The bar has been raised

Last night I gave myself until midnight to mourn the end of the A’s 2012 season. At midnight I realized that I hadn’t eaten since lunch, too nervous to do so during or before the game. So I took an hour and took care of my hunger pangs before settling in to start this post.

The memories of this season will remain fresh throughout the winter, through the inevitable rumors about roster shuffling. Which starting pitchers will be kept? Can Billy Beane find a real solution at second? And most importantly, what expectations will we have for the A’s in 2012, after they came out of nowhere to take the division from two teams (Rangers & Angels) whose combined payroll was five times that of the A’s?

That’s what it comes down to. Going into 2012, no one had any expectations of the roster, the fans, ownership, or anything else associated with the Oakland Athletics. All that has changed starting October 12, 2012. The bar has been raised. Everyone from fans to the media to the rest of baseball will expect more out of the A’s. The element of surprise that fueled much of the euphoria this year will have evaporated. That childlike joy, that sense that no one has anything to lose, will have to give way for a more consistent, more professional franchise. New expectations come with a weight for a team to bear, and in our case, the fans also have to bear it. It’s not enough to look at two weeks or a month and call Oakland “saved” for baseball. That would be like looking at Brandon Inge’s first week in an Oakland uniform and declaring him the third baseman of the future. It’s asinine and completely absurd. No, the test starts now: of ownership to cultivate this success, of the front office to sustain it, and of the fans to respond in kind.

Nothing gets a pro sports team’s sales organization going like a playoff run. In September the A’s sales group started to push hard for season ticket deposits, fueled by renewed fan enthusiasm. They got me on board for 2013, my yearlong experiment with walkup and online ticketing over. I’m an easy sell. I don’t have a grudge against ownership, and my worldview isn’t inextricably tied to the word “Oakland”, keeping me from investing my fandom. Many longtime A’s fans have stayed away because of ownership. They are naturally going to be tough sells. Has this fresh, exciting team brought those fans back into the fold, or will they look for more from ownership to convince them?

Yesterday’s pregame announcement of tarp removal for the ALCS/World Series elicited some positive reaction, but that isn’t enough going forward. Those same tarps for the original upper deck (West Side) should be removed forever, just as I had outlined as an option last week. Close down the Plaza Reserved seats to dial back the capacity somewhat, and simply sell sections of the upper deck on an as-needed basis as the Dodgers have done in the past. That should bring the capacity back to 43,000 or so, with 36,000 in play most of the time until high-demand or premium games comes around.

As for the roster, the front office is fortunate that there is only one high-priced free agent on whom to make a decision, Stephen Drew. While Drew played solidly since his trade from Arizona, $10 million is a high price and from a pure value perspective, not worth it. There’s a chance that Drew is bought out and a new deal done, but that would also put him on the open market, where there could be a premium for a someone who is ostensibly an average-to-good shortstop.

Then there’s Brandon McCarthy. Take away the horrendous line drive incident, because McCarthy’s already throwing and all parties were looking to clear him for the World Series. He even took time to write a back-page article for SI. No, McCarthy’s issue has, and always will be, the health of his right shoulder. Prior to September, McCarthy had to be put on the disabled list twice in 2012 and frequently had extra days between starts as his shoulder issues kept creeping. That may sound like a good opening for the team to let him go as many young starters are waiting in the wings, but I go back to what Farhan Zaidi said on Blog Day: “We try to build a set of options – 8, 9, 10, 11-deep of starting pitchers.” In that context, McCarthy should be a fairly easy guy to make a case for, since his injury history has depressed his value somewhat. His effectiveness when he’s there, his presence in the clubhouse, and the outsize positive attention both he and his wife Amanda have brought to the team are all reasons to bring him back for 2 years/$14 million.

Jonny Gomes was a major force, even though he saw only one at bat during the ALDS due to matchups. He should be back, also for 2 years at maybe $6-7 million. Bartolo Colon, who was practically forgotten as A.J. Griffin and Dan Straily were brought up, may not be too easy to dismiss. His PED suspension should’ve driven him out of baseball completely. Yet there’s something appealing about a guy who can simply eat innings. That helped the A’s staff in no small measure in 2012. Maybe he gets signed to a minor league deal and is stashed in Sacramento if he’s willing to be there. Then there’s the case of Dallas Braden, who’s as snakebit now as Justin Duchscherer was a few years back. Again, there’s a limited market for Braden’s services, so non-tender him, sign him to a minor league deal, and let him work out his shoulder problems in the spring and extended spring training.

