The future is temporary

Spurred by LoneStranger’s thought experiment on AN which carried over to here in expanded form, I had an email back-and-forth with him about what’s possible post-2013. I suggested a concept that he add to the post, and when I realized how long it would take to flesh out and how much longer it would make his post, I decided it deserved its own treatment. So here goes nothing.

First off, I have to say that I have no idea what will happen in the next 18 months. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan was at the game last night and hung out in the right field bleachers for the duration, which was quite impressive. Lew Wolff will be on the broadcast in the third inning this evening to talk – something, probably about the team for the most part. For the A’s to stay at the Coliseum after the 2013 season, those two have to start negotiations on some kind of lease extension. I’ve heard out of Oakland that the City is going to play hardball and try to get the A’s to commit long term. Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan and others have been comfortable in claiming that the A’s have nowhere to go. I’ve also heard that discussions between the City and Raiders have been accelerating, perhaps to the point of getting something announced prior to the Raiders’ lease ends (also in 2013). Any future at the Coliseum for either team depends largely on what happens with the still nascent Coliseum City project, and we probably won’t know anything about that until the end of the year at the earliest.

The old Coliseum will have to be demolished to make way for a hotel or perhaps parts of two new stadia.

Knowing that new stadia for the Raiders and A’s can’t possibly be ready before 2016, the most practical solution would be to figure out a way for them to co-exist for another three years. Oakland and Alameda County want to use that extension as leverage against either team, but that’s not a great play. The Raiders could easily become roommates at the 49ers stadium for at least three years, leaving the Coliseum in the lurch. If the Coliseum JPA chooses to shut out the A’s, the decision will provide more than enough justification for MLB to hasten a move to San Jose – even while MLB is keeping Oakland in the game by not deciding anything yet.

Now, if circumstances conspire to have the A’s leave 2013 due to construction of a new football stadium or other reasons, the A’s will have to play somewhere. There’s no stadium in San Jose as Municipal Stadium is too small and unacceptable amenities-wise. They may be able to play at AT&T Park for a while, though as we’ve seen this week scheduling the two teams to not overlap schedules can be tricky.

Barnstorming for a series here or there can work from a marketing standpoint. The players union, on the other hand, will probably have considerable objections to a barnstorming team, especially one that has to do it for three or four years. The union and its members would prefer permanence. It’s not the minors, it’s the majors, and the players deserve major league treatment. While there’s been no poll on this, I imagine that free agents could look at the situation and declare it a organizational demerit, just as the Coliseum now isn’t exactly a selling point.

Then there’s the matter of cultivating the fanbase. If the team is going to stay in Oakland or move to San Jose, every effort has to be made to cultivate that fanbase. Having a traveling team hampers that effort significantly, so I would expect that the A’s and their civic partners would do everything possible to make a temporary home seem as permanent as possible. The transitional three years are very delicate. With the San Jose Earthquakes, we’ve seen what happens when the organization delays building a new stadium – the fanbase gets restless. The stakes are much higher with MLB, and Bud Selig isn’t going to approve a temporary solution that doesn’t at least attempt to maximize revenue.

Knowing all of these factors, I suspect that the A’s would play those transitional years in a temporary stadium. It may not hold more than 20,000 seats. It would be built in the vein of numerous temporary facilities such as the soccer stadia at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa or some of the venues at the London Summer Games.

London’s Olympic Stadium holds 80,000 for the games, but was designed to be deconstructed to a 25,000-seat permanent capacity by virtue of a large, removable upper deck. Some of the materials used are either recycled or are recyclable. Many concession stands are not permanently installed, which reduces costs and simplifies the dismantling process.

London Olympic Stadium is designed to be scaled down and repurposed. Note the very large upper deck. Image from London 2012

The Basketball Arena, which has been affectionately nicknamed “The Mattress”, is an entirely temporary structure. At 12,000 seats, it can be considered the bigger cousin of the 3,200-seat tent arena the Warriors are building in Santa Cruz. After the Olympics and Paralympics, the arena will be removed, though there doesn’t seem to be a fully coherent re-use plan in place.

