The Solomonesque solution that thankfully never happened

When the latest Matier and Ross column featuring Coliseum City and the A’s dropped over the weekend, I wasn’t sure if I should follow-up right away or wait for the proverbial other shoe to drop. Drop it did, with a press release coming from the A’s early today. Frankly, I don’t know what to make of any of it. BayIG (the combined investor/developer group) was supposed to contact the A’s starting in mid-November. Now it’s all a bunch of he-said/she-said. It’s all meaningless in the grand scheme of things, so I won’t bother wasting anymore words on it.

Instead I’ll reference a nightmare scenario that happened almost 40 years ago. It involves a Charlie Finley anecdote that I hadn’t fully heard until I read his 2010 biography some time ago. In the late 70’s, Finley was fighting a personal two-front war, an acrimonious divorce on one side and skyrocketing salaries that threatened his ability to operate the A’s on the other. (He also had other feuds with MLB Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, the Coliseum Commission and numerous players and agents, but I digress.) Knowing his time in baseball was running out, Finley chose to put the team up for sale as soon as 1977. Numerous suitors surfaced, some offering to keep the team in Oakland and other looking to move the franchise out at the end of the 1977 season. The most famous buyer was oil billionaire Marvin Davis, whose family was said to be the model for the soap opera Dynasty. Davis also owned the 20th Century Fox studio for some time before selling it to some Australian named Rupert Murdoch.

The difficult part of the move was the generally ironclad lease the Coliseum had with the A’s. It was a 20-year term, with an expensive buyout if the A’s left. As the Coliseum filed a $35 million lawsuit against Finley, Finley worked with Kuhn and Giants owner Bob Lurie to figure out a solution. Wait, what did Bob Lurie have to do with this?

Kuhn had been convinced that, with both teams showing poor attendance, the Bay Area was only a one-team market. He spoke to pols in both San Francisco and Oakland to work on a compromise, but in the end the Bay Area would be left with only one team. Previously, Lurie had bought the team from Horace Stoneham, saving SF from the prospect of moving the Giants to Toronto. Lurie was brought into the talks to figure out what role the Giants would have in a one-team Bay Area.

The solution, as architected by Kuhn and others before the 1978 season, would’ve been to have the A’s sold to Marvin Davis, which would’ve gotten rid of Kuhn’s nemesis Finley. Then in order to compromise on the Coliseum lease, the Giants would’ve played some number of games at the Coliseum, 25-40 depending on how the final deal was drawn up. In San Francisco the team would’ve been called the San Francisco Giants, while in Oakland the team would’ve been called simply the Giants. Kuhn recalled:

For the next three weeks, the politicians, the baseball administration and the lawyers struggled to find solutions. At last, amazingly, parity was agreed to. The team name would be the San Francisco Giants except in Oakland, where it would be the Giants. Financial payments to the Oakland Coliseum were set at $3.25 million. The internal fight within baseball was difficult when Finley would put up no more than $1 million as his share of the Coliseum payment. Even that we were able to persuade the clubs to accept. But, when we asked him [Finley] to waive claims of any kind against baseball, he balked.

Even though Finley was leaving baseball – forever – he still wanted to keep his right to sue just in case he felt he got ripped off. Finley was no stranger to courtrooms, so this could be expected. Still, you’d think that after all that work (and his building desperation) he would’ve waived that one right in order to finish the deal. The sale fell apart and Finley went into full fire sale mode, finally selling the team to the Haas family in 1980.

Consider the ramifications:

  • The Giants would’ve become the San Francisco Giants/Giants, probably playing most of the Oakland games before football season.
  • The buyout would’ve funded improvements to the Coliseum that Al Davis was seeking, improvements that probably would’ve kept the Raiders in Oakland.
  • From that point forward, the Bay Area would’ve been a one-team town, with a young, growing city like San Jose pursuing an expansion franchise.
  • Eventually, the team-sharing situation would’ve created a race between SF and Oakland to build a permanent home when leases at both Candlestick Park and the Coliseum expired in the late 80’s. Territorial rights would’ve included the “BART counties” plus Marin County.
  • Rickey Henderson, who was drafted in 1976, would’ve spent much of his career in Denver. The same could be said of Tony Armas and Dwayne Murphy, among others. Marvin Davis had the money to bolster the team’s payroll, so the chances of keeping a talented young team intact were very good.