The second base dilemma is the most puzzling, because none of the options are great. Five or six guys could play the position. Cliff Pennington’s the best defensively because of his arm. Jemile Weeks has the speed and potential leadoff ability but regressed badly in 2012. Adam Rosales is all heart and arm and little else. Scott Sizemore is an unknown because of his lost year. Eric Sogard may have disappeared down the depth chart for good. Grant Green, a organizational fan favorite, has a bat and no glove. Chances are that some guys will be non-tendered, at least one will be traded, and someone else will be stuck in Sacramento for another year, blocked by someone else in Oakland with marginally greater ability. The organization should expect more from second base in the future. It’s up to these players to break through and take the starting job for themselves.

Will the front office attempt another international free agent splash signing? Which Josh Donaldson and Chris Carter will we see to start 2013? How much can the catchers improve defensively? All of these questions have much of the internet fanbase already going through that yearly phase called rosterbation, what has classically been called the Hot Stove League. People in general are talking about the A’s again. There’s real interest and the non-hardcore fanbase may have been aroused enough to commit.

That’s where it gets difficult. The A’s fanbase won’t be judged solely on the last two weeks, as much as people would like to see it. The media liked to characterize this pennant chase as “rekindling Oakland’s love affair with baseball”. It’s romantic and hits all the right notes. But you know what often happens with affairs, right? They wither. They end. What starts as grand and limitless in May can be consigned to the dustbin in December. This is where the fans come in. Fans have to commit. Whatever anyone thinks of ownership, they have produced a winning team. Now it’s time for fans to respond by buying season tickets. Last I heard, season ticket subscriptions added up to 7-8,000 full-season equivalents when accounting for all of the partial plans. If you want this team to stay in Oakland, you need to do your part. Get that number to 10,000. Aim for 2 million in total attendance. Both are modest figures when compared to what happens regularly across the bay, but it’s a start. MLB may be struggling with its Oakland/San Jose decision because it needs to see real numbers like these to justify whatever decision it makes. In Oakland, MLB needs to see that even without a new ballpark, enough fan interest can be generated to avoid a Miami-like situation where attendance dropped off a cliff after the team started to disappoint in their new digs. In San Jose, MLB needs to see that enough of the existing East Bay fanbase can come along even after being alienated to help support the fans in the South Bay. Fan interest, or an apparent lack thereof, is a problem that affects both cities, whether the booster groups and ownership want to admit it or not. If you live in the Bay Area and you love the A’s, now’s the time to show it. Time to stop the posturing. Time to end the excuses. All of the goodwill built up over the last four months will evaporate if  next May there’s another run of 10k crowds at the Coliseum. If fans deserve a winning team, they got it. The players have earned our support. The least we can do is provide support en masse. The bar has been raised for us fans too, as it should. If we can’t step up, then we’ll be back to the same old questions about viability and ownership and disaffection. And no one will care outside of the Bay Area, including MLB.

64 thoughts on “The bar has been raised

  1. Well put. Let me add that fans shouldn’t need to be enticed to buy a season ticket for quasi-patriotic reasons like savings bonds during World War II, the benefits are tangible.
    A 22-game plan gets you:
    Good seats–mine were between 119 and 123, depending on the game.
    Discount prices, which save $4 per seat per regular game, $11 for premium games.
    Right to buy playoff strips early and get the best seats.
    Right to buy parking passes at $9.
    The ability to mix and match– i.e., if you have two tickets for 22 games, you can go to fewer games, exchange and get four seats when you have friends you want to take.
    A separate entrance where the best giveaways don’t usually run out and there’s sometimes Ray Fosse or Dave Stewart or someone shaking hands and posing for pictures.
    And it’s incredibly cheap compared with the Giants.

  2. Nice post. I did my part. I’m buying a partial package for 2013, a first. I expect Wolff to do his part now. I expect him to extend an olive branch. Foster some good will. Do something real to help fix the years of bad feelings. I agree with your tarps idea. That would be an excellent place to start.