Temporary basketball arena. Image from London 2012.

I think the A’s could easily build a 20,000-seat temporary stadium at either HomeBase lot next to the Coliseum or on the Hunter Storm part of the Airport West development near Earthquakes Stadium site in San Jose. Either site would work because it would be available for cheap or free and there would be no worries about competing development, at least in the near term. Infrastructure already in place for the nearby stadia could be leveraged (concessions, facilities) with potential additions easy to scale back or value engineer. In both cases, already approved EIRs or uses would already be in place, with supplemental studies possible but easier to anticipate and manage than completely new studies. And if the A’s plan properly, they could re-use parts of the old stadium in the new one, though that has proven trickier to execute than conceived. Once the temporary facilities have completed their work, they could be dismantled and re-used, donated, or recycled, leaving behind a perfectly ready-to-build site.

Airport West site. Temporary ballpark could conceivably be built on orange land if a lease agreement were worked out.

Cost would be the huge mover. The Quakes have spent the last few years ratcheting down the cost of their new stadium, only to introduce new features when demand arose. That, and the construction methods they’ll be using, could be very useful if they wanted to deploy a temporary stadium anywhere. How much of the stadium would be seats, as opposed to bleachers? What kinds of premium facilities would be built, and where would they be located? How fancy would the clubhouses be? These are all valid and hard-to-answer questions, and there’s no doubt that MLB would have a lot of input into how any temporary stadium would be situated and conceived. Chances are that the project would cost at least $30 million, and could escalate quickly. Would it be worth it? That’s for A’s ownership to figure out.

49 thoughts on “The future is temporary

  1. What about Buck Shaw stadium since old Schott would be happy to help put…

  2. Best MLB-like stadium available is probably TD Ameritrade stadium in Omaha. No minor league teams play there, only the College World Series. Could accommodate the A’s, though they’d have to be on the road during the entire CWS.

  3. Speaking of the interview, I felt bad for Wolff at the end. Just before the camera cut away, he kind of gave a shoulder shrug to Fosse, completely defeated on this whole issue. Fosse just smiled and said “It’ll get done.” It was kind of a “Cheer up ol’ girl” moment. Very unfortunate that Wolff gets blamed completely for the A’s doing poorly, and not an ounce of credit for when they do well. If they get permission in August to move forward to San Jose, I’d personally love to see a temporary stadium immediately so everyone can move forward, whichever way folks want to go.

  4. @Anon – No room at Buck Shaw. And too complicated due to the parties that would be involved.

    @Al – The goal is not to find the first MLB-ready stadium. The goal is to find the best situation for the team short and long-term. In no way does Omaha address that.

  5. @ Columbo – email me. Although I’m a hardware engineer, i think i can help.
    @ ML – what complications?
    @ all – bad game tonight, but there was still a buzz (and people) late into the game, something that was unheard of earlier in the season. Still disappointing crowd given that the A’s are leading the wild card.. =/

  6. I was wondering about the feasibility of doing a temporary stadium when the other post came up. I remembered that Vancouver built a temporary stadium for their CFL and MLS teams while B.C. Place was being refurbed. It cost $20 million and held 27,528. I don’t believe it had any luxury boxes though.
    Also, in regards to the EIR, could you explain that further? Like for one at the Airport West site… would it be using the EIR for the commercial development that hasn’t been built or the one for the Earthquakes stadium? And wouldn’t there have to be special consideration for there being 2 stadiums now and the chance that 2 games could take place on the same day at the time time?

  7. Is HomeBase owned by the Coliseum Authoirty? If so wouldn’t it be hard to negotiate leasing that area temporarily if they A’s get pushed out of the Coliseum?

