39 months and counting


MLB Commissioner Bud Selig just had his midseason “state of baseball” presser prior to tonight’s All Star Game. He fielded numerous questions about expanded instant replay (not yet), the Mitchell Report (feel good about it), and TV blackouts (working on it). As for the A’s:

There’s a bottle of Balvenie DoubleWood sitting across from me as I write this, and even though it’s early it’s looking really good right about now.

153 thoughts on “39 months and counting

  1. …Look at Wolff’s comments lately: A’s will be in San Jose in five years, the A’s are not leaving the Bay Area. It all points to him being told San Jose will happen but not for several years, to pacify the Giants. Now, all bets on that are off if Oakland suddenly comes up with a viable downtown site and $200 to $300 million for ballpark construction. Would be easier for all of us if that happened but there doesn’t seem to be any reason for optimism on that front. Neither Oakland nor San Jose can commit that kind of cash for a ballpark…

  2. Ray Ratto for once said it best in his tweet on the matter.
    “What Selig meant to say about A’s-Giants. ‘I don’t care that much. None of us do.'”
    Starting to make me wonder why any of us even bother anymore. Wolff doesn’t care enough to challenge them head on, Selig obviously doesn’t give a rats ass if he’s let this fester for 39 months, Oakland hasn’t cared in over 17 years, over half of the former fan base doesn’t care anymore, the press by and large stopped caring when KNBR became a Giants only mouthpiece and the A’s were relegated to below the fold of every sports section, and last but not least the Giants sure as hell don’t care, not that I’d expect them too. I think I saw a bottle of Captain Morgan Private Stock on my book shelf. Might be time to bust it out and have a drink with ML.

  3. “The main hangup is we don’t have the answers yet”

    Uhm, did BS just tell John Shea to pretty much go fuck himself?

  4. The best solution is to eliminate T-rights and make the entire Bay Area a two-team market in the model of New York and Chicago. My spider senses tell me Budrowe is trying to figure out how to accomplish this without too much bellyaching from Baer and his crew.

  5. Hope you’re wrong Jose, because Slusser thinks both sides are so entrenched that regardless of how Selig decides on San Jose someone is going to file a lawsuit. Doesn’t sound like a situation where what you propose is remotely possible (at least not until both ownership groups are dead and gone).

  6. …I think once the Giants have had South Bay territorial rights for 25 years, it will be easier to tell them to get lost and that San Jose is a now a separate market that can sustain its own team, rather than being lumped into the Giants expansive territory that is 3X the size of what the A’s have. We’re already at 20 years and counting. This extra delay serves the purpose of pacifying the Giants (do they really expect to hold onto the South Bay until the end of the world?) and gives Oakland even more time to get something done, on top of the two decades it’s already had. I just don’t see Oakland’s current “solution” – build your own ballpark in the Coliseum parking lot – being taken seriously by MLB and MLB as far as I know has not come out and made any statement on Coliseum City.

  7. BS: What will it take for both of you to settle?

    LW: 0$

    LB: infinite $

    BS: sounds like were getting close, come back later when you guys agree to terms

    LW: ughh
    LB: ughh

  8. …If baseball umpires operated like Selig, they would have the runner/batter and pitcher/fielder negotiate on whether the player was safe or out and whether the pitch was a ball or strike.

  9. Lew Wolff and company took over a playoff bound team in April 2006, and look at what they’ve done with the team since. Meanwhile, revenue sharing money has flowed their way every year. I just don’t see Wolff and company being in any position to ask for favors from BS or the other owners (even though the main favor they seek is a pretty reasonable request–from a fan’s point of view).
    Wolff/Fisher have to make a deal worthwhile to everyone in mlb–which means making it worthwhile to the Giants. I understand that some of you people know Lew Wolff (and I certainly don’t), and that your respect for him rides on more than irrational zeal for the A’s. But step back and look at the way he appears to be fighting the Giants. Other than a big Wolff/Fisher buy-out of the TRs, is there any possible way to resolve this interminable standoff? Wolff/Fisher must do what’s necessary to make the deal. imo

  10. @xootsuit – I have long believed that $0 is an unreasonable price for TRs, just as $200 million is also unreasonable. So what is the right price to make the Giants whole? It’s not like there’s been a precedent for this. That’s where it’s Selig’s responsibility to mediate the dispute. His lack of decisiveness here is practically a dereliction of duty.

  11. SJ must file an ATE suit ASAP. It is the only way for this to be resolved.

    MLB and Selig will do nada until they are forced to.

  12. Btw, I do believe that Selig wants to rule against the move but he is afraid of a lawsuit so he is just dragging it out until he and MLB are forced to do something. A lawsuit now will trigger a counter suit by the G’s and that’s what I want to see. An all war for the ATE and hopefully it will get to SCOTUS.

    Remember SCOTUS now has 3 new justices, Roberts, Sotomayo and Thomas and MLB will not dare try their luck because they don’t know what will happen if SCOTUS agrees to hear the case.

  13. I agree with Daniel. Then The Ginats will have to to relinquish “for the good of the game”

  14. 39 months?!!! 放大司法萨防盗锁开发浇洒劳动法!!!!!!

  15. Lew Wolff and company took over a playoff bound team in April 2006, and look at what they’ve done with the team since.

    @ Xoot – You’re going to cite an outlier with the A’s catching lightning in a bottle with the Big Hurt? Did you forget that they traded away Eithier for Bradley? Or do you remember them trading for Holliday (for Gonzo) to go all in again? Or trying the same Veteran FA signing again and again year in and year out? Have you seen A’s revenue as compared to their spending? It’s pretty flat, unless you’re proposing to try to outspend the Angels / Rangers, much less the likes of the BoSox/Yankess?! O.o

  16. @Anon – Why would xootsuit remember anything important such as Wolff taking over in 2005, not 2006? He’s a Giants fan and his only interest in the A’s is the TR debate, and in advocating for the Giants’ case.

  17. Assassinate them all

  18. @ ML,

    In the history of Major League Baseball, has any franchise paid any other franchise for territorial rights?
    When each league has greater individual significance (i.e., when each league had its own League President), did the A’s pay the Giants a fee when they moved from Kansas City to Oakland?
    Did the Angels pay the Dodgers a disproportionate percentage of their expansion fee to share the L.A. market?
    Similarly, did the Mets pay the Yankees a disproportionate percentage of their expansion fee to share NYC?

    (these are not rhetorical questions, I honestly do not know the answer to them)

  19. I don’t think ball clubs can sue each other or the league directly … They’re all under the umbrella of MLB. The cities can sue and the teams may resort to front groups to sue but these aren’t really that independent of each other …

  20. Thanks ML – I suspected as much but didn’t know for certain.

  21. When are the Giants loans paid off?

  22. …Supposedly in 2017. But word has it they will refinance, meaning they can extend the loans until eternity if they want.

  23. @Pudgie – Gene Autry paid Walter O’Malley $350,000 for the right to share the LA basin in 1960. Adjusted for inflation, the payoff would be less than $3 million. The rights fee was in addition to a $2.1 million franchise fee. Effectively the rights fee was 1/7th the total price for the Angels. If we were to adjust that based on current franchise values and the nature of the way the Bay Area media market is already shared between the A’s and Giants, the A’s payoff should be under $100 million.

    The Mets didn’t have to pay the Yankees because the former was simply filling the vacuum created by the Giants and Dodgers vacating the NY market.

    The East Bay (or at least Oakland) was not part of the Giants’ TRs as Horace Stoneham didn’t negotiate for the area. This allowed Charlie Finley to move there without paying Stoneham (honestly, do you think Finley would’ve moved the team to Oakland if he had to pay anything?).

  24. I think South bay fans should boycott everything SF Giants until they stop being so greedy. I don’t know how Bud Selig and MLB can justify keeping the cards stacked against the A’s by having the territorial rights so disproportionately lopsided to favor the Giants, ridiculous!

  25. re: I think South bay fans should boycott everything SF Giants until they stop being so greedy.

    …the Giants know they can block San Jose from getting MLB and their South Bay fans won’t care. Just go to the CalTrain station in San Jose on a game day and watch the place fill with Giants fans.

  26. What did Selig have to say about TV blackouts? Nothing like the NFL, I hope!

    • @Mike – Baseball’s antitrust exemption makes it immune to the blackouts the NFL has dealt with. A change to the NFL policy for the upcoming season should mean fewer blackouts.

  27. Clever 39 step song and dance reference by ML – this situation is becoming a comical farce.

  28. Selig has the answers,he is just not going to declare his position anytime soon.Most likely for the reasons others have mentioned, delaying Potential Lawsuits. He is hoping that the decision will be made for him, such as if Wolff sells the team or Giants cave in. Not sounding likely at this point….BTW great movie.One of HItchcocks best from his earlier English films.

  29. ML, nice choice on the scotch.
    Daniel, San Jose’s Mayor claims we can’t afford to pay our cops and firemen. We will soon be forced to pay huge amounts of money to fight lawsuits that the public employees are filing. The Mayor is screaming about the city being in the midst of a fiscal emergency so sinking millions into a lawsuit against MLB could be political suicide for Reed.

  30. The San Jose business community – which really wants MLB to happen in San Jose and is likely tired of waiting – can fund the lawsuit.

