Pick and choose your spots

The problem with having a 10-game homespan, like the one the A’s are on now, is that the casual fan has too many choices of games to attend. A fan might go to tonight’s game for the fireworks, with Dan Straily’s debut thrown in as a bonus. The same fan might go to one of two Wednesday day games to get $2 tickets in the warm sunshine. Or maybe a weekend game’s better because weekdays create scheduling conflicts, or because of the kid-oriented promotions on Saturday and Sunday.

It’s that range of choice that probably accounts somewhat for the somewhat disappointing turnout so far this homestand.

  • Monday: 12,564
  • Tuesday: 15,836
  • Wednesday: 18,161
  • Thursday: 10,823

Tonight’s attendance could surpass 30,000 because of fireworks night. Quantities of 2 or more tickets are tough to find except in some of the less desirable locations of each seating tier. There have been three Fireworks Fridays this season, and as you would expect, the attendance for all three has been much better than average.

  • Game 21 vs. Yankees: 33,559
  • Game 28 vs. Padres: 24,528
  • Game 38 vs. Red Sox (July 3): 35,067

Just from looking at crowds over the years, fireworks can bring out an extra 10,000 fans. It also helps that two of the games were scheduled against the beasts of the east, who can be counted upon to bring thousands of fans along with them. Funny that the A’s and Rays, teams with historically some of the worst turnout over the last decade, are the two teams most dependent on other team’s fans to bolster attendance. The Giants provide three guaranteed sellouts, with easily half the house dressed in orange and black. The Yankees are good for 10-12k per date, whereas the Red Sox are worth 7-8k. Add that up and it’s around 123,000 visiting fan attendees from just those three teams. That translates to 7% of overall home attendance during recent years.. The Giants get periodic invasions of Dodger fans, but those seats would sell regardless of the opponent.

Now Monte Poole’s Thursday column raises the “quandary” of fans who hate ownership so much as to not attend games against their better instinct of showing up to support the resurgent A’s. Everyone who goes or doesn’t go has every right to express their preference. But to eternally prosecute ownership, the front office, anyone involved with the team for every little decision (or non-decision) is seriously becoming tiresome. First it was that Lew Wolff, John Fisher, and Billy Beane have conspired to keep the fans away by intentionally fielding awful teams or by trading away talent. Now that the team has been hot, it’s either that ownership is seething that the wins work against their nefarious plan or the team’s success thoroughly discounts any arguments about the Oakland fanbase, or even more absurdly, the stadium. Look at the first four games of attendance and tell me that it’s working. Beane’s moves are being microexamined as well, with the lack of a deadline trade “proving” that the team is surrendering. Then there was this today, following the Kurt Suzuki trade:

Apparently the detractors are looking for any excuse to pile on. Can’t give credit, oh no. Poole himself can only rise to giving the backhanded compliment “making an effort”.

Right. It doesn’t matter that the team stacks one promotion on top of another to bring in fans. That it has a weekend dedicated to Moneyball and the Streak coming up. That inserting dynamic pricing deals on tickets for the last two homestands have done a bang-up job of bringing in fans (check the field and plaza levels for the on-sale sections for proof). I even got into a debate on Twitter with a fan who drove up to the Coli on Wednesday and was angry that the A’s ran out of $2 tickets – that were sold out days if not weeks in advance. Really? You can’t plan for that?

That points to the biggest problem that the A’s and the A’s fanbase face, and they face it together. Both ownership and the fans have taken the A’s – the team, the brand, the fact that it’s one of thirty MLB franchises – for granted. Even during the Moneyball era (1999-2006), the A’s had all of these same promotions and attendance was about 500k per year (6,000 per game) better. And no, the much larger Coli back then was nowhere close to selling out, except for those games where the visiting team’s fans took up the slack. The A’s can count on the 8-10k of season ticket holders to provide some revenue while at the same time showing Bud Selig that the hardcore fanbase is too small to be sustainable. For those on the fringe like me or casual fans, there’s always a plentiful supply of tickets so that during a six or ten-game homestand, we might be able to go once or twice and feel good about ourselves.

