Why San Jose is NOT Miami

The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the Miami Marlins ballpark deal (better late than never?). Now Field of Schemes has dug into the matter further, revealing that the investigation may be much broader than a look into how bonds were secured and pay-to-play. In fact, a mention of last year’s Deadspin exposé of have-not teams may end up being a convenient piece of evidence in the suit. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Now, there are some who will try to conflate what was done in Miami with what could happen with the A’s in San Jose. That would be terribly unfair. Not only has the City been clear about the land deal terms, it has at every milestone reinforced the notion that the final stadium deal will be approved (or not) by a public referendum. City has also published what its negotiating principles are, as shown in the resolution passed in September 2010.

WHEREAS, the Council desires to reaffirm the following previously-approved Negotiating Principles that will guide the City’s efforts in bringing a Major League Baseball stadium to San Jose:

1. No new taxes are imposed to fund ballpark-related expenditures.

2. The City must determine that the ballpark development will generate a significant economic benefit to the City and have a positive impact on City General Fund revenues.

3. No public funds shall be spent to finance or reimburse any costs associated with construction of the ballpark or construction of any on-site infrastructure or improvements needed for the ballpark.

4. No public funds of any kind are spent to finance or reimburse any ballpark operational or maintenance costs related to activities conducted by or under the authority of the baseball team that uses the ballpark either at the ballpark or in the streets surrounding the ballpark.

5. No public funds shall be spent to finance or reimburse the cost of any traffic control, street cleanup, emergency or security services within the ballpark site or within the streets surrounding the ballpark that are related to activities at the ballpark conducted by or under the authority of the baseball team.

6. If the property is leased for a ballpark, the baseball team must be willing, at the end of the term of the lease, either to purchase the property at fair market value or to do one of the following things at the City’s option and at no cost to the City or the Redevelopment Agency:

a. Transfer ownership of the improvements to the City or Redevelopment Agency; or
b. Demolish the improvements and clear the site to make way for other development.

7. The entity that builds or operates the ballpark must be willing, if the City deems it appropriate, to make the ballpark available to the City during baseball’s offseason for up to 10 days per year for community-related events, at no rental charge to the City.

8. The name of the baseball team must include San Jose.

Has anything changed? Nope. The important thing is that City realizes that and remains steadfast, and that Lew Wolff knows it. He’s been espousing a privately financed stadium since he assumed ownership. If he were to change his stance now or anytime in the near future, you know what will happen? He and Mayor Reed will lose whatever public support they had. It’s that simple. I like to think that in California, we’ve learned over the last decade not to be taken when it comes to stadium deals. Cisco Field will, eventually, be a test and a testament of that experience and wisdom. I believe we’ll do it right and set an example for the rest of the country and the next generation of city leaders and team owners to follow.

109 thoughts on “Why San Jose is NOT Miami

  1. The resolution doesn’t really exclude the possibility of squandering the value of public land to benefit a ballpark development. It may be a bit premature to vouch for the acts of the politicians in office at that moment. Even they may disavow those positions by the time these issues play out.

    Take a look at the reply Susan Slusser posted to an impassioned comment from regjax tonight on the sfgate Dumbeat. Wolff and Beane are willing to “lose” old-line A’s fans in the course of moving to San Jose. That’s just too bad; the cost of doing business. That’s also just the opposite of the approach the Giants took when they revived the franchise and the fan base in the 90s — they brought all loyal fans to China Basin with the move. The owners also built the Giants into a PS contender as they got ready to move. By contrast, there’s something very dry and calculated about the way the A’s are moving to SJ. (Well, so maybe we’ll be the smaller, NorCal version of the Angels, still, we’ll make some money . . . .) I think you San Jose proponents will get what you wish for, and I think it’s likely all A’s fans, including you, will be disappointed.

  2. @zoot- if the giants were so loyal to their fans than why did they build a ballpark so far away from where they claim “the heart and soul” of their fan base is located? When you build a private ballpark it’s all about having revenue streams to support it- SJ and SF have those- Oakland doesn’t- which is why the phantom Oakland deal has $250M of public money

  3. No Giant’s fans left behind? Really… What was the difference in ticket prices between Candlestick and AT&T? Serious question.

  4. 90% of the crowd on any given night at McCovey’s Sewer Stadium have never heard of the Criox de Candlestick.

  5. @suit,
    WOW! I guess I’m not a “real A’s fan” because I don’t reside in The O. And “real A’s fan” south of Oakland and Tri-Valley won’t attend games in SJ because the yard isn’t in The O. Got news for you suit: A’s fans reside in all corners of the Bay, even in SJ!

  6. Bob Melvin is now the latest on record saying the A’s need a new stadium and San Jose “works for him.” I think his name is coming to a bedsheet near you.
    This land deal seems completely just, considering he is building a $420 million stadium on a piece of land he got discounted by $14 million. I’m no econ expert, but the millions on the return investment (downtown economy with restaurants, hotels, jobs, etc.) would seem to easily make up for that $14 million in one baseball season’s time.

  7. Yes, there are some folks desperately hoping for San Jose to fail, so they latch on to whatever they can find – Giants frivolous lawsuits, Marlins stadium investigation, blah blah blah. Of course, San Jose failing does nothing to help the unfavorable ballpark economics in Oakland and more likely just hastens the A’s departure from the Bay Area.

