Dodgers may push A’s decision to backburner

The Chronicle’s Susan Slusser sheds more light on the San Jose land deals, adding this tasty bit at the end:

It is unlikely baseball owners would consider the A’s stadium at their meetings in Milwaukee next month because the Dodgers’ ownership situation is expected to dominate the agenda. Meetings scheduled for January might be more likely.

This probably wouldn’t have been an issue if it weren’t for the twin news items of Frank McCourt reaching a settlement with Jamie McCourt, then MLB reaching a settlement with Frank over a likely sale of the Dodgers. The Dodgers bankruptcy trial has been postponed, pending the outcome of both of those issues. The divorce settlement could be court-approved on November 14, right before the Winter Meetings. Assuming that it is approved, the Dodgers could easily push the A’s to the backburner, with the agenda already packed with the Astros-to-Crane sale and ongoing CBA talks.

69 thoughts on “Dodgers may push A’s decision to backburner

  1. Eh, it’s going to be done in November. She has mentioned a few times that there is nothing from MLB that indicates they were going to make a decision so I don’t think the new information about McCourt changed a perspective of her’s, just expands on it.
    .
    I highly doubt MLB would allow a non-vote to continue a known situation where the owner and GM is going to openly deny the spending of money. That wouldn’t look good with MLBPA.

  2. @ML- any idea if confirmation of Baer or someone else will be on the November agenda?

  3. @GoA’s – Giants’ managing partner doesn’t have to be on the agenda. It could also be pushed back to January. Neukom is supposed to be partner through the end of the year.

  4. goody an extra month or two for the sj and oak factions to contining arguing.

  5. Looks like we’ll be able to celebrate day 1000 without a decision afterall

  6. Before everyone goes off, remember that when Beane and Wolff were saying a decision was coming, Slusser said she didn’t hear anything from MLB to indicate that. The Dodgers is not a new situation and the arbitrator never filed the paperwork to cutoff a settlement.

  7. ironic in that the Dodgers will be in the same position that the A’s will be in relative to being able to do any signings—I agree with Genaro on this one and really…anyone who is involved in negotiations…knows that when you go in for a vote on anything–you already know what the outcome will be…its a mere formality…you gotta believe all the owners have already been presented with the facts…and most likely informed as to what bs expects. For me the tipping of the hand was the TB owner whose comments indicated some level of discussions are going on about the A’s in order to say that the A’s situation would be resolved near-term.

  8. Slusser is one of the best and I doubt she would say such a thing without a reliable source.

  9. I’m beginning to get the feeling that even the Toledo Mud Hens would take precedence over the A’s in Bud Selig’s appointment calendar.

  10. @A’sfan,
    Come on brah! As much as we’d like to hear a decision, I think all would agree that the Dodgers situation takes precedence over the A’s. If anything, this would bolster the thought that the decision re SJ is a done deal and that the vote will merely be a formality. Two months vs two weeks of waiting? I can live with that.

  11. Good God what more do these people need to talk about?!? Just VOTE already!!!

  12. The Vegas over/under odds are 12 1/2. That’s how many times the Occupy Oakland camp will be built, then torn down, then rebuilt again before MLB makes a decision on the A’s. So far we’re at 2 now.
    All eyes are on Oakland now over this Occupy situtation. Wolff and Selig should do the right thing and get the ballpark done in this funky, interesting, unconventional city; it fits in their history quite well. SJ seems so ho-hum in comparison.

  13. Vegas? A possible destination for the A’s if San Jose is voted down.

  14. Wanna bet on that one? They’re not going anywhere if SJ is voted down. Get used to taking the same 66th Ave. or Hegenberger exits for a long time coming.

  15. It’s been a great World Series, watching players like Adrian Beltre and Lance Berkman. Maybe the A’s should have tried to sign those guys. Oh – wait, They did try to sign those guys but neither was interested in playing in Oakland. That’s what we’re going to have more of as long as the A’s are stuck in the Coliseum.

  16. from Inside the A’s in September 2010: “Among other things, Berkman says the A’s have been the “most aggressive” team in terms of making contact with him. ” …But of course, the A’s never stood a chance.

  17. @ML- how many days notice are required to place something on a ballot in SJ?

  18. @pjk–making contact?, but they probably didn’t offer enough dough, rei, me, and playing under La Russa is a no-brainer over best man Geren. Things won’t change much if SJ is their home payroll wise, but making it a hitter friendly park may help to attract FA’s. Good luck with the young pitching getting shellacked though.

