News for 6/10/12

We’re overdue for one of these.

  • Matier and Ross reported on the contents of the Wolff-Knauss summit two weeks ago. Wolff laid out his 1 hour, 45 minutes case, Knauss and other East Bay execs made their case to work in Oakland – or sell the team. When the latter came up, things apparently got a little testy.

The only flare-up came when Knauss suggested that the business execs had deep-pocketed investors who would buy the A’s if Wolff and his ever-silent co-owner, John Fisher, weren’t interested in keeping them in Oakland.

“You can’t buy what’s not for sale,” Wolff told the group, according to Knauss. “I’m surprised you brought that up.”

  • In the same article, contractors at the Cal Memorial Stadium retrofit indicated that the project may not be ready in time for this fall’s football opener. Not that big a deal, same thing happened at Stanford.
  • Prices for the non-premium seats at the 49ers stadium have been revealed. The per-ticket prices aren’t bad, but some fans may bristle at the required seat license fee (which can be financed). The pricing structure looks very similar to that employed at Cowboys Stadium, which makes sense considering that the firm marketing the seats is partly owned by the Cowboys.
  • If Farmers Field begins construction next year, it’s likely that the E3 convention, held last week, would have to be moved out of the LA Convention Center. San Diego, anyone?
  • Chelsea F.C., which has seemingly won everything this season in the Premier League other than the outright league championship, lost out to other developers in its bid to redevelop the hulking Battersea Power Station into a new, 60,000-seat stadium.
  • KNBR’s Damon Bruce tweeted on Friday that the Warriors’ Piers 30-32 deal was dead. So far the story hasn’t been corroborated, and other sources indicate it’s incorrect. Seems odd to say something’s dead when it the process hasn’t yet started.
  • The Arena Football League suffered its first ever forfeited game when players on the Cleveland Gladiators went on strike before the scheduled Friday game against the Pittsburgh Power. The strike is part of an ongoing CBA negotiations.
  • Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen joked that he’d contribute “a couple million” towards a new Tampa Bay Rays ballpark.
  • Keeping the Astrodome running and up-to-date could cost $270 million or more, even though the dome wouldn’t have a tenant team.
  • The Glendale, Arizona City Council approved a deal that would bail out incoming Phoenix Coyotes owner (and former Sharks exec) Greg Jamison to the tune of $325 million over 20 years to stay in the desert suburb. Jamison has not yet been fully approved to take over the Coyotes by the NHL’s Board of Governors, pending a review of the Jamison group’s finances. The conservative Goldwater Institute wants a temporary restraining order to see if the deal violates the state Constitution.
  • In another cautionary tale about public dollars being spent for sports facilities, the Chicago suburb of Bridgeview is in debt up to $250 million for its MLS stadium. What’s paying for the shortfall? Property taxes.
  • Update 6/11 12:19 PM – Numerous sources are reporting that (near) billionaire and Ubiquiti Networks founder/CEO Robert Pera is buying the Memphis Grizzlies. The sale price has not been disclosed. Pera is only 34 years old and is partly based out of San Jose. Update 4:00 PM – The price is in the $350-375 million range. The buyout for the FedEx Forum lease is $105 million as of next year.

Happy reading.

147 thoughts on “News for 6/10/12

  1. Why would Wolff seemingly be insulted when told about buyers? Hasn’t he said before, whenever this issue comes up, that he hasn’t heard from prospective groups who wish to buy the team? Now, he does and he gets flustered…Has Wolff ever said why he wants to own a baseball team? It doesn’t seem to be a drive for winning a championship, he said in the 95.7 interview he doesn’t know who’s on the team half the time and confused the playoff run of 2005 with 2006 (is he that big of a fan?), he’s not connected to the area through strong roots (he’s an L.A. guy), it’s not some desire to keep the team in Oakland, he’s facing a lot of media heat, etc. I know the guy doesn’t deserve all of the flack he gets, but I’m just tired of this whole situation and what seems to be a stubborn, inflexible mindset from Lew.

    • @eb – The Knauss group and the fan letter initially chose to appeal to MLB and John Fisher before going to Wolff directly. If I were Wolff I might be a little peeved at that.

      The outcome is why I questioned the point of this exercise. Both sides are clearly entrenched.

  2. @EB- you can say the same thing about The Oakland only mindset- if Oakland was doable do you really think bud would be working to broker a deal for SJ? This is a privately financed ballpark that doesn’t pencil out in Oakland- and the last thing MLB wants is the team stuck in Oakland under a new ownership group and no viable ballpark plan

  3. @GoA’s I have no doubt SJ is a very attractive idea to Bud, however that doesn’t mean a new ballpark in Oakland could not work. Apparently this group offering to buy thinks it can be done. I also think that if Bud really wanted something done, he wouldn’t put all of the cards in the Giants’ hand, which he has seemingly done, for now.

  4. I personally have no doubt that it could work in Oakland. But it can probably work so much better in San Jose, just based on proximity alone. AT & T changed the game forever. My own frustration with Oakland has everything to do with the site. All the times Wolff has said that if there was a site, he doesn’t know about it. And no one has ever stepped forward to say, “Actually Lew, here is one that we can acquire and it’s been EIR’d and won’t cost a couple hundred million to get started.” San Jose has made it clear that they want and are willing to fight for the A’s. Has Oakland, in actions and not words, shown the same vigor? I would say no.
    It’s not Wolff’s responsibility to do for Oakland what Oakland is not willing to do for itself.

  5. @EB- proposing to buy a team for say $400+M and then develop a $500M privately funded ballpark that will require $150+M of land/infrastructure improvements is a pipe dream- logical business minds know this- Oaklands efforts have always been focused on stalling and Knauss is falling right in line with that tactic- the same man who had no problem leaving Oakland for greener pastures- yup- he has lots of credibility

  6. @ML I could see how addressing MLB would be irritating,but doesn’t Fischer own a larger interest in the team?
    Anyways, I’m just so sick of this whole situation. I’ve made my heavy bias towards keeping the team in or attached to the city of Oakland well known on here, so when I’m tantalized with the prospect of someone wanting to keep the team home and building a new park I get irrationally excited. When Wolff properly shuts that avenue down, I curse the world and mope. Why can’t Wolff try and contact these buyers or work with Knauss obtaining what their method for building in Oakland might be? Either they won’t have an answer, they refuse to say or maybe they’ll give some insight. When Knauss says that the meeting was essentially Wolff saying, “I hear you, but that doesn’t really change my mind,” I get the impression that Wolff wouldn’t build in Oakland under almost any circumstances or he won’t even entertain Oakland until SJ is utterly, completely dead. Maybe that’s unfair, but that’s how it comes across to me. Don’t get me wrong, Oakland deserves its fair share of blame, but I really want the team to stay and I honestly don’t think SJ is going to be pried away from the Giants. I feel like time is just being wasted waiting and our A’s are atrophying away.

    • @eb – Fisher is a silent partner. That’s been long established. If Oakland supporters are hoping to foment some sort of no-confidence vote against Wolff by going over his head with their actions, then what is the point of meeting with the very guy they’re trying to undermine?

      It would be much better for everyone’s sake if Wolff were told something, then we could regather and figure out what to do next. Until that happens, no one has a reason to budge.

  7. re: the last thing MLB wants is the team stuck in Oakland under a new ownership group and no viable ballpark plan

    …or, stuck with a new ballpark in Oakland that can’t make the massive mortgage payments, with the team and MLB at risk of default. But we still haven’t heard which banks will be chomping at the bit to finance as risky as a project as a $500 mill ballpark in Oakland. Money is tight these days. For that matter, does Knauss have an Oakland site in mind that hasn’t already been looked at and ruled out by MLB during its 3 years of investigation?

  8. knauss would likely spend his time more wisely if he used his energy and the potential wallets of these businessmen on trying to get a football stadium done in oakland to keep the raiders here. w’s are likely gone, doesn’t matter if it’s at piers 30-32 or across from at&t, they have their sets on sf. like wise with the a’s it makes better sense to get the a’s to sj to tap into that silicon valley money that is on the sidelines at this point.

    it’s the raiders who’ve said out of the three teams in oakland that they wanna stay in the city of oakland long term. it’s the city of oakland also that bent over backwards to acquire the raiders back by “renovating” the coliseum and screwing over and really not doing much in terms of a legit plan forward in keeping the a’s since that time.

  9. @letsgo, of the three sports, an NFL stadium is the hardest to make work economically. Santa Clara agreed to do a public contribution, a near-impossibility in California, and that’s never going to fly in Oakland.

  10. If Wolff’s Plan A is to move to San Jose, and if he has no Plan B, and if he is not selling the team for at least a generation, then I have one question: Where do the A’s play the next 25 years if MLB turns down his request to move to SJ?

