MLB breaks out stadium negotiating playbook in Coliseum lease talks

Last week I received a flyer from the A’s urging me to get my season ticket plans wrapped up soon, as early as mid-November. Thanks to a Sunday report from Matier & Ross about MLB’s entree into the Coliseum lease discussions, I expect the A’s Ticket Services department to get a lot of angry, misdirected phone calls starting tomorrow morning. And I feel bad for them for having to deal with it.

The fact is that until recently, MLB has stayed out of the lease negotiations at Lew Wolff’s behest. As the lease comes closer to expiring with the two sides still far apart on the terms, baseball has decided to start playing the heavy. As we’ve seen in Miami and many other cities, MLB doesn’t play nice. That doesn’t mean that they’re going to start asking for hundreds of millions for a ballpark. Instead they’re playing the leverage game, threatening to move the A’s across the bay to AT&T Park if the Coliseum Authority won’t relent.

We’re told MLB is also demanding that the Coliseum give the A’s just a two-year lease extension – not the five- to eight-year deal the authority has been pushing.

The short-term lease would give the A’s more flexibility should the team’s owners swing a deal to move to San Jose – or beyond.

Let’s be clear about one thing: this is not MLB’s preferred option. They’d rather have the A’s and Giants play in their own ballparks, because getting them to share is messy when it comes to logistics, scheduling, and revenue sharing. While sharing has happened in the past, it hasn’t happened in almost 40 years. Plus the last thing MLB would want is to have a situation where the experiment goes so well that the Bay Area populace is convinced that there’s no need for two parks, or that the A’s seriously eat into the Giants’ revenue. Just as in other stadium negotiations, MLB has never been afraid to rattle sabers when it feels it can work to the benefit of one of its franchises. From this point forward, don’t expect anything less. Chances are that the JPA will buckle, because they know that the A’s tentatively playing away from Oakland can easily transform into the A’s permanently playing away from Oakland. From MLB’s standpoint, this is a question of loyalty. Oakland and Alameda County shown repeatedly that they’re willing to spend money and make things work for the Raiders. They have also demonstrated that they’ve been willing to move the A’s (and MLB) to the back burner at the most inopportune times. If the JPA doesn’t make concessions for the A’s, that’s just more proof that they aren’t truly willing to make the A’s a priority, which would make MLB less motivated to back Oakland’s efforts to forge a long-term deal. Raiders owner Mark Davis seems to prefer that they start working on a replacement Coliseum on the site of a demolished Coliseum, which if granted would leave the A’s without a place to play. Without a lease extension tied to a well-developed stadium plan, the Raiders would prefer to go year-to-year. The A’s would like to do a five-year deal with early termination if they’re impacted by construction of a new Raiders stadium. The challenge for the JPA is to put together a deal that caters to MLB’s needs while not jeopardizing their relationship with the Raiders and the NFL.

For the time being, Giants chief Larry Baer has stayed silent, probably at Bud Selig’s request. To say they wouldn’t accommodate the A’s would torpedo baseball’s plans and leverage, the same way Wally Haas and then-AL President Bobby Brown rejected Bob Lurie’s plans to share the Coliseum while SF figured out a downtown ballpark plan. That occurred in 1985. Now that MLB is a singular governing body with less stated conflict between the two constituent leagues, the Commissioner has the ability and power to influence the Giants. However, Selig’s track record has been to stall regarding the A’s for nearly five years. Now that a “manufactured” crisis may arise, could Selig be more inclined to come up a with a solution? I’m not holding my breath.

Logistically, sharing the stadium could be difficult for the teams. Naturally there are only two clubhouses at AT&T Park, unlike the more flexible setups at many arenas and new football stadia. The visiting clubhouse would have to be converted into the A’s temporary home while the Giants’ clubhouse would be used for A’s home opponents. There are also 10 potential date conflicts (not 9 as M&R reported): May 12-14, May 26-28, June 13-15, and July 3. That last date is the end of a Giants homestand and the beginning of an A’s homestand. Offloading those conflicts to Raley Field would be difficult because the River Cats already have the first two series and July 3 already booked at home. Day/night doubleheaders would be difficult to make work because of game days can easily stretch beyond eight hours for players and personnel because of warmup/reporting times.

Then there’s also the appeal for AT&T and the various other sponsors in China Basin. AT&T would undoubtedly love double the home dates and exposure. So would Virgin America, Intel, and ironically, GAP competitor Levi Strauss. That and many more subjects (concessions shares, non-game event revenue, ticket pricing) would be up for debate. In the end, the A’s would pay a handsome rent payment and surrender a big chunk of non-ticket revenues. Both teams would deduct stadium expenses against their revenue sharing payments. One way to look at is that the A’s rent would effectively be a rebate against the Giants’ revenue sharing payment – assuming it was structured to fit within the CBA appropriately. Selig doesn’t seem inclined to force the Giants to share, but he can work with the rest of the owners to make it worth the Giants’ while.