That’s not good enough. While ownership shrugs its shoulders, Oakland partisans and East Bay supporters thump their chests about how they’ll support the team “when it’s good, and ownership respects Oakland, the fanbase, and stadium” – and also keeps ticket prices low. You can’t have all of that and be taken seriously. This is Major League Baseball. It is the upper echelon of this great sport. Constantly, the whiners and whingers seems to be conveniently unaware of that fact. The average payroll is $100 million, a number the A’s would be hard-pressed to support at the current prices unless they hit 3 million fans. That’s how far behind we are compared to the rest of the league. And we, collectively, don’t care. It’s better to get a few shots in at the enemy.

I don’t know how the season’s gonna end. Maybe the A’s will make the postseason, maybe they won’t. Progress will be measured in part by the rise in season ticket sales. If subscriptions don’t grow it’ll tell me two things: that A’s ownership isn’t trying hard enough (hard to believe from the calls I’ve gotten from ticket services), and that the holdouts are hoisting themselves on their own petard. It would prove to me that both sides are fine with the status quo: low, non-major league prices, low season ticket rolls, and “disenfranchised” fans complaining yet again about being alienated. At some point, it comes down to how much you and I value this team as it’s currently formulated, the A’s legacy, and optimism about the future. It also matters how much we care about having a MLB franchise here. If that’s not enough, then well, the petard is waiting in the form of an empty Coliseum and no future ballpark. Though I’m sure there’ll be plenty of recriminations for that too.

65 thoughts on “Pick and choose your spots

  1. I find it odd that an ownership group that is supposedly “bad” is fielding two of the best teams in their respective sports (A’s and Earthquakes).

  2. @ the game now. Nice crowd! Had to actually look for parking for once lol. Haven’t heard such a buzz in the standa since 06′. Let’s go A’s!

  3. Kurt Suzuki gone. Yikes. I have two of those Suzuki giveaway jerseys around the house. Obsolete now…

  4. re: Oakland partisans and East Bay supporters thump their chests about how they’ll support the team “when it’s good, and ownership respects Oakland, the fanbase, and stadium” –

    ….from 2000 to 2003 (pre-Wolff ownership), the A’s made the playoffs every season and ranked 24th, 19th, 18th and 16th in attendance in those seasons. Not once in the top half of attendance. At what point do we stop blaming ownership and just acknowledge that attendance has historically been poor, even when the team puts out a topnotch product on the field?

  5. Adding to what PJK correctly said, this is mediocre to poor attendance under the umbrella of ticket prices that are comparatively quite low. Imagine if the A’s were to charge on par with other teams? Even with a very competitive team on the field I would hate to (and be dismayed at) see what the attendance totals would be.
    Monte Poole et al are not arguing from a logical or principled point of view. Their view is ‘I want the A’s in the city of Oakland’ and will say just about anything to make that happen. First the A’s are throwing the season — then on to the recent winning as proof the A’s can’t move — then back to the A’s are throwing the season (among the panoply of other nonsensical arguments that have been going on for years). Lack of attendance is LW’s fault, pre-LW data be damned! Lack of a new stadium is LW’s fault, the factual history of Oakland Pols being worse than inept on this point is to be dismissed and ignored!
    Their arguments are contrived, lack any sense of fairness and have HURT the chances of the A’s staying in Oakland. They want to paint the A’s ownership as quasi evil and they are not going to let reality or truth get in the way of that — and not let the counterproductive ramifications of their actions be a consideration. They embarrassingly ignore the $$$ reality (the billion+ to make an Oakland stadium happen with a post LW ownership)…. they just want their over emotional, foolish rantings to be heard about LW. They’re not to be taken seriously. On a perfect world their nonsense would be confined to the same four walls that contain the Oakland Pols blathering. Just one big group of inept, truth challenged incompetents.
    Sorry to be so pointed but their acts are getting soooooo old!

  6. OT, the A’s should seriously considering arranging some sort of overnight service with BART if they keep pulling these late-night, extra-inning shenanigans. Happy that they won, not too happy about having to leave early and missing out on the walk-off win AND fireworks…

  7. Just got back from the game (@1:30am no less lol)…well worth it (even if a bit excutiating) for Reddick’s Spiderman pie in the face antics. if you haven’t gone to an A’s game recently because you are “boycotting” ownership/management/the world, you’re really missing out! Felt a little nostalgic back to circa 1999 the A’s were on the cusp of something great!

