News for 1/17/12

Today I did an TV interview on Get Real with Brian Stuckey, a show produced out of CreaTV San Jose. CreaTV is a non-profit to whom Comcast has farmed out all of their public access programming for much of the South Bay. The segment will air January 30 on Comcast channel 15 with a web stream simulcast, so my ugly mug won’t show up until then. I doubt anything will have fundamentally changed by then, but you never know.

On to the news.

  • Matier and Ross report that nothing official happened on the A’s-to-San Jose front. That’s true at least when it comes to making a decision or coming to a compromise plan. We set those expectations going into the owners meetings. Yet background work did occur, including the presentation to the executive committee and Selig’s statement that the A’s are now on the front burner. Write that off all you want, it’s movement that wasn’t happening six, nine, twelve months ago. Remember that as incalcitrant the Giants are, there’s always the threat of binding arbitration to force the Giants’ hand. Commissioner Selig won’t give San Jose a greenlight for a vote (for either MLB owners or the city referendum) unless the Giants drop their lawsuit, making the legal action the last real weapon in the Giants’ arsenal to block the A’s efforts.
  • While the Giants are doing everything possible to stop A’s ownership, they’re actively encouraging new arena deals. We all know about their overtures towards the Warriors. Yesterday, Larry Baer gave a pep talk to Sacramento civic leaders pushing for a new downtown Kings arena. Baer said that after four defeats at the ballot box, the effort to get a ballpark going was “worth the fight.” I imagine that Lew Wolff feels the exact same way, Larry.

“It can be done, don’t give up,” Baer said. “You must persevere, you must exercise patience, you must have strong leadership in the private and public sector.”

When a man’s right, he’s right.

  • While the Oakland-only crowd was eager to jump on a graf in the M&R report, they buried the lead: Thanks to the death of redevelopment, the City of Oakland will have to cut 200 jobs and hand out 1,500 pink slips. The Mayor and City Council may also have to take huge cuts in pay on top of cuts already taken last year. How does this affect San Jose? Not that much, since as of the end of 2011 there were only about 10-12 people left in SJRA, with budget cuts and changes already enacted. Not that San Jose actually anticipated the change. SJRA’s fiscal issues forced it shut down early.
  • Less than three months from the opening of the Marlins Ballpark in Miami, and there’s no solution for funding transit options that can bring fans from downtown or the nearest Metrorail (BART-like) station.
  • The Cubs are replacing their right field bleacher section with a Green Monster Seats-style party deck, fronted by one of those new-fangled LED scoreboards.
  • Santa Clara’s City Attorney declared a petition effort by 49er stadium opponents illegal. That doesn’t mean the opponents can’t sue. We’ll see if they have the resources to sue for the right. We’ve seen this happen before.

On a lighter note – since Jeffrey and I will both be at FanFest, would any readers like to do a meetup? Not exactly sure of where we could do it, we can talk through the details.

69 thoughts on “News for 1/17/12

  1. …Binding arbitration in this matter? First time I’m hearing about it. Tell us more…The Matier and Ross post was a double whammy in that it showed San Jose going nowhere and Oakland, with its financing mess, in absolutely no position to do anything about a ballpark. Lose-lose for both the SJ-or-anywhere-in-the-Bay-Area and Oakland-only ballpark contingents….I’m planning to brave the Oakland-only protestors and go to FanFest. We’ll have to meet up.

  2. The more I hear I hear Baer more talk the more I blame him for everything. So I’m going to do something nobody should ever do, and that’s defend Bud Selig. Kind of.

    While the committee is approaching year three on this matter let’s look at the committee itself. When Irwin Raij was put on this committee he brought the entire Foley and Lardner law firm with him. It was correctly pointed out by ML on a previous blog post that the San Jose situation is not Miami. However, the Miami ballpark is being overseen by Irwin Raij and his F&L partners. I think the Miami ballpark is relevant at least when looking at the way Raij and company maneuvered their way through legal obstacles to get the park built. Yes those challenges were different, but difficult and they prepared for all of them; which gets me back to the A’s and Selig.