Already I’ve seen a lot of anger from fans swearing that they’d never see an A’s home game in SF, or that they’ll cancel their season tickets posthaste. There’s another angle to consider if the A’s were given this two-year window at AT&T Park. The A’s have never called a modern ballpark home, so any serious revenue-generating potential at a new ballpark remains theoretical at best. What if the window was MLB’s opportunity to prove (or disprove) the A’s viability as the second team in the Bay Area? It’s not the same as having a new ballpark to themselves, but the better amenities and location should be attractive to many fans and companies that  normally don’t attend A’s games en masse. After all, the city with the most ticket-buying A’s fans (number, not percentage) is San Francisco, not Oakland or San Jose. If the two-year window fails to positively affect the A’s bottom line, The Lodge may be more inclined to allow the team to move out of the Bay Area. While M&R hinted at a move as a product of failed stadium plans, I think this could be a bigger reason.

MLB has entered the fray, and they’re getting ready to lay down the hammer. For that we can thank A’s and Giants ownership for their stubbornness, Oakland and Alameda County politicians for their lack of urgency, and Bud Selig for not resolving this sooner when he had all the time to do so. Unless a Coliseum lease gets struck in the next month, this is only going to get uglier. A “silly” idea like sharing AT&T Park may turn into something quite sensible. The big issue looming is the endgame, which as Ray Ratto points out, is the can that gets kicked down the road for two years.

88 thoughts on “MLB breaks out stadium negotiating playbook in Coliseum lease talks

  1. As an A’s fan who grew up just minutes from the Coliseum, I can’t say I would mind watching the A’s play at AT&T. I know a permanent shared stadium situation would never work in MLB as it works in the NFL and NBA, but I think it would definitely be interesting to see how A’s fans respond to playing in a newer ballpark only a few miles from Oakland. That could legitimately shape opinion of the viability (or lack thereof) of a new stadium in Oakland.

    THIS ironically may be the answer to the question we’ve been unable to answer; if the A’s don’t draw well at AT&T-with equal public transportation access and easily accessible freeway access-would this be proof that the A’s are indeed too close to the Giants (in the East Bay) to be competitive (as the SJ-only crowd claims)? Or, is the perceived lack of commitment from the owners the real reason (as the Oakland-only crowd claims)?

    Though “the can will continue to get kicked down the road”, I think this situation (if it happens) could really influence the decision MLB makes on this whole OAK vs. SJ issue.

  2. 1) San Jose is SF territory.

    2) Fuck the Giants!

    3) “Last week I received a flyer from the A’s urging me to get my season ticket plans wrapped up soon”

    4) How come we didn’t get one of those? Discrimination!!!

    5) Discrimination!!!

    6) Lew Wolfe. Retirement.

  3. Hell yah I’d watch A’s games at AT&T Park! I’m sure the A’s players wouldn’t mind playing there as well. The only A’s fans foaming from the mouth that they wouldn’t watch games there are the rabbid Oakland-only. I do disagree RM with your assessment that the A’s playing at AT&T Park would be some sort trial run for them staying in Oakland or leaving the Bay Area. In theory our A’s should be playing in Fremont or San Jose to take full advantage of the Bay Area market. We already know they’re to close to the Giants at the Coli. At AT&T Park? I’m sure they’d have awesome crowds in SF (I’d be there via Diridon Caltrain), but it should have no bearing re their future in the Bay Area. Awesome stuff BTW! No wonder Wolff’s been a calm cat all along; he knows exactly how this will play out.
    @freddy, you’re funny brah!

  4. @fc in last thread,
    Because after two years at Coli they COULD play 1-2 years at AT&T Park as is being proposed now, all while Cisco Field goes up In SJ or Fremont. No getting excited necessary 😉

  5. MLB had a responsibility to get in this long ago. The lack of action on the TR issue made the lease negotiations difficult. I have no problem with the A’s playing elsewhere in the BA, I would still patronize if it was at AT&T so long as its not long-term.

    The key for me in all this negotiation is the point ML makes that MLB looks at JPA as being Raiders-focused always. I don’t see the need for the A’s to make many concessions when generally they cover way more dates than the Raiders yet get no equal treatment from the authority. Why should the A’s give major financial concessions with no guarantee that work will be done to improve infrastructure to prevent floods, or perhaps to fix the crap scoreboards that have been raided for something more likely to benefit the Raiders?

    Its a smart gambit by the MLB to play to the potential of moving across the bay. The JPA need those 81 dates filled.

  6. I have to give credit finally to the Coliseum Authority for forcing MLB to begin to take action on getting this stalemate resolved. I still believe that the CA will now realize that they have little or no leverage with the A’s, and that they will offer the A’s a reasonable two year lease renewal. MLB also is sending a message that if the A’s do ultimately get their new ballpark anywhere within the Bay Area, AT&T Park will be a viable temporary home for the A’s while a new ballpark is being constructed. As for two MLB teams sharing the same ballpark, it’s been done many times before throughout baseball history. Next season would be a little bit difficult, since the schedule has been made. There likely will have to be some same day day/night games at AT&T Park for the upcoming 2014 season.

  7. San Jose: don’t you dare play there, it’s giants territory!
    San Francisco: you pay you play!

  8. Another misfire by the Coliseum Authority: believing it had leverage over the A’s.

  9. In Selig’s world it makes more sense for the A’s to potentially play for the short term in San Francisco than it does to actually do his job as a commissioner and help broker a resolution to the Oakland/San Jose/T-rights issue.

    Had he done that earlier, chances are we aren’t even having this “Where will the A’s play next year?” talk because they’d either be in the process of building in San Jose (if not done already), Oakland or on the way out of the region entirely.

    I fully expect the JPA to cave on this and give the short-term lease to the A’s because if they temporarily leave Oakland in any way that doesn’t involve a new stadium being built somewhere in the city, I don’t think they’re coming back.