    My feeling is the best options would be the temporary stadium, probably in the city where the future permanent stadium will be, and last would be Candlestick. Not sure if AT&T is feasible given the current relationship with the Giants. The Stick is owned by the City of San Francisco right? so it might be interesting to see if SF would say no or be open to getting double revenue for a couple of years. I think Ed Lee would be open to that.

  8. If IDLF and Haggerty are not reelected, who would replace them on the Authority? What are their chances of reelection at this point?

  9. The A’s can move for a while in the MT Zone. SLC is a great place for the A’s since Larry H. Miller or his son can find a way to buy a team and get moving to accompany a dying basketball team, the Jazz.

  10. ML, is there any chance that the Coliseum Authority refuses to renew either the A’s or Raiders leases after 2013? This is assuming of course that the A’s and Raiders want to renew.

    I’d be surprised if the Raiders aren’t playing in the new stadium in Santa Clara within a few years of its opening; this would leave the Coliseum to the A’s. Who knows? Maybe the City of Oakland would find a way to get Mt. Davis demolished and spruce up the main seating bowl a bit, making the Coli a little more tolerable for the duration of the A’s stay there.

  11. Anon, Buck Shaw’s size and design are not conducive to a pro team nor is the infrastructure around it. As it is the area can barely support the Earthquakes during their games. In addition, it being on SCU property both the school and the city would have to approve any such use, which would never happen. They’re both begrudgingly letting the Earthquakes use it due to the small size (10,525), and infrequent games (16). You add any more to either and you’re going to get the NIMBY fight from hell on your hands from the neighbors which is something the school and city don’t want.

  12. Ultimately, about the only realistic NorCal scenario as this plays out is to have the Athletics play for a couple of years at Raley. Candlestick’s facing the wrecking ball as soon as the 49ers are out. Shaw (at least on its face) looks viable and is a former baseball stadium, but people have noted the additional game dates and crowds which would (to put it mildly) stress the infrastructure of SCU and the surrounding community. SJ Muni bleeds black-and-orange right now. Aside from the A’s sharing the Phone Booth with the Giants for a couple of years, I see no other real NorCal solution than to use Raley Field.

  13. Sierra, that’s the whole point of ML’s post, an existing stadium is not the only option. Given the structural limitations, financial limitations, or other complications associated with every NorCal venue including Raley Field, it would be much easier to just build a temporary venue. Due to the down economy there is plenty of land out there still open, and Wolff/Storm own a fair chunk of it. And the cities they’re currently beholden to own other large chunks of it. A temporary stadium could be set up in less than one off season as we saw in Vancouver with the construction of 27,000 seat Empire Fields. The A’s could very easily do something similar with much less hassle than having to deal with any existing venue and would allow them to move into a temp venue on their terms rather than their host’s terms. And it’s not like Wolff doesn’t have experience with temporary venues before seeing as half of the current Buck Shaw is a temporary venue.

  14. @ Dan – granted to all of that. BUT – is MLB going to put up with a “temporary” stadium for two seasons? Three? I’ll admit – The construction of “temporary” stadia is far and away much better than it was back in the days of Youell Field. However, MLB’s pretty damn picky about where it wants to play, far more so than MLS. Given the choice between a “temporary” structure somewhere in the Bay Area and Raley, which do you really think MLB’s gonna prefer? Which will be better for MLB’s image? For one season, probably the temporary. But for two years? Three?

  15. Uhh…what about the A’s for a few years @ Santa Clara Stadium (where the Niners will play?)

  16. Honestly, they’ll prefer the temporary stadium. Raley does not meet MLB requirements for clubhouses, medical facilities, etc… So temporary ones would have to be brought in anyway. Those are the only things MLB would really care about. They couldn’t care less how appealing the grandstands are for the fans, we’re a secondary consideration. However temporary stadiums have come a long way. I think you’re thinking of a Buck Shaw like temporary, I’m thinking of something like this…

    Empire Fields was nicer, despite being a “temporary” stadium, than the Coliseum is now. Something like this would be an upgrade for the A’s even if it lasted two or three years. And to do so in the A’s market v having to go 100 miles away from either current or future Bay Area location… it’s a no brainer.