    Despite the fact we’ve been waiting for years to hear some sort of finality, I believe Selig wants a snowball effect once he rules on San Jose. I don’t think the A’s will be in limbo for many more months, yet years. It’s been pointed out time and time again the Giants lawsuit is a “paper tiger”; given the anti-trust laws, nothing to even worry about. But a lawsuit by a corporate investor/advertiser in the Giants is possible and not subject to anti-trust laws. I have little doubt that Raij and company have done not only their due diligence into the building in San Jose, but looked into every Giants investor/advertiser, every possible lawsuit that could be brought, how it would be argued, and how it could and would be countered. This I believe is the biggest cause for delay, so most of the blame should be put on the Giants not Selig. Selig would want one decision to lead into the next one. San Jose approval would lead into a vote that would lead into ground breaking etc. Any outside delay, more specifically a legal delay, would be seen coming miles away, and they’ll be more than ready.

    For company to argue that they would lose money by investing/advertising with the Giants, a MLB team, whose league’s charter and bylaws make a move to San Jose by Athletics legal, would be very difficult. But since the Giants can’t sue, if they are steadfast against this move, you would bet they would try and convince someone else to sue, basically on their behalf. It may seem crazy but lawsuits often are. As bad as Selig is on issue’s I’m not worried about him letting this drag on for 20 more years. I took comfort in him calling Stand for San Jose a Giants front group. He knows what’s going on, he’s just preparing for the worst – better yet, he’s preparing for Larry Baer and the Giants. I actually trust Selig and his timetable on this matter.

    Fire away….

    • @Burton – Well said. There are so many forces at work and issues to hammer out that I’m almost sympathetic to Selig. Almost.

      @pjk – It’s the only recourse other than Selig’s “best interests of baseball” decree, though I don’t think he’d ever use that power for something like this. It wouldn’t be the first time the A’s dealt with a financial issue through arbitration.

  3. Computer lag got me. Sorry about that opening sentence.

  4. I wouldn’t be surprised if Baer also dropped a hint to Sacto that they should keep SF in mind if the Warriors stay in Oakland and Anaheim falls through.
    Very interesting, Burton. I never would have thought about it quite that way. I will have to hand it to Selig if a scenario like that comes to pass and his preparation saves the day. One of the frustrating things about this has been his seeming non-interest in the A’s stadium problem. That frustration has lead to a lot of animosity toward him. Could be he was helping all along, just very quietly behind the scenes. It never seemed logical that he just didn’t care even though that’s how it appeared many times.

  5. I also agree with Burton—for BS to come out and say that the A’s move to SJ is on the front burner tells me he has a clear line of sight as to how he wants to manage this–in my humble opinion the gints are never going to budge–its going to take an act of Bud to make it happen and in reality the clock is winding down for him–with all due respect the man is 78—there aren’t going to be anymore contract extensions for him–seems to me he wants the A’s ballpark under construction before he leaves–the one detail that did intrigue me is why he added the clause in the CBA allowing the A’s to continue to collect revenue sharing beyond 2016 if they don’t have a new ballpark–guess it is to be used as leverage to get the other owners involved if the gints try to use front organizations to sue the A’s to SJ move? or?

  6. Bud Selig prepared? HA! I guess you guys didn’t watch the 2002 All-Star Game or the 2008 World Series.

  7. I’ll be at Fanfest with the two older kids in tow.

  8. Nice post Burton. Don’t know if you’ve ever posted here before; if not, welcome! One thing to keep in mind is while lawsuits from outsiders (investors, advertisers) are possible, what could one possibly file suit over? Simply crying that the A’s in San Jose would negatively effect Giants revenue, without any proof or facts whatsoever, is pure 100% garbage. Such a claim can’t be proven. In fact, recent letters and polling from the SVLG flies in the face of such nonsense. At this point, either the Giants accept a good deal or say hello to an arbitrator; they’ll have no other choice. The A’s are on their way to San Jose! (Repeat that 100 times Larry and then rinse..)

  9. Man, I check this site hoping to see some news stating news on the move to San Jose being made official. I look forward to seeing Cisco Field coming to life. I have a thing bout watching a stadium come to life. I watched Target Field come to life in the last few months of construction and I am still watching as Miami’s new retractable roofed stadium finishes up on it’s last 2 months of construction. Hopefully ground will break later on this year there on Autumn Expressway to feed my new hobby

  10. @ML- any thoughts on optimum time for SJ to have a referendum? With the council potentially putting pension reform on the June ballot it may not be a good time to phthe ballpark. Also, any insight into transportation grants for the autumn parkway extension?

