A bunch of comments about T-rights in the last thread got me thinking it’s time to reset the debate. There’s some confusion about what was done when and for whom. Previously I’ve written a primer and other posts designed to get into further depth (The Neukom Doctrine, When encroachment is not encroachment). Now let’s get a long-held myth out of the way.
Team X originally held the rights to Santa Clara County. FALSE. According to Doug Pappas, the use of counties to define territorial rights did not become part of the Major League by-laws until the early 90’s. Not coincidentally, this was at the same time that Wally Haas agreed to “give” Santa Clara County to Bob Lurie so that the Giants could pursue ballpark proposals in San Jose and Santa Clara (the city). Historically, teams held rights to their own cities and in some cases other cities well outside their own metropolitan region. In the 90’s teams started to define what their regions were by annexing surrounding counties.The Baltimore Orioles also pursued this line by specifying just about everything between Baltimore and DC, even including parts of the District via the use of Rule 52, also known as the 15-mile rule.
The table below lists all teams in the two-team markets and some data for comparison, including the defined operating territory for each team. The Major League Constitution defines an operating territory as the area “within which (clubs) have the right and obligation to play baseball games as the home Club.”
Baltimore’s deal looks similar to what the A’s are getting now. The biggest difference is that they control their local TV market through MASN, which was created as part of the deal to allow the Expos to move to DC. The O’s pay the Nats a fee to carry TV rights, controlling all revenues that come into the network. Once Nationals Park opened, the Nats actually surpassed the O’s in annual revenue.
The ongoing Dodgers saga could provide its own test of territorial rights. SPORTSbyBrooks reports that MLB is in talks with AEG about a possible downtown ballpark near Staples Center and the LACC. That’s the same area targeted for a NFL domed stadium, making it highly unlikely that both could be downtown. However, it’s not hard to see MLB using this as a stalking horse against Frank McCourt, just in case bankruptcy proceedings allow him to keep Dodger Stadium and the parking lots, if not the team itself. Even if both the NFL and the Dodgers don’t bite there could be another interested party: Angels owner Arte Moreno. Despite the recent signing of lease options at The Big A, the Angels are only locked in through the 2016 season. Moreno is open to looking all over the LA for the next home, and unlike the A’s restrictions vis-a-vis Santa Clara County, Moreno can look at the entire region. That includes downtown LA, which would place the Angels 2.5 miles from Dodger Stadium. Preposterous as it sounds, Moreno hasn’t been afraid to play the leverage game, and the timing of having such an option available would play right into his hands. It’s unlikely that the next version of the ML Constitution will split the LA market unless MLB arranges a downtown LA ballpark deal with AEG and the Dodgers’ next owner, a deal that sounds too complicated to actually work.
Going back to the Bay Area situation, I’ve been trying to figure out how redrawn territories might look if the A’s were to move to San Jose. The pro-San Jose crowd likes to think that the Bay Area would become a large shared territory, like NY/LA/CHI. However, I don’t think that’s realistic. DC-Baltimore remains a split market and with the teams separated by 35 miles and the cities having their own distinct identities, it’s a much better comparison to the Bay Area. A swap of the East Bay for the South Bay is also suspect because it’s practically worthless to the Giants. Operating territories mean nothing except when it comes to playing home games, and the Giants aren’t going to look at building in Oakland anytime in the next, well, forever. Yet the Giants would object to leaving the East Bay unassigned since they wouldn’t want a third MLB team 10 miles or less from China Basin, as unlikely as that sounds. Pro-Oakland forces could lobby MLB to leave the East Bay unassigned, but that does little to address the monetary obstacles in getting a new ballpark built there. It’s clear that either San Jose or Santa Clara County would have to be assigned to the A’s instead of the territory being shared.
The strange thing about the county-based annexation done during the 90’s is that most ballparks are built in downtowns, or at least within major cities’ limits. The Rangers are the only exception to this rule, with their home being halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth in Arlington. One of the iterations of the Washington Senators moved to the Twin Cities suburb of Bloomington at first before moving to Minneapolis proper. The Florida Marlins have always played in the Miami suburb of Miami Gardens, though they’ll move to a ballpark within the city limits next season. With public dollars drying up and tools like redevelopment severely restricted in California, it may be time to redefine what an operating territory is. Just from a practical standpoint, we know several things about what MLB looks for in a ballpark site (in no particular order):
- Downtown or sufficiently urban location, close to transit if possible
- Significant infrastructure already in place near the ballpark site
- Large enough market population and economic strength to make a move worthwhile for the team and MLB as a whole
- Proximity to existing fans in cases where building in an established market
It’s hard to believe that a piece of suburban, undeveloped land would fulfill these requirements. Knowing this, it may be best to pare back the definition of operating territory to cities instead of counties. For the Bay Area, that would mean the Giants’ territory would strictly be the City/County of San Francisco, while the A’s territory would strictly be San Jose. The rest of the Bay Area could be shared/restricted from the standpoint of hosting a major league franchise, with both teams requiring consent for further moves or incursions by each other or “invading” major or minor league teams. The point of the operating territory is to maximize physical accessibility to fans throughout a market. The Bay Area’s sprawling landscape makes it difficult to do that for all fans, since either the North Bay or South Bay will be pinched. If MLB is looking to evolve the game now just as they did 20 years ago, T-rights are worth a rethink in order to maximize presence for baseball fans throughout the Bay Area, not just the Giants.
What about the counties in Maryland (ie: Montgomery) that border DC?. I assume they’re also part of the Nationals territory, but it’s left out of your chart.
Like everyone else, I’m bewildered as to why this is dragging on so long. I still hold firm to my belief that the Giants just want the Bay Area to themselves and likely have a few other owners who share that sentiment. And I don’t know how recent those population numbers are, but it looks like the Bay Area is still the smallest of the two team markets by far.
Anything is possible if there is a deal struck over the T rights. But I suspect the East Bay would be made a joint territory, while in the South Bay the A’s would get exclusive rights to San Jose and the cities south and east of it, with the Giants keeping the Silicon Valley cities of Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Cupertino, etc. The Giants could conceivably cut a deal for San Jose, but they aren’t going to allow for the possibility that 30 years from now the A’s might move 10-15 miles north.
I like this!
I’ve spent a lot of time in the DC area and can attest that the DC-Baltimore situation is VERY different from the Bay Area. DC and Baltimore are completely seperate media markets and have different economies, local cultures, etc. There is almost no overlap in the sports fanbases. Baltimoreans in particular dislike DC the way most Bay Area fans dislike LA.