  17. The A’s will be at the Coliseum well after my great grandchildren have grandchildren.

  18. Airport West site seems brilliant to me. Great post. I did not know such large-scale temp venues were possible.
    Would be better than Candlestick, because it would start the process of cultivating a new season ticket holder base, from Gilroy up to Palo Alto, 3 years prior to moving in to Cisco Field. If you buy season tickets at the temporary digs, you are first in line for season tickets at the new site in ’16 or ’17.

  19. Only issue I can see with Airport West are the NIMBYs. They nearly derailed the Earthquakes stadium (with it’s smaller size and more limited schedule), they might not be happy with a second stadium. Only way to mitigate it that I can think of would be to put the baseball stadium way down at the north end of the Storm/Wolff parcel (left on the map ML posted). And even then it would be an iffy proposition. But of course that isn’t the only spot such a thing could be done in the south bay.

  20. @ Dan – thanks for the explanation on SC. If people are now proposing temporary stadiums, then I would also add the previous Fremont site as also a possible candidiate. Yes, the NIMBYs derailed it before, but in a much smaller venue with much less development, I think it can fly. Besides, LW still owns the land there.

  21. Candlestick is the only option as Dan pointed out it has the facilities needed for a professional baseball team.

    Once the 49ers move out if the A’s need to move in I am sure the city of SF will be more than wiling to tear down the seats that are in right field right now.

    I know those seats are no longer retractable but I am sure they remove them as they are not supported by concrete like the other seats are. Or perhaps the A’s and SF can go in together to get them to retract again.

    It is not like the 49ers or any other NFL team will ever play there again anyways.

    It would be a good way for SF to get some $$ out of that place before the wrecking ball comes through.

    But T-rights come into play once again guys, the Giants I doubt would let the A’s play even in the shit hole known as Candlestick even temporarily. Their goal is to get the A’s to leave, if they won’t let them move 35 miles south further away what makes anyone think they will let them move to SF city proper?

  22. They won’t. Candlestick is as unlikely as almost any other existing venue due to the territorial rights. The add in the issue of the broken stand that would have to be demolished or made active again and it starts to become cost prohibitive to use Candlestick. They’ve estimated it would cost several million dollars to repair Candlestick’s stand alone, and it would cost a similar amount to demolish the same stand. And for that they’d get to use a multipurpose monstrosity of a stadium far crappier than the current Coliseum that is more remote from the current fanbase (what’s left of it) and their desired fan base down in San Jose. There is no benefit to using Candlestick and plenty of downsides. Better to spend $14 million or so like the BC Lions and Vancouver Whitecaps did and build a stadium designed for baseball only that is actually in the town they intend to live in permanently be it Oakland or SJ. Either would actually be a selling point and way to get the respective cities excited as they await their new park be it in downtown SJ, Coliseum City, or downtown Oakland.

  23. not a good idea in Hayward fault territory unless they can make it seismic safe.

  24. Putting aside the problem of territorial rights preventing a temporary move to Candlestick for a moment, if the A’s were to call Candlestick home for a few years, couldn’t they and the city of SF do something similar to what was done in Cincinnati during the Reds’ final years at Riverfront?

    People have mentioned, along with the T-Rights issue, the fact that the retractable right-field seats are permanently locked into place and that the Stick is scheduled for demolition as soon as the Niners leave in 2013 as prohibitive of a temporary move there by the A’s. I don’t see why SF can’t just start the demo process by tearing down the outfield sections (essentially restoring Candlestick to its original, baseball-only configuration), pause for a few years to allow the A’s to move in (and earn revenue through rent while they’re at it) and then resume tearing down the rest of the stadium once the A’s leave. Of course, Candlestick would still be a cold, wet, and windy dump, but with the reduced seating and a restored open view of the Bay, it would give the A’s a somewhat decent temporary to play, and could be beneficial to the City.