  11. It makes me ill to think that the Giants have 2/3rds of the market because Hass gave it to them in 1990. Now when we need help, we have to wait and wait. Where is the outrage from the East Bay? We need to mobilize and occupy the Giants until we get an answer, its not fair.

    The Giants are sitting there on their high horse with a stadium put together because a very nice owner, Hass, in the best interest of baseball gave it to them to build in San Jose. Now we need help and nobody cares.


  12. Or, you know, people could Occupy the Coliseum and watch a game or two.

  13. i listened to Wolff’s interview on 95.7.
    He didn’t inspire me to go to and buy tickets.
    Nothing inspiring at all. He’s resigned to let this team rot, until Bud gives him a decision. He could’ve talked up Reddick as a All-star, or Parker’s recent good outings. The whole thing was a waste of everyone’s time.

  14. I’m a bit tired of the “we’re not doing diddly squat until we know about SJ” M.O. that Wolff/Beane are operating under.
    If it were me, I’d be operating under the assumption that nothing is going to happen anytime soon, and make the absolute best of things right now – including making the Coli as pleasant as possible (several things can be done, which have been discussed thoroughly on this blog), trying to keep some of the young talent, marketing more aggressively, trying to sign up more sponsors, bring in the outfield fences a tad, and not doing stupid crap like sending down Kila Ka’aihue when his wife is about to give birth to twins, replacing him with guy whose career slashline is slightly worse than Kila’s, and who is not even a natural first baseman.

  15. “…stupid crap like sending down Kila Ka’aihue when his wife is about to give birth to twins…”

    Good Lord, I’m SO F’ing sick of this. At what point would it be OK to make a baseball/business decision? Would it be OK to do it just after the kids were born? Or should they wait until they’re potty trained? About to start kindergarten?

  16. “He could’ve talked up Reddick as a All-star, or Parker’s recent good outings.” That’s a little hard to do when the hosts don’t bring up anything baseball related until minute 28 of a 29 minute interview. He even said as much. Put another way, if he would have said anything about Reddick or Parker, someone would say, “Why is he evading the real issue that A’s fans want to talk about?” Let’s just admit that Wolff has absolutely zero chance of gaining any favor with anyone in the pro-Oakland camp unless he gives a ballpark to the city.

  17. @hecanfoos
    It’s more to do with “what’s the point”. They brought up Moss, whose slashline is not an improvement. Yes, it’s a business, and regarding that, tough titty for any ballplayer that can’t handle it. It just seemed stupid and pointless. Yes, if Kila was hitting better it wouldn’t be in conversation. Yes, it’s his own fault for not producing better. But why do it in favor of a guy who ISN’T ANY BETTER??? And doing it while the Kila’s wife was about to give birth to twins JUST MAKES IT LOOK BAD. Bad for clubhouse morale. Bad for signing people. Yes, it’s a business, and go ahead do it, regardless of a player’s personal situation, if there is a compelling reason to do so. But in this case, there was no compelling reason. Yes, Moss was hitting lots of dingers with the River Cats. But lots of guys do that in AAA, particularly in the PCL, which has launching pad ballparks. And his MLB career numbers are bad. Again, it just wasn’t a compelling move, and with very bad timing. And guess what, other than the one dinger, Moss hasn’t done anything yet. And unless he produces real quick like, he’ll get jacked around too (not given time to adjust, get in a groove, etc), and then they’ll bring Barton back up. Yippee!!
    ML, sorry for being waaaay off topic.

  18. “You can’t buy what’s not for sale,” Wolff told the group, according to Knauss. “I’m surprised you brought that up.”

    Sort of like how the Giants keep saying that T-rights aren’t for sale or negotiable but Lew keeps insisting on trying to move to San Jose. What a whiny hypocrite.

  19. Matier and Ross have always been Pro-Oakland as they have been Bay Area traditionalists for years….This has been known.

    They took pieces out of context so I would take what they say with a grain a salt.

    Knauss, since he has not said anything publicly himself tells you something very distinct. If there was in fact a site to build in Oakland I am sure he would have mentioned it to Wolff.

    Trying to buy the team without a viable site simply does not make sense and Knauss has yet to address this fact.

    Unless he thinks Coliseum City is actually viable then his arguments about buying the team do take flight in some sense……Still not good though.

    Wolff and MLB know San Jose is the only the way but more importantly the Giants know this as well hence why they are speaking to the A’s about getting this done.

    The Giants are the only team in MLB who has a city larger than the one they play in outlined in their territory.

    But yet share TV and marketing rights to that city with another team….does not make any sense.

    I believe MLB had to wait 3 years+ to prove to the Giants that no stone was left uncovered in the East Bay hence Baer speaking to Wolff all of a sudden after years of a stalemate.

    I am being positive when it is tough to be so but Selig is taking a lot of flack right now because of this and I have to believe it is affecting him finally.

  20. I give Wolff a lot of credit for consistently staying on target (SJ), and not letting various developments distract him, and not giving up (despite “the process” moving at a glacier’s pace).
    And I’m sure he gets tired or explaining all the efforts he’s put into finding an Oakland/East Bay location, and how none of it has worked out.

  21. Sorry, I will believe the W’s are going to pier-whatever when some construction workers put down some huge posts there. For now, nothing is for real. Lacob likes to shoot his mouth off all the time.

    Anyone knows why Fisher is not talking while Lew is doing all talking ? Fisher knows the players involved including current majority owner Johnson after Sure Burns passed away. Why can’t Fisher pick up the damned phone and call Johnson ? Larry Baer is just a running mouthpiece for the G’s.

  22. Sorry I meant Sue Burns.

  23. The last two times I’ve been to the Houston Rodeo, the entire Reliant Center complex (Stadium, exhibit halls, arenas) was being utilized…except for the Astrodome. It has no useful purpose anymore and I’m guessing it gets torn down.

  24. Sid – Selig has no feelings… and his 20 million dollar contract hasn’t really got the Athletics’ problems to the “frontburner”.
    We can all speculate, but i wonder why folks think Baer has moved his position, while Wolff hasn’t moved his? Dialogue, doesn’t mean new positions on the matter.

  25. @David. Good point. Baer will only change positions if told he has to be Selig. Wolff will never change his position, if told to by Selig, the negotiations simply end. So it all gets back to Selig, and he has only one real decision– is the Bay Area a one-team market or a two-team market? He used to think it was a one-team market, but if he’s changed his mind, he pretty much has to green-light San Jose.

  26. re: Let’s just admit that Wolff has absolutely zero chance of gaining any favor with anyone in the pro-Oakland camp unless he gives a ballpark to the city.

    …Amen. Oakland’s offer to Wolff/Fischer remains unchanged: Bankrupt yourselves building on the already-rejected Coliseum parking lot site. Oakland gets the benefits, A’s owners get the massive bill and it’s their problem should they be unable to pay it.

  27. @David- If Selig did not have any feelings then he would have done the easy thing and re-affirm the Giants rights to San Jose and closed the book on this.

    He has let this linger for a reason as he knows San Jose is the only way.

  28. On a side note….

    Robert Pera did what Larry Ellison refused to do, take the position that the Grizzlies would stay in Memphis.

    Pera is from San Jose and his company is based here. He is only 34 years old therefore he is young enough to let the Grizzlies lease run out unlike Ellison who is much older and did not want to wait.

    I got a feeling in the next 7-10 years Pera will move the team here, but not anytime soon of course.

  29. Sid, that would probably work out best for him too at least so far as moving a second team like the Grizzlies to the Bay Area goes. By then the Warriors would be entrenched in San Francisco and would be well on their way to paying off their arena as opposed to trying to garner funding like now. And an incoming team along with the Sharks would have an argument for a rebuild or heavy renovation of the HP Pavilion that they don’t have today since the Pavilion would be 30 years old at that point.

  30. To PJK:

    Point of clarity: are you saying that the public should pay for a new A’s stadium in Oakland and San Jose?

    You consistently rail against any idea of ownership paying for a new stadium so am I to assume you think the public should pay for a new A’s stadium? And that you expect San Jose taxpayers to pay for a new stadium? (Anyway, that’s what most people would infer from your longstanding comment).

    In a capitalistic society, usually business (the private sector) makes an investment and customers either buy into the investment or they don’t.

    A’s observer.

