Retreat!

On Friday there were actually three big news stories that could affect the A’s future for some time to come. Naturally, there was the Oakland press conference that amount to very little, followed up shortly thereafter by the trade of Trevor Cahill to Arizona for prospects. The biggest news, however, may be not directly related to the A’s at all. After the Angels’ blockbuster signings of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, it was revealed how Arte Moreno is going to pay for them: a new TV contract with Fox Sports worth $3 billion over 20 years.

Think about that. $150 million per year for the next 20 years. The previous Angels TV contract (also with Fox) was worth $50 million a year, which already probably tripled what the A’s were getting via TV. Now they’re getting ten times as much as the A’s. They’ll get more from TV than the A’s get from all sources save for revenue sharing.  Jonah Keri wrote in September how the Rangers’ big TV deal with Fox Sports (20 years, $1.6 billion) made the Rangers poised to become another dynasty, and then the Angels come along and blow that out of the water with a deal worth nearly double. The Angels can practically service their entire payroll just with TV, radio, and a little bit Central Revenue money, which makes every ticket sold, every hot dog served pure gravy. And because the Angels have historically had among the lowest ticket and concession prices in the majors, they now have massive headroom to raise those prices and the obvious justification to do so.

Forbes’ 2010 revenue figure for the Angels was $222 million. For the 2011 season, that probably edged up to $230 million. You may recall that I wrote about $230 million being a revenue target for the A’s – in 2015.  The Angels hit that mark this year, and will absolutely blow past $300 million in the future thanks to the new TV deal. The next edition of Forbes’ list could have the Angels jump from #9 to #3 or even #2, past the Cubs, Red Sox, Mets, perhaps even the Dodgers. (Don’t worry about the Dodgers though, they’ve been court-approved for a new TV deal that will zoom past the Angels at around $4 billion over 20 years.) That’s scary. It doesn’t portend well for the A’s in the future. Seattle is just as much in a pickle. The Bay Area is home to 7 million residents, with less than half “devoted” to the A’s. The Seattle Metro has 3.5 million residents. The DFW Metroplex has 6.4 million. The LA-to-Riverside MSA has nearly 18 million. It would seem that TV deals tend to scale based on the number of households in each market, factoring in some level of fan interest. It also helps if there’s competition. LA’s chief cable provider, Time Warner, partnered with the Lakers to start their own RSN starting with the NBA’s 2012-13 season. The numbers for the deal look familiar: $3 billion over 20 years. That competition doesn’t exist in the Bay Area, where Comcast, Fox Sports, and the Giants partner on CSN Bay Area and Comcast wholly owns CSN California.

Given the massive amounts of money being thrown around, there doesn’t seem to be any practical way for the A’s to compete. In the October article I wrote that the A’s would have to double media revenues to compete, they might need triple or quadruple. Even then they’ll be way behind the Rangers and Angels. The best way to effect change might be for the A’s to start their own RSN, though that’s a huge gamble since running a network isn’t exactly cheap and the A’s aren’t the kind of ratings bonanza that’s attractive to advertisers. Plus there will be the immediate friction from Comcast, though in the end I’d expect it to be a ploy to get a better deal at CSNCA. Until then, if you’re the A’s braintrust what do you do? Sure, you work diligently for the stadium and you’ve been trying to improve your station in terms of media revenue. But despite your best efforts, with the new deals for rival teams threatening to make them Yankees equivalents of the West, the long rebuild strategy more than makes sense – it may be the only way to go.

oakland-presser1-120911

City Administrator Fred Blackwell talks about the Coliseum City concept. The only thing missing was a white flag.

Now let’s circle back to yesterday’s press conference. It was accompanied by a letter to MLB from Mayor Jean Quan (PDF). The letter affirms the City’s commitment to the A’s and outlines the support it can provide for its (now) two sites: Victory Court and Coliseum City. Here’s what was written about Victory Court:

Based on updated analysis, the City believes that the costs associated with the Victory Court ballpark project entitlements, land acquisition, and completion of site improvements and infrastructure have changed substantially since its earlier estimates and that those costs remain in the $250 million range. Although the mix of funding sources has been modified, the City remains confident that it will be able to deliver on its commitment to fund each of those elements. With regard to timeline, we believe we can deliver a site, which includes land assembly, full entitlement of the Ballpark project, and completion of infrastructure by November 2014.

The City claims that a new ballpark would be ready for the 2016 season. But that’s wrong. Assuming they were able to assemble the land and infrastructure pieces, construction would take 24-30 months from the ready date. That puts the opening of the Victory Court ballpark at 2017, not 2016. Remember, this is only one year after Victory Court was unveiled, with Quan saying when she got the mayor gig that Victory Court could be “fast-tracked“. Does 2017 sound like fast-tracking to you?

Beyond the problem grasping the schedule, there’s a major problem with the $250 million. City says that the “mix of funding sources has been modified”, which may be code for a reaction to the coming changes in redevelopment. Regardless, it’s clear that the money for this project would come from redevelopment, which means that the bulk of it would come from some form of TIF (federal grants? Don’t make me laugh.). Pushing the completion of the project out to 2017 suddenly becomes convenient. Why? The state’s plan to redirect “excess tax increment” would run for as much as the next five annual state budgets, with the system reverting back to normal once the budget crisis ends. As 2017 approaches and developers start to move on speculation near an approved-for-construction, vetted-by-MLB Victory Court site, property taxes should rise, which means that funding for the $250 million land/infrastructure piece should materialize. But there’s a fundamental flaw with the plan. Does anyone honestly believe that redevelopment will simply go back to normal and the state’s budget woes will be fixed in the next five years? The money to be realized from redirect redevelopment funds is only a small fraction of what’s needed to bridge the budget gap. Already, Governor Brown is pushing hard for new taxes next year and massive automatic budget cut triggers thanks to ongoing monthly revenue shortfalls. Then there’s the looming possibility that redevelopment will be abolished or transformed into a form that requires a new tax structure and local ballot measures.

Now on to Coliseum City. Exactly one year ago, I wrote an analysis of the Coliseum’s plans to build a new stadium for the Raiders along with ancillary development. Back then the plan looked like this:

coliseumredev2-sm

Something’s missing on the left side of the drawing.

The new version:

coliseum-city1-sm

Coliseum City with third venue

Most of the immediate ancillary development has been moved to in-between the venues and along 880. The scope has gotten much bigger. At 750 acres, the new initiative requires two specific plans, one for each side of 880. Coliseum City (at least the immediate area) is conceived of as three venues plus L.A. Live. It would require all three tenant teams to pony up most or all of the cost for their new or improved venues, with the possibility of ancillary revenue to help pay the bills. City is pitching the concept as having two big advantages over other cities or sites: No EIR required and land already owned by the City. While it’s correct that the environmental process should be streamlined, I think that having a third venue will require at least some form of EIR since planners have to account for the possibility of three events happening simultaneously and the impacts that would occur from that kind of situation. As for land, okay. And? The Coliseum has already been dismissed by MLB, so why pitch it as a feasible site now? Nothing has changed to explain how anyone can (not) pay for a privately financed ballpark there.