So this Christmas, thank the ghost of Charlie Finley for being so selfish that he had to be able to sue – just in case. Without that, the Oakland Athletics would’ve been a 10 year experiment, a blip on the radar, an historical anomaly.

(h/t Rob Neyer, who referenced the near-sale when the A’s-to-China Basin reports surfaced. I didn’t see his post until after I finished this one.)

73 thoughts on “The Solomonesque solution that thankfully never happened

  1. “It’s all meaningless in the grand scheme of things…” Music to my ears! OT: Hopefully the Raiders can start enjoying some of that Niners “Magic” (or luck?) next season. Catch the @#$%! ball Douglas! 😉

  2. Haas bought the team from Finley after people approached him and made the case for keeping the team in Oakland. The fact that he had a lawyer son-in-law with a lawyer buddy who both wanted to run a mlb team probably helped him make his decision. But fundamentally he bought the team to keep it in Oakland. Haas himself recounted that tale in a piece archived by the Bancroft Library oral history project.

    One afternoon before a day game in Oakland, when Charlie Finley strolled out onto the field, who were the two A’s players in the dugout who fired baseballs at his head?

    Finally, on Candlestick, my first Giants game was on an August Sunday in 1978, when the dodgers and Giants were tied for first. I’d been following the Giants all that year, but I can mark my time as a Giants fan from that moment. If you’ve never seen a Giants-dodgers regular season game when both teams are in the hunt, you need to put it on your list. One of the best was the 1997 game catcher Brian Johnson won with a walkoff in the 12th. I was sitting way up in the CF seats for that one, surrounded by 50-some-thousand maniacs who refused to let the late afternoon wind chase them away. (Well, a few people fled the chill. But they weren’t Giants or dodger fans.)

    of course, the Stick holds a special spot in the hearts of A’s fans. After all, there is the place where the A’s won their last WS–two and a half decades ago.

  3. @xoot,

    Hey, I bet you that you and I were present at many a Giants Candlestick game back in the 70’s and early 80’s. Why? Because at that time I was still a fan OF BOTH BAY AREA TEAMS. Making Summer treks as a kid to both Candlestick and the Coliseum from San Jose. Heck, I still remember jumping up and down cheering that Johnson
    homer back in 97.

    Then I learned about the Giants territorial rights to my city back in the early 2000’s. Who knows xoot, maybe one day I’ll be able to forgive the Giants and once again become a fan of both teams…

    Merry Christmas

  4. Charles O. Finley was obviously way, way ahead of his time. He had the lowest budget of any MLB team for scouting, yet consistently out-scouted the other teams. In one story I read he told a reporter that all he needed was 2 good scouts and about $50,000 and he could win the World Series in a few years. Charley O. The Mule, orange baseballs, white shoes, night-time World Series games, the designated hitter, the designated runner, the home plate rabbit which delivered baseballs to the home plate umpire, anti-free agency, paying players to grow facial hair, and of course his kid spy, Stanley Burrell.

    He tried to trade for pitcher Bill Hands just so his fans could read in the paper that his starting pitchers in a double header were going to be “Fingers and Hands.” (Fingers started games early in his career). That trade never materialized, but it was a fun idea.

    Being in the insurance business Charley O was a frequent flier in the courtroom, and this litigious experience played an important role in his anti Bowie Kuhn positions….thank god.

  5. I’ve often thought about this, but have never posed the question. A well thought out, well crafted, grass root Public Relations campaign designed to “Out” the inequitable position the Giants ownership has taken would have to have some effect on their public perception, and maybe a little economic sting.

    Most casual fans don’t have any idea of what the true issues are, the true threats that have been levied by the Giants, the true desires of the Giants, and their true motives.

    Anyone up for this?

  6. RS, I’ve always viewed that the South Bay’s corporate/business community held the purse-strings clout to effectively put pressure on the Giants for them to withdraw their unfair and unjustly “territorial rights” claims to the more wealthier and populous parts of the Bay Area market. If only the corporate/business community were more openly willing to take action, such as withdrawing their sponsorship funding of the Giants, or to not renew their luxury suites and season tickets at AT&T Park. If these scenarios were to begin to happen, then and only then we just may be able to accomplish a fair and equitable resolution to finding a new Bay Area ballpark home for the A’s. As of right now, the Giants have no incentive other than to maintain the status quo.

  7. Wow what a neat story. I’ve never heard it until now. Thanks for sharing that.

  8. Very interesting story.

    But I highly doubt San Jose would have gotten an expansion franchise if the A’s
    moved to Denver.

