Kawakami: San Jose is dead for now

If you haven’t already read Tim Kawakami’s latest blog piece, I must insist that you do so. Then come back here.

Kawakami’s premise is that after checking with various league sources, San Jose is not happening soon, and doesn’t have the votes thanks to the Lodge’s reaction to last summer’s lawsuit filed against MLB.

I’ve heard differently, that for some months now everything is simply a big negotiation and the ongoing items in progress (lawsuits by/against San Jose, Oakland’s own activities) are there to make points towards the final figure. As we’ve seen time and time again, MLB is thoroughly inscrutable. They can choose to punish A’s ownership for nodding with San Jose’s antitrust lawsuit while turning a blind eye to the Giants’ interference with San Jose. It’s their Lodge, they make the rules. People have jokingly noted that the fifth anniversary of the “Blue Ribbon Commission” just happened. Well, so has the ninth anniversary of this blog! And we’re still not closer to a new ballpark!

Regardless of MLB’s (in)actions, the fact is that Kawakami’s right that the A’s aren’t going anywhere soon. Maybe that changes if Joe Cotchett can get the heat turned up via the Ninth Circuit. Even then it seems likely that in a loss MLB would appeal to the Supreme Court, which is really what Cotchett wants. If MLB can be made to heel, then it would force a solution the same way Tampa Bay got an expansion franchise. That is at best a long shot and shouldn’t be expected.

And maybe that’s Selig’s point. Selig and the rest of the owners prefer to work everything out within the confines of the Lodge. They could be holding the decision over Lew Wolff’s and John Fisher’s heads as long as the lawsuit moves forward. If the lawsuit were suddenly dropped, the process could be back on, but not while the lawsuit continues. The response brief from MLB is due this week.

While Kawakami’s basic point about inertia stands, it doesn’t speak to a real endgame. There remains the game of musical chairs at the Coliseum, as well as the pace of progress and the numerous unknowns of the Howard Terminal project. If both of those options fall apart it works in Wolff’s favor. If at least one works out it helps MLB and the Giants since they wouldn’t have to touch territorial rights. The endgame scenarios are unpredictable, involving plenty of independent moving parts. The situation within the Lodge could take years to settle, or could be done before Selig leaves office next year (if that happens).

The parting shot that Kawakami takes in which Wolff & Fisher haven’t endeared themselves to the other owners because they “make profits” from revenue sharing – that sounds like a talking point. That’s the system, set up and approved unanimously by the owners per the CBA. If the owners hate the A’s getting revenue sharing so much, adjust the formula to limit their take. Or how about this – allow them to have a solution to get them off revenue sharing. The 2012 CBA specified that the A’s would be off the dole once they moved into a new ballpark within the Bay Area market, perhaps as late as the end of the CBA in 2016. We now know that the next CBA will come with no new (permanent) venue for the A’s at that time. If the owners are that upset, get punitive. That said, I think that criticism is a load of B.S.

Even the outcome that has the A’s staying in Oakland in a new park is problematic. If the A’s (Wolff/Fisher or a new ownership group) privately finance a $500 million stadium, they’ll be on the hook for $30 million in debt service every year for 30 years, with no revenue sharing to backfill any revenue shortfalls (if the A’s have down years or the honeymoon period ends). Plus they won’t have nearly the kind of corporate revenue to cover a large percentage of the loans the same way a ballpark in San Jose or San Francisco would. Is the Lodge ready to approve such a deal? Or would they rather extend revenue sharing to provide a cushion for the A’s? If they do, the M.O. would belie those previous criticisms. Yet it would be the easy way out. Just treat the A’s like a small market team forever, and let the sleeping dog entrenched interests lie. Yep, that sounds a lot like MLB, especially under Bud Selig.

99 thoughts on “Kawakami: San Jose is dead for now

  1. ML, please don’t ask us to read slop from Giants PR rep Tim Kawakami.

  2. As much as I dislike Kawakami, I’ll still read. In this case, the Wolff/Fisher argument sounds dumb and illogical to me. The other stuff makes sense to an extent, but I agree, I think MLB always has a price and it can be met. Or it could decide to do nothing which is pretty much where we are at for the time being. Come 2016 I bet we still don’t have a stadium deal but likely we have the A’s being forced to move. Then MLB will be in a panic. Why do I think that, because Oakland has always shown a willingness to support the Raiders first.