When I got word of the Friday event, I was curious, then suspicious. First of all, why do this on a Friday? What was the rush? Obviously, it was a reaction to the news that the Warriors are exploring an arena deal at China Basin. Here’s the irony of the situation: While the Giants are exploring with the Warriors a way to leave Oakland, Oakland has been consulting with the Giants on ways to derail the A’s efforts to move to San Jose. Strange bedfellows, indeed. Oakland’s strategy has turned into having a viable backup plan if San Jose doesn’t pan out, in which case not being able to deliver by 2015 or 2016 doesn’t matter since the A’s have no other choice in the Bay Area.

Very few members of the public were present since there was little advance notice. City could have drafted a resolution that would have been discussed at a future City Council session, but decided not to. Instead it was a short press conference with a short Q&A. That’s what it’s come to. A feeble punt of a letter. Even Quan’s letter ends on an odd note:

We are advocating for the A’s to remain in Oakland because we believe that sports franchises can lead to economic growth. So long as a team creates jobs and enhances economic development in the City, then we will encourage them to remain in Oakland. My advocacy for keeping the A’s is not about baseball or a particular sports franchise, it is about doing what is best for the City. I am convinced that Oakland has the best weather, transportation, fan base and sites available to MLB.

It’s all about what the City gets out of it. It’s not about the franchise. That’s refreshingly honest. Yet in the same paragraph Quan touts the sites, process delayed and shaky as they are, as the best. It’s this kind of fragmented, incongruous argument that melts under even the lightest scrutiny that’s had me so frustrated lo these many years.

With that, we have two big cases of retreating. The A’s know the new economic landscape, what steps they have to take to address it, and what shortfalls they face even if they achieve their immediate goals. Oakland has been flailing with its incoherent strategy, not revealing details or taking important steps. When I spoke to Doug Boxer yesterday, I told him that showing progress on an EIR matters. Milestones matter. He said it didn’t matter since the decision rested with one man (Bud Selig), and that the average fan doesn’t care. I was flabbergasted. What’s the point of having a Facebook operation if the average fan doesn’t matter? Why even have a press conference? He’s right about one thing, that there are no parties involved in this mess with clean hands. I came away saddened and I felt like a little bit of my soul died. Thankfully I had a few beers and nice conversation with LeAndre, then went to a friend’s donation party later that night. I could have drunken myself into a stupor, but I chose to ease up because I wanted to write this long article. Because I’m sick of the bullshit. It needs to stop. We need to move forward. Maybe the end is coming soon, maybe it isn’t. I’m not sure if I want to keep writing this blog if things don’t or can’t change. They say it’s always darkest before dawn, right? It’s pitch black right now.

107 thoughts on “Retreat!

  1. The Angels can get out of their lease after the 2016 season for a relatively paltry sum. Given the levels of revenue that they are reaching, and given recent statements Moreno has made about the costs of maintaining a 50 year-old stadium, I am inclined to believe that the Angels are positioning themselves to build a new ballpark.

  2. Hang in there man. There have been a lot of lean years for sure and more to come thanks to this rebuild, but I have to have hope that come early next year we will have an answer on SJ. To think of all the chances we could have had in the past 15 years to get something done in Oakland if only a civic leader had the guts. Its always going to be hard to beat the money Texas and Anaheim have, but with smarts, there are movements of brilliance that come from this organization. Lean years ahead, but hope for even better.

  3. @Pudgie – I think you’re onto something there. The indicator will be how high Moreno’s payrolls get. If he gets to luxury tax territory ($177 million) then we know he all in with the teams. If he keeps payroll under $160 million he could sock some of it away for a ballpark.

    @Nicosan – Thanks.

  4. 1,000 days today since MLB began looking at the A’s situation.

  5. Day 999 will go down as the last time we heard from the city of Oakland on this matter. On to the future!

  6. This blog is one of the only things that keeps a lot of us from giving up. For selfish reasons, keep blogging!

  7. @ML-I’ve read that the next national TV deal might be $1 billion annually. Would that help the A’s bottom line and their ability to compete?

  8. @TonyD–quit it already, before I start calling you Anon Jr., the ultimate jerk on this site.

  9. ML, what do you mean by Oakland consulting with the Giants? Like, literally sitting down in meetings with them? If so, that’s pretty low.

  10. I’ve always maintained that either Oakland put forth a serious attempt to keep the A’s, or they should get out of the way. Yesterday’s news conference was just another feeble attempt to try and convince MLB and the A’s fans that they care about keeping the A’s. Well shame on the City of Oakland, and shame on MLB is they believe Oakland actually has their act together.
    .
    I can’t image what the reaction will be if the issue of TR is not addressed at the upcoming owner’s meeting. I do know one thing, it’s definitely time for Wolff to start making some serious noise with “the lodge”. To sit idly by while your competitors (both on and off the field) run you over is not acceptable in this fan’s eyes. DO SOMETHING MR. WOLFF, otherwise like the City of Oakland, get out of the way.

  11. I cannot believe the Angels were able to get that much for their TV rights. That’s insane. How the fuck are the A’s supposed to compete with that. Even a ballpark in San Jose can’t garner them that kind of scratch. Not only that but it’s going to lead to a huge disparity among the teams that no amount of revenue sharing is going to be able to address (particularly now that MLB has limited revenue sharing to only certain markets (the Bay Area not among them once the Coliseum is gone). Maybe this is the first step toward an eventual salary cap of some kind.

    I think Pudgie is correct though. This does seem like a perfect way for the Angels to work toward a new ballpark. I mean if between radio and now TV they can cover all their expenses, they can just pocket their gate receipts for building a new park. Heck they’d probably be able to afford a fully private one and write the check for it within a few years under those circumstances.

  12. @fc- what else do you want LW to do? He is doing everything within his power- it’s bs that needs to take care if biz-

  13. As for the A’s situation. Yesterday was a joke and frankly it just pissed me off. I think most of us can agree on that. Oakland’s plan of doing nothing but paying lip service to the idea of helping keep the A’ continues. They’ll never be able to come up with the 2+ billion dollars that will be required to make the Coliseum site happen so it’s already dead. Victory Court meanwhile is not viable at present no matter how many letters they send to Bud since they’ve not admitted they’ve done NOTHING with the site. No EIR, no land purchases, no nothing except the same old tired excuses. Frankly all Oakland seems to be good at is stalling. And it’s so far gotten them nothing and us nothing as fans except more thin years as the team waits to be able to build our future ballpark (an obvious must in this new “Angels gone wild” world). It’s time for Oakland to shit or get off the pot. Either make Victory Court happen, or GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE WAY!!!

  14. FC, unlike Quan, Wolff is doing exactly what Selig told him to do. Yet another reason the decision will probably go in his favor against Oakland. Quan admitted yesterday that Selig told her to keep her big mouth shut. She didn’t listen.

  15. Cupping, yes Quan also discussed the fact they’d had discussions with the Giants the goals of which are to block the A’s from moving to San Jose. I take perverse pleasure in the Giants going behind Oakland’s back and trying to steal the Warriors out from under them at the same time they were trying to screw the A’s. Oakland deserves to lose both teams at this point.

  16. But will MLB insist a new Angels ballpark be in a downtown or waterfront setting? I doubt it. Only for the A’s when it comes to the evil Lodge. It’s okay for Milwaukee, Texas, KC and Philly to rebuild on their existing non-downtown sites, but not Oakland.
    I know I’m dreaming, but get the A’s, W’s and R’s together and make this Coliseum City a reality.

  17. GoA’s, I hope Wolff being a good lttle soldier results in a very favorable vote in January. I’m not only hoping for access to SCC, but also no compensation to the Giants, and a warning from Selig to the Giants not to interfere with the move. I’m not asking for much…

  18. jk, giving up on VC?