  31. SCBOY, already done. I’ve been boycotting everything Giants since 1988. I even got my wife to change allegiances before we got married.

  32. Is Jerry Reinsdorf there? Now that BS agrees it’s in his hands (or MLB’s hands) I’d like to hear some quotes from the Executive Council. That is, if they’re even willing to offer any public statement.

  33. ML that Balvenie is well-aged but the BRC is catching up to it in terms of longevity.

  34. Completely agree with Ted. Reed can’t afford the capitol(sic) to fund an AT lawsuit. He has too much on his plate along with too many who want to bash him at any wrong turn. There just is way too little upside to expend political capital on an AT lawsuit.
    It is completely reasonable to believe BS has a plan and is working out those details within a time frame that works best for MLB. It is unreasonable to believe after this long he doesn’t have a plan. It is unreasonable to believe he is undecided on whether the A’s should be allowed to go to SJ. But given the uproar of his fairly innocuous comment regarding the A’s “moving anywhere”, I would think BS is going to keep his comments very generic. Ultimately, to me, the most telling BS comment of the past is from the article that all but called out the Giants for not putting baseball first (the comment to the effect of what kind of owner Haas was). There would be no reason for him to say anything like this if his plan wasn’t to get the A’s in SJ — just no reason to say anything like that at all if the ultimate goal of his unannounced plan is to let the A’s go to SJ.

  35. @Chi, you seem to be full of ‘ifs.’
    However, let’s humor your statement: How would Jerry Brown allow Oakland to find another way to get a waterfront ballpark? What control does he have on the situation?

  36. Chi: Jerry Brown? Why would he help? Where was he when he was Oakland’s mayor? He didn’t care about baseball even when he had a city manager (Robert Bobb) and an A’s ownership open to going into Uptown. He fired Bobb in part over being sick about him bringing up baseball so much. That ship is long gone and even if he could do something (and I agree with LoneStranger that he likely has no authority), he wouldn’t.

  37. I think we are fast (in relative terms) approaching the point where discussion of downtown Oakland ballpark sites will be with a minor league park in mind. Maybe this is for the best, Oakland would be lucky to have a situation similar to Fifth Third in Toledo, considering the economic conditions discussed ad nauseum.

  38. @StuckInBoston- MLB will not allow them to play in anything less than 36k seats.

  39. ^refering to post exodus of the Athletics

  40. Daniel, San Jose’s Mayor claims we can’t afford to pay our cops and firemen. We will soon be forced to pay huge amounts of money to fight lawsuits that the public employees are filing. The Mayor is screaming about the city being in the midst of a fiscal emergency so sinking millions into a lawsuit against MLB could be political suicide for Reed.

    1. The city unions are the ones who are causing the massive deficit and layoffs due to their pensions. The citizens of SJ voted and told the Unions to screw themselves (Measure V/W/B) and that they should not be privileged in anyway (like wise in SD).

    2. Sam Licarrdo personally said that SJ doesn’t have to worry about forking the bill for a potential ATE lawsuit. Businesses would sponsor it in a second….

  41. @ TW – I expressed the same concern to Sam Liccardo when the threat of ATE lawsuit first appeared and emailed him directly about it citing the prohibitive costs. His answer:

    XXXXX, thanks for your note.
    Point well taken: litigation isn’t cheap.
    I think we could raise the money, though, if necessary, to fight it. We’ve got a business community that’s very excited to make this happen.
    I’d also like to believe that the threat of the nuclear option could be more effective than anything else we do.
    More to come….

    Looks like SJ would become a sort of proxy to this ATE the same way the big Gnats are using the little Gnats to challenge the A’s move.

  42. Anon, very cool. I like when people put their money where their mouths are and reach out to their elected officials for information. Thanks for the info….
    But Liccardo is not Reed. Liccardo has made it clear he will expend the politcal capital. Without knowledge of the SJ districts (I live in Fremont), I’m guessing he is in a district that will be certainly pro A’s in SJ (just a guess). Reed has to contend with the whole ‘shootin match’. Fyi, I hope Reed pushes it. MLB needs motivation given the length of time. And I believe a real threat of litigation will push the Lodge toward a yes vote. I just don’t think Reed will lead the push (imho).
    Chi, in the past a monetary intervention by Sacramento was a possibility (imho, part of the reason why Cali is in this $$$$ mess). Today? Not going to happen. You can’t take $$$$ from municipalities then select a singe entity (Oakland) as a place to give what would essentially be RDA funds. Other municipalities would go berserk. Besides, with the brain trust in SAC giving the green light to the grossly unaffordable (IMHO) Bullet Train while surveys show the tax increase proposition will become seriously ‘iffy’ if the Bullet Train was approved, there is a distinct possibility that SAC will be searching for more money to come back than going to municipalities (in other words there is a zero chance it will happen).

  43. @Chi

    In one thread you say you agree that the A’s should move to San Jose, and now in another you say that they should just give up and hinge their hopes on Coliseum City? If you’re here just to troll, please stop. It’s people like you that turns honest, meaningful discussion and debate into another shit-flinging, name-calling, OAK v. SJ fight…

  44. …if Measure B gets overturned, count on lots more layoffs for the city employees. There won’t be any other way to deal with it. (ML, delete as you see fit)

  45. Did u know that Coliseum City will offer office space for businesses to work at. Imagine working right next to a new football, baseball and basketball.

  46. Selig seems to be leaning in favor of the A’s. Also don’t forget that Tony La Russa is a big proponent of the A’s move to SJ – and is now a special advisor to MLB .

  47. Ted: Are you a Giants spokesman in here? San Jose gets a $500 million investment for selling discounted land for a few million dollars. A phenomenally good deal. What about breaks that other developers get from the city? Why do you only care about this one?

  48. Feb 1 2012 – SAN JOSE (KCBS) – The San Jose City Council approved a temporary tax break Tuesday to encourage more commercial development in the city.

    City officials are hoping that a two-year moratorium on construction taxes will win back developers.


  49. @Chi

    … and hence you’ve proven my point. Need I say more? I’ll just leave it to ML to deal with you as he sees fit…

  50. pjk, I am a Giants fan who definitely wants them to keep payroll up which means the revenue stream has to remain high and I am a San Jose resident.
    I do care about other subsidies. I loathe the idea of PF Chang’s getting huge subsidies to bring their chain restaurant downtown, I hated to see small business owners struggle as San Jose poured money into lame projects like the Pavilion shops and I think San Jose is being screwed by San Jose Sports and Entertainment Enterprises when it comes to the split for non Sharks events at HP Pavilion. Wolff and Co can afford to pay full price for the land and they should.
    I am not sure what that $500 million investment really means for San Jose either.

  51. PJK, I understand the value of good full time permanent jobs and affordable housing.

  52. ML, the Giants lease the land that Pac Bell was built on but I do understand that the lease will end up being under market value at some point if it isn’t already and that they received about $10 million in tax breaks and that the city picked up the tab on area and infrastructure improvements.
    The bottom line is that it really wasn’t any of my business anyway because I didn’t live in San Francisco.
    If the A’s end up with TR to San Jose I will hope that Wolff pays close to market value for the land (or leases it) and doesn’t end up getting land around it for development and that the tax and other incentives aren’t too steep. The mayor is crying about how the city is broke and he is cutting services while the A’s ownership is quite wealthy and has little or no leverage. If things look OK for San Jose I would likely vote yes on a stadium proposal.
    It is really easy for fans who live outside of San Jose city limits to support a deal that will not adversely affect them.

  53. Sorry for rambling there, ML. I am doing several things at once.

  54. Chi, the only “opinion” I’ve expressed so far is calling you out for being inconsistent (and at times, incomprehensible) with your opinions and broadcasting them in a way that seems to be more intended to provoke an emotional response rather than fruitful debate. If that comes off as a joke to you, well then, I don’t know what else to tell you.

    Getting back on topic, my ACTUAL opinion on the matter is one of continued frustration and increasing despair. If anyone deserves to have all this ballpark vitriol directed at them, its Selig. He alone could have already brought some measure of clarity and direction to this saga, but instead he’s been content to let it fester for way too long. The fanbase continues to whither away, and what’s left of it is left bickering with each other over Oakland v. SJ v. Sacto v. Timbuktu. Seriously, its gotten to the level of ridiculous.

  55. @Chi – What are you talking about? Coliseum City doesn’t offer anything yet, because the project hasn’t yet been approved, funded, or even planned. It may be nothing but asphalt and concrete if all three teams leave. It could be nothing more than a stadium for the Raiders and a glorified strip mall in the future. The least likely thing it could be at this point is a bunch of office towers, hotels, and three new venues.

    @Anon/JL – Stop asking me to moderate the discussion a particular way. I’ll stick to my judgement on specific discussions, thank you very much.

