Oakland’s Prevent Defense

No statement I have seen better exemplifies Oakland’s strategy than this quote by City Administrator Fred Blackwell from the SF Business Times:

“San Francisco has given the Warriors a waterfront offer that they could not refuse,” said Fred Blackwell, assistant city administrator, in a statement. “And in the end, we will leave a space for the Warriors after they have are exhausted from the CEQA litigation and cost increases required to be on the San Francisco Waterfront.”

Replace “Warriors” with “Athletics”, “San Francisco” with “San Jose”, and CEQA litigation/cost increases with territorial rights, and you have Oakland’s attitude towards the A’s in a nutshell. Oakland has had counsel from the Giants to fight the A’s efforts to move. It wouldn’t be surprising if they went back to that well again just to make things more difficult for the W’s. The difference is that the W’s don’t have a Byzantine league statute to fight.

It’s as if the City of Oakland has no choice. Almost 50 years ago a group of civic, business, and government leaders had the foresight to build what was then a state-of-the-art sports complex for a reasonable cost. It had parking and a future transit link in the plans. The stadium was built initially for football but was designed to accommodate baseball as well, better than any other multipurpose stadium ever. With the Coliseum complex, Oakland and Alameda County built up a 30-year lead over the rest of the Bay Area. Over time that lead was diminished as other cities struggled and eventually succeeded to build new venues. If the Warriors and A’s get their new digs, that 30-year lead will have vanished with only one team, the Raiders, struggling to hold on.

All this posturing makes it appear that Oakland has no choice but this strategy. That’s entirely wrong. They do have a choice. But it starts with making the toughest choice. Instead of this “fake it ’till you make it” strategy of sounding like they’re committed to all three teams, commit to one first and make that team a positive example that the other teams will be attracted to. The resources definitely aren’t there to make Coliseum City fly as a redone, three-team complex. Why would a private developer commit to the W’s part of Coliseum City if they know that a more lucrative play is available across the bay? Even a two-team plan is sketchy due to the logistical complications (phase-in, what to do with the old venues). For now it looks as though Oakland’s putting its arrows behind the Raiders, since there is some prep work being undertaken. Until either Oakland decides or has the decision made for them, they’ll continue with the “fake it” strategy of saying they have several ballpark sites when in actuality there’s zero consensus on one. That’s a shame because it leads to false hope. That’s what organizations like Save Oakland Sports and Let’s Go Oakland are hanging their hats on. Rooting for someone else to fail works from a schadenfreude standpoint, but it doesn’t get anything built. Longtime East Bay fans are about to find that out.

61 thoughts on “Oakland’s Prevent Defense

  1. I’m waiting for the inevitable Oakland Kings speculation.

  2. More like the speculation of the San Jose Kings. Other than Knauss, who is endorsing any moves into Oakland that has money? It just seems that Oakland fumbles something at every turn. Unfortunate that such a great city as Oakland is having a pretty crappy week.

  3. Yes, Oakland did build a decent sports complex 50 years ago. But now it’s time to provide $2 billion worth of new facilities and Oakland just can’t do it. So the city is hoping the teams will have no choice except to do it themselves.

  4. Will Oaklander’s and A’s fans need to wait until the Coliseum City Study is completed and put into the dust bin in order to move forward to study realistic alternatives? The Coliseum site is great for the Raiders and that is it. Oakland needs to find a downtown site for the A’s. The A’s need to be downtown, if for no other reason to reinforce the substantial investment there. The Warriors are lost. It is a shame that city officials have to use legal strategies to attract the teams rather than good planning. Rather than employ attorneys they should be trying to retain the A’s in the Raiders in appropriate venues. Oakland officials seem to have to much hubris to re-scope the Coliseum City planning effort. Hopefully they will come to their senses before it is to late.

  5. “But now it’s time to provide $2 billion worth of new facilities and Oakland just can’t do it.”

    Are you nuts? Of course Oakland doesn’t have $2 billion to spend on new sports venues to hand over to millionaire owners. No city does. There’s no Oakland tax dollar that wouldn’t be better spent on cops or teachers than new sports venues of dubious economic value. Oakland needs to give up on the cockamamie coliseum city idea and focus on making a JLS stadium happen for the A’s. If they need a half billion in public handouts, good riddance.