  19. Agree Dan- I find it freaking ironic that she is sleeping with the enemy and not even aware of it- in my mind her news conference yesterday was perfect- a public showing that they have nothing to show- nearly 3 years after the BRC started and 15 years sine they ruined the coli and still nothing to show- let’s go bud- tired of the shell game- I want a new ballpark for m A’s by 2015!

  20. @fc- we share the same hope- I hate the gints- and can only hope that bs is tired of their games- personally I have great respect for LW and what he has put up with to get us to this point- he has taken many bullets in his quest to keep our A’s in the bay area

  21. jk, If the Angels with their future massive bankroll can financially make a private ballpark work at Anaheim Stadium, where they’ve also had great success financially over the last 47 years, then MLB won’t object. The same isn’t possible at the Coliseum. The A’s won’t be able to make a private ballpark work at the Coliseum location. It’s a crap location that has been so since it opened 45 years ago and would be a financial nightmare for any team that tries to build a ballpark there (remember the A’s even under the best of circumstances won’t have a 3 billion dollar TV deal particularly in Oakland). Also a few other notes, Anaheim doesn’t have a “downtown” to speak of like Arlington. So MLB has no downtown to require it be in. And as for the other parks you list, they were all publicly financed with a minimum of 50% public financing and are all less than 3 miles from their respective downtowns. The Coliseum is 6 1/2 miles from downtown and so far the city of Oakland has offered 0% public financing toward a new ballpark there. So call me back when Oakland comes up with the minimum $250 million dollars (and that’s just for the ballpark to say nothing of the arena or stadium).

  22. Yesterday was CYA – as in, everything will be just great if the 3 teams all agree to build $2 billion worth of facilities on their own dime while Oakland contributes zip – except nonexistent redevelopment money. When I heard about the press conference, I thought maybe Oakland had something of substance – but it was nothing but smoke and mirrors, the same old non-solutions, feet-dragging and a few fancy drawings.

  23. @fc–maybe. I wish MLB would give the okay for VC, and they can move forward on it, but I just don’t know now, especially with this 2016 Opening day crap. I can wait a year or two or more, but does MLB? Wolff said that he looked at the VC and waterfront sites 100’s of times ( total BS, comon!), and nothing was viable to him, too many hurdles, blah, blah, blah, yet he touted this North of 66th plan which was DOA. Buying out 16 business seems a lot easier than 120.

  24. jk, that’s the point! MLB DOESN’T NEED TO GIVE THE OK FOR VICTORY COURT!!!! Oakland has been able to work on that project since the moment they concocted it, and they SHOULD BE working on it right now. Hell they should have been working on it for 3 years now. Instead they’re just sitting on their hands. THAT’S Oakland’s biggest problem, they’re not doing ANYTHING. They drew a line around a map and assumed it would be enough to counter a city with a real plan. And now after dallying with the site for over a year when they were supposed to be doing an EIR on VC and they come back with a second line drawn around a site and a half assed rendering. Oakland has to show MLB they have viable sites and are doing something to make them happen, and that includes coming up with public funding… and they needed to have been doing it for the last 3 years. You don’t wait to close the barn door AFTER the horse has run out.

  25. GoA’s, I respect Wolff as well, it’s just sometimes I think he could be a little more assertive with MLB. Maybe he is, and we just don’t know it. Didn’t mean to dis Wolff, it’s been a bad week – Cahill, Pujols, Paul and Chandler.

  26. @Dan–Anaheim doesn’t have a downtown to speak of? You’re forgetting about Downtown Disney!..lol.
    Little OT: I lived a few years in the Valley near Bakersfield in the late 70’s, and my mom worked at a radio station that carried the Angel games, so she would get free tix (great seats) to Angel games all the time. We’d go down there and see games at the Big A. Nice park (this is before the Rams ruined it) and good crowds at that time compared to my beloved A’s and the Giants, who drew poorly too back then. Which brings me to another thing I’ll share with you. My step dad, born and raised in SF, was a huge Giants fan. Every year from 1971-1980, we’d go to opening day at the Stick. I was polite and cheered for them, but deep down I’m a hardcore A’s fan. He would take me to see A’s games and he would politely cheer for the A’s, even though deep down he was a hardcore G’s fans. When I visited my dad back then, who was living in Berkeley, it always included A’s games and Warrior games, in which he’s a huge fan of. He shot free throws granny style just like Rick Barry did and was pretty good. Great memories of my teen years with my dad(s).

  27. Can you imagine a ballpark in the middle of Disneyland 🙂 And people made fun of them back in 96 when Disney owned them…

  28. @ JoaKlander – It’s better to be a jerk then the village idiot, but don’t worry…your time as an A’s fan will be over soon. Thanks for continuing to think about me though! <3. Go VC, err CC, er…SJC. 🙂

  29. @ML – ” They say it’s always darkest before dawn, right? It’s pitch black right now.” I’ve only been here regularly maybe for the past 3 years or so, but this was a masterpiece in writing that I think summarizes the shared sentiments of the majority of A’s fan everywhere! Bravo!

  30. Ryan Braun busted for PEDs and faces a 50 game suspension. He knew he was caught 30 days before he was awarded NL MVP. If true he is a big hypocrite.

  31. Oakland: Refusing to do anything of actual substance to keep the A’s; refusing to concede them.

  32. @RS- incredible- Kemp deserved it anyway and to think MLB knew this and didn’t release it before the vote?

  33. Stay strong, ML. We need you.

  34. @Rayburn’s Son that’s pretty lame the MVP voters didn’t know about Braun’s test results.

  35. It’s certainly disheartening to hear about the Angels, but money doesn’t guarantee anything. The Cubs have been high spenders and have nothing to show for it, granted your odds are much better with an fat influx of cash.
    Anyways, don’t get too down ML. Following the A’s has always been about lean times followed by brilliance back to lean, etc. Things will get better.

  36. @ML–hang in there, bro. We may have are differences, but I do appreciate the work you do on here. You spend a lot of time writing and putting this stuff together, and going thorough all posts and keeping us in line too. I don’t know how you do it. Quite dedicated to this.
    Just out of curiosity, cuz you know the specs more than anyone on this. Could a 20k arena (for the W’s) fit on the HJKCC site? I know parking is a bitch over there, but there is LM Bart close by. The setting would be quite spectacular, right off the lake. It is a neat old funky building but it’s just sitting there doing nothing pretty much for years. I go way back to the early 70’s as a kid watching MoonDog Mayne and Pat Patterson wrestle there in Big Time Wresting. And as recent as 1996 when the Oakland Skates Roller Hockey played while the Coliseum Arena was being renovated. .

  37. >>>jk-usa
    December 10, 2011 at 4:14 PM (Quote)

    @fc–maybe. I wish MLB would give the okay for VC, and they can move forward on it, but I just don’t know now, especially with this 2016 Opening day crap.<<<<

    Jk, I understand the passion involved…..that's the nature of sports fan-dom. But the blinders you have on are gigantic (sorry to be so blunt). An "okay" for VC is, itself, a joke. Any, and I mean any, Oakland pols could have had the stones to step up and drive that thing, VC may have been a reality a long time ago (not a certain reality but it would have had a real viable chance). The A's need for a new park has been a lllllloooooonnnnngggggg time happening and Oakland was the only player for a big chunk of that time. Oakland had their chance, and chance, and chance, and chance. And after all this to say for Oakland 'well if MLB gives an ok for an Oakland team to move to an Oakland site'…. it is inexplicable. What the Oakland pols have done is where you and the other passionate pro Oakland members should place your anger and disappointment. The A's not in Oakland is all but a done deal and that has been the case for some time. The A's may go to SJ (a mildly decent shot at happening) or they will be moving out of the Area. I don't say that to be harsh or combative. It's just the cold hard truth……and this recent absurd press conference by the Oakland pols (again after this many years of the A's searching) is just one more 'harsh torpedo of truth'.