    @ ML – thank you so much for this column calling out the so called professional writers. it continually baffles me how low Poole continues to sink just to support his pro Oakland stance (citing sos and baseballoakland instead of say LW or JQ…. really?!). I’m glad we have some actual objective, data driven writing in the Bay pertaining to the A’s and their stadium / TR plight. I’ve gained a renewed sense of fandom and will go out again next week with some work acquaintances from different companies (yes, us ‘burban South Bayers). I’m going to enjoy this ride with the A’s as long as it lasts, no matter the outcome at season’s end. It’s been way too long…..Go A’s!

  8. @Anon, did they still throw the fireworks show at the end? How many people stuck around for that?

  9. Yea they still had the show, Just didn’t let people on the field.
    About half the crowd was left at the end of the game. But quite a few walked out of stadium before fireworks. would say 13k or 14k or so for the fireworks.

  10. It would be nice to see what the A’s could do in a nice ballpark with a winning team, plus a bay area population of 6.5 million + fans. We have no idea what that looks like.

  11. Great Piece. Maybe now (finally) we can put this conspiracy BS behind us. Poole can go eat a d**k. Whatever you think about ownership, you can’t hurt them. No matter what happens, they’ll still be rich, and you’ll still be bitter. So do yourself and everyone a favor and get over it. By not showing up for games, you are only hurting yourself and the guys out on the field, and you are just proving that even with a fun to watch, exciting team, Oakland can’t support a MLB team. Well Done.

  12. There are only three ways a new stadium in San Jose will be built:

    1. MLB and SF Giants allowing the A’s to move to San Jose.
    2. Someone willing to sue Major League baseball and challenge it’s anti-trust exemption. (Federal Baseball Club v. National League, 259 U.S. 200) Estimated cost 5-10 million dollars in legal fees.
    3. If the Supreme Court is not willing to re-hear this case which they probrably wont than legislation in Congress (more wasted tax payers money..sigh) needs to be introduced to repeal parts of baseball’s anti trust expemption to allow franchises to move.

    I think the 3rd option would be quicker and more viable option than the first two. We all know it’s been over 3 years since the A’s announced that they wanted to move to San Jose. SF Giants will not budge on their postion, and MLB will do nothing so long as Bud Selig is commisioner. The city of Oakland will wait until the last minute to try and play hard ball and by that time the A’s will F it and either stay in Oakland or move outside of the Bay Area.

  13. Xoot, what are we looking for? About the only thing I can see different between the two is that the Giants have a shitload more owners, and have given old players like Willie Mays, Will Clark, etc… a bunch of made up positions so they can list them on the website.

  14. Dan: Part of my point is that “payroll” has two sides: on field and off. Compare the marketing, revenue and communications departments of the two teams (or lack thereof). If the evidence isn’t persuasive to you, it isn’t. I’m not advocating. I just find it instructive.
    There’s the basic issue of supply and demand — if you don’t have interest, you don’t need people at desks in the front office busy trying to exploit it. The A’s owners, however, have vast resources. They also know how investments pay off. And the A’s front office doesn’t look very well-funded to me. The Giants front office, by contrast, looks almost over-funded, but their success the past couple years has been obvious. It’s not the interesting side of the game, but it’s there.

  15. Well said, TW. Exactly my thoughts all the way around. The illogic and willingness to say anything that they think supports their view completely negates the sympathy I would otherwise have for the Oakland-only crowd. Funny how the Giants (and some of their fans) do the exact same thing.
    Does this Tittle guy really think trading away a .218/.250/.286 bat who has consistently declined in recent years and has been playing less-and-less at the same time the team has been playing better-and-better is somehow throwing in the towel on the season? Great example of why I stopped listening to sports talk radio many years ago. I got tired of dummies like that yelling at me on topics about which they know absolutely nothing.

  16. I have gone to 4 games this year for the A’s and 2 for the Giants and guess what?

    I get spammed by the A’s almost 2-3 times a week for ticket promotions, giveaways, etc….

    While the Giants never email me at all about anything. Those of you who think they are not trying to sell tickets are way off.

    The A’s are trying as hard as they can and as ML points out the ticket services guys are calling up people all the time while the Giants sit on their laurels and get 40k in fans every game.

    It is so sad because people think the A’s do not care and their management are evil, it is wrong. If Wolff/Fisher could build in Oakland they would have years ago.