  8. @xootsuit – I can’t be bothered to comb The Drumbeat for a specific message if you’re not going to link to it. That’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

    The A’s and Giants situations aren’t comparable. The demographics between the fans at the current Coliseum and the future stadium are going to be vastly different. The ballpark will be far less accessible for East Bay fans than the Coliseum. Wolff has done studies indicating that most of the ticket buyers come from within a 20-22 mile radius of the stadium, plus some allowance for distance if public transit is involved. The Giants had no issues with potentially alienating the fanbase – except they almost did in the early 90’s when they almost went to the South Bay. It took seven years from when Shorenstein put the group together to when the first game was played at China Basin, and that had no outside interference from another team *cough*Giants*cough* trying to delay or stonewall the effort. If the A’s open in 2015 it’ll be ten years from when Wolff assumed ownership. There’s no way they could’ve kept a superstar long enough to wait out a frequently uncertain ten-year development process, as the Giants were able to do with Bonds. Yes, it’s incredibly easy to compare when in fact the circumstances are quite different.

  9. Regarding #8 in the Reso, I’m surprised that San Jose did not learn from Anaheim and specifically state that “San Jose” must come before “Athletics” in the team name.

  10. 5:52 pm comment — the most interesting notes are in the replies to that comment.

  11. @ML: I think you’re response is consistent with my argument. The circumstances are quite different, but that’s because Wolff has taken the low-budget road in Oakland. He took over a team in 2005 that went to the PS the next year. Downhill since. He has resources. He simply has refused to use them to build a team or a stadium in Oakland. From my window I can look down on the Victory Court site, right this minute. The drawbridges to Alameda and the light fixtures at the Coliseum are off in the distance. The VC spot is perfect; the Coliseum never was. The Giants had essentially the same problem with Candlestick. I moved to the East Bay in the early 80s and, back then, I worked unusual hours; I used to go do day games during the week at both the Coliseum ($2 LF bleacher seats) and at Candlestick (you could sit almost anywhere once you got in). I’m well aware of how both stadiums deteriorated over the years. The group that bought the Giants from Lurie leapt into rebuilding the team. Even the strike didn’t slow them down much. As the new park got going in the late 90s, they hired Sabean, he traded for Kent, and the team had two MVPs hitting back to back. Etc. They spent money to get ready for the great new park. So, yeah, circumstances are different. Wolff is dedicated to the South Bay and he’s willing to trash Oakland and dump the A’s fans up here in the process, no matter how long it takes.

  12. Mark N. – the A’s in San Jose have no incentive to keep the Oakland name or market themselves as an Oakland/East Bay team. Exactly the opposite, in fact. The key to making this work is a clean break from “Oakland Athletics,” which is probably the weakest brand among all the major sports teams throughout Northern California. So I don’t think SJ has anything to worry about — the franchise will be renamed the San Jose Athletics, and they won’t look back.

  13. “90% of the crowd on any given night at McCovey’s Sewer Stadium have never heard of the Criox de Candlestick.”
    This is true of ALL new ballparks, and it’s just the flip side of what makes them successful — they attract large numbers of new fans with more disposable income. Probably 95% of the fans at Cisco Field won’t have any personal memories of cowbells, drums or third deck tarps either.

  14. “The VC spot is perfect; …..”
    Xootsuit, it’s pretty obvious that the powers that be within MLB do not agree.

  15. @xootsuit – That’s ridiculous. With the poor track record of attendance and even worse corporate base in Oakland, exactly how do you expect the A’s to pay for a mortgage there that would be twice what the Giants are paying (and crying poor about) in SF? What banks are going to place faith in Oakland? Wally Haas ran the A’s at a loss during the “salad days” of the Bash Brothers. That’s no way to run a business long term. Wolff had plans to pay for a ballpark with private funds, one of which (the only one that would’ve worked in Oakland) got blown up in the economic collapse. The Giants and their ownership deserve credit for taking a bold step to secure their market position early. The difficulty in pulling that off is proof positive that it can’t be done in just any city, certainly not one as dysfunctional as Oakland. There are two real economic engine cities in the Bay Area, and they’re not Oakland. Wolff knew he’d wear the black hat with the departure. He didn’t expect to have to wear it this long.

    Speaking of dysfunctional, the comments refuse to load for the link you provided. No thanks, I give up on that.

  16. @suit,
    Respectfully, do a little research on “corporate support” and “private financing of a stadium.” You’ll sleep better tonight knowing the facts (or maybe not).

  17. From the Contra Costa Times:

    The South Bay leads the nation in job growth in the last 12 months from October. The South Bay had 3.2% job growth year over year while the East Bay had 0.1% job growth.

  18. corporate base in CC and Alameda County is quite large. The half-truths in here know no end …

  19. Then why don’t those corporations buy suites at A’s games now, David? The suites at A’s games, as economically priced as they come, are almost always empty. And the Raiders have had equal trouble selling their suites. Who’s come forward to buy naming rights for a new Oakland ballpark. Nobody. Cisco Field has a $120 mill naming rights sponsor, which would go away if the ballpark is in Oakland.

  20. @David – If Alameda and Contra Costa Counties were participating in Oakland’s strategy you might have a point. Unfortunately it’s up to Oakland. Your loss.

  21. @david,
    Tell that to Wolff, Reinsdorf and MLB, since you obviously know more about corporate support than they do. (Gee..Clorox or Cisco?)

  22. @pjk – suites don’t sell because the Coliseum is old. No one on the pro-Oakland side has said that the Coliseum is a long-term solution. That’s we advocate for a new ballpark in Oakland.

    In one thread the pro-SJ folks say “…we don’t anything about Oakland’s plan…”, then in another they apparently know what is going on, if they can say that Alameda and C.C. Counties are, or are not involved in what Oakland is doing …

  23. But Al Davis’s suites are pretty new and he’s always had trouble selling them. One poster on here says the Raiders suites are priced at half what the rest of the league charges. Of course, Al Davis did not have to build his suites on his own dime, like the A’s would. Historically, three of four A’s ownership groups have wanted to leave Oakland. So either they’re all flat-out meanies or they see the difficulty in sustaining a Major League Baseball franchise in the East Bay.

