Good cop, bad cop, legacy (Updated to include Mayor’s letter)

Added 1:00 PM – I’ve taken the liberty of posting the text of Mayor Reed’s letter to Commissioner Selig.

Mr. Bud Selig, Commissioner
Major League Baseball
777 E. Wisconsin Avenue, Ste. 3060
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Dear Commissioner Selig:

When will the A’s be moving to San Jose? That’s the question that is most often asked of me by CEOs of Silicon Valley companies competing to retain and attract global talent, by youngsters excited about competing in little league baseball, and by fans throughout San Jose.

The A’s ownership continues to express its desire to locate the team in San Jose and I strongly endorse that outcome. There should be no doubt of San Jose’s ability to be a great host city for the team and for Major League Baseball. There should also be no doubt that the stadium could have been under construction by now.

We respect your desire to examine fully all aspects of allowing the A’s to move to Northern California’s largest city. In 2011, former MLB President Bob Dupuy, speaking on behalf of your office, asked that our City Council delay approving a public vote to advance a planned stadium project in Downtown San Jose. We abided by that request. Mr. Dupuy also indicated that you would soon make a final decision and, if favorable towards San Jose, the MLB would assist the City with the costs of a future election. Two years have passed since. As you know, we have been contacted many times by the MLB’s Blue Ribbon Panel and we have responded promptly and thoroughly in every instance. Meanwhile, we continue to communicate with leaders in the community and are prepared to advance implementation actions to the City Council following your decision.

Direct communication between us will help resolve any lingering issues about our commitment to having the A’s home plate located in San Jose and could reduce the probability for additional litigation. I’d appreciate an opportunity to discuss this with you and have asked my Chief of Staff, Pete Furman, to contact your office regarding scheduling a meeting with you. I hope you will look favorably upon the request.

Best Wishes,

Chuck Reed
Mayor

c: Lew Wolff

—–

It’s probably not a coincidence that in the span of two hours, Lew Wolff spoke for the first time this regular season about the stadium situation on Chronicle Live!, followed by San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed asking for a meeting with Bud Selig via a one-page letter sent to  the Commissioner’s office.

Reed is positioning the requested meeting as something that could head off future litigation. Over the last year, San Jose has become more vocal about challenging MLB through the courts. So far MLB hasn’t budged. I can’t imagine that this will work either. Regardless of whether San Jose actually has standing in a case against baseball, the sport still has the lion’s share of leverage. If granted the meeting, maybe Reed will come with a phalanx of high-profile lawyers to shake down Selig. More likely is the idea that Reed will continue to pitch San Jose’s positives (of which there are many) and try to allay any fears that the A’s can be self-sustaining in the long run. Remember, they have to be off revenue sharing in a new Bay Area stadium.

As for Wolff, he was peppered with a lot of questions by ChronLive’s Jim Kozimor. Unfortunately, Wolff refused to talk about any progress on the decision-making front for a stadium location, citing the Selig-imposed gag order on both teams. He was able to comment on other matters. On the prospects of the five year lease Wolff requested last year:

The environment of getting a (lease extension) is very positive.

That’s encouraging. All A’s fans hope that the flying rhetoric stops and the team and the JPA can work out an extension that benefits both sides. That’s not going to be easy with the Raiders asking for more revenue control. We’ll see over the coming months if a proper agreement can be worked out for all sides.

Asked if Wolff and the Fisher family would consider selling the team if Wolff doesn’t get his wish to move the franchise to San Jose:

The answer is no… we want to keep this generational.

Following the 14-minute interview, in-studio guest Mark Purdy further elaborated on the “generational” aspect. Purdy indicated that Lew could cede more of the stadium effort in the coming years, as he approaches 80. Next in line is Lew’s son Keith Wolff, who has been working on plans for Cisco Field and the Earthquakes Stadium, where major site work started happening in the last week. Lew says that the Quakes stadium is on track, but process could slow it down. For now he says that the Quakes stadium should be open for the 2014 MLS season, conceding that there could be delays in completing the project. I figure that once that venue is up and running, Keith Wolff will assume his father’s place as the public face of the stadium effort, if not the franchise itself. With the recent trend of teams acting as investment vehicles and development anchors, this is naturally hard-to-believe. Considering how Wolff views his ownership of the franchise and how he attends games frequently with his grandson, it’s not necessarily that far-fetched. Wolff dismissed Kozimor’s suggestion that the team is just fine collecting revenue sharing checks, responding that he wanted to leave the team and the sport in a better place than he found it. As long as there continues to be an impasse vis-à-vis San Jose, that’s inconceivable.

90 thoughts on “Good cop, bad cop, legacy (Updated to include Mayor’s letter)

  1. Re: Quakes stadium. I can tell you construction is moving at a snail’s pace. As far as the A’s, if Wolff is not selling and Oakland has been unable to come up with anybody willing to buy the team and meet the city’s conditions (owners pay for 100% of construction) anyway, this impasse could go on for a long time. Does it really benefit MLB to have one team draining revenues from the other teams, just to keep one of the Big Big $$ teams (the Giants) happy?

