News for 7/3/13

There’s a lot of news during this holiday week. I figured it would be best to drop it all in here. First up, A’s news.

MLB announced today that it has retained John Keker of SF firm Keker & Van Nest to represent baseball in the San Jose antitrust lawsuit. Keker has a long and colorful history as one of the country’s top trial lawyers, and would be a formidable opponent for Joe Cotchett if the suit ever went to trial. Or, as a former partner at KVN, Wendy Thurm (@hangingsliders), put it:

Keker’s first statement about the case description of himself as a frequent defense lawyer is also colorful:

Keker also has his hands full defending Standard & Poor’s in the federal government’s lawsuit over allegedly fraudulent practices. Let the games begin, I say.

Besides MLB announcement, if you were worried that the lawsuit would leave the news cycle, there are new articles from the LA Times and Forbes covering the matter. In other news:

  • Members of the ILWU (Longeshoremen’s Union) are opposing the SSA settlement, which would close Howard Terminal and potentially convert it to a ballpark site. The union’s complaint is that the net effect of the settlement and consolidation is the loss of union jobs. This contention has evidently forced the Port of Oakland to again delay voting on the settlement to July 11.
  • BART’s still on strike. Last night’s announced attendance was 17,273, the smallest crowd since the end of May. Tonight’s a fireworks game with the 4th tomorrow, so crowds should be hefty despite the lack of BART.

—–

Away from the A’s…

  • The City of Glendale, Arizona, approved a 15-year lease deal to further subsidize the Coyotes NHL club, keeping them in town until at least 2018. The team has an out clause after only five years if they demonstrate they’ve lost $50 million over those first five years. In return, the team will be renamed the Arizona Coyotes. While the NHL continues to own the team in the interim until a purchase is finalized by Renaissance Sports & Entertainment, a new arena operator has been found in titan Global Spectrum.
  • Folks in Seattle were following the happenings in Glendale closely and were ready to pounce if no agreement could be made. Now the Emerald City and Chris Hansen are officially 0-for-2 in attempts to lure franchises to Puget Sound.
  • The City of Anaheim and the Angels are jointly funding a study to determine the cost to keep Angel Stadium up-to-date. Initial estimates have the cost to renovate Angel Stadium at $120-150 million. After the Dodgers spent $100 million to renovate clubhouses and scoreboards, I’d be surprised if the Angel Stadium tab was only $150 million.
  • As the cost to build a AAA ballpark in El Paso rises, the new owners of the franchise backed away from giving $12 million in personal guarantees towards the project.
  • Curbed has a neat pictorial retrospective on the various ballparks that have called New York home over the decades.

And a quick announcement: I plan to be in New York for a few days around August 24-25 Labor Day weekend. I’m still locking down the plans. The Yankees are in town that weekend and the Mets prior to that. I’m working to take in games at both ballparks, and some US Open tennis action if I can fit it in. If you’re there at that time, drop me a line (email, Twitter) and we can have a chat and/or take in a game.

31 thoughts on “News for 7/3/13

  1. Let a jury decide the case. Let a jury decide if the stoopid A/T exemption should stand.

  2. Daniel,
    IMHO, don’t think this thing will ever go to trial/see a jury. Much, much easier to settle and allow the A’s access to SCCO/SJ by the following: make SCCO shared territory status, guarantee the Giants franchise value and perhaps guarantee the Giants revenue levels until AT&T Park is paid off. A win, win all around!
    BTW, Seattle has MLB and the NFL…stop crying about not having the NBA or NHL!

  3. A lawyer’s job is to win arguements. It’s not a lawyer’s job to be intellectually honest. As much as I want a speedy end to this whole issue, a part of me wants to hear what each side says in court and enjoy $2 Wednesdays at the Coliseum until 2023– or 12 yuan Wednesdays since we’ll be owned by China.

  4. Briggs is right. This saga is going to take 10 years to settle. I hope ML has plans on keeping this blog open until than.

  5. If you’re interested in sporting venue renovations, check out this page showing off the two and a half year plan to update Daytona International Speedway.

    http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/Vanity-Pages/2013/Redevelopment.aspx

    They mention “neighborhoods” which is also a word Wolff used to describe his plan for the new stadium. These will be eleven areas, each about the length of a football field. Places for fans to congregate, take a break during the down-time, relax and buy food at food courts. It is designed to be open so that you won’t miss any on-track action. The idea is that they aren’t just competing with other sporting events but with technology to get fans to the track. Sound familiar?