    ML mentioned no one has clean hands here. He is, of course, right. But no matter how much you resent or dislike LW, the Oakland pols is where fairness dictates your disappointment and anger should be.

  38. @jk- That whole area of HJKCC, Oakland Museum, and Laney College would be ideal for a Warriors-A’s sports complex. Although the Oakland Museum and Laney College aren’t exactly the Smithsonian and Harvard University, respectively, it’s impossible to justify the eviction of cultural and educational institutions for the sake of pro sports. That’s always been the issue with downtown Oakland area. Alot of good locations that are unfortunately built up.

  39. Please ML, hang in there.

    There are so many indicators that Selig’s decision is eminent (or actually done, just not announced yet), and indicators are that its pro SJ.

    Look at Friday’s events as a final nail in the city of Oakland’s coffin, as well as the final nail in Gnats’ interference coffin.

    Quan/Boxer came up with zilch for anything substantive. No EIR (none even started), no financing plan, not even a financial feasibility study. Just a pipe dream drawing of a site that was nixed by MLB years ago.

    And, Quan violated Selig’s request to keep quiet, to basically announce she had nothing but a drawing.

    Finally, Quan announced to the world that she has been colluding with the Gnats to run SJ interference. The Gnats have been exposed. Selig has to be, absolutely has to be, furious with the Gnats. This is proof positive that the Gnats are actively working against the best interests of MLB.

    What Friday’s events was provide overwhelming clarity to anyone paying even the remotes attention to the A’s stadium situation that Oakland is not viable, and never will be, and that the Gnats are rat-f&%$ b@stards not deserving of any “deal” or “compensation”.

    If anything, I’m even more confident that we’ll be hearing good news in January about Cisco Field in San Jose.

    If not that, MLB will be purchasing the A’s back from Wolff/Fisher, to be sold later to someone who will move them out of the area. It is that simple. But not that simple, because there is nobody on the horizon (bucks for franchise, and bucks for stadium construction).

    No, the only real, viable possibility for MLB and the A’s is SJ. The rest of the owners do not want the A’s to remain on revenue sharing.

    And, before I end this long post – one more bright light –
    Remember Beane said he’d go into full rebuild with prospects if SJ is a go, or go into full full FA acquisition/retention, increase club value now, if SJ is not a go.
    Tevor Cahill was just traded for, you guessed it, prospects.
    Hmmmmm
    Methinks Billy boy knows something.

    Hang in there Marine Layer. Thanks so much for your awesome blog! Keep up the great work!

  40. re: This is proof positive that the Gnats are actively working against the best interests of MLB
    …exactly. The Giants only care about their own selfish interests – making themselves even more filthy rich than they already are – and are not concerned with the best interests of baseball.

  41. It’s been 1001 days, so it’s also been 1,001 nights. Now can Bud rub Aladdin’s lamp and make a decision appear?

  42. Maybe Quan went ahead and violated Selig’s directive because she knows Oakland’s already lost – so what’s the point? All this talk about Oakland’s secret plan to save the A’s, without working with Wolff, and it was nothing but an unfunded, pie-in-the-sky development plan assuming massive generosity on the part of the three Coliseum franchises. Last year’s save-the-A’s plan was a pledge to do an EIR on Victory Court, which obviously never happened. Now this.

  43. Sorry for the long comment everyone, but I have a few interrelated thoughts to share on this.
    .
    I think there is something missing in the discussion about a downtown location and locations in general. It’s not about mileage to and from downtown; it’s about being in a location that is conducive to activities before and after the game in the immediate area. That will make the ballpark appealing and that’s what MLB will have in mind when reviewing site aesthetics. But that comes well after financial considerations of the site. It obviously has to work financially. Another thing: just because some other teams have built isolated parks far from interesting things to do is no reason the A’s should too. We should be emulating the best, not the worst.
    .
    Regarding MLB having dismissed the Coliseum location previously, that likely assumed basically creating a new version of what we have, somewhere else on the property. Aesthetically, that is not appealing in any way. But from Oakland’s perspective, they feel they are bringing something much better than that to the table. They are selling the vision of a whole new downtown-like neighborhood with lots of onsite retail, food and entertainment options. That would be aesthetically appealing if it were economically feasible. So you can see Oakland’s logic in taking a run at this from a new angle with MLB.
    .
    The question is: will MLB buy this vision? I doubt it very seriously. This was so clearly rushed together with very little thought or planning. They had some illustrations put together, but that’s about it. Whole redeveloped neighborhoods like this don’t just sprout out of the ground. Look at Hunters Point in SF. Just the planning process for that took years, not to mention all the other hoops that must be cleared to get to the point of actually moving dirt. This isn’t a real proposal in any way, just a vision at this point. And given that, there is no way to know if it’s financially viable because no one knows how much it will really cost until actual studies are done. And mega-projects like this always cost more than estimated going in. However, a development this massive, in these economic times, at that location doesn’t come close to passing the smell test. I think MLB will see this very clearly. This simply is not a realistic alternative right now.

  44. Right after the Angels announce their new aqusitions, the A’s get rid of Cahill and Breslow..This, along with not trying to sign their free agents, feels like the gutting of the team has begun. I still do not understand why the A’s have alluded that ,if they get the ok on a new stadium, they will thrash the team and rebuild, so as to hopefully peak for the opening of a new stadium in 2015.This to me is more disturbing than some of the other issues w/ the A’s. I think I remember hearing that if the A’s did not get a green light on the stafium, that they would continue as they have been by signing the occasional Veteran etc… to field a competitive.team.That option sounds better than gutting the team.
    Is it a money saving thing, to direct more money to the stadium project?? The thought that the A’s are going to pack it in for the next three years makes me a little ill.

  45. ML,

    At the very least, you can turn this in to a blog about other new ball parks and the architectural decisions involved in creating them! that stuff is fascinating. Wait till the winter meetings have closed and then hand the steering wheel to someone else for 6+months to take a long break.

    But I don’t think Oakland has the leadership at the city council level, let alone the mayor, to decide on a course of action to get anything going in relation to any large business development. Losing all three teams is going to be pretty sad

  46. It’s more about building specifically for the new ballpark. They’re going to want to come out of the gate in San Jose with a winner or close to one home grown. Add to that some free agents they’ll likely be able to sign (think Miami) with the added revenues from an SJ ballpark and it makes total sense. If they get approval to move to SJ they won’t care about the 2012-14 seasons. They’ll be throw away lame duck years anyway. Our attendance will likely plummet but ultimately no one will care. It’ll all be about 2015 and beyond at that point. That’s why they’re doing this. They’re trying to acquire the most minor league talent they can in hopes of new Huddy’s, Mulders, Zitos, Giambis, Big Macs, etc… being among them.

  47. ML, I give you high marks for putting out a very informative, rational, fact-centered blog. At least most of the time. I think your frustration may have interfered with some of your reasoning this time, though.