    Meanwhile, the Oakland-only crowd is salivating over the hope that Selig will suspend Fisher over the campaign donation thing, obviously setting up the scenario of Fisher/Wolff being forced to sell to a savior who will throw money at HT or some other Oakland location and build a ballpark.

    • @James V – I don’t agree with the Fisher family’s donations or their politics, but if the FPPC rules there’s no violation, the EBX story is just wishful thinking. The owners won’t even talk about it at the owner’s meetings in two weeks.

  10. This whole thing should be a case study at both a business and public policy school.

  11. How’s this for an idea? The Giants agree to let the A’s play an ATT as long as they need to provided they drop the San Jose move and agree to build in the East Bay.

    My personal opinion is that the Giants want the Bay Area to themselves and will do NOTHING to help the A’s. However, this might be a compromise they’d be willing to accept. Plus, they’d get some nice rent over the next few years.

    But this is all noise. The JPA will give in.

  12. Now the Oakland-only folks are pinning their hopes of keeping the A’s on campaign donations/politics of the Fisher Family? Geez! Can these folks get any more ridiculous?! Got corporate money and competent city politicians?

  13. @Tony – They COULD agree to a 2 year deal, but why have to deal with this issue again 2 years down the road? Maybe MLB threw out “2 years” as a starting point in the negotiations, hoping the deal eventually ends up being a 5 year deal with the last 2 years being option years.

  14. IIRC, there are only 1 or 2 dates that truly conflict. If done now, they could flip a couple of home & away dates that currently conflict and or shift an off day or two to make it work out just fine. There are still conflicting dates, but not many.

  15. I think this it is plain that Selig still holds out hope that they can convince Oakland to bend over and take it.

    The problem is that unless Selig flips SJ’s TR when the lease talks fail, this just sets up another few limbo years and we’re really no closer to a resolution on either side.

  16. The Giants don’t have to “agree” to anything or have the power to force concessions on the A’s re possible use of AT&T Park. See the Anti-Trust Exemption: per Purdy, the same ATE that is currently keeping the A’s out of San Jose can “force” the Giants to accept the A’s as tenants at AT&T. Sorry to burst your bubble Rob…

  17. Tony, not sure Purdy is on the mark here. AT&T Park is the property of the Giants. MLB can’t force the Giants into this sharing arrangement any more than they can force the A’s to trade a player to the Giants.

    That said they can make an inticing offer to the Giants which I suspect would be exactly what they would do.

  18. re: This whole thing should be a case study at both a business and public policy school.

    …Yes, a case study in what happens when a CEO (Selig) needs to make an important decision but instead does absolutely nothing while the situation gets worse and worse.

  19. @Dan,
    Don’t believe the Giants owning the note for AT&T supersedes their membership in MLB or “the best interest of baseball” clause. Besides, they’d be earning some nice scratch from the A’s for sharing their yard temporarily; no reason for them NOT to sign on or to fight it. Unless of course you’re one of those souls who views the Giants as high and almighty AND who can exert their will on the A’s, MLB.

  20. Looking at this whole situation, we have to believe MLB is getting more and more furious with Oakland. First, by forming the Blue Ribbon Committee and spending 5 years doing nothing about that San Jose situation, Oakland has been given several more years to come up with public funding and a viable site in Oakland, to make the San Jose option go away. But Oakland has neither come up with public funding or a viable site. Second, Oakland and the Coliseum Authority now are playing hardball in lease extension negotiations, believing they have MLB and the A’s right where they want them. San Jose, meanwhile, offers a downtown site in a major city and has gone nuclear (lawsuit) trying to get the A’s, forcing MLB to have to wage a legal battle against a city that wants a team on behalf of a city that has failed to do what dozens of other MLB cities have done in the pat 20 years – get a new ballpark built.

  21. If anything this would be a case study in what a bad sports owner acts like:

    1. Lew agrees to buy the A’s
    2. Lew buys the A’s
    3. Lew agrees, prior to finalization of sale, not to bother SJ (SF Territory)
    4. Lew and Oakland Politico’s can’t hammer out a deal for a new ballpark in Downtown Oak.
    5. Lew tries Fremont
    6. Lew is kicked out of Fremont (feels embarrassed)
    7. A’s attendance hits low mark, fan base feels disenfranchised
    8. A’s players don’t care, go to playoffs in dumpy, despite owners slander against where they play
    9. Lawsuits, Lawsuits, Lawsuits over SJ ballpark to nowhere
    10. SF Giants flip middle finger, don’t touch SJ
    11. JPA, trying to get a commitment for the A’s to stay in Oakland and become a tenant of Coliseum City or Howard Terminal (potentially)
    12. MLB, screw you-we’ll move them into AT & T if no short-term lease
    13. SF Giants ownership,”wait, what?”

  22. Still would like to hear of Lew’s Plan B. Playing at AT&T can’t be what he had in mind.

  23. This is hardball for everyone. It could also be that MLB is telling the Giants that if they don’t want the A’s playing in San Jose, then they’ll end up right on top of the Giants. It may be short-term profitable for the Giants, but no one wants to share at the end of the day.