    I say this because mlb would never grant a city an expansion team without a large public subsidy for a ballpark.

    San Jose I doubt would fork that kind of money over based on past history. The Giants failed twice for tax money and SJ isn’t offering anything to the A’s outside of land and basic infrastructure.

  9. @Rayburn’s son: The full story would make Wolff/Fisher look worse than the Giants owners. You write well, though. Let it rip.

    As to Finley, I’m serious: who were the two A’s players who tried to nail him in the head with baseballs they hurled before a game at the E Coli? Come on. A’s experts know this stuff. And they know that white cleats and MC Hammer anecdotes tell only part of the story. What about Finley’s desire to move the team to Salt Lake City (et al) toward the end of the 70s (thus igniting the action that resulted in Haas’s purchase)? Context is all.

  10. @xoot – Hard Facts Make Bad Law. I respectfully disagree. The full story, with real facts, will be revealed soon enough and it’s not pretty for your beloved team – the PR spin that they will have to undertake will make The Clinton’s proud. Unfortunately, Mr. Mice Nuts hasn’t had the sack to make it public (primarily because he promised LW he could get a deal done), and the MLB dictatorship has the suppression order firmly collared around both ownership groups. When LW justifiably relied upon the promise he did absolutely nothing wrong, and continues to do nothing wrong. Notwithstanding your trite and sometimes inane quips, Mr. Bow Tie, Mr. Safeway, Mr. Santa Cruz Warriors, and Mr. Lap Dog all will be colorful deponents. I can’t wait to read the transcripts.

  11. @Rayburns son: uh huh. Your dim and uninspired response, after I lauded your writing talent, disappoints mightily. Wolff/Fisher bought the A’s knowing that they couldn’t build a ballpark in SV, but they tried to change the terms of the deal. So far, they’ve failed. They’re continuing to negotiate. Meanwhile, the Giants owners have negotiated, too. It’s bidness. And nobody important is going to get deposed. Really. Disappoints mightily.

  12. xoot, get this straight. They did NOT buy the club knowing they could build in the south bay. They bought it knowing that in order to do so, they would either need to placate the Giants or get a 3/4 vote of the owners. SF bought their team knowing full well that their T-Rights weren’t written in stone and could be rescinded by that 3/4 vote. As for no one getting deposed, that remains to be seen. It’s doubtful that’ll come from the SJ lawsuits, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen through other, more nuclear, options in the future.

  13. @xoot – You seem to be basically a decent human being and maybe someday some form of therapy will bear me out on that. Additionally, you are probably an adequate attorney for the seemingly small potato type cases you work on, but obviously not partner material as I doubt a well-heeled, half-a-million a year partner would spend their free time on this blog; as they would be prudently slaving away at every free moment racking up those billables; say no more.

    Notwithstanding the above your partisan analysis misses the proverbial mark once again. That you continue to allow your subjective alliances to cloud your judgement indicates a certain disconcertion on your part, which I put down to zeal, but heaven knows we all make mistakes. That’s life—and baseball.

    Whatever the purchase terms and conditions for the current ownership were went flying out the park like one of the juiced-up faux home runs that “Federal Prisoner #25” use to hit at ATT park. Counselor Xoot it changed when Mr. Mice Nuts told LW to commit to SJ and Mice Nuts would cut a deal with the Midgets. That was the Tipping Point as Mr. Gladwell might say. That is when things went haywire at 24 Willie Mays Plaza, that is when Mr. Bow Tie got his panties in a bunch and Mr. Lap Dog crapped his pants. That was the day that changed baseball in the Bay Area. Unfortunately we will have to wait a while longer but equilibrium will eventually take place and order will be restored with the two-team shared market that we all know should exist – in a fair and equal marketplace – thanks in part to U.S. v Lopez and some liberal minded progress the courts have made over the last couple of decades.

    The Bad Actors will look back on their gambit and wonder why it backfired tragically. With bemusement they will not understand why their ploy was subsequently butchered; Operation Backfire so to speak.

    Happy Holidays.

  14. @ ML It’s the season, so thanks for the blog, and whatever you are into, Happy Holidays everyone.