Despite marketing themselves aggressively to the vacant DC market for 30 years, the Orioles had a relatively weak following in DC and Northern Virginia–and practically all the casual fans they did have dropped them instantly when the Nats arrived (or “returned” in the minds of most DC area fans). On the flip side, the Nats have no following at all in Baltimore.
MLB treats DC and Baltimore as a two team market, because that’s what it took to appease Peter Angelos. But the reality is that each team has a clearly delineated geographic fanbase, with overlap only in some of the Maryland counties between the two cities. By contrast, the Bay Area is basically one media market, including San Jose. And fans all over the region root for all of its teams, although the San Francisco brand name has by far the widest appeal.
An interesting note in Baltimore DC land… there assigned territories do not touch.
Hit “submit” too soon. There is a buffer of counties (as you noticed Georob) that separates the Orioles/Nationals respective territories.
I don’t think the entire Bay would become one-large shared territory ala the other two-team markets. I’m of the belief that only Santa Clara County would become shared so that (supposedly) the “built in value” to the Giants franchise is still there. MLB could even guarantee franchise value for the Giants ala the Orioles.
Yes, the Bay has the “smallest” population of the two-team markets, but it’s all relative. NY and LA are so vast they could probably easily accomodate third teams. Wash/Balt, only slightly larger than the Bay, was also recently turned into a two-team market. So the Bay’s “small” size probably isn’t an issue with MLB. Heck, I’d say the Bay is over twice as large (and a lot wealthier) than some of the existing single-team markets.
By the way, excellent thread R.M.!
The Dodgers getting a new downtown ballpark? Now that’s interesting!
“MLB could even guarantee franchise value for the Giants ala the Orioles.”
The thing is, MLB was able and willing to give the Orioles that guarantee because MLB made a boatload of money on the sale of the Expos/Nationals, thanks to the 100% publicly financed ballpark that DC built. Since public financing is not much of an option in California these days, and the A’s are not owned by MLB, the other 28 owners simply do not have the kind of incentive to put a team in San Jose that they did with Washington.
There would be a revenue-sharing benefit, of course, of getting the A’s off the dole and making the franchise a net contributor. But a new ballpark in Oakland (if such a thing were possible) would have pretty much the same impact. And in any case, Montreal was even more of a financial sinkhole, and yet the revenue-sharing benefits of moving from there were not enough to incentivize MLB to force a deal with the Orioles for the Washington market — even though Washington had a standing offer for a ballpark with 2/3 public financing for about 5 years. MLB did not move until Washington went to 100% public financing, thereby guaranteeing the other owners a huge windfall on the sale of the franchise.
There is no incentive like that for the other owners with San Jose’s offer of land and infrastructure-only, which I think is why we continue to hear crickets from MLB HQ. Selig will do something eventually, but it seems to be a back burner issue for him.
Agree with the majority of your post Simon. However, the “incentive” might not be as great as was presented in Wash/Balt., but the “incentive” does exist and that’s all that matters: put the A’s franchise in position to get off the revenue sharing dole and in a “large enough market population and economic strength to make a move worthwhile for the team and MLB as a whole.” To me this means San Jose.
But I’ll give you this Simon: it could be either in Oakland or San Jose. If it’s Oakland, no change in the Bay Area territories. If it’s San Jose, then Selig finally brings the Giants and A’s to the table to work out a deal and the parameters. The onus is on both Oakland and San Jose to make an A’s ballpark 100% imminent. And Rob, that’s when we’ll finally get a “decision” from MLB and Selig.
May the city with the best package win!
Correct. MLB held out for 100% public financing in DC. Unlike the 0% they will get in either San Jose or Oakland. Which makes the Bay Area’s hold on the A’s very tenuous at best. In Oakland, whoever owns the A’s probably would have to pay for the land and infrastructure, too. And for business relocations. (At least San Jose has most of that taken care of.) Will be easy for MLB to just pick up the team and move it someplace where even 50% public financing is available. The owners don’t like to pay for stadiums and if that means they have to send a message to unwilling cities by moving the A’s out of state, it might very well happen. The NFL has been doing it for years, moving teams out of Cleveland, Houston after the cities took “build your own stadiums” stances. LA – the second-largest market in the US – has had no team for years because of this. (I admire LA, though)
By the way, what is the deal with the two final parcels of land at Diridon? Was hoping to hear something by the end of June, to no avail.
I’m surprised San Bernadino and Riverside counties aren’t assigned to any team. That’s over 4 million people right there. Could socal support a 4th team sometime in the future?
By the way Simon,
If Wolff is willing to privately finance Cisco Field ala the Giants/AT&T Park, isn’t “land and infrastructure-only” enough? Considering the boat load of Silicon Valley corporate support at the ready to spend, I’d say yes.
…San Jose’s offer may eventually prove to be enough but it’s not what the owners want. They want taxpayers paying for ballparks, not owners. The owners may “settle” for what San Jose is offering. All that corporate support should be fattening MLB’s wallets instead of paying the ballpark mortgage, is how they’d see it.
I agree with John: an Inland Empire team with a new stadium might draw well. I had always assumed that they were part of the Angels/Dodgers’ territory.
@John/Brian – The issues with the Inland Empire are the Dodgers’/Angels’ TV rights there and the fact that there’s no downtown or CBD for a ballpark to be built. Having 4 Cal League franchises worked there as smaller communities grew and could handle smaller projects. A $400-500 million ballpark is a different story.
@All – These “pick a spot on the map” moves sound interesting on paper until you get to the details of figuring out how it gets done. For the last several years that has silently become the biggest obstacle, not T-rights.
Inland Empire has more than enough people. I suspect the reason no one is interested in it is because it has limited corporate base.
I was interested to note the Rays could move as close to the Yankees as Bridgeport or New Haven, CT or Trenton, NJ. The State of Connecticut has 3.4 million people, Rhode Island 1 million, New Jersey 8.7 million.
Trenton is 29 miles from Philadelphia. Closer than San Jose is to Frisco.
Re your @all statement: are you suggesting that MLB is in fact worried about setting a precedent in allowing A’s to SJ?
If so, I respectfully disagree. As has been stated ad nauseum, the situation in the Bay Area is unique amongst all the two-team markets, and any future relocations would be looked at on a case by case basis.
