KQED Forum talks franchises

Last week I got a call from the folks at KQED’s Forum program to see if I’d be interested in being on today’s show. Then yesterday, I received word that their panel was full so I wouldn’t be needed for the show. That’s just as well, because it was a pretty good show hosted by Joshua Johnson and with guests Susan Slusser, Mark Purdy, and Glenn Dickey. Giants CEO Larry Baer also chimes in later in the hour. If you haven’t listened to it yet, do so. Below are the embedded player and an MP3 link.

MP3 Audio

A couple of observations:

  • Purdy mentioned that he talked to sources on the MLB panel. According to them, the Giants’ contractually are not tied to South Bay territorial rights.
  • Baer is content with a two-team market as long as the market definitions stay as is. Pressed on what defines the South Bay, Baer hemmed and hawed, finally mumbling that it includes San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. He also talked Warriors, saying that he’s going along with the process to evaluate options in both Oakland and San Francisco.
  • The 49ers and the potential for a new referendum on the revised stadium deal were discussed, especially by callers. I don’t think there’s enough political will to make that happen, but you never know.

I need to do a full relisten to see if there’s anything else, as I didn’t bother to take notes.

47 thoughts on “KQED Forum talks franchises

  1. “Purdy mentioned that he talked to sources on the MLB panel. According to them, the Giants’ contractually are not tied to South Bay territorial rights.”

    Can you clarify what that means, ML? As in, no one ever bothered to codify the Giants’ interest in SJ in their own financing docs?

  2. I think that was the implication. Their contracts relating to Pac Bell mention nothing about San Jose. Which means the Giants have been BSing everyone. Big shock.

  3. Pretty much what Dan said.

  4. What was the garbage Dickey was spouting about the territorial rights coming from the Giants ownership change that brought in McGowan’s group. Is he really that out of touch?

  5. Dickey’s position, set in granite, is no way A’s to San Jose. No way no how not ever. He refuses to consider the notion that a new ballpark in Oakland is never going to happen and won’t make a choice between A’s to San Jose or A’s out of the Bay Area because he refuses to believe in either scenario.

  6. Well then Dickey is a fool.

  7. Dickey can tell you precisely what is wrong with Barry Zito and why the NL is stupid for refusing to use the DH, with irrefutable logic. But when it comes to Bay Area economics and why the A’s can’t make a go of it in Oakland any longer, he doesn’t want to hear about it and won’t acknowledge San Jose is the only option left.

  8. Coco is signing with A’s.

  9. Buster Olney reporting that Coco Crisp is signing with Oakland, for a $6m salary in 2012, a $7m salary in ’13, a club option of $7.5m for ’14, with a $1 m. buyout.

  10. Coco, why? Are the A’s going full rebuild or not? What did Wilingham go for again?

  11. Re: Coco; Way OT – I don’t know if someone has already mentioned this but it appears they are going after Cody Ross for OF also.

  12. Now I’m totally confused. Why would we resign Crisp and for that much money? He’s not worth that for his on field performance. Only way this makes sense is to maintain some franchise value and have some name to sell the public on during the last 3 years in Oakland…

  13. They are signing Coco because they are required to spend some $$ for this coming year because of what happened with the Marlins some years back.

    The A’s have to spend a minimum on players so the players union does not get angry at them. The Marlins did this years ago and MLB put a rule in and the A’s know this full well.

    They have to show something even if everyone knows it is full re-building mode time for San Jose in 2015.

    Crisp did steal 49 bases last year for the A’s so to have him in the lineup is a good thing guys.

    He would be far cheaper than Willingham by all means.

  14. Willingham was 3 for $21 mill. I know the buyout is the major difference, but, really? Also, Ross, I don’t even know what purpose he would serve. Two older, often injured players doesn’t really seem to fit what we’ve been told. I would prefer all young all the time, unless they interject some Tony Phillips, red ass veterans to help things progress.

  15. CoCo could also have trade value come July; perhaps even the same with Cody Ross (if that happens).

  16. @ Tony D. – I think that is the most likely scenario here.