  2. Meanwhile Oakland officials have stepped up their efforts by offering alternative ballpark proposals? Really John? Talk about spewing a straight up lie on newsprint!
    Like Liccardo before, I think this is straight up posturing by Reed to show SJ constituents he’s being pro-active on the ballpark front. When the decision is finally revealed, it will look as if Reed (and Liccardo) forced the issue, forever cementing their San Jose legacies. Whatever, I just want A’s baseball in downtown San Jose and could care less who takes credit.
    BTW RM, at least on my smartphone, I like how the menu bar is now Sharks teal; a precursor to the future of this site? 😉

  3. Oakland efforts: Pep rallies, press conferences, cardboard signs, announcing then not doing an EIR on Victory Court, re-proposing the already-rejected Coliseum and Howard Terminal sites. If Oakland wants to keep the team and won’t/can’t pay for a ballpark, then it needs to find an ownership group willing to take on these responsibilities.

  4. I don’t know much about San Jose politics, except that Reed’s gonna be termed out in 2014 and Liccardo’s apparently gonna be in the race. Aren’t they the guys playing good cop/bad cop? Reed’s approach to Selig is respectful, courteous, but it’s perfectly consistent with Liccardo’s fairly loud litigation threats. They’re both very smart. Their GC/BC maneuvers wouldn’t be worth the trouble unless they thought they really had the votes on the Council to approve a lawsuit. Lawyers both, they also know a colorable legal theory when they see one. Maybe the Cartwright Act, mayb B & P Code sec. 17200? I still don’t see a federal A/T case. But these two aren’t just blowing smoke.

  5. Oh — I just remembered. I believe public entities are not “persons” who can sue under sec. 17200. Scratch that one. And I’m still scratching my head over what they have planned. It’ll be interesting.

  6. re: That’s not going to be easy with the Raiders asking for more revenue control.

    …the current, obsolete arrangement – MLB and NFL teams sharing a facility – is becoming more untenable by the day.

  7. Meanwhile, anybody else notice the “Let’s get Lew assassinated” post that’s been sitting on the front of Let’s Go Oakland’s Facebook page for five days now, without being taken down? Stay classy LGO – terroristic threats are always the sign of brilliant thinkers

  8. As far as the A’s negotiations with the Coliseum for a short-term lease extension is concerned, it behooves the A’s to wait and see what the Raiders do first on their respective lease situation. If the Raiders decide to sign a short-term lease with Santa Clara, then the A’s will have better leverage with their negotiations with Oakland.

  9. @suit,
    Legal action won’t happen; its all smoke from SJ Pols. Its also not necessary because there are many a way (arrangent) to allow the A’s access to San Jose AND compensate the Giants for “loosing” Santa Clara County. Again, see Expos/Orioles/DC saga for details…
    BTW, Wolffs continued silence (as well as Giants) is still the real story here. He knows exactly how this will end, but simply cannot tell at this point. (I’m sure RM knows as well, but getting down low info now a days is futile)

  10. @llpec,
    You bring up an interesting point re the A’s lease at the Coliseum. Currently in theory, the A’s have nowhere to play in 2014. Regardless if MLB says today that the A’s will be allowed SJ in 2018, where to play until then is a huge deal. If its the Coli great; if not, then ownership has to scramble to find a temp home ASAP. Perhaps this is the biggest impediment to a decision being revealed (I say “revealed” because I’m confident the committee/MLB has already decided on San Jose; probably made the decision two years ago while on the frontburner)

  11. @Tony D, Based on your theory there is another possible reason for the silence on a final decision on a permanent home for the A’s. I think that AT&T Park may very well be on the table as a temporary home for the A’s as part of a compensation package with the Giants. The A’s could become tenants of the Giants for about four or five seasons until Cisco Field in San Jose is completed.

  12. What I’m failing to understand here is why San Jose is rattling the sabres on a lawsuit, including quoted approval from Wolff, if the San Jose move was imminent? If everything was falling into place, wouldn’t San Jose local officials just sit back and let it happen? “Avoiding future litigation” sends an entirely different message to me. But then again, I guess I’m just biased.
    .
    And RE: keeping the A’s “generational” in the Wolff family if San Jose is taken off the table: for anyone who believes Lew Wolff wants to hold onto this team if he is “forced” to stay in Oakland, I’ve got a beautiful new bridge over the Bay I’d love to sell you (no warrantee on the bolts).

  13. @Tony D – No, I have no idea how this will end. Your confidence is misplaced.

  14. @jh510,
    See my post above about why the saber rattling is happening. As RM suggested in the title of this thread…it’s all about legacy.
    Also, Wolff would never be forced to stay in Oakland, just Alameda Co (or CoCo). We are way beyond that by now, but if forced to stay…can you say YOUR MISSION SAN JOSE (aka Fremont) ATHLETICS!