In closing, Rays to NJ is in no way comparable to the A’s moving 40 miles south in the same two-team market.
@tony d. – You can argue until you’re breathless about how the Bay Area is unique, but in the end that uniqueness may not be high on the criteria list for Selig. We simply don’t know.
Thanks R.M. I’ll strike “uniqueness” from further discussion and simply state that any future relocations (be it the Rays or anyone else) will be strictly dealt with case by case; not taking into consideration what will/should happen in the Bay Area re: A’s.
Simon, when you write:
“And in any case, Montreal was even more of a financial sinkhole, and yet the revenue-sharing benefits of moving from there were not enough to incentivize MLB to force a deal with the Orioles for the Washington market”
I think you are ignoring that the Expos transformation was announced well before any deal was struck with the Orioles.
If the A’s were allowed to move to San Jose (current economy makes any new ballpark doubtful)…
1. Giants new A team – Oakland Oaks playing in a small 5,000 seat ballpark in Jack London Square
2. Giants still continue to market in South Bay (Giant dugout stores in SJ and Palo Alto remain open)
3. A’s market in the East bay (something they aren’t doing now)
4. A’s encourage the 49ers to build their new stadium at the Coliseum and share with the Raiders.
Even if the A’s move to San Jose not all Santa Clara county baseball fans are going to change loyalty. The A’s will need every fan they can get to fill the stadium and build TV/radio ratings. A’s ought to consider some form of East Bay marketing if they wish to be successful (i.e. charity work in Oakland, use East bay natives like Rickey Henderson to spearhead the marketing, considering a hyphentated name Oakland-San Jose, continuing to sell merchandise with the Oakland moniker, having two websites http://www.sanjoseathletics.com and http://www.oaklandathletics.com with the moniker the only thing different.) … wouldn’t be a bad marketing idea for the present.
“I think you are ignoring that the Expos transformation was announced well before any deal was struck with the Orioles.”
@Jeffrey – not ignoring that at all. The move was announced in 2004 a few months after the District of Columbia upped its financing offer from 2/3 to the “three thirds” that Jerry Reinsdorf had repeatedly requested. That assured MLB of enough of a windfall from the sale of the team to DC-based ownership that they would be able to make Angelos happy. MLB had bought the moribund Expos on the cheap from Loria in 2002, so they were now able to offer a new buyer a Top 10 media market along with a brand new, free ballpark. $$$.
There were some hiccups along the way to the deal with Angelos — mainly the fact that the DC Council attempted to renege on the agreement that the Mayor had signed with the assurance of support from Council members. MLB eventually got their original deal, but it wasn’t locked in until early 2005, and then the deal was cut with Angelos.
Another difference from the Bay Area situation, of course, is that relocation to Washington impacted only broadcast rights of the Orioles (which the MLB Exec Committee has power to change at any time). T-rights were not affected. Therefore, MLB lawyers were convinced that Angelos would have lost any possible legal challenge. Nevertheless, Bud’s imperative is not to defeat an unhappy owner in court, but to make the unhappy owner happy — and in the Baltimore case he succeeded.
A big difference also Simon is that MLB owned the Expos and weren’t looking at privately financing a ballpark in DC. Wolff is on record as stating he will privately finance an A’s ballpark in San Jose. If MLB wanted more out of the Bay Area than “land and infrastructure-only,” then I don’t think AT&T Park at China Basin ever comes into existance.
Interesting comparing attendance figs for the O’s and Nat’s since 2005. Both teams have very close numbers every year, but have gone down about every year from 2.7 mill in 2005 to around 1.7+ mill last year. The Nats have had worse teams than the O’s during that time, so it tells me a slightly more interest in them, even though the O’s have a better park in a better area.. The O’s were getting 3.5 mill+ a year fo the first 10 years at Camden. The’ve gone down 1/2 since then. Ouch. I know, it comes down to winnng, which has been awhile for the 0’s, and never for the Nats. If both teams can make the playoffs, 2.7 mill + is back in the mix I’m sure.
Inland Empire region of SoCal has grown with mainly vast tracts of people commuting an hour to work and putting everything they own into a house ( prob underwater on their loan now ,too ) , kinda like Patterson/Mountain House/Clayton/Stockton/Los Banos , etc up here ) – not exactly the ” big population ” demographic an MLB owner is looking for –
They prefer lots of well scrubbed happy/shiny folks who look like they live in leafy suburbs ( watch a Giants game on TV sometime and look at their crowd ) .
@tony d. – my point was that BECAUSE MLB owned the Expos, MLB had a huge incentive (about a quarter billion dollars in profit, taxable at the 15% capital gains rate) to make a deal happen in DC even if it involved a payoff of Peter Angelos for the loss of his exclusive broadcast rights in the DC market.
MLB would not get any such windfall through a move to San Jose. The A’s would no longer be a major drag on revenue-sharing, but that would be a result of their having a new stadium — not specifically the fact that the new stadium was in San Jose. And the fact that the ballpark is in San Jose rather than Alameda or Contra Costa Counties means someone has to come up with a financial package to pay off the Giants. What is the incentive, then, for MLB to change the territorial rights?
The private financing of AT&T Park really has no bearing on the issue, because that was purely a Giants deal — MLB did not have to pay any other owner off. The only aspect of it that is relevant is that politically it made it very hard for any other Bay Area sports team to ask for a publicly financed facility.
@simonLosAltos “MLB would not get any such windfall through a move to San Jose. The A’s would no longer be a major drag on revenue-sharing, but that would be a result of their having a new stadium — not specifically the fact that the new stadium was in San Jose.”
That’s not entirely true. As stated previously, the revenue potential in San Jose is much, much greater due to its corporate base, which may account for 50% or more of the gate. An Oakland ballpark has the potential for a huge mortgage payment AND not getting the A’s off revenue sharing.
“And the fact that the ballpark is in San Jose rather than Alameda or Contra Costa Counties means someone has to come up with a financial package to pay off the Giants.”
Not necessarily, but if so, it will presumably be the A’s who make the payment. They won’t do it unless they stand to gain more than they have to pay (which they certainly will). MLB won’t make the payment, but will benefit from the A’s getting off the dole.
“What is the incentive, then, for MLB to change the territorial rights?”
Your point is well taken that MLB has less incentive than in the case of the Expos. That doesn’t mean they have no incentive.