  17. Coco is valuable because of his glove. Looks like the idea is to have Coco in CF (saving young pitchers from getting overly hammered) and rotate Reddick, Cowgill, Taylor and probably Allen through the corner spots with Cowgill and Reddick playing when Coco can’t.
    I’d venture to guess that Coco signing means no further interest in Ross. At least I hope so, anyway.
    Willingham is a defensive liability. I’d have loved to see him stay as a DH, but he was pretty unremarkable in LF. I think letting him go was more about Chris Carter (he will get the lion’s share of DH at bats of all goes well) than about Coco Crisp or Josh Willingham.

  18. Back on topic: I find it remarkable that Glenn Dickey would bash the A’s potential move on one side and then endorse a Raiders move to Santa Clara shortly thereafter.
    And the last question is priceless. Once again the Oakland Only crowd casts doubt on San Jose’s plan rather than worrying about their own. It is comical.
    Larry Baer, ugh. South Bay starts at the KQED studio?!?!?!
    I didn’t hear much new stuff, really. Well, except for Mark Purdy correcting Glenn Dickey on the “contract” and lawsuit stuff. Can this please be over soon?

    • Jeffrey got it. The organization is weak up the middle with no immediate everyday CF prospect, so Crisp is a good move. Willingham blocks all of the young guys.

      As I mentioned yesterday, the A’s payroll was at $24 million going into this week. And that’s including all of nearly all of the rookie minimum players you expect to make the 25-man. Billy Beane is comfortable with a payroll in the 50’s, double that. Crisp gets them to $35 million with 3 bench spots, a rotation spot, and a couple of bullpen spots to fill. I could easily see another scrapheap starter pickup, if only to eat innings. Filling those spots would put the A’s probably at $40 million or more to start the year, leaving enough money to go after Jorge Soler. Plus I think $40 million is the payroll threshold to be above MLBPA filing a grievance against the team.

  19. Glenn thinks the Raiders moving to Santa Clara frees up the Coliseum for an Angels-style renovation, I guess. Is that all the A’s deserve? Meet the new ballpark. Same as the old ballpark.

  20. I doubt it. Even Glenn can’t be delusional enough to think that the Coliseum can receive an Anaheim style renovation (which it can’t). To say nothing of the Anaheim reno being so successful that the Angels are now considering moving out.

  21. ML, not related but it appears an appeal of the Earthquakes planning permit has been filed by a party. Not clear who yet but most likely culprit are the oft annoying Newhall Neighborhood Association. Nothing like a bunch of morons who bought houses in a terrible area because they were cheap asses complaining after the fact about all the noise in the area.

  22. I usually hate Jenkins. That one is not so bad

  23. Say what you will about the evils of dictatorships, but at least they get shit done fast.

  24. I’m very very glad the A’s re-signed Crisp, for the following reasons:
    1) Great CF – the young OFs and young pitchers will greatly need Crisp’s awesome coverage in CF
    2) Great base running – with Weeks leading off, followed by Crisp, the A’s will have a catalyst at the top of the order. They lack power, so they’re gonna need the speed.
    3) Veteran presence – Needed for all the youngsters
    4) Proven MLB player – I shudder sending out to many AAA guys (Taylor, Carter, Allen, Mitchel, Cowgill). All guys that have potential to break out, or have potential to hit .200. You just can’t have too many of them in the line up at the same time.
    5) Crisp is a Fan favorite. Fans are fed up with the rebuild cycle, where, year after year, favorite players are either traded or let go to FA. The rebuild is smart and needed, but the A’s desperately need to keep some Fan Favs around.

  25. @Dan- any idea as to how an appeal to the construction permit is handled- does it go back through approval,process again with planning commission and city council? If so assume it will get approved again- then what are next steps for nimby group? Amazing how hard it is to get a project done in California-

  26. Correct, GoA’s. So why bother with economic development in California when it’s so much easier to do it in Nevada, Texas, etc? A few years ago, a hotelier wanted to put up a hotel and small convention center in Santa Cruz, which would have brought in highly paid people to spend $$ in Santa Cruz. Of course, a citizen’s group reflexively rose up to fight it. So the hotelier just killed the project, not wanting to go where they were not wanted…

  27. GoA’s, it’s going to go before the full planning commission where they will hear the appeal. Quakes fan groups are already planning to invade the meeting so that it has a very pro-team slant. The commission can either dismiss the appeal (best case), can uphold the appeal (worst case as the as at best it would force Quakes to go back to the drawing board redesign their plans accordingly and essentially have to refile). Or the commission can find some middle ground and require the Quakes to make modifications to their plans to placate the concerns of the neighbors.