  56. Fair enough ML, my apologies. Its just that it gets frustrating when the comments start fishtailing off-topic sometimes and people resort to tired arguments and cheap shots. Happens a bit too often here, and hence why I refrain from putting my two cents in most of the time hehe. No hard feelings to all of you fellow readers out there though! 🙂

  57. I give props to you Ted. You’re honest enough to say ‘I’m a Giants fan and I want them to be more profitable (for player payroll sake)’. With that said, I’ll set aside how small a SJ stadium will affect the Giants to focus on this: the no SJ subsidy argument (for what ML says and beyond) is a rather obvious straw man. Municipalities subsidize on a routine basis…..as they should. It’s about ROI. Should a municipality not invest $$$ for greater return? Of course they should. They would be derelict in their duty if they did not. Would you frown upon the SF city government throwing sweeteners at, for instance, Facebook if they were offering to open a 1000 employee office downtown? You and the city council would be crazy to not use ‘reasonable’ sweeteners to land Facebook. The ultimate ROI means the city council just made money for the city. And those sweeteners are subsidies!
    LW is going to build the stadium. SJ is going to provide land and some infrastructure. ‘IF’ that is the deal, it is quantifiable in terms of potential ROI. And considering that ROI will be voted on by the voters of SJ (did SF voters get the choice on Pac Bell park????), ‘the A’s shouldn’t go to SJ because SJ shouldn’t provide land’ is a very flimsy argument that is pretty transparent in terms of motivation.

  58. @JL
    Lol dude I can care less. Again even of C.C doesn’t work , the city of Oakland will have to do something with all that space…and don’t blame Bud Selig… It’s clear he doesnt want to push the money making SF Giants around so he is annoyingly allowing all this to lag out .. if I was Lew Wolff I would turn my attwntions to Alameda and Contra Costa county and see if he has a bettter place in A’s territory to make a better ballpark than the SF Giants

    • @JL .. if I was Lew Wolff I would turn my attwntions to Alameda and Contra Costa county and see if he has a bettter place in A’s territory to make a better ballpark than the SF Giants

      As has been reported many times, he has already done that.

  59. Downtown Oakland has a lot of existing office space for rent as well as approved space awaiting construction … No ones going to fill Coliseum city with offices until the downtown is saturated

  60. No Wolff could do more.. he just got frusterated and GAVE UP on any avialble area in all of alameda to contra costa county… hell i dont care.. the Concord A’s or San ramon A’s… still Wolff needs to put San Jose on pause… and refocus on a .500 Oakland A’s team (yes they can make the playoffs) and seeing if there might be new oppurtunites to get a stadium in A’s territory.

    i bet a lot of you guys dont even remember the Good days when Oakland teams were good.We are Oakland.. we are not handed things like San Francisco and San Jose.. we have to earn ours by winning first and then everything from stadiums, sponsorships and tv rights comes with it.. but we have 3 and i say 3 pro teams that have not been good in 7 years… gotta change that fortune first..

  61. @Chi, you’re late to the party. Wolff has already spent time looking at areas in their their own territory. Even MLB agreed, when they gave him permission to look at areas outside of their territory.

  62. We don’t remember the good days? Or, we don’t look back at them through rose colored goggles?Or we don’t look back at them and make completely illogical conclusions like “Hey, the team has been great before and that didn’t result in any better tv deals or more sponsorships of ay significant value, but it will someday. Just have to keep doing the same thing over and over until it finally ends up with a different result!”

  63. @ Jeff

    So u don’t remember the good days? Ask ur older brother or step dad. Oakland as a city and sports teams have not won in a long time.

  64. @lonestranger

    I know… That’s why I recommend to Lew.

    Dude forget san Jose… Find another area to build… Build in North Richmond or West Oakland Hell even the Pleasonton would be a great area..San Jose belongs to the Sf giants and should be.

  65. Chi: MLB has been looking for 3+ years for a viable place to build a ballpark in Alameda or Contra Costa counties. Don’t you believe that if they’d found one, they’d have told Wolff to build there or sell the team to someone who will? The fact is, MLB has looked and looked and couldn’t find a site, which is why the blue ribbon committee, initially tasked with finding ballpark opportunities in the A’s current territory, expanded its search to include San Jose. Throwing out nonsensical suggestions such as Pleasanton doesn’t offer a solution…

  66. Chi… I have been going to the coliseum since 1979. I remember the good days. Clearly, I remember them much better than you.

  67. Guys stop feeding the troll.

  68. ML: “So what is the right price to make the Giants whole?”
    ML: “Why would xootsuit remember anything important such as Wolff taking over in 2005, not 2006? He’s a Giants fan and his only interest in the A’s is the TR debate, and in advocating for the Giants’ case.”
    First, I think the “right price” is where the complexities enter the negotiations. It could be a bunch of money over time, coupled with delay in building the new SJ ballpark to allow the Giants to develop a new business plan to accomodate whatever changes really are likely to flow from the San Jose move. That’s my current guess.
    I did make a mistake about the year Wolff bought the A’s. My point still stands — Wolff/Fisher inherited a team that they allowed to sink to the bottom. 2010 — .500; every other year since 2006, below .500. Meanwhile, Wolff/Fisher have made money on revenue sharing (correct me if that’s too simplistic–I’m perfectly willing add to my knowledge of the situation). The A’s are losing money for the owners; the Giants are making money for the owners. The owners should not want to see a new A’s stadium result in those profits merely redistitributed. Wolff/Fisher have to come up with a plan, including payment, that tends to ensure Giants’ continued success, while opening up the possibility of A’s success, too.
    I have absolutely no interest in advocating the Giants’ position in this. I’m interested in the disputes and potential resolutions for several reasons. I live and work in Oakland. I’ve been in the East Bay (Berkeley/Oakland area) since 1980. I think losing the A’s will be devastating to Oakland. I’m actually more concerned about that prospect than about the economic competition between the Giants and A’s. But I also take your hostility seriously, ML. It’s your site. If you don’t want full and free discussion on these issues, that’s your prerogative. . . . .

  69. @xootsuit – Teams’ records rise and fall with great regularity. When you’re a team with consistently low revenue and a <$100 million payroll, that's the game you're playing. One or two major injuries to key/franchise players and the wheels come off (see: 9-game losing streak in May). The A's simply aren't insulated from poor performance the way the big market teams – including, yes, the Giants – are.

    When it comes to profit for baseball and The Lodge, the Bay Area is not some zero-sum game. I’ve written many, many times about how baseball has barely tapped into its potential. Clearly there is some recognition of that within The Lodge, otherwise they wouldn’t have entertained San Jose in the first place.

    If you want to argue for revenue protection that’s fine. Looking back at your previous comments, that appears to be the thrust of your argument. Yet you’ve never bothered to describe in even the slightest detail what that means. How about some numbers? I’d like to push this debate forward, but without framing it in terms of tangible figures we’re just going around in circles. Here’s an example:

    The Giants pulled in $230 million in revenue with a $118 million payroll, or a comfortable 52% of revenue. Ownership chose not to go above that number to preserve profit. They demoted Bill Neukom because his competitiveness threatened the group’s profitability. The ownership group will always be profitable, especially when the mortgage is finished off/refinanced. The Giants’ payroll this season is $130 million, which leads me to believe that the Giants will hit $250 million in revenue this year. The issue is not one of profit because that’s practically locked in. The issue is revenue for the Giants – always has, always will be. Do they have the right to protect their revenue streams? Of course! But it doesn’t mean they can spread FUD and get away with it. At some point the Giants will hit a down cycle, just as virtually every other team does. With that will come a drop in payroll and a drop in revenues in order to preserve ownership’s slice. Maybe the A’s will have taken away some fans, maybe not. Maybe they’ll be in San Jose, maybe they won’t. Whatever the case, the Giants better have an airtight case for pulling from the A’s revenue as the latter is trying to pay off its own stadium. From what I’ve seen so far, they don’t have it.

    Also, I’ll quote you from something you wrote four months ago: “As always, I greatly appreciate the intelligent information available on this blog.” I’ll stick with that assessment.

  70. ML: My earlier compliment still stands. That’s why I return to this site — despite the hostility. But you misinterpret my intent. I’m not arguing for or against anything. I’m trying to decipher and comprehend what’s occurring, while commenting on what I see when I have something to say.

    Much of what is going on is secret. (If you know how to get info on the presentations the Giants and A’s made to the owners during the last mlb meeting, please let us know.) My expertise, such as it is, is certainly not in the numbers. My eye is on Wolff/Fisher and the way they deal with mlb. If I offer anything here it’s a critical view of the A’s owners. I’m not disinterested (for the East Bay loyalty reasons I mentioned earlier). But my interest is not clouded by fan bias. (btw, I am not real pleased with the current Giants group, post-Neukom. The reasons for firing Neukom, and stripping his majority ownership interest, are more complex than we know. I greatly enjoyed his leadership tenure. But note: He delivered the presentation for the Giants at the recent owners meeting.)
    As to your “cycles” argument, I don’t buy it in the new mlb world. mlb is expansionist now; mlb doesn’t want to see “virtually every team” sink into down cycles, financially. My guess is that the marquee franchises will be at the top, or near the top, as part of the overall business model, even if they aren’t winning WSs. For example, the White Sox will go through many more revenue dips than will the Cubs. The business minds evaluate these facts very coldly. The A’s are now trying to become the Bay Area White Sox.

  71. don’t forget that the G’s never did have a 100mils payroll while Bonds played. If you look at the roster that Bonds had to carry on his back, it was a joke but Larry Bear , Magowan and the G’s did not care

    The highest payroll during Bonds years was 95mil or something like that. Peter Magowan threatened to reduce payroll after WS 2002 but backed down . The G’s were/are profitable then and now.