  31. Pretty telling that no one has backed Bruce’s comments regarding Pier 30/32. In fact the only other comments regarding it have all refuted what he said. But even if that were the case the Warriors would still end up in SF over at the secondary site near ATT Park that they were working with the Giants on behind Jean Quan’s back. The Warriors seem to have even less interest in Oakland that the A’s have been accused of having under the last two ownership regimes.
    Regarding the other arena story with the Coyotes, I feel sorry for the folks in Glendale, AZ. The crime that has been perpetrated by their city leaders giving away 300 million dollars to an ownership group and the NHL just so their team doesn’t leave is pathetic. It’s the complete opposite end of the spectrum to the lack of interest Oakland has shown in the A’s, but it’s just as bad, if not worse (since at least Oakland’s lack of interest isn’t costing the city anything). Their city government seems blinded by the allure of having a team and has literally given away the farm to keep them. When the first loan payments start coming due next year I really doubt the city will survive and will probably have to file for bankruptcy given they’re already suffering from massive budget shortfalls even before the first bills have come due.

  32. A’s observer: Oakland wants the A’s to stay in Oakland but doesn’t want to help pay for it. Have their cake and eat it too?… As has been said here 100 times, a privately funded ballpark in San Jose is doable because of the plentiful corporate dollars available in Silicon Valley. Oakland does not have this advantage. Just look at the poor sales of suites at A’s and Raiders games now and we already know how weak the market is for premium seating for these two teams. And look at the naming rights proposals: Cisco signs for $120 million for corporate naming rights in San Jose, Clorox supposedly would pay $50 million for naming rights in Oakland….I wouldn’t vote for a publicly funded stadium in San Jose but I don’t have to – it’s not necessary in San Jose because the corporate dollars are there… If there is insufficient corporate support to privately finance a new ballpark in Oakland, are the A’s owners supposed to just pay for a ballpark using their own personal bank accounts? Good luck on that one.

  33. @A’s Observer: I think it’s pretty straight forward that San Jose has the ability to pay for it privately, while Oakland has yet to show that they can. Where is the $120M naming rights pledge? Where is the letter from 75 Oakland business leaders that are willing to buy suites, boxes, season tickets, advertising?
    I think the fact that Knauss hasn’t said anything since his meeting with Wolff, not even “Wolff didn’t want to listen” says a whole lot. I’m willing to bet he realized that there is no option in Oakland that makes financial sense.

  34. …Knauss touted his experience helping to get a ballpark done in Houston, where they had $250 million in public funds to work with in the fourth-largest city in the country, with no Major League Baseball competition anywhere close. In Oakland, he has $0.00 in public funding to work with in the nation’s 46th-largest city, with formidable competition 12 miles away.

  35. Correction: $180 mill in public funding in Houston – which is still a bit more than the A’s would get in Oakland.

  36. I had no idea the Astrodome was still standing. Thought it had been torn down years ago. SAVE THE DOME!

  37. Why? There’s no reason to save it. It’s got no tenants, and no purpose to existing now that it’s been replaced by the Reliant Stadium.

  38. I need someone to help me out here. Wasn’t Kaiser Permanente one of the “supporters” for the A’s stay in Oakland?
    If so I had a friend telling me yesterday that it looks like there might be layoffs/other cutbacks in N. Cali.

  39. Chi, please share whatever drugs you’re taking with the rest of us… then we can all enter the fantasy world you’re in.

  40. BTW > What’s stopping Clorox from sponsoring the A’s with presently in Oakland now?!!!

  41. “BTW > What’s stopping Clorox from sponsoring the A’s with presently in Oakland now?!!!”

    The same reason why fans are staying away – Wollf and Co. have left a shell of a once proud organization. Pro San Jose or Pro Oakland, you gotta admit these guys are currently the worst owners in professional sports.

    • @JGMJ – Far worse owners:

      NBA – Robert Sarver (Suns), Maloof family (Kings), Michael Jordan (Bobcats)
      MLB – Kevin McClatchy (Pirates), Jeff Loria (Marlins), Fred Wilpon (Mets)
      NHL – Charles Wang (Islanders), Predators ownership group
      NFL – Mike Brown (Bengals)

      And that’s just off the top of my head.

  42. Gotta admit that Wolff/Fischer – trying to privately finance a new ballpark in the Bay Area, without asking for any public funds – are taking on the tough battle that needs to be fought. Would be so much easier for them to sell and wash their hands of it, just to have a new ownership group also conclude that privately financing a new ballpark in Oakland can’t be done, and lead to the team’s departure from the Bay Area. But Wolff/Fischer are determined to keep the team in the Bay Area.

  43. Marine Layer – Even if the those 9 owners are worse, that puts Wolff and CO. in the bottom 10%.

    PJK – OK, they are trying to get a new stadium. Great. The team is an embarrassment and has shown no signs of improving under their ownership. In the end, we are A’s fans, not stadium fans and it is wins that matter.

  44. re: all the history and the 4 championships in Oakland A’s history ..
    .,..That history also includes:
    * Of 44 seasons in Oakland, the A’s have only finished in the top half of attendance 7 times, despite 15 playoff appearances.
    * Ranking 22nd of 24 teams in attendance in 1974, despite winning the World Series.
    * Ranking 26th out of 30 teams in attendance in 2006, despite playing in the ALCS.
    * Having their landlords ruin their ballpark.

  45. Chi, Coliseum City isn’t a plan. It’s a fantasy concocted by a desperate mayor to save her flagging political career. It has not chance of happening with the needed input of funds from ALL THREE TEAMS. One of which has already said goodbye and is planning to move to San Francisco. The second of which has unequivocally already stated that they’ve exhausted all options in Oakland. And the third has so far committed so much to Oakland that they’ve openly stated they’re exploring options in Dublin, Santa Clara and Los Angeles as well. And of course the city has $0 to contribute to its astronomical 3 billion dollar price tag. But then who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to build in one of the most depressed and the most remote parts of South Oakland more distant from downtown than all but one of the other stadiums built since 1992.

  46. Thank you for the Griz update, ML. I really enjoy your league wide stadium updates, this is the only place I get that type of news. I’ll echo Sid’s hypothesis that Pera, who will be 43 when the Grizzlies’ lease expires in 2021, will be angling to play in a renovated HP Pavilion at that point.

    Other 2021 predictions:

    The Sacto Kings will be in Anaheim or Seattle.

    Bryce Harper will playing right field at Cisco and hitting bombs over the 300 ft-from-home-plate colonnade onto August Parkway, in the middle of a 10 year, 300 million deal.

    The Chargers will be in a new San Diego downtown stadium they share with the SD State Aztecs, who are on the cusp of being invited into the PAC 16 with Texas, Oklahoma, and Ok State as soon as the Big 12’s Tier 3 rights agreement expires (13 years away at present). Having a fifth CA team makes it easier to promise CA access annually to all its members, which has been a big sticking point to expanding beyond 12.

    The Raiders or Rams will be in Los Angeles…or both will be.

  47. “Wollf and Co. have left a shell of a once proud organization.”
    Drivel. Wolff and Co have run the team the only way anyone in their position reasonably could, and the same way as the two previous previous ownership groups (Schott and, yes, Haas, after he realized the “spend like the Yankees” model was not sustainable).
    “Pro San Jose or Pro Oakland, you gotta admit these guys are currently the worst owners in professional sports.”
    Fighting against incredible obstacles for the privilege of spending their own money to keep their team in its home market. You’re right, these guys are monsters. What are all those Sonics fans whining about?

  48. @ML How could you leave Thunder ownership out of your hall of shame?

  49. “In the end, we are A’s fans, not stadium fans and it is wins that matter.”
    That is a short sighted view. Stadium = revenue = wins. Right now, only the stadium matters; that is what will secure the team’s future. I hope to be watching the A’s for the next fifty years or more, but that will only be bearable if they get a new yard.

  50. Marine Layer – Constantly reacting from the gut? Personal shot, huh? Is this something you think I have a history of doing here?

    My point is that this ownership is awful – I don’t need to do research to determine that, their performance speaks for itself and I think all A’s fans would agree. You trying to defend them and their record as owners is what is questionable. And yes, that is a personal shot.

  51. Chris Cohan was awful, and except for one magical year, the Warriors sold out. Al Davis threatened to leave and finally did in 1981 and they sold out. The Yorks are leaving San Francisco and they sell out. Why is Lew Wolff different? Is it because attendance numbers have never been great at the Coliseum and in Oakland? This blame Lew Wolff for everything wrong with Oakland is not only tired, but lazy.

  52. I am blaming Lew Wolff for fielding at team that is not competitive, has not been competitive and looks to not be competitive going into the future – Not blaming him for what is wrong with Oakland.

    After 7 years, at what point do you guys admit that this group is just bad for the team? How many sub-.500 seasons will it take? If it isn’t the ownership’s fault who’s is it?