  6. MLB’s blue ribbon committee looked for downtown, waterfront, etc sites and couldn’t find any.

  7. Three things cause the value of sports franchises to rise: owning (not renting) stadiums, TV contracts, and time. Attendance and on-the-field success are irrelevant.

    Wolff is content to be the new Donald Sterling, investing no new money in the team and alienating the fanbase. It’s cheaper that way, and every day they keep the franchise, the value goes up.

    Wolff’s mantra of remaining patient is hollow; he’s not going bankrupt if the A’s don’t get a new park. He’s got all the time anyone needs.

    Still, ML is spot on. The Town’s strategy of “we’ll be there with the same old thing when your new deal falls through” is short-sighted. Oakland will not keep the A’s (or the Raiders or Warriors) unless they provide land and infrastructure, and expect little besides civic pride and small incremental tax revenue in return. If Oakland can’t or won’t do it, some other municipality will. Maybe not very soon . . . but Wolff can wait.

  8. @pjk–How do you know what the committee’s conclusions were?

  9. Dennis: Hasn’t Wolff said no one from the blue ribbon committee – specifically assigned to investigate ballpark opportunities in the A’s current territory – has approached him about any opportunity he missed? Wouldn’t the committee have come forward and Selig proudly paraded the blue ribbon committee’s East Bay solution if it indeed had one? After 3+ years? ML B doesn’t like to move teams or invade other teams’ “territories” so an East Bay solution would come as a welcome relief. But nobody is aware of one.( I’ve also heard from another connected source that MLB hasn’t been able to find a site. )

  10. Oakland Kings won’t happen without a new arena. And Oakland and San Jose will happen over Lacob’s dead body. If the Kings go anywhere it’s going to be Seattle or God forbid Anaheim.

  11. @Dennis – The BRC was put together to study locations in the East Bay. Selig eventually told Wolff he could pursue something in the South Bay. To me, that pretty much indicates that nothing in the East Bay was determined a viable long-term solution.

  12. @pjk– It sounded from your previous post, that you had some factual information. But it turns out that you have no facts, but just speculating.

  13. I’ve never been a real Warrior or NBA fan, but today was painful for somebody who cares a lot about Oakland. It’s just sad seeing other cities (namely your biggest regional rival) get something that seems like an impossibility for your town to get. The SFGate swipes at Oakland were just constant and in your face. At this point, I’m just sick and tired of this whole scenario. Something needs to be done to keep the Raiders and A’s in Oakland. Whoever is spearheading this effort in Oakland really needs to get their crap together, because without these teams, Oakland becomes Hayward overnight. I know Oakland politicians are to blame for a lot of this, but I just hope the citizens in Oakland and the East Bay, who live and die with these teams, catch a break at some point. So many great moments have happened with these franchises in Oakland and seeing what is going on now is sad, maddening and frustrating beyond belief. John Madden said this on CBS today, ““Oakland needs a win,” he said. “Oakland was there for pro sports when pro sports needed Oakland, and now that Oakland needs pro sports…there ought to be a pretty big fight to keep them there.” Hopefully these idiot politicians and the business community take heed.

  14. Yes, we have a Blue Ribbon Committee formed in Marc 2009 to explore ballpark options in the A’s current territory. 38+ months later, MLB still has no East Bay solution but we do know the committee quickly expanded its search to include the South Bay, outside the A’s territory. If you think that’s speculative and not definitive, than I guess that’s your prerogative.

  15. eb: How many live and die with these teams? A’s were next-to-last in attendance last I checked.

  16. Dan – I don’t think Lacob has the ability to pull a Larry Baer. More likely, Stern would say hell to the no to putting a team back in Oakland, considering 11 miles, in his mind, serves the region just fine. But South Bay economics will always keep a strong flirtation with the NBA. Seattle still has arena issues. I would assume a second team in the bay is more appealing than a third team in SoCal.
    “…but I just hope the citizens in Oakland and the East Bay, who live and die with these teams, catch a break at some point.” I can’t disagree with that sentiment. There might not be a ton of fans at the A’s games, which is downright depressing, but there are plenty who do go out there night after night, and you have to give those folks credit, and allow that the A’s taking “Oakland” off the jersey will hurt. Nothing wrong with that.