  15. I don’t see why Liccardo and Reed would jeopardize their reputations by making hollow threats.

  16. @RM,
    You mentioned yourself in the Baer thread that you had info you couldn’t divulge AND that the battle was half over for SJ. What was all that supposed to mean? Ok, maybe you don’t know exactly how this will end, but you do know a lot more than you’ve shared with us; I’ll just leave it at that..
    (BTW, still personally very confident this will have a happy ending for the A’s and SJ)

  17. @suit,
    I live in San Jose; what reputations? If anything, Reed needs to appear more pro-active as a mayor and Liccardo should announce soon his mayoral ambitions. IMHO, they don’t have a rep yet..

  18. I can’t remember where I read it, but Lew Wolff is on record stating that the payroll will not rise appreciably if a south bay stadium was built. If he really is trying to keep this generational, i wonder if Fisher shares that goal? Fisher is the wild card in all of this. I bet we hear about “Plan B” before too long!

  19. @David – Wolff projects annual revenue to hit $230 million in San Jose. He said yesterday that by MLB guidelines payroll should be 40-50% of revenue. Not difficult to see that payroll reaching $90-110 million range in that scenario, maybe less during lean rebuilding years.

  20. JH510, FWIW, I don’t think Wolff has ever supported the SJ lawsuit.

    Tony D, you’re grasping at straws here. There’s nothing that’s been done in the last couple of years (or months) to suggest anything is imminent or what that decision will ultimately be. Sure there are some positive SJ signs here and there, but it’s a major overreach to suggest any real meaning towards any of it. It may (hopefully?) end up happening in the end, at this point there’s nothing but tea leaf reading and Ouija boards.

  21. @tony, I live in Oakland and I hear quite a bit about Reed and even know that Liccardo is a well-educated guy with huge ambition. Of course, we hear about other cities’ politicians largely because, since Jerry Brown moved on, they contrast so sharply with our own.

  22. @dmoas: I agree with you, I don’t think Lew really wants this to get to that point, and the gag order MLB has put in place restricts him from saying anything to that effect anyway.
    .
    But the fact that the Merc article said that Wolff “knew about the letter and was OK with it,” and was quoted as saying “its logical he’d be requesting that…” regarding a meeting that explicitly references trying to avoid future litigation speaks volumes to me. I don’t recall him ever going on record to that degree regarding SJ’s efforts (threats?) in this area.
    .
    But overall, you’re larger point is spot on, at this point we’re all grasping at straws and trying to read the tea leaves of every quote and every action (or hints about action) as our frustration builds. Meanwhile, we’ve just hit the 8 year anniversary of Wolff taking over as managing partner, and 4 years since he formally initiated efforts to move to San Jose, and the bottom line is the team is no closer to the new facility it needs.

  23. The A’s will only move to SJ if SJ sues Selig and MLB. The lawsuit itself may trigger other suits to follow but it is the only way now. As we want to say all the time in sports, blow it up.

    Just remember how Tampa got a team, via a lawsuit. All SJ needs is some willing judges and/or court.

  24. no decision is probably imminent but all the signs have been pointing to sj. there is nothing oak has done or what the a’s/mlb have been doing or saying that shows that oak is even on the radar right now.

  25. @ “he bottom line is the team is no closer to the new facility it needs” – Let’s see, there’s a sponsor (Cisco) that has already inked a naming dealing. We have SJ who has the EIR and most of the land acquisitions completed. Then we have Oakland who has done..errrr, pep rallies?!! The only thing that really needs to be done at this point lies with the BRC and Selig….

  26. @Anon: thank you, couldn’t have made the point better myself. After four years of only pursuing San Jose, there is a naming-rights deal for a stadium that can’t be built, and a TBD land acquisition deal for a stadium that can’t be built. So, the only piece of the puzzle remaining is that pesky issue of gaining territorial rights from the Giants. Now that we’ve waited 48 months for that to be taken care of with no resolution from MLB, I’m sure it will figure itself out. In the meantime, lets just all get busy waiting while Wolff stays the course.

  27. Well, as much as I appreciate Reeds letter Cisco Field would not be under construction by now, under any circumstance because (drum role please)…THE LAND AT DIRIDON HAS NOT BEEN FULLY ACQUIRED YET AND YOU KEEP DANGLING THIS REFERENDUM CRAP WHEN ONE MIGHT TECHNICALLY NOT BE NECESSARY. Rather than write letters and hint at litigation, perhaps SJ pols should be busy assembling 14 acres in the downtown core AND ensuring MLB that the ballpark WILL HAPPEN 100%!
    BTW, in the letter Reed makes reference to “additional” litigation. Perhaps he’s not talking about the city possible suing MLB but (as Wolff would put it) further lawsuits by phonies I.e. Stand For SF. Sounds reasonable.
    Will grasp at straws to the very end, because right now that’s all we got. But it’s pretty obvious that San Jose might very well happen and Oakland is no longer considered a long term option for MLB. “Some day this war’s gonna end…”

  28. If anyone wants to argue that a referendum is needed in San Jose for a ballpark, I present to you the Earthquakes SSS now under construction. (Cough! DIDN’T VOTE FOR THAT STADIUM cough! I wonder why…?)