  53. “Marine Layer – Constantly reacting from the gut? Personal shot, huh?”
    JGMJ, that isn’t a personal shot, that was an observation based on sound reasoning. LW is not the worst owner (as you first stated). He isn’t in the top 10% (as you quickly slid to after ML called you on your false statement). Outside of the Oakland Only crowd, no where in the MLB domain or pro sports domain is LW considered a bad owner. So you erroneously stated he is the worst owner in pro sports because???? Best explanation: A) You are reacting with your gut instead of using a clear thought process.
    I could go over — ad nauseum — LW’s/A’s long effort to get a stadium done in Oakland but it has been repeated so many times, one must consciously decide to ignore it to hate LW as much as you do. So what would be the point? I’ll leave it with another poster’s salient post:
    * Of 44 seasons in Oakland, the A’s have only finished in the top half of attendance 7 times, despite 15 playoff appearances.
    * Ranking 22nd of 24 teams in attendance in 1974, despite winning the World Series.
    * Ranking 26th out of 30 teams in attendance in 2006, despite playing in the ALCS.
    * Having their landlords ruin their ballpark.

  54. “After 7 years, at what point do you guys admit that this group is just bad for the team? How many sub-.500 seasons will it take? If it isn’t the ownership’s fault who’s is it?”
    MLB is not the NFL. The economic reality of MLB is $$$ equals victories when calculated over a fair length of time. While the A’s have not been in the post season mix recently, I’d bet (albeit a blind guess) that the A’s win per dollar is among the best in MLB over the past 7 years. So how about we give the A’s more revenue to give them a fair shot at achieving more victories per season? How do we do that? Sponsorship money? Corporate sales? Higher attendance with higher attendance purchasing tickets at higher prices? How’s that historical track record been? Or how about we give the A’s a new stadium? How’s the city of Oakland’s track record on that?
    This is another gut reaction from you. However, I’d like you to take one moment, step back from the Oakland Only position and look at the attendance record. Now look at the City of Oakland’s track record with regards to getting a stadium done. Now consider the $$$ it will cost LW (500 million) or a new owner (400 million purchase price and 500 million stadium price) and think about that. What foolish individual is going to make that investment given the economic and historical facts? Can you step back from your hatred of LW and Oakland Only position to see how clear the logic of it is?

  55. @JGMJ – Yes, that’s your commenting history.

  56. “While the A’s have not been in the post season mix recently, I’d bet (albeit a blind guess) that the A’s win per dollar is among the best in MLB over the past 7 years.”
    gross. real baseball fans don’t accept “profitable mediocrity”

  57. Call it what you will, but saying somebody is constantly reacting from the gut (after 1 comment) is insinuating that there is a history of doing so, which most people would say is a personal shot.

    As an A’s fan, it is my opinion that this ownership is the worst in professional sports. The team is dreadful and there is little hope on the horizon – For that I blame the ownership because they are where the buck stops. I hope the rest of you are as sick of this mediocrity as I am. Marine Layer quickly listed 9 other owners, so I was merely doing quick math, to say that by his standards, they are in the bottom 10%.

    TW – I have made no mention of an Oakland Stadium in this comment string, but thanks for your spiel anyway. At the end of the season, no trophy is given to team with the most wins per dollar spent.

  58. Marine Layer – My comment history is typically against opinions you have posted. If you think that is reacting from the gut, then that is your bias.

  59. “At the end of the season, no trophy is given to team with the most wins per dollar spent.”

  60. @JGMJ – You have every right to your opinion, and I welcome it here on the blog. And if you could get past whatever bias you think you see, you might notice that I’m not exactly defending the Wolff-Fisher group. Wolff is not Wally Haas, he’s not Eddie DeBartolo. He’s also not Chris Cohan or Frank McCourt. I don’t know where that places Wolff and I don’t particular care where he ranks specifically.

    What I did was take your opinion and I refuted it. Then I looked at your posting history and detected a pattern. You may want to back away from the keyboard and think about what you’re going to post before posting it. Or don’t, I don’t care.

    Another thing – you keep calling me biased. I’ve got your posting history at my fingertips. You’ve called me biased, a shill, and have equated my work with the slanted cable news networks. If I’m getting criticism like yours and attaboys from others, I can say I’m doing a decent job.

    One thing I will agree with you on that you wrote yourself:

    Replicating (the LA Live) model at the Coliseum, which is not near any densely populated area, job center or tourism hub is unreasonable on multiple levels. To make it work, they will basically need to create a second downtown.

    I completely concur there.

  61. “real baseball fans don’t accept “profitable mediocrity”
    Intelligent baseball fans understand that: (a) dollars spent on payroll correlates loosely with regular season wins, and not so much with championships; (b) there is an equal number of wins and losses to be distributed among teams each year, meaning even all MLB teams spent like the Yankees most would still have poor or mediocre records in any given year; (c) given facts (a) and (b), the only rational course for a low revenue team is to spend its money wisely, develop young players, and increase payroll/take your shot only when your narrow window comes around every few years.
    Or build a new stadium to increase revenue.
    Current A’s ownership is wisely trying to do both. In the meantime, they continue to offer their fans one of the best values in all of live entertainment, let alone professional sports.

  62. “Outside of the Oakland Only crowd, no where in the MLB domain or pro sports domain is LW considered a bad owner.”
    Everyone is free as a fan to agree or disagree with the way ownership is running things, but I think it’s naive to think it’s only a small disfranchised group of people with a less than favorable view of Wolff/Fischer. This ownership has been getting roasted in the local and national media, and the A’s are becoming a running joke to casual fans here and throughout the country. The perception of a franchise is greatly due to how it’s being run by ownership.

  63. “Everyone is free as a fan to agree or disagree with the way ownership is running things, but I think it’s naive to think it’s only a small disfranchised group of people with a less than favorable view of Wolff/Fischer.”
    Bad, unfavorable, even hated owners make news due to that unfavorable view of them. Go out there and do some searches of the A’s-Giants-TR writing from the relatively small amount of pundits who written about it nationally. These free form spaces to write/mention LW as a disliked/hated owner by other owners, national media, are there? Not where I have seen. When I have seen, albeit not a lot written, is nothing of the sort. Other owners such as the Maloofs hated (for instance)? Yep. Know why LW isn’t mentioned? LW has done little if anything to be considered a bad owner or hated…..except by the Oakland Only crowd. Can he be accused of lack of effort and poor execution? Let’s say that is an arguable point. It still does not equal being hated.
    On some levels I understand the Oakland Only crowd’s fervor. LW wants out of Oakland and it is a matter of passion and civic pride to some. He has stated he has given up completely on Oakland and that is understandably going to make some Oakland Only people angry (and anger has a way of turning a blind eye to the truth).
    Now to “naive”. You want naive then please read your compatriots comments disregarding what $$$ means to the bottom win-loss line (egregious naivety). That is where you need to look for a glaring example of naive. Not stopping there, conformational bias gets in the mix too. That is where, for instance, someone says LW is the worst owner in sports…..then another sees that and confirms it as truth because they want to believe it…..even though LW as worst owner in sports is ridiculous (or even that he is disliked in the sports domain). More unknown than hated? Yes. More likely to invoke no opinion on the man? Yes. Hated? Worst owners? LOL, the passion he invokes in the Oakland only crowd is nothing if it isn’t interesting to read/watch.
    Please look at the numbers, the $$$, the history. Not LW, not owner X is going to do what you and your compatriots want in Oakland. It’s basic math and basic business. Again I understand that is a sore spot for you/others but it is what it is. You want the A’s to play in Oakland (whether LW or a mysterious next owner)? Start a drive for Oakland to pay a sizeable chunk of the cost of a new stadium. Otherwise this is a foregone conclusion whether today or tomorrow, whether LW or owner ABC. To believe otherwise, to believe a new owner will swoop in and pay almost a billion dollars with these numbers and history? .What is the word I am looking for that describes someone who would think that???? I got it! Naive……

  64. wow… i stop paying attention for a minute and we are back to people making “serious” arguments about the A’s playing in the Coliseum for ever.

  65. I’m planning to go to the A’s game next Tuesday. These “worst owners in sports” will give me free parking and I’ll probably get two really good seats for a total cost of about $40. Let’s face it – Oakland Only folks hate Lew Wolff because he refuses to go bankrupt donating a ballpark to Oakland – which doesn’t even have a viable site. And the Oakland Only folks point to the World Series titles in Oakland but not how the A’s have been treated by their hosts: Miserable attendance, ruined ballpark.