  15. Rayburn Athletics:1
    Xoot Gnats: 0

    Happy Holidays and go Niners! 🙂

  16. Happy Festivus, Giants haters. May the new year bring less embarassing attendance numbers for the team that hasn’t seen the WS in this millenium. May Rayburn’s run-on sentences never cease to make stupid ad hominem attacks instead of intelligent points. May those of you who think the battle is between the Giants and the A’s never break your fever. You’re delightful–all of you who believe that (as Charlie Finley told you) the hideous shade of yellow you wear is actually “Fort Knox Gold.” Happy Festivus, bitter A’s fans.

  17. @xoot Wow, man I hope you did not mean that toward everyone, I have enjoyed you, and we have never had a problem?

  18. Yes, xoot, I am quite happy that I am not a giants fan – what an over- rated, over-hyped, greedy organization they are. Comparing the two franchises, the A’s approved the giants rights to build a ballpark in San Jose (which, fortunately, the wise San Jose voters rejected)because the Haas ownership did not want the giants to move out of state.

    Compare that to the greedy giants organization – which is attempting to block the A’s move to San Jose (also the giants don’t want the A’s at the Coliseum City, or the HT site either – and want the A’s to leave town) That, along with the A’s four world series titles to the giants two – sums up the two franchises quite nicely.

  19. Lmao.. Menudo for hangovers, xoot… Or pho

  20. @xoot- I’m a lifelong Giants fan and I disagree you big time.

    Team values have skyrocketed to the point where T-rights means zero at this point for both teams.

    The A’s are trying to move further away from the Giants but are being blocked?

    It shows nothing but greed in what is a child’s game. Their is no where to build in the east bay and Selig knows it.

    San Jose will win in the 9th circuit, I’ve said from the start a lawsuit was the only way. They will also win in state court as icing on the cake.

    Sj will embarrass MLB in court and you will see loud and clear what the Giabts are doing is flat out wrong.

    The A’s will be in San Jose…it’s just a matter of time.

  21. Do you think that the MLB owners Lodge would be foolish enough to risk losing their sacred ATE just so that the Giants could maintain their competitive advantage over the A’s within their shared Bay Area market?

  22. I actually agree with Sid on the T-rights issue. Maybe they made sense 20 or more years ago, but they no longer apply today with the revenue income that sports leagues enjoy today. To bad baseball is not run like the other big 3 sports when it comes to revenue sharing and salary cap.

  23. Territorial Rights are not entirely obsolete, but are pretty ridiculous as part of the modern business landscape. They really only directly impact one portion of the three ways a team makes money, and they negatively impact the Bay Area market’s total impact to MLB indirectly. Which allows them to negatively impact the other way teams make money (1. Tickets/Stadium->2. Local Media Revenue-> 3. League wide revenue).
    .
    It’s an archaic construct that is holding the entire league back, if only slightly. It’s monopolistic canon, rather than the free enterprise principle, as many owners and ignorant fans proclaim. If it truly was about free enterprise, there would be 4 teams in NYC and none in Tampa Bay.

  24. @Jeffrey, The intent of “territorial rights” is to maintain economic stability among the existing sports franchises within its league. Otherwise, you would have franchises arbitrarily moving into another franchise’s market. As a result, causing havoc and potentially severely damaging the economic integrity of the sports league, not to mention the allegiances of fans with their respective teams. However, these concerns do not apply between two teams that already share the same market. The term “territory” and market should be treated as one and the same. In fact it is in all instances within the four major sports leagues, except the Bay Area market in MLB. That exception has to be corrected, since in reality both the A’s and Giants are playing within the same territory.

  25. T-Rights have a purpose important purpose, just not in how MLB maintains them. In most cases, especially true in the bay area, T-Rights are haphazardly drawn with no rhyme or reason. If they drew a 30-40 mile circle around the stadium for each team and said no one could move there, that would make sense. Even a 50-100 mile circle would make sense. Chopping up by a series of counties where the bay is split in two in such a way that the teams are 10 miles apart, but one team has rights 40+ miles away equi-distant doesn’t. Especially when it’s not even uniform across the league.

  26. Dead Man, that’s exactly what I meant.

  27. The territorial rights issue doesn’t even matter anymore. A’s ain’t movin’, will sell the team to Investors in 2016. Where they move, after the sale, will depend on the investors.

  28. Ivan: Wolff has continually said the team is not for sale.

  29. @lakeshoreneil–you know where I stand. But this place has deteriorated during the past year. I realize that the total post-season failure of the Beane era has been tough; and it’s even tougher to be stuck watching the defeats in the E Coli. But blaming the Giants for the A’s situation is ridiculous. I’ve always said that the Bay Area is a two-team market that should be shared. The problem is that I also point out how complicit the A’s owners have been in creating the current imbalance, while raking in the dough. Such discussion is not welcome on lewballpark.org. Fine.