  29. @ JH510 – “Now that we’ve waited 48 months for that to be taken care of with no resolution from MLB, I’m sure it will figure itself out.” Do you work for JQ and city of Oakland because that exactly the type of attitude that has lead to the predicament we are today. Since you are in the 510, the balls been in Oakland’s court for the past 15+ years. What has been done that San Jose hasn’t already completed? Sitting on your ass holding pep rallies rallying around imaginary venues like VC and CC doesn’t achieve much, yet the Oakland partisans are content with it. Maybe that’s the delay, because after all the BRC was formed to find a suitable home in the present A’s territory and not necessarily to find one outside it. A resolution will come in time, and when the hammer drops, I’m glad at least one city is prepared for the outcome.

  30. Oakland city officials have looked especially foolish when comparing how they’ve handled the A’s vs Sacramento attempting to keep the Kings from bolting. Sacramento officials have accomplished more in two months than Oakland has in 18 years. Wolff appears smarter the longer the situation drags on, meanwhile Selig and the giants mgt. look more and more foolish – the A’s are winning the PR battle at least.

  31. @Anon: sorry it wasn’t clearer, but my comment you quoted was entirely sarcastic: we’ve waited this long and no change to the territorial rights “blockade” has come, and I don’t believe we’re getting one from MLB anytime soon. Not only that, now SJ pols are subtly threatening litigation. This does not scream happy ending, yet Wolff stays the course.
    .
    I have no problem with you criticizing Oakland officials for their lack of action, we’re all frustrated with them. But the point I’m desperately trying to make is there are many also frustrated with Wolff running the A’s into a brick wall that is territorial rights, which doesn’t seem to have been weakened over the last 4 years of trying. Oakland officials have gone on record very recently that they’d love to work with A’s ownership to find a site in Oakland, but Lew doesn’t seem to be taking their calls. That doesn’t excuse the last decade of inaction in Oakland, but looking to the future it doesn’t seem like Wolff is looking anywhere other than that brick wall, which is too bad.

  32. @duffer: regarding Sacramento, you’re right, its great to see so much positive energy around the potential for getting the local team a new home. The interesting aspect to that story is how much of that came forward when the team was actually put up for sale, which is that 2-month window you point out. Not that that door will ever be opened for the A’s, as Wolff intends to hold onto this team and his San Jose aspirations “indefinitely” and “generationally”, but it was interesting to see the energy around a local ownership group that actually supported a team’s home city and fans, and said “we’re going to make it work here.” All this for an NBA franchise that had less than $3M operating revenue last year. Fascinating.

  33. “Direct communication between us . . . could reduce the probability for additional litigation.”

    That is the lightest litigation “threat” I’ve ever read. It’s more interesting as a dig at the ongoing Giants-funded lawsuit than as a positive assertion. If something’s probable it’s more likely than not. But “probability” is a value somewhere on the scale zero to 100%. “Probability” can be slight or great. Of course, if it can be “reduced” it’s not zero. But Reed’s being very vague.

    Still, Reed’s stance is not inconsistent with the real litigation threats Liccardo has been throwing out.

  34. I gave up on tea leaf reading long ago. I just want the A’s future in the Bay Area to be secured and it is presently blocked on, seemingly, every front. It’s a crappy way for such an historic franchise to be, this dreary limbo.
    .
    All that said, I am so looking forward to this season. I feel like this is a 95 win team and I don’t think these guys are gong to be satisfied going out like they did last year. Whether it ultimately ends up flying in San Jose in 2018, or staying in Oakland for 40 more years, I want to see a “2013” flag earned in October. And when it is, I want to be there cheering on with the 15,000 most resilient die hard fans I know (plus 21,000 less die hard fans).

  35. PS- I want “my own” Wrigleyville. I don’t care if it’s Oakland, San Jose or Santa Rosa.

  36. @JH510 – If you’ve monitored this situation like many old timers here, you’ve seen that there are definitely “signs” that point that the end is coming (whether to SJ, Oakland, or Timbuktu). The fact that Beaer has softened up on his stance, as well as the supposed leak of “guidance” seems that there definitely things working in the background. As for LW, his mentality his also shifted 180 from complaining about the situation publicly (remember the press release war with the Gnats?!) to now of seemingly reserved confidence. This time around, I’ll give him a free pass given the historical ineptitude of Oakland, but sometimes, when you want the impossible to happen, you have to keep persisting without any reservation to convince others (as well as yourself), that it’s the right thing to do, but that it is the necessary thing that has to be done in order for the A’s to survive and relish in today’s MLB environment.

  37. @ JH510 – btw> if it wasn’t clear, I knew you were being sarcastic about my comment, however I was also paralleling your comment with “nothing is happening” in line with Oakland’s usual actions/stance.

    @ Jeffrey – “I want to be there cheering on with the 15,000 most resilient die hard fans I know (plus 21,000 less die hard fans).” I almost feel off my chair laughing at this….so sad, but so true….