@all – The important takeaway from Selig’s statement was the realization that there is no solution outside the Bay Area including contraction. Cold comfort for those who side with a particular city, huge for the rest of us whose aim is simply to keep the team in the Bay.
If the risk in building in Oakland can be mitigated, I don’t doubt that Selig will lean hard on Wolff to make that happen. If not, San Jose is the obvious answer. MLB does short-term financing all the time for teams for all sorts of reasons. There’s no reason to think they wouldn’t do it for the A’s, whether it’s to help out with Oakland or to help pay for T-rights.
Also, I didn’t mean to imply that the DC-BAL and SFBA are completely analogous. Circumstances clearly show that they aren’t.
Agree R.M. However, if SJ has all the land wrapped up and Wolff states he has the financing at the ready for Cisco Field, why would Selig hold back his good friend just because of the Giants crying over territory they never relocated to? Again, the MLB universe doesn’t revolve around the Giants, a compensation package could be put together to appease them, and any future MLB relocation could be looked at separately from A’s to SJ. The only way I see the risk of building in Oakland “mitigated” is if The O comes through with 50-100% public financing for a ballpark, in which case I’ll throw up the white flag for SJ and yell “Let’s Go Oakland!”; I just don’t see that happening.
By the way all, great discussion all around, even if I disagree with some of your viewpoints. I often get destroyed, “F bombed,” at other sites (non baseball related) when others don’t agree with me. This site has always been refreshing for lack of profanity and insults.
Thanks Bartleby for yet another excellent response. Simon, we could go on and on in circles for days discussing this issue. You make good points, but IMHO they can be easily addressed by MLB. So straight up Simon, let me ask you this: knowing what you know about Oakland, San Jose, and the A’s, what would you like to see happen here in the Bay Area?
@ML Which Selig statement are you referring to?
@bartleby – From John Shea’s questions at the BBWA luncheon:
For those who missed it.
“1. Giants new A team – Oakland Oaks playing in a small 5,000 seat ballpark in Jack London Square”- Ugh, that would be wretched. I highly doubt Oakland would take SF Giant crumbs, we have some pride and our inferiority complex would not allow that. At least I would hope…
@eb–that would be wretched. Not sure I’d see a game there. Afterall, it’s the Giants. Ughhh!
@eb Where did you find that quote about the Oakland Oaks?
@Bartleby A post by Dan A up top. He was just speculating, I couldn’t see it happening.
I don’t see why San Bernardino and Riverside counties aren’t part of the Dodgers/Angels territories. The largest city in the Inland Empire is Riverside, with a population of 303,871. While the city did grow a lot between 2000 and 2010, it will be a while yet before it reaches a large enough population that it could be considered a strong enough urban center to host a MLB team (the San Fernando valley has a similar problem). So in all likelihood, if a third team were to be added to the LA area, it would probably be more likely to be somewhere like Long Beach or somewhere on the west side of LA. I think a third team in the NYC area is far more likely to happen before a third team in LA though. I know the Yankees and Mets will hate it, but I think they should stick a team back in Brooklyn. Queens has a population of 2,306,712, the Bronx has 1,397,287 (plus presumably most of Manhattan’s 1,629,054 would be more inclined to go there), and Brooklyn has 2,567,098. Plenty for each team to fill up their stadiums.
If the A’s do move to San Jose (or anywhere else), I’d like to see Oakland use the Victory Court site for a new arena for the Warriors. That would still be a big boost for downtown Oakland. While it wouldn’t bring quite as much traffic on game day as a ballpark, that would be counterbalanced by the fact it could be used year-round. Right now, all the traffic the W’s and other Arena events generate is kind of wasted because it’s not supporting any nearby businesses.
980 Park might work for this purpose as well.
ML – YOu mentioned split territories a la DC/Baltimore. Wonder if it can be redrawn horizontally with Highway 92 as the edge of each territory (Half Moon Bay / San Carlos / Hayward) or something to that extent. But as you mentioned, the Gnats don’t care about the east bay as it doesn’t provide them any new revenue generation. Maybe a better buffer area would be Hwy. 84 then, as it gets lucrative Dannville and PLeasanton areas potentially.
Respectfully: “revenue generation” for the Giants (or A’s for that matter) isn’t dependent on where a “territorial” line is located. Hence the throngs of Giants fans who come out of the East Bay and South Bay A’s fans like myself. That is probably the core argument of why this territorial discussion is so ridiculous: the Giants and A’s already share the Bay Area! They both market in the same area’s (the G’s more than the A’s currently), same TV/Radio area’s and fans come from all over. The only thing the current territorial set up does is prevent the A’s from moving 40 miles further south of AT&T Park. Pretty ridiculous don’t you think; I’m sure by now MLB/Selig feel the same way. Now, if we could just get those final two parcels acquired…
@Tony – I agree with you that it should be shared territory a la 1970-1990 status quo. I was just speculating what territories would look like if they were divided.
Re: “That is probably the core argument of why this territorial discussion is so ridiculous: the Giants and A’s already share the Bay Area! ”
Amen!! Ridiculous!! For better or worse, they’ve been sharing it for 42 years now. Give the Giants exclusive rights to the city of San Francisco and the A’s exclusive rights to the city of San Jose (or Oakland, as the case may be) and let them (continue to) share the rest. All this T-rights stuff is like the political geography of the Middle East: A bunch of artificial lines drawn up by people who don’t know a damn thing about the region.
mainea’sguy nailed exactly how I’d prefer to see T-rights redrawn.
“So straight up Simon, let me ask you this: knowing what you know about Oakland, San Jose, and the A’s, what would you like to see happen here in the Bay Area?”
A new ballpark built for the A’s, wherever in the Bay Area that is feasible.
@SImon94022 – BEST ANSWER EVER!!!
“A new ballpark built for the A’s, wherever in the Bay Area that is feasible.”
Amen. With a few exceptions, the main disagreement among a lot of us is simply whether Oakland is feasible.
I vote mainea’sguy for Commish.
Golly, I’m blushing! But ML is the one who should be Commish.
Keep in mind guys in the the Expos situation after they moved the team to DC, MLB contracted the team and charged the new owners an expansion fee even though there was no expansion draft held or anything of the sort…..That right there is against Anti-Trust law and it is shocking to me no one picked this up…..Selig being a crook once a again.
The delay tells me MLB is contemplating doing the same thing with the A’s. Buy the team from Wolff/Fisher for cheap, have the BRC look to relocate them outside the Bay Area (San Antonio makes the most sense), contract the team, expand on the same day, and then charge an expansion fee like they did with the DC owners.