  25. A’s at candlestick is a non-starter. Attendance will plummet to levels not see since the late 1970’s.

  26. Problem is doing what you would suggest costs a heck of a lot more for the city than just demolishing the whole stadium part and parcel. They’d have to carefully demo the first half, which costs extra. Then have to start all over 2-3 years later with another demo crew and all their start up costs to complete what is essentially a second job. And for it they get a venue structurally that is worse than the one they currently use, and location wise is near few of their current or future (if they’re moving to SJ) fans.

  27. I’m thinking The Giants may not put up a fuss with the A’s at Candlestick..Unless they are teed off about an eventual move to SJ a few years later.The Giants just don’t want them in Santa Clara Co.where they think they could lose some fans over time. Most Giant fans would be happy to just drive right past Candlestick to see their team at AT&T.So I don’t think it would affect the Giants at all..If the A’s rebuild in Oakland the Giants may actually become accomidating to the A’s. I still think that once the Raiders make up their mind, things should start falling into place w/ this mess..

  28. Glory days video, awesome, what a stadium we once had too!!! This was when Oakland was a city to be proud off.

  29. @A’s Man – I am very proud to be a (life-long) Oakland resident. We may have had a nicer baseball stadium back in the day, but that doesn’t make the city less attractive today.
    I get mad at Wolff because before his SJ obsession began, I never ONCE heard any of the A’s fans I know dogging the City of Oakland.
    Someone please name me an American city that doesn’t have its share of crime and violence.

  30. I don’t think the ‘Stick would present a good deal for the A’s. The current lease has the 49ers paying at least $6 million a year and more if they go to the playoffs. That alone would be prohibitively high for the A’s, and the lease for them could cost more due to greater usage. And as Dinosaur JR said, attendance would plummet. Access is terrible from the East Bay with no good transit option.

  31. The A’s will most certainly be playing in Oakland beyond 2013. There are *zero* options otherwise. The negotiation will be interesting because Oakland has almost all of the leverage. A’s ownership will want a short-term lease in the neighborhood of 3 years with an option for a 4th. Oakland/Alameda County need not grant this and could demand longer terms with the intention of getting a payout for breaking the lease.

    In many ways the Coliseum lease is the real d-day for this entire operation. If the A’s are not granted rights to the South Bay by that time it will be clear that the A’s are staying in Oakland. There is no reason to believe those rights are forthcoming at this point so expect that to be the outcome. The Raiders lease also expires for 2013 and they will be seeking similar terms as the A’s. The difference is that the Raiders have actual leverage because they have other places they can play their 8 home games.

    At this point I think the most probable future is that the current A’s ownership group puts the team up for sale at the end of the season.

    • @anonfanas – That’s the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time. The A’s territory is not strictly Oakland. They can build a temporary ballpark in Fremont since they own the land. They’re going to get an extra $40 million a year in revenue starting in 2014. They’re not going to sell just because of a crappy lease at a crappy stadium. There have always been payouts for early termination in the lease terms going back to 2006. If Oakland gets too greedy, Selig can easily turn around and say, “Well, you just made my job easier.” Backfire.

      • @anonfanas – That’s the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time. The A’s territory is not strictly Oakland. They can build a temporary ballpark in Fremont since they own the land. They’re going to get an extra $40 million a year in revenue starting in 2014. They’re not going to sell just because of a crappy lease at a crappy stadium. There have always been payouts for early termination in the lease terms going back to 2006. If Oakland gets too greedy, Selig can easily turn around and say, “Well, you just made my job easier.” Backfire.

        /chuckles …. This is the kind of mentality by Oakland only folks that is just baffling and exactly why we are in the dire situation we are today. They think Oakland is entitle, heck maybe even “own” the A’s. They can’t see beyond their civic pride to understand that the more they try to force the issue, the more likely that the A’s will leave them…. /sigh

        Curious though ML, when you cite the extra $40 million, is that from the CSN contract kicking in?