  66. Chi, not a good idea or one that not only Wolff but MLB would accept. If the Coliseum iarea is a non-starter like it is, you can i,agine how they feel about the stadium itself. The Coliseum is done as a pro venue wiin the decade as it should be. It is a poor venue from a poor era in stadium building that in addition to some major design flaws lacks the modern revenue generating amenities.
    And Oakland had already given up several times over the last 17 years. Most recently being the plan that they should have been working on and finding some public funding for that actually had a chance in hell of MLB approval at Victory Court. But of course they killed that after prooving once again they’re not actually interested in helping build the A’s a ballpark and instead proposed the Coliseum site, which MLB and Wolff already rejected.

  67. one the uptown site was a no go,hok named it the #1 site in their study back a decade ago, that was imo the death nill for the a’s staying in oakland.

  68. re: NO other city has bidded for a baseball team

    …Sacramento is already keeping an eye on the A’s. San Antonio went after the Marlins about a decade ago. Portland, Las Vegas, Charlotte NC, northern NJ all have been suggested as possible MLB cities. If Oakland believes it can do nothing for the A’s because “they have no place else to go,” don’t be surprised when the moving vans pull up one evening and take the team far away. San Jose is our opportunity to keep the A’s in the Bay Area and if MLB turns it down, it’s going to have an anti-trust lawsuit on its hands.

  69. Here’s a couple of cities the A’s can move to since they have not been mentioned. All are within the Mountain Time Zone since there are no teams in the AL in the MT Zone.

    Boise, ID
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Alberquerque NM
    El Paso, TX
    Tuscon, AZ
    Billings, MT

    Since there are no AL Teams in the MT Zone, there needs to be at least one teams in the MT Zone to cut down on travel costs.

  70. Chi, only reason no one has bid on the A’s is because they’re not currently available. But Sacramento as pjk stated has already come out and said they’d be interested (since they fully expect to lose the Kings after this coming season). If the A’s were put on the market for a move there would be takers from many different cities that would eventually come forward and invite Lew in. Sacramento probably being first in line (even if they are probably a long shot). As for Quan’s research group, I thought we got a glimpse of their work a few weeks ago. If I’m not mistaken the only thing they researched was the Raiders stadium impact, and they left the A’s completely off of it. Seems to me privately Quan has already given up on the A’s beyond foisting a pipe dream on us and begging Dan Knauss to claim he’s interested in putting together a group to buy the team. A group I’d add who to date have presented no solid plan to build the A’s a new ballpark in Oakland. Just grandiose pronouncements that it’s possible despite the combined $900 million dollar price tag to make it happen.
    Regarding the Raiders, neither AEG nor Roski (the two separate developers with the two separate stadium plans in LA) have stated they want a controlling interest most recently. Just a portion of the team. The Davis family has a history of giving away portions of the Raiders as payoffs to fellow owners. I can see them doing the same thing in LA. To that end they’ve already been in discussions with Ed Roski out in Industry, CA. And the Industry stadium is a much more straightforward and more importantly shovel ready project unlike AEG’s downtown stadium. All Roski needs is the Raiders to sign on and construction can begin. So don’t think there’s a lot keeping the Raiders in town. And even if LA doesn’t materialize, the Raiders are also exploring sharing the Niners stadium with them and their longtime love site out in Dublin at PARKS Reserve base. Oakland is only one of 4 locations they’re actively exploring and about a 1 in 4 chance is what I’d give to the Raiders choosing to stay in Oakland long term.

  71. So far, Knauss has suggested already-rejected sites like Howard Terminal and a financing mechanism without a snowball’s chance in Hell of succeeding – PSLs. He doesn’t look like much of a miracle worker so far and that’s what Oakland needs. Like I said, his stadium experience involves a publicly funded ballpark in a much, much larger city – Houston.

  72. @TW Most of the local sports media, save one and a handful of national voices have written poor reviews of the Wolff/Fischer ownership. Why is that? Is it really that they all somehow favor Oakland (who gets slammed routinely by the local media, btw) or they somehow have a vested interest in seeing San Jose not succeed? No, for the most part, if they criticize this ownership it’s because they have not been doing a very good job directing the franchise. Lew Wolff isn’t the worst owner in sports, but he sure isn’t ideal. The A’s are now viewed as being at the bottom rung of major league sports teams and Wolff/Fisher have to be held accountable for some of the blame. They’ve had the team for seven years now and the long term outlook for the A’s has not gotten better, it’s gotten worse.
    As for your whole “compatriots” diatribe, it has nothing to do with what I said. I don’t speak for other people on here and they don’t speak for me.

  73. Maybe because most of the local sports media is based in Frisco and resents San Jose becoming a larger and more important city than Frisco? They happen to like MLB consigning San Jose to minor league status and don’t want San Jose getting Major League Baseball. Do I care what the so-called Frisco media thinks? Uh, no.

  74. …Columnists like Monte Poole and Glenn Dickey are completely dismissive of Bay Area economics, which show that a privately funded ballpark can work in San Jose but not Oakland. They want the A’s to stay in Oakland regardless of the poor economics and lack of a viable site or public funding. Should we rely on the writings of “experts” like these? Uh, no.

  75. I’m saying the following as Sacramento area based A’s fan.
    My two main priorities in all of this have been the following:
    1. The A’s get a new stadium
    2. The A’s get revenue streams (PSLs, Luxury boxes, corporate sponsorship, high attendance) to be off MLB revenue sharing, and have enough money to keep talent they develop through the farm system, and acquire quality free agents, and remain profitable while doing so (any team can only be in the red for a short period of time).
    Now, with the above in mind, my first preference has always, always, been for the A’s to remain in Oakland. I never want a city to lose it’s team, and all A’s fans identify them as The Oakland A’s. Besides, I rather like the East Bay.
    However, current, and previous, ownership has a long history of trying to find viable sites, and viable financing mechanisms (either public or private) for building a new stadium in Oakland, and that could generate the necessary revenue streams to make the team competitive. This has been going on for upwards of two decades. All to no avail. I’m not going to itemize them now (it’s been done several times on this blog). But nothing has penciled in, for either the city drowning in debt to not have to fork over substantial public funds that it doesn’t have, or for a privately financed stadium to not cause ownership to go completely bankrupt.
    I will however, mention a few –
    Colisuem site. Has plenty of land, but is too far away from either the business center of Oakland/East bay, or the main fan base, to be able to generate needed revenues. Plus, it’s a just plain terrible area.
    JLS Victory Court. This had great potential. It would be a great location. But what it did need was an accelerated EIR, and for the City of Oakland to secure redevelopment funds before they went away. Oakland politicians, instead of being proactive and fast tracing these things, instead sat on their hands, doing nothing. No EIR even started (in spite of promise to fast track it), and redevelopment went poof! Redevelopment was the only thing that would have made the site viable, because it would require $250 million of infrastructure work, which neither the city nor ownership has (ownership can finance $500 mil for stadium construction so long as there are revenue streams to service the debt, be off MLB rev sharing, and field a competitive team).
    So, nothing can really happen in Oakland, unless the City of Oakland can donate the land, get an EIR done real quick, and help finance it (maybe sell off other assets). Really, a pipe dream at this point.
    Enter San Jose. They have the land. They have a completed EIR. They have the great downtown location. They are located right smack dab in the middle of one of the richest corporate markets in the world. It’s shovel ready, and very financially doable – due to the huge, huge, huge corporate market.
    MLB, Selig, and the BRC know all of the above. That’s why they haven’t said “no”. That’s why they haven’t come back to Lew Wolff and said “you missed something in Oakland”. That’s why Selig has been actively trying to broker a deal. That’s why Larry Baer has actually been in discussion with Lew Wolff (when previously refusing to even talk about it).
    Presently, the San Jose site looks like the only possible place to build a new stadium for the A’s and keep them in the Bay Area.
    I sort of feel bad for passionate Oakland fans for possibly losing their team for their city. I never want that to happen to anyone. However, I don’t feel that bad. They are, after all, only going 35 miles down the freeway. I have to drive a lot longer than that when I go to A’s games. Plus, my city is probably going to lose the Kings entirely (to either Anaheim or Seattle) since their current ownership is completely broke and can’t be a partner in building a very doable arena financing deal. You think Lew Wolff is a bad owner? Just look at the Maloofs. So with that in mind, I don’t have sympathy for the Oakland only crowd.

  76. You know, Haas never had to deal with getting a new stadium, and he never had his team play baseball in a football stadium. Wolff does. Schott and Hoffman did. My question is, when people say “I don’t go to games because I won’t support this ownership, they are so mean to me,” I mean, how many people are we talking about? 5K? 20K? 2K more? If you want a litmus test, why don’t people just try to remember the last game they went to, ever, and were turned away because it was sold out. I don’t remember doing that once, and I had season tickets in ’88 and ’89, and would regularly go when I didn’t have certain games. It’s impossible to quantify.