    I’m no defender of Jean Quan but your statements that there is a “major problem with the $250 Million” and a “fundamental flaw” with the (Quan) plan” is nothing more than your opinion. Do you really think that you can predict what the political-economic situation will be like in 5 years? This is clearly a severe economic mess we’ve been in that will take more time to resolve itself, but most economists are saying that employment and the general economy will rebound in 2-3 years. It is quite likely that jobs/income/government revenues will be much improved by 2017. You simply cannot assume that this is a “fundamental flaw” when no one, including yourself, knows what will be happening then. I’m not being pollyannsh, and things could certainly be worse in 2017. But to make such a definitive conclusion on what is simply your opinion is unjustifiable in my opinion.

    Also, is your harshness towards Doug Boxer valid? I wasn’t there to hear the full conversation, of course, but it seemed to me based on your reporting that when Boxer said “the average fan doesn’t care,” he was referring to the EIR. It certainly sounded that way from the context of the conversation you reported. I took that to mean that most fans could care less about an EIR, they just want a decision made and a ballpark built. Again, you were there, I wasn’t, but the question you posed to Boxer was about the EIR and he seemed to be responding to that, not making a general statement about the attitude of the fans toward the whole A’s ballpark issue. For him to say that fans “don’t care” about the ballpark issue would be perplexing, to say the least.

    Finally, it seems that MLB will simply have to do something about the massive inequality with TV/radio revenues. It no longer is a question about revenue from fan attendance — the huge disparity in media revenue is turning the system into a joke. No matter what kind of ball park a team builds to attract fans and players, if the money from attendance is simply icing on the cake, then the money a team has and their ability to attract good players becomes only a matter of population. The only way for the system to work is for TV money to be pooled and shared. (Doesn’t the NFL do it that way?) With such an uneven playing field, the division between the haves and have-nots will widen and eventually threaten the viability of the league. If the same handful on teams are the only ones capable of signing the best players and the rest must feed on scraps, who but fans of the rich teams will even have any interest anymore? Good thing Selig is retiring soon.

  48. @Jerry

    I won’t speak for ML, but I share his frustration regarding Boxer. ML was looking for something substantive, which would include an EIR, and a viable financing plan that won’t put the owners of the franchises in the poor house. And Boxer, by how it sounds, casually dismissed those extremely important items to make a new venue a reality. Plus, there is absolutely no excuse for there to be no EIR for VC at this point. Quan promised it would fast tracked a year ago. Now, they haven’t even started. And they said an EIR for “Coliseum City” would be fast and easy, because they already own the land. Well, if it’s so fast and easy, why isn’t it done? Quan/Boxer, get something done. Bring something substantive to the table. Show us the money.

    Now, the second point – TV contracts in MLB. Yup, it is down to a handful of teams. Without all TV contracts being pooled, there will never be any hope of any competitiveness. Occasionally a Cinderella will win, but those will be anomalies.

    The best way for any professional sports league to be overall viable is for a hard cap, full revenue sharing model that the NFL uses, or simply a single entity model like MLS (which is thriving, by the way).

    As for the A’s, I just want them to be competitive with the other teams (not the big market elite teams, because that is impossible). As it stands now, the A’s are the ghetto of even the have-nots.

  49. I recall Wolff saying how DT SJ has all the amenities to complement the ballpark, like hotels, a convention center and restaurants/bars nearby. Isn’t that the goal for Coliseum City? Why can’t he share that vision with the other owners and make it happen, instead of adamantly saying NO to Oakland. Maybe this is stone that hasn’t been turned yet. His vision in Fremont was blindsided by the real-estate meltdown and NIMBYISM. And the N.of 66th Ave. vision was a non-starter from the get go with too many (120) businesses to deal with, and the real estate meltdown would of blew that one up eventually also.

  50. The reality jk is none of the other owners share this vision either—did any attend the press conference? The only reason she is targeting the A’s is because they are a prisoner of Oakland right now–those that can make a choice like the W’s and Raiders will make the same choice that LW has made–

  51. What happened Friday was what we should all have expected: Oakland coming up with another unfunded, non-plan to make it look like they care. How much longer can this charade go on? A new ballpark in Oakland is not going to happen.

  52. I was disappointed back in 2002 when Uptown was presented at City Hall and no A’s reps were there. Man, that would of been a kick-ass locale for a park. When I attend concerts at the Fox and see all the apartments nearby, I could envision a park right there instead. Bummer that it didn’t happen 😦

  53. @jeff-athletic: I definitely agree that an EIR should have been prepared and that it is simply inexcusable that Oakland hasn’t even started it yet. Having completed the EIR would have been a major signal that the city is serious about Victory Ct. But my point was merely that Boxer was saying that to most FANS, the EIR is not a big deal because most people don’t understand the process and don’t understand the actual and symbolic significance of completing an EIR.

    • @Jerry – Boxer is right that most fans don’t know or care about the EIR. His phrasing that nothing matters except for Selig may be largely truthful, it’s also coldly political and calculating. It also does not give Oakland an out when it comes to not making progress. What do pro-Oakland folks have to hold onto right now? Blind faith in their government leaders (iffy proposition there) and a hope that San Jose can’t be completed because it’ll be kneecapped by legal issues. That’s it. Nothing to provide a legitimate sense of hope. Now they’ve come up with Coliseum City, which may be designed to provide that hope but upon close investigation has far more structural and financial issues than the City is advertising. My problem with Oakland and LGO is that they have not had an honest discussion with residents about the cost of this, and they’ve chosen to continue that with the press conference.

      It’s telling that at the event there were no representatives or owners from local teams, no business/community group standing behind either site option (other than Boxer), and no one from Alameda County to endorse the Coliseum City plan (that will be necessary at the Coliseum). The default position for the foreseeable future is that no one should expect monetary government help. To think otherwise is very much Pollyannaish. Have you read Baseball Oakland’s spin on the presser? The guy asked Fred Blackwell about redevelopment, and he said everything would be okay. And the guy swallows that without any further thought. That’s weak. Anyone who has spent any time on this knows what Blackwell said is not the case, that redevelopment is in serious trouble. It’s another example of not having that discussion with the public.

      Yesterday I thought of a good sports metaphor for the way San Jose and Oakland have acted. San Jose is able to drive to the opponent’s 40 yard line, but its kicker has little range, its QB injured his throwing shoulder, and the receivers keep getting mauled on every route and the officials aren’t calling penalties. So it keeps having to punt and play the field position game. Oakland, on the other hand, is the team whose QB has a strong arm but makes bad decisions, has no running game to speak of, and on 4th down from their own 40 chooses to fake punt every time.

  54. @Jerry–most fans recognize that an EIR would have shown tangible progress–and most fans recognize that almost 3 years has gone by since the BRC was started and nothing has been done in Oakland…pretty pictures don’t work for most of us….so given Oakland’s track record over the past 15 years–and more recently over the past 3 years why should any of us trust an Oakland politician including Boxer?

  55. Boxer is right, the average fan (not the ones here on this blog) doesn’t care/know what an EIR is.

    That being said, if Oakland is serious about a new stadium they need to convince the teams, the leagues… not the fans.

    The fact that Boxer was focused on the average fan and dismissed the need to show substantial progress to the teams and leagues, exposes what yesterday was all about: a dog and pony show for Quan and Boxer to convey to the average fan (and voter) that, hey, Oakland tried but big bad Wolff wouldn’t play ball.