That way MLB can make $$ on the sale itself of the team to new owners, get a free public ballpark, take the A’s off revenue sharing, and the Giants will be able to put in an additional $50M a year in revenue sharing on top of the $40M they put in now.
That is MLB’s plan…the A’s are done in the Bay Area…..If this was not the case then at least Selig would let San Jose do their vote and let the team “explore” the ballpark.
The delay is because they are finding new owners in another market. Wolff/Fisher will end up with the Dodgers since they only want to own a team in California. Getting the Dodgers would be a nice consolation for them in the end.
@Sid–wow, what a wild scenario you conjured up!! I like Wolff buying the Dodgers part, but not the A’s going to San Antonio. This whole mess is beyond surreal.
Usually I agree with Sid but I hope he’s wrong about all that.
“Keep in mind guys in the the Expos situation after they moved the team to DC, MLB contracted the team and charged the new owners an expansion fee even though there was no expansion draft held or anything of the sort…..That right there is against Anti-Trust law and it is shocking to me no one picked this up…..”
@Sid – MLB did not contract the team and then expand. Where did you hear that?
An MLB affiliate bought the Expos from Jeffrey Loria in 2002, so Loria could acquire the Marlins while MLB tried to contract the Expos. When contraction inevitably failed, MLB announced the Expos would leave Montreal and set up a Relocation Committee to find a new city. Even though DC was more or less the obvious choice from the beginning, MLB spent 3 years extracting every possible penny in negotiations from DC, using rival markets like Portland, Norfolk, and DC’s Northern Virginia exurbs as leverage. Once they moved the franchise into DC and had a new state of the art stadium under construction, MLB was able to sell the team for $350 million, which was about a $250 million capital gain. There was no expansion fee, just a large purchase price for the existing franchise.
re: Even though DC was more or less the obvious choice from the beginning, MLB spent 3 years extracting every possible penny in negotiations from DC, using rival markets like Portland, Norfolk, and DC’s Northern Virginia exurbs as leverage
…and therein lies the problem with the Bay Area, as I’ve said: MLB wants publicly funded ballparks and won’t get one here – neither in downtown San Jose nor on the East side of the Bay Bridge.
@Sid – If Selig decides the A’s need to stay within their current Territory, I could imagine Wolff then wanting to sell and MLB buying the franchise. But the long term result of that would probably be a new East Bay ballpark and then MLB flipping a much more valuable A’s franchise to new owners.
Relocation is still pretty unlikely. For all the problems that each of the Bay Area options present, the non-Bay Area options present even more. First, all the open markets are small by MLB standards. So in the best case, you’re adding another Kansas City-type market to the league. Second, no other market in America is actively trying to get a team, and nobody is offering to build a new ballpark. Third, almost all of the open small markets belong to an existing MLB team’s broadcast territory, so that team would have to be paid off, a la the Orioles with Washington. That adds to the cost of the deal.
Last, while the Giants might be stronger financially with no local competition, that is not absolutely certain. Two teams means more baseball coverage and ultimately more interest in the game overall. And vice versa — the A’s had a bit of a season ticket boost this year, and all the attention to baseball last Sept. and Oct. caused by the Giants probably had something to do with that.
“…and therein lies the problem with the Bay Area, as I’ve said: MLB wants publicly funded ballparks and won’t get one here – neither in downtown San Jose nor on the East side of the Bay Bridge.”
@pjk – correct. But MLB won’t get a publicly funded ballpark anywhere else either. Washington now has a team, and that was the last really good market available in the United States.
re: If Selig decides the A’s need to stay within their current Territory, I could imagine Wolff then wanting to sell and MLB buying the franchise. But the long term result of that would probably be a new East Bay ballpark
…and hopefully, Selig and the other owners are prepared to pay for it, since no one else is.
@simonLosAltos “But the long term result of that would probably be a new East Bay ballpark”
Why? And paid for by whom? As little enthusiasm as MLB has shown for team-financed ballparks, they’ve shown absolutely zero enthusiasm for MLB-financed ballparks. Particularly in sub-optimal locations.
“…and then MLB flipping a much more valuable A’s franchise to new owners.”
The franchise becomes more valuable as a result of a new ballpark only if that ballpark generates significantly more margin even after deducting the cost of a mortgage and loss of revenue sharing. When AT&T was built, it was considered a significant risk whether this would be the case. AT&T was successful only because the Giants were able to sell out the suites, club seats and charter seats on a long-term basis.
With little corporate base, huge competition from the Giants and PSL-based animosity toward the entire concept of charter seats, this seems highly unlikely to occur in Oakland. It is entirely possible that a team playing in a privately-financed ballpark at Victory Court will be less profitable than the one currently playing at the Coli, not more.
In fact, a team playing at the Coli might be worth more than a team locked into a money-losing deal at a new park, because at least the team playing at the Coli has some potential upside.
MLB has shown little appetite for taking on the kind of risk associated with financing a new ballpark. If they were going to do it, it would make a lot more sense for them to do it in San Jose and improve their chances. Of course, then there’d be little reason for them to buy the team from Wolff/Fisher.
A more likely scenario than an MLB-financed ballpark in the East Bay is: MLB buys the team intending to flip it to owners in another market, fails, then, for want of other options, winds up revoking the Giants T-rights so they can build an MLB-financed ballpark in San Jose.
LIkely? No. But more likely than the other scenario.
…A money-losing, under-financed team in a new ballpark in Oakland is likely locked into a 30-year lease and high, high mortgage payments. A team at the Coliseum pays little rent, doesn’t have to own the building and can be moved to a more lucrative market. So yes, a team at the Coliseum could indeed be worth more money than one in a new Oakland ballpark.
My apologies on the expansion fee being charged for the Nationals. I saw it on Wikipedia not to long ago and it has been since removed…I did some research and could not find anything else to support it, therefore strike my last comment around this area.
@Simon- I disagree with you. The A’s moving would give the Giants the largest 1-team market in MLB and would allow them to jack ticket prices up through the roof.
In turn MLB would be able to get quite a bit more out of revenue sharing, The Giants and A’s cancel each other out right now making it the least profitable 2-team market.
In San Antonio, the A’s would still be able to stay in the AL West and would have a natural rivalry with the Rangers. This plus a free ballpark and they can contribute 10M a year in revenue sharing.