    One of the other main changes is removing the grandstand from the backstretch and replacing the old seats on the frontstretch with wider seats. They will lose capacity but will be able to focus on a better experience. Also sound familiar?

    Ok, how about this? They’re remodeling/adding 53 suites.

  6. The Wolff’s will have the A’s in a new yard in Fremont way before letting this thing fester for 10 years. Seriously, MLB allowing the A’s franchise to rot at the coliseum (which players and coaches alike won’t like) for another 10+ years just to appease a spoiled-rich franchise across the Bay? Don’t think so..

  7. What’s even better than the Giants losing? The Giants being no-hit, of course.

  8. What I learned from watching sports news last night.

    1.Enjoyed watching Dusty Baker as Homer Bailey no hit the Giants.
    2. Oakland sports teams need to find the next Glendale or El Paso to subsidize the team and it’s new arena. (j/k). Glendale in example on where not to build a stadium and why cities should not subsidize sports teams. This move only delayed the Coyotes from leaving in 5 years. According to field of schemes, Glendale might have to sell/lease it’s city hall just to cover this year’s 15 million dollar payment.
    3. Other than Boston the A’s are the most balance team in the AL.

  9. If Glendale can’t keep the Coyotes past 5 years, would love to see Vegas get an NHL franchise (believe Sin City has a few arena proposals in the pipeline). Seattle has enough franchises with the Seahawks, Mariners and Sounders.

  10. Very important points from Mayor Quan Interview
    1. Quan has been in constant talks with MLB
    2. Port Commision is in process of doing a EIR on HT
    3. New scoreboards coming
    4. If teams agree Stadiums go up april 2017
    5. Raiders EIR will be done by Summers end
    6. MLB has always wanted the waterfront site
    7. If a deal goes down HT will be A’s new home more likely thanCC.

    Lets Go Oak-Land!!!!!

  11. On one hand I hate to see a city lose its team but on the other I was looking forward to this Coyotes mess ending. You know they’ll be right back in the same spot in 5 years. I hope not though.

  12. There is a possibility that prep work is under way for a draft-EIR to develop Howard Terminal. The Port Commission/Oakland is NOT in the process of doing an EIR for Howard Terminal. BIG difference! The fact that Quan said there was highlights the massive leadership problem Oakland has in retaining its teams.

  13. Q: How can you tell if Quan isn’t lying?
    A: Her mouth is closed.

  14. @ A’s fan
    Jean Quan and Oakland are the devil himself and Mayor Reed, San Jose and Poppa Wolff are the way the Truth and the life. Lol!!!

  15. @goeveryone,
    What I said last week stands: if San Jose can’t get a ballpark deal done due to us blowing it (not some territorial cock block!), then I’ll support an A’s ballpark in Oakland. That said, aren’t you a little concerned about what’s coming out of Quan’s mouth? The Kool Aide she’s selling is horrendous!

    I have a hard time believing that its now raining (pouring!) dollar bills in the city of Oakland for two, maybe three, sports venues, as well as the site preps/clean up and adjacent infrastructure improvements that would be necessary. San Jose is a much wealthier city than Oakland, especially on the corporate and personal income front, yet there’s no way in hell we would be able to do what Quan’s proposing in Oakland. Sky’s the limit in Oakland to issue bonds, raise taxes for venues/developments that could total between $2-3 billion?

    Maybe there’s a reason Quan’s has an “approval” rating in the 20% range…(calling Don Perata!!)

  16. Just a small correction. That Keker quote is not in reference to this case. Shea was quoting from the SF Gate profile of Keker, which originally appeared last year.

  17. @GoAsDubRaiders

    Mayor Quan is going to say all the right things since 2014 is an election year. You don’t want to be that mayor who did not try to keep the A’s, Raiders, and Warriors in town. She is fighting for her job and will say all the right things to keep what’s left of her constituents happy.

    Unless the A’s relocation is brought up at some future owner’s meeting we won’t see resolution on this matter until sometime next decade. 5-7 years of litigation and 3-5 years for stadium construction.

  18. Mike2, no. This lawsuit will likely be over by this time next year. The only part of the suit that matters is standing. That’ll likely be decided within 6 – 12 months. If SJ gets standing and it proceeds to discovery, MLB will cave. It will NOT take 10+ years for this to play out nor will it ever sniff a jury.