    The Coliseum site offers nothing and MLB wrote it off years ago yet the City of Oakland touts it as their new site? After failing to complete an EIR on Victory Court? Incompetence all the way, its unreal how people cannot see this, even if u are a Pro-Oakland fan.

  17. Sid: I go to A’s home games every season, as well as a bunch of Giants games in SF, and I’ve noticed exactly the sort of follow-up email pattern you’re describing. But gathering email addresses associated with ticket purchases and then spamming them doesn’t much impress me as a technological marketing method. On the other hand, substantially manipulating the starting line up for the All Star game (4 of 10) does. Again, I’m not saying that I like or endorse such stuff. I’m just saying . . . .

  18. Problem is xoot, to manipulate votes like that you need fans to help you manipulate it… the A’s don’t have many as we’ve established.

  19. @Dude, trust me Tittle doesnt yell. He just believes what he believes. That tweet is classic Tittle.

  20. Tittle, because of inane crap like that, I hardly listen to him.

  21. @JL – yes, fireworks still went on, although maybe 12k folks or so were. Around
    @XS – out of all the Gnats staff, how many are part owners like Beane and Crowley?

  22. Last week, I went to a fight at HP and paid for my ticket. Later on that week, the statistics for the gate came out, and 2,891 tickets were sold. In addition, 3,126 more tickets were comped. That caused ESPN boxing scribe to tweet, “Any time you give away more tix to a fight than you actually sell it is detrimental to the business because it kills a market.” Are we seeing that in Oakland now?
    I get frustrated when people feel it is totally Wolff’s responsibility to essentially “comp” the fans tickets. And when I was at the game on Wednesday in the ticket line, a guy behind me was in a huff because the $2 tickets were sold out. I agree with ML, get rid of the $2 promotion, it has run its course. But can you imagine the sh** storm from many fans and media if that were to happen? The Giants charge an arm and a leg, no one says a word. The A’s discount just about every ticket, and Wolff is vilified?
    I wish Tittle and Urban would do a little bit of research before spouting off their absurd takes on what they think they know about this topic.

  23. Anon. Baer is part owner, Sabean is not.

  24. Dan: That’s another supply/demand problem. You’re not looking at it from both sides. For example, why do you think there are so many kids in Oakland wearing Giants hats? And don’t think the number of current Giants fans drove that voting push.

  25. The demand simply is not there in Oakland. That is why the upper deck is tarped off—the supply was (and still is) outpacing the demand for tickets so exorbitantly that there is basically nothing more the A’s can do. If every ticket in the stadium was $2, it still wouldn’t sell out.

    That being said, this season has been absolutely fantastic and hearing what my family and friends back in NY have been saying about Yankee Stadium makes me appreciate the fans who show up in Oakland. You know they’re not there for lobster rolls and martinis, just some great baseball (the Straily game was tons of fun BTW).

  26. The big article on Oakland in the NYT Mag today treats the A’s flight almost as a fait accompli — just one more economic disaster feeding the revolutionary frenzy in the city’s “segregated” streets. Having lived and worked in Oakland for a long while now, I find the article overall and the author of it both ridiculous, The piece relies a lot on race-baiting demagoguery. But outsiders probably won’t see through that. I bet the A’s front office, no matter how short staffed it may be, will find the time to email a copy of the article to every other owner, and to the commish. Ah, Oakland!

  27. Interesting. Maybe Oakland has finally clued in and realized the Coliseum site is a non-starter if they want to seriously make a pass at keeping the team.

  28. Can Oakland come up with the money for a ballpark site and construction? That’s the big question. So far, Oakland has been steadfast in not wanting to spend any money on a ballpark. Looks like the committee also met with San Jose about its own site.

  29. the M&R article is horribly slanted. Not so much an opinion piece, but certainly showing a major bias by failing to report the real news. Selig met with both cities. That’s the real news. Likely looking to get another update on their respective statuses before their next owner’s meeting. The fact that Oakland is throwing out yet *another* ballpark site while seemingly giving up on yet *another* site isn’t a good thing. I’d love to believe the Oakland Pols have finally gotten their act together, but in reality it’s just looking them horribly schizophrenic.