  38. True, JH510, the A’s would certainly do better with a new ballpark in Oakland than if they moved to Portland, Vegas, San Antonio, blah, blah, blah. However the Oakland option does not appear to be happening any time soon.

    After four years – Selig is now questioning if San Jose can support the A’s? SJ is the largest city in Norcal, 10th largest in the U.S.(larger than most cities that host MLB teams), and compares very well against other U.S. cities demographically. The Sharks have sold out each home game for 10+ years. Even the NCAA tourney draws excellent in San Jose. SJ is one of the few sites which consistently fill up their stadium for the March Madness games – that’s why the NCAA uses San Jose frequently. Is there a better location for the A’s other than San Jose? Selig is so indecisive.

  39. Anon, both those signs you point to are simply MLB telling it’s two combative owners to STFU. Every time either one of them complains are makes comments about the situation it puts MLB in a worse position and makes everyone look bad while doing nothing for the situation. All you’re doing is reading the leaves by drawing the conclusion you’re drawing.

  40. Selig will ignore Reed’s letter. Selig runs a monopoly and has done nothing about the A’s situation for years. His “bosses,” the owners, obviously don’t care that he does nothing about it.

  41. reL Oakland officials have gone on record very recently that they’d love to work with A’s ownership to find a site in Oakland, but Lew doesn’t seem to be taking their calls.

    …Oakland’s conditions remain this: City provides a slab of land on a site already rejected by MLB. A’s owners then pay 100 percent for the construction of the ballpark and take 100 percent of the risks. If the project is a financial disaster, the owners are left dealing with the consequences. Wonder why nobody is willing to “work with the City of Oakland” under terms such as these?

  42. Anyone been to a game yet? More than ever, this club has Oakland stamped all over it. It’s the fan’s team; it’s the team’s team; Lew Wolfe is irrelevant. It’s kinda hard to despise him, he’s so fabulously inept. Sure, he wants to move the team, jack up prices, develop real estate. Whatever. We’re first time season ticket holders, it’s April, and we’re loving it!

  43. @jHh510

    Hey jh510 youneed any pro Oakland backup???

  44. @ fozzi bear a.k.a tony d

    I think, no I know the owners are going to say no to s.j, howard terminal field will happen, oaklabd will provide the site and lew builds the stadium. Perfect area in downtown oakland with a vertical direction to all the downtown Oakland business, resuurect berkely A’s fans from the sf giants control…( too many hot Asian chicks on telegraph wearing giants gear, this has to stop) from richmond to Santa Rosa.

  45. Hey Freddy,
    Speaking of irrelevant and inept; I present to you the City of Oakland…
    Go A’s and Go SJ!

  46. C’mon, bagging on Oakland is old hat, and I can do it better than either you or Marine Layer, two hands tied behind my back. If you are rooting against Oakland, you are rooting against the A’s. That’s where it stands for this season, and probably the the next, and maybe the next after that. I don’t waste my time rooting against San Jose, what’s the point in that?

    I don’t open my pocketbook for Lew Wolfe; he’s a cheapskate but we have the last laugh. If I were a businessman or a politician, I wouldn’t trust him. He’s the weaker of the armies; easily exploited. Sometimes you exploit via stasis. Poor guy, I doubt he could sub-divide a six-pack.

    We’re only three games into the season, but I could extoll the virtues of a season ticket package, if you were the least bit interested. First time I’ve ever said that!

    The only reason you want the A’s to move to San Jose is out of personal convenience. If that were to happen, I will move onto other sports entertainment experiences, which abound around me, thank you very much. No way in hell I will suffer that silly commute.

    Until then, we’re gonna have a great season and you’re gonna keep repeating yourself! Live it up!

  47. re: The only reason you want the A’s to move to San Jose is out of personal convenience.

    …So what is your solution for getting a new ballpark in Oakland when there is no public money and not enough private money available in the East Bay to get it done? A charitable contribution by the owners, perhaps? (There’s no acceptable site, either) Please enlighten us as to what MLB’s Blue Ribbon Committee, commissioned to explore ballpark opportunities in the A’s current territory, has missed after 4-plus years of looking?

  48. Freddy,
    Me rooting against Oakland would be like me rooting against the Niners in this years Super Bowl …they already lost! You can’t root against something that’s already lost. Oh, and BTW…GO A’S!

  49. There is one powerful source of influence that IMO could get the Giants to compromise with the A’s in order to allow the team to move to San Jose. That source of power and influence would be from the Santa Clara County based corporate community. The Giants receive a large amount of their advertising sponsorship and season ticket base from this community. By threatening to withhold some of this needed revenue sources to the Giants, this could help force an end to this stalemate in finding a suitable future home for the A’s. By using the free market and civic pride, the Santa Clara corporate community can get more accomplished towards the goal of bringing MLB to the nation’s tenth largest city than any legal threat coming from city officials.

    • @llpec – SVLG CEO Carl Guardino chimed in today on his blog. I wonder if this is the first move of SVLG to get more directly involved.