  56. Yup, it was pure politics, with Quan and Boxer to trying to cover their asses.

    And yes, the real focus are the teams and leagues, who care very very much about EIRs.

  57. Just out of curiosity, boredom I went to the lets go Oakland link RM provided above. “WOW!” is an understatement. No need to say more.

  58. @ ML – Interesting parallel to football, however I would liken Oakland to be a possession team in a tie game with no qb (mayor), no rb (civic leaders), or offensive line support (citizens) and just a bunch of overzealous cheerleaders (lgo, joaklanders, etc.) hoping that time runs out and they win somehow. sj would be a classic west coast offense team, who continually dinks and dunks all the way down the field and waiting for when the defense (oakland/gnats/mlb) trips over itself for the final touchdown.
    @ Al – the problem is that the presser was aimed at the general public trying to appease to a few select fans. if it was only for the hardcore guys (like lgo), they could of just released a quick presser and not call a full blown news conference. judging by the comments on all the local newsites, oakland residents don’t really care and want Quan to focus on crime and other city concerns first.

  59. Because jk, at the Coliseum City, Oakland is expecting for him to pay for the stadium and possibly part of that “vision” you refer to while it already exists in downtown Oakland and San Jose. The other owners will be similarly turned off by the prospect of having to not only pay for their venues but potentially the rest of the development as well.

  60. @Anon – There’s a line when an analogy breaks down. Congratulations, you crossed it.

  61. @ ML: As an Oakland resident, I agree that our city government/local politicians cannot be trusted. Quan held her press conference at a time that she is facing recall and she’s just hoping to get some political support from sports fans who aren’t paying very close attention. I am incredibly pissed that the City has done NOTHING on the EIR and won’t even talk to its citizens about it and have given no details on how these plans would work and how they would be financed. We Oaklanders have precious little to be optimistic about at this point. But Boxer, knowing that no work on the EIR has been done, a situation over which he has little if any control, can only maintain that it all boils down to Selig’s decision. And that is true, but I don’t see it as “coldly political and calculating.” What else can he say? He’s obviously frustrated and hoping for the only thing there is left for him to hope for.

  62. @Jerry – It’s more than that. Oakland pols know that pro sports is not an issue that will make or break them, so they put out what amounts to one update a year on this stuff and to them that may appear satisfactory to the electorate. Other than LGO there has been little real pressure on City Hall to move forward, and I don’t even know that LGO has been able to apply much pressure. Based on the results so far, the needle isn’t moving.

    I have to give you credit for calling it as you see it and acknowledging the issues. At Baseball Oakland there are people lapping up the Coliseum City concept as if it has legs (some of them people who post here). It doesn’t. For it to work you have to get at least two teams to commit to convince another master developer to commit to building the ancillary stuff. The Raiders are the best bet right now, but they are getting heavily leaned on by Roger Goodell to take the Santa Clara deal because the NFL does not want to put up another $150 million for a second Bay Area stadium if they can help it.

    The elephant in the room is that because of the Mt. Davis deal the well is poisoned in terms of supporting these types of projects in Oakland. What we’re seeing now is all bravado, all artifice. It’s a turd that they’re saying is gold. My problem is that people might actually believe it’s gold.

  63. The only things the Oakland pols should be doing are the following:
    1. Establish a viable site (good location, near transportation, minimal acquisition costs, attractive to corporate support).
    2. Have a completed EIR
    3. Have a financing plan. If franchise owners have to foot the bill, fine, then prove how they can recoup their costs.
    4. Prove how potential revenue generated by new venue will get them out of revenue sharing.

  64. I think there’s a strong probability the Warriors will bolt for SF near Pac Bell in 2017 when the Arena lease is up. They’re intrigued by the Coliseum City plan, but, like you said ML, you would need at least 2 teams to sign on for it and the A’s are a NO no matter what, sadly to say, and the R’s would like it I think, but the NFL wants them to join the 9ers in SC. At least in the meantime, the W’s owners, a first class quality group to say the least (how refreshing for the esstbay since the Haas family!), has put money back in the arena:Lacob and Guber recently approved new flat-screen TVs in Oracle suites, and are hoping that a high-definition scoreboard can be added before the Christmas-night opener. They have also updated the sound system, installed four new LED scoreboards in the upper corners, renovated the locker rooms and added Wifi throughout the arena.
    What has Wolff and Fisher done at the O.co? Fixed a few leaks and stuff. Gee, thanks!
    BTW, both teams do not own their venues they play in, so that “why should they put any money into it, they don’t own it” line don’t work here. That’s just another obvious difference between the two ownership groups. One bitches and does nothing. The other goes the extra mile to enhance the fan experience. Even the Giants owners made some improvements their last years at the Stick before going to Pacebell.

  65. You make a great point, jk-usa, regarding the lack of upgrades done by Wolff/Fisher.

    While all the SJ T-rights stuff has been going on, they could have been making things nicer at the Coli. Starting with the concourses – better lighting, some paint, more banners. They could have done such things through out the Coli. How about bringing in the fences in a few areas. How about a new jumbotron/LCD. During my last game there in May (I live in Sierra foothills, so going to A’s games is a bit of long haul), I saw all kinds of things they could do to improve the fan experience.

    I understand they’re putting in new scoreboards, because the one there are falling apart and there are no parts to found anywhere (i.e. they have to).

    Basically, Wolff/Fisher have done the bare minimum on upkeep. The only things they’ve done is, like you say, fix some leaks here and there, and of course, the tarps.

    I can see their perspective, in wanting to put all their marbles in the new stadium push. But there’s no reason to not keep the fan experience as good as possible in the meantime.

  66. @jeff-athletic–good post, couldn’t agree with you more. Supposedly new scoreboards coming soon at the O.co,. Probably used from an auction, but hopefully bigger and brighter.
    I’m sick right now. The Broncos win in OT again. The Raiders are done I think. Oakland (their teams and the city) can’t get a break for nothing lately. The A’s look like 100 losses next year and the Warriors look like the W’s of past, regardless of all the new personnel.

  67. No to point out the obvious but the W’s have fans that buy season tix regardless of the fact that they have had one of the worst win/loss records-we know the same doesn’t exist for the A’s and it’s not because of LW- also find it ironic jk that the W’s ownership group that you praise conducts all press conferences from SF-they have already left- they’ll just play in Oakland for the next 5 years while their new arena is developed-

  68. @#$%% Raiders (again)..its over! So much for a promising season. Anyhow, no way in hell can you compare the Warriors/Oracle Arena to the A’s /Coliseum. Oracle was completely renovated in 1996 and plays host to the only game in town (so to speak..NBA in the Bay Area). It only makes financial sense for the W’s to invest in their venue. The A’s also play in a venue that was renovated…FOR FOOTBALL! Needing to compete with a baseball palace across the way and getting the backhand from Oakland pols since 1995..and you still want them to invest in “their” dilapidated venue? Your crazy! Don’t worry A’s, you’ll get much love down here in $J!

  69. Why would the W’s put any money in the venue if they only have 5 years left? They may go to SF or may stay in the Town. It’s not nailed down yet, just like the A’s not being nailed down to SJ. Wolff has been in the O.co for 6 years now and has added those wonderful tarps and fixed a few leaks. WOW!!He could of done a lot more without breaking the bank. They have cheap rent, get the revenue sharing, and are the 4th richest ownership group in MLB.