  30. @Ivan,
    You continue to be one funny guy! Thanks for providing humor to this site and Happy Holidays!
    @Rayburn,
    Now that’s what I’m talking about! MLB isn’t stupid; they know baseball in San Jose will be a money maker and will eventually do the right thing re A’s to SJ and indemnification towards the Giants (even if they don’t deserve squat IMHO)
    @Xoot,
    Then why are you here?…

  31. @ivan- you were pretty excited with the previous article you posted that said LW was talking to CC developers which of course was false. Now your claiming LW will sell- why would he sell- while this situation is frustrating he is making a good return on his investment and MLB will continue to give the A’s welfare because of their indecision-

  32. xoot may be right. He may also be an asshole. His position is a little more pro-Giants on other forums such as Fangraphs. Whatever, man. Do what you want.

  33. @Xoot,

    I actually blame Selig/MLB for the current mess. They should simply make Giants ownership accept an indemnification package that is more than generous and doesn’t cripple the A’s organization moving forward. Kind of like what they did for the Orioles/Angelos in the Expos to DC deal. And if Baer and company decide to file a lawsuit against MLB’s will; I say so what! Let the Black and Orange give themselves a huge black eye trying to destroy the cherished ATE. That’ll look really good in front of the Lodge. Why does MLB need the ATE anyway? The NFL and NBA seem to be doing OK and are making billions without it. No current NFL team has been allowed to relocate to LA, yet the ATE doesn’t exist for football (?). Anyhow, just a little rant before I enjoy my day..

  34. “The problem is that I also point out how complicit the A’s owners have been in creating the current imbalance, while raking in the dough.”

    @xoot, I gather that you are sick and tired that the A’s are continuing on as recipients of those revenue sharing handouts. Well, the A’s will gladly give them up, and begin to pay into the revenue sharing fund as their co-market rivals the Giants are doing. All MLB has to do is to treat the Bay Area market as one shared territory, and to thus allow the A’s to move and build their new Bay Area ballpark at the site of their own choosing. If that were to happen, the A’s would then be on equal footing with the Giants. In addition, the A’s would also have to be responsible with both the risks and benefits to being a major market MLB franchise. All the A’s want from MLB is to be given that opportunity. I don’t think that it’s asking too much.

  35. @xoot
    I don’t get the frustration on your part.

    The TR are holding back the A’s from building their own stadium in wealthy Silicon Valley, where they would have a chance of getting some ROI, and get off of revenue sharing, and compete on equal footing with the Giants, and thrive as franchise (while the Giants continue to thrive as well). And you make posts defending the Giants stance on TR and then say the A’s are complicate in this whole ordeal. And then you get (the very expected and understandable) backlash from A’s fans here, and then you complain about said backlash.

    Well, what the hell else did you expect??

  36. One thing I do think is a legitimate criticism of Wolff/Fisher (as well as the Mark Davis for that matter), is the lack of willingness to do some improvements / fix ups of the Coli – i.e. – new scoreboards, better lighting in the lower concourse, covering of conduits, more A’s/Raiders decorations, more food/beer vendors, etc. None of this stuff would be overly expensive, and the two franchises could easily afford it.

    The objection is that neither team owns the place, they’re renters, and it’s up to the landlords to do that stuff. And why spend that money when you’re going to be (or trying to) investing in a new stadium somewhere, and it’s just a short term lease anyway?

    The answer is simple: Because it improves the fan experience <> (rather than waiting for a new facility to be built), and thus can only improve attendance, revenue, reputation, brand value, and ultimately franchise value. Putting lipstick on the pig can only help their business, and at the very least give MLB, the fans, and media the impression that they are doing their very best with a difficult situation. And that can only help with media and MLB sympathy.

    Instead they (both the A’s and Raiders) just point fingers at the less than broke JPA/Oakland/Alameda County, saying “it’s up to them, we’re just tenants”. Sorry, but that’s not an excuse for not trying to provide the best possible customer experience. Yes, it costs money and it’s on something they don’t own. But it’s worth every penny. Besides, both the A’s and the Raiders have had, and continue to have, very favorable lease terms (they probably pay waaaay less than pretty much everyone else in their respective leagues). And of course, the JPA wouldn’t stand in the A’s/Raiders way on trying to improve the venue.