  17. @pjk Do you ever stop with your SJ vs. Oakland snipes? I have no motivation to get into arguing issues that have been debated ad nauseum on this site. I get that you don’t want the A’s in Oakland, that’s fine. I hope something works out. Let’s just leave it at that.

  18. Awesome. The miner and the bomb strategy lives!

  19. .213 team batting average and they’re outdrawing someone? Awesome.

  20. .213 batting average means ???. They are batting .500 where it counts, wins and losses. What a complete cop out to quote batting average. And what is the cop out for when their batting average and wins-losses were better? It is amazing that people will throw anything at the wall to try and paint the A’s/LW as the bad guys. I guess it must require an amazing level of denial to see the Ws be far less successful than the A’s yet have far better fan support. And please cover your eyes when you look at what LW did to try and stay in Oakland versus what the W’s did to stay. LOL, what a travesty of logic here.
    It just goes to show when emotions get involved, facts just go out the window. Oakland blew it with the A’s. ANY decent level of Oakland Pol will to get something done and the A’s would have been playing in their new Oakland stadium for multiple years. Didn’t matter that fan support waned, the path was still there. The Ws got good support from the fans and at least some support from the Pols (a lot! more than LW/A’s)…..yet the Ws are dropping Oakland like yesterday’s newspaper. But the A’s and LW are just awful. truly astonishing…
    Many are far to kind to the Oakland only crowd…..as the bottom line is Oakland completely blew it with the A’s and there tactics to change the conversation away from that is funny (as this new blurb about their strategy for the As leaving enunciates). No unbiased view could conclude otherwise.

  21. TPS- King of the Reactionary Argument

  22. Oakland’s screwed. If the Raiders are Oakland’s best chance of retaining pro-sports, what the hell is the Bay Area going to do with two football stadiums which are really only good for two things besides football; visits by the Pope and U2. This is gonna sound nuts, but I think Oakland should build some tennis stadiums. As far as I know, the ATP/WTA only uses the HP Pavlova Arena when in the Bay Area. The conditions seem to be right for Oakland to consider this.

  23. Except I’m not Oakland Only. I don’t have a “It can never be” sort of opinion about where in the Bay Area the A’s play, beyond the belief that, like the Warriors have decided, somewhere in the vicinity of the Bay Bridge _should_ be the highest priority. I think this Warriors plan is excellent. I think the A’s leaving the Coliseum for similar digs somewhere near the Bay, near BART, in the heart of the Bay Area would be the greatest thing to ever happen. But leaving the Coliseum for the smallest yard in MLB down at South Diridon Station is barely an improvement, IMO. I’m critical of Lew Wolff for running the A’s like a shoestring startup, trying to convince the world that you can’t win in this market. B.S. Higher payroll == more wins == higher revenues. Do your job Lew, talk your market up, bring in and hang onto star players (even minor stars like Josh Willingham, k), have celebrities with you at the games to rub elbows with corporate sponsors, get Mr. Fisher to crawl out of his cave and pretend to be a baseball fan, and you guys start acting like pro sports owners that actually want their customers to come out and spend money and have fun. The, “Woe is me for being saddled with this pathetic and hopeless situation in Oakland…” shtick from owners IS the the biggest problem the franchise has. That and a GM incapable of putting together a decent offense.

  24. @ TPS – “Higher payroll == more wins == higher revenues” The Angels say hi….how soon we forget 2006 eh? :X

  25. Interesting comments from Stern on TK’s blog (http://blogs.mercurynews.com/kawakami/2012/05/22/david-stern-on-the-warriors-vision-and-larry-ellison-san-jose-and-joe-lacobs-new-nba-role/) :

    -Q: Is there a territorial rights issue in the NBA?

    -STERN: No.

    -Q: In your mind is San Jose a viable option for any other team to come into?

    -STERN: I don’t know the answer to that. That would be a subject of study and vote by the Board of Governors.

    -Q: Does this arena in any way block another team from coming into the Bay Area?

    -STERN: Honestly I don’t know the answer to that question. We have great arenas in great cities and to the extent that you have an arena, it’s good for the community and to the extent that there’s another arena that’s potentially there, that’s a separate business decision that has to be evaluated.