  70. Answer the @#$%& question? Why should the A’s invest into the mausoleum when the city of Oakland doesn’t give a rats ass about them? The place was “is renovated” for football, with Mt. Davis forever acting as a middle-finger towards the A’s organization. Heck, you should be thankful Wolff and company fixed the leaks. New scoreboards, Wi-Fi, new HDTV’s in the suites, etc etc…give us a @#$%& break! They’ll have it all in $an Jo$e, so don’t worry about it!

  71. What amazes me about Quan is she completely ignored her Planning Commission whom called for an EIR to be prepared on VC and 980 Park. Both would have satisfied MLB’s primary requirement for a Downtown venue.

    Never has there been any public vetting of the feasibility of VC or 980 Park. i for one will tell you VC is to costly especially the cost of an access fix if there is one.

    The Coliseum City concept is silly. To bad that Blackwell, who I had high hopes for had to present the quickly trumped up folly.

    Oakland has wasted valuable time coming up with a viable ballpark plan. I fear they will lose A’s as well as the Raiders and Warriors in short order. Leaving the Coliseum site as a wasteland with no viable reuse.

    Shame on you Mayor Quan.

  72. ML, I don’t want to tell you how to run your webiste, but on mine, a comment like jk-usa’s to Tony requires banning the user. Otherwise it’s impossible to keep control.

  73. Anybody here ever spend a lot of money renovating, improving a place you rent as a tenant? Didn’t think so. Wolff shouldn’t, either. He’s just a tenant. But Oakland’s strategy to keep him, rather than build him a new state of the art facility, is to conspire with the Giants on legal shenanigans in hopes of forcing Wolff to build in Oakland himself. Won’t work. Instead of improving the Coliseum for baseball, Oakland and Alameda County voted to wreck it for baseball in 1995 instead

  74. @pjk–Wolff got the A’s at a reduced price because of their situation in Oakland and not being able to move to SCC because of TR’s. Why not make the best of it while you’re still playing there, and sprucing the place up some? They’ve profited immensely their 6 years there, thanks to the NYY checks. Putting some of that back in the venue is the only decent thing to do. Gutting the team again this next year will guarantee even more profits (even though they’ll claim that they ” just broke even”). It just makes me sick how they’ve done (or not done) things since they bought the team.

  75. @jk- the coli is a football stadium- what have the raiders put in- especiaalynsince it was remodeled for them- don’t hold LW to a different standard

  76. @TonyD–i’m ignoring you and Anon from now on. And damnit, this time I mean it!! I’ve had enough of you two. Everyone else on here is pretty cool.
    @GoA’s–i agree, the Raiders should of done some improvemnets too, but the A’s play 81 games , the R’s only 10. Maybe both should get together and split the costs. They have so much money between them and the poor city and county is flat broke.

  77. Wolff bought the A’s at a reduced price??? If Oakland is the great baseball mecca you say it is, shouldn’t Wolff have paid a premium to own a team there?…Some people are just going to keep hating Lew Wolff because he refuses to go bankrupt giving Oakland a free ballpark it doesn’t deserve.

  78. @pjk–Yup, he got it at a reduced price because of their situation in the O, just like Schott did. I never said Oakland was a great baseabll mecca, far from it. I admit it’s been a struggle for a big chunk of their years there, and so was the Giants. Both teams lost a lot of money in the mid 90’s before the plethora of new parks came into fashion. Pacbell helped the Giants tremendously, and I believe a new park in the O will do the same. But as ML pointed out here, these mega TV deals like the Angels got throws a wrench into the whole thing. They need to split the revenue evenly like the NFL does. Look what small market Green Bay is doing.

  79. jk, a few years ago you may have been right. A few upgrades for their “interim” would have been smart. But at this point they don’t really care. If all the signs we’re seeing are correct and San Jose is about to be approved next month, then they won’t bother. I mean the fact they’re “rebuilding” what little team we had in anticipation of 2015. I can honestly say I wouldn’t be surprised to see attendance drop considerably this season and next. We’re going to be awful on field. But if they’re building for San Jose now at this point the next 3 years are just lame duck years that they’ll write off for the most part anyway.

  80. @Dan–you’re right, it’s gonna be bleak at the turnstiles the next few years. What’s sad is they have a better schedule (more Yanks and Bosox) and the Angels acquiring Pujols, would of made it possibly better to draw 1.6 mill+, but I doubt it now with the pathetic team we have. If SJ is chosen, to write off the team (in the short term) and the Oakland fans like that is unconscionable IMO.

  81. re: I never said Oakland was a great baseball mecca
    …you always talk about the A’s “crazy history” and how the team should stay in “the O.” Seems to me Wolff should have paid a premium for this “crazy history,” no?

  82. @pjk–well, for me personally, the wonderful, colorful, crazy, up and down history of the Oakland A’s is priceless. Not too many teams the last 43 years can match what has been done in the O. Besides 4 WS wins and 15 playoff appearances you got the great memorable teams from the Mustache Gang to Billy Ball, to the Bash Bros, to the Money Ball boys. No A’s fan can forget the “Just. Plain. Crazy” 20 game winning streak (thank you Bill King, another Oakland legend). Then there’s Krazy George and the first Wave; Mrs. Fields, the ball girl early 70’s (what a cutie back then);a young MC Hammer doing his thing in the parking lot; Banjo Guy in his tattered cape and propeller beanie; and those awesome drummers in left field who pissed off Steinbrenner in the 2001 playoffs.
    Can’t put a price on all that!!

  83. …can’t forget local Oakland legends Rickey Henderson, the all-time MLB stolen base champ; and Dave Stewart, who resurrected his career, coming back home to Oakland and winning 20 games or more 4 years straight. Statues of those two along with Walter Haas would look great in front of a new Oakland park, and not so great in San Jose.

  84. @jk-usa – All nostalgia, no future.

  85. Banjo guy turned traitor in 2010. He’s a Giants fan now.

  86. @Tony D

    “Answer the @#$%& question? Why should the A’s invest into the mausoleum when the city of Oakland doesn’t give a rats ass about them?”

    I’ll answer that. Because it’s called running a business. You want to people to come to your business, you better damn well make sure your business is a pleasant place to be. Period.

    Why the fuck should I go to a restaurant that is a dump and the food sucks? This sums up the A’s. Yes, the Coli is an old, decrepit, football stadium. But it can be spruced up – better lighting in the concourses, painting the ugly ass concrete, cover exposed conduits, clean up and modernize the freaking bathrooms, bring in the outfield fences in a few places (so a few more homers will happen), get new, state of the art scoreboards and jumbo-tron big screens, put up A’s flags and banners everywhere, and get rid of the ugly ass, stupid ass, tarps (the tarps just say “we give up, we don’t give a shit, we don’t ever expect to put out a good enough product to fill up a 40,000 seat venue”).

    Really, I understand the business reasoning on the tarps (it’s been covered here before), but I really fucking hate the tarps. They’re ugly, they look cheap and cheesy, and more importantly, they send a total defeatist message.

    It’s called telling your paying customers you care, and you appreciate their business.

    Instead, the only thing Wolff/Fisher have done is fix a few leaks here and there, plus new scoreboards are coming, only because the old ones are falling apart and there are no parts for them.

    And then there is the product on the field. Yes, the A’s are a low revenue team. But at least they could try to retain their own talent, and stop the endless cycle of trading away guys once they prove themselves at MLB level a little bit, for getting more prospects. This keeps the A’s in a perpetual AAA+ level, and make fans not give a shit, and of course attendance and TV ratings suck.