  24. @David – At what point have the Oakland boosters asked for county or regional political help in putting together their plan? Oh that’s right, they haven’t even taken their plan to the citizens of Oakland yet. That’s fantastic progress.

  25. Which banks are going to loan $500 million for a ballpark to be paid for largely through corporate sponsorships and suite sales when the history of this for the A’s and Raiders has been abysmal? Which banks are going to be chomping at the bit to underwrite a project under these circumstances? (I know – A’s owners can just drain their personal bank accounts and sell off their personal holdings to pay for the ballpark in Oakland.)

  26. This is much too personal. Teams and stadiums move all the time. It’s an easy drive from Oakland to SJ if you want to keep rooting. SJ is 2 1/2 times the size of Oakland and growing, while Oakland shrinks. Every tech company in the world has a presence in the Redwood City, SJ, Fremont triangle. I doubt if there is a wealthier 3M person area in the world.

  27. lazlo: You must be new here. Some folks on this site equate the A’s moving from Oakland to San Jose to the A’s moving from Oakland to San Antonio. San Jose might as well be on Mars.

  28. Its interesting as the heat has turned up on the pro-SJ rhetoric, recently, how the true feeling of some folks have been made very clear to all.

  29. @pjk

    I don’t understand the “Oakland or out” stance.

    I don’t understand thinking a move to San Jose is just like a move to San Antonio.

    Sorry, but it’s not. Period. SJ is still local, easily accessible to all current A’s fans. So what if current Oakland residents would have to drive 30-40 minutes, rather than a short current drive/Bart ride. Boo-hoo (notice dripping sarcasm).

    San Antonio is half way across the nation. It’s not local. The A’s moving there would no longer represent the Bay Area or Northern California. It’s out of reach to current A’s fans.

    Please get a grip on reality.

    Wow. Just wow.

  30. BTW – pjk – I was referring to the folks you were referring to, who take that stance. Not you.

    Just clarifying.

  31. @David – It’s interesting how many of the pro-Oakland crowd has very little to say about anything, especially solutions.

  32. “I don’t understand thinking a move to San Jose is just like a move to San Antonio. Sorry, but it’s not. Period. SJ is still local, easily accessible to all current A’s fans. ”
    @jeff-athletic – that strikes me as a little unfair to the East Bay folks. Most (not all) people root for sports teams because they somehow “represent” what the fans consider to be their home town or area. The city name of the franchise is a huge part of that. Most fans of any team follow most games online or on TV, so proximity to the ballpark is only one factor among many.
    And obviously if fans picked their favorite teams based solely on how close the ballpark is, most East Bay A’s fans would simply convert to Giants fans as soon as the move to San Jose happens.
    Oakland is being wiped off the major league map, and the A’s identity as an East Bay team is coming to an end. The whole plan here is to break with the past and develop a new, wealthier fanbase in Santa Clara County, where the A’s have historically had a tiny market share compared to the Giants. It’s naive and unreasonable not to expect many East Bay A’s fans to lose interest in the club as a result of that process.

  33. The A’s will need years to develop a fan base in the South Bay (and that inevitably will happen). Come to think of it, they’d need years to develop one in the East Bay now, since it, too, has become Giants Country. The A’s ranking in attendance (last) says all we need to know about the level of enthusiasm for the A’s in the East Bay, despite having some young, promising players (Jemile Weekes) and the most economical ticket prices in all of major pro sports.

  34. “SJ is 2 1/2 times the size of Oakland and growing, while Oakland shrinks” The population of Oakland is growing, along with Alameda County. So yeah, that’s a lie.
    “Historically, three of four A’s ownership groups have wanted to leave Oakland.” The Giants almost moved several times. The Bay Area wasn’t a strong baseball market for a very long period. Acting like this was an Oakland only problem is disingenuous.
    Anyway, I saw the post xoot linked and it is full of passion and heart. If you read it and feel no compassion for Oakland A’s fans. I don’t know what to say.

  35. plan B = Wolffe sells the A’s.
    plan C = New owners build in Oakland.

  36. I myself drive up to an hour and a half in traffic to catch weekday games. I live in Mountain View.
    I’ll continue to do it if they stay in Oakland. If they move to San Jose and thats what’s best for them then I applaud it. But as a true fan I’ll go wherever they end up even if it were Ukiah. This is what I don’t understand about the Oakland only folks. I get it, there is history in Oakland, but if Oakland can’t do it then the A’s will be history in the entire bay.

  37. Difference between Giants and A’s pre-ATT Park and pre-Mount Davis: The Giants played in an inaccessible, freezing, wind tunnel of a “ballpark,” known only for its bitter cold weather. The A’s played in a nice, sunny ballpark with perfect weather, a perfect view of the Oakland Hills and its own BART stop. Giants at Candlestick had more excuses for lousy attendance than the pre-Mt Davis A’s.

  38. @pjk Whatever the excuses, the fans didn’t care enough to go. The results were the same.

  39. @ML — Calm down. Your financial claims may be right. I don’t know. But VC sure is a perfect site for a ballpark. Much better than downtown San Jose. Your dislike for Oakland seems to be a big part of your effort to rationalize what Wolff is doing to the City of Oakland and the A’s fans residing here. The Haas years ran red ink, perhaps, for the same reason Lurie was awash in it on the other side of the bay — a crappy stadium. Baseball’s a business, but some owners are in it for the baseball, too. How about Wolff?
    @laszlo — “It’s an easy drive from Oakland to SJ if you want to keep rooting.”
    I drive from Oakland to SJose fairly often. It’s not an easy drive in the evening during the week, when people would be, you know, headed to night games. In fact, the only commute I’ve ever seen that is as consistently horrible as that one is the commute between the two cities in the morning. (Granted, mid-day games will be fine — going, but you might have to pull a dodger 7thinning shuffle to get home before rush hour congeals.)