    I want the A’s to win and to have a new park but I also want the BA teams to do well. It would be great if we have an A’s-G’s WS every year here. Screw The Yankees and Redsux.

    But I am hating the g’s more and more now because of what they are trying to do. The G’s is using TR as an excuse to push the A’s out of BA. NO if or but about it. I am pretty sure the G’s will do just fine w/o SJ or SC or any other places but greed is evil and the g’s are greedy. They want the whole BA and N. Cal for themselves.

    I want to see an AT suit soon. get rid of ATE. Baseball should not have ATE when FB, BB, NHL etc..don’t.

  72. I’m not trying to pick on Ted, but as I read through the comments on this posting (been tied up at work for a while and haven’t been able to keep as current as I would like), I found this to be interesting:

    Ted: “I am not sure what that $500 million investment really means for San Jose either.”

    As a proud son of San Jose, the city’s investment in downtown development (albeit indirect, in the form of a land sale) seems like a no-brainer to me. That being said, I live on the east coast at the moment, so I’ve missed out on several of the more recent political battles (pension reform, etc.). My question is this: has there been a litmus test on the general public opinion on a San Jose A’s deal? I know that Reed and Liccardo have been vocal about it, but what has been the public reaction?

  73. @ JLL
    Leave Ted alone…im on his side. Let’s the giants have sf and Oakland have the A’s both big major cities win

  74. @JLL – Mark Purdy has gone on record several times saying internal polling by the Mercury News shows a land deal vote would pass easily. But that’s always been while on Chronicle Live, I have no link to back that up.

  75. TW, I am not sure how much return a stadium brings to a city compared to 1000 high paying full time jobs but I am OK with a little sweetening. We’ll see how things shake out if it ever gets to a point where they need to spell out the specifics.
    Daniel, the Giants kept payroll somewhere around the top 10 and in line with revenue and franchise value. They weren’t cheap just because they didn’t have $100 million payrolls when the only one or two teams cracked the $100 million mark. For the record, the A’s under Wolff have been every bit as profitable as the Giants. About the ATE, if it is what keeps MLB from having the unfettered movement that creates a game of musical chairs with franchise moves like the other leagues have I am all for it. The movement in the NBA, NHL and NFL is terrible and would hurt MLB.

  76. I’ve recently heard that one of the major reason that Wolff and Baer want to move the A’s to San Jose is because most of the employee of the Oakland Coliseum are union workers, & if they move to San Jose there would be no unions involved & they could pay all of the employees less @ Cisco Fields then they can in an Oakland Stadium. I was wondering how true that is? 2nd I was wondering if the A’s do move to San Jose, would that change the way the team manages their Payroll?

  77. @xootsuit – I’m not going to say you’re biased because that’s unfair, just as many of the Oakland-only crowd like to label me biased. You do have a perspective as a Giants fan, an Oakland/East Bay resident, and, I’m assuming, as a lawyer. There’s nothing wrong with that. You’re bringing something to the table. To say that perspective doesn’t come into play is rather silly. And to say that you don’t agree with the post-Neukom ownership makes no difference. In the end you’re looking out for the franchise. That’s the bottom line. You’re not going to stop being a Giants fan because of ownership, are you?

    Every team has to go through down cycles. The Giants did late last decade. Then they rose thanks to bunch of hits via the draft first round (Cain, Lincecum, Posey, Bumgarner) and a series of productive fill-in players (Huff, Ross, now Cabrera). The Giants haven’t had the luxury of three top-12 picks in the coming years, making reloading the roster difficult. That’s fine, it’ll be up to Sabean to make good trades and FA signings. Every team operates like this. For the big markets, a down cycle may mean dropping to .500 or slightly below. It’s still a down cycle, and it’s inevitable.

  78. ML, the Giants lease the land that Pac Bell was built on but I do understand that the lease will end up being under market value at some point if it isn’t already and that they received about $10 million in tax breaks and that the city picked up the tab on area and infrastructure improvements.

    The Gnats also own the development rights to the whole Mission Rock area, which they can make a bundle on (this will likely be the W’s backup plan). You don’t think that is even more favorable than the A’s deal? /scratches head

    I am not sure how much return a stadium brings to a city compared to 1000 high paying full time jobs but I am OK with a little sweetening.

    So are you saying that PhoneBooth Park is a failure and shouldn’t have been built? /scratches head

    For the record, the A’s under Wolff have been every bit as profitable as the Giants.

    Please show us data that supports this (please don’t cite Forbes guestimates).

  79. Anon, I don’t live in San Francisco so it is not my concern. I am a Niner fan that thinks Santa Clara is being screwed by the 49ers deal but I don’t live there either so it is not something that really concerns me. Do you live in San Jose?
    Forbes is the best we have and there is no reason to believe that it is not reasonably accurate.

  80. Anon,

    The Giants won the rights for the Mission Rock area after a competitive bid against other developers. that deal was entirely separate from the ballpark deal with its own terms etc…

  81. re: Forbes is the best we have and there is no reason to believe that it is not reasonably accurate.

    ..There’s plenty of reason to believe Forbes isn’t accurate. They get their numbers through guesswork without any access to official books.

  82. Isn’t Forbes the source for ML’s numbers as well and their guesswork is most likely well educated, no?

  83. If I recall, one of the Sharks execs years ago used to complain about how wrong the Forbes numbers were. They do it by guessing. Would be like filing your tax return by guessing what you earn without any access to official documentation.

  84. I understand why a subsidized team like the Sharks would be bitter if someone exposed their finances to the public. Team payroll’s and team finances are certainly all guesses but they are what we have to go with.

  85. You’re going to believe what you want to believe so I’m not going to waste anymore time talking about Forbes estimates of what sports teams make.

  86. pjk, what else do we have to go on? ML is comfortable using those estimates and so are most people, unless they feel like it goes against a point they are trying to make.

  87. Very touching Ted, as an utterly Giants centric fan, that you are looking out for the citizens and ultimately the voters of SJ. Those citizens/voters need to know the truth of what can happen when a city (for instance SF with the Giants — and SF voters?) tries to put together a deal for a baseball stadium! And you are there to protect them with the purest of intentions! LOL, wow, just wow.

  88. So move, Ted. Clearly, your morals change with your address.

  89. Anon, I don’t live in San Francisco so it is not my concern. I am a Niner fan that thinks Santa Clara is being screwed by the 49ers deal but I don’t live there either so it is not something that really concerns me. Do you live in San Jose?

    That’s a convenient excuse. I might as well say I’m an A’s fan and don’t give a flying @!#$ about the Gnats as well. And yes, I am a die hard Niners fan that is amazed how the SF media has given them a pass moving to greener pastures in the South Bay, yet criticizes LW. And yes, I live, grew up, worked voted, and pay my property tax in San Jose. Can you say all those things about yourself?

  90. @ martin – thank you for correcting me on MR development. I erroneously thought it was part of their original sweetheart deal.

  91. Ted conveniently cites sf as a model for how to handle pension reform—of course even though he doesn’t care because he doesn’t live there- ironic that the sf gate and many experts in industry label it as a band aid- http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/San-Francisco-must-confront-its-pension-debt-3274172.php

    I bring this up because Ted implies that a ballpark initiative will struggle in SJ- polling results cited previously by the SJ Business Journal show overwhelming support- and Mayor Reed is a very popular mayor for trying to restore sanity to the city’s finances by promoting pension reform which was passed by nearly 70% of the SJ voters

  92. @bartleby “TW, I am not sure how much return a stadium brings to a city compared to 1000 high paying full time jobs”
    This is a false choice. Who says it’s an either-or? If anything, having an MLB team would raise San Jose’s profile, make it a more desirable place to live or work, and help bring in those high paying full time jobs. The Chamber of Commerce of every mid-tier city that has even an NBA or NHL team makes it the centerpiece of their marketing effort. It’s not like downtown SJ is so built out that an A’s ballpark would displace a theoretical office tower, if the demand was there.

    “For the record, the A’s under Wolff have been every bit as profitable as the Giants.”
    This is questionable, but even if it were true, it would only because of league subsidies. Not a desirable or sustainable business model.
    “About the ATE, if it is what keeps MLB from having the unfettered movement that creates a game of musical chairs with franchise moves like the other leagues have I am all for it.”
    It isn’t. What keeps MLB teams in place is demographics and the unique economic needs of the sport.
    “The movement in the NBA, NHL and NFL is terrible and would hurt MLB.”
    There’s no way MLB would ever see franchise movement like in those other cities, even without the antitrust exemption. The simple reason MLB teams rarely move compared to those other leagues is that MLB teams need large markets and all the large markets in the U.S. and Canada already have or have had teams. Columbus may or may not be able to support an NHL team over the long term. It definitely cannot support an MLB team.

  93. @Ted “Team payroll’s and team finances are certainly all guesses but they are what we have to go with.”
    Just because they are all that’s available doesn’t make them worth anything. I don’t place a lot of stock in magazine rankings of “Most Desirable Places to LIve” either for the same reasons. The Forbes numbers exist because they sell magazines, period.