    -Q: When Joe bought the team, did he ask you for assurances that the Warriors would be the only team in the Bay Area?

    -STERN: The only answer I give to everybody, including you, is that there’s a provision in our constitution and by-laws, which provides that any team can move and requires a majority vote of the Board of Governos, and that’s it.

    Note that he never said that the BA was off limits to another team specifically. Wow…

  26. More nuggets from Lacob that could haunt him later (courtesy again of TK’s blog http://blogs.mercurynews.com/kawakami/2012/05/22/joe-lacob-post-presser-on-past-problems-at-pier-3032-the-oakland-fans-and-plans-b-and-c/):

    -Q: Will the atmosphere in Oakland be uncomfortable for next five seasons?

    -LACOB: I suppose it could be. But I’m going to tell you something, the truth is, if you look at our season-ticket base, 50% from the West Bay, 50% from the East Bay, we have the numbers, that’s what it is. There are, in fact, more season-ticket-holders by quite a margin from the city of San Francisco than from the city of Oakland…

    Does that leave an opening for the South Bay? :X

  27. Anon, I’m not sure what your point was. Were you suggesting the Angels are a counter example of a team with a consistently high payroll, that wins a lot of games, and has built up huge revenues as a result?

  28. @thisplanetsux- You do realize last season with a 66M payroll last year the A’s were 21st in the league but yet dead last in attendance?

    What does that tell you very clearly? That the A’s put $$ into the on field product despite barely breaking even last year despite revenue sharing and still finished dead last in attendance.

    The A’s last season were not even close to being the worst team in baseball for that matter. Even when the A’s were good in the early part of the last decade they did not get fans compared to other teams in MLB. They even had better seasons than the Giants by far (2001 and 2006) and finished way behind them in attendance.

    Time and time again Oakland has shown total ineptitude supporting the team. San Jose is a far better location and I am a life long Giants fan who would gladly purchase 25 games on the 3rd base line for the A’s in San Jose in a New York second.

    There are thousands of under served fans in the South Bay who are too far away to go to games in Oakland and SF for that matter. If you ask people around San Jose they will tell you the same general message I am stating right now in that they would purchase tickets and support the team the way the Sharks are supported.

    Oakland and the East Bay has a team already……The Giants, as they are right across the bridge. The A’s are too close to them and if Oakland or the East Bay had a site the BRC would have forced Wolff to look at it……..the delay speaks volumes that this is true.

    While San Jose and the South Bay do not have a team readily accessible as those people have to drive 40-50 miles to watch a game. Going to Oakland in the evening from San Jose is a royal pain and even the Warriors get next to nothing when it comes to season ticket holders from the South Bay.

    The Warriors as Joe Lacob noted get 50% from the Peninsula and 50% from the East Bay as season ticket holders. The Warriors are the only NBA team in market and they get next to zero from the South Bay.

    What makes you or anyone think the A’s are going to successfully compete for the same fans when the Giants are 12 miles away and beat them to a new ballpark 12 years ago?

    The A’s have to get to San Jose as an act of survival. Oakland has had their chance and the Warriors leaving for SF is for the same reasons the A’s want to leave to San Jose…..An opportunity to move to a better city in the same market with a better site than Oakland can offer.

  29. Anon, for all we now Lacob considers the south bay as part of one or both of the other two regions (obviously they’ve got some season ticket base in the south bay that he’s just not breaking out of those two numbers).

  30. This whole Warriors SF arena announcement really highlights the political differences between Oakland and SF. Ed Lee took the bull by the horns and is going to muscle this plan through. Oakland on the other hand….I wonder if things would have different if Don Perata had won the election?

  31. Don Perata was pretty clear during the election that he was not interested in fighting for the A’s. There is not much the city can/could do to keep the Warriors. And then I doubt Perata would have been interested in crafting another Raiders deal.

  32. @John What did SF do that Oakland did not? If I’m not mistaken, all they are giving the Warriors is unused land. Oakland promised the same, the spot just wasn’t nearly as good. The Warriors are going to be paying for the arena and getting the land up to code, right? The same they would have had to do in Oakland. I’m not saying Oakland politicians are on top of their game, they clearly aren’t and they are making a mess of this whole situation, but I think the Warriors wanted SF all along and there wasn’t much Oakland could do.