  24. Ivan:

    3) He didn’t make that agreement so much as say that he was focused only on his territory. And he did. If he wanted, he could join the SJ suit and this would be over with. But he’s following the MLB bylaws. Which is what he AGREED to do. And as far as the MLB Constitution, while it keeps it him out of SJ at the moment, it also allows for a possibility of overturning the TRs.
    4) There was never a DT Oakland spot. Just a poor Coli North plan. It was poorly down and involved many businesses to move out which is the same thing that killed Oakland’s VC plan. Coli North was Wolff’s foul. VC was the Oakland Pols not learning from Wolff’s mistake. Think about that for a moment.
    6) He didn’t get kicked out, the economy turned and along with the NIMBYs the stadium there no longer penciled out.
    7) It went down, sure. But that had more to do with a bad team and losing than it had anything to do with ownership.
    8) It’s not slander if it’s true.
    11) JPA is playing hard ball, sure. But let’s not blame them for any part of this, right? They’re not overplaying their hand at all. Nope. Not at all. They have other good options to fill those 81+ dates in that stadium that’ll pay/give up that much. Sure they do… /smh
    13) If you don’t think the Giants are fully aware of the back up plan… wait. You said all those other misinformed things. Okay, I’ll simply tell you that they were very aware of the back up plan and possible concessions they’d receive if it came to pass.

  25. re: 1. Lew agrees to buy the A’s

    * Selig coaxes his good friend Lew Wolff into the Lodge, asks him to get a new ballpark built in the A’s current territory.
    * Wolff tries North-of-the-Coliseum, which gets a big yawn from Oakland oficials and goes nowhere.
    * Wolff then tries Fremont, which is killed off by the fading real estate market, big box retailers and NIMBYs.
    * Wolff declares there is no way to get a new ballpark built in the A’s current territory and invites MLB to come out and see for itself.
    * MLB takes Wolff up on his invitation; MLB’s continued inaction after nearly 5 years confirms Wolff’s conclusion that there is no way to get a new ballpark done in the A’s current territory.

  26. Folks, here’s the bottom line – A two year residency for the Athletics at the Phone Booth does nothing for their long-term solution in the Bay Area, primarily because it will be at least two years before a shovel hits the dirt in San Jose, or anywhere else in Oakland except for maybe Coliseum City. Accordingly, MLB would need another “temporary” extension for the A’s until Cisco Field or HT or 980 or VC is (ever) built out.

    This two-year thing is (IMHO) an M-80 shoved up the JPA’s arse and set alight. MLB very much did not and does not like their Raiders-first approach to things, and is trying to lay the groundwork for moving the A’s elsewhere.

    Of course, MLB would need a city for the A’s to move to, but as we’ve seen before from The Lodge, MLB sometimes isn’t too picky about where to play their teams’ “home” games (see Expos, Montreal, 2003-4 seasons).

  27. Ivan: you might want to try that list again, only more accurately next time.

    By the way, Downtown Oakland was the best place for the A’s in the city but that got torpedoed when then-mayor Jerry Brown decided to use the area for housing. That’s hard to blame him for but that sure isn’t one you can hit Wolff on.

  28. Maybe the A’s get two years at the Coliseum and then MLB suspends franchise operations until some city offers up a publicly funded ballpark? MLB has probably had quite enough of Oakland dismissing the A’s, playing the victim card and bashing the franchise owner.

  29. I would think CA covers themselves by getting a 4 year lock w/ 1 option year, and A’s get a clause to void contract if Raiders sign agreement for construction.

    From where I stand, the A’s in SF for 2 years w/o a new stadium agreement, is only a negative for the A’s. You can call it mlb leverage, but i think it pretty much slams the value of the franchise. They’ll be seen as misfits, like the Expos.

  30. seriously, this is what I am hoping for. Hopefully, Oakland continues to resist because I want to see what BullShit and MLB will do.

  31. Is it a requirement of all fans of teams located in SF to whine, cry and pout? That’s all I see on Facebook regarding the A’s possibly sharing the phone booth. I’ve never seen such a group of fans whine so much like niner/giants fans. Hopefully dubs fans don’t adopt that personality when they move.

  32. Was going to respond to Ivan but other’s have stepped up to the plate; thanks.
    @ru155, how do we know that a new stadium agreement isn’t in place? All we’ve heard from Wolff and Barr since early last year is “no comment” on the T-Rights/possible move to SJ. There’s so much we don’t know regarding this saga, other than the opinions of sports writers local and national alike. If anything, this news suggests cooperation between the Giants and A’s, brokered by Selig of all people. Or else you’d have Baer or Slaughter crying in the media today “no way in hell we allow the A’s to play in our yard!” Again, Wolff’s been a cool cat about this ordeal all along, and perhaps we are slowly starting to see why

  33. @Tony D
    if there’s a sealed agreement, then it’s sealed and we don’t know – unknown facts are unknown.

    “no comment” can mean what you want it to mean until it doesn’t mean what you wanted it to mean.

    does that answer placate your contention?

  34. Ivan the Terrible.

  35. @ru155,
    WOW! Feeling pretty defensive today are we. But yes, your right and I actually agree with you. We don’t know squat about the unknown and “no comment” can be equated to anything we conjure up in our minds. I guess the moral to this story is that opinions on this saga are like ass holes: everybody has one! Relax…

  36. Ivan, you should learn what case study means. Cause it ain’t pushing a bull shit narrative from some slanted view.
    And folks who want the A’s in Oakland continue to give their elected leaders a pass.
    The A’s leaving the coliseum with no plan for a next step is the end of major league baseball in Oakland. Forever.
    Feel free to paint that on a bed sheet and hashtag “whateverquansaysmustbetrue.”