  94. TW, I am concerned with my interests as I live in San Jose. Like I said, if it comes to a vote and it looks like a good deal for San Jose I will likely vote yes to a ballpark proposal.
    Anon, I am glad that you too live here it adds weight to your opinion, I grew up one town over but have lived in San Jose for the better part of two decades. I think I have been open about what motivates my opinion on the matter since I started posting here. I have even been swayed a bit by what I have read from ML and some of the folks commenting on the articles.
    GoA’s, I stated that Reed might have a hard time justifying spending funds on a lawsuit against MLB when he is claiming that the city is in or on the verge of a fiscal crisis. I disagree with Measure B because I think it is unfair to yank away negotiated compensation, I believe pension reform should be negotiated. How much is the city going to spend to defend Measure B in the courts?

  95. Ted, you keep forgetting: the business community is ready to pay for the lawsuit against MLB, should it come to that.

  96. @ Ted – Though I believe you reside in SJ, having to cower to the “I am concerned with my interests as it pertains to SJ” only mantra is not helping your excuses arguments especially with your oranged colored glasses you are seeing everything though. As for me, I am motivated on getting the best future for the A’s whether it’s in SJ, Oakland, Fremont, etc., but think strongly it should be in the South Bay for various reasons already cited. And as for Measure B, I don’t know why you keep on trying to play the pension card as it pertains to the A’s cause. Those are two separate issues that the unions continually try to correlate. The land option to the A’s is chump change compared to the $500 million dollar effort to the build the stadium itself, and the city will still be able to collect lease on it from the A’s.

    /rant on …. You need to wake up and realize that it is a dawn of new millennium where the unions handicap us as much, if not more than they help the people they work for (see: GM bailout). In times like these were people struggle to make ends meet, having the luxury of publicly funded pensions costing taxpayers billions is ridiculous and speaks to the selfishness of all its members. Your pensions are not an earned right, but rather an option by the people, for the people. As much as i had hoped it could have been avoided, it was clear that the unions did not negotiate in good faith and only made minor concessions that led to the dismissal of all the good officers/firefighters/city workers. If you think you cannot be replaced, think again. Learn it, live it, love it, and litigate it if you have to….but in the end, the voice of the public has spoke. /rant off.

  97. That’s horrible, Dan. It sounds so ridiculously random. I drove through that area when I last went to an A’s game. I was prompted to by one of the come the threads on here in which David defended the area. It didn’t feel the least bit unsafe and I’d just as soon drive through there again the next time I go to a game.. I hope his family can grieve and make the best of life… That sort of senseless tragedy is not easily overcome. I hope they find the “hooded assailants” and figure out why this happened. If only to give his family some peace.

  98. LS, I initially responded to someone who wrote something about San Jose suing MLB, I do recall someone else mentioning that the suit would actually be filed by a private group. The only reason I mentioned it again was to clarify what I had earlier stated.
    Anon, I am not “cowering” to anything. I only brought up measure B in regard to the notion that San Jose would file suit against MLB.
    I am not sure what that $500 million would bring to the city’s coffers.
    My last comment on Measure B…Pensions were not a right, they are a contractual obligation that was agreed to by our elected officials through negotiations with city workers. It is my understanding that Reed didn’t put much effort into negotiating in good faith either, instead he made backroom deals with developers and venture capital firms to get money behind support for B. If, after lots of litigation, Measure B holds up firefighters and cops will end up taking a 15%+ pay cut and we will have to replace many of them with less motivated, less trained replacements and that will be costly and leave us with worse protection that what we have now.

  99. @Ted- besides lots of union construction jobs $500M will bring 2.5M people to downtown San Jose spending their entertainment dollars- just like they do in China Basin- to question the benefit of this to SJ finances is rather fascinating to me questioning what your true motives are.

  100. GoA’s, it might bring that many folks downtown and I know that would help some businesses in the area, I never questioned that it would. I am not sure how much that is worth to the city but it is certainly is worth some incentives from the city. How much is moving to San Jose worth to the A’s especially since that is the only place they want to go? If the city demanded full market value for the land would Wolff say “screw it”?

  101. Ted, as mentioned before you deserve credit for stating what your POV is…..you’re a Giants fan and you want the Giants to be most successful. IMHO that is sound ground to stand on. Hey, you want the pluses to go to them. In the sports fan-dom world that is utterly understandable and really expected. But this good civic citizen stuff is transparent as a clear glass window. Worse! it’s grossly hypocritical. Your blind support of the Giants apparently makes it ok for other cities to subsidize stadiums. I guess as long as a city council and baseball owner do it to someone else – screw them over (according to you) in a places you don’t live, hey! then it’s perfectly ok to give 100% support to that kind of civic plundering!

    Again, you want to the Giants to come out on top….totally understandable. My advice is to leave it at that…..

  102. TW, I have never said that I was against any subsidies for the A’s. Infrastructure improvements and a few tax breaks would not be a deal breaker for me. Giving away land is a little much, at least lease them the 13 or 14 acres for a few million per year rather than selling the land for a $20 million loss. For the record, SF didn’t buy land for $25 million and then sell it to the Giants for $6 million, the Giants are going to pay about $100 million in lease payments for the land Pac Bell was built on over the duration of the lease.

  103. I’ll give you this Ted, you don’t give up. “Not against” SJ and the A’s making a deal . Great! SJ can kick in for the BART line itself right to the stadium! While they’re at it, a deluxe tram/people mover from all parking lots! How about a new freeway to access it too? Just whatever they do PLEASE make sure they sell land at exact market price! Come on man, stop it. Infrastructure can far out cost a reduced land sale. Besides, SJ is well founded to structure a plan that works for them — not what works for SF……as long as the ROI is there. Ahhh, but wait! Your assertion is ROI is not so easily there. Apparently SF city council is much more savy than SJ, right?
    “The Giants have a 66-year lease on the 12.5-acre (51,000 m2) ballpark site, paying $1.2 million in rent annually to the San Francisco Port Commission”. Whoa! After 66 years SF will reap 80 million for a mere 12.5 acres of waterfront property! Well there you go Ted! Your case is made! I mean 12.5 acres on the waterfront in SF sold 7 years ago certainly wouldn’t pull in that ‘giant’ 10 or so million the Giants had paid so far, would it Ted? So I take it back, you obviously are looking out for SJ and have your calculations down for SF vs SJ! It’s high civic mindedness. Bravo…….

  104. @Chi, forgetting the fact that you said they should move to San Jose in an earlier comment, what makes you think they’ll be more profitable in Oakland, a place they have always struggled to get attendance? Honestly, at this point I understand that you’re ticked about how people respond to your nonsense comments, but you’re falling deeper into absurdity while you get more confrontational.

  105. On the possible lawsuit issue, I’m interested in any news anyone may have about San Jose’s approach. My view is that the City of San Jose has no standing (or A/T injury) to support a federal A/T action against anyone. Various cities and counties sued Microsoft in S.F. Superior Court back in the 90s, but they were consumers of MS products, and they sued under Calif. state-law A/T and unfair competiton. Perhaps San Jose can fashion a state-court action out of the TRs dispute, but I don’t see it yet. San Jose is neither a consumer nor a competitor.
    The Attys General of both Minn. and Fla. tried to use their state A/T laws to go after mlb’s A/T exemption. A couple of odd Fla. appellate decisions resulted, finding the A/T exemption to the reserve clause. But more recently the 11th Cir. went the other way on an appeal from a Fla. fed ct. concerning a similar AG assault on mlb. In Minn., I believe the courts applied the A/T exemption broadly. So mlb has done pretty well. (The NJ fed. decision brought by the investors who failed to take the Giants to Tampa, however, was another scare for mlb.) The plaintiffs in all of these lawsuits, however, had rights to sue that San Jose just does not possess — unless I’m missing something.
    Bottom line, I think mlb will do anything to avoid another A/T lawsuit. But if there aren’t any credible plaintiffs out there, they don’t really have to worry. So long as they’re mlb owners, Wolff/Fisher and the Giants partnership have no incentive to ruin the A/T exemption, and to get past the mandatory arbitration clause in the consititution I think they would need to attack the entire structure of mlb as unlawful, and I’m not sure that approach would fly. The US SCt recently held that an arbitration clause in an otherwise illegal contract can be enforceable.
    So what sort of “private party” would be the front man for a lawsuit on the TRs issues?

  106. shoulda been: “finding the A/T exemption LIMITED to the reserve clause” sorry

  107. @ XS – Could Cisco possibly sue since it would incur a perceived loss to their business and/or breach of contract with the A’s? I don’t think the Gnats would even attempt to play around the ATE, as it is the only thing barring the A’s from going south in the first place.

  108. @ Ted – I’m going to give you the benefit of a doubt on the sincerity of your concerns of the Diridon land sale to the A’s because form the beginning you’ve cited seemingly random reasons for the A’s not to go to SJ ( traffic, economic impact, prohibitive funding, and now land value) that seems just like another excuses for your Gnats allegiance. But I am glad you are seeing things more rationally now. Regarding the your latest beef with the property sale, please keep in mind that everyone in the council has said if they do get the TR lifted, it would still require a public vote. Yes, the taxpayers (the same one who voted yes on measure V/W/B) will get to sign off on this directly as well. It’s stipulated as part of the land sale and was embedded in the city council notes on 11/14. Also, the land can ONLY be use for a ballpark and nothing else. If BS decides otherwise on the SJ, then the option is null and void and goes back to the city. So keep this in mind when assessing the property value as it has restrictions on its use (this was why it was priced as it was). Lastly, since you were so ecstatic about how much PhoneBoothPark brung back to the city (yet you don’t care how much it was subsidized?!!), you’ll be happy to know that it should bring in at least $1.5 million directly to the general fund and more indirectly from other businesses. I encourage you to write direclty to your district councilman/woman if you have any further questions/concerns, but all of this information is publicly available if you would (again) go look for it.