  3. Regardless of how good the A’s or Giants are it is too far from San Jose to even buy a 20 game pack for either team.

    I went to 3 A’s games and 2 Giants games this year. I will try to make 1-2 more for each team next year.

    Great season by the A’s, it was a freight train that took the league MVP in Justin Verlander to stop. I am proud of that entire team.

    As for the fans in Oakland, try showing up when it does not count for once. Playoffs do not count as everyone shows up regardless…

  4. Nice post Rhamesis. A couple of things that need to be discussed (and as always, with all due respect). If you want this team to stay in Oakland you need to do your part? Huh? First, if a bunch of folks from outside Oakland-proper buy season tickets how is that helping baseball stay in Oakland? If anything, increased season ticket roles merely proves that the Bay Area is definetely a two-team market and that there’s demand Bay wide to see A’s baseball. Also, increased season tickets (whether they’re from Oakland proper or elsewhere) doesn’t solve the financing/corporate puzzle of building a ballpark. In short, don’t agree with that notion.
    Second, alienated East Bay fanbase? You’re probably right when describing the David’s of the world, but what about those A’s fans from Fremont, Union City, Tri-Valley, etc.? I believe many of those fans (if not all) will support a San Jose-based A’s team just as much as the current one. Add in those from Milpitas south and the San Jose A’s will do just fine support wise. To many times it appears we focus on the SCCo./Alameda County line as if it were some magical boundary that dictates allegiances and which city to root for. Is there really a difference from that A’s fan residing in Warm Springs vs northern Milpitas?
    In closing, this run by OUR team was awesome and wish it were continuing. However, nothing, I repeat, NOTHING has changed in terms of financial dynamics and which city has been on point of getting OUR team a new ballpark. Thanks.

    • @Tony D. – You may not be aware of this, but much of the Save Oakland Sports group is made up of people who live in the Greater East Bay, not necessarily Oakland. Maybe that reflects poorly on homegrown Oakland support, but it rejects the notion that Oakland is going it alone. The only way Oakland will get any new stadia built is via a broad regional coalition. That makes it a good idea to have proponents and supporters along the 880, 680, and 80 corridors. If there’s anything I dislike, it’s people who for whatever reason move out of Oakland and consider themselves still repping the place as if they still live there. That’s disingenuous.

  5. Contrary to popular belief, I’ve always been a pro-ANYWHERE-IN-THE-BAY-AREA guy when it comes to a new stadium. And after experiencing the last week in Coliseum, deep down inside, I’m pulling for you Oakland. I hope the frenzy of the “Let’s Go Oakland” chants move you to do something about the A’s situation. I hope you take the same energy and focus you had to petition for the tarp removal and apply it to your civic leaders to get something done. I hope that this euphoria from the playoffs inspires you to buy more season tickets to make LW/MLB listen to you. I hope that you mimic the A’s underdog season to pull a walk-off-state-of-the-art-stadium so that everyone is happy and we can put these dark times behind us. Lastly, I hope that you take all that talk, emotions, and good vibe and put it into action (and not just press conferences). You’re up in the limelight now Oakland! Make us Bay Area A’s fan proud…..

  6. Great post but I think you are playing a sentimental GM (fan) at this point, esp after a tough loss like last night. We all will have to wait until December to see if the A’s management want to sustain the success that they currently have or continue to sell and rebuild, only time will tell. If the A’s sell key parts of this current team than expect to see more spartan crowds at the Coliseum. I don’t believe that this is going to happen. The A’s might be cheap according to most baseball experts but I dont think they are stupid. Until a new stadium is built in the East or South Bay, the A’s will not be able to sign a top free agents especially if they are represented by Scot Boras. (i.e Carlos Beltran from a few years ago).

    I know that we all wanted to see the A’s in the WS, but I look at this as the A’s wake up call to address future team needs. The team needs one their pitchers to become a true lock down Ace. Parker or Milone have the potential to be become true number ones and Anderson needs to stay healthy. I would worry more about building around Cespedes, and providing him with protection in the line up than worry about who is playing shortstop. Cespedes was one of the few players in baseball that fascinated me throughout the entire year, he got better the more he played. The A’s have their future shortstop in Addison Russell who should be ready in 1-2 years time.