  3. I just wonder whose sources are better; it would seem that TK, given his background and experience as a journalist would have the better sources.

    However, with this Blog, ML has centralized the A’s plight for the last nine years in one nuetral site – I know that Lew Wolff has read this site, or at least his son Keith has.

    I suspect that ML’s sources are more A’s – centric, while TK has more sources throughout MLB.

  4. Well sources are sources and they are colored in some way by their perspective, Im sure ML has MLB sources too but just depends on what part of MLB you are talking to to get perspectives. For instance, if this were someone connected with the White Sox, could be pro-A’s centric because of Reinsdorf’s stated position. If it were Yankees, might be anti-A’s because of the worry of a third team in either Brooklyn or New Jersey eating into the territory. Its all relative. So keep reading for 2-10 more years and we will see what might actually play out. Frankly I would beyond livid if it takes that long, but at the very least this site exists for information and discussion.

  5. I am left wondering how many “MLB sources” Kawakami actually has that are not affiliated with the Giants.

  6. Kawakami reminds me of a younger version of Glenn Dickey with his head in the sand and his copy/plagiarism “Spin-Rewriter” machine working 24/7. He is not an intellectual heavyweight and I’ve heard he is not respected by his peers.

    MLB was front and center at game last night including possible new commissioner and Tony La Russa.

    Why didn’t TK write about that?

  7. Yeah, I take Kawakami with a major grain of salt on these matters.

    Given that the process was going nowhere, I think the lawsuit was still the right call.

    And I think that Wolff’s stance with publicly seeking a 10-year lease at the Co is saying “I can sit back and collect rev share checks until I can build where I want.”

  8. re: if the A’s (Wolff/Fisher or a new ownership group) privately finance a $500 million stadium, they’ll be on the hook for $30 million in debt service every year for 30 years, with no revenue sharing to backfill any revenue shortfalls…Or would they rather extend revenue sharing to provide a cushion for the A’s?

    …This works for me. If MLB is so intent on keeping the A’s in Oakland, then make MLB pay for the ballpark. $30 million-a-year mortgage canceled out by $30-$40 million-a-year in perpetual revenue-sharing checks from MLB. If MLB would rather continue subsidizing a franchise in Oakland forever than make money with one in San Jose, I’m OK with that.

  9. @ plrraz,
    Kawakami is full of shit with his “sources.” Despite writing for the SAN JOSE Mercury News he’s an SF Giants homer through and through who sees everything through their lense. Notice in the piece NOT ONE OUNCE OF CRITICISM towards Giants ownership. No parting shots at Baer and company for their ultra – greed and selfishness? Of course not! Better to play strawman and criticize the A’s for legally generating revenue through the existing system. WHAT AN ASSHOLE!

    Rhamesis has a direct line to Lew Wolff; he has SOURCES. TK? He’s got crap foaming out of his mouth. GO A’S AND GO SJ!

  10. Tim Kawakami isn’t saying thing out of line. It’s a progress report tied to Opening Night at the Coliseum rather than an update in the situation. If you’re overreacting, you’re wasting your time.

  11. Kawakami proved definitively that he’s a lightweight when it comes to the business side of sports with his absurd proclamations and other blind guesses regarding the 49ers stadium efforts. Basically, the further away from the actual game he gets (and frankly he’s limited to just one sport: basketball), the more he demonstrates having no depth of knowledge or critical thinking skills. You just can’t take him seriously.