  109. Let me reiterate that I am a life long Giants fan from San Jose before I go any further. Not a bandwagon fan but one who suffered at Candlestick in the early 1990s before Bonds showed up.

    I did not become an A’s fan until HS in the late 1990s until I had my driver’s license as my folks would only head to SF since it has so many tourist attractions. I love the A’s, except when they play the Giants.

    In the history of MLB there have been 2 privately financed stadiums. Dodger Stadium and ATT Park. As a fellow San Jose resident when taking history into account we are getting what is in fact a free ballpark.

    I say give the A’s the land for free as that area will never be developed into anything else as the recession and Santana Row/Valley Fair being 10 min away have killed any other development. San Jose has too many empty office buildings as it is.

    I am one against public subsidies for stadiums and I would never vote for a tax increase or bonds being issued to build a stadium.

    But to have a brand new ballpark in Downtown SJ for free, we as citizens should donate the land for free in my opinion as its a fraction of the cost of the stadium itself that the A’s are paying for themselves privately.

    San Jose would only be the 3rd privately financed ballpark in MLB history. The tax revenue, civic pride, and effect it would have on the city is worth far more than the unused land we are selling to the A’s at a discount that will never be used.

    Also, the Giants argument that they will be hurt is flawed. The Giants would continue to dominate the Peninsula, SF area, Marin, and dare I say it….The East Bay. Their revenue would still increase and they would get fans all day from those areas I mentioned above.

    San Jose, Santa Cruz, and Monterey are all vastly under served due to sheer distance. 75% of Silicon Valley companies do not do business with the Giants but would gladly do business with a San Jose based team as it is in their backyard and not 50 miles away.

    What the Giants fear is the A’s with a new stadium in Silicon Valley having a higher payroll, more revenue, and field a team they can keep together for years to come.

    Bay Area like California in general are fair weather fans a decent amount of the time and the A’s if they got good and held the team together could supplant the Giants as the darling of the area, even with ATT Park.

    That is the fear the Giants cling to, they lump San Mateo and Santa Clara counties together to make their argument. Those San Mateo fans will not come to San Jose, but Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Monterey have affluent fans dying for an option to take their families to.

    The Giants arguments are not holding water in the Lodge, as if it was then San Jose would have been ruled out again by Bud Selig. Enough of the owners are siding with the A’s that this is still in the air.

    Also, the Lodge also agrees with the A’s the East Bay has been exhausted and one choice remains…..A free ballpark for San Jose!

  110. “In the history of MLB there have been 2 privately financed stadiums. Dodger Stadium and ATT Park.”
    Actually other than Cleveland Muni Stadium every stadium built in the first 50 years of the modern era was privately financed (or vast majority privately financed). It wasn’t until Milwaukee started and then Washington DC perfected building publicly financed venues that the public stadium craze took off. In the late 50’s/early-60’s.

  111. @Anon
    Dude…did u use to get picked on in school? Lol all u guys internet gangsters…ha ha ha lol at all of u. Ted knows that Sf giants know that holding on to san Jose is great for them as they are the “Team” of Bay Area baseball…not there fault the A’s gave it to them 25 years ago…..Lew Wolff has all that land in the coliseum which could use a baseballpark…the city allready had gave him a green light on the site. San Jose sucks…so do ur opinions anon…remember that

  112. Xootsuit: would your analysis change if San Jose were to put an initiative on the ballot for the purchase of adjacent lots, etc.?

    Sid: Thanks for your post — I think it’s a very insightful contribution taking into account the legitimate concerns from the Giants’ side. As a frustrated A’s fan, I tend to dismiss and diminish these concerns as “insecurities”, which I don’t think is off base but to be fair there reasons for the Giants to be protective of their current status as the Bay Area darlings. As you allude, however, I think that the Giants’ potential for maximizing the revenue from the east bay is clearly there. Having lived in all three cities (SF, Oakland, and San Jose), I would say that SF has a lot more in common with Oakland than with SJ — I could see folks from Oakland opting for a shorter drive to watch Giants games instead of making the trek to SJ. That being said, I think that the Giants are also betting on the status quo remaining what it is, having the A’s sink into a perpetual rebuild vis-a-vis well heeled competitors in TEX and LAA, and still make inroads in the east bay market as east bay fans (particularly recent transplants without strong allegiance to the A’s) flock to a winner and pretty ballpark for entertainment.

  113. TW, the Giants paid fair market value for what the land was worth. In fact I doubt that the land would have sold for much in the late 90s in the condition it and the surrounding area were in. What do you think the Cisco Field field site will be worth in 12 years?
    Anon, from the beginning I have been concerned with San Jose giving away land that was acquired for more than $25 million. My traffic concerns are there but after reading up more on the situation (thanks to ML’s links) and giving it more thought I am not sure that it is a show stopper. The ROI estimates were put out there by the pro-ballpark people.
    Sid, you don’t think fans in Menlo Park, Atherton, Redwood City and San Mateo would make the trek south on Caltrain to A’s games? I could see it happening. It will hurt the Giants to some extent but I don’t know how much.

  114. Anon and JLL — I personally don’t see any A/T issues lurking in those facts. I might note that the most sensible, and maybe therefore the least threatening, idea I’ve heard came from that young San Jose City Councilman with the fancy resume, Sam Liccardo. He proposed going to D.C. to get Congress to act. Now that would do it. But . . . .

  115. @Ted – You keep throwing that $25M amount around, even though the land was accessed at $14M. Wolff is only getting a $7M deal, however, as was stated earlier, there are conditions which effectively lower the value. He can’t build anything but a ballpark there. What will that site be worth in 12 years? With no ballpark, I don’t expect it to be much different than it is now. They can either let it sit there or they can invest it in something that will bring more tax dollars to the area.
    And really, I don’t think anyone expects the Giants to come away from this with no damages. They have been able to grab a bigger chunk of the Bay Area than they should have ever been able to. A’s to SJ will help correct that. The Giants should consider themselves lucky that they have such a head start because the market will eventually (and rightfully) even itself out after the move.

  116. LS, “correcting” the Gianrts success might not be the plus to MLB that some think it will be. The Giants put themselves into the position they are in today and I don’t see why it would be best to try to even them out with the A’s by meeting in the middle somewhere.

  117. xoot-

    don’t be so smug .. the g’s are so smug now their fans. just remember that what goes up will come crashing down hard some day.

    there was a precedence , btw. MLB created an expansion team in FL in order to avoid litigation or take their case to SCOTUS SJ has a case if they want to press it. BS/MLB don’t know if a CA court will rule against them so they don’t want to try their luck. Once a CA court rules against them, MLB will have to create another expansion team for SJ ? I dare anyone to tell me that MLB will challenge or take their case to SCOTUS if they lose. no chance in hell.

    I am sure that BS has been telling Lew to be patient ie tell SJ to be quiet, let him work it out but the wait can’t be forever.

  118. Care to explain why you think MLB would prefer or why it would be better to have the Bay Area so far out of balance?
    Why would two successful teams in the Bay Area not be good? With so much corporate money in the South Bay untapped, why wouldn’t it be great for MLB to have one team in SJ and the other in the SF area to gather the corporate money there?
    I don’t want you looking at this as a Giants fan, we know you don’t want the A’s in SJ for selfish reasons. Think of it from the MLB’s perspective.

  119. LS, it depends how successful the two teams would be. MLB has a very successful franchise in SF, would having two middle of the pack teams be better? MLB knows what it has with the Giants already.

  120. Irrelevant Ted……unless you believe that only today matters. Hey, the land is worth X today, who cares what it could be worth tomorrow. Great civic responsibility there! And I am sure no one in SF ever thought prime waterfront land in SF would ever become valuable again. What a terrible bet that would be……right! But hey, only today matters! Spend away on infrastructure but not a penny on land! Not a penny!
    But you are right, the land could become much more valuable. The area surrounding the Giants park went WAY above what it was valued at during construction (that didn’t matter, only the day of construction did!). Huh, a 500 million investment of private money infusion into the city AND, according to you, the land value will go up. Nearby city property will become more valuable and private land holdings will now be paying increased property tax. And, as SJ has dumped big sums of money to get people downtown, all of a sudden a million+ potential visitors hitting the long time goal of the SJ city council to get people downtown. But hey, what does that matter? The land is worth X right now and that is what they should pay! It’s a civic responsibility! Nothing to do with The Giants coming out ahead (and partly because SF was purely and civic responsible in their dealings)…….LOL, right.

  121. TW, I would be happy with a lease for the land. What exactly do you think is fair contribution to the project for the city?

  122. @Ted – What makes you think both teams would be middle of the pack? The Bay Area can support two above average teams, if they are distributed correctly.