    Tony D was right, only one city has come up with a viable stadium plan for the A’s. We all know that the proposed sites in Oakland will never happen due to costs, hazmat clean ups, or just not being viable. It’s just up to MLB to grant the rights to move the team to SJ. Hopefully this saga will end this December of for sake of the A’s and the cities of Oakland and SJ.

  7. Rhamesis’ point is well made. I wavered to the point of not buying season tickets 2 years ago because of Wolff’s determination to move, but I changed my mind because I wanted my kids to grow up Oakland A’s fans, regardless of what happens. If you apply that approach to yourself and others, you may find that you are not necessarily “feeding the beast,” but assisting in forwarding the case that Oakland can support a team, which I believe is part of the question MLB is considering. I get a great experience when I go to the Coliseum for A’s baseball. Is there a better one at AT&T? That depends on what you want. I got what I wanted at the O.co when earlier this season my son turned to me during a game and said, “I think this is a great place, like it here.”

  8. Thanks Marine Layer for the thoughtful post.

    I think the main thing that A’s fans are looking for is consistency. By that I mean a team that we can count on from year to year – something that we can invest emotionally in without fear that we will be repeatedly let down by rebuilding years. Obviously, the new stadium is a huge part of that, however we know that regardless of the location, that will not be happening for at least the next 5 years. That leaves us with the need for a commitment by the ownership to maintain and improve this team so that we can continue to build on what was created this year and provide some consistency (at least of the on-field variety) to the fanbase.

  9. Thanks RM. I never doubted that many A’s fans in the East Bay want them to stay in Oakland. Heck, I actually know some A’s fans down here who would like to see them stay in Oakland as well (tradition and fears of being priced out of a SJ ballpark, “no more $2 Tuesdays!”). That said, I think many more (like myself and Anon) are pro-ANYWHERE-IN-THE-BAY AREA (disclaimer: I’m naturally biased for my hometown because of immense civic pride). And those who acknowledge the financial realities of the Bay Area can grasp why San Jose is the only spot for a privately financed ballpark (disclaimer: Oakland comes up with $100 million + in public funds for a ballpark and it’s game over for my hometown).
    In regards to those who leave Oakland but still like to rep, I have no problem with that. I represented San Jose when I used to live in Gilroy. You can physically leave your hometown, but your hometown will never leave you. Former Oakland residents living elsewhere, rep all you want!

  10. Anon – That’s great to hear. If we could lock down some core players to some longer term deals, even better. If the ownership does their part and makes this a team that competes for the foreseeable future, then it is up to the fanbase to show their support.

    Reppin’ the A’s and Oakland from LA

    • Anon – That’s great to hear.If we could lock down some core players to some longer term deals, even better. If the ownership does their part and makes this a team that competes for the foreseeable future, then it is up to the fanbase to show their support. Reppin’ the A’s and Oakland from LA.

      This was no doubt a magical year, but with exception of a few players, I wouldn’t necessarily commit long term to any of them yet until they demonstrate continual performance (Hi Weeks!). Regardless, I’m sure A’s management is pulling for them so they get into such a predicament where they have to be extended through their arb years as they have shown in the past (Anderson, Zook, etc.). My only hope is to get another veteran presence in the rotation (not Colon please!) to help the kids through any sophomore funk.

  11. Balfour will, apparently, be back at $4.5M per Jane Lee’s twitter

  12. ” If there’s anything I dislike, it’s people who for whatever reason move out of Oakland and consider themselves still repping the place as if they still live there. That’s disingenuous.”
    Seriously? That’s an odd stance. My family goes back four generations in Oakland, I have family still living there, moved because of work, yet, I’m disingenuous for wanting the city to thrive and for identifying with it as my regional focal point? How is that any different from an immigrant who left their home, but still is repping their place of origin?

    • @eb – Immigrants may travel thousand of miles and deal with red tape, indignity, and numerous other things to make it. Moving from Oakland to the other side of the Caldecott is not remotely comparable.

  13. Of course . . We are in the enviable position of having a team stocked with stud youngsters. Here’s to hoping that these guys perform well enough to make their arbitration years painful on the checkbook.