      San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed has the patience of Job. He has reached out, yet again, to Major League Baseball Commissioner and professional Hermit Bud Selig – the same Bud Selig who appointed a “Blue Ribbon Task Force” 4 years and one month ago to explore the proposed move of the A’s to downtown San Jose. Yes, four years ago. Or, in Silicon Valley’s innovation economy terms, four iPhones ago.

      The objection, it seems, still comes from the San Francisco Giants, who have won World Championships twice in the past four years. They fear their “Territorial Rights” to San Jose – as if we were part of their fiefdom – which, ironically, the A’s willingly granted to the Giants back in 1992 when the Giants wanted to build a ballpark . . . here in San Jose. No good deed goes unpunished. Its funny – but not in a humorous way – that the Giants don’t mind competing on the baseball field, but seem to hate competition when it comes to the market-place. How anathema to the culture of Silicon Valley and the global innovation economy.

      We applaud Mayor Reed for his fortitude and focus in once again reaching out to Commissioner Selig. At the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, we have also written to the Commissioner – more than two years ago – signed by 100 CEOs. Like Mayor Reed, we are still waiting by our mailbox for the courtesy of a reply.

      “Monopoly” is a great board game. When it comes to a business model, however, the Monopoly we call Major League Baseball elicits behavior like we are witnessing here in San Jose and Silicon Valley

      Were SVLG to use its own impressive lobbying power, wheels might turn more quickly.

  50. “No way in hell I’ll suffer that silly commute.” And of course we all know getting to Oakland on a weeknight is an awesome commute. But if you love your team, you do it. It’s something I will do without reservation if a park is built in Oakland, and I live in San Jose.

  51. Any idea how many of the CEO’s who signed that letter have corporate investments in AT & T Park? If those who signed decided to pull their investments, I wonder if the Giants would change their tune or look for some kind of truce. Of course that’s a pipe dream because there are a ton of Giants fans this would affect. But I am going to assume, safely or otherwise, that it’s pressure similar to that which might force someone’s hand.

  52. If they haven’t, they probably should start to use that lobbying power with Congress.

  53. Grasping at straws: everyone assumes the delay in revealing the decision is because of the Giants. 2-3 years ago; perhaps. Now, I’m thinking no. There is something out there that is causing this delay. Since I believe that the committee/MLB has already chosen San Jose, the delay is either the result of indemnification for the Giants, San Jose getting its side squared away or Wolff guaranteeing financing/revenues associated with Cisco Field. We WILL find out one day, of course hopefully soon..

  54. “When will the A’s be moving to San Jose? That’s the question that is most often asked of me by CEOs of Silicon Valley companies competing to retain and attract global talent, by youngsters excited about competing in little league baseball, and by fans throughout San Jose.”

    Obviously Chuck doesn’t live in SJ. NOBODY is talking about the A’s down here. SJ has such a hard-on for SF it’s not even funny.

  55. Please give it a rest – Crazy Lazy. That fictious myth about San Jose as “giants territory” is really getting old. “SJ has a hard-on for SF it’s not even funny” (wtf?)

    In a Merc News poll, 62% of San Jose resident favor the A’s move to San Jose. Back in the days when the gnats played at the ‘Stick – south bay fans were at least a 50-50 split between the A’s and Giants.

  56. re: NOBODY is talking about the A’s down here.

    …not exactly accurate. Are the A’s the most popular baseball team in SJ? No. Do they have a decent-sized fan base in the South Bay that would only grow if they moved here?

  57. …would only grow if they moved here? Absolutely. (Got left off the previous post)

  58. This blog has been around for so long, you have to expect trolls like this crazy character to pop up every now and then. For those of us who really live in San Jose, the truth is a lot of folks (both A’s, Giants and fans of other MLB franchises) ask about and want to see the A’s in San Jose. To say that no one is talking about it down here; that’s a straight up lie! BTW, welcome to the blog Lazy…

  59. “professional hermit” classy … that’ll get the job done…

  60. @David,
    Your the last person on this blog who should be sarcastically calling out south Bay officials for being “classy.” Why don’t you comment on RM’s latest thread on Quan and Oakland? (Sound of crickets chirping …)

  61. @TonyD – i call’em when and like i see’em. Also, I don’t see anything from that post that would be deemed “classless”… Do you?

  62. Whatever you say David. The city of Oakland’s entire “effort” at retaining the A’s has been classless. Leading folks like you into thinking they’ve been trying hard to keep the team when all along they can’t even afford it…that’s CLASSLESS! Any questions?

  63. “The San Francisco 49ers will host a Draft Bash presented by Bud Light from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 25, at San Pedro Square in downtown San Jose. The free-ticketed event is open to all ages and will be held as an outdoor block party on St. John Street with a celebration throughout the San Pedro Square Market.”

    http://www.49ers.com/news/article-2/49ers-Announce-Draft-Bash-Event/edf64a47-5d75-486d-978b-2ffbdcc51a50

    can you imagine if the a’s did something like this? the draft as an event is a pretty big deal especially in the nfl and for the fans. wonder if those niner fans who are upset that they’re moving down to santa clara are appalled by this decision by the niners to host such a major event in sj over frsico. you also wonder in future major new announcement after the move down to santa clara like when they hired harbaugh in early 2011 whether they’d hold press conferences in sj or still in frisco as they did with harbaugh.