    I applaud Wolff for going all in on SJ, and being willing to take the big risk of his own (and Fisher’s) money. But while waiting for the Bud Selig / BRC / Gnats T-rights bullshit, they should have been doing everything they can to put a good product on the field, and make the venue as pleasant as possible. But instead, they’ve been crying poverty and doing f&^%iing nothing. They could have done so much more, with minimal extra spending, and with decent ROI (face it, better product on the field, as well as a little care on the venue, will translate to increased attendance and TV ratings).

    As much as I hate Gnats management and ownership (I really hate them), at least when they were stuck in shitty, horrible, hellish Candlestick, and working on getting AT&T funded and built, in the meantime they at least tried to make the place as palatable as possible, and they did try to make the Gnats as competitive as possible year after year (to varying degrees of success).

    Sure, get a better location in a brand new building. But while you’re working on that, work your ass off and put some money into your current location, and try to be competitive each year, instead of constantly rebuilding, so customers are will want to come to your business. It’s freaking Business 1A.

  87. @jeff-athletic—Bravo!! Good job, well stated post. Only thing i disagree on is applauding Wolff for going all in on SJ, but that’s been his plan for quite awhile, with a faint attempt in Oakland and a slight detour in Fremont. If he gets his wish and MLB picks SJ, look forward to him running things on the cheap also there if it affects his ledger book. I, too, can’t stand the fricken tarps. Leave them on Mt.Davis, those seats are too high and far from the action, but around the 3rd deck, they look like crap.

  88. re: ’ll answer that. Because it’s called running a business. You want to people to come to your business,
    ..Throwing good money after bad. Putting lipstick on a pig, going to dances with old ladies in new dresses. There is not much that can be done with the Coliseum – it is what it is and will NEVER compete with the baseball paradise 12 miles away in Frisco. Wolff/Fischer are right to save the big spending for the new ballpark in San Jose. And once again, they are tenants in the Coliseum and it is not their responsibility to improve somebody else’s building.

  89. I’ll never understand the hate for the tarps. What is so great about looking at thousands of empty seats? That or tarps, what’s the difference? At least with the tarps they can put some A’s branding in those empty spaces. The loathing all seems very irrational to me.

  90. Yes, they even took the tarps off some of the third deck seats and what do we have? More empty seats to look at, of course. A team that gets 15,000 a night simply does not need 50,000 seats available.

  91. I kind of understand the hate for them even if I don’t share it. They look tacky. And the ones on the old third deck are the team saying, “hey, we cannot fill our own stadium and won’t even try.”

  92. Unfortunately, that is indeed the – case – the A’s cannot fill their stadium or even come close.

  93. @Dan – They tried for many years to fill the third deck. It wasn’t working.

  94. @Jeff-athletic,
    Thanks for starting out my day with a good laugh. Wolff/Fisher have done enough with the mausoleum (ie fix leaks); all the other stuff you want them to do is just crazy. As pjk put perfectly, throwing good money after bad and putting lipstick on a pig. And that restaurant analogy has no relevance whatsoever to the Coli situation, but nice try anyway. But whatever, all of your “wants” for the Coli don’t matter anyway. By the way, once Cisco Field is announced and construction commences, priority seating/season tickets may be tied to having season tickets at the Coli. So in effect, attendance (or season ticket sales) may see a bump at the Coli while Cisco Field is being built. If this is the case, I for one will definitely buy season tix for 2012-14.

  95. that baseballoakland bit may be the funniest unintentional comedy I have read a long time…

  96. I was ranting. I’m just frustrated with the ghetto mentality.

    I do agree that the only way forward is a new stadium, preferably in SJ, which looks like the only viable alternative, and thankfully finally looks like it’s going to happen.

  97. I also fully understand the reasoning of the tarps. But I still don’t like them. It just looks so cheesy, and worse, defeatist.

  98. @ML- I don’t think JK deserves to be banned. He never swears and lets face it….Its not like Tony or others do not edge him on a little bit.

    Its your call of course but I have seen far worse than him on other sites and he is actually not a bad guy…..just my two cents.

  99. @Sid – Not a permanent ban. Maybe a week, maybe until the end of the year.

  100. Agree with Sid.

    Also agree with Jeff about the tarps. While the A’s have never been able to fill the third deck regularly there were people who did enjoy sitting up there. And more importantly on big games against teams like NY the third deck would often fill up or very close to it for a great atmosphere. I can remember sitting up there for the sweep of the Yankees back in 2000 and it was glorious. If they were going to tarp anything I’d have preferred it be the Plaza Outfield seats along with the already tarped top of Mt. Davis. It makes more sense to have people sitting on the third deck between the foul poles (and able to see the entire field), than to be sitting in those crappy Plaza Outfield seats which make half the outfield un-viewable.

  101. Yeah agree about jk… We ve had our differences and I’ve flashed on him before, but deff not a bad guy.. Hope to see him back

  102. FWIW, I’m good with jk as well. His delusion that Oakland is equivalent to San Jose as an economic location for MLB and therefore that Wolff is a bad guy for not pursuing it is frustrating at times, to say the least. But I don’t sense any malice in him, and some of his anecdotes about the old days are enjoyable. He’s far from the most obnoxious person who posts here. I hope he comes back.

  103. Well, to put myself on the other side, jk’s continual putting down of Lew Wolff, San Jose and accusing people of being “Oakland Haters” when the facts didn’t go his way was really annoying. I’m glad there is a respite.

  104. In this day of uncensored blogging and the ugliness it can’t bring, you either have to draw a line and enforce it……or the blog becomes a monstrosity of nonsense and lash outs (as so many are these days). JK has made his points repeatedly and largely without restraint. However, again, there has to be boundaries.
    He is obviously VERY passionate about the A’s being in Oakland. Yet he has to repeatedly hear: Oakland has had the chance for many years to get something done for the A’s. Oakland made almost zero tangible progress on a plan for a new stadium. Oakland changed the Coliseum for the Raiders and made it the worst baseball venue in MLB. Oakland has not been supporting the A’s for quite some years now. What could he say? ‘LW didn’t put enough money into Coliseum’ or ‘MLB just needs to give the ok for VC’ or ‘a Coliseum City is why the A’s should stay’ (paraphrasing). Even with responses that were lacking logic/emotion based, it had to have been getting to him. In his defense, It has to be tough to deep down know that the cause he is so passionate about is all but lost (wouldn’t that be hard for anyone?). I suspect it eventually was going to arrive at a a point of over the top frustration.
    Sorry, I know it is poor form to speak of someone unable to respond.

  105. @TW “Yet he has to repeatedly hear: Oakland has had the chance for many years to get something done for the A’s. Oakland made almost zero tangible progress on a plan for a new stadium. Oakland changed the Coliseum for the Raiders and made it the worst baseball venue in MLB. Oakland has not been supporting the A’s for quite some years now. What could he say?”
    .
    Well, to the extent some of these things are obvious facts, one option would be to simply say nothing about them. Another option would be to admit points that are obvious, even if they cut against your cause, but argue from the points that are more supportable. This is actually a far more effective form of advocacy than simply denying any fact that is inconvenient (are you still out there somewhere Navigator?). eb is a good example of someone who is a strong advocate for Oakland, but does not deny facts and comes across as generally reasonable.

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