    Biggest issue is that the planning commission is not the city council. They’re an unelected group of every day citizens, many of whom may have been or are NIMBYs themselves. However the concerns of the group aren’t deal breakers by any measure. Their biggest concerns appear to be that the design of the Quakes stadium isn’t identical to the model the sound report used (which is to be expected since the Quakes stadium design isn’t even final yet), that the stadium has a gap between the roof and back of the seating area (again something that’s not even finalized nor even in the renderings), that horns and fireworks be banned from the site, and that the stadium has an open roof. Really the only deal breaker is the last one as the stadium will not have a fully enclosed roof. However the open air aspect of the stadium was pretty thoroughly addressed in the reports the NIMBYs disagree with.

  28. Thx Dan- how long does process take assuming planning commission (who has already approved project) approves it again without changes ?

  29. Did this neighborhood group object to the Lowe’s or In-and-Out Burger that just opened next door to the Earthquakes stadium site? Did they object to the airport expansion that happened across the street? Sports facilities are now right up there with sewage treatment plants and garbage dumps on the list of unwanted land uses. Recall that a neighborhood group a couple years was able to stop a college baseball field being built for San Jose City College even though something like $1 million had already been spent. The college board of directors just caved and gave the neighborhood opponents everything they wanted.

  30. GoA’s, a few weeks at most under the best case scenario. It’ll be put on the planning commission calendar on an upcoming regular meeting schedule (held every few weeks). And they’ll hear the appeal and comments and then will vote on the course of action. Hopefully they recognize the abundant data on the site and it’s noise levels and just throw it out, but we will see. I have no faith in the system to do the smart thing in California.

  31. I was just thinking about the upcoming owners meetings and the A’s ballpark not being on the agenda and then it hit me.

    In reality it cannot be on the “official agenda” with the A’s and Giants in the same room. MLB already knows how those two teams are going to vote and they know the Giants will throw a major “tantrum” in the room if things do not go their way.

    Selig would have call the “other” 28 owners without the Giants and A’s (Baer and Wolff) in the room to produce a vote and go ahead for San Jose…..this would have to be done under the radar. It could get ugly otherwise with both teams in the same room.

    Compensation I think is relative unless the ballpark gets built as the Giants would not get a penny otherwise for any other reason.

    The T-rights change itself also would not go into the MLB charter unless the A’s succeeded in building the ballpark physically in San Jose (a shovel in the ground).

    Therefore I think the A’s go ahead will not come from an “official owners meeting”….it simply cannot with both teams involved.

    It has to be a off-hand meeting arranged by Selig for the other 28 owners to see the BRC report and vote.

    Just a theory……But it seems logical on why the A’s ballpark is not on the “official” agenda next week.

  32. Wolff said he can call for a vote on the t rights nonsense anytime. So why would it even have to be on the “official agenda?” Could probably be done via a conference call, even. He may think the time is near to call for that vote. And if he wins, great. If not, he sells the team back to MLB, which has to find it a new owner, a new home and run the franchise themselves in the meantime. “Congratulations, other MLB owners. You now own 1/29th of the Oakland A’s because you wouldn’t do the common sense thing and let San Jose happen. Keep your checkbooks handy because you’re going to need them.”

  33. The A’s payroll cutting should draw more ire of the players union and agents, hopefully. The agents already know Oakland is not a place where they can pitch Big $$ clients, thus reducing demand and, by default, salaries. Fewer teams vying for clients’ services means players have fewer options. Maybe agents and the players union can join in the growing chorus of “Would you just let the A’s go to San Jose already instead of waiting for a miracle in Oakland that’s not going to happen?” Scott Boras has already talked about the A’s as a troubled franchise with a solution in hand, but the solution is being blocked by MLB.

  34. @marinelayer do you think that the nature of the strident opposition by the older journos like Dickey, Cohn, Poole is because they have been here so long and are Oakland residents? I mean it is there business to provide opinions I just don’t see much pragmatism. Lee and Slusser can’t provide views because they are beat writers rather than columnists although Susan said it would be sad to see them go since she was from Alameda. I just don’t see such strident language from pro-SJ writers. I would be less open to SJ because I love Oakland and tradition, but the frustration with the awful leadership from Oakland and the Authority as well as my desire for the A’s to have a long term stable home pushes me to support SJ.