  30. given that they visited SJ also it seems like we may be finally heading to closure in the near future if SJ plan withstands the auditors review and LW is able to retain rights to the property. A waterfront site in Oakland still doesnt address the issue of how to privately finance the ballpark and effectively compete against the gints watefront ballpark across the bay–

  31. How big is this “sizable contingent” of fans that are boycotting A’s games? That is the real question. If fans were ambivalent toward ownership how many more fans would the A’s average? 1K, 5K, 10K? Certainly not more than that, but Wolff haters would have us believe we would be back to the best days of the Haas era. Not possible in this ballpark with AT&T across the bay.

  32. I guess Matier and Ross, are going to join Ratto, Poole, Cohn, Newhouse, Dickey and Tittle in the they don’t know what they’re talking about posse!
    Let’s Go A’s!

  33. @David–on the contrary–they actually report facts in this article–that the blue ribbon commission met with San Jose and met with Oakland officials–but where they fall into the other category is why no one will ask the Oakland leaders how they will pay for a ballpark—why are all of these writers so afraid of asking Oakland leaders the obvious question?

  34. Just scanned through the comments below the article at sfgate.com. Most are along the lines of “See, MLB is meeting w/ Oakland behind Lew’s back. There is a chance, sell Lew, sell.” Not one comment noted that Selig also met w/ the City of San Jose.

    Sounds like MLB is moving towards some decision and wants to get a final update from each city to see who has their ducks in a row.

  35. I wonder if Quan’s appearance at the game the other night correlated with this meeting? This is good news no matter what side of the issue you are on. The wheels seem to be turning.

  36. @eb Have to agree with you. Any movement is good news.

  37. Love how they buried the fact that they also visited San Jose as well. Pretty sure that M&R’s source was one of the desperate Oakland pols

  38. …If MLB wants Oakland, the first thing that happens is the $120 million from Cisco most likely goes away. Are the folks who want to buy the A’s and keep them in Oakland prepared to show us the money – all $1 billion+ of it – to prove they can get the job done? (Non-starter payment strategies such as PSLs need to be dismissed out of hand.) These interested buyers should be prepared to write a $500 million check to buy the team and set up a $500-$700 million escrow account to get the ballpark built. We don’t want a situation in five years where it’s “We gave it our best shot but just couldn’t get it done. We’ll be selling the team to investors in (take your pick: Sacto, Portland, Vegas, etc).” Wolff’s shovel-ready plan keeps the A’s in the Bay Area. Can buyers who want to stay in Oakland give us the same assurances?

  39. re: This is good news no matter what side of the issue you are on. The wheels seem to be turning.

    …Yes, it IS good news. MLB looks like it’s looking at all options in the Bay Area and maybe, just maybe, is ready to move on the A’s after many years of doing nothing – which has helped the Giants but hurt the rest of MLB.

  40. I don’t think an AT suit is possible. Who is willing to spend the 5-10 million dollars that would be necessary for this type of lawsuit to happen, plus the Supreme Court hardly reverses decisions it makes even when they know they made a mistake. Peoples best bet is to have new legislation introduced in Congress to re-peal parts or Basebal’s’ AT exemption.

  41. The story mentioned something about the needle swinging back to Oakland. Wow, the state of journalism is depressing. Will these knuckleheads ever do a little thinking before they write or is parroting what passes for writing? To believe the needle has swung back to Oakland is to believe A) LW has changed his mind or can have his mind changed. B) MLB has disregarded the historical attendance numbers C) MLB has disregarded Oakland’s well documented inability to make deal/project happen. D) Oakland unwilling to use any public money for a project (HT) that will take $$$ to make it a viable site. E) Sj having many of their ducks in a row F) the corporate money waiting in SJ. G) LW or future owner having to finance a 500+ million ballpark with historically poor attendance.
    Yep, that’s it! The Pols of Oakland and Clorox CEO met with MLB. Obviously the needle has swung back to Oakland. Wow, just wow. I almost think it would be better that the Giants pushed the story and the writer is just doing his good soldier work. That seems a better reason than rank incompetent writing!

  42. All of this is irrelevant unless Wolff changes his mind on Oakland or if he MLB forces him to sell the team. While they could do the latter, why would they? I think they forced Schott to sell but she was a racist bigot who’d become an embarrassment to the game. What has Wolff done that would cause MLB to force him to sell? Unless he gives up then this is really a non-story. The committee came and heard from both sides. It’d actually only be newsworthy if they came and met with one city and not the other.