  12. @ ML
    You sited Oakland’s own activity, as one of the events tied to making points toward a final figure. I am probably missing something, but why would any action taken by the OWB group or the City of Oakland (at the coliseum); make any difference toward a final figure in a territorial payoff to the San Francisco Giants, for the City of San Jose? At the risk of asking too many questions, why would San Jose even file the lawsuit, if the only thing left to do is resolve the payoff?, does not sound logical, but again I am probably missing something.
    @ Nicosan
    You are so right “sources are sources”, we could have a situation where ML”s and Kawakami sources both have some legitimacy based on what their desired outcome is.
    @ pjk
    Agree with you and ML on this one, Lew Wolff if he was ever to build in Oakland Alameda County should demand the right to be treated as a small market team, as we have discussed many times the A’s are in effect a small market team, playing in a larger market because they are being confined by MLB to two counties out of nine, MLB needs to make up the deference since they are enforcing a competitive imbalance within the region.
    @ Briggs
    Your right most of this is simple overreaction, not that I haven’t been a victim, of such things myself at times.

  13. The checks are large, but this is kind of the case of being in the middle. The big market teams that pay into the system split the costs among each other, so one team doesn’t really feel like its subsidizing the A’s entirely, even though they don’t like it. The midmarket teams are indifferent. The other small market teams probably side with the A’s. In other words, no clear consensus for any action.

    Wolff can afford to play the long game, making some money but never losing money with the A’s while letting the team appreciate. HIs son is poised to take command of the team in the future, while Selig will (maybe) retire in a year. Ownership can sink some money into the Coli to make it a little friendlier for the fans, but never have to commit the big bucks if they don’t want to. And if MLB tells him San Jose is off the table for now, he can wait until Oakland’s plans come up with some money and take a free ballpark, or if those fail, ask for San Jose again.

  14. @Lakeshore/Neil….”At the risk of asking too many questions, why would San Jose even file the lawsuit, if the only thing left to do is resolve the payoff?”

    If the Giants want $500M and the A’s are willing to pay $0 – a lawsuit might be able to bridge the gap, correct?

  15. If you connect the dots, it’s readily apparent TK’s “sources” are LA teams (he used to be a columnist there). I’m sure they hate “Moneyball” and want the A’s to crumble….

  16. @ Rayburn’s Son

    Re: a lawsuit might be able to bridge the gap, correct?
    Yes that could be correct it might bridge the gap, it could also be correct that it may make the gap much wider, as Kawakami suggest. I know a lot of folks don’t like the guy, but the lawsuit could have turned some of the owners that may have been on the fence, away from the idea all together.
    I was also thinking about what ML said about Kawakami closing shot about Wolff and Fisher being on revenue sharing, and I agree with ML it does sound like a talking point, but the part about them “crying poor”, I could see some of the owners filling that way, after all they purchased the team for 185 million, and its supposedly worth 495 million today. That would be 310 million that’s almost 35 million a year profit for a team that Wolff and Fisher have put vary little investment into, outside the original 185million and profiting off an increases in franchise value, some of those other owners may view that increase as something Lew and John had very little to do with.

  17. Having a little fun with TK on Twitter….he gets so easily offended that people do not like his column….strange!

  18. Lakeshore: What we have here is Lew Wolff was brought in to get the A’s a new ballpark. He has presented a plan to do exactly that and MLB has rejected his plan and offered no alternative. Let Wolff keep on collecting revenue-sharing checks at the sewage-spewing Coliseum in perpetuity, if MLB doesn’t want to work with him on his plan.

  19. @ pjk
    You summed it up, sounds about right. The problem is, in that scenario we don’t get a new stadium in San Jose, Oakland or anywhere in the Bay Area.

  20. ML’s sources are likely much more accurate than Tim Kawakami’s (Kawakami’s likely “sources” are Larry Baer, Ratto, various members of KNBR, etc.) Now Kawakami is a legal expert? “San Jose’s case against MLB has no traction”? LOL – Kawakami already knows the outcome of the SJ vs MLB case, and apparently has as much legal authority and legal knowledge as the Federal court system? Kawakami is such a bad journalist he is actually humorous.

  21. re: The problem is, in that scenario we don’t get a new stadium in San Jose, Oakland or anywhere in the Bay Area

    Lakeshore: It’s almost worth it to watch MLB stew in the embarrassment of its inability to solve this problem. There will be more negative reports about MLB teams of millionaires wading through raw sewage, etc. Selig’s now-five-year-old proclamation that the A’s “cannot and will not” remain indefinitely in their current situation is a joke funnier than anything Jimmy Kimmel’s, David Letterman’s or Jimmy Fallon’s writers could ever come up with.