  11. I’ll be in the ticket line.

  12. Thanks Tony. My post mostly stems from recent conversations on Chronicle Live. The “experts” who have been speaking on the show lately, when discussing possible law suits have been talking about outside entities as being the most likely for a suit. I agree with you 100% that such suits are baseless, unfortunately I don’t think that would stop Baer and company from lobbying for one to take place. As unlikely as it may be, I have little doubt that MLB will be prepared for it. But even a baseless lawsuit buys time. Meaning even the best of projects has additional hurdles, more specifically financing. If San Jose was to be approved and a law suit filed, financing could fall apart. That would be the ultimate Hail Mary by the Giants. But it would be silly to think that would happen given Cisco’s seemingly steadfast commitment to the new stadium.

    I really just wanted to point out the work of Irwin Raij, who with respect to Bob Starkey and Corey Busch the other committee members, seems to be the #1 go to guy in all of America for getting stadium deals done. It should also be noted he was the chief negotiator in the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Nationals territorial rights discussions. Dotting every I and crossing every T takes time. Lots of it. Add into account the other projects he has on his plate, three years, as frustrating as it is for us fans, seems about right. I expect MLB will rule in favor of a move to San Jose, and if the Giants still stand in the way, via a front group, third party lawsuit, or any argument made during arbitration, they will be cut down like a hot knife through butter. It feels like we’re nearing an end, everything after that should move pretty fast.

  13. Outstanding posting Burton! For Bartleby or others here familiar with the law, question: would a lawsuit, even if baseless or completely frivolous, cause any project to come to a halt/standstill? I know EIR’s have continued for the HSR project despite countless frivolous lawsuits. Wonder if the same could occur with approved construction projects like a ballpark.

  14. “Simply crying that the A’s in San Jose would negatively effect Giants revenue, without any proof or facts whatsoever, is pure 100% garbage.”
    It may very well be than an A’s move to San Jose would hurt Giants’ revenue. However, this does not constitute a legal cause of action. You don’t get to proof of damages until you’ve first established liability.
    Investor/advertiser lawsuits are even more of a paper tiger than a Giants lawsuit. At least the Giants have colorable breach of contract or equitable claims (although they have significant problems bringing them). I don’t see anything for Giants investors that passes the laugh test.
    People forget when discussing this, we live in a free market society. It’s not the A’s who are engaging in anticompetitive behavior, it’s MLB and the Giant’s (made possible only by the AE). Giants investors lose money because of an A’s move? That’s not a legal claim, that’s the American Way.

  15. @Bartleby- Yes. Having the whole ordeal decided by our nation’s courts in accordance to our nation’s laws would only favor the A’s and San Jose. The only fighting chance the Giants have is to keep the matter strictly within the by-rules of baseball with its feudal TRs.

    The Giants, their fans, and their media puppets live in a fantasy land if they think the law protects their stupid TRs.

  16. What do M&R mean by saying that one of the obstacles is San Jose’s lack of a financing plan? Is that just their throw away summary line, or is it what their anonymous MLB source thinks?
    By the way, the “best interests of baseball” clause does not give the Commissioner unilateral authority to do anything he wants. Fay Vincent found that out the hard way when he tried to invoke that clause to impose realignment on the National League and got fired as a result. The MLB specifically reserves certain actions to ownership vote and consent of the affected Club, and one of those actions is any change in a team’s territorial rights.

  17. Either way, Wolff said a vote of the owners is the way to do it. Maybe he will call for that vote soon. He can’t possibly want to spend another year in limbo on this whole thing. The other possibility we haven’t mentioned lately – but one that was mentioned to me by a person in the know several months ago – is San Jose filing a lawsuit. I see grounds for anti-trust, economic obstruction, all sorts of things.

  18. @Bartleby,
    Thanks for the legal 411.
    I think we would both agree that possible realignment of the National (or American) League has much greater implications within MLB than altering a territory that at one time was shared by both teams. Alas, I don’t think the nuclear-option clause will be used or needed in this case re Giants T-Rights. This will all come down to a solid-majority vote for the A’s to SJ.

  19. ML, again not A’s but south bay stadium related. Looks like Santa Clara Plays Fair managed to get over 11,000 signatures to force a new vote on the stadium even if the city’s stance is that any such vote is illegal.