  37. @Tony D.
    i didn’t know what you wanted from me, and i’ve got no beef with you. I’m no inside and qualified my statement, so it appeared you were jumping down my throat for not believing hard enough in a secret Wolff-Selig deal.
    Anyways scratch that tic-tack and move on.

  38. Moving along. This Papa idea that the A’s should go Montreal-style, contract and leave the Bay Area has to be the most outrageous take on this saga. The traditional Bay Area media at its finest! (Sarcasm). Greg would probably throw his baby out with the bath water as well. Just plain stupid! What needs to be done is to free San Jose to accommodate an A’s move 35 miles south within the same metro region. Why oh why does the (traditional) media continue to give the greedy, ultra-succesful Giants a completely free pass in this saga. So if the Warriors can’t make it happen in Oakland, maybe they should be contracted. If the Niners couldn’t make it in SF-proper, perhaps they should have been contracted as well instead of moving south to SC.

  39. Greg Papa is much better at calling sports games than he is at offering sports commentary.

  40. Tony D.
    Yeah- Papa just puts it out there like, really no big deal, not like anyone in the Bay is going to miss them. If it were any other team in the Bay, he would probably have a problem with it. I guess I am just mad, but it sure fills like it.

  41. Wolff now saying the A’s will extend the lease and are looking forward to another great season at the Coli. Although there are no actual quotes from Wolff denying the earlier AT&T Park news, as NYC Bay Area is claiming. Damn that was fast!

  42. Meant NBC, not NYC. Damn auto correct!

  43. Papa still isn’t over the A’s canning him. He has a major chip on his shoulder with regard to anything to do with the A’s. His bias runs so deep that it would be almost funny if he weren’t so serious in his partiality.

  44. Tony, Wolff is playing good cop to MLB’s bad cop. Nothing is imminent either way.

  45. And then there’s the matter of what will happen when the more competitive A’s outdraw the soon-to-be rebuilding Giants in their own ballpark.

  46. Oakland clamoring for more years, tells me that they know it will take another 6-8 (see Kaplan quote), years to get H.T. (still don’t know if we can actually build on it) ready. Well, I go with the two hard years, and 3 one year options, it’s been brought up but I don’t get why MLB/A’s are worried about it anyway, even if they got the go ahead to build in SJ, it’s going to take between 3-5 years, and they have to play somewhere. 2 or 3 hard years, with 2 or 3, 1 year options, and if all goes well for SJ, the A’s will not be at the coliseum for more than 5 more years.

  47. Lakeshore, unless the original plan was 2 more years at the Coli and then 2 years at ATT as part of some appeasement with the Giants. Internally it may allow for the Giants to gain more money from MLB without pulling too much directly out of the rest of the owner’s pockets as well as get some directly from the A’s, etc.

  48. MLB, I believe has ulterior motives here.

    Think about the facts guys:

    -MLB knows full well the JPA is pushing for a Raiders stadium on the same site where the Coliseum is located.

    -MLB knows there is no feasible ballpark plan in Oakland that is even close to shovel ready.

    -This dispute with the Giants is frustrating MLB to the point of San Jose suing them.

    -MLB by even suggesting ATT Park puts the onus on Oakland to figure something out for the A’s long term. This also puts the onus on the Giants to relinquish San Jose.

    Conclusion: MLB is trying put pressure on two fronts. They trying to get Oakland to wake up and pony up $$ for an “Oakland miracle”.

    Meanwhile, they are trying to get the Giants to agree to relinquish San Jose. By forcing the A’s into ATT Park it makes the situation even worse for the Giants as they will be competing with the “San Francisco Athletics” for fans.

    It will be similar to the Lakers-Clippers arrangement. Except the A’s would immediately be able to add 30M to their payroll without having to make a capital investment in a new ballpark.

    The A’s would now have access to massive premium seating that they lack now and can charge a fraction of the cost the Giants do.

    Even if the A’s pay rent and revenue share with the Giants they would benefit big time from playing in a state of the art ballpark. Their sponsors, concession, and gate revenue would be at much higher levels than they are now.

    Especially with how good the team this would kill the Giants big time. Even worse than giving up San Jose.

    Interesting stuff…

  49. @dmoas
    You could be right, at this point it may be best for Oakland to put all their efforts into saving the Raiders, it’s hard for me to say that, being a pro-Oakland fan, but if the A’s are in SJ and the Warriors are in SF, Oakland may be able to get something done if they only have to concentrate on the Raiders. It would be the best possible outcome, in so much that all three teams would remain in the Bay Area (not that the Warriors were going to leave the region), but you get my point.

  50. LSN – I’m sorry, isn’t that what Oakland is already doing? Putting all their efforts into saving the Raiders? I haven’t seen them do anything to woo the A’s. Just a few circles on a map, a bunch of comments trying to make the owner look bad and some rallies where they hand out signs.

  51. @Sid you are making too much sense, I agree with you, although I dough the pressure put on Oakland will amount to much, but your right about the pressure on the Giants, “Hay you don’t want them to have San Jose, here then they can bunk with you till we figure this out.