Do the math….Giants 90M a year in a 1-team Bay Area market, A’s in SA at 10M a year….Thats $100M a year instead of the 40M (Giants in)-40M (A’s out)=0 right now…The Bay Area is a wash as a two team market with the teams situated where they currently are.
Even in San Jose it would be Giants (30M only because they would lose SJ) and the A’s (30M in San Jose) …..That is 60M a year instead of 100M a year with the A’s leaving to even a decent small market where they have it to themsevles.
San Antonio almost landed the Marlins a while back and they have a facility the A’s can play in temporarily and that city was willing to publicly finance a stadium for the Marlins…The recession hit so that may not be possible now but in a few years…Who knows? Those hotel and car rental taxes they proposed can easily be done again….Look at the Cowboys in Arlington.
Right now the A’s have very little debt and can sold very “cleanly” without too much hassle, their lease is up in a few years and MLB has shown they are not going to make the 2015 deadline for a new place in the Bay Area.
At this point MLB is siding with the Giants their terrible arguments and the A’s are stuck because of Wally Haas making a colossal mistake in 1990.
This is why I think Selig says the situation is far more complex that we all see it to be. When dealing with 10Ms of dollars going into the revenue sharing pot at stake, that is the reason why Selig says “he wants to get it right”….He is still a moron in my book but my math makes sense…
Also I hope Brad Pitt in “Moneyball” coming out this year sheds more light about this war over San Jose to the rest of the country.
It could end up being the publicity the A’s need for a San Jose move…..Right now the A’s are under the radar in the US.
This movie could change all of that..
San Antonio can provide a free ballpark? In this economy?
…San Antonio already went after the Marlins. Even if they contribute only 50% of the cost of a ballpark, that’s more than the 0% the A’s will get in the Bay Area. What”s the only city in the country bigger than San Jose that does not have a Major League Baseball team? San Antonio…
I would really like to see your math of how you figure a team in a smaller metro area than Pittsburgh will be pumping $10M into the revenue sharing system.
Brah, you really need to step back and take a deep breath. SA’s Marlins effort (if that’s what you want to call it) was undertaken during better economic times; pre-Great Recession.
No way they could publicly fund now. Also take into consideration that half the Bay Area wealth and population is much greater than what exists in SA.
Besides (as RM stated earlier) Selig himself stated the A’s relocating out of the Bay Area wasn’t an option. No contraction, no move to SA…RELAX!
…I’m detecting a lot of the usual California optimism that the A’s would never leave the Bay Area. Well, they meet all of what could be considered the qualifications to move: Obsolete building that needs replacing; poor fan support, no intentions on the part of its home city to pay for a new ballpark.. With Selig and the owners too terrified to remove the restrictions on San Jose, what else is left but moving the team out of the Bay Area?
Respectfully: its your world brah. Believe what you must.
Didn’t realize junior-owner Bill Neukom was running MLB (sarcasm).
@TonyD–i know BS said contraction is off the table, but where did he say relocation was off too? I don’t trust this guy. I’m still sticking to sell to locals and LW/JF buy the Dodgers, contrary to what LW says. If BS says “Lewie, you and John can take over the Dodgers, we’ll give you a good deal on them. ” he would.
@jk-usa – Really, stop swallowing this fantasy about Wolff/Fisher buying the Dodgers. Now that Frank McCourt pushed the Dodgers into bankruptcy court, Selig has significantly less influence over how the team will be reacquired. Whether or not MLB is able to seize the Dodgers, the eventual buyer will have to sink $600 million for the team plus $200+ million in debt. And there’s no telling if McCourt will sell Dodger Stadium or the parking lots. Selig is not in the position to give anyone a sweetheart deal for the Dodgers due to the legal issues and debt, and in the end it may be a bankruptcy judge, not Selig, who determines who buys the team (see Texas Rangers, 2010). Figure out a more realistic way to make it happen, because the Dodgers thing ain’t it.
@ML–uh, excuse me, but I’m not alone on this “fantasy,” Several reputable sports writers feel this could possibly be the scenario, including Howard Bryant, who many of you praised on his take on things.
You’ll believe Bryant’s fantasy but won’t believe Wolff when he says the Dodgers are out of the question? WOW!
From Bryant’s 6/23/2011 ESPN Article:
“McCourt is finished in baseball. Wolff is already based in Los Angeles and has resources. If he isn’t already, Selig should begin negotiating the exit plan for McCourt and install Wolff as the new owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Removing Wolff from Oakland and installing him in Los Angeles solves two key issues: (1) It opens the door for a clean slate of negotiations between a new A’s ownership group and the city of Oakland; and (2) by awarding Wolff one of the four most important franchises in baseball (the Yankees, Cardinals and Red Sox are the other three), it compensates him for blocking him from San Jose. “
@jk-usa – Bryant wrote those articles before the latest drama regarding McCourt. The law rules, not a columnist. Sorry, and BTW, keep up with the news.
re: It opens the door for a clean slate of negotiations between a new A’s ownership group and the city of Oakland;
…negotiations on exactly what? Oakland has nothing whatsoever to offer. Can’t contribute a dime. No general funds, and, in all likelihood, no redevelopment funds for a ballpark either. You can only have negotiations when each side has something to contribute. These so-called “negotiations” would only be about the A’s paying for absolutely everything, which the current ownership won’t do. Nor would any subsequent ownership.
@bartleby — I wasn’t suggesting an MLB-financed ballpark. Only speculating that IF Selig were to tell the A’s that T rights could not be changed, then conceivably they’d work out the stadium deal themselves, buy the team from Wolff, then flip it for a profit. Very unlikely scenario. Basically, even if Selig had made up his mind that SJ is a no go, he would rather string the South Bay along as leverage against Oakland anyway (and vice versa).
The notion that the A’s might be less valuable in a new park is just wrong, by the way. The new parks generate revenue in so many different ways that even a team with poor attendance is financially stronger. Do you think the Pirates wish they were still in Three Rivers Stadium?
San Antonio did not come close to getting the Marlins. They held exploratory talks, and never got into details. The whole effort died before it was born thanks to the Astros immediate objections. It was such a non-deal that Loria couldn’t even use it as leverage against Miami, admitting SA was not in play while he still had no deal in Florida.
Simon 94022 is making a lot of sense these last few days.
@Ethan–“Simon 94022 is making a lot of sense these last few days.”