  19. @GoA’s–maybe 3 months+, just based on Reed pushing Selig last year in late July for a November ballot.

  20. For the millionth time:

    We don’t have a stadium, and nobody wants to build one.

    We have gambling on baseball.

    We work swing shift or graveyard (35% of us, anyway).

    One out of every 11 of our homes are in foreclosure. One out of every 3 of our homes is worth less than what is owed on it.

    Our biggest companies (casinos) have no intention of letting their customers leave their properties for three hours.

    Our media market is smaller than any existing MLB market.

    The A’s played seven home games here once before, and never drew over 10,000.

    So please, drop the Vegas thing. It’s not happening.

  21. “Get used to taking the same 66th Ave. or Hegenberger exits for a long time coming.”…And the same decrepit stadium, the same anemic attendance, the same low budget field of players save for one vet, and the same rebuilding plan if one or more draftees don’t pan out. In other words, people like this want to see the same old sh#t just to stroke their own selfish civic pride while ignoring the team itself…./sigh

  22. …at some point, MLB has to decide enough is enough with the A’s like it did with the Expos. The current situation, with a bad stadium, bad attendance and no new stadium in sight, is not going to change in the present locale and something dramatic has to happen: move the team. The question is, where? 35 miles to San Jose or hundreds or thousands of miles away to some other part of the country?

  23. Wollf’s talking points, never die on this site. SJ, have you met Irwindale?

    • “Wollf’s talking points, never die on this site. SJ, have you met Irwindale?”

      Irwindale was all too eager to pay millions for Al Davis, just like…..San Jose?

  24. … Nor do yours David

  25. “Wollf’s talking points, never die on this site. SJ, have you met Irwindale?” Al D (RIP) says hi, oh wait bye, err hi again…..

  26. @David: Can you counter Wolff’s talking points?

  27. Wolff is a liar when it comes to anything that has to do with the City of Oakland. Thankfully, his hate for Oakland will lead to him selling the team, to someone who cares about the community the team plays in.

  28. Wolf shouldn’t vote for any MLB matter until we get a vote on the A’s.
    .
    It’s hard to believe that he’s been such a successful businessman if this is how he approaches matters. He’s been so passive and agreeable. If someone like Larry Ellison were the owner, A’s would have been granted the right to move to SJ years ago.

  29. Someone such as? Who’s ready to buy the team for $400 mill and build a stadium for $500 mill? Got any names?

  30. @David- share with us your factson where LW has lied- facts please

  31. Lew has been very open that he has exhausted his options in Oakland. But this is not what Oakland-only advocates want to hear. So they just call him a liar. (MLB has been looking at the Oakland situation for nearly 3 years and hasn’t reported anything to the contrary of Wolff has has said, at least not yet, anyway.)

  32. When I initially came into this (following the stadium situation) my tendency was towards one of the following:
    1. Build at the current coliseum site
    2. Build at a waterfront location at JLS or some other downtown area
    3. Build in the burbs

    With option one, MLB is against it, and it’s also not economically viable when privately financed (needs more corporate base, and needs to be in more of an “up coming area”, but it’s in a bad area).

    With option two, no site has an EIR, no site has enough space (without massive relocation costs), major infrastructure investments have to be made by Oakland (money they don’t have). And, there still isn’t really enough corporate base to make it economically viable.

    Option 3 has been tried, with Fremont, it has more corporate base (closer to SCC), has land, EIR done (AFAIK), but it was voted down by NIMBYs. And MLB won’t allow further out in the burbs (say, Dublin), plus that would be further from corporate base. Thus, option 3 is dead.

    Conclusion, all Oakland (and nearby with Fremont) options have been exhausted. The only viable way to build in Oakland is for the City to foot the bill (which ain’t happening), or for a mega billionaire “white knight” to step in and be willing a to donate a cool billion (buy A’s, then pay for stadium), without any hope of recoup of costs. In other words, billion dollar charity (again, this ain’t happening).

    That leaves SJ, or other city outside of BA (Portland, San Antonio, or Charlotte could, maybe possibly, just might be viable), or contraction.

    Contraction is out. Huge cost (pay out cost of teams to owners), and MLBPA would sue.
    Portland, SA, Charlotte are very very far fetched at this point – no facility on horizon (either private or public), and not ownership group stepping forward, and LW unwilling to move and start process again elsewhere.

    That leaves SJ. Land is there. EIR is there. Financing is there. Economic viability is there. Desire by, and cooperation from, city of SJ is there. Need for new stadium for MLB is there. Need to move team off welfare into profitability is there. Project is basically shovel ready.