  123. False question Ted, An opportunity for SJ to get a privately built stadium by discounting the land it is to be built on is a good deal as is. IMHO, they discount it further and it will be a very clear plus to the city of SJ. The questions that need to be asked are of you: How much do the A’s have to pay above the stadium cost? Your answer: full price of the land! (except infrastructure is perfectly ok. Right…). How much economic benefit does SJ have to turn down? Your answer: The economic benefit is not a certainty at all (while writing how much of a benefit the Giant stadium has been). How much does SJ have to completely focus on 10$ now versus $20 tomorrow? Your answer: They should completely focus on the 10$ (though you have written about the economic benefit to the civic-ly benevolent Giants). Last question, when will you will be ok with the Giants being markedly wounded by the throngs of fans that will now skip going to the Civic Benevolence Park (a.k.a. the Stadium the Giants play in) in favor of the SJ’s Been Ripped Off Stadium? Your answer: Just pay full price for the land! (I guess after that, oh well for your beloved Giants! ……right)

  124. LS, I just don’t know what the Bay Area can support. It is the smallest two team market in MLB and it has never supported two powerhouse franchises. Do you think the A’s can come up near the top 10 and the Giants remain in the top 10 if the A’s come to San Jose?
    TW, the A’s aren’t going to pay for infrastructure upgrades in the area no matter what the land on the other hand is negotiable. Why not lease the land to the A’s? Do you think the A’s would turn down a lease and look to Oakland or Sacramento if San Jose asked them to pay $1.5-2 million per year for that land?
    Whan did I write about “the economic benefit to the civic-ly benevolent Giants”?
    And get it right…San Jose isn’t getting a stadium, the A’s are getting a stadium. It will be the A’s stadium not the city of San Jose’s stadium. Another question that should also be asked is how much economic benefit the A’s will get by being allowed to build in San Jose?

  125. The Bay Area has supported two very good teams both in the late 80’s and in the early part of this century.

  126. @ Ted – You’re again revisiting your old arguments just to support your ulterior motives (Gnats domination). But let’s play your game:

    Top 10: The A’s may not make it to Top 10, but they certainly won’t dwell in the bottom 5 where they’ve languished for nearly a decade. Before making your claims/assertions that the A’s are just cheapa$$es$, keep in mind their dollars/wins ratio which is in the top 5 every year. Yes, they don’t spend the most net money, but that’s because they can ill afford to make mistakes (see Chavez) as a small market team. And yes, they’ve also showed the ability to add salary when they think they can compete (see Holliday).
    Infrastructure upgrades: The whole Diridon area will undergo upgrades, with Autumn way being the first. This is part of the greater Diridon West plan. Why should the A’s have to pay this? Did they Gnats pay or the city?
    Leasing land: By selling the land to the A’s, confirms a long term commitment from both sides and is trade of the private investment from the A’s. Also, I believe their is also a quasi lease on the land back to the city as well. I can’t find the original article i saw it on.
    Getting a stadium: The stadium will serve the populace of SJ. No SJ does not own it, nor does it want to. However, SJ will get the A’s and all the benefits the stadium brings. Unless you’re arguing that SF doesn’t get to claim the benefits of PhoneBoothPark?
    Economic benefits: Look at the S-EIR ….again. kthx

    In the end, Sj gets a private of investment of a $500 million dollar sports venue, the ancillary business benefits of that, direct revenue to the general fund of ~$1.5million, and the social status of a tier 1 MLB city.

  127. daniel — the State of Florida, who sued in Florida state court (in a state law case that probably would not have gone to the US SCt), and the thwarted would-be purchasers of the Giants, who sued in fed ct in New Jersey, were the litigants who gave mlb A/T trouble over the Tampa issues. San Jose is not similarly situated. The Minnesota Atty General tried a Florida-like litigation move, and got shot down. mlb won that one. I think I covered this stuff in my original post. I keep hearing people say San Jose will do this, and San Jose will that, but no one addresses the question how (except for Liccardo, who wants Congress to amend the law).
    btw, using the acronym SCOTUS over and over isn’t the same as making a coherent legal argument.

  128. xoot-

    You are wrong. FL court ruled that ATE does not apply to the biz of sports. FL AG were ready to investigate MLB and the supposed conspiracy to keep the g’s from moving to FL. MLB could have challenged the 5-1 decision but they did not bcuz they were scared. Instead, MLB created an expansion team.

    As it has been the case for years, SCOTUS always let Congress handle the ATE issue but it may not be the case anymore with 3 new justices. If SJ sues and if a CA court takes the case, all hell can break loose because I am sure the smugs from SF will counter sue . It won’t be pretty for BS and MLB

    SJ is an injured party if the A’s can’t move to SJ. It is a lost biz opportunity for SJ and they stand to lose mils. Tampa could have lost mils when the g’s did not move there. Same situation. Same legal argument.

  129. @all – San Jose can’t lease all of the ballpark land because they don’t currently own all of the ballpark land. Half of it still needs to be purchased by the A’s because SJ no longer has the money. The discount is just a consolation to say, “Hey we tried”. The original intent was for the City to buy all of the land and then lease it to the A’s at market rate. That’s infeasible now.

  130. daniel — I’m not wrong. I know the Florida Butterworth cases (the state court decisions, and the later 11th Cir decision–which went the other way, btw) fairly well. I’m familiar with the Piazza case in the NJ district court. And I have looked at the Minnesota case, which resembles the Florida decision, except that it went the other way, too. The fact that the Florida courts think the A/T exemption is limited to the reserve clause is very interesting — to Floridians.
    Also, you have it the wrong way around. Congress steps in and modifies the exemption very explicitly, and narrowly. Otherwise, it’s judge-made law. When Congress passed the Curt Flood Act of 1998, the record shows a declared intent not to disturb, approve or address anything but the narrow matter addressed in the amendment. The rest of the law remained in the courts. And the courts have ruled in contradictory fashion, all over the country. (Fla and Minn being examples.)
    Losing a “biz opportunity” is not sufficient for A/T standing, nor is it “antitrust injury,” under the Sherman and Clayton Act case law. Tampa did not sue in those Florida cases. Do you understand? Maybe you should write to AG Kamala Harris, see if she’s interested in pursuing an A/T investigaton of mlb under the Cartwright Act (Calif’s A/T statute). That sort of action would be similar to the Fla. and Minn. cases. (I can’t imagine why AG Harris wouldn’t want to pursue such an action.)

  131. xoot-

    of course, SJ has an AT case. SJ can challenge MLB’s right to control team relocation. There has not been a case that I am aware of that get litigated all the way to the Supreme Ct on the relocation issue. I don’t know if SJ can win but I can bet that BS and MLB don’t want to be faced with subpoenas or lawyers digging into baseball’s dirty biz.

  132. daniel, do you have the faintest idea what “standing” and “antitrust injury” mean? I highlight those terms so that you can google them and learn. You and I are done.

  133. Xoot is right about antitrust. This is a complete dead end. I would add that MLB’s decision to expand to St Petersburg had little to do with the litigation. It was motivated by (1) Sen Graham’s political threat to address the AE via legislation, and (2) MLB’s desperate need for the expansion fee cash payments during the player’s strike. The 1995 expansion was a classic case of short term interests prevailing over long term business sense.

  134. Now that is the sort of interesting information and opinion that makes this site as fine as it is, not only in ML’s first-rate posts, but in the comments, too.

  135. Simon writes ” is a complete dead end”. That is an opinion, and maybe an ultimately correct opinion, but an opinion, not fact. A cursory check of Supreme Court cases involving MLB’s ATE show a court that has come right to the edge regarding MLB’s “anomaly”. While the court has definitely stopped short of changing MLB’s ATE by stating several times the power to change should come from Congress, they have also called it something that seemingly doesn’t belong (my words, not theirs). Which leads to several, IMHO, reasonable conclusions: 1) The Lodge would have to be on too many glasses of Chateau Lafite Rothschild to think a challenge to their ATE is but a mere dead end. Any business with an ATE that has a court calling it abnormal should feel some level of insecurity. 2) Supreme Court Justice changes may or may not have resulted in justices that will be less sympathetic to MLB’s ATE. But a ruling 30 years ago to what they consider an abnormality means a new court will feel it is more than an abnormality. 3) Regarding changes to by Congress about player movement and salary, this could be applicable. I obviously don’t know but an argument can be made that a new park in San Jose would allow greater player income. A stretch? Probably so (Probably greatly so) but in the court system their is inherent uncertainty to outcome especially if the bill was vague enough on what constitutes player salary being hurt.

    Based on this and, If you believe the Villanova professor, that ATE is toothless in stadium location matters (I believe it was a Villanova professor), one can see why the Lodge may have insecurity about their ATE. I’m sure they are not frightened but I doubt they feel comfortable enough to believe litigation is something that causes not a care in the world about the outcome.
    Fyi, I am not a legal expert (obviously). However I don’t think my interpretation of past events is wildly outlandish. I’d bet anything that the Lodge and their legal team would not feel as certain as you are about ATE litigation. Mostly certain? Probably. “Dead End” certainty? Highly doubt that……

  136. I don’t doubt JQ is lesser than the best of political leadership. However that hardly makes her unique (unfortunately it makes her commonplace in the land of political leadership). With that said, I believe JQ gets some (I said only some) unfair criticism. She inherited the potholes of past regimes regarding the pro teams of Oakland. These were regimes that said (to the effect) ‘go pound sand’ to the A’s. That kind of damage isn’t easy to fix especially when the City of Oakland has many many more pressing needs than the A’s (or W’s or Raiders). Further, I think one must assume the lack of movement is a result, at least in part, of no easy solution existing for the A’s (and W’s and Raiders). Fairly criticized or not so fairly criticized, JQ came up with Coliseum City. It’s a plan that takes all the pro teams and puts them into a single plan. Yeah, it is pie in the sky because of its cost. She did, though, come up with a plan that at least has an iota of tangible properties ro it. What did prior regimes do with the exception of all but nothing?