Yes he is.
@Simon- Pirates don’t have a $30M annu,al mortgage payment because the city of Pittsbugh paid for their park- a park at VC will unless Oakland pays for it- so bartleby statememt has merit- relative to MLB not sayin anything about SJ and TR so that. They can use it as leverage against Oakland- as you can see Oakland could care less given the pace of the EIR-
Here is what I would like to know:
How much does Neukom and Co. owe vis-a-vis the debt on AT&T park?
If the Giants’ main concern is using Silicon Valley money to pay off the said debt, then I do not know why Neukom and Co. would just say to the A’s “We currently owe this much for our ballpark and we use Santa Clara county as part of our marketing and revenue strategy to pay off our debt in due course, however if you could pay off our ballpark debt for us, San Jose is yours.”
If A’s and Giants’ ownerships plus BS cannot find -one day- to sit down and hammer this issue as intended, then all of us here must question the true intentions of the Giants, and the lack of competence of the BRC. If the remaining debt is rather minuscule, than the least BS could do is exempt the Giants from revenue sharing contributions for a number of years.
re: a park at VC will unless Oakland pays for it-
…and a city laying off policemen and struggling to keep libraries open is not going to pay for a ballpark.
Bartleby always makes sense, and what he says always has merit.
Simon, I think the only ballpark we could compare to a future A’s ballpark in SJ or OAK is AT&T Park because it was privately financed.
Most other venues across the country were “free” or almost “free” to said teams, owners. Financial risks mitigated big time!
The $20 million annual mortgage payment foe AT&T Park sunsets in 2017, a little over 5 years away.
When Cisco Field opens in 2015, just 2 years. This gets very little discussion here and elsewhere , but I’d imagine this has a lot to do with a possible compensation package for the Giants.
Paying off the Giants mortgage in 2015 comes out to either $60-40 million. No more crying over SV “revenue streams” or privately financing their yard with SV as “their” territory.
@SimonLosAltos “…IF Selig were to tell the A’s that T rights could not be changed, then conceivably they’d work out the stadium deal themselves, buy the team from Wolff, then flip it for a profit.”
I have no idea what “work out the stadium deal themselves” even means. Without an underwriter, there is no deal. Specifically, without someone willing to sign on the dotted line and put their own assets at risk, there is no deal.
If Wolff/Fisher and MLB don’t want to put their own assets at risk, it’s because the supposed “deal” is too risky. If this is the case, MLB is not going to be able to negotiate a theoretical deal and then find some sucker to step up and take on the risk. If they somehow managed to pull it off, it’s not going to be a matter of flipping it for a profit, it’s going to be a matter of offering a deep discount which reflects the level of risk.
“The notion that the A’s might be less valuable in a new park is just wrong, by the way.”
“All new parks make buttloads of money no matter what” is a very pollyanna-ish point of view. Your reference points are publicly financed ballparks, most in single team markets. You have to look at the specific circumstances.
“The new parks generate revenue in so many different ways that even a team with poor attendance is financially stronger.”
Let’s be specific here. When you say “generate revenue in so many different ways,” what you really mean is “tap into price-insensitive corporate customers through premium seating and suites.” So while it’s true that a team with poor attendance CAN be financially stronger, it’s not a given. There is no magic “new balllpark” alchemy. The team only becomes financially stronger if (a) the team can sell the premium product, and (b) the incremental revenue is significantly greater than the cost to obtain it. This is seriously doubtful for a ballpark in Oakland, because the target market doesn’t exist.
Aside from just looking at a map and noting where the Bay Area’s corporations are located, you need look no further than the Raiders to see that this is true. While everyone focuses on the Raiders’ general attendance woes, they are actually a relatively small part of the Raiders’ revenue problems. The bigger problem is their complete inability to sell club seats and suites.
Even for games where the Raiders are not blacked out, they rarely sell out their premium product. And they are charging nowhere near the premium most other NFL teams do. Most NFL teams get something like $200-300 for club seats, and many sell club seats only on a full-season or multi-year basis. Yet you can walk up to the box office on virtually any Raider game day and buy a single-game ticket in the club starting at $120 (which is less than many NFL teams get for some regular seats).
Bear in mind, unlike the A’s the Raiders have only eight home games to sell and have no meaningful competition for this market (since Candlestick has very little premium seating). So their experience is good reason to question whether the A’s would actually lose money on a new privately-financed ballpark in Oakland.
“Do you think the Pirates wish they were still in Three Rivers Stadium?”
No, of course not. But as others have pointed out, it’s an apples and oranges situation because (a) the Pirates didn’t have to pay for their ballpark, and (b) they have no competition for Pittsburgh’s corporate base.
Now imagine the Pirates in a situation where they get the new park, but in doing so lose a $25 million revenue sharing check and pick up a $25 million mortgage. That’s a $50 million swing. Maybe Three Rivers starts looking a little better.
Now imagine they’re in that same situation, but with a stronger competitor eight miles away with another gem of a ballpark that is less than half the weeknight travel time from 80-90% of the corporate base that “generates revenue in so many ways.” Now they’re begging to have Three Rivers back.
Great site Marine Layer, first time poster. After reading about all the T-rights issues again, I was wondering if anyone else thinks that a Fremont Warm Springs ballpark still represents the best potential compromise scenario? While I prefer an urban ballpark location like everyone else (would love either Oakland or San Jose), we all know the roadblocks in both cases. The land acquisition, infrastructure upgrade, and funding cost hurdles make Oakland extremely unlikely right now and the T-rights issue for San Jose is never going to be solved as long as Selig is around.
As we all know, Fremont still gives Wolff and ownership the close access to the Silicon Valley corporate base they believe is required to build a ballpark and be viable. BART access via the new Warm Springs station in 2014 will help maintain the team’s existing East Bay fan base and should help mitigate the traffic concerns that always arise. The Alameda county location will hopefully also preserve the team’s identity as the Oakland Athletics (without the “of Fremont” please. Maybe the city can settle for “Cisco Field in Fremont”).
BART will also eventually come to Santa Clara County in some form, even if only to Milpitas and Berryessa. The Milpitas station link to VTA light rail and valley public transport will provide South Bay fans with additional options to get to the ballpark in the future. This one day also makes a Warm Springs ballpark a short hop from Silicon Valley’s “Golden Triangle”, since we all know corporate access and filling luxury suites is a Wolff priority.