  77. Yes, the Maloofs are determined to move their team 350 miles while Wolff wants to go a whole 35 miles. Current fans can still see their team. Nothing changes but the team gets a brand new stadium and the away jerseys and standings say “San Jose” instead of “Oakland.” That’s it.

  78. Paul (an obvious gnats fan with inferiority complex issues (along with some other giants fans and the giants ownership) is 100% incorrect about possible new locations for the A’s. All of Paul’s suggested locations are small-time markets (with metropolitan areas of 2.3 mil. or less) The MLB bottom feeders are all of that similiar 2.2 mil. -2.3 mil. fanbase. MLB is not interested in another KC, Pittsburgh or Cleveland franchise.

    Also the cable television rights revenue is the key to success for pro sports franchises – MLB, NBA, NHL. etc. Teams with small fanbases earn relatively low figures from television rights. KC earns $18 mil. annually, Milwaukee $12 mi., Cleveland $30 mil. – whereas teams with larger fanbases earn signficantly more – the Yanks earn $300 mil. annually, the Texas Rangers are now receiving $80 mil. a year, and will begin receiving $150 mil. annually in ’15. Even the lowly SD Padres are making $80 mil. annually with their television rights revenue. There is no way the A’s are going to relocate to a market with a small fanbase (because of the low ticket and television rights revenue) – some people really need to get a clue.

  79. Paul, that list of cities shows exactly why the A’s will stay in the Bay Area. No media market, no corporate base, no nothing…

  80. Yes, that list with Montana on it is obviously a joke but my list (Sacramento, San Antonio, Portland, Las Vegas, Charlotte NC, northern NJ) is more realistic. If San Jose is turned down, one of those places could find themselves the new home of the A’s. Just have one of them kick in 50% public funding and a viable site for a ballpark.

  81. For me the most significant recent development is Larry b conceding that the Bay Area is a 2 team market. If you recall in the past when Baer was asked if the A’s should be allowed to move to SJ he suggestd that perhaps that wasn’t the proper question…in the gints mind the question was should only 1 team play in the Bay Area and have a media market on the size of Boston or Philly all to themselves. Seems as if bs has told Baer that 2 teams will play in the Bay Area- and from my perspective it’s either in Fremont or in San Jose- one he gets a few bones thrown his way the other he doesn’t-

  82. You do realize Paul’s list did not include any of the cities that would likely get a crack at the A’s right? Charlotte, Raleigh, Portland and Sacramento. Cities whose TV markets as well as populations are more than adequate to support a Baltimore or San Diego sized team and media market (and the resultant funds such a market provides). Which frankly compared to the A’s current status as the red headed stepchild of Bay Area would be an improvement. The A’s current media deal is one of the most pathetic in baseball, and while it will go up next time, it won’t go up by as much as being in this market would suggest. CSN-CA gets less than eighth of the viewership in the Bay Area that their cohorts across the Bay get. Last year the A’s drew a piddling 31,000 viewers a game, second to last above only Washington. The Giants drew in 127,000 a game or 5th in all of baseball behind just the heavyweights in NY, Boston and Philly. Hell even Baltimore, KC, and Houston (all pitiful teams, two in similar sized or smaller markets than I listed), drew bigger numbers than the A’s. So if San Jose doesn’t happen, TV ratings aren’t going to be a thing that keeps the A’s in Oakland. They can make more money elsewhere through the exclusivity in their new market alone than they’d ever make stuck in Oakland (and possibly more than they’d even make in San Jose as long as the Giants are the “up” team in the Bay Area as they have been for over 15 years now as they’ve entrenched themselves leaving the A’s out in the cold.)

  83. Back in the 80s I attended a lot of Giants games at the Stick, especially mid-week day games, that drew 5-10 thousand fans. This past Friday, I went to a Giants game, and, as ever, was delighted by the experience of watching sunset and evening over the Bay. (Club level or higher, on the RF side — worth whatever it costs.) Of course, the fact that the Giants hit only one ball into the OF in the air all night sort of left many of us looking for other amusement. The walk back to BART, along the Embarcadero with thousands of other fans discussing and arguing about the game, the team, is always fun. The owners who saved the Giants in 92 wound up doing some terrific things for baseball, for baseball in the Bay Area, and for San Francisco. A philanthropic ambition helped galvanize them to act, although they did put together a helluva business plan, too.
    Yesterday, as I stood in line in the lobby of Haas Pavilion to register my kid for basketball camp, I contemplated the portrait of Walter Haas prominently displayed there. He had more philanthropic ambition than most. Apparently his heirs didn’t share it, as to baseball..
    When I read the apologies for Wolff et al. here, I’m actually fairly persuaded. You’re right. He’s a businessman making business decisions. He’s not a savior; he may not have an iota of philanthropic ambition in his soul. So he’s not Haas; and he’s not the leader of a newly galvanized owners’ group hell bent to save the A’s and part of Oakland in the process. I don’t see how that bodes well for his venture in San Jose, but I’ll bet he’ll get his stadium there, and we’ll see how it goes.
    Finally, at this point, the current Giants owners sure are different than the people who saved the team, built the park, etc. And isn’t that the problem? Wolff/Fisher and the current Giants owners are just too much alike. With Neukom neutralized, there isn’t a potential savior among them. And they don’t care at all about those 5,000 fans who used to show up at the Stick or those who show up these days at the Coliseum. Not at all.

  84. Every one of those markets… Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, etc. Is worse than half of the Bay Area.
    They also produce challenges as they are “owned” media markets. Charlotte was a key part of the Orioles/Nationals deal, for example. San Antonio was evaluated as a home for the Marlins but wasn’t deemed worthy of much more than a tire kicking. The A’s are going to be in the Bay Area. It may not be in San Jose and it may not be in Oakland… But they will be somewhere in the Bay Area. My guess is that fi San Jose doesn’t happen, there will be a new plan for Fremont…

  85. The A’s don’t even have “half” the Bay Area. They have Alameda and Contra Costa counties and the Giants have Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. As if this were not enough of a drubbing of the A’s, the Giants stuck a Giants team store in Contra Costa County, rubbing more salt in the wounds. I’m betting the A’s would do better financially in any of the markets I suggested than they would in Oakland. San Jose gives the A’s a chance to prosper in the Bay Area…Fremont? Been there done that. Fremont had its shot and what happened? Big box retailers killed the Pacific Commons site, 700 protestors a night killed Warm Springs. (Put a ballpark right next to a major new transit link? Wasn’t going to happen, no matter how much sense it made.) And who’s going to lead the charge in Fremont politically? Not the current mayor from what I understand…

  86. I’m curious what all these Oakland sentimentalists think of Lacob/Gruber since the W’s don’t have the same issues as the A’s (low attendance/sth fanbase/corporate support), yet are still bolting for greener pastures in SF? Or their opinion of the Davis family, who already bolted Oakland once, destroyed the Coliseum when they came back, called where they play a “depressed area” , and saddled taxpayers with the Mt. Davis bill that they will pay for years on end. Sure, you could say that Lacob/Gruber/Davis are trying (albeit failing) to put a competitive team on the field year after year, but they’re still openly or secretively entertaining moving. Are they much better then LW? If so, I assume you’re okay with the same sound business decision they have made / are making to move as well?

  87. Some gnats fans such as Dan – have a real propensity to ignore the facts and continue to fantasize. The Charlotte and Raleigh metro areas offer even small fanbases than Vegas. A new A’s ballpark in Oakland would be preferrable to any of Dan’s suggested cities -, Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio, Raleigh or Charlotte?, Vegas, etc.

  88. Things change. You know… Fremont’s current mayor won’t be mayor forever. I think it ludicrous to think a place like Las Vegas offers better opportunity than Oakland or Fremont. It’s the 51st largest media market, how do you expect that to generate $200M in revenue that it takes to have $100M payroll in a ridiculously small media market with tourism as the top industry?
    Charlotte’s existing sports teams rank where in revenues in their respective leagues again? Bobcats, 5th from the bottom. The Panthers are 12th, but in a dramatically different landscape where 1/3rd of the league is between 240-260M in revenues. MLB’s economics won’t work in a place like Charlotte unless the league aspires to have another Kansas City or Milwaukee.
    The “territories” are hogwash. They only impact where a stadium can be built not who the team can market too (as you point out in the Giants Walnut Creek store case). The A’s presently have the ability to market to the entire bay area. Their TV market is pretty large, their capitalization on the existing market is hindered by their stadium. A new stadium anywhere in the Bay Area beats the pants off anyone of those other cities, hands down.
    Essentially, the question is “Would a new stadium in the Bay Area outperform a new stadium in any of the markets pjk mentions?” The answer is unequivocally “Yes.” It seems like that is maybe the one thing that Larry Baer and Lew Wolff agree on, based on their recent interviews.