  64. @TonyD – Why are you so combative? The bay Area is a wonderful place to live. The whole Bay Area.

  65. “The only reason you want the A’s to move to San Jose is out of personal convenience. If that were to happen, I will move onto other sports entertainment experiences, which abound around me, thank you very much. No way in hell I will suffer that silly commute.”

    ie, the reason you want the A’s to stay in Oakland is personal convenience.

  66. re: NOBODY is talking about the A’s down here.

    So I’m driving down Route 87 this morning and a car is fast-approaching with a couple of those sports team flags hanging out the window on each side of the car. I figured they were either Sharks or 49er flags. Didn’t let the thought cross my mind that they could be Giants flags. Well, they were A’s flags. And it’s not exactly playoff time either – the team is only 2-2.

  67. All I know is, I walk around Downtown SJ and every sports bar I see has huge Giants signs, but nothing for the A’s. The VTA buses all have Giants ads on them. During playoff time, the buses all said ‘Go Giants!’ on the marquee, but nothing for the A’s. As I walk to school (I go to SJSU) I am constantly harassed for wearing A’s gear. Last week it was because I had yellow Nike shorts with my A’s shirt and hat. Don’t even get me started on the sea of Giants crap that is the SJSU campus. I walk by people’s houses and see those stupid Comcast authentic fan signs for the Giants, and none for the A’s. Perhaps you make think these are trivial things, but I look at shit like this and it seriously makes me doubt that fan support would be apparent in the South Bay. How can you people not see these things?

  68. So outside of opening day, the attendance at the “O” has been A’s like. If this team played anywhere else the place would have been at or near capacity during this recent 4 game home stand. I know the season is young but if the A’s do contend all season long and they can not even average 25K a game it would be a travesty.

    So I am going to take a stab at my crystal ball and say the next A’s sellout will be on April 27 with the next one on May 27th when they play the Giants.

  69. “ie, the reason you want the A’s to stay in Oakland is personal convenience.”

    That could be one of the reasons. I could list a half-dozen others but I’ll let you do that since you already know what I’m thinking.

    Likewise a new venue does not guarantee increased attendance. In fact, that’s only a minor consideration. There are hundreds of ways you could increase attendance with the current stadium, but I don’t think anyone is interested in that, here or within the organization.

    • @freddy – I’m interested. Please, explain away. And use numbers, we’re not afraid of those.

  70. re: increase attendance in the existing stadium.

    Yes, by charging minor league prices for major league baseball. The prices are already rock-bottom now but let’s just let people in for $5. Just get the other teams to subsidize the A’s even more than they already do. Just keep the A’s a permanent “cost center” for the league just so Oakland can keep Major League Baseball without having to spend any $

  71. re: During playoff time, the buses all said ‘Go Giants!’ on the marquee, but nothing for the A’s

    …It’s even worse than that. At the city’s July 4th parade a couple years ago, one of the city council members was in the parade sporting a Giants hat. Yes, he was proudly showing his allegiance to the organization that is preventing San Jose from becoming a major league city. I was close enough to ask him, “Where’s your A’s hat?” He meekly replies, “Giants,” perhaps having realized how stupid it was for him to wear that hat, under the circumstances….But to say the A’s have no support in San Jose is just not accurate. I’ve got an A’s sticker on my car, the guy next door flies an A’s flag. Stomper shows up at San Jose school events, etc. There are A’s fans here…

  72. ML, if you’d like to discuss ways to increase attendance – within this stadium or the next – I’d be happy to pursue that with you. Not that anything is gonna happen, we could just shoot the shit, you know?

    We may be somewhat at logical odds from each other: I think you’ve jumped to the conclusion that newballpark is the solution. In that regard, you must allow me to respectfully disagree.

    Attendance may only be related tangentially – at the moment, almost diametrically – to real estate and other concerns. For the next 1+ years, real gameday attendance is purely an inventory management problem, sadly of little concern. As long as the franchise valuation rises without tinkering and Selig keeps them waiting, this set of higher-ups doesn’t really care about the stands.

    Suits me. I think the ballpark thing has been handled horribly, it’s no longer an issue, even if someday the A’s leave town, who cares? It’s April and we got baseball to play. A lot of customers I talk to feel the same way.

    If you wanna talk numbers, I’d start by outlining and extolling the virtues of a season ticket plan. Those are real numbers and they are working quite nicely right now. Numbers I could thoroughly explain. Numbers that should be documented for prosperity.

    Have I suggested lowering ticket prices? Hardly. I bet 1% of the buying population knows the deals you can score right now. But why the heck should I be doing their work? Don’t they have a marketing department?

    (They’re doing the best they can, I’m learning. Tough job.)