  40. re: plan B = Wolffe sells the A’s.
    plan C = New owners build in Oakland.

    …same old, same old. Expect some mythical magic billionaire to spend $1 billion buying the franchise and building a ballpark on his own dime without regard to whether he goes bankrupt or not, since the economics don’t add up for a privately financed ballpark in Oakland. Anybody think anyone is going to come forward and buy the A’s under these conditions? If SJ doesn’t happen, what happens is Wolff sells to MLB, which then wastes a year trying to get someone to buy and build privately in Oakland. Wen that fails, bidding opens up to bidders from outside the Bay Area who will move the team far away. Don’t believe for a second this notion that the A’s would have no place to go.

  41. re: The Haas years ran red ink, perhaps, for the same reason Lurie was awash in it on the other side of the bay — a crappy stadium.

    …the Coliseum was still a fine ballpark when Haas ran the team. Far superior to Candlestick. It wasn’t ruined until after the Haas family bailed.

    re: what Wolff is doing to the City of Oakland
    …What’s he doing other then being unwilling to build where it doesn’t make financial sense? He hasn’t asked Oakland for a dime. Meanwhile, let’s review what Oakland has done to the A’s – ruin the ballpark, fire the city manager for trying to come up with a new one, ignore the North of the Coliseum project, etc.

  42. @xootsuit – Don’t mischaracterize what I’m saying. I like Oakland, the city. I dislike how its politicians and some boosters have carried out their “keep the team in Oakland” efforts, which to me have been terribly unfocused and lacking in transparency, instead going to bare minimum efforts like setting up a Facebook group with advertising (which has ground to a halt thanks to the lack of progress on Oakland’s part).

    I’ve met with Wolff a few times. He’s very much a baseball fan, going back to his childhood in St. Louis. This demonization quest has clouded many normally rational people’s thinking on this. He wants real stability for the A’s franchise and an opportunity to truly succeed, and he’s set in his mind as to how to do that. Maybe he’s wrong, but no one has convinced me of that. The simple fact is that building a stadium will cost half a billion dollars, and it needs to pencil out. That has been plainly ignored by many in the pro-Oakland camp. Yet Tony LaRussa, Andy Dolich, Jerry Reinsdorf, and numerous other baseball and pro sports insiders understand the problem. If people keep ignoring reality and calling Wolff names, they aren’t focusing on solving the problem, which is not “Oakland or San Jose?” It’s “How do you pay for a half billion dollar ballpark?”

  43. I guess I take umbrage at “VC is a perfect site.” There has been zero study to prove this.

  44. My theory is Oakland saw how much it would cost to re-do VC with the all the businesses that need to be moved, transportation issues, and to clear the site. 250M is about right just to do that alone. Is that a good use of RDA funds? I think not.

    They saw this in the first 30 days of the EIR process and immediately stopped. They figured at this point in their own minds no way this was feasible.

    If it was feasible, they would have finished the EIR and handed it to the MLB BRC and told them this can happen and we will make it happen.

    In that case, MLB would have told Wolff look closer at VC and try there first. Of course this has not happened and San Jose is about to get the green light.

    VC was listed as the least feasible of all the sites toured in the East Bay since 2001. How is that a better site than Downtown San Jose?

    Downtown San Jose has a site located in a urban downtown setting, only 1 business to move in ATT and has of course corporate and affluent fan support across the board to get this done without a public subsidy.

    Oakland’s time has past. San Jose has blown past them in so many areas that it is hard to fathom anything different.

    In any case, if Oakland could make it happen they should have by now. Last team sharing with a NFL team tells you something very distinct.

    Wolff tried his best, he knew going in that San Jose was a long shot and that he needed to try in the East Bay. He did, MLB sees that if they did not they would push him back to Oakland.

  45. Man it’s so obvious how much is in a name by watching the Niners and A’s south bay sagas. While the Niners move is being met with mostly “meh” out of San Francisco, the A’s move out of Oakland is being met with great consternation and vitriol. And why is it? It’s got one of two things, Oakland feeling like it’s being “left behind” by the world, and/or the name change. The Niners would still be the San Francisco 49ers, they’d still play in the San Francisco Bay Area (an area so named after the bay which is named after the city). However with the A’s move they’d be changing the name to the San Jose Athletics and in doing so would sever their only ties to Oakland. This has got to be why you don’t see SF Only Niners fans but you do see Oakland only A’s fans.

  46. I don’t think anybody is happy at all that Oakland may be losing their team, and there are probably plenty of other anecdotes from great, passionate fans. But that should not cloud the reality of where this franchise is and where it has fallen to ever since the Raiders returned and AT & T showed up. Throw in a Giants world title, and voila – irrelevancy.
    I would hope most fans would be thrilled that the A’s are getting a stadium that is their very own that they control for the first time in almost 100 years. I don’t have much sympathy for those who don’t want to drive to San Jose for a game, and would assume that those of us who live in San Jose drive to Oakland without batting an eyelash. I know I do as a Dubs STH. The rub in all this seems to be that if the A’s left Oakland tomorrow, we would officially be able to say that the City of Oakland did little to nothing at all to stop them, whether they were able to or not. But I also have a feeling the Oakland PR machine would be spinning out of control to save some type of face.

