans, they should immediately spend it on free agents until they can prove a loss. If an owner, by accident of history, finds themselves in a location which is not economically viable, they are obligated to discuss the matter with local city leaders indefinitely whether or not such talks could possibly lead anywhere.
    2. MLB is part of an evil conspiracy to move the A’s out of Oakland, which they evilly implemented by making sure the A’s were sold to someone who wanted to move the team, then refusing to allow him to move.
    3. Andy Dolich is a minor deity of some sort. Even though he has never once said that if he were owner he would privately finance a ballpark in Oakland, even though his original idea was a publicly financed Coliseum renovation and his more recent idea another multipurpose football stadium, had he been allowed to buy the team over a decade ago the A’s would certainly be playing in a glorious, downtown Oakland ballpark, with water fountains in the outfield and unicorns instead of bat boys.
    I’d say that qualifies as blather. The only other words I can think of right now are less polite, but I’ll give it some more thought and see if I can come up with something else for next time.

  104. @pjk–agreed with David’s post. Last I looked, the A’s aren’t for sale at this time, and publicly saying you’ll buy the team ain’t too cool. Piccini’s has more class than that. I can only wish for a sale and that LW/JF would take in the Dodgers. LW would look good in a Dodger cap. He’d be da man down in the southland.

  105. …Once again, the sequence would likely be as follows if Wolff gives up on a San Jose ballpark:
    * Team is put up for sale, at first with the conditions that the team be kept in Oakland and new owners privately finance a $500 mill ballpark there.
    * After six months of no one willing to meet these terms (imagine that?), the condition that the team be kept in Oakland is removed.
    * The team is sold to buyers who move it to another market (Portland, Charlotte, Las Vegas, San Antonio… the list of possible destinations keeps getting longer and longer.)

  106. @ML – Deadlines can change. It was Cohan’s self-imposed deadline. If he were all about profit, he would have given Ellison’s bid a proper chance. I’m happy with the new ownership btw. We can agree to disagree on the motives for not giving Ellison’s bid a chance. From my recollection – the NBA didn’t give the Warriors some sort of window, when they had to get a deal done.

    • @David – You completely read Ellison’s intent wrong. He never overpays for anything and drives a hard a bargain as possible in every situation. That past-deadline bid was merely to save face. To wildly overbid for the W’s would’ve severely against his M.O.

  107. @pjk–Local buyers will be found and a new ballpark in the O will be a reality. Imagine that? It will haunt LW to his grave on what he could of done in Oakland if he wasn’t so hell-bent and wasting his time on SJ.

  108. re: Local buyers will be found and a new ballpark in the O will be a reality.

    …like another poster already said, this statement (above) is a religious belief. There’s no evidence of anyone willing to donate a $500 mill ballpark to Oakland. If Wolff can’t bring the team a whole 30 miles to San Jose, relocation out of the Bay Area is the more likely fate for the A’s.

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