  19. The Giants current plight is a legit target, but, you know, we’ll see.

    When I was a law student in the late 80s a lawyer in SF I’d known a long time gave me the firm resume of what was then Keker & Brockett and said, “That’s how you build a litigation shop.” He was trying to convince me to spend my first year after law school clerking for a judge. Every lawyer in that K&B firm had clerked for a federal judge. As I later learned when I started to practice in SF, the Keker firm is quite possibly the best group of litigators under one roof. The firm has grown a bit and changed somewhat over the years, but it’s still exceptional. Their motion to dismiss for lack of standing will be state of the art.

  20. @dmoas

    My 5-7 year time frame was from the Rays/Mariner lawsuits in the 70’s/90’s. Unless there is a LGBT on the legal docket our judicial system is pretty slow.

  21. @mike2 — a motion to dismiss has to be filed within 3 weeks of the filing of the complaint, and the Northern District local rules set up a five-week schedule for briefing and hearing of the motion. So you’re looking at less than 2 months for the hearing. Of course, the court can take some time to consider the motion. But you can expect a decision on such a motion before the post season starts.

  22. Funny how suit will say Keker is the best group of litigators on the planet, yet in the same breath say Cotchett is full of hot air. You’re pro-SF bias is sickening suit. Thankfully you won’t get your wish of the courts blocking an A’s move to San Jose. (I do admit though; your use of legalese to try and sell your point is awesome!)

  23. I like how Quan claims to be in constant contact with the MLB, when Reed can’t even get Selig to meet or even respond to a letter. There is no way, IMO, that a deal gets done in Oakland unless they put up ~$1 billion for site improvements, a stadium, and public transit. I highly doubt the voters would go for that.

  24. @tony, you’re misrepresenting my post about Cotchett. A federal judge in LA told me that Cotchett (and Fred Furth, his opposing counsel in a particular case) must’ve filled the courtroom with hot air. Cotchett’s firm, as I’ve said on this blog, is first rate. Judge Illston, the federal judge in SF who presided over the Barry Bonds trial, was a long-time partner in the Cotchett firm. Former federal judge Damrell is now affiliated with Cotchett’s firm and Damrell’s name is on the caption page of the complaint. Both sides in the litigation have excellent lawyers. I’ve never said otherwise. I do urge you to take Cotchett’s public pronouncements with a grain of salt, however.

    Also, you should back off on the allegations of bias. I’m objectively interested in these disputes for reasons that have nothing to do with being a Giants fan.

  25. FWIW Don’t really care about the lawsuit, but even IF the SJ lawsuit is dismissed it doesn’t mean San Jose is dead for the A’s. Wolff still wants to be here and most likely MLB does as well (see my ad nauseum quote from Wolff on how “baseball” viewed the East Bay). 4+ years of “study” just to tell Wolff/SJ NO?! MLB could have done that in 4 seconds. Cisco Field SJ in 2018; bet on it!

  26. Idkk,
    Most likely Quan has been in contact with MLB over the A’s lease at the Coliseum, but nothing more..

  27. @tony — I won’t bet on it, but I won’t be devastated if that’s the way it turns out (and it well may). The idea of the A’s at a HT stadium — that I like. But I do not want to see the A’s leave the Bay Area. Absolutely not.

  28. Ok XOOT,
    I extend the hand of peace to you as well. Just want my hometown to get a fair shot and to be free…a worthy wish on this 4th of July!
    Hey! Isn’t that SJ’s TMac sitting with Wolff behind home plate ;)…

  29. @xoot- since you live in Oakland ou willing to be taxed to support a new yard for the A’s at HT?

  30. A sick pert of me hopes this goes all the way through trial. I really want to see these two go at it. Of course, in the end I want SJ to prevail, but now I’m really interested in hearing arguments.

  31. @GoA’s — sure, although I think it’ll be tough to get 2/3 of the people in town to agree.

    fyi, chron’s lightweight John Shea, who’s all over the Cotchett/Keker heavyweight matchup, reports that San Jose has agreed to extend the time for mlb to respond to the complaint. Keker says he intends to file his motion to dismiss in early August. As I noted earlier, the usual motion clock in the northern district sets the hearing 5 weeks after filing. (Looks like the court will make all the filings available for free on its webpage.) Anyway, a decision couldd issue during the stretch run. Perfect.

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