    Only obstacle, Giants TR.

    Only decision for Selig is whether to go with this no-brainer new ballpark and make more money, or to appease the Giants and leave the A’s floundering.

  33. @ David Hmm, which seems more rational:

    1. Lew Wolff, an experienced developer and businessman, is able to discriminate between locations that have the economic fundamentals to support a business with very specific and demanding needs; or

    2. Lew Wolff “hates” Oakland.

  34. …if Wolff could make $$ building privately in Oakland, I’m sure he’d be happy to do it. He’d avoid all the t rights nonsense, etc, and the currency generated would be the same as what’s used in San Jose. But apparently he has looked at the situation and realizes San Jose is the last chance to save the A’s for the Bay Area (absent a huge public contribution from Oakland, which won’t happen).

  35. @Bartleby – Wolff was real “smart and experienced” buying all that land in Fremont, eh?

  36. Wolff gave it a try in Fremont and factors beyond his control got in the way. Not really following your logic. Are you saying that since it didn’t work out in Fremont, that proves Wolff hates Oakland?

  37. @pjk – follow the thread bro. I was addressing Bartleby.

  38. @ David Yes, he was. Nothing that happened in Fremont calls into question the city’s economic viability as a site.
    .
    And as I’ve said many times, I wouldn’t write Fremont off yet. I’m convinced Wolff put Fremont on hold because he saw the opportunity to say “I’ve exhausted all possibilities in my territory” and take a run at San Jose. But if for any reason San Jose doesn’t happen, I believe Fremont will come back to life, simply because it’s the only other economically viable location he can build. Negotiating a deal with the big box stores is not an insurmountable obstacle.
    .
    However, if in fact it’s true Wolff is selling off his land interests in Fremont (at the bottom of the market, no less), that’s the clearest indication yet that San Jose will happen.

  39. re: However, if in fact it’s true Wolff is selling off his land interests in Fremont (at the bottom of the market, no less), that’s the clearest indication yet that San Jose will happen.

    …Good point. This could be yet another indication that things are headed in San Jose’s direction. If’/when the San Jose ballpark gets built I’d like to leave a bleacher seat ticket at Will Call for David, so he’ll see a move to SJ is not a big deal. If it’s a night game, David will be back home by 11 pm….

  40. @ML – I noticed your quiet edit. Thank you.

  41. @David- Fremont failed because of the following reasons:

    1. Recession- He was going to use residential entitlements from the ancillary development to fund the ballpark. You cannot do that anymore with the real estate market in the dumps.

    2. Big box retailers and Pac Commons- Those companies had unlimited liability written into their leases if they lost business from another private company developing the adjacent land. In this case it was the ballpark.

    3. NIMBY’s in Warm Springs- That whole community is Asian/East Indian/Middle Eastern. They bought their pricey homes so they can have peace and quiet. Not to be near a ballpark. Their arguments are understandable.

    Wolff got done in by bad circumstances. You need to do your research more as it is obvious you have not done any.

    Bartleby and Jeff-Athletic like myself give factual evidence at every turn that can be proven in several ways.

    Slusser is right as I said earlier….The Dodgers are #1 right now.

    Then you have the new CBA, the Mets, and then the A’s coming in the rear.

    Selig will do nothing…..It is his style. Unless you force his hand like Vincent Piazza did when he filed an Anti-Trust lawsuit that was going to be heard by the Florida Supreme court can you get Selig to do anything.

    Wolff is too nice…….Nice guys finish last.

  42. I’m not understanding why the minds who run MLB would be just too overtaxed to handle the Dodgers and A’s situations in a single meeting. Seems to be me it should be – Santa Clara is now a shared territory – all say aye – approved with one dissent. Next item on the agenda …

  43. My last comment was deleted :(. I guess even I can go overboard sometimes. But yes, Wolff selling 143 acres in Fremont is very telling. Probably would sell for a “loss,” but I’m guessing he’d still make a killing on the property. And where might some of the proceeds go? 😉

  44. Fremont is no way viable. Its like handing off the rest of the bay to the Giants. Very few people will take the bland suburbia of Fremont over the active life of SF. Lets drop Fremont right now.

  45. I’ve been saying for years that any site in Fremont was a bad move. Suburbia location with no Bart really close by and some funky re-name with Silcon Valley or San Jose A’s of Fremont in it. Ughh!! A DT SJ site would actually be better than that just like a new Coliseum site would be, but I prefer VC over all the above.