    One thing I do give Giants ownership credit for was trying all kinds of stuff at horrible Candlestick, in an effort to improve the fan experience there.

  37. @Tony

    Happy Holidays bro, a Belgian Ale on me when A’s are playing in something different than the Coliseum, where ever.

    @ GoA’s

    I agree with you but if you look at the salaries they have dedicated, it doesn’t look like a team thinking past 2015-2016. If you click the teams on the left (playoff teams), they have salaries dedicated into 2017 and beyond. The whole thing makes no sense. (sigh)

    Damn you Bud!

  38. calling someone an asshole on the blog where you censor is chickenshit amateurism. the lewballpark.org fix is in. and your represention of my posts elsewhere is either based on inability to understand context or on the weird a’s fan inferiority simplex. gotta go now. we have tickets to tonight’s game 12 rows behind the dubs bench.

    • @xoot – You no longer “may be” an asshole. You fully ARE an asshole. Run along. Lewballpark? You gonna do standup with that brilliant wit? Look, if you don’t recognize why you’re being offensive to an audience full of A’s fans, you ARE AN ASSHOLE. Most people call those types trolls. I consider it something worse.

      ASSHOLE.

  39. xoot: Enjoy the foul shots and timeouts. That’s pretty much most of the evening at an NBA game Takes a half hour to play the last 30 seconds.

  40. Jeff I will definitely agree with you there. There are small improvements that wouldn’t cost the A’s much that they could make to the Coliseum but they choose not to. Likely because it doesn’t help their preferred narrative that the Coliseum and the experience of going to the Coliseum are terrible. Which is understandable on one hand, but on the other as you say it does nothing for the fan experience. And some would say that any improvements would be a waste of time and money at this point, but frankly I also don’t buy that.

    The A’s have 165 games minimum in the Coliseum over the next two seasons (162 reg season and 3 exhibition). And that assumes they don’t even extend the lease a few years further beyond what they’ve currently got (remember Wolff wanted 5 yrs). It seems to me that’s a lot of fan time in the Coliseum that could be improved by a few small tweaks (banners, a few more lights on the concourse, removing the damn view blocking fences, etc…)

  41. Xoot – the gnats organization is one huge inferiority complex – built on a giant heap of b.s. and lies. If your giants are so “great” – why don’t you spend more time at a giants blog instead of trolling at an A’s site? We A’s fans (along with many other non-giants MLB fans) don’t care about your boring team.

  42. well. that escalated.

  43. Wow. I don’t think Xoot’s behavior deserves this “a-hole” treatment by MarineLayer and doctorK. I know the pro-SJ guys that dominate this board like to rip pro-Oakland and pro-SF posters any chance they get, but common.

  44. Stupid spell check. It should be come on.

  45. good video – a good touch would be inserting a giants cap on the guy.

  46. A-hole? What’s that old saying ? Takes one to know one???

  47. Wrong Campyfan: although Xoot is typically an acceptable troll – calling out A’s fans as being associated with an “inferiority complex” is b.s. – also lumping together pro-Oakland and pro giants supporters is inaccurate. The giants organization’s goal and fantasy is to squeeze the A’s out of town. If the giants could block the A’s from building a new stadium in Oakland, they would be doing that also (there is no way the giants could prevent a new A’s ballpark being built in Oakland though)Most A’s fans are likely not at all pro giants.

  48. excerpt: Meantime, Oakland’s mayor is not letting the A’s leave without a fight. Quan says the city has at least two sites the A’s can use to build a new stadium or the current stadium can be repaired and remodeled to the A’s satisfaction

    …Remodel the current stadium? I think just says Quan knows Oakland can’t get it done as far as building a new ballpark for the A’s. Wonder what Selig thinks of this idea

  49. Campyfan – xoot felt the need to refer to the Coliseum as the ‘E Coli’ (ha ha, very original). Good, honest discussion with Giants fans are welcome. From the beginning of this thread, xoot was in full-troll mode.

  50. “The buyout would’ve funded improvements to the Coliseum that Al Davis was seeking, improvements that probably would’ve kept the Raiders in Oakland.”

    ML,

    I’m a bit confused about this part. Didn’t the Coliseum get luxury suites as early as 1983? I always thought Al Davis moved the Raiders because he wanted a new stadium (which then seemed very unreasonable given the Coliseum’s still young age). Am I missing something?