  32. @ML – wow, i missed that completely! Thx…

  33. A temporary venue is not a bad idea. I agree with the previous posters who mentioned Empire Field in Vancouver. It was a temporary home for the Vancover Whitecaps (MLS) and the BC Lions (CFL) used in 2011. It had a capacity of 27,528 and cost only $14.5 million USD to construct. Empire Field looked great and sounded great, on TV at least. The pillars and the layout fo the stadium sort of reminded me of Goodison Park in Liverpool.

  34. It’s funny to see you mock the practical and obvious truth that the A’s have nowhere else to play.

    A temporary stadium for MLB? You’re kidding, right? That would cost $50 million for the structure and you’d have to win the lottery to find a location with infrastructure and transportation access at a reasonable cost.

    Further, we’re talking 81 games per year for three years. That’s simply beyond the reach of a temporary facility. The wear and tear, services required, etc, just aren’t up to measure.

    The idea that an MLB team would play in a temporary park for THREE FULL SEASONS is just absurd and belies a complete detachment from the reality of MLB.

    MLB would very much rather have the team in the Oakland Coliseum over a temporary facility. A temporary facility is only remotely possible if there is an ironclad solid agreement in place (all financing sorted) for the future location. Even then you’re reaching. This temporary facility could not be built from thin air, rather it would have to be an existing facility modified temporarily.

    It’s not 1969 and there’s no Jarry Park available anyway.

    The only remotely plausible thing in this thread is the A’s playing at Raley Field while a new park is built in Sacramento. Otherwise you’re just fantasizing for its own sake. Playing in Las Vegas again is far more likely than the pie-in-the-sky suggestions for inflatable MLB-level ballparks.

    The A’s have not received the go-ahead for the South Bay market. That’s a fact. At this point it must be for some kind of reason – that much is obvious. What indication is there that this will change? If it does, there’s no reason to move the team from the Coliseum.

    Alameda County and Oakland gave the A’s this lease for a reason and you’re looking at it. There is now an exit fee to depart that facility and it will be the cost of this post-2013 lease.

    If Wolff/Fischer could find a reasonable location in the current A’s territory to support a temporary facility for three full seasons they could just build a ballpark there.

  35. It’s time to accept the reality of the situation – San Jose is not happening. What this means is that the A’s either stay in Oakland or move elsewhere.

    There’s no half-ways about it and the deadline is rapidly approaching. The lease situation is not a coincidence – Oakland/Alameda County maneuvered successfully in this case against an ownership group that did not express any great loyalty to their jurisdiction. Now it’s time for Wolff/Fisher to make a move.

    Please show me one positive indicator for San Jose that has emerged in the past three months…

  36. Authority members and John Russo were complaining as early as 2009 that they got swindled by Lew Wolff on the lease terms, and yet you’re saying that they maneuvered into this deal? No wonder Oakland’s screwed up, you mistake luck for competence.

    Indicators aren’t needed. A decision is. A decision about what to do with the Coliseum moving forward, the South Bay w.r.t. the A’s. Oakland partisans love indecision since it keeps the City in the game while the City twiddled its thumbs. That indecision is hurting the franchise.

    If Wolff & Co. can spend $30 million to get land in Fremont, they can spend $30 million to get out of the Coliseum, temporary ballpark or otherwise.

  37. anonfanas, if San Jose wasn’t happening, wouldn’t MLB have already told Wolff as much? There would be no point to hold out in telling him, but if you stop to think for a second there are several reasons they would hold off on making the decision if they were going to grant San Jose to the A’s.

  38. I see as usual the posters here are mostly interested in making a San Jose/Oakland fan boy argument rather than opening their eyes to the business reality of Major League Baseball.