  46. Fremont involved building a whole “baseball village,” with people living there, shops etc. It wasn’t an isolated stadium with nothing but a parking lot. Santana Row plus homes and a ballpark.

  47. Fremont satisfies the #1 requirement: Access to the corporate clients who will buy long term commitments to premium seating, which may represent as much as 50% of more of stadium revenue. Oakland doesn’t have it, and must compete with the Giants for what does exist nearby from the wrong end of a bridge. Fremont may not be ideal (SJ is), but it’s the only place other than SJ in the Bay Area that is viable.
    .
    @DJ You question whether As for whether people will choose “bland suburbia” over the “active life of SF.” But I’m guessing you think they’ll somehow choose the ugly industrial blight of the Coli site over the “active life of SF,” right?

  48. pjk– they have to allow the A’s to make a presentation, followed by a counter-presentation by the Giants, then vote. That could delay cocktail time by at least an hour, which is clearly unacceptable.

  49. “XXXXX is a liar when it comes to anything that has to do with the City of Oakland (and the A’s). ” Insert any of the past 3 Oakland Mayors and the statement would still be true…. 😉

  50. @bartleby- Fremont was Wolff’s last hope in Alameda County. No way he spend 30M non-recoverable just so he could tell MLB “All options are exhausted, San Jose is the only way”.

    He could have done that without having to spend a fraction of 30M dollars.

    Therefore Wolff has given up on Fremont and with good reasoning. That place would work from a premium seating standpoint but it would be tough to finance for similar reasons as Oakland but since it is far closer to San Jose they would be able to finance most of it but not all of it.

    In reality, Wolff did try everything he could in the East Bay to get this thing done privately. In today’s post-recession world financing is a big problem and Fremont would pose problems.

    In San Jose on the other hand, Wolff has SVLG backing him and that is why it is “shovel ready”. In Fremont he would only have perhaps half of that list on his side.

    Wolff and SJ have done what they can do….Only the baseball gods can help them now. Too bad that is Bud Selig who is a grade A moron.

  51. Anon-You so right!

  52. @Sid I have no doubt Wolff’s efforts in Fremont were sincere. I’m just saying, I think he would have pressed on there had he not perceived an opportunity to use the Fremont opposition as an excuse to take a run at San Jose. If San Jose were not a possibility, I think he would have cut a deal with the big box stores, even if it meant some concessions he would rather not make.
    .
    I don’t buy the $30 million “non-recoverable” unless someone explains to me exactly how that figure was calculated. If it were $30 million for options which expired, OK. Otherwise, I think that’s just something you say to get the write-off for accounting purposes.

  53. Fremont did have the same corporate backing as San Jose and that “non-recoverable” number was also inflated during Wolff’s interview with Fosse and Kuiper to 80 million.
    .
    Was it not Wolff who said at one time that Selig told him to “use/lay blame” on him if it helps get a deal done?

  54. To all:

    What is the opinion of the posters here whether Lew Wolff and John Fisher intended – with the help of MLB Commissioner Selig – to move the team to San Jose or out of the area and had no intention of staying in Oakland?

    A’s observer.

  55. Wolff proposed the north-of-the-Coliseum plan, which went nowhere, and then spent millions and several years trying to get a ballpark in Fremont. Selig has had 3 years since then to let the A’s go to San Jose but hasn’t. It sounds like everybody has tried to find a way to get something done in the A’s current territory but it’s just not happening. The expensive Fremont effort alone proves there’s no conspiracy all along to get the A’s to San Jose. It’s a matter of having exhausted all other options at this point. As far as Oakland, there’s no feasible place left to build there. Everything requires expensive property acquisitions, relocating businesses, likely litigation – a big mess. Oakland has no money to contribute. And the Coliseum site apparently has been ruled out.

  56. @ A’s Observer My opinion is that it would have been blindingly obvious from the outset to anyone in Wolff’s position, or indeed anyone with a basic understanding of MLB economics, that a privately-financed ballpark was not feasible in Oakland under current circumstances (e.g. premium seating driving the train; Giant’s in China Basin).
    .
    However, for PR and other reasons, he did make significant effort to evaluate sites and get something going in Oakland, if for no other reason than to prove that (regardless of economic considerations): (1) there were no feasible sites in Oakland, and (2) the City would never be able to get anything done.
    .
    So did he actually intend to build in Oakland? No, because he knew it was impossible. Did he make a sincere effort to build in Oakland anyway? Yes, to prove it was impossible.
    .
    Mission accomplished. I believe it has now been pretty conclusively established that a privately-financed ballpark is not possible for, not one, but several reasons.
    .
    However, “with the help of Commissoner Selig”? It’s pretty obvious Selig has been of zero help. If anything, Wolff’s personal relationship with Selig has been a major hindrance.