  47. @David

    “plan B = Wolffe sells the A’s.
    plan C = New owners build in Oakland.”

    plan D = building commences with the labor of pink unicorns, and materials from leprechauns over the rainbow.

    plan E = nobody gives a flying leap about financial feasibility because they have pink unicorns and leprechauns as resources.


  48. … or back to reality ….

    Plan A = San Jose / Diridon has the land, EIR, political will, population, spending power, and corporate base to make the building of a privately financed ballpark feasible, and to keep the Athletics competitive in the years following, Athletics go off revenue sharing, and become a profit center.

  49. @Dan – Your comment seems to be a personal opinion regarding SF Niner fans based on your personal experience. There are many people against the move to SCL. I live on the peninsula now more toward SF and many of the people I have encountered in that area are totally against it, i.e. my in-laws as one example who have been niner fans for decades. That is my personal experience. I may be incorrect but I think I read somewhere that some local politicians are pushing for them to change the name from SF if they end up moving. I’m a Raider fan so I could care less either way but I feel for the hardcore niner fans who have been loyal for many years who are against this. This is strictly an assumption on my part but perhaps your personal experience is with people that live further down the peninsula and in SV. If that’s the case then I obviously wouldn’t be surprised that these niner fans would be ok with the move. Also note that the SF city manager is not giving up hope to keep them in SF. He has recently hired a firm to design a new stadium at HP and there are rumors that this firm has ties to an investment company willing to put up some dough for construction. Hey, it may be a pipedream at this point in light of the recent financing announcement for the new stadium but I just beg to differ that there are not many SF-Only folks because there are.

  50. I’ve been skeptical of the Santa Clara site, but it sure looks like a done deal at this point. Financing in place, Great America pacified, suites being sold. Niners are gone from Frisco. People with Frisco addresses only comprise about 5-10 % of the season ticket base. Tells you right there how much Frisco cares about NFL football.

  51. Anyone who says that the VC site is better than Diridon, is sadly mistaken. I think the 21,000 who showed up at 8am on Thanksgiving and paid to run a 5K or 10K a couple of blocks from where the new stadium will be, would back me up. No more cold nights in April, May, June, July, August. The fog doesn’t come in til late at night. That’s just another reason that Diridon is better. I hate to say it, but I don’t think the A’s care if the 400 “old line” fans who come to games, hold up signs “bad mouthing” the owners, and complain everytime the bleacher pay structure gets changed, make the 45min wagon train to SJ. Just like some of us have for 30 yrs. 880 sucked way worse in 1983 in a Volkswagon Dasher. 2 lanes all the way through Milpitas. We used to leave 2 hrs early. Suck it up ladies, or don’t 400 more seats for us. Besides, how long do you think you have to wait for someone to respond to a comment on the “Pro Oakland Stadium website”? This small minded way of thinking is exactly why there’s no new stadium in Oakland, and why ownership(Warriors and Raiders too) can’t wait to get the Hell out of town. The Giants are trying to keep the South Bay for their own, for a reason. The Same reason they wanted to move here 20yrs ago. They just don’t have a legitimate claim now that they have the nicest park in all baseball. Imagine how screwed the A’s would be if ATT was a dump, and only sold out 75% of the time. I’ll be interested to see if attendance at the O actually goes up, when people from the South Bay start getting excited about the stadium. Wouldn’t take much.

  52. “I hate to say it, but I don’t think the A’s care if the 400 “old line” fans who come to games, hold up signs “bad mouthing” the owners, and complain everytime the bleacher pay structure gets changed, make the 45min wagon train to SJ.” 400? Really? Way to dismiss a large portion of the fan base who are upset. It’s comments like this that fuel the division between the fan base.

  53. re: a large portion of the fan base
    …How large is it? A handful of fans in the cheap seats holding up anti-Wolff banners. Once again, it’s easier to blame the so-called greedy capitalist owners than to put the blame where it belongs: Oakland politicians who proudly hindered the A’s for many years and did nothing to help them get a new ballpark.

  54. @pjk If the size of the fan base determines the importance of an issue or gives reason to be dismissive of complaints, then Bud Selig was perfectly right in blowing off the A’s all these years. I mean there are very few A’s fans East Bay/South Bay/anywhere, right?
    Look, disagree with a perspective all you want, but trying to cast it as illegitimate with gross generalizations doesn’t help anyone involved.

  55. @eb – I agree with you but this is a futile effort. They say we’re blaming the greedy owners and dig at the fan base, i.e. 400 fans. Yet what business are you aware of, anywhere, that customers are blamed for the product? If a company sells fewer widgets and continually loses money it must be the consumer who is stupid. Ok.

    • @eb – I agree with you but this is a futile effort.They say we’re blaming the greedy owners and dig at the fan base, i.e. 400 fans.Yet what business are you aware of, anywhere, that customers are blamed for the product?If a company sells fewer widgets and continually loses money it must be the consumer who is stupid.Ok.

      You’re calling it blame but that’s going overboard. If the widget doesn’t sell, that means there isn’t a strong market for it. There’s no fault involved.

  56. Well, how well have fans supported the A’s in Oakland throughout the years;. Not very well, for the most part. For example, the A’s in 2006 were AL runners up.. At the gate, they were ranked 26th in attendance that season. We have to conclude the A’s product is not very sought after in the East Bay.

  57. If the east bay is so close to the south bay, then why has attendance been low (y’all can drive up, as easily as we can drive down)? The product, that’s why! Stop throwing stones at Oakland when its the lack of talent on the field that has not impressed A’s fans (anywhere in the Bay Area).

  58. @pjk “Well, how well have fans supported the MLB in the Bay Area throughout the years;. Not very well, for the most part.” Fixed it for ya.