  137. While it’s true there were more factors at play than just the antitrust issues when Tampa was awarded a franchise; the antitrust issues should not be brushed aside. After Vince Piazza sued MLB and won, he accepted a multi-million dollar payout from MLB to drop the case. The case he dropped could/would have eventually led to a clear explanation of what is protected by antitrust exemptions. MLB obviously did want to go down that road. Just last year the NFL turned an antitrust case involving the licensing of apparel, into a case where they sought to be recognized as a “single entity”, providing them with many of the protections MLB claims to have now. They received a 9-0 bipartisan beat down. The Roberts court is no friend of antitrust exemptions; more importantly as Justice Stevens said “every specific action deserves to be scrutinized”. That could/should put the 1990 deal between Walter Haas and Corey Busch into question. I’m not so sure a contemporary court would feel such agreements are protected by antitrust exemptions. Especially since there is the 22 year precedent of Santa Clara County being equally shared territory. Saying that the A’s and Santa Clara County filing an antitrust suit is a dead end – is a mighty big stretch.

  138. Someone commented that an ATE lawsuit is a “dead end”. Dead end is an absolute, a brick wall of certainty. While the supreme court has ultimately referred the issue to congress, they have characterized MLB’s ATE as an abnormality…..more than hinting that it doesn’t belong. I don’t know how anyone could be certain given the court’s characterization of the ATE along with change over on the court as well as ample evidence of the court’s changing/evolving/more political views and rulings over time. No question it would be an uphill battle for SJ to actually win given the court’s past of referring it to congress. But, again, a certainty? No way. However, the point of SJ’s lawsuit is not to win, it’s to force MLB to ‘bless’ the A’s/SJ marriage. On this front given the Lodge’s worship of the ATE (understandably so) and slight amounts of paranoia on losing it (understandably so) (via SCOTUS or Congress), where is the line of acquiescence for MLB? At what point would MLB say the effort to fight and what could be lost, is it worth what we could gain from a victory? Obviously this is my own opinion — from my own biased POV — but MLB’s line can’t possibly be very strong. The prize from victory simply isn’t that valuable. The only real underlying prize I see as worth fighting for is MLB’s desire to show they will not be bullied around on the issue of ATE. However, given the underlying foundations favoring the A’s by a lot, it would seem very odd to me to see MLB go to the mat for this (even with a good chance of victory in front of the court). The prize of a MLB victory simply does not come close to justifying what could be lost. Successful businessmen of the likes found in the Lodge don’t get to be this successful by risking a lot to gain a little.

  139. dead end, my azz. We will see when BS and MLB reject the relocation request by The A’s. Tampa Rays were born because BS and MLB were scared. FL AG issued investigative subpoenas. MLB got a short reprieve from a district ct but The Supreme Ct of FL squashed MLB again in 1994. MLB had a choice in 1994 : appeal or comply with the subpoenas so they decided that awarding Tampa a team is way better than having an army of lawyers in their faces 24/7. It happened again in 2003 or 2004 when the talk of contraction was hot and heavy. The same FL AG went after BS and MLB again. the AG wanted documents of secret meetings etc…Of course, MLB claimed they are protected by ATE again. The Rays and Marlins were saved again. The players union also filed an AT suit against MLB and of course the players union won. Guess who the judge was? Yeah, Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

  140. I started this A/T discussion when I asked if anyone had any info on how San Jose could mount a challenge to the A/T exemption. I don’t see it. Nothing anyone has posted since answers my question. The plaintiffs in the NJ fed ct Piazza case were the thwarted would-be owners of the Giants; the suing parties in the Fla and Minn cases were the states’ AGs. Tampa didn’t sue. I don’t see how a city could sue in a way that implicates the A/T laws, in this instance. (Microsoft got sued by cities and counties under the Calif. A/T law because the cities and counties were purchasers of the MS products.) I think Simon’s “dead end” verdict applied to San Jose’s approach, and I tend to agree with him. Also, Simon added some very interesting historical context. Remember, Fla. was aggressively wooing professional sports franchises; Fla. wanted them (and got them). At the time, mlb wanted to expand. Right now, Calif. has a surfeit of franchises. Given the foundation of her political career, I suppose it’s remotely possible that AG Kamala Harris might get interested in the A’s/Giants/mlb disputes if things go against the Giants, but I doubt it.
    As to the US SCt, Kagan and Alito are well known baseball fans.
    daniel: You’re completely off base about Sotomayor’s decision on the 94-95 strike. That was a labor-law dispute, not an A/T case. J. Sotomayor, however, did rule in favor of the good guys.

    • @daniel/xootsuit – You two seem to be arguing two completely different points and yet you both may be correct. There may not be much merit to any AT suit, I can’t say. Politically, there is some sense that MLB may fold like a cheap tent if it’s challenged. Those two ideas aren’t mutually exclusive.

      Quick note on comments: Some of you may be entering your comments twice and you’re not seeing them. Sorry about that. The spam blocker has gotten a bit overzealous and I’m looking to correct that. Please be patient. Thanks.

  141. ML — I agree. My focus is pretty narrow. A lot of people here may not care much for the legal distinctions I’m pursuing. I’m trying to keep the intrusiveness of my questions to a minimum. I have no interest in proving that I’m “right”; I want to figure out what’s going and what’s likely to go on. And the blocker did throw me off. Thanks for deleting one of my duplicative efforts.

  142. First off, as I’ve said many times before, I’m in general agreement that a lawsuit challenging the AE is a loser. If the AE is going to be overturned, it will be by Congress and not the courts.
    Further, I’m not a litigator, and don’t deal with standing issues much in my practice. Given I think an AE lawsuit is a loser anyway, I’m not much motivated to spend much time researching esoteric rules of civil procedure. So I’m not claiming particular expertise in this area.
    Having said all that, it seems to me that if San Jose someone found the political will to try to bring a lawsuit challenging the AE, standing would be the least of their worries. If the AE is invalid and MLB’s allocation of territorial rights to the Bay Area therefore illegal under the antitrust laws, then MLB’s preventing the A’s from moving to San Jose arguably constitutes tortious interference with prospective business relations.
    An MLB team is a valuable economic asset to a host city, and San Jose would benefit tremendously from its contemplated deal with the A’s. I don’t think a court would have a tough time finding sufficient injury in this scenario to support standing for San Jose. Certainly I think they’d have an easier time than San Francisco would with the ridiculous claims they were alleging.
    My bet would be, San Jose would clear any procedural hurdles but lose on the merits.

  143. Bartelby, I noticed you used the word “bet” in terms of what you think the outcome would be. In your opinion (as an attorney) is an ATE lawsuit ‘definite not to win’ or would you term it more of a ‘most likely to not win’? Given SJ’s intention has nothing to do with winning an ATE lawsuit (just leveraging MLB’s blessing for the move to SJ), the difference between definite and very unlikely is big.
    MLB is front of their legal team and the legal team says “don’t worry, this is a certainty”, MLB doesn’t lose a wink of sleep over it. If, on the other hand, the legal team says “chances are very good we will win this but know that their is a small chance it could go against us”, SJ just won the first stage of the lawsuit’s real purpose. And if the latter is the reality, at what point does MLB look at what could be gained by a win — versus what could be lost in a defeat — and lose their resolve?
    I can see MLB going to the mat if the Royals wanted to move to Manhattan…..but given the fundamentals here (a move within a two team market, an odd and unfair split compared to other two team markets, Giants were granted it free by the team wishing to move [ironically so the Giants could get a new ballpark]) and given that it will certainly be a $$$ plus to MLB (they will have more bay area fans at MLB parks), is this an issue for MLB to risk that much over? I’m curious for your legal opinion on that hypothesis…….

  144. An action asserting interference with prospective business advantage would be a garden-variety state-law tort action that would not directly implicate the A/T exemption. One element of that tort, however, is independently wrongful conduct related to the interference. Here, theoretically, the City of San Jose as plaintiff, might allege A/T violations as the wrongful conduct. I doubt, however, that the “benefit” — almost entirely indirect and only generally predictable — that a City receives from a sports franchise is the type of prospective business advantage that fulfills the first element of the tort. Maybe it’s possible to concoct a case that would survive demurrer. Interesting idea.
    The rules for antitrust standing and antitrust injury are technical, and unique to that area of the law. Frankly, they’re designed to keep a huge number of injured plaintiffs out of court, and they work. Just last Thursday, in a case involving ATM surcharges, the 9th Circuit issued a decision affirming dismissal of the A/T lawsuit for lack of standing. Happens all the time, without headlines.

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