    You have to pull-back and understand that MLB doesn’t want two teams in the Bay Area at all. They don’t have any interest in San Jose, either. From MLB’s perspective the tech money from the valley is already being tapped at ATT Park and by the Giants – who market in that territory. The Valley is closely connected to San Francisco and many many companies have a presence in the city. It’s true that there’s more money to be tapped and that the A’s can get a share of it – it’s *not* true that this requires a move to the South Bay.

    The only reason for MLB to even consider this move is to get the A’s a new facility. For MLB a new facility is the goal and to justify San Jose you really need to be able to show that the A’s couldn’t survive in a new ballpark *anywhere* else that is not currently another MLB teams territory. I know many are still crying that it’s “unfair” that the Giants got the territory for free and are now playing hardball but that ship sailed a long time ago and there’s approximately zero chance of that factoring into a business decision between billionaires.

    MLB knows as well as anybody with a map and rudimentary statistical skills that a new ballpark in Oakland is probably going to work out better for the league than one in the South Bay. They thus have every reason to push for that. San Jose should be feeling a bit like Tampa Bay in the early 90’s right now because that’s exactly the role they are playing.

    MLB’s best-case scenario is a new ballpark paid for as little as possible by the team in the East Bay with no disruption to the Giants territory. Their second best scenario is for the A’s to no longer be in the Bay Area at all. Were there a market and ownership group available five years ago the A’s would have been moved there with MLB’s blessing.

    The terms of the current lease are nothing special. The length of the lease, however, works in Oakland’s advantage provided the A’s ownership has no relocation option. Out of one side of your mouth you say the Authority and Russo’s of the world are idiots who can’t do anything at all correct and then out of the other side you say that they are somehow capable of taking an accurate assessment of the business deal involving the A’s lease. Which one is it?

    The lease is the reason this “decision” has not yet been handed down by MLB. The lease puts pressure on everyone. Wolff’s job is to make the South Bay credible which he has done. If it is at all possible for Oakland or another East Bay municipality to get a new stadium built for the A’s then this is the kind of environment that will determine that. The lease forces everybody to put their best cards on the table.

    The end-game here is to be able to say that the East Bay was given a fair shot but wasn’t able to come up with the stadium goods – that is true, but I think “wasn’t willing” would be a more accurate phrase to use in this case. MLB then rules that the South Bay is Giants territory. The A’s are now a team without a real home or a local option and now you have established the necessary preconditions to relocation.

    Montreal went quite similarly. Demand stadium – when it falls apart set deadlines. Degrade the fanbase, sully the well. Relocate the team for new ownership. It happened SO RECENTLY that you’d think it was obvious that it’s what you’re seeing again but apparently not. MLB needs to avoid angering a fanbase with relocation as much as possible. Part of the reason for this in the Bay Area is that they want these fans to stay MLB fans – they want them to get behind the Giants or another team if they can’t stomach the Giants.

    With the A’s out of the picture the San Francisco Giants become a premier team. They control one of the biggest and richest markets in the league – the entire Bay Area.

    Where do the A’s go? There are only a few options. You’ve got Sacramento as a dark horse. You’ve got the Montreal market as an option. You’ve got Portland and San Antonio/Austin in the mix but only if they really rolled out the red carpet.

    MLB wants the A’s in a new park in the East Bay if possible because that’s where the most money can be made in the Bay Area by a second team without taking from another team in the process. What MLB really wants, though, is to get the A’s out of the market entirely. Selig has strongly indicated as much in the past on several occasions calling the A’s move to Oakland in 1968 a “mistake” without acknowledging the huge growth in the Bay Area market over the ensuing 45 years.

    A new ownership group with a rock-solid stadium financing plan in place is likely to buy this team in 2013 and relocate them. The conditions to move a team are:

    1. ownership with the $$
    2. market size for MLB (requires ~2 million metro population balanced against relative wealth and lack of competition from other sports)
    3. an agreement in place for a shiny new ballpark
    4. an adequate (no tents) temporary facility in the region during said ballpark’s construction

    That leaves only Montreal and Sacramento.