  33. @ TPS – $$$ does not guarantee a winning product (when were the last time the Yankees WS Champions?).

    @ Dan – Lacob did denote the South Bay population separately:

    The bay is separated by bridges and San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland, and the surrounding communities all feel a little bit competitive, and I understand that.

    I think he and Gruber realizes the impending threat of another team possibly in the SB or even SF (beforehand). I mean why invest $500 million dollars on the W’s (~$1billion if you count the franchise price) so they can move 10 miles west and make the same money? The key isn’t the W’s, it’s the new venue itself attracting other events and stuff that they can leverage off of.

    @ eb – if you wanna settle for a familiar Chevy when someone is offering you a Ferrari, that’s your prerogative….and as for Oakland politicians, here’s a recent statement from Lacob:

    “We’ve met with Mayor Quan on numerous occasions,” Warriors owner Joe Lacob said. “We’ve not gotten any definitive proposals from her.”

    Funny, take everything that pro Oakland pundits are saying for excuses on losing the W’s and you can apply it directly to the A’s!

  34. While I agree that this Warriors ownership group was focused on San Francisco from day one (hint: where’d they hold the introductory press conference again?)… I don’t think that let’s Oakland’s political apparatus off the hook. There are plenty of more desirable spots to build an arena in Oakland than the Coliseum. The only people that don’t think this are the people who are trying to pass Coliseum City off as some awesome idea.
    .
    Victory Court would have been a sweet place to plop an Arena, for example. The problem is that Oakland (as a City Government, not the citizens) has been on it’s heels with all of this. They continue to act as if they win by default… They could have actually done an EIR at Victory Court that included an Arena as an alternative, had all the red tape gone been and working on a financing plan with the Warriors. For some reason, the City Officials think their city is an equal to San Francisco and that as long as they show the teams that “Hey we can do what San Francisco can do” that they can win. They need to show that they can do more because they aren’t the equal of San Francisco… And they have to stop presenting half baked ideas… Funny how Joe Lacob sounds pretty much exactly like Lew Wolff… “We met with the Mayor but have yet to see an actual plan.”
    .
    I find it hilarious to listen to folks on the radio talk about how a move out of Oakland is great for the Warriors, but a move out of Oakland for the A’s is the equivalent of treason or something. Joe Lacob is running from exactly what Lew Wolff wants to run from: A City Government that can’t get these sort fo things done.

  35. @jeffrey. I totally agree as I was leaving SF yesterday, all Papa could talk about was how a great arena on Pier 30 would be a wonderful landscape and opportunity for the team and Warrior Fans, and in the same breathe laud Dolich and say Wolff is abandoning Oakland. But then again when you get paid by the Gnats you don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Maybe that should be the disclaimer before the Lund show.

  36. I do agree that the Warrior’s ownership prefers SF and wanted them all along. However, SF is just not giving them land. They are getting lease rights (can’t remember if it was for 50 or 100 years) to the piers in exchange for spending $100 million of their own money on renovating them. Right now the piers have negative value because of the cost of fixing them.

    Maybe Don Perata would have been the exact same as Jean Quan, I don’t know. But here is a telling quote:

    “We’ve met with Mayor Quan on numerous occasions,” Warriors owner Joe Lacob said. “We’ve not gotten any definitive proposals from her.”

    From this article:
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/05/22/MNKT1OLBEP.DTL

    The impression I get from reading various articles is that Ed Lee was hands-on in landing the Warriors. He was burned by the 49ers so that gave him extra motivation. He already has the full support of the 11 Board of Supervisors. I realize it’s still a long road from here but you have to admire the way SF has been proactive.

  37. “The impression I get from reading various articles is that Ed Lee was hands-on in landing the Warriors. He was burned by the 49ers so that gave him extra motivation. He already has the full support of the 11 Board of Supervisors. I realize it’s still a long road from here but you have to admire the way SF has been proactive.”
    Hopefully, Jean Quan follows Lee’s example. She’s the active mayor who lost the Warriors and now it’s up to her to save the A’s and Raiders. If she can’t, than hopefully she finds someone in the political/business community who is willing and can. It would be so nice to finally have a rendering to dream about, a plan in place and not to have to feel the constant anxiety of having your teams possibly move away. Being an Oakland sports fan, you’re almost guaranteed some sort of PTSD.