  14. Ok, my analogy may have been a stretch, but the basic premise of having strong ties to a community/city even though you are no longer there doesn’t seem to be a bad thing, imo. I just don’t get your logic.

    • @eb – It’s simple. Some may have left Oakland to better their situation. Yet they want to deny the A’s doing the same. Now I get that the difference between a private individual and a sports franchise is that the latter has a certain amount of public trust. Even with that the argument strikes me as borderline hypocritical because we’re talking about cities within a market, not changes of states or coasts.

  15. ML – Unless I’m missing something in your reasoning, I definitely agree with eb here. What’s wrong with someone feeling and sharing strong ties to a place even if they now live elsewhere? Obviously, their opinion on things like how the city should spend tax money no longer carries any weight since they are no longer a voter in that city. But I don’t see the problem with them rooting for their ex-city or speaking out in support of it. Perhaps I’m misinterpreting what you are saying here.

  16. Ah, that makes sense. I wasn’t getting the connection to the A’s potential move in your statement. (And your latest post hadn’t appeared when I wrote mine).

  17. If this team was the San Jose A’s… we would have enough money and support from corporate sponsers to keep our young team longer… as well as sign top players from other teams… (except Josh Hamilton…YIKES, dude what happended to you…) but in Oakland.. i think this team could have a 2 year run before they have to break things up… again because my city OAKLAND… are not doing the things needed to help fund a ballpark for the A’s, i dont blame Lew Wolff for keeping his eyes on the prize which is San Jose.

    p.s
    I hate Detroit, im not even listening to my Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder collection at least for a month… at least the Lions and Pistons suck more than the Raiders and Warriors… F Detroit.

  18. What is worse that the SF Giants are in the playoffs… and i have a small fear… that if the Giants were to win the world series… could that mean larry baer and his henchmen could argue to Selig that they are the money makers of west coast baseball and either you keep the giants t rights alone… or there making noise… and i think Selig silly-ass could actually want to keep the Giants happy and tell Wolff too bad… again that would really suck… and has a small chance of actually happening… what do you guys think???

  19. @berry,
    Baseball is a whole; its not just about one team vs the rest. MLB is also thinking long term when it makes its decision re the Bay Area; 5, 10, 20 years + into the future. Whether the Giants win it all this year or don’t make the playoffs next year is irrelevant to MLB’s final decision. Again, the future and all of baseball…

  20. “It’s simple. Some may have left Oakland to better their situation. Yet they want to deny the A’s doing the same.”
    .
    or like me (a life-long Oaklander), you can make your situation “better” in your hometown. I sure did!!
    .
    Wolff could to – if he “tried”.

  21. @David – Not to diminish your work, but there’s a sense of scale that’s way off there. You’re trying to help kids get to college. Wolff’s trying to compete with multiple billion dollar businesses.

  22. @ML – the point was that “if there’s a will, there’s a way” and if you are successful, you can see great returns. I’m doing great too!

  23. @David – That “if you are successful” is a pretty damn big risk.

  24. @ML- no disrespect intended but a few energized crowds at Oakland and another 2k in season tix in 2013 doesn’t change the fact that there is no viable site in Oakland that fits MLB criteria nor the financial requirements of private investors. Fans weren’t coming to the last 4 games because of the Oakland A’s- they were coming to support the A’s- a bay area team with fans from all corners of the area- no different than the gints-

  25. @GoA’s – And what was that chant that you heard incessantly at every game?

  26. Hey Tim- I chanted it to- and I want the A’s in SJ- I dont know many investors who are basing decisions on a chant at a baseball game- nor has the chant helped the city of Oakland find a suitable site-

  27. They are chanting it for civic pride AND chanting because it is the name of the team and fits into a specific clapping pattern. It’s great to hear the chant, but that argument is kinda absurd. As absurd as the one where people say the team should stay in Oakland because Oakland has “soul” while San Jose does not. Viable site for a ballpark > soul.

  28. ML your last statements really have me questioning the objectivity of this blog. totally uncalled for.

    • @Dinosaur Jr – I’ll let you know when I give a care about your thoughts on my objectivity. When you have something to provide other than the occasional potshot, I’ll start to take you seriously.

      BTW – This is the third or fourth time you’ve called me biased. Why do you keep reading this site if it’s so clearly biased?