Of course, building right across the Santa Clara County line also gives Neukom, Baer, and the Giants the big middle finger and points to the ridiculousness of these T-rights to begin with. That is always one of the biggest pluses to Fremont for me.
With NUMMI opposition now gone and Tesla likely never going to reach the same capacity even when production starts, what were the big roadblocks to Warm Springs again? Was it just a handful of NIMBYs that live over a mile away on the other side of 680? Working nearby, I always thought the South Fremont Blvd. exit was mostly for industrial use. With NUMMI now closed, there’s not as many cars exiting in that direction.
Sorry if this is re-visiting an old topic that may have been closed off already. I did find Fremont’s old presentation from a couple years back to be extremely intriguing given that we remain stuck in the same situation and there is no resolution in sight.
@bman – I have nothing to go on this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Wolff kept Fremont in his back pocket if San Jose couldn’t be done. But he’d have to restart the process again, and by the time that happens his biggest champion in Fremont, Mayor Bob Wasserman, will probably have been termed out.
Great post Marine Layer. The image of the table is broken. Could you please fix? I’m really interested in seeing that data. Thanks in advance.
I just drove past the NUMMI plant 20 minutes ago. Nice big chunk of property that would be great for a ballpark, although it would be another one of these middle-of-a-parking lot situations instead of a downtown ballpark. Could the A’s create a downtown in this hay field?
It’s Bartleby with a knockout blow to Simon! ;o) (just a little humor Simon; I greatly respect your opinion)
If only Wolff would show more urgency and publicly demand for an answer on San Jose one way or the other by the end of the year. We need to learn what the real Plan B is as one must exist if San Jose is denied. The ballpark situation can’t wait until Selig leaves at the end of 2012 and as Wolff has mentioned, he is not getting any younger.
In regards to a middle-of-a-parking lot ballpark as opposed to a downtown one, definitely not ideal but maybe it’s the A’s way of differentiating themselves within the market. Rather than trying to create a ballpark experience identical to that of the Giants’ urban setting they can market their location in other ways – like ease of access and by promoting tailgating. Also, I am sure a “ballpark village” would somehow come about if Wolff remains involved. I guess I am trying to talk myself into a low density location too.
@Bman- Fremont is dead for multiple reasons.
1. Warm Springs is dead because of the NIMBYs down the street who feel a ballpark so close to them would bring crime and fans parking in their streets of their 1M dollar homes.
2. Pacific Commons is dead because there is a clause in the leases of the Big Box retailers there (kohls, lowes, etc..) that if anyone builds on the adjacent land that business is subject to “unlimited liability” if the big box retailers lose any revenue.
Those retailers refuse to negotiate and Wolff as you will see below ended up with another problem that was too much to overcome.
Wolff already invested 24M non-recoverable into Pac Commons. His plan was to build a Santana Row like complex with high priced condos/shops then use those Residential Entitlements to build the ballpark.
As we all know the recession killed that plan as banks are not allowing this form of leverage to be used anymore for construction and with good reason.
In the end it is San Jose or bust for the A’s. The long delay tells me Selig is contemplating moving the A’s away from the Bay Area so MLB can maximize revenue sharing from the Giants.
The Giants look like they are going to win this stalemate and for all the wrong reasons.
@bartleby- Impressive the way you write my friend.
The piece about the Raiders and being able to walk up and get club seats on game days is amazing. I know the Raiders to sell most of their luxury boxes as that is how they still make a profit even with blackouts.
Good stuff dude!
@Sid, Auto Mall Parkway is only mostly dead. If Selig decides against San Jose, but no one can figure out how to finance a park in Downtown Oakland, then discussion could open up between the team and the Big Box stores to determine exactly a dollar amount that would scratch off that “unlimited liability” clause.
The two options for the Big Box stores being, 1) Claim unlimited liability, the team doesn’t move and they get $0. 2) Decide a number, the team pays it and the stores turn a greater profit in these troubled times.
Also, the condos and such don’t need to be built right away. The economy won’t be down forever, so Wolff can build in increments. You are right, in that the bank must balance the risk before giving a loan, but I think a good pitch can be made to get the deal done.
I think Sid is right. This market is never going ot be selling 6 million tickets every season. The hit to the Giant’s is enough for them to take a “never” stance, when it comes to the TR’s. The A’s will be slowly killed off, like what is happening now. Wolff and Fischer will be compensated with the Revenue sharing until MLB decides what to do with the team. The fact that Wolff is buddies with Selig doesn’t make a move to SJ anymore likely. In fact, I believe it just means Wolff is more likely to go along with whatever Bud and the rest of the Lodge want’s. Plan B is to sit on they’re hands, Collect all the Money they can from the Giants. Loose as little as possible on the A’s, and when the economy looks like it did in the late 90’s, then we’ll see some action. Until then, get used to what we’re already used too. The only hope would be for SJ to keep growing as much as it did from the early 80’s til the late 90’s. What Wolff and MLB is really after is the $$$ that would come Redoveloping a large portion of Dowtown SJ North of Santa Clara St. Hopefully in 10yrs when MLB stops jacking us all around and finally gives the middle finger to SJ, someone(Reed, Hammer) with will go after the Antitrust.
@Sid. Thanks for the update on Fremont. I’m trying to read as much as I can to get caught up.
It is really too bad if these Mission San Jose NIMBYs are the reason that Warm Springs fell through. Unfortunately, it’s always the loud and vocal minority that keeps such developments from happening. I recall that in the South Bay a couple of decades ago a group of residents from Saratoga almost halted the construction of Highway 85 through the West Valley. Thank goodness those residents didn’t get their way.
I do wonder if the ballpark opponents could muster enough opposition if the issue came down to the ballot box though. From what I know of Fremont, the council members are elected at large, and much of the population in the “flat” neighborhoods (where the majority of the population resides) oftentimes can’t stand the elitists up in the MSJ hills. I believe this is the same group that a decade ago tried to secede from both the city and the school district over the re-drawing of school attendance boundaries. They didn’t want their kids going to school with kids that came from households making less than $200K.
I don’t want to advocate the city completely ignoring a portion of their constituency, but they should at least let the entire population decide whether it thinks a ballpark is good for the city. If the opponents are concerned about crime and parking, the city can heed the concerns and block off Grimmer to automobile traffic between Osgood and I-680. I’m sure it’s a trade-off but there, problem solved. Go around and take Mission or Auto Mall if you need to get to I-880.