  52. @LS Sad but true, if Oakland had one team, that deserved to have real effort put behind them, it was the Oakland A’s, I love all three (Sharks too), but the Raiders left Oakland after 18-20 years of sellouts, and although Mark Davis may prove to be upright about his attempts to get done something that his Dad could not, the A’s deserve better treatment then the Raiders, and don’t even get me started about the disrespect the Warriors have shown their host city, in spite of them doing very well in Oakland, the A’s deserved a better fate, in Oakland , honestly Oakland (Pols dam them to hell.), don’t deserve the A’s, this SJ thing better work out, because if not I may strangle a certain SF Giants employee.

  53. @LS,
    Agree with you. But I believe what Lakeshore is implying is for Oakland pols to come out and state officially that they are concentrating on the Raiders only. No more circles on maps, no more talk about “viable” sites or site control. Just come out and state what Don Perata would have stated years ago: we can no longer afford to play that game re a stadium for the A’s. It’s all about the Raiders for The O!

  54. @Tony D.
    Thanks, that are just what I meant, Oakland Pols, and there BS, they may have cost Oakland and the Bay Area the one team (Raiders); they had a realistic chance at saving, if Mark Davis has not already had it up to here. I only hope that Mark wants to build a family legacy in Oakland/East Bay, with his Dad buried in Oakland and his Mother being elderly, if he does get it done in Oakland, it will only be because it’s what he really wants to do, because he could make a killing by doing almost anything, but staying in Oakland.

  55. Thanks, that is just what I meant

  56. The talk about a temporary move of the A’s to AT&T Park is MLB’s way of laying the groundwork for reverting the present Bay Area market back to being one shared territory between the Giants and A’s. With the Coliseum Authority having no leverage in negotiating lease renewals with both the A’s and Raiders, the Coliseum Authority will have no choice other than in getting two year lease renewals from both teams. It is hoped by then the Raiders would get a new Coliseum site football stadium deal done, and the Raiders would temporarily be playing in Santa Clara while their new stadium is being constructed. As for the A’s, it is hoped that by then the team would be approved to move to San Jose. The A’s could play two or three seasons at AT&T Park while the new San Jose A’s ballpark is being constructed.

  57. Damn the media is pathetic: “The Giants cherished territory in technology-rich Silicon Valley.” As if any of that @$&* verbiage describing SJ/SCCo had any meaning to it. Do the MLB Giants play in San Jose or SCCo…NO!!! They play 40 miles to the north in SF! Remind me again why the traditional Bay Area media sucks…

  58. I I have a very different take on this. If I am Giants a Ownership the quote ” As long as possible” can be forever as far as we are concerned. No wonder Rebecca Kaplan is happy, for now ( the Raiders are a different issue ) . If they are going to go to Santa Clara, or LA, and I am the Coliseum I will demand 5 to 7 years for the A’s, and that means a hard lease . I think the odds just increased that 2020 will come and the A’s are playing at the Coliseum as is, and the Raiders are somewhere else just increased.

  59. @llpec,
    I think you nailed it! Hopefully your right.

  60. @ David Brown,
    Uhhh…I think the news of this thread went way over your head (respectfully). Oakland/JPA can no longer force the issue; I.e. force a “hard lease” on the A’s for 7-8 years as you suggested. In other words, they’ve lost their leverage with this MLB intervention. The lease, when finalized, will be on the A’s terms, not Oaklands or the JPA.

  61. Oops, my bad: you stated 5-7 years, not 7-8. But whatever, no leverage for Oakland/JPA either way…

  62. Tony, my guess is DB is suggesting that the Giants may not be entirely on board with MLB’s plan for the A’s to share. If you re-read his comment based on that perspective it makes a lot more sense. But it also requires believing that MLB hadn’t discussed all this with the Giants before hand which is doubtful.

  63. @David Brown
    No disrespect, but I find it hard to figure how you come to that conclusion, based on today’s news. With MLB stepping in its most likely going to be a two year hard lease for the A’s three one year options, and Oakland should consider themselves lucky to get that, look any thinking person knows, that all hands are a little dirty here, but I am so mad at Oakland Pols, the only group I am more upset with is the San Francisco Giants organization. If we lose this team to another part of the country I will be so mad.

  64. Tony D, I disagree. If I am the Giants why should I rent to the A’s then have them build a Park in San Jose? I said last week, that is what the Giants did with the Yankees (when they bought Babe Ruth), and we know in the end who left New York. I also know the History of Selig (he reminds me of a yapping terrier (all bark and no bite). All you need to do is stand up to him, like Alex Rodriguez did (Notice how he did not suspend him when he threatened to?)). “Best Interests Of Baseball?” It worked on Charley Finley decades ago. But, it was a loser with Rodriguez (and Finley was a Saint and a WINNER compared to Rodriguez (or Selig for that matter)). If I am SF, I am standing my ground, because I believe that this guy will not force me to rent, and I will see what kind of lease the A’s get at the Coliseum. There are only three options. 1: Short Term (a Long-Term with an Opt Out is basically Short-Term). 2: 5-7 years Long-Term. 3: NONE: In order to stay, Raiders demand the A’s move ASAP (maybe after 2014 or 2015). Not to mention, knowing my own History with the Yankees. Basically wait it out and call Selig’s bluff.