  29. its not like the A’s havent lost a game 5 in recent times and then had mediocre to bad attendance the next year. they’ve done it several times actually and thats exactly what will happen in 2013. Cant judge Oak attendance until they get a new yard or win the world series.

  30. @jesse I disagree, I think you have to judge Oakland attendance on what you get without a new park or winning the series. The question is how much will the team average, good or bad and how long they can sustain that, you want a random sample.

    As for the other stuff, the difficulty with building a stadium in Oakland, like SJ to a degree is that cities are weak. They are creatures of the state, they have very few revenue collecting powers, mainly property taxes and sometimes a sales tax, and few borrowing options given the state of the economy and how long-term debt and budget committments have lowered bond ratings.

    The question is in which city can the Athletics go it alone, pay for the whole development of a stadium, the infrastructure redevelopment with minimal municipal support and has land in a location that 30-40 years from now will be a center of commerce that will bring in business around the stadium and direct support to the club. Hegenberger is not going to do that, its an old industrial area with little planning to turn it into a future destination. Howard Terminal could be that, if not for major clean-up costs. Downtown SJ could be a destination and doesn’t have the cleanup costs that that HT has. This is the dilemma that Oakland-only folks have. It’s got to be affordable enough for ownership to build with enough time to pay off debt so that you don’t get a nice stadium and a perpetually low payroll for years. Look at the Giants.

    These have to be concerns, even for Oakland folks, build something, even in Oakland, but build it in a place that the city has expended energy on to plan for development and not in an area that detracts from redevelopment in other parts of the city, namely downtown.

    Personally, I just want the damn thing built. But the urban policy student in me says be careful what you wish for.

  31. @ML – If all you want are “bots” posting here… then keep asking people “why do you keep reading this site”? This position is very ‘Wolffian’ in its lack inclusiveness towards the base. Additionally, Athletics Nation, long ago really pushed the stadium talk from that site to this one. So, many AN contributors (like me) save the stadium back and forth, for your blog. The blog is really one large polemic. Its a venue to speculate and share information. Those advertisers to the right don’t care about anything other than traffic and dollar $igns!

    • @David – No reader ever has to comment on any post. D Jr has made it a habit of questioning my integrity and it irks me. I take that very seriously. I have to wonder why someone who clearly has issues with the content here would bother reading said content. To provide a counterpoint? There’s little evidence of that happening.

      As for bots, if you dealt with the spam filtering and moderation I have to do daily here, you wouldn’t be so cavalier.

  32. The paragon of objectivity, Dinosaur Jr, hath spoken. All hail!

  33. Jesus. Oakland /East Bay… We need a winner. We are becoming like Cleveland, buffalo and Detroit filled into one. Meanwhile sf is quietly enjoying the 49ers and giants…..life not fair sometime

  34. Agree Berry,
    Its tough being a A’s and Raiders fan right now, especially if you dislike those other teams (Sharks being locked out only adds more salt to the wound). My advice for getting sanely through these “tough times:” don’t read the local sports page, don’t watch the local newscast and stay off of FB/social networks at critical junctures (ie Niners win, Raiders lose). Most importantly, always remember…it’s just a game 😉

  35. As a NRAF, I take the statement about “repping” to refer to ridiculous shows of street cred as opposed to civic pride and fandom, given the conversations on this blog about honoring the history of Oakland era teams in a museum affiliated with San Jose ballpark construction.

    Personally, I am pro-Oakland because, growing up in El Cerrito, the Eastshore commute to the Coliseum was already a pain. I believe, however, that the only way this could happen is in conjunction with a Central Subway level infrastructural boondoggle (Infill Bart station, freeway ramp redesign, light rail from Broadway BART to Alameda, space elevator, etc.).

  36. I know tony. At least I’m good at MLB the show and Madden…but seriously And another thing to add is will we ever see the raiders, A’s. And warriors won at least once all within one sports year. U know… Make the playoffs at least. By 2013 we should know who staying and who going.

  37. Just to clarify RM, will MLB not permit the A’s to remove tarps for only some games? (ie: Yankees, Giants) Otherwise, I say open up a few more third deck sections next year and be done with it.