  89. duffer, I’ve been called a lot of things in my life but never a Giants fan. In fact you ever call me one again I’m liable to verbally bitch slap you into next Tuesday, ML’s etiquette rules be damned. Do we understand one another?

  90. Jeff, last I checked the A’s DO market to the entire bay area. The Bay Area ain’t buying the product they have right now (crappy team on field and crappy off field stadium experience). In fact most of their history the Bay Area hasn’t bought their product except when Wally was blowing through money to make the team a legitimate contender and winner. The Bay Area hasn’t been a two team market in its current east/west dynamic for most its history. The A’s moving in took a big bite out of the Giants then attendance back in the late 60’s. And the two teams have either been up or down in relation to each other or both middling to below average at the same time for their entire histories. That’s one reason that I’m praying San Jose works. Not only is it the only legitimate location for the A’s in the Bay Area, it’ll also erase the 45 year east/west dynamic and change it up. Potentially expanding the market beyond the limited and insufficient range it has had since the day the A’s showed up.

  91. If that’s true Dan – my apologies (that would be a real insult) however some giants fans use very similiar logic about the A’s possibly relocating at some small market fanbase – they would be placing the franchise behing the eight-ball immediately if they made such a move.

  92. Just don’t see it. It’s one of the reasons San Jose has to work (since we know Oakland hasn’t for almost two decades of failed attempts). If SJ doesn’t work the A’s aren’t going to stay in the Coliseum forever, they will either leave or be contracted. People fooling themselves into thinking that the Bay Area is the ONLY market left that will work won’t change the fact that it’s a BS assumption. With a little work there are several markets out there that are as big if not bigger than the small slice of the Bay Area the A’s have left since the Giants ascension 15 years ago into utter dominance of the region both attendance and TV wise. That said the A’s are still the Bay Area’s to lose, and provided SJ happens we won’t lose them. If SJ doesn’t happen, all bets are off since there is no real chance that Oakland saves them. And for now at least the only other identified sites in Fremont are still a no go since all of the reasons Fremont failed the first time around still exist (if not more so due to the change in Fremont leadership from ballpark friendly 5 years ago to now ballpark opposed).

  93. duffer, also yes I took it as a very big insult. You would have gotten less rise out of me by calling my mother dirty whore.

  94. re: I think it ludicrous to think a place like Las Vegas offers better opportunity than Oakland or Fremont.

    …Exactly what opportunities do these places offer? Oakland has no viable site and no financially viable way to pay for a ballpark. Fremont doesn’t have a site or political will.

  95. pjk, I think they were referring to market potential, not city specific ballpark plans. And in that respect at least raw data wise they’re right. The Bay Area in theory should be a better market, even halved, than a place like Vegas or Portland.

    However that ignores the reality that the Bay Area market is not halved. The Giants own the vast majority of the market and have done so for the last 15 years uninterrupted (the longest and most lopsided such stretch in Bay Area history for either team). And mind you I’m not talking territories, I’m talking slices of the Bay Area market both in person and TV. In person the Giants own nearly 71% of the attendance in the region, and in TV it gets even worse with the Giants owning 80.3% of the Bay Area TV market. This is not an evenly split market, not even close. The A’s portion of the Bay Area as it stands today is tiny, far less than it would be as the sole team in any smaller market where they’d be the new flavor of the month in a new region. Even the smallest market teams today have bigger slices of TV pie and/or better attendances and thus more cash flow than the A’s. It’s part of why the A”s are the least valuable team in baseball.
    A new park in the Oakland might improve that market inequity in the region slightly, but it won’t be enough to bring the A’s back to even with the Giants. And that assumes that’s even advisable since over their 45 years of shared history when one team ascends the other falls. Which is why San Jose is a good option that seems to be easy to sell to everyone but the Giants brass. It keep the A’s local, keeps them in the Bay, and it also changes up the dynamic. A new ballpark in San Jose might be enough to not only bring the A’s up to a more even par with the Giants, but it might just be the way to do ironically enough without eating into the Giants as much the way the two teams have eaten into each other historically (and what the Giants brass seem to fear a new park in SJ would do to them). The South Bay is quite literally an untapped market compared to the peninsula and east bay. The two teams have historically mined from one another over and over back and forth throughout their history (crap like the Giants Dugout store in Walnut Creek just being a latest example of the Giants doing it made physical) but they’ve done so east v west and largely ignored the south bay. The Giants recent attempts to make it look like they care about the south bay aside, the Giants have never cared about the South Bay, just as the A’s haven’t. And it’s the perfect place to expand the MLB footprint in the region. Anywhere else is just going to be doomed to either failure or ultimately the same 1.5 team market approach MLB has taken to the Bay Area over the last nearly 50 years. Opening up San Jose is the only way to turn the Bay Area into a true 2 team market.

  96. Phil, what opportunities do any ofthe places you mention offer? No site and no financing.

  97. Chi, because first of all, no way to pay for it. Oakland has $0 in public funding to provide, and private equity firms are not going to line up to provide funding to a development that has already lost one anchor team and is being put up in one of the most economically depressed and barren areas of the inner bay area. As the plan stands now Quan needs all 3 teams to make the project work, and she needs all 3 teams to be willing to put in pretty much all the money to build the Coliseum City project (and again all 3 have shown little willingness to do so to date). Second, the location itself is still the same pitiful location it is today. Putting a new ballpark there won’t change the fact its in an area that is largely industrial warehouses and neighboring one of the more violent neighborhoods in the Bay Area. Third as ML has pointed out, even IF Coliseum City did somehow get built in some fantasy land, it would ultimately prove detrimental to Oakland as it would siphon off jobs, businesses, shoppers and traffic from downtown Oakland (which they’ve spent years working to build back up again). Fourth, for MLB at least, the league has already stated they have no interest in the A’s being at the Coliseum site in a future venue. I could go on but will those suffice for now?

  98. @Chi Coliseum would not work for the A’s because it offers no competitive advantages versus the Giants. Specifically:
    1. It is far less convenient for the vast majority of the Bay Area’s corporate base, 90% of which is located between San Jose and San Francisco (and which is absolutely essential for financing);
    2. It is an unappealing location which no natural identity and/or synergy with a real downtown.
    For the foregoing reasons, the thing will never get financed. And this is a GOOD thing for the City of Oakland, because if Coliseum City were ever built it would kill Oakland’s real downtown right when it’s showing signs of life.
    The only thing I could potentially see getting built at the Coli site is a new stadium for the Raiders, maybe with some modest ancillary development. The only thing that site really lends itself to is a football stadium.

  99. by “Phil” i meant “pjk”… stupid auto correct

  100. Jeffrey: You’re saying San Antonio, Charlotte,. Vegas, etc have no sites and no financing? We don’t know that yet about those places. But we already do know that for sure about Oakland and Fremont. San Antonio has already pursued Major League Baseball and Sacramento is gearing up to do so. Nobody can bank on the assumption that the A’s have no place to go outside the Bay Area. If/when the team becomes available for relocation outside of the Bay Area, there will be plenty of suitors, since Major League teams don’t become available often.

  101. …that’s $8 million more than Oakland is willing to spend on a new stadium for the A’s.

  102. What I am saying is, those other markets aren’t on the radar. Tires have been kicked. Portland did a lot of work but it is now a decade old and way out of date. None of them have a large enough media market to be big players. None of them have large corporate bases. Sure in 5 or 10 years the economy will be better and maybe they are willing to finance a stadium, but they sure aren’t doing it now. They don’t have identified sites… Oakland has a site, we may not think it will happen as conceived, but they do have an identified site. Unrealistic as the current plan is, it’s more of a plan than any of those other places have.

  103. re: Oakland has a site, we may not think it will happen as conceived, but they do have an identified site.

    …Oakland has an “identified site” already rejected by MLB. It’s not waterfront, it’s not downtown – it’s in a big parking lot in an industrial area – exactly what MLB doesn’t want. Even the so-called East Bay business leaders called in to save the A’s don’t want that site… Oakland also has a team that requires $30 mill in subsidies from the rest of the league every year. I have an easy time thinking some of those other cities I mentioned could do a better job.

  104. I’m not saying I’m a Gnats fan. I HATE THEM WITH A PASSION FOR CAUSING ALL OF THIS TO HAPPEN IN THE FIRST PLACE. But, you see with travel times for AL Teams 2’hrs apart compared to NL’s 1 hr difference with Arizona and Colorado, I don’t see why we need to travel past 2 time zones while NL needs to only travel 1 time zone, It’s unfair and there needs to be an AL Team to be based in the MT Zone. Colorado plays like an AL Team anyways so why not put Colorado in the AL. Arizona was made for it to be in the NL. Houston was a terrible mistake to the AL, since the they should move to the NL West with Colorado moving to the AL instead. Thanks so much Nolan Ryan. You tarnished a Houston franchise by extorting the team. So basically if there’s an AL Team in the MT Zone, both leagues will travel 1 time zone each.