  57. @Bartleby- The 30M non-recoverable is only a fraction of what he actually paid which was a much larger sum.

    The 30M he cannot get back from selling the land because of the deprecation of the land itself due to the recession amongst other things he had to spend on.

    He mad a significant investment that is far too much to walk away from unless he had no choice.

    That plus his financing plan was contingent on residential entitlements that are now not possible.

    I feel bad for Wolff, hopefully it works out for him….Selig put him in this mess.

  58. Eh, Wolff is to blame for the failure in Fremont as well Sid. He put together a plan and spent money on land before he knew about the real cost in getting it done.
    .
    I’d like to think that episode was a lesson as to how to get the SJ plan finalized and while the land options are a good move, the referendum issue gives me pause.

  59. @Sid “The 30M he cannot get back from selling the land because of the deprecation of the land itself due to the recession amongst other things he had to spend on.”
    .
    If had options on the land which expired, those costs are non-recoverable. If he had consultant or other fees, those fees are non-recoverable. I find it hard to believe those two items could have come anywhere close to $30 million. If it’s a matter of “depreciation of the land itself,” however, as you say, it cannot be said conclusively those costs are “non-recoverable” until he actually sells. Land prices go up, they go down, they go up again. He might take a loss; he could still realize a gain.
    .
    Wolff does of course have every incentive to declare those losses “non-recoverable,” whether that is definitively true or not. For one, I assume that allows him a tax-write off. For another, it is a powerful piece of evidence in his case that he has exhausted all his options in Alameda County (at least, if people believe it).
    .
    Those sunk costs are another powerful reason to revisit the Pac Commons site if he cannot get approval to move to San Jose. The fact that the nominal land value has gone down matters little if he actually succeeds in building a ballpark there. The lower land value might even help with property tax, depending on how that part of the deal is structured.
    .
    “He mad a significant investment that is far too much to walk away from unless he had no choice.”
    .
    Who says he’s walked away from it? Again, assuming he actually owns the land (and I can’t recall if he does), it provides a nice fallback if San Jose doesn’t pan out. And if San Jose does pan out, he’ll either sell the land or use it for something else in the future. He’s a real estate developer; I’m sure he has lots of assets which are currently underwater. That doesn’t mean they always will be. It’s just part of the business.
    .
    “That plus his financing plan was contingent on residential entitlements that are now not possible.”
    .
    Just because that was the preferred financing mechanism doesn’t mean it was the only possible mechanism. Fremont gives the A’s access to Silicon Valley; I see no reason why he couldn’t simply get a loan, same as he will in San Jose. This was implicit in his pursuit of Warm Springs after the Pac Commons negotiations fell through; to my recollection a “ballpark village” was never part of that plan.

  60. So tired of Selig and MLB pushing this to the back burner, I’ve wanted them to stay in Oakland from the start.. but at this point just make a freaking decision.

    Holding the organization and it’s fans hostage for this length of time is absolutely appalling.

  61. @Sid “The 30M he cannot get back from selling the land because of the deprecation of the land itself due to the recession amongst other things he had to spend on.”

    Land is not a depreciable asset.

    As bartleby said, the fair market value may go up or down (based upon numerous factors) and either a gain or loss will occur based upon the timing of any sale.

    The fans deserve an answer one way or the other as to where the A’s are going to be.

  62. McCourt is coming around to selling the Dodgers. This will be the focus of this year’s Owners Winter Meetings in Milwaukee. The resolution of A’s territorial rights will not be resolved this year. Since Lew Wolff does not have a PLAN B, now he has time to develop one.

  63. “The resolution of A’s territorial rights will not be resolved this year.” Proof please! Facts are much appreciated on this blog Eric 19. By the way, glad you apparently know more about the situation than both Beane and Wolff.

    • “The resolution of A’s territorial rights will not be resolved this year.” Proof please! Facts are much appreciated on this blog Eric 19. By the way, glad you apparently know more about the situation than both Beane and Wolff.

      Actually, I apologize Eric 19. The decision re Territorial Rights could happen sometime in January, which is a little over 2 months away. However, that technically puts the decision being made in 2012, which obviously is NOT THIS YEAR! You’re alright Eric 19!

  64. Plan B is Fremont. I know the arguments contra. However, “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

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