  59. We do drive up. But being 30 miles away, it’s not our responsibility in the South Bay to fill a ballpark built for you guys in the East Bay. I went to one of those free parking Tuesday nights a few months ago ($17 value) – something like 13,000 people there, with the usual acres and acres of empty seats. And the East Bay folks have BART access – we in the South Bay must drive to at least Fremont or to the “ballpark” itself… Was it the lack of talent in 2006 that kept the seats empty? What were the figures in here – 15 times in the playoffs, 7 times in the top half of attendance rankings. 7 times in 44 years.

  60. @pjk It’s been the responsibility of ALL A’s FANS. Going to games, watching on tv, listening to the games on radio, etc. That is the job of A’s fans all over the Bay Area and it has not been done. Certainly the burden is heavier on the East Bay to do all of that, but A’s fans as a whole have been substandard. Just as the Giant fans were pre yuppie park.

  61. Anyhow..
    @Dan way back. I’m probably wrong, but I believe when the Niners are firmly rooted in SC area bigwigs will push (or offer incentive$) for them to change their name: either San Jose or Silicon Valley. Feel eventually locals will sour on having that smaller town 45 miles to the north with their initials on the helmet. Not suggesting the Niners or NFL would go for it, just that locals will push for it (imagine the coup for SJ to “steal” SF’s team). Silicon Valley would work to.

  62. Bottom line, a new ballpark will do wonders for the franchise in either Oakland or San Jose. I’m rooting for Oakland, as you know. But after the park the front office and ownership have a LOT of work to do. The A’s aren’t in a position to just cast away some fans and hope to become the dominant team in the market, which they should be striving towards. F being the Angels of the Bay Area, if you keep winning and market like a wizard you can compete directly with the Giants, as they did during the Haas years.

  63. The East Bay has been the target population for this team, and it seems the East Bay is just not responding anymore. I mean, how much cheaper can tickets get? And you can pull a 1989 out as proof of the fandom all you want. But you can’t have it both ways and ignore 2006. AT & T has changed the game completely.

  64. I’ve been to A’s games in the late 70’s where there were not much more than 400 fans on a typical weekday game, and a few thousand more on weekends. It’s amazing that we still averaged 18,460 last year with a sub-par team, in a sub-par venue with sub-par ownership with the WS champs across the bay packing then in. Baseball for it’s first 80 years never averaged more than 18k a game. It’s over 30k now, with all the new cool venues helping the growth, and that can be achieved in Oakland if given a fair chance with open-minded ownership. But wih Oakland haters like Wolff, Selig and Reinsdorf, I’m wasting my time even holding out for a fair shot.
    BTW, Mr. Reinsdorf, your Whitesox just hit 2 mill in attendance last year. We outdrew you in our football park in 99, 01, 02, 03, 04, not to mention most of the Haas years before New Comiskey was built.

  65. “BTW, Mr. Reinsdorf, your Whitesox just hit 2 mill in attendance last year. We outdrew you in our football park in 99, 01, 02, 03, 04, not to mention most of the Haas years before New Comiskey was built.”
    That’s what was ironic about the whole comment. The White Sox haven’t drawn very well historically and are in a part of Chicago that many deem as less than desirable.

  66. @Nam Turk – “You’re calling it blame but that’s going overboard. If the widget doesn’t sell, that means there isn’t a strong market for it. There’s no fault involved.” I beg to differ. What if the widget sold before but has now declined? Is it possible the people selling the widgets have something to do with that or is that still the consumer’s problem? This is not the same thing as more umbrellas being sold in Seattle than in San Diego because that is an obvious market for an umbrella manufacturer. It’s not as if there is zero market for baseball in the east bay.

  67. Guys, traffic goes towards the East Bay at night.

    If you take 680 south from the East Bay to San Jose there is no traffic except by Capitol Expressway sometimes not every day. You can get to Downtown SJ with relative ease. I know because I used to work in the Tri-Valley area for years and I live in San Jose.

    880 is tough because going south bound 4 lanes go to 3 and the 101 interchange is a mess. But help is on the way, a 4th lane has been approved from 237 to 101 and will be done by the time the A’s move to San Jose in 2015….State and federal $$.

    Going up 880 without a carpool is murder in the evenings from San Jose. Everyone is going home that way. Flow of traffic is very important for fans to get to games.

    SF from SJ on the other hand you can take 280N all the way and not hit any traffic at all. That is because everyone takes 101 since most live off that freeway commuting.

    In the end, the attendance is one thing, but overall demographics of a region say a lot. SF is just too close to Oakland and they got a huge head start with ATT in 2000.

    That plus the fact for south bay people it is not worth it to drive to Oakland…..You may as well drive a bit further to SF and hit zero traffic on 280N.

  68. Let’s see, Reinsdorf owns the historical second banana team in a two-team market, threatens to leave and negotiates a way to stay in market, gets a new stadium built right next to the old one in a historically depressed part of town. He wins a World Series and maintains a competitive roster over the last decade. And now some of the pro-Oakland crowd is cherry-picking the White Sox’ attendance numbers? Do you realize how many parallels there are in Chicago to the dream situation you perceive for Oakland? That is desperately grasping at straws, people.

  69. ML– Excellent point, with the caveat that the area around the Coliseum is a lot less scary than the area around U.S. Cellular.

  70. Last time I checked, we had the best widgets in 01,02, really, really good widgets in 00,03,and 06. Not too bad in 04, and 05 either. The agument that the better the product on the field the better attendance is so weak. For one, Duh. Everyones attendance is better when they win. New ballpark or not. The proof is when the widgets win 100 games, and can’t even come close to selling out the widget playoffs. What’s the excuse for that?
    THE LARGE PORTION of you should have showed up for more playoff games when you had the chance.