  22. @Anon: you want to ask TK if he has licked Jed York’s boots yet now that SC has successfully built a new stadium for the 49ers. Guarantee that scumbag will not respond.

  23. certainly free to hate on TK, but I don’t get the big uproar over his column. So you don’t like what his sources say, big whup. I wouldn’t just dismiss them out of turn – though plenty of passionate posters say otherwise. Same comments came from the New York writer 2(?) years ago out of the meetings that it was dead.

    I personally think the ATE challenge isn’t gonna move the needle – never plan to get my hopes up on the longshots

  24. Do you also realize the irony of the TK’s article? That the Mercury news sport editor is no other than Mark Purdy himself…..

  25. TK is horrendous when it comes to Sports Business. I ripped on him all the time about Levi’s and he did not understand even the basics of the stadium being built.

    TK does a good job on the game itself, especially basketball and the Raiders. That is where he needs to stick it out and my guess he got ripped on so hard today he will be doing that in the future.

    He is off on a few things:

    -If the other owners were pissed about Wolff taking revenue sharing then they have been pissed for a LONG time cause the A’s have never NOT been on revenue sharing. So his statements on that are way off on this piece and highly speculative.

    -No other owners have said anything negative about San Jose. In fact Reinsdorf (Chicago-Sox) and Steinberg (Tampa Bay) said nothing but positive things. This has not changed even with the lawsuit.

    -TK does not mention how much the owners all love Selig (Wolff included) and will not “rock the boat” until Selig gives the go ahead. This is how the lodge works and always has since Selig took over. You never see split decisions in MLB. The lawsuit is separate from the lodge and being handled as such….hence no vote has been taken.

    -TK states 8-10 hard no votes? If that was the case then why form the BRC and drag this out 5 years? Selig knows full well he has the support of the lodge except for one team….the Giants.

    He does not mention the Tampa Bay Rays and how they came into existence. In that case at least MLB made their $$ from losing the lawsuit via an expansion fee.

    In this case, all San Jose needs to do is force “discovery” and MLB will fold like a house of cards. The more they dive into the process the more likely they settle it.

    The lawsuit is the only way…..there was never any other option. Selig is that cowardly.

  26. Yes, the Master of Wisdom Kawakami was so certain the 49ers wouldn’t get it done in Santa Clara. How does he keep his job?

  27. I’ll see you in hell Selig, you old bastard.

  28. Since others have mentioned it, here’s an Interesting blast from the past with TK on 49ers SC stadium:

    1/15/2008:

    “Of course, the dreamers say the Yorks are right for this. The dreamers talk about South Bay pride and “game-day experience” and whatever else the Yorks are currently spouting.

    But do 10 home games a year really change that much for a franchise that’s already headquartered in Santa Clara? Really?

    Hey, we all need dreamers. I salute John and Jed, several Santa Clara politicians and my considerate colleague Mark Purdy for their uplifting vigor over this project.

    I do worry about Mark, who has bravely spent so much time alongside the bizarre customs and brain-wave activity of the York clan. Yes, it’s possible: Purdman could be the Patty Hearst of this intense situation. Maybe Purd has gone and temporarily joined the cult. Not his fault, I realize.

    So I expect the Santa Clara city council tonight to give the go-ahead for further negotiations with the 49ers. They’re politicians and they’re dreaming of having great Super Bowl seats in 2015.

    I also fully anticipate that the city leaders will eventually throw up their hands after a few frustrating months negotiating with the Yorks, just as Walsh and so many others did.

    Believe in the York operation, if you wish. As always, I believe in what I see, what I know, and what history tells me.”

    http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_7974894

  29. re: TK is horrendous when it comes to Sports Business. I ripped on him all the time about Levi’s and he did not understand even the basics of the stadium being built.

    …It’s one thing to be ignorant about a subject and recognize and acknowledge it. It’s quite another to be ignorant about a subject and refuse to recognize and acknowledge it.

  30. I take TK’s column as a big April Fools prank.

    April Fools!