  39. @anonasfan – You’re the one who said that Oakland played the lease perfectly. Oakland’s own statements ran contrary to that notion, you’re the one spinning it.

    MLB knows as well as anybody with a map and rudimentary statistical skills that a new ballpark in Oakland is probably going to work out better for the league than one in the South Bay. They thus have every reason to push for that. San Jose should be feeling a bit like Tampa Bay in the early 90′s right now because that’s exactly the role they are playing.

    MLB knows that Oakland works better? That must explain Selig’s legendary “mistake” comment, or Jerry Reinsdorf talking out of school last winter. MLB has spent three years keeping Oakland in the game, mostly because of complications with the Giants and the South Bay. The only people talking about Oakland’s economic prowess (or lack thereof) are Oakland boosters. No one from MLB talks about it. Hell, even Al Davis called Oakland a depressed area. What exactly has Oakland done to keep the A’s since 2009? Make deals with the W’s, Raiders, start talks on a new Coliseum with the Raiders, and oh, the A’s can be the third team in this dream complex that will – BTW – kill the downtown that already exists. And press conferences. Lots of press conferences. Do you not see that Selig and the owners see the actions of the City as far more representative than any letters or press conferences?

    The issue is not how San Jose fits, because they’ve put their best foot forward. The issue is what Oakland is doing to retain the team. With no site consensus, a pie-in-the-sky plan that places no great emphasis on the A’s, and well studied high costs aggravated by the destruction of redevelopment. MLB knows that Oakland is in a very tough spot. Oakland is in no position to bargain hard or take the A’s for granted. The spokesman of Save Oakland Sports knows this, at least he’s willing to acknowledge it. You might want to have a chat with him to get the scoop.

    Another thing. The only public pronouncements Selig has made are that he’s trying to get a deal made. Nothing about relocation. He even forced Larry Baer to back off his “it’d be fine if the A’s left th Bay Area” stance. To whatever extent that Selig is working in the A’s-Giants problem, it’s clear that about a deal and a decision.

  40. Yes, every comment made by Selig, Reinsdorf and every action taken by MLB has shown that the only option MLB is considering is the East Bay. It’s been clear that they want Oakland.

    Totally aside, Monte Poole’s column was quite amusing.

    “The roar of dissent has increased over the years, claims that the Fisher-Wolff A’s are deaf to the voice of the fan, that they needlessly complicate the process of buying a ticket, that they transparently follow the script of a movie, “Major League,” in which ownership embraced failure.”

    The undercooking of attendance numbers “conspiracy.” They lowered ticket prices.

    Embracing failure? they got great players for the roster this year and spent money on Cespedes, Smith, Gomes and Bartolo who have all contributed.

    “But the A’s are winning, and it’s all Lew and Johnny’s fault that I won’t go to the game.” meanwhile, those that are going to the game are getting to see a good and fun team for cheap. Quan and Kaplan are talking, seems like Chuck Reed is doing.

    Thats why despite the lease situation, the A’s will figure something out, regardless of what the Authority’s posturing will be. I wouldn’t mind a temporary stadium if it means watching this team which is a lot of fun.

  41. It”s been obvious that Captain Courageous (Selig) would love to avoid a confrontation with the Giants by simply keeping the A’s in Oakland, even though he has called the 1968 move a “mistake.” But the two issues – no site and no money – aren’t getting resolved. 40 months of MLB releasing no findings of so-called Blue Ribbon Committee tells us this.

  42. @ Nicosan – you saw the MP column too? Hilarious….I love how he picks and chooses who he cites, as opposed to people in authority that have/should have the answers (JQ/LW). I half expected a quote by Jorge Leon himself lol…

  43. isn’t candlestick getting demolished right after the A’s move out? Non-starter!

  44. oops i meant 49ers!

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