  71. @ML The point isn’t that Reinsdorf is incompetent. It’s just ironic that he would call Oakland “past its prime” based on low attendance and a depressed area. Your post just further illustrates that irony.

  72. “past its time,” sorry.

  73. @Colombo– I don’t doubt that SF city officials are upset about the 49ers move, and maybe some longtime fans who live in or right by the city. But the reality is that the 49er Faithful for the most part aren’t passionate about this one way or another. It’s just a different location for home games, but the team’s identity is not going to change.
    @Tony D.– the idea that the 49ers might change their first name is laughable. New Jersey is still waiting for at least one of the football teams for whom they have built two stadiums to consider dropping New York. The Rams didn’t even think about adding Anaheim or OC to their name when they played in the Big A. NFL is way too brand conscious to give up marquee city names. And if you’ve ever lived on the East Coast, you know that Bay Area = San Francisco in the public mind, and even in the business world Silicon Valley = Palo Alto more than San Jose.

  74. I’m in Taiwan on a business trip about to head to Shanghai and I see I haven’t missed much in the way of arguments….lol.

  75. @eb – The difference between the Chicago market and the Bay Area is that there is no equivalent San Jose for Reinsdorf to run to. He’s stuck on the South Side.

  76. @ML There is no wealthy suburban area in or around Chicago? I’m not familiar with the area and I know there isn’t Silicon Valley money, but I imagine there were alternatives. Even if there weren’t though, my point still stands. He made it work.

  77. Put a New Comiskey type park ANYWHERE in Oakland, we will outdraw the Chisox with similar records year and year out I bet. They’ve drawn 2.9 mill twice, we did it once, but they had some dreadful 1.3-1.6 mill years with halfway decent teams in new Comiskey, which is an okay park, but on the lower half of the new ones.

  78. Comiskey (US Cellular Field) was built with public funds, which are not available in Oakland.

  79. @eb – There’s not enough population density and no municipal government large enough in the Chicago suburbs to make a play for the White Sox.

    @jk-usa – Oh, so easy to make such a claim when you have no way to back it up and no track record to support it.

  80. There’s a big problem in your New Comiskey park, it would be in Oakland and not in a tier 1 city like Chicago which could support 2 parks, whereas Oakland can barely sustain 1. That’s the reality of being in a “depressed area” (RIP Al D.).

  81. @Simon way back,
    Big, big difference (literally) between New Jersey, Anaheim and San Jose…got 1million residents and an economy that trumps all? Look, SJ has the Sharks and will soon have the A’s; our profile will definitely be on the rise. So its not a stretch to envision the Niners taking the name of a large city only a few miles away vs a smaller burgh 45 miles to the north. In closing, SF won’t be the top dog in the Bay Area forever ..why not change this in the next few years?

  82. I know Chicago teams have been just so-so lately, but for a tier 1 city 2 team market, Chicago not tearing it up overall at the gate:
    LAD+LAA=75,300 fans (+13 over .500)
    NYY+NYM=75,100 (+24 )
    ChiC+ChiSox=62k (-24)
    SFG+Oak=60k (-4)
    Balt+Wash=46,700 (-25)
    Just the NYY made the playoffs. Combines record in (brackets)

  83. @TonyD–LMAO… what the hell have you been smoking? Smaller burgh 45 miles north? You mean San Francisco, one of the premier cities in the world? No way in hell the 49ers will change to San Jose 49ers or Silicon Valley 9ers or anything close to that. SF carries way more cache than SJ and Oakland combined, times 10. Not sure about the Raiders if they move to SC, but I believe they’ll keep it Oakland., that gritty bad boy image that seems to be their thing for years. Changing to San Jose Raiders is just wrong too, just like the A’s. So instead of the black hole you’d have the texting, social media zone. As soon as the TD alert comes up on their smartphones, they’ll look up and cheer for a second, and then back to their typing and scrolling.

  84. oops.. I meant cachet, not cache.

  85. The 49ers will keep the Frisco name, even though almost nobody in Frisco cares about the team. That’s why they’re leaving in the first place – Frisco won’t build a stadium for them and nobody there cares that the team is leaving. Raiders, meanwhile, will head back to LA once and for all…

  86. @pjk So if a city won’t build a stadium with tax payer’s money it means they don’t care about the team? I generally dislike the 49ers and SF as much as any Oakland Raider fan, but to say SF residents don’t care about their team is ridiculous.

  87. Go to Frisco and see you see any outpouring of grief about the 49ers leaving. Only 5-10% of the season ticketholders have Frisco zip codes. The Niners management knows this and is very comfortable leaving Frisco for Santa Clara…

  88. First of all, don’t smoke. Second, if this “SF has cachet” theory was true, then why aren’t they the “San Francisco Sharks, San Francisco A’s, San Francisco Raiders, San Francisco Warriors, San Francisco Earthquakes”? Answer: because the “cachet” crap is just that, bull $hit! Look, Frisco is always going to be that city that out of town relatives salivate to visit; this will never change. But to suggest that the city name for a sports franchise is sacrosanct is ridiculous (jk saying something ridiculous..imagine that). If Frisco doesn’t care for the team, why not have the Niners name reflect where they play (just my opinion).

  89. San Jose Raiders? /vomit

    I’ve asked this before and will ask this again. If push comes to shove and somehow Oaktown, the East Bay, and it’s citizens gets to decide its own fate. Would they (you) support increased taxes to pay for a new stadium? And it’s a yes or no question with no clauses, just simply if you will finance the stadium similar to the SC deal?