    And frankly, the only reason I think Wolff was open to pulling the tarps the LCS was the likelihood of the games being against New York. Had it been Texas vs Baltimore in the other LDS it never would have been considered.

    BTW, I thought teams from the same division weren’t permitted to play each other in the LDS. When did that change?

  38. @georob. This year. It would have been logistically difficult and exhausting to get the 2 and 3 teams to travel to play on Saturday after the wild-card game Friday if the match hadn’t been set beforehand, and it couldn’t have been if that rule was still in place.

  39. I read it because i find overall the blog is good, but I only feel the need to comment when I have something to say. For someone who has as much pedigree as you do you need to be a little less thin-skinned. Not every critical remark is a personal insult. That just my observations. You do good work.

    • @D Jr – Judging from most of your history of comments, you chime in when you have something to troll. Criticize the quality of the work if you like. Call it lazy, poorly written or lacking research. But to question objectivity is the most lame, hackish line of argument ever invented and it has practically ruined internet message boards and comment threads like this. If you’re going to make that allegation, back it up. If not, STFU.

  40. Hey David,
    Am I a “bot” for acknowledging the reality of privately financing a sports venue in the Bay Area? A “bot” for wanting an A’s ballpark anywhere in the Bay Area in our lifetime? Just curious to the meaning of your verbiage.

  41. It will be interesting to see how the fan base reacts season-ticket wise to the A’s success. And unlike past years, any possible World Series win by the Giants shouldn’t affect it, as pretty much all the casual fans switched to SF some time ago. Whether it’s in Oakland or San Jose, the A’s need to cultivate the next generation of fans that don’t care that the Giants came to the Bay Area first, the DH, or all the other BS I used to hear from Giant fans 20 years ago.

  42. @georob
    I agree that the casual fan all over the entire bay area have truly become sf giants fans. And no I’m sure of the sf giants (lord forbid) do win this world series …it does help the sf giants a lol bit regarding on how Selig has been slow on the A’s ballpark issue

  43. “Typically, bots perform tasks that are both simple and structurally repetitive…” Wow, too easy.

  44. I am just hoping there will be some resolution by December 6th. Can’t believe I still have this website bookmarked since January 2008.

  45. I want whats best for the A’s. Getting SJ with fans from the East Bay support. I think SJ will happen and I’ll be happy to see South Bay A’s erecting really soon.

  46. You know, it is pretty simple and structurally repetitive to provide reasoning on why an A’s ballpark isn’t happening in Oakland. Wow eb, you were right! That was to easy…

  47. Nice post. I’d like to see, with the good feelings generated by the A’s postseason run, ownership and fans try to form a detente. Yes, increased season tickets sales are key, but Lew needs to soften his position on the fan issue and admit that A’s fans are good fans and that Oakland can draw when there is some hope of a winning team.

    And Lew and Billy need to quit knocking the o.co — we all know that it’s old and that Mt Davis ruined it and that sharing the field with the Raiders is a real drag and that there’s much that needs improvement, but the grounds crew does an amazing job with the field and we all know how the crowd can turn the place into something pretty special. Being at Game 4 with my 2 adult kids, who have been coming with me to A’s games since they were babies, was really something.

    We do, however, need a new ballpark, and it really needs to be decided soon, but in the meantime, the strategy of disrespecting the fans and focusing on leaving Oakland has got to go.

    Billy clearly didn’t build this team for this year but was building for a future in SJ, where they would hopefully have the money to be able to sign the best of these young guys when or before they reach free agency. But this year’s surprise performance did stir up a lot of emotion for the team. At least let’s make the last few years at the old Coliseum fun, winning years.

    If the decision is to move to SJ, keep the positive energy going by keeping a winning team on the field in the meantime and adopting a posture that encourages East Bay fans to both keep coming to the o.co and eventually to SJ. As an example, work to set up special transportation options for East Bay/Valley fans to get to SJ.

    I agree with your on-field assessment, ML, but I would add that the catcher position needs to be looked at critically since neither Norris or Kottaris seem up to the task. Both are generally weak offensively, although Kottaris has better power numbers. Neither has great defense, although with Norris it may simply be that he needs more experience given his young age.