  31. The A’s aren’t “crying poor,” they just want the opportunity to build a @#$%! new ballpark just like almost every other MLB team has built. Of course they’re not “poor,” relatively speaking. Said ballpark does have to be privately financed however, and (as a review) SJ offers the best opportunity for such a venture. I’m sure the committee has already come to that conclusion as well. Just need to deal with the payoff…

    Re the Merc sports editor, I thought it was Daniel Brown?

  32. Bud Geracie is the exec sports editor

  33. If SJ is dead what motivation does Oakland have to come up with a solution… None. Based upon TK Logic Oakland needs to come to terms with the Raiders- A’s will be forced to ATTu til a suitable ballpark location is found within their territory- yup- makes absolute sense- just what MLB wants- to continue to be second fiddle in Oakland-

  34. You should see the email trail I am going back and forth with TK on right now…..I am dying.

    This guy cannot admit he is wrong unless a gun is put to his head. SMH…..I thought I was bad.

  35. @sid- ask him why MLB would give away any leverage that they have with Oakland by giving him the inside scoop that SJ is dead- and then ask him how that leather tasted when he licked Jed Yorkshire boots- want to hear his excuse for being so off on the ‘9ers stadium-

  36. @Go A’s- The problem is TK doesn’t know how to read. Typical media guy, everything is always right “in his own mind”.

    TK never cited his “sources” in his article. He just said they were up there in MLB. Could be Manfred or one of his cronies for all we know.

  37. @Go A’s- Also keep in mind MLB still thinks they are a monopoly and above the law so it makes sense what TK is reporting on some level. But the argument here is whether the courts will think the same.

    If the 9th Circuit does then its off the Supreme Court, my guess is it the bucks stops here and it is settled with the A’s heading to SJ as part of it.

  38. @pjk
    WHY cant lew wolff build a ballpark next to Oracle Arena??? It would be out the Raiders way (while the Raiders figure out what they want to do at least they will have the Coliseum to themselves)..if Warriors don’t like it…tough they dont take Oakland name and sre flirting with San Francisco anyway

  39. “ask him why MLB would give away any leverage that they have with Oakland by giving him the inside scoop that SJ is dead”

    That pretty much sums up my opinion on TK’s article. San Jose won’t be dead until ground has been broken in Oakland or elsewhere. Although I don’t doubt other owners are unwilling to sign off on a T-rights deal without a significant payoff to the Giants or them for that matter, NFL style (as unlikely as that may be). It’s hard to take articles like this too seriously when there is zero talk of money. That’s the key here, not how much other owners like or dislike A’s ownership.

    Just as an aside, the 1 venue Coliseum City shortfall is now up to $600,000,000.

    http://www.insidebayarea.com/news/ci_25469911/fred-blackwell-ready-oaklands-challenges

  40. $600 million shortfall. At what point do we stick a for in Coliseum City?

  41. @pjk – When BayIG backs out. But that’s when Lew Wolff might step in. He’ll want the land as much as a stadium. If there is real development value in the Coliseum area – I’m sure there is – BayIG will have to get a deal done with at least one of the teams (Raiders) in order to buy the land from the JPA. Little to no chance Wolff would work with BayIG. So they better figure out a way to develop with the Raiders, otherwise they might be forced out, like it or not.

    Just to stay on point, that’s why TK’s means little. It completely ignores the actual long term finances of building in Oakland, as ML pointed out in the blog post.

    FWIW, I think a deal can still be reached with the Raiders – possibly anyway. The original Coliseum City plans weren’t as heavy on housing and retail as they could have been. That’s where BayIG’s profits are. I don’t understand the logic behind replacing empty office space with newer office space. Replace a possible A’s stadium footprint with housing or retail and you might have the start of something – maybe. Same thing on the other side of the freeway. Again, maybe, just a possibility. Either way, these are the factors that will determine the A’s future in Oakland. Sadly, these are the things TK didn’t even give a token mention too. MLB probably won’t render a “decision” until Oakland has played it’s last hand. Amazingly, that still hasn’t happened. But we’re getting there.