  51. BM, the Raiders moved after the 1981 season…

  52. I’ve seen a few of the pro-SJ camp call it E Coli too, but that’s okay on here.

  53. I call it E.Coli all the time. It’s a fitting name for the old pile of crap.

  54. Dan,

    I understand that part; I was just wondering what prevented Oakland from giving the Raiders luxury suites when they gave the A’s suites just two years later?

    • @BayMetro – The Coliseum ran very lean during that period, so there was no money for big improvements like luxury suites. Davis had wanted those since the mid/late 70’s. The deal struck between Haas and the Coliseum Commission in the early 80’s involved loaning the money for improvements, which the A’s paid back over time. Since Oakland had already lost the Raiders, the political climate was much more friendly to such a deal than it had been only a few years earlier. Of course, that deal’s success got the ball rolling on efforts to bring the Raiders back, which led to the Mt. Davis debacle.

  55. pjk, I have no idea if Quan is delusional, trying to fool the public and run out the clock, until after (Hopefully for her) she is Reelected, or she knows something about the Raiders stay in Oakland (beyond 2014) that the general public is unaware of. Because how can she (or anyone for that matter), expect even a Major upgrade of the Coliseum to occur, while there are two teams playing there? If my name is Mark Davis, and the people in Oakland are stupid enough to return her to office, I would be packing my bags to LA or Santa Clara ASAP.

  56. ML,

    Cool, thanks for the clarification!

  57. Well, if this is the final thread of 2013, just wanted to wish everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR! And as I’ve done here since 2010, I’m predicting yet again that THIS COMING YEAR we’ll finally get closure and hear something official from MLB re our A’s future. If 2013 was any indication, it looks San Jose is (at least officially) no longer barred from being pursued by the A’s. What’s now needed is for Wolff/A’s/city of SJ to bring more to the plate financially and for the Giants to finally stop acting like greedy A-holes; all while the SJ lawsuit keeps a little pressure on MLB/Giants. My stance has not and will not change: San Jose WILL happen for our A’s! Happy New Years all!!

  58. Re: Davis, there are a few issues.

    1. Many surmise that Davis wanted to move to LA by hook or by crook, both for greater limelight for him and his football team, more money to be made with more seats, and that pay TV was thought to be coming to the NFL (not sure how that wouldn’t be shared equally among NFL teams, but that was what he was saying at the time).

    2. Davis had always refused to sign a lease for longer than 5 years, which wouldn’t work for Oakland as they needed time to pay off the bonds needed to construct luxury boxes.

    3. During negotiations, Oakland Mayor Lionel Wilson threw out a proposal that the Raiders were OK with, and then took it back under political pressure. Davis took this as a snub and went into total eff you mode.

    4. The city of Oakland asked neighboring businesses along Hegenberger whether they should let the A’s buy their way out of their lease in exchange for the improvements the Raiders wanted were the Raiders to sign a long term lease (this was around ’80). Most of the businesses saw more business from A’s games than Raiders games, even though the A’s drew flies and the Raiders sold out every game, due to the nature of baseball fans to patronize businesses before and after games and football fans to park, drink, watch the game, and go home.

    5. Even with the boxes, the Coliseum would still have been too small and shitty for football.

    Given the combination of these, it is debatable whether the buyout could have politically occurred, and whether it would’ve accomplished the goal of keeping the Raiders.

  59. re: What’s now needed is for Wolff/A’s/city of SJ to bring more to the plate financially

    …Won’t happen. There are at least a half dozen people running for SJ mayor. One of them’s already sent me a calendar. I doubt a single one of them is going to advocate spending taxpayer dollars for an A’s stadium. Like I’ve said before: SJ’s options likely boiled down to spending taxpayer money on a stadium or suing MLB to get the original deal agreed upon with Wolff (just provide some land and that’s it). We already see which route SJ took.

  60. Well Happy New Year everyone. I’m going to be the pessimist and assume we won’t see any resolution in the coming year. Not until well after the new commish is in place and settled in. More than likely another year of this nonsense in store for all of us.

  61. Merry New Years!
    God bless the Oakland Athletics
    God bless the Oakland Raiders
    God Bless the San Jose Sharks
    God Bless SJSU athletics!
    God Bless The San Jose Earthquakes
    God bless the Dallas Cowboys

    Efff everything SF!

    Now time for oysters and a nice stout.

    Good night Los Angeles!!!!!!!!!

  62. @Larry E And God bless you

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