  20. @TonyD. – “I think we would both agree that possible realignment of the National (or American) League has much greater implications within MLB than altering a territory that at one time was shared by both teams.”
    The MLB Constitution was enacted after Vincent’s ouster, and it specifically puts both realignment and change of territorial rights (but not broadcast territorial rights) in the same category of items that require 3/4 ownership vote to change unless the affected Club consents. So the “best interest of baseball” power does not exist as far as this issue is concerned.
    As a practical matter there will never be a vote, and Wolff will never ask for one, until Selig calls for one. And Selig will call for a vote when and only when he is confident that he can make the Giants happy with some kind of deal. Every time someone points that out here, it generates a bunch of frothing comments about how the Giants should never have acquired rights to San Jose and MLB should tell the Giants to just shove it, yadda, yadda, yadda — but all of that is 100% irrelevant.
    If we are interested in what actually might happen, the reality is that it’s going to involve Selig brokering some kind of deal between the A’s and the Giants in which the Giants give up Santa Clara County in exchange for something from the A’s. What that something is, nobody knows right now, not even Bud. And that’s essentially what Selig said last week when he said that “when the times comes” to talk about T-Rights it will be important to have everyone sit down at the table.

  21. Are they serving alcohol at FanFest? Can’t think of much to do there besides take an awkward photo with Ryan Sweeney… wait…

  22. @Simon,
    If the Giants can’t be made “happy” then it goes to arbitration…and they get what they get, plain and simple. It would probably be in the best interest of the Giants to take whatever deal is on the table, put a big smily face on the whole thing and allow a vote by MLB. In summary, the Giants aren’t in control here whatsoever.

  23. I’m thoroughly convinced that Selig is going to decide in favor of the A’s in SJ. He’s just trying to cover all bases. In particular, he wants to placate the Giants, and make sure they stay out of the way.
    At this point, the Giants are not winning over any friends. They are quite simply acting like a spoiled child and thumbing their noses, not only at the A’s and their fans, but Bud Selig and all of MLB (and other owners), as well as the entire city of San Jose and all of Silicon valley.
    To the A’s, the Giants are saying “we’re keeping our foot on your neck”.
    To Selig, the Giants are saying “we don’t give a flying leap what you want”.
    To all of MLB, the Giants are saying “we don’t care about what’s good for baseball”.
    To all of the other owners, the Giants are saying “we want you to fork out tons of money to keep the A’s crippled, ’cause we don’t want to compete fair and square, like everyone else does”.
    To the city of San Jose and all of Silicon Valley, and the people who live there, the Giants are saying “we own you, and we don’t care if you want your own franchise or create jobs and improve your city”.
    None of this is exaggerated.
    The Giants are true a-holes.

    But that’s neither here nor there.

  24. The mlb constitution provides that disputes between clubs will be decided in arbitration, with the Commissioner presiding. The constitution was held in secret for a long time, but it got out a few years ago. Over on the sfgate Dumbeat this morning someone has posted a long summary of info allegedly culled from WFAN discussions. The piece reads like a conspiracy theorists daydream — complete with D. Feinstein and B. Boxer threatening to convene congressional hearings on the mlb antitrust exemption if the owners vote to take away the Giants’ territorial rights. The one thing the that tale has going for it is an understanding that the Giants themselves don’t need to sue anyone directly to delay a new ballpark, or to threaten to gut what’s left of the A/T exemption if that helps their cause.

  25. yeah, the Giants will threaten to gut the A/T… Suicide.

  26. “or to threaten to gut what’s left of the A/T exemption if that helps their cause.”
    The Giants will do no such thing. You don’t defecate where you eat. The Giants are wildly successful at the moment, and like it are not, they are in a partnership with the rest of MLB. Their relationships with the commissioner and the rest of the league are important. There’s no way they jeopardize all of that by going nuclear on the rest of the league to seek an end result which would cause them to lose what they are trying to preserve – territorial rights. The notion is so ridiculous it’s not even effective as an implied threat.
    The matter will ultimately be resolved amicably because that’s what Selig wants and ultimately, it’s what the Giants want too.

  27. @xootsuit – I got a chance to read that comment before the sfgate comment system froze up yet again. Entertaining to say the least.

  28. Your argument’s a bit funny, bart. If mlb votes to strip the Giants’ territorial rights, then they won’t be losing those rights if they assist others in challenging mlb’s power to violate section 1 of the Sherman Act. Clearly, the A/T exemption is a piece in this chess game. In the end, there will be some sort of resolution short of congressional hearings or lawsuits by the City and County of SF. That’s true. But getting to that endgame is much more complicated than you seem to realize. Which one of Bartleby’s scrivener colleagues turned hothead after a few drinks with lunch? Turkey. You’re a lot more like Turkey than Bartleby, even if your associate’s cell does look out at a wall.