  43. WTF?!! VC then CC, now HT?! What’s next Treaure Island?! And the pro Oakland folks are okay with this?!

  44. @daniel: that’s it surprising. In fact they’ve been grumbling about the at exemption for some time now. It’d be surprising if hey didn’t have such a person at the meeting.

  45. …If MLB was never going to even consider dumping the t rights, as some have claimed, why did the committee waste its time meeting with San Jose?

  46. @pjk: maybe this is what Selig meant when he said they still have many questions for both sides …

  47. What I want to know is if Oakland blind sided Selig with HT.
    They said were coming out to check both cities where they are at. They get to Oakland and say so tell us your plan on this Coliseum City. Oakland pulls out stuff for HT and say this really is our best site. But we need a year to get some information and then do the EIR. So can you please give us some time before making any decisons because we know this is a home run.

    First VC then CC now HT? What’s next? are they really just trying to delay it till a Stadium falls in there laps?

  48. @Mike: some blindside. We have a site but we need more time. That’s no offer, it’s a wisp of something … Sounds like Coliseum city.

  49. Side note: All of a sudden there is a second “Mike” so I’ll try to keep logged in, so My thoughts are not getting confused with the new one. Though I know its bound to happen. The first and fourth Mike comments are mine. Maybe I should just post as like eb or someone and all of a sudden it will look like he prefers San Jose. I kid I kid

  50. @Baynativeguy my fear is if Selig is just looking for excuses for not making a decision on it. He can just say now. Well this is new let’s give them time to see what they can come up with. Then we just end up with more waiting and waiting.

  51. @ the “Mike” who responded to me: we’ll, I was already predicting more waiting anyhow just because we’ve waited so long already, what three more years? 🙂

  52. ML. when are we going to get an article about the new developments? being the Blue ribbon panel mettings in both san jose and oakland??? seams like both cities making their last plee to MLB before a final decision. also seams pretty newsworthy for something on this site. not sure if someone has already mentioned this or not, but i cant wait to hear your take on it.

  53. “Maybe I should just post as like eb or someone and all of a sudden it will look like he prefers San Jose. I kid I kid”
    Them’s fightin words 😉

  54. PJK writes “If MLB was never going to even consider dumping the t rights, as some have claimed, why did the committee waste its time meeting with San Jose?”

    Bingo! As has been written by you, me and others……..if TR was solid as a rock then why visit with SJ? Why even let it go on this long, why not have told the A’s long ago “no to SJ” and forced them to work with Oakland (or move) and get this issue settled? Why even speak publicly about the A’s and Giants negotiating a settlement? If TR is a brick wall then where is the sense in any of those actions by MLB?
    Nothing has changed because MLB visited with both cities. MLB baseball would be foolish to not hear proposals from both cities (even if they are not viable proposals from either). If Fremont or Pleasanton or anyone else in the Bay Area wanted to land the A’s, MLB would be foolish not to hear them out too. Also, MLB would be foolish not to publicly show they are giving both parties a fair chance. There is a PR side to this process too. If MLB were to give a blatant middle finger to Oakland, they risk alienating some fans/potential fans. But if they can say “we heard everyone, gave their ideas ad nauseum consideration and proposal X was the better proposal”, it would give MLB plenty of room for PR cover.
    Lastly, as others have mentioned, Oakland just pushed HT. Wasn’t it VC a while back? Wasn’t it Coliseum parking lot a while back? Wasn’t it CC just recently?…..how can any serious thinking person believe a group of businessmen would see that (among many other things) and say “that is the deal for us. Lets write that half billion dollar check right now!”. I’m sure MLB also doesn’t care that the Raiders are knocking on the same door MLB is to get their own stadium….and MLB is arguably 2nd (or even 3rd in lone behind the W’s). Hey, if MLB has decided to not be serious about having the A’s in a new stadium in a 3 years and is open to a long, problem laden, highly tentative process in Oakland then the needle has swung back to Oakland. Otherwise this story is another demonstration of failing journalism.Journalism that appears incapable or unwilling to report the obvious of: Oakland remains unprepared, indecisive, steeped in malfunctioning politics and up to their ears in stadium issues (Raiders, A’s, W’s). But hey! never mind that, MLB just met with Oakland officials. Obviously the needle just swung in Oakland’s favor. Wow, just wow.