    • @David Brown – The difference between a player like A-Rod and a club/franchise is the nature of the agreement. A-Rod has MLBPA and the CBA to back him. All any club has is the ML Constitution and a team’s lawyers. Clubs supposedly can’t sue, and even if the Giants did sue MLB, what would they sue for? Lost revenue? Negatively affected image? Neither holds water. Something even more absurd like environmental impacts? Rarely do we see the double-edged effect of the antitrust exemption, but there it is. And all Selig has to say is, “It’s temporary. I promise.” And he can make it extremely advantageous for the Giants in the process.

  65. @DB,
    respectfully, your premise only makes sense if 1) the Giants are in fact high and almighty and immune from any actions taken by Selig/MLB and 2) if the Giants are really hell bent on ridding the Bay Area of the A’s. At this juncture (making money hand over fist, being worth over $1 billion and winning 2 WS in three years), I just don’t see the Giants as trying to destroy one of their own, a member of the MLB partnership and lodge. Especially since the Giants and A’s have coexisted since 1968. Does such a relationship exist between the other clubs of the two-team markets? I say no. Perhaps two years ago I would have believed the notion of the Giants wanting the A’s out of the Bay. But after nearly two years of “no comment” and we’ll abide by the decision of MLB, not any longer. Again, no team in MLB is high and almighty, and that includes the Giants.

  66. @dmoas,
    Then they should just come out and state they’re not on board with the sharing idea, not just state the usual “no comment.” Hey, looks like someone’s in charge here after all, and it isn’t the Giants. And yes, I’m sure this was all discussed beforehand with the Giants AND A’s. Wolff stated earlier this year that the A’s had options if they couldn’t play at the Coli in 2014. Yes, he played that card then, and now we’re seeing why…

  67. I still think we have resolution on this issue between now and next December. I can see the A’s playing next year at the O.Co, and a couple of years in SF before a stadium is built in SJ or the team is relocated to either Montreal or another market.

  68. Tony its not about SF being “High & Almighty and being Immune” If this was David Stern or even Gary Betteman, I would feel nervous. But this is Bud Selig, and time after time he has caved in, and why should anyone feel any fear of now (particularly in his last year?). I might as well wait until I find out what is going to happen with the Raiders, before I make any kind of decision.

  69. @mike2,
    You were doing so well! Until you wrote “Montreal or another market.” 😉

  70. I think (hope) this is just MLB playing the usual leverage game, but there’s a lot of wishful thinking in these comments. Some observations:

    1. If the A’s leave Oakland for any reason they aren’t coming back. Ever.

    2. MLB has shown zero interest in San Jose, given the Giants veto. It is pie in the sky nonsense to suppose MLB is issuing threats to Oakland in order to

  71. Marine Layer, the History of Selig (starting with moving the Seattle Pilots to Milwaukee) has been nothing but underhanded. Even the buying of Documents on Rodriguez from that parasite of a “Doctor”, is a pretty lowdown approach to doing things (Note: Rodriguez is my LEAST favorite player in SPORTS). I am predicting Rodriguez gets < 50 Games and maybe zero for that reason. If he would have been straightforward with the A's & Giants instead of hiding behind his "Blue Ribbon Panel" the A's would not be in this mess. Once again, what evidence has ever been given as to why should the Giants fear him?

    • @David Brown – How Selig has dealt with the clubs is quite different from what he’s done with players, and especially the union re: PEDs. For all intents and purposes they’re not comparable. Look at what happened to Jim Crane, Selig holding up the Astros sale for more than a year. Or the machinations required to make the Expos-to-DC move work. Or pulling out the rug from Jeff Moorad when he had been cleared to buy the Padres. Or delaying the All Star Game from SF for years as punishment for privately financing Pac Bell Park. That doesn’t mean Selig isn’t indecisive. He’s excruciatingly deliberate, and won’t make a move unless The Lodge supports it. In this case, you can bet that The Lodge supports this and the repercussions of it. Otherwise he wouldn’t have done it in the first place.

      Again, the Giants’ strength has always been that they can lawyer up. What exactly could they sue about in this case? What should MLB and Selig be afraid of?

  72. All these developments are good, insofar as it looks like they will push us towards a resolution. But it’s hard to say what that resolution will be, other than it doesn’t look good for the A’s to stay in Oakland, which we already knew.
    A’s to SJ makes the most sense, and I am still optimistic that logic, reason, and SJ’s legal team will prevail.
    One note: contraction is not going to happen. Papa is an idiot. That is the LAST thing that MLB wants, because it would add to the “baseball is dying/ratings are down” narrative.

  73. Steve contraction will not happen because of the a Collective Bargaining Agreement ( CBA). The future of the A’s will be determined by whatever happens with the Raiders.

  74. @Simon,
    “MLB has shown zero interest in San Jose,..” WOW, that was deep and enlightening!! Thanks.

  75. Marine Layer, I do agree with you that we have reached the end game in all of this. But it goes back to the Raiders: The NFL needs to determine if they need Dates for one or two teams in Santa Clara? If they go, then it is obvious the A’s are playing 2014 and beyond at the Coliseum ( how long? To Be Determined). But if the Raiders do something like Cal did ( one Season away for a Renovation then a return), then a whole other can of worms regarding the A’s is opened up. I said before you will know something by Christmas 2013.

  76. The question is that Wolff anticipated problems dealing with Oakland city officials, and several months ago said that the A’s have “other plans” if the A’s can’t get a deal for the Coliseum – what are the “other plans”? – one would believe the plans did not include a temporary move to phonebooth park.