    • @Nicosan – I think it’s simply the curse of every A’s owner inevitably getting compared to Haas, which is unfair. He’s not coming back, and the game has changed to the point that neither he nor someone like him could operate in this era.

  35. Yes, talk to the diehard East Bay and Frisco columnists and they’ll point to those few money-losing Haas years as proof that Wolff is deliberately suppressing attendance in Oakland. They don’t want to bring up the $$ Haas was losing, the overall dismal 44-year record of attendance or 2006 (AL runners up, 26th in attendance) . And there’s also a tendency of these writers to, well, look down upon the South Bay as less important than Frisco and the olde time Bay Area. So the A’s leaving Oakland for San Jose, or “Prune City,” as Newhouse called it? It would be unspeakable blasphemy.

  36. Very true, what owner spends more than they have to get a winner anymore? Steinbrenner, Henry, Reinsdorf, DeWitt? The only one I could say so is Frank McCourt but that is for obvious reasons not team related. I mean I could mistaken for thinking the A’s are rebuilding and not cutting salary just to cut salary, but these writers can’t even fathom that. And SJ is never going to be according to them. I mean certainly there are TONs of hurdles to it happening, but its not 100% out of the realm of possibility, in fact there care very reasoned options that exist out there to make it happen, primarily with the anti-trust exemption. I just don’t see the writers doing a bit of due diligence.

    • @Nicosan – Research is difficult and boring. Ranting is easy and draws readers. There are only two owners who hit the Haas level of getting into financial trouble: David Montgomery of the Phillies and Mike Ilitch of the Tigers. Ilitch especially. Everyone else makes more than enough money to pay the bills and not rely on a cash call of investors. The Cards, ever mindful of their own mortgage ($10 mil/year), keep their payroll at $100 million.

  37. Mark Cuban spends more than he makes (on his team anyway) to get a winner. That’s the very reason the other MLB owners don’t want him in The Lodge.

    If he does have a winning bid to buy a franchise, Selig finds a way to say, “Um…that wasn’t good enough…let’s do the bid over again.”

  38. @marinelayer you are right in agreeing with Boxer’s point about no one’s hands being clean here. In the end this whole discussion is just academic until an actual decision is made. Then the real chess game begins, and perhaps the real discussion in the press can as well.

  39. Speaking of Bay Area sportswriters, did anyone read Bruce Jenkins today? He ripped the current A’s ownership group while giving Beane a pass. He should have not necessarily knocked Beane but should have called Billy out for being a very overrated GM. Loved how Jenkins suggested the A’s ownership focus on building a winning ballclub rather building a stadium in San Jose.

  40. Some interesting tidbits (decent listening). A couple of things:
    1) Is Purdy usually right on with his sources (I don’t know)? The contention of no actual TR is a BIG deal. However, it seems unreal to me considering all the hoopla that has happened over TR/a move to SJ.

    2) I will bet you a million that Baer has an answer far more well prepared than he did for this gig. It was probably unintentional but he sounded like a politician absolutely unsure about what answer is correct versus what answer he should say.

    3) Please someone tell me how to get a job like Dickey. He sounded like a frothed up fan with almost no ability to think on the subject. He’s a lucky man because it appears to me any zealous fan with a relative ability to communicate could replace Dickey.

  41. TW, I don’t think he actually contended there is no territorial privilege. Just that they have no contracts related to their stadium that mention the territorial privilege as a requirement of the contract or lease as the Giants have been claiming they do for years. The Giants still have the territorial privilege, but it’s not in any of their stadium financial contracts.

  42. The banks in no way by law could state San Jose had to be a part of the Giants territory for the loans to build Pac Bell.

    The Giants may not be subject to Anti-Trust law but the banks are. Therefore that argument has been BS from day 1.

    Ex: If a bank says we will loan you 1M to build a Lucky’s but no other supermarket can open up within 25 miles so we can protect our investment.

    That would not fly by Anti-Trust law and someone would get sued badly.

    This is flat out wrong and Peter Magowan (love him for saving the Giants back in the day but hate him for blocking SJ) is way off base…..my example clearly illustrates that.

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