    If you wanna talk numbers, I’m sure as hell glad the City of Oakland isn’t giving Lew Wolfe one billion dollars. Heck, this year I’m trusting him with a thousand – divided between six guys. We’re gonna have a hell of a lotta fun but I’m still hedging my bets. Fiscal prudence.

    And just for my binder – how many acres did Lew want, between 66th & High, 880 & BART? How many property owners would have been involved in that? How much would that have cost? Before and after the mega-property crash?

    Minute Maid Stadium was looking pretty drained tonight.

    Thanks for hooking up the line breaks.

  73. @freddy – There’s a lot of short-term thinking in your comment, and none of the numbers I asked you to furnish. You win the award for this week’s most scatterbrained comment, I’ll give you that.

    I’m serious about this. If you have a well thought-out plan or have considered putting one together, I’ll give you a post, maybe even a series to hash it out. It’s up to you.

  74. Tip of the hat. You know how to whistle. You just put your lips together and blow.

    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7878532/larry-merchant-leonard-shecter-chipmunks-sportswriting-clan

    This is supposed to be a blog, right?

    I’ve got a ton of great short-term thinking. Want to join us for a game? C’mon, you could use a Siskel for your Ebert. That would be fun.

    Are you a season ticket holder? Ooh, I’m pulling rank now. Most of our games are spoken for, but I’ll do my best to slot you in.

    We’ll probably like each other, too. As long as that Tony guy doesn’t turn up, but that is highly improbable.

  75. Shit: “none of the numbers I asked you to furnish” – unfurnished, I admit.

    What kinda numbers you want? Be specific.

    I learned my numbers in Evans Hall.

    • @freddy – Project how the A’s can get to $90 million in local revenue ($180M total) exclusive of revenue sharing at the Coliseum. You can search this site for similar projections.

      Keep in mind that the purpose of this exercise is to take the A’s off revenue sharing completely by 2016.

  76. re: City of Oakland isn’t giving Lew Wolfe one billion dollars.

    …And Wolff has not asked for any money from Oakland. What he’s said is he will pay for the stadium. But he wants to put it where it makes financial sense. Oakland is saying “Build your own stadium!” and then also telling him where he has to build it.

  77. Crazy Lazy -after a few sub .500 seasons (starting with 2013, the Dodgers will likely easily win the NL West)all the bandwagon phony Gnats support will disappear, along with the goofy Panda hats.

  78. @Lazy,
    Duffer pretty much sums it up; it’s called BANDWAGONISM! And it in no way relevant to whether San Jose will support the A’s or if folks are talking about it down here. BTW, when you’re making tons of money after a WS win, you can do things spend money on VTA advertisements. Trust me; when the A’s move to San Jose it will be ALL A’S IN SJ BABY!!

  79. Aw crap, I just wrote you a long response, ML, listed a number of wasted opportunities for increasing revenue, provided numbers. Clicked Post Comment and it disappeared. Oh well. You probably would have just shot me down anyway. And in the real world, A’s ownership displays little interest in connecting their product to customers; the exercise is futile.

  80. watching the a’s-hou series so far and those crawford boxes are joke. you wonder projecting out when cisco field is built that the rf area will have the same effect with a lot of cheap hrs.

  81. Right Tony D – we know who the real Giants are. They claim San Jose as their territory even though San Jose voters have previously (and wisely) rejected a Giants plan of moving to SJ. Also, the fact that Oakland is closer in proximity to San Jose than SF – yet the Giants still claim that SJ is “their territory” That would be interesting to how that lame argument – as well as all the other foolish Giants mgt’s arguments – would do in a courthouse if the A’s decide to sue MLB or the Giants.

  82. @duffer

    First the A’s owners would have to grow a pair and sue MLB or tell SJ to sue on it’s behalf. The A’s owner needs take lessons from AL Davis and Jerry Jones and tell the league this is what we are going to do and if you want to stop us sue us. Playing nice is why the A’s are still in this relocation mess today. The reason why I used JJ as an example was Pepsi (Dallas) vs Coke (NFL) and the fact that Dallas is the only team that does not share it’s merchandise revenue with the other teams.

  83. if you watched the wolff interview he had with chron live last week, he’s not going to push the issue or talk with other owners to get the issue resolved. he thinks the decision will be made by the commissioner and the exec committee, whatever that is, so looks as wolff and his son who’ll likely take over the stadium situation long term is at this time fine waiting the decision out.

  84. “@freddy – Nice work ducking the challenge”

    I work on websites for a living. If my website did something like that, I would not insult my customer.

    • @freddy – If you claim to have something to contribute, I’ll take you up on that offer. SOP in my book. If you don’t, I have little use for you. Go back to trolling.

      Guys like you make me want to consider joining the trend of blogs that have gotten rid of comments completely.

  85. Definitely, Mike2. Perhaps that’s what San Jose city officials are preparing for (since Wolff is reluctant to do so). All the recent comments by SJ mayor Reed, Liccardo, and now the SVLG CEO likely aren’t coincidence.

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