  38. BTW, did anyone hear the Peter Guber interview on 95.7 the Game? He said when he tried to buy the A’s, he had almost finalized the process and Bud Selig stopped it and told him the A’s and the Twins were going to be contracted. Anyone ever hear of that?

  39. @eb-I almost drove off the road when I heard Guber’s interview. I thought contraction was off the table in 2002.

    • @Tony/eb – Contraction was most definitely on the table until September 2002. That actually makes some sense if Selig didn’t want to deal with a messy payout/litigation situation with new owners.

  40. Whats this I read about Ken Rosenthal saying that owners are not going to allow an SJ move? According to LGO, it was on the radio this morning.

  41. I keep thinking Mayor Jean Quan is just blowing smoke to help keep alot of voters from recalling her from office. That’s why there’s no definitive proposal for the W’s and likely the A’s. She wants people to think that if she’s trying to build Coliseum City for Oakland’s beloved pro sports then she must not be that bad of a major.

  42. Did having the Warriors, Raiders, and the A’s really improve Oakland all that much? Enough to justify investing a significant amount of money for new stadiums especially during lean times? Having all three did not make Oakland a world class city. It will not be the end of the world after they leave. Luring the Raiders back was a mistake financially. Hardcore fans will be disappointed but most fans are casual ones.

  43. having the three teams play out in the middle of nowhere in an industrial part of the city for the past 40+ seasons sure didn’t help turn the city of oakland around.

    if all three teams had been playing in venues in or near downtown oakland as almost every sports venue is built these days, i think the city of oakland would be in a much better place with tens of thousands of people thru out the year going to areas of the city that could’ve been reborn and turn arounded into must go to places. obvious to say the area around the coliseum complex after 40 years hasn’t seen a rebirth as we’ve seen in so many cities across the country that have stadiums/arena built in an urban area.

  44. I knew it was only a matter of time before another city cast eyes on the A’s. Other cities will come forward, too. Still think the A’s will never leave the Bay Area? Think again..

  45. The A’s aren’t leaving the Bay Area.

  46. LS, keep telling yourself that right up until the day the moving trucks show up at the Coliseum with a one way ticket out of town.

  47. What evidence shows that the A’s are likely to leave the Bay Area?

  48. Agreed with the above responses that having the teams doesn’t really do much for Oakland as it is (economically). That’s a fundamental part of why they all want to leave – they’re way out in a crappy part of town surrounded by freeway and ghetto. If they were near downtown, they would generate actual positive externalities for the city and would also not be in the rush to leave. Downtown Oakland is getting a lot better and will continue for reasons unrelated to professional sports. A nice waterfront baseball stadium would be a huge jolt of traffic though

  49. i don’t see how sac is a realistic option for the a’s? what are they gonna do, expand raley field or build a new park? what wolff wants is sponsorships and is there even more sponsorship money if he stays in oak than compared if the a’s moved to sac? sac would be fourth on my list behind sj, oak, and fre if somehow that came back into focus. if it is indeed the last chance to keep the a’s in nocal, then okay but i think one of those other three options will get a deal done eventually. still think it’ll be sj unless mlb is too stupid not to get the deal done.

    does this mean sac is also done with any new arena project no matter what the kings do which probably will move out of the city after the 2012/13 season. i don’t how likely is it the nba does expansion or if another team maybe like the grizz are sold, that sac would be the #1 destination especially if sea somehow gets the kings. is sac ahead of the likes of anaheim or even kansas city?

  50. Anon, the Angels _average_ 92 wins per season since Moreno jacked the payroll up to the 100 million level. It’s not rocket science I’m throwing at you here, just some basic math. During the early part of the 2000s, the A’s and Angels were neck and neck in attendance, revenues, performance. The team that was sold to a guy with an open checkbook policy has increased dramatically in value, the other team has sunk to the bottom.