  42. When Lew Wolff steps in, the Raiders are as good as gone from Oakland, no?

  43. I could be reading this wrong and way off here, but if the Colony Capital/BayIG group falls apart, I don’t see how the Raiders stay.

  44. Looks like Oakland is finding out that building $2 billion worth of modern, major sports facilities without any public funding is simply not going to be doable.

  45. @Alan T: About revenue sharing: yes the big teams will always pay into revenue sharing (and so the middle tier). As I understand this sytem: Since there are a fixed number of teams, whether or not the A’s are in the bottom tier or some other team, does not change that the top tier will pay to bottom tier. So making the A’s more profitable will just make another team (relatively) less so. In that regard there is no incentive from the other teams to end revenue sharing to the A’s. This is a false argument therefore. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  46. Gentlemen, PLEASE! MLB is not (I repeat, IS NOT!) using San Jose as a stalking horse for Oakland. That’s one of the most absurd things I’ve seen suggested on this site. Again, the payoff to allow the A’s access to SJ/SCCo…(it’s that simple). If Coli City falls apart for the Raiders it won’t magically become all good for Lew Wolff/A’s (that was simple as well)

  47. This isn’t just about baseball if things fall apart for the Raiders. The Coliseum Complex development area covers 850 acres of land in the San Francisco Bay Area. Of course Lew Wolff will give consideration (emphasis added) to keeping the A’s at the Coliseum site if he can acquire the surrounding land and develop it for himself/investment group at a price he finds reasonable. That’s not a stalking horse – that’s real estate. But we’re not there right now.

    Funny thing is, TK has always acknowledged the various moving parts that made building stadiums, including for the A’s, difficult. But no mention of that today. Today, Lew Wolff is whiny bad guy. Fine. Whatever.

  48. Oakland’s only chance to keep the A’s is to do something they’ve never been willing to do throughout their history: Go all-in with the A’s. Oakland dreams big and continues to think they can keep all three teams. They’re banking/assuming that if they push things out long enough they’ll be able to come up with a means of pulling that off. The problem is, they can’t. It’s just not a feesable thing. IF they go all-in with the A’s, they ditch their other partners, hand over the land (not sell, but give it to them), use the property tax money they get on the land to pay the balance of Mount Davis, and work with Wolff to cut any and all red tape to whatever it is he wants to use that land for, then and only then, do they stand a chance to keep the A’s. It won’t be as profitable as the Braves’ situation, but it would likely be enouh to get the job done. If Wolff could use their current situation and the inability to truly maximize their market by going to SJ as a means to use their current territory as the definition of their market as part of the revenue sharing formula in the next CBA, that would help as well.

    As for SJ, it’s not dead, but it absolutely is in Limbo. Wolff is no longer working on it. And I doubt they’re just working on hammering out a dollar amount with Giants. At this point, the entire focus on SJ is in the court’s hands. Wolff got that letter denying his current request and, as a good little owner, his towing the MLB line and supporting them in the legal side of things. And in doing so, is no longer actively seeking SJ publicly. (I say publicly, because we all know privately he still seeks it). IF TK is getting that info through MLB (and let’s face it, he likely isn’t) he’s likely only hearing that Wolff dropped it as part of their legal stance and nothing more. Beyond that, TK is a hack writer spouting out nonsense like, sadly, all the journalist (supporting any side at this point) on this matter. Don’t hold your breath on any sort of resolution on pretty much any part of this situation. Not wrt to Oakland. Not wrt SJ. Not wrt to anything. There is no end in sight. Not even an inkling of one.

  49. GUYS! Look at the date! it’s april fool’s day. Wolff putting millions into the stadium until 2025? Come on guys. we know better than this.