  90. @pjk – “Raiders, meanwhile, will head back to LA once and for all…” Wow! Do you know something we don’t know? Or is this more of kicking someone while he’s down? Let me guess. By 2016 Oakland will have zero professional teams, right?

  91. I don’t have any inside info. I just won’t be surprised if the Raiders end up occupying the new stadium in LA. They apparently don’t want to be part of the new 49ers stadium and Oakland, of course, doesn’t have $1 billion on hand to build them a new stadium. How interested is Al Davis’s son in owning the team? Guess we’ll find out soon if he’s in for the long haul or will unload his shares to folks in LA. Mark Davis went to Dublin to pitch a new stadium a few years ago and was told in kind terms – no way no how not ever…

  92. IMHO, I believe the Raiders are going to help out the Niners with their new DEBT SERVICE in SC.

  93. @ Tony D

    While I’m with you on San Jose raising it’s profile, getting the A’s and all that, as a Niners fan in Silicon Valley, I’d actually be pretty upset if they dropped San Francisco from the name. The history is just way too important. Most SC County 49er fans would probably agree.

  94. Don’t necessarily disagree on the sf name but Eddie D did try and take the SF off the helmet in the 80’s-

  95. Tony, the Niners aren’t going to change their name. They’ve stated as such. And having the SF name has never been an issue for the Niners in selling sutes previously. It won’t be down south either. They may not be in SF proper but the “smaller” city is still the anchor city of the Bay Area, the namesake city of the bay area, and the social and cultural center of the bay area. That will never change even if the Niners move. Some politicos like that annoying Diane Feinstein might be pushing for a name change, but they don’t have a foot to stand on, and would be opposed by politicians in New York, Texas, Florida and DC in her efforts (and that’s just the NFL cities).

  96. ” I’d actually be pretty upset if they dropped San Francisco from the name. The history is just way too important. Most SC County 49er fans would probably agree.” Wow, switch SF and 49ers to Oakland and A’s and you have part of the issue a lot of us have been debating over. Interesting parallels too, bad 60’s/70’s attendance, 1st and 2nd in Bay Area championships, current ownership that has/had divided the fan base and an old stadium. Granted the 49ers have been king of the Bay since the 1980’s.

  97. So what you’re saying is that if the Oakland A’s moved to San Jose and didn’t change their name that a majority of their fans who are currently objecting to the move, wouldn’t object to the move? Some how I doubt it’s that simple. Fact is the A’s leaving is not just about the name, it’s about the loss of yet another piece of prestige from Oakland. Name or no name, the A’s leaving is a blow to what’s left of Oakland’s civic psyche. Meanwhile the Niners leaving SF is hardly a blow, it’s still their “bay area” and always will be.

  98. @Dan If the 49ers left SF and changed their name to the San Jose 49ers, you don’t think that would be a blow to SF? Really?

  99. “So what you’re saying is that if the Oakland A’s moved to San Jose and didn’t change their name that a majority of their fans who are currently objecting to the move, wouldn’t object to the move?” BTW, not what I was saying at all. I was more pointing to that fact that to some the name “Oakland A’s” carries a lot of historical significance.

  100. Not really no. Only 10% of the Niners season ticket holders are from SF. And being a large international city with very diverse tastes I don’t think the vast majority of SF residents would give two shits if the Niners not only left but changed their name. As it is most of them don’t care the Niners are leaving at all anyway.

  101. Another reason why the Marlins and A’s situations are different: the A’s will be putting money into the stadium, not free agents (at least immediately preceding a ballpark opening). Since Miami got the park “on the cheap” they can spend like crazy w/o piling up too much debt.

  102. eb: “I was more pointing to that fact that to some the name “Oakland A’s” carries a lot of historical significance.”
    As much as the name “Philadelphia A’s” did 60 years ago?

  103. The 49ers are named for all the gold miners who disembarked at the port of San Francisco in 1849 bound for the California gold rush. The name would make no sense being associated with any other city. It’s a pet peeve of mine when team names don’t match the city they represent. For example, there are lakes in Minnesota, but not LA, so “LA Lakers” makes no sense. Same goes for “Utah Jazz” (formerly New Orleans)- I’m not a religious scholar, but I don’t picture Mormons being the type of folks who jazz it up much. The name “Athletics”, on the other hand, is generic enough to fit anywhere.

  104. Nobody on the Frisco City Council or the mayor risks defeat at the polls by letting the 49ers leave. Now if Frisco decided to pony up a big pile of $$ to keep them there, these pols would be voted out at the next opportunity. How did Frisco reward Mayor Frank Jordan’s valiant efforts – akin to a Hail Mary pass – to keep the Giants in town? Booted him out of office as soon as it was possible, of course….49ers name makes no sense for any other city? How do you explain the Long Beach State 49ers?…

  105. Long Beach State was founded in 1949. So that name makes sense for them.

  106. eb says: Wow, switch SF and 49ers to Oakland and A’s and you have part of the issue a lot of us have been debating over. Interesting parallels too, bad 60′s/70′s attendance, 1st and 2nd in Bay Area championships, current ownership that has/had divided the fan base and an old stadium. Granted the 49ers have been king of the Bay since the 1980′s.

    I sympathize with the Oakland fans on this, I really do. Unfortunately that’s not the reality of the pro sports world. Call it hypocritical or inconsistent and you may be right, but it’s the truth. 49ers keep the San Francisco name because they are moving to Santa Clara, a small city. Small cities don’t get their names on pro sports franchises (Green Bay and others are exceptions). If the A’s move, they have to add SJ to the name because it is the 10th largest city in the country. And of course there’s the SF name which we’ve all covered.

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