  48. I agree with ML’s comments: it is somewhat hypocritical for people who left Oakland to insist that the Athletics be forced to stay.
    .
    There are not enough economic opportunities in Oakland, either for a person looking for a job (in “eb’s” case) or for a major league sports owner trying to privately finance a stadium (Lew Wolff et al).
    .
    Because of the uncertainty of fan & corporate support for a new ballpark in Oakland, if Oakland & Alameda County want to make a serious bid to keep the Athletics, they are going to have to offer up a serious amount of public money. They did it for the Raiders, they did it for the Warriors (for the arena renovations), and they would have to do it again to keep the Athletics.

  49. @Jerry – ” Yes, increased season tickets sales are key, but Lew needs to soften his position on the fan issue and admit that A’s fans are good fans and that Oakland can draw when there is some hope of a winning team. ”
    Please provide us with the link to an article where Wolff said the fan’s weren’t good. And if what you said is true, that Oakland needs some hope of a good team in order to show up, that does not bode well for keeping the team in the Oakland area. We need people to show up through thick and thin. Especially the thin. That is what truly proves a location can support a team. The East Bay might have the best fans, but there are just not enough of them.
    .
    It’s really too bad that the Giants made it to their LDS and the A’s didn’t make it to theirs. It would have been interesting to see it the other way around and how much orange was replaced with green for people who wanted the party to continue.

  50. “The East Bay might have the best fans, but there are just not enough of them.”

    There are not enough of them to consistently fill up a 50 year old multi-purpose stadium in a shitty part of town. But that’s true anywhere (SF too). There would likely be plenty enough to fill up a new stadium in a nice part of town.

  51. @Tim – There is a large overlap of “potential customers” with stadiums in SF and Oak. Even with a new stadium in Oakland, both teams are going to suffer when the other is doing well. If one is in a down year, they will lose attendance to the other. As you put distance between them, the effect of the fortunes (or misfortunes) of a club are reduced on the other.
    .
    This is, of course, completely ignoring the fact that there, so far, isn’t a ‘nice part of town’ in Oakland where a stadium can practically be built.

  52. “it is somewhat hypocritical for people who left Oakland to insist that the Athletics be forced to stay.” The comparison between a family struggling to financially care for its children and an incredibly wealthy ownership group, who’ve never lost money and will make a small fortune when they sell seems a bit off.

  53. “This is, of course, completely ignoring the fact that there, so far, isn’t a ‘nice part of town’ in Oakland where a stadium can practically be built.”
    Well yeah, that’s the kicker. I get sick of reading superficial analyses like “Population of SJ is 2.5X Oakland, therefore the A’s should move there.” The population base in the East Bay is plenty sufficient to support an MLB franchise – the question is whether there’s the corporate base, stadium site and funding model to get a stadium built.

  54. @LoneStranger: I’m sorry but I can’t find a link. A few years ago there was an article in one of the Bay Area weekly papers that interviewed Lew and even had a few quotes from Fisher. Basically, he said that he realized that his campaign to move the A’s to SJ turned off many of the existing fans but that he did not care about losing East Bay fans since he would cultivate new fans in the South Bay. And he has been saying for many years that the low fan attendance was one of the main reasons for leaving Oakland. But he and many others have failed to realize that this is a chicken-and-egg thing: Since Schott &Hoffmann, ownership has been wanting to leave town. This had a major chilling effect on attendance: people who had been supporting the team didn’t want to keep paying money to owners whose goal was to get out of town. This lack of support was then used to justify leaving town. A vicious circle that Lew has simply not been honest about.

    I resent the fact that Oakland fans seem to be held to a higher standard than fans in other cities. Other teams have had low attendance when the team played poorly and ownership does not insult them by saying that they can be replaced. Plus new ballparks in other towns have increased attendance and increased payroll, thereby leading to better teams, at least for a while. Also, few teams play in a 2-team market such as the Bay Area, where the competition with the Giants and many other types of entertainment events is huge.

    Ballpark access is key, and getting more important with increases in gas prices. Although i recognize the reason the A’s want SJ, it simply does not make sense from a geographical standpoint since it is tucked in the southern portion of the region. Oakland is right in the middle, plus it has BART. Yet this point is consistently down-played. I live in Oakland and originally tried to accept the move to SJ, but the poor access made me realize that I would have very little ability to go to nearly as many games as I have over the years in Oakland.

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