  50. I just can’t understand why a sports columnist from the main San Jose newspaper can get away with being so adamantly against their city from getting a MLB team. Readers of the San Jose Mercury News should be writing letter to its editor complaining that TK is openly against San Jose from getting a much deserved MLB team

  51. @llpec- he claims that he agrees SJ is best location for A’s- says he is just reporting the “facts”—or the world according to Larry Baer-

  52. Sometimes I wonder if our beloved A’s will ever get a new home in the San Francisco Bay Area.

  53. If Tim Kawakami declares that the A’s are out of the loop concerning San Jose – evidently the A’s will be approved to move here soon. B.S. (who, even though he has no balls – has more credibility than Kawakami. Selig has always maintained that the giants are blocking the A’s move. There likely is no “lodge against the A’s” mentality within MLB circles as Kawakami suggests. After the Tampa Bay owners group defeated the MLB ATE in court, MLB owners quickly approved Tampa for an MLB franchise – there was certainly no anomosity from the “lodge” directed towards Tampa Bay then. There will likely be no anomosity directed at Wolff once MLB backs down and approves the A’s move also – Kawakami is a complete idiot.

    If San Jose wins at the Ninth Circuit of Appeals, it would be very surprising if MLB were to appeal. In recent years, when push comes to shove – MLB has backed down, wishing to avoid the SCOTUS reviewing its MLB ATE. When Seattle took MLB to court about obtaining an MLB franchise – MLB quickly backed down and awarded Seattle the Mariners franchise. After the Tampa Bay owners group defeated the MLB ATE in court – MLB quickly approved the Rays franchise. Even though the MLB ATE is obsolete, it has remained in tact because MLB has avoided a showdown with the Supreme Court concerning it – consistantly cutting deals to avoid that scenario.

    Because of MLB’s tactics, the MLB ATE remains somewhat of a deterrent (It has stalled the A’s move to San Jose for five years) If the SCOTUS overturns the MLB ATE, MLB would lose all of the MLB ATE’s power. At least now, with an outdated, weakened, wobbly MLB ATE, MLB can be somewhat effective when applying it. The SJ vs MLB case will likely never reach the SCOTUS – MLB will likely cut a deal with San Jose before that happens. (All of this will occur within two years – so Kawakami’s assertion that San Jose will never happen for the A’s is likely complete garbage – what else could one expect from Kawakami though.)

  54. TK is not required to cheerlead for a city just because it’s in the name of his newspaper. If he doesn’t think San Jose is happening, so be it. I don’t mind his cynicism as much as I think his opinions are pretty useless on a lot of things. He’s an old Philly newspaper guy, an angry cuss who angers the masses. I do love how he seems to respect the hell out of ML, who makes him defend some of the worst opinions he has. Pretty sweet.

  55. Coliseum City field. .just build next to Oracle Arena. ..

  56. Kawakami. Just not a fan. It has nothing to do with this particular piece, which is a long winded way of saying absolutely nothing that we don’t already know with a side of conjecture and “trust me, I know people” thrown in. He is like a triple a version of Bill Plashcke (if anyone thinks BP is a major leaguer). By the way, wasn’t he supposed to eat his hat when he completely mossed the boat on the 49ers Santa Clara stadium? Or what the hell was it that he was supposed to do?
    .
    At this point, it’s pretty clear that nothing is happening on the stadium front anytime soon.
    .
    If the Raiders stuff falls a part, the Coliseum is open for the A’s. That’s the only thing that seems remotely possible in the next few months. It’s ridiculous that he paints the A’s long term lease position as anything other than an attempt to force that issue.

  57. Privately financing a Raiders stadium in Oakland has to be considered a huge fat joke. It will never happen.

    My guess as to the final solution:

    – Marc Davis sells the Raiders to LA ownership. They’re gone.
    – Oakland/Alameda County agrees to renovate the Coliseum, tear down Mt Davis, move home plate closer, renovate the concessions, etc
    – This is financed by selling the parking lots to interested developers
    – Result is half-assed “Coliseum City” with the same old stadium.

  58. OK all, we’ll just have to agree to disagree re Raiders hypothetically bailing on Coli City opens it up to Wolff/A’s. You guys have your opinions, I have mine; fair enough. At least we all agree Timmy K is the asshole of the world…

  59. Did Rayburn son suggest la Russa as a replacement for bs? That would be awesome- class act guy who has gone on record as saying that TR granted in early ’90’s were based upon building in SJ-

  60. T.K is not an official new source so what he has to say means nothing.

  61. re: – Oakland/Alameda County agrees to renovate the Coliseum, tear down Mt Davis, move home plate closer, renovate the