  77. Also, the idea that the A’s would opt for a move to Portland, Vegas, San Antonio, etc. in two years seems ridickulous. The A’s averaged 23K per game in attendance for 2013 – not bad when considering they play at an old, obsolete, football stadium. Several MLB clubs, with fanbases roughly 2.3 mil. in size (Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, etc.) struggle to draw 23K a game in new, baseball-only ballparks. A team in Portland, Vegas, San Antonio, Charlotte NC (all with similiar 2.2 mil. approximately sized fan-bases) would also struggle with attendance.

    Besides, the A’s have a much more lucrative tv rights deal currently than the small fanbase cities could offer them. One would believe that the A’s would prefer even Oakland than relocating to Portland, San Antonio, and the other frequently mentioned potential sites for an MLB franchise.

  78. David Brown- your right Selig is a coward but what he did today speaks otherwise for the first time about this whole mess.

    This was his first action in 5 years and the fact it involves the A’s moving to ATT park as even a possibility is unbelievable.

    Selig is playing a three hands. Oakland, the Giants and the San Jose lawsuit.

    He isnt getting a Oakland miracle, so he figures by striking fear into Giants in “public” it will force them to deal SJ.

    The San Jose lawsuit is the wildcard and he wants to settle it quick.

    Selig for all the times I’ve called him a “coward” made a bold move today.

    He has no intention of keeping the A’s in Oakland for 5 years and he is letting the Giants hear it loud and clear.

    Let SJ go or share with the SF Athletics for an indefinite period of time.

    Nicely done Bud…..

  79. Also keep in mind Selig hates the Giants.

    They built a privately financed ballpark and it eats away at his soul.

    On top of that they lockout SJ when it painfully obvious the A’s have nowhere to go and cause a lawsuit from SJ?

    How much can he take from this one franchise? Lol!

  80. Don’t forget handing the Giants 2 WS titles 2 of the last 4 season.

    Another kick to the nuts by the Giants!

  81. @Duffer:

    I’d have picked better examples instead of KC/PIT/CLE.

    KC does not play in a new, baseball-only ballpark. They do play in an older place that’s always had a good look to it, one that in my opinion was made great for years to come after the latest renovations. Their problem is the Royals have been through a lot of lean years recently and that takes some time to get fans coming back. Maybe they can build on this year. Their ballpark is also on a large, sprawling two stadium complex you have to drive to in order to reach because it’s not within the city itself.

    PIT has the great ballpark but as you probably know, they only just now had a winning season for the first time in a couple decades. Now they’re in position to capitalize on it but the stadium has a capacity of 38,496. They’ll need to draw 28,395 a game to reach the 2.3 million mark. They averaged 30,430 their first year in the place and didn’t come close to that again until the last two years. No coincidence when you look at their records from 2000-2010.

    CLE is the situation that proves best that it does take a winning team to keep filling a ballpark – in most cases. When theirs opened in 1994 they went the first 8 years averaging just under 40,000 a game up to a 42,000+ capacity. Each year they were 1 or 2 in their division, they reached the playoffs 5 years in a row (2 WS trips) and 6 of 7, then attendance began to decline as the team got worse. They got back to just under 2.3 million in 2007 when they reached the ALCS and were slightly down the following season, but since then they’ve averaged under 20,000 a game 3 of the last 4 seasons.

    The last time the A’s consistently reached 2 million fans 2001-2005. That had them in the middle of the pack in the AL.

    Not to single you out, but I do like to look closely at attendance related to new ballparks and how a team plays in them. It’s easy to look at MIA and know how clearly a new ballpark can fail at the start when the team is so bad.

    MIN’s already at about 75% capacity filled at Target Field as of this year, but they’ve been nearly a 100-loss team three years in a row coming off winning the division two straight when you include their last year in HHH. They went from 39,000 the first two years to 34,000 and even this year ended up short of 31,000 per game. That number will continue to drop if the team stays bad.

  82. @Sid:

    This is not just Selig saying to the Giants, “Let the A’s into SJ or you’ll be stuck with them in your ballpark for a while.”

    It’s much more him playing hardball with the JPA and the Coliseum. If the Giants are even coming up in this conversation as far as AT&T Park is concerned, you have to figure they stand to be very fairly compensated for it and will go along with it should the JPA manage to screw this up any further.

    He’s had more than enough time to settle SJ by now had he been willing to actually move on it in some way instead of playing a waiting game for half a decade.

  83. James V – the A’s would do much better than 23K per game if they played in a ballpark similiar to KC, the tribe, or Pittsbugh. The Kansas City ballpark is virtually a new ballpark because it was overhauled and doesn’t resemble the old Royals stadium much. Cleveland, KC, and Pittsburgh all are similiar in that they have small fanbases, approximately 2.3 mil. (very similiar in size to Portland, Sac, San Antonio, etc.) these small market teams couldn’t draw as well as the A’s if the A’s played at a new ballpark in Oakland (preferably the Coliseum City)Nor can the small market cities offer the lucrative tv rights deal that the A’s enjoy currently. San Jose/Oakland is not a black/white issue – more like a grey issue. San Jose is an excellent MLB site( better than Oakland), Oakland wouldn’t be bad either though.

  84. Also, many comments here are overlooking the SJ vs MLB lawsuit (Selig and MLB likely certainly aren’t though) It would not be surprising if Selig approved the A’s move before the state torts portion of SJ vs MLB goes to trial.

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