  29. “Your argument’s a bit funny, bart. If mlb votes to strip the Giants’ territorial rights, then they won’t be losing those rights if they assist others in challenging mlb’s power to violate section 1 of the Sherman Act.”
    Your apparent first argument was that the Giants would use the implied threat of a “cut off your nose to spite your face” lawsuit to deter an adverse ruling by MLB. Now you’re apparently arguing that they would actually follow through on such an effort after the fact, when the cow’s out the barn, out of spite.
    Sure. Please share with us, oh wise one, how exactly the Giants or their proxies bring a Section 1 claim? The T-rights themselves are a “restraint of trade.” An MLB action to strip them is the exact opposite.
    You think the A/T exemption is part of the end game? Lay it all out for us: (a) What are the claims; (b) who are the claimants; (c) why do they have standing; (d) how do you solve the fundamental problem of bringing (or having brought) claims based on anticompetitive behavior when you, not the other guy, are the one engaging in anticompetitive behavior; (e) why, even if it could be done, would it be a good idea to bring down the AE when not only would it remove the ONLY thing preventing loss of the T-rights but would also subject you to antitrust counterclaims, with the possibility of treble damages; and (f) why, having lost the battle on T-rights, would it be smart to bring (or cause to be brought) a spite lawsuit that might so alienate your partners that you risked not only losing territory, but getting kicked out of the club altogether a la Frank McCourt?
    In the meantime, spare us the unearned condescension and grandiose but vague statements of how “complicated” it all is.

  30. I’m getting the popcorn ready.

  31. @all,
    Don’t mind suit. He (or she) feels strongly that the courts will somehow keep the A’s out of SJ and they will have no choice but to remain in Oakland. That’s his/her right to feel that way, so just let him/her be. Looking forward RM to your next thread regarding Cisco Field and design/architectural options.

  32. I don’t think it is right that the Giants are being so selfish over area rights that they got for a HANDSHAKE in the first place!!

  33. There is no likelihood that any of this will end up in court. The Giants aren’t threatening to sue the A’s or MLB, and any lawsuit by one of the affected cities would be a waste of legal fees.
    Arbitration by the Commissioner is also not relevant at this point. There is no dispute to arbitrate. The Giants have the T-rights, and nobody including Lew Wolff disputes that. The A’s want the T-rights changed, which everyone understands requires a 3/4 vote of the MLB Clubs.
    That vote will take place as soon as Selig thinks he has a plan to make it a win/win deal for everyone involved. Not before. That is reality.

  34. …But if the Giants persist in holding their breath and refusing to negotiate, at some point a settlement will have to be imposed, no? Time is not on MLB’s side anymore. We’re already in a situation where the A’s technically have no place to play after 2013 (their lease expires after next season) and there’s not enough time to get the ballpark done by 2014. How many lame duck seasons will the A’s have to play at the Coliseum?…(I read something the other day, obviously several years’ old, talking about how Cisco Field was due to open in 2011. Funny stuff.)

  35. I’m not saying the Giants can pocket veto the issue by refusing to negotiate. Selig might well move forward over Larry Baer’s objections. He did that with Peter Angelos in Washington. But as with the Angelos case, if Selig does that it will be because he in mind at least the broad outlines of a deal that will make the Giants come out winners as well as the A’s.
    The Giants cannot reasonably block San Jose forever. But the opposite notion, that the rights to Santa Clara County might be transferred to the A’s with no compensation, is equally far fetched. To think that, you would have to think that T-Rights are inherently unfair, unjust or have no real value — and I guarantee you there is zero support for that way of thinking within the Commissioner’s office or the ranks of MLB ownership.

  36. re: The Giants cannot reasonably block San Jose forever…But they think they can. Mark Purdy has even said something to this effect .

  37. In reality T-rights a big violation of the Sherman Act and Anti-Trust laws in general. It is “Un-American” to restrain trade by location.

    Hence the NFL, NBA, and NHL have been turned down numerous times for AE’s themselves over the years. Al Davis beat the NFL handily and Donald Sterling did the same with the NBA years ago to move to Los Angeles.

    The Giants are walking a fine line with the AE in general.

    MLB does not want that and Giants know full well what the rules are. They have decided to use those rules despite how unfair they are in regards to the other sports for their benefit.

    In the end, Selig knows the Giants will go against any vote just like the Orioles did years ago regardless of compensation.

    Really Selig is figuring out between the other owners what is fair compensation and once they can all agree on that one piece the vote will pass 29-1.

    Angelos never agreed to the compensation given to him. He voted against the Nationals move despite getting 75M and the Nationals TV rights.

    The other owners voted him of the island, gave him his handout, and let it happen after they deemed what he was getting was fair.

    That is what is going to happen to the Giants. They will get a package that the other owners deem viable and let this ride.

    Difference is the A’s because they are building privately in San Jose and not getting a free ballpark like the Nationals did they will not pay the Giants a penny. MLB will pay the Giants for this huge flaw in their system that has crippled one of their franchises at the extreme benefit for another.

    Before opening day this should be resolved. If the season begins and there is no resolution we will be back here in 1 year but with all the recent developments I tend to think otherwise.

  38. Well put, Sid.

    Suit’s posts are so off-base they are hilarious. Unintentional comedy at its finest.

  39. No, Sid. Exclusive territories exist in all sorts of industries. Try demanding the right to open a McDonald’s or distribute Budweiser within an existing franchisee’s territory. They aren’t solely dependent on baseball’s antitrust exemption either (the NBA and NHL both enforce t rights, and the NHL’s have been upheld in court). But obviously the antitrust exemption creates an extra hurdle to anyone challenging MLB T rights, and nobody familiar with the law in this area thinks this situation is a plausible vehicle for challenging the antitrust exemption.
    You are also incorrect about Angelos. He voted against the move to DC six months before the compensation deal was inked. Selig went forward with that vote because he had a deal on the table that would pump hundreds of millions of dollars into MLB (way better than anything San Jose has offered), so he knew the resources were at his disposal to make Angelos happy. And he did make him happy. Angelos was not given a take it or leave it package. He negotiated for months and got a deal he liked — so much so that since 2005 he has had nothing but nice things to say about the Nationals being in Washington.
    Angelos got a great deal for the Orioles, even though in DC only broadcast territories were at stake (those are less protected than T rights under MLB rules), and Angelos had no realistic path to winning a lawsuit. With that precedent only 7 years old, how can anyone seriously imagine the A’s will get San Jose without significant compensation that satisfies the Giants?

  40. The Giants will be compensated for T-rights. The only question is whether the final amount of compensation makes sense for all parties.

  41. “Exclusive territories exist in all sorts of industries. Try demanding the right to open a McDonald’s or distribute Budweiser within an existing franchisee’s territory.”
    True enough. However, McDonalds and Budweiser both operate in brutally competitive industries, not monopolies like MLB. So the analysis is different.
    “They aren’t solely dependent on baseball’s antitrust exemption either (the NBA and NHL both enforce t rights, and the NHL’s have been upheld in court).”
    Also true, but the fact MLB is a monopoly would make them MUCH more difficult to defend, were it not for the AE. Also, while the NHL may have won a T-rights case (although I’m not clear what case you’re referring to) the NFL has lost such a case (to Al Davis, of course).
    “But obviously the antitrust exemption creates an extra hurdle to anyone challenging MLB T rights, and nobody familiar with the law in this area thinks this situation is a plausible vehicle for challenging the antitrust exemption.”

  42. No way in hell that DiFi or Boxer try to revoke MLB’s anti-trust exemption to protect the Giants. First of all they don’t have the juice to do it, secondly, they don’t sit on committees of jurisdiction, DiFI is head of Intelligence and Boxer of Environment and Public Works. Committee on Commerce, Science and Transpo would probably have a role, or Senate Judiciary, sufficed to say, they would need to convince Reid and 58 other senators to go along with such a move which they can’t cuz the Senate can’t break cloture to use the restroom. Its someone’s stupid last ditch idea. If they can’t do it for steroids, they won’t do it to help Larry Baer. P.S. the A’s are also in California, and they have to listen to all constituents, not just those in West Bay.

    Also, more laughable comments from IDLF and others regarding the Coliseum Lease.

  43. @Nicosan: I wonder how much of that annual $20 million taxpayers’ subsidy for the Coliseum is due to the Mt. Davis fiasco.

    IDLF talks about wanting to protect the taxpayers… should’ve protected them back in 95-96 instead of destroying the Coliseum on their dime.

  44. I find it hilarious that this reporter still uses Magowan as a source. The A’s aren’t welcome at AT&T Park? maybe MLB has other ideas Peter.

  45. Best comment or worst depending how you look at it.
    “The city has bent over backward to persuade them to stay, he said. “Sometimes, enough is enough.”
    uhh what??

  46. @ Mike, Yup had to chuckle at that comment. A politician will say anything to try and cover his behind. What a joke.

  47. In addition to compensating the Giants (even though they don’t deserve any) for the t rights, another way for them to make $$ on this is to rent their ballpark to the A’s for 2 years. Gets the A’s out of the Coliseum earlier and into a modern baseball-only facility. Makes the Giants some extra $$. They want to fill as many dates as they can anyway. Everybody wins. Remember the San Jose Sharks played in Daly City for 2 years…

  48. Why use Magowan as a source? Well, they probably have his cell phone number and he takes their calls. Simple enough..

  49. re: The city has bent over backward to persuade them to stay, he said…

    …I’d say the city has bent over backward to chase them away.

  50. @Al I would imagine most of the subsidy is for the Raider improvements. The A’s part I would imagine is moderate.

    The gist of it is IDLF, Haggerty, and other commissioners are going to try to squeeze a more money, which they probably can and will get. But really in the end of things, is it really a ton? Probably not in the scheme of things. As Noll and Zimbalist point out, Oakland doesn’t have much leverage.

    Brunner saying that this will bring the A’s to the negotiating table to stay in Oakland, (read: Coliseum) is beyond laughable. The A’s have stated for years that they will no longer play second fiddle at the Coliseum, and with redevelopment dead, VC is dead and likely Coliseum City at least for the foreseeable future. If the Coliseum would like less revenue during a hard economic time, they are welcome to try denying the A’s.

    Oakland Residents, How does a Councilmember like IDLF get elected and reelected? I mean beyond the hot air I don’t see anything he has brought to the table. Does he have any big challengers in the election?

    @ML, you still sticking to the Zito contract being the likely compensation? It makes sense, 3 years and over $50 million left. Do you think the way this is going to go about is suddenly we are going to see reports pop up in March that a deal has been reached and a vote on the issue is “eminent” followed shortly after of a news release that Stand Up San Jose has dropped it’s lawsuit?

    The way MLB operates seems to indicate this is going to all fall in place very suddenly, with little notice.

    Lastly, who is going to volunteer for the ballot effort in San Jose? Are Wolff/Fisher or Reed going to hire a strong campaign staff to run this? They are going to need a lot of people on the ground, I imagine the Builders, IBEW, Carpenters and other unions will be ready to jump on that bandwagon with volunteers.

  51. Doesn’t the RiverCats stadium already hold 14K? How much of an upgrade would be necessary to make it MLB ready if you know the A’s already average under 20K per game in their own town?

  52. If you think the attendance at the Coliseum this season will be bad, I can’t imagine the attendance when an Oakland team plays home games in San Francisco, having already flipped Oakland the proverbial bird. You’d be better off marketing to SJ, staying put, making good seats in the new place dependent upon buying season tickets the last Oakland season, and milking the nostalgic aspect.

  53. If the team is going to market to San Jose, they could play the games at ATT Park until the San Jose ballpark is built. How did the San Jose Sharks do as playing in Daly City? Sold out all 11,000 seats sold out almost every night. It would be preferable to get an extension in Oakland, but if that is going to be difficult, then move the A’s to Frisco for two years – A’s get a state-of-the-art ballpark connected directly to San Jose via CalTrain, Giants get some extra cash to pay off their mortgage. Instead of booking an just occasional monster truck race or a concert , the Giant get another 81 dates filled. The Yankees shared Shea with the Mets for a season or two in the ’70s.

  54. @Brian: If the A’s were to play a season or two at AT&T Park (which they most likely won’t– but if), I’m guess their attendance would improve. Think what you will about the Giants organization, but AT&T Park is a stellar place to take in a game. Most fans are casual and don’t get too worked up over zipcodes. I’d probably buy season tickets (even with this crappy roster).

  55. RC, Raley Field in West Sac only has 11,000 permanent seats currently plus about 3,000 in berm/SRO spots. It would have to be nearly doubled in size to work as a temp venue. That said I suppose it would be possible (not unlike what the San Jose Earthquakes have been doing the last few years at Santa Clara’s Buck Shaw Stadium). Temp grandstands could be erected in LF, RF and down the 1st baseline on the current berms that would probably suffice for a few seasons. Frankly I’d like to see the A’s do this as Raley Field, even in a temp capacity, is a nicer ballpark than the Coliseum.