    Sid, you make me miss TonyD. Why bash Oakland as a defense of Lew Wolff’s miserable performance at the helm of the A’s over the six seasons since he irrevocably divorced Oakland? He’s now two failed marriages past all that. The fact is attendance did actually go up a little last year over the previous season, despite the team’s disappointing performance. People got a little excited about Josh Willingham, Gio Gonzalez, and Jemile Weeks as a nucleus moving forward. And the next season is normally when you really capitalize on ticket sales off that sort of buzz. As usual though, this front office pulled the rug out from under us.

    Regarding Guber being turned away by Selig in 2002, all I can think of is how similar a Howard Terminal dog and pony show might have been to the one we witnessed at 30-32.

  51. Howard Terminal? Really? Only a year before what Guber is referencing Howard Terminal was rated as one of the least desirable sites in the East bay by HOK.
    .
    You grossly oversimplify the Angels situation, but whatever.

  52. @TPS- So what you are saying is that all that Lew Wolff has to do is add another 100 million to the payroll and the A’s would thrive in the 45 year old venue? That’s all that it takes for massive corporate sponsorship, tarp off sell outs and and corporations fighting over the luxury boxes? Did you email LW?

  53. Oh yeah, I forgot about the 3 billion dollar TV contract, sorry. Put that in the email too. Thanks.

  54. a’s payroll under wolff in 2007 was 80 million, the highest in franchise history yet the a’s finished 76-86.

  55. Jeffrey, I believe the primary knock on Howard Terminal was cost. It’s a similar problem at 30-32. There are way cheaper places to build than on a pier, but some people have a VISION that justifies their investment. Wolff had a vision north of the Coliseum, then another one in a field in Fremont, and currently one at South Diridon. Is Howard Terminal _really_ that much less valid a vision than any of those? Hearing the Warriors guys out there in a parking lot where the asphalt is bumpy and wavy from dilapidation, talking about spending half a billion dollars there, I was seeing it.
    .
    RC, I never said anything of the kind. Grow up. No one expects the A’s to be outperforming the Giants, Angels, or Rangers in attendance or revenues while playing at the Coliseum. But it would be nice to dip into some revenue sharing profits and maybe even a teensy sliver of the billions this ownership group is sitting on, stem the humiliation of irrelevancy, and try to put together a team that can hit it’s average weight, with some familiar names and faces in the heart of the batting order from one year to the next. I’m not asking the owners of the A’s to leapfrog over 29 teams in attendance and franchise value by next year. How about taking some steps to steadily move forward several notches the next couple seasons, instead of letting things drift in reverse. Payroll is just a key part of it though, not the whole issue. Public relations could be a little better. Let’s try an experiment and find some reading material by typing the following words into google: Wolff Bad Baseball Owners

  56. @tps – I could see Howard Terminal. I think it’s more relevant now than it was several years ago due to the complications with other sites. It may be cost only half as much as Victory Court if it’s planned right and Matson is compensated properly. That doesn’t make it any less of a pipe dream. $500 million stadium + $125 million to prep site and surrounding area and untold costs of infrastructure improvements to be borne by the City of Oakland. Mayor Quan keeps talking about the City having money to get a site prepped. I can see how Coliseum City might work. But Howard Terminal? Is there a pot o’ gold there?

    FWIW – Of the West Coast teams, only the Dodgers are among the leaders in OPS (#5). Everyone else is in the bottom 10. Maybe there’s something to it more than throwing money at it.

  57. ML, I wasn’t actually proposing Howard Terminal, merely wondering if 8 or 9 years ago, Guber might have been able to see it like he was seeing at 30-32.
    .
    And I don’t wan’t to get too hung up on the payroll thing. It matters who you pay. Two guys with identical abilities, but one who’s a fan favorite from last year is worth more to a team than a new guy or a less popular guy. I’m just frustrated that we can frequently find a way to justify flushing large amounts of money on completely random non-producers like Ben Sheets, Jason Giambi, and Coco Crisp, but let reasonably priced ticket sellers like Gio Gonzalez, Frank Thomas, Carlos Gonzalez, or Josh Willingham leave at a point of high value to us.
    .
    There is an abundance of pitchers parks out west (Safeco, Petco, AT&T, Coliseum). But, even park adjusted stats have the west coast teams hitting poorly. By wRC+ the A’s move ahead of the Pirates into 29th. But the non-Dodgers group are all still in the bottom 10.

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