  55. Well I can think of one reason to string SJ along… it keeps Oakland in the game. Without the tangible threat of San Jose out there, Oakland has little incentive to get a new park plan rolling. Which as we’ve seen today has resulted from the continuing threat. Whether Oakland can actually execute is another less likely matter, but they would not have even gone this far without the lingering SJ threat.

  56. it is beginning to look like Sacto situation now. Stern helped KJ put together a last minute deal. I am convinced Selig and the g’s are helping Oakland by stringing this along until the clueless mayor of oakland can figure something out. Oakland is using Don Knauss like KJ used Ron Burkle. KJ needed a guy with money. The clueless mayor of oakland has her guy now.

  57. @daniel and how did that work out for Sacramento again?

  58. Dan/Daniel, I see the concept of pro sports leagues/owners pitting city against city to gain a preferred and/or improved deal. That for sure happens. However considering the following for the A’s situation:
    1) After this many years and all but no movement in Oakland (with the pitch now HT, literally Oakland’s site — never mind their plan — is all but at square one), MLB has been an unmitigated failure in gaining leverage. Where was, at minimum, the public hinting to control the situation/plan? MLB has been virtually mum with little to no “unnamed sources” saying anything to coax the situation toward a leveraged situation. Almost inconceivable to look for leverage with Pols without public coaxing.
    2) Very arguably MLB has made the leverage situation worse and that should have been apparent many, many months ago. In effect MLB has done zilch to keep the group of Pols/city of Oakland from becoming hostile toward MLB’s product (the A’s). Now the removal of LW/JF is a distinct possibility if an Oakland plan is to happen (the atmosphere is poisoned). Anyone think BS is heading toward or even planned for a removal of these guys from the A’s? Anyone think it is a good idea to make/allow two sides of a negotiation become very hostile to each other?
    3) MLB must have missed the publicly known Raider issue while executing their leverage plan. The Raiders are knocking on the same door for a stadium and they likely are first in line in front of the A’s. It is good for leverage to have another party looking for the same thing from the same people in the same city (never mind the A’s may be in front of the line soon too)?
    4) It is almost unarguable to think LW is not a good “Lodge” member. Yet MLB’s plan for leverage called for LW/A’s ownership to not be on board with the leverage plan? Correct me if I am wrong but HT has been deemed unequivocally and unambiguously dead/unworkable by LW. Now this good “lodge” member will need to be made out to be a liar and/or incompetent. MLB will have to, in effect, say HT is the best site and LW is just wrong…. AND tell LW to get out his half billion checkbook or oust him from the A’s.
    What a fair reading of the situation says is either MLB has executed a plan of leverage almost laughably incompetently or there was no plan of leveraging Oakland by using SJ at all (other than the inherent leverage of any single entity to multiparty negotiation). IMHO there was no plan and MLB cannot realistically believe that Oakland has a viable plan and ability to make it happen. If they do then I am inclined to believe MLB did have a leverage plan and they simply are bumblers who executed it laughably bad.

  59. Oops I did not realize I was the second “Mike”. I was trying to point out that trying to over turn a Baseball’s anti trust exemption would be costly and not likely to happen thru the court systems.

    In 1998, Congress passed the Curt Flood Act, which partially repealed the antitrust exemption to give the Players Association the same rights as the unions in the other major sports. Congress specifically stated that the exemption was still intact with respect to relocation, the reserve clause, the minor leagues, and broadcasting contracts. This Act also had the effect of writing the antitrust exemption into law, ensuring that a full repeal will only come from Congress, and not the Supreme Court

    If Lew Wolf and Co and SJ cant reach an agreement with the Giants/MLB allowing the A’s to relocate than Congress would have to get involved revoking MLBs exemption on franchise movement.

  60. Oops I did not realize I was the second Mike. I was trying to point out that it would be hard to overturn baseballs AT lawsuit thru normal court channels.

    In 1998, Congress passed the Curt Flood Act, which partially repealed the antitrust exemption to give the Players Association the same rights as the unions in the other major sports. Congress specifically stated that the exemption was still intact with respect to relocation, the reserve clause, the minor leagues, and broadcasting contracts. This Act also had the effect of writing the antitrust exemption into law, ensuring that a full repeal will only come from Congress, and not the Supreme Court

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