  56. I don’t see how the A’s could play at AT&T since the Giants have the territorial rights to S.F. The owners aren’t going to vote to change that eh?

  57. Yeah it won’t be happening in SF. MacGowan may not speak for the ownership in SF, but if the Giants aren’t willingly working with the A’s on SJ they’re not going to invite them in to disrupt their own baseball ops at Pac Bell either. And Candlestick is incapable of being converted back to baseball anymore to say nothing of the territorial issues.

  58. Thanks Dan. Yeah I don’t know if it is a great idea or not, I’ve never actually been there, but Raley Field looks cool driving by on the freeway. Somehow I doubt the Giants would ever let the A’s play to the heart of their fan base, so Raley Field may be their best bet for a couple of years. It doesn’t sound like an expensive modification. I guess the only real losers would be the RiverCats, who would now have to share their digs with the big club and possibly have fan interest decline.

  59. Let’s throw this one out: Suspension of the team’s operations for 2 years until they can go to San Jose? Loan Jemile Weeks and the other critical players to other teams for two years? Sound insane? Of course, MLB could have approved the SJ move two years ago and there would be no need for a lease extension. Construction would be under way.

  60. Being that I live in the greater Sacto area, I would love the A’s having temp digs at Raley Field.
    It would be tough though. I’ve gone to Raley several times. I could only see temp grand stands being put on the right field grass area, the left field lounge area, and the 1st base line BBQ/patio area. I could see that adding maybe 7-8 thousand seats. Total capacity would be just about 20 grand. But being that the A’s draw average 18 grand, it’s doable.
    In the end, the most realistic option is a lease extension at the Coli. Really, why would the city of Oakland and the Colisuem Authority not want to extend the lease? It’s an extra year or two of money coming it. And if they don’t extend the lease, they gain nothing, except the local politicians looking incredibly stupid (well, even more stupid than they already look).

  61. Didn’t Jerry Brown believe the A’s were a “cost center,” as in, they cost the city money rather than bringing it in? The location of the Coliseum means Oakland restaurants, etc get nothing out of the games. The only folks that benefit outside of the actual facility are the guy with the hot dog stand in the BART stop and the gas station off the 880 exit.

  62. They’ll probably work something out at, though IDLF’s comments are a beautiful example of how brain dead the East Bay politicians are on this issue.
    Don’t rule out some kind of traveling circus act in 2014. MLB sent the Expos down to San Juan Puerto Rico for 15-25 games per year in 2003-2004, in a stadium that didn’t even meet minor league standards. The A’s could play 40 or 50 games in Oakland and the rest of their schedule in Sacto or Vegas.

  63. Wouldn’t it be fitting if the A’s continued to play at the Coliseum while the city deconstructs Mount Davis as Phase One for clearing the site for Coliseum Citay?

  64. Yeah like it or not, the A’s and the Coliseum Authority need each other. Awkward. But if the city of Oakland plays the jilted lover card, it’s good to look at plan B ahead of time. The two years before the move to San Jose could be pretty interesting. I believe that you would have more A’s fans coming from the South Bay to support their team, much like the Sharks fans did in Daily City, and to get the foot in the door on season tickets. If the A’s did have a brief affair with Sacramento, I think that they would draw pretty well because of the novelty of the situation. Imagine the Yankees blowing in to play a weekend series at Raley field!

  65. That and Raley Field, even with a bunch of those skeletal temp bleachers, is still a superior park to Hiram Bithorn Stadium in Puerto Rico and Cashman Field in Vegas (which is so bad the Vegas 51’s minor league team down there is threatening to leave).

  66. AT&T is out of the question. Not only are the Giants, well, giant doucheb*gs, the players’ union and MLB are not going to want the scheduling nightmare it would entail. Doubling up is doable for weekly NFL games, not near-daily MLB games.

    The Union would also complain of having to play in a minor league stadium, so Raley Field would be out. There’s the old Olympic Stadium in Montreal, but that would make AL West travel a nightmare.

    As has been said, it’ll be the Coliseum. The politicos will make a stink, but in the end the city needs the revenue more than it needs to spite the A’s.

  67. The union could raise a stink about Raley, but not sure how much of a stink since Raley, while not officially MLB caliber, isn’t that far off the pitiful surroundings the A’s and their visitors find themselves in now at the remains of the Coliseum.

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