  105. Salt Lake Athletics isn’t so bad, if San Jose fails. I think since the Utah Jazz was established, there can be the SL Athletics, since there’s LA Angels AAA team the SL Bees.

  106. @Chi – “Well what should Oakland do to keep there teams Dan? Give up?”
    Kinda have to be trying in order to give up.

  107. @ML, could Selig have done something in the last collective bargaining agreement to put more of a burden of revenue sharing on teams sharing an actual market, to better balance that markets’ revenue? To motivate the Giants to get the A’s to stop sucking at the collective bargaining teet. I suppose this could have impact to the Cubs and White Sox to. But both LA and NY franchises are fine.

    I’m sure the other 28 owners are sick of covering for the A’s, while the Giants are holding San Jose over their heads. Obviously as it stands, the Giants want to keep the status quo, or push the A’s out of the market all together.

  108. @dave – A provision was added that ends the revenue sharing for any team in one of the top ten markets (ostensibly two-team and other big markets) by 2016, the end of the CBA. There’s a catch specifically related to the A’s – if they can’t get a new stadium and remain stuck at the Coliseum they could stay on revenue sharing indefinitely. It certainly appears as though the point was to hasten the A’s solution, whatever it ends up being.

  109. Thanks ML. Does that catch involve any sort of steeper revenue sharing payment for the Giants?

  110. @dave – None that I’m aware of.

  111. pjk, i don’t believe any of those cities would do any better over the long term. You can speculate all you want and hold Oakland to a different standard, that’s your prerogative.

  112. Chi, how did it work out when Giambi was ere? How about Tejada? The idea that superstars draw big crowds in Oakland is hogwash, and that is based on reality.

  113. The A’s can’t get top free agents because they don’t want to play in an empty football stadium. Players such as Adrian Beltre and Lance Berkman were pursued but wouldn’t consider the A’s. Besides – having a star-laden team that wins hasn’t made much difference. The 2006 A’s team that went to the ALCS had Eric Chavez, Frank Thomas, Milton Bradley, Barry Zito, etc. They ranked 26th in attendance.

  114. If Wolff could be profitable and pay for a new ballpark by building one in the current parking lot, he would. But he can’t privately finance one there, except as an act of flat-out charity. And MLB does not want another ballpark in a big parking lot in an industrial area – that’s not what MLB has in mind for the A’s for the next half-century.

  115. @chi- definition on insanity is doing the same thing all over again and expecting a different result- these people aren’t stupid- Oakland doesn’t pencil out-

  116. OT, anyone see Mark Ibanez say that Cain’s Perfecto was the first since Catfish? WTF is up with that guy? First the WS mistake then this? When are the Giants ever going to be irrelevant again? This crap blows.

  117. yeah, ibanez is the biggest kiss ass of any local sports guy here in regards to any thing across the bay. worst yet ktvu which is based in oakland maybe is the most pro esseff out of any of the local stations where all of them are located across the bay.

    i can’t believe one time years ago that i read that he used to do a’s post games on radio? won’t be listening to any local tv/radio anytime soon now. if it’s not bad enough we get pummeled day after day on radio about what’s wrong with “timmy”, now we got this crap to sit thru for the foreseeable future.

  118. You know, I would be ok, maybe even happy, for the Giants and their fans if my team had the same ballpark and passion. But any accomplishment made by the Giants only accentuates what the A’s don’t have. Makes me more disgusted by Selig’s inaction even more, if that’s even possible.

  119. Dude. I think it is awesome that Matt Cain pulled that off. Even if it was against a Triple A team in big league uniforms it is ridiculous to throw a perfect game and strike outs account for more than half the outs… That is flipping insane?!?!?!?!? Well done Mr. Cain.
    I think if there is any one player on the Giants that I would take on the A’s it is Matt Cain. I thought this before last night. I would take, in order, Cain, Posey, and Bumgarner then Lincecum (slump and all). Hell. I’d even take Hector Sanchez… but I wouldn’t consider any of the other players an upgrade (in performance or potential) over Reddick, Smith, Cespedes, Weeks, Pennington, Inge, etc.
    Cain’s achievement, and Ibanez’s mouth, do nothing to diminish Dallas Braden’s awesomeness. In fact, I think Braden’s still stands out as the most impressive in a long time just because I can’t think of a guy that threw a perfect game that was less likely to… You know?

  120. Chi, Ryan Howard is not from Alameda. Jimmy Rollins is.

  121. @Jeffrey – Ahem, Philip Humber?

  122. wow, a’s just mashed the ball against col this three game set. 26 runs and 9 hr. that’s it, i hope cisco field once it gets built in sj is a hitter’s park. said it many times before but good/great pitching even in a offensive friendly yard still can pitch very well. i think we’ve seen over the years with the chw, nyy, and phi playing in some friendly yards to hitters yet their great pitching still did well. even go to arz back when they had the uni/schill.

    seems though every park on the west coast tends to favor the hitters. i don’t know if it’s because they’re just bigger parks or that the cold marine air coming off the pacific is a reason why almost every park from safeco, at&t, coliseum, dodgers, petco and even laa’s tend to favor pitching over hitting. will a sj park where the park location is more inland than i think every other park build on th west coast and add to that the hot weather down in sj compared to the west/eat bay especially at night could help any park built in sj be hitter friendly. and as we saw with the first images of cisco field in sj, the dimension of the park seem to favor hitting too especially towards rf.

  123. correction every west coast park favors pitching. also as i mentioned previously phi, chw, nyy, arz all played in some of the most friendly hitters’ park and pitching for the most part was a reason why they won a ws over the past decade. parker being the potential young ace that he shows he could be proved that with his start today in col.

  124. i’m an east bayer too and lived all my life here in oakland but i’m also a realist and sj imo is the only logical option to keeping the a’s in the bay ara. oakland doesn’t have the money, will power, and especially the leadership anywhere currently elected to office to pull such a project thru.

    sj all they need is the green light from mlb and they have the spot, eir, the corporate money that is willing to support them in a move to sj, the mayor and other council members and i still think a lot of a’s fans would support the move.

    safe to say the obstacle and it’s a big one to sj is still lot more realistic than getting thru all the hurdles any oakland baseball park will face and especially this dream of coliseum city as when it first announced had NO SHOT of happening nor should it building any sports venue in that depressed industrial area of the city of oakland. if anything were to happen with a park, it should be near downtown or the waterfront but yet again i just don’t see it happening.

  125. @ chi – “new ballpark favors hitting and pitching” – how do you build a park that favors both? Retractable bleachers during the game? O.o

  126. ML, remember, Humber was a HUGE propspect. Braden was an afterthought.

  127. @Jeffrey – True, but by this season everyone had pretty much given up on Humber.

  128. Dude, I doubt there is much the city of SJ can do during this lease to hurt the San Jose Giants. The contract has been in force for 5 years, and no amount of bellyacheing and rhetoric can change that. But next year when they negotiate the next lease I hope the city puts the screws to the little Giants. Maybe even so much so that the SJ Giants consider leaving town.

  129. San Jose has a pretty consistent afternoon wind during the summer from the northwest to the southeast or left field to the right field at Cisco Field. I played softball quite a bit years ago in Santa Clara not too far from Diridon and you could always count on the wind. The wind does stop or really slows after it gets dark though. During June, July, the first 3 or 4 innings will be to the pitchers advantage but the latter part will be to the batters.

  130. Dan – agreed. Hopefully, it’s moot by then but given the history I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re still in the same place when the lease is up.

  131. @ Chi – I would say remodel it as a Convention Center as they desperately wanted to do before. BTW> If you have faith in Quan in leading this effort, there’s only two words for you to remember: Victory Court.

  132. I’d still hold out hope for the Raiders, though it’s crazy to build two NFL stadia in one metro. But if there are no teams left, I think there should be your basic transit oriented development there (both office and residential) to take advantage of the excellent BART access. Just build it incrementally as demand allows.

  133. @ Chi – you must not be following up on the Oakland “efforts” as closely as many others here. Victory Court was championed about a year ago from Quan as thesite for the A’s new home, yet it went into EIR limbo and then eventually died a quiet death with the announcement of the Coliseum City proposal. Many Oakland backers were very vocal about this site and applauded JQ on her “efforts”. In the end, it seemed more of a political stunt then an actual study. If you think JQ has the history and political will to see Coliseum City through, get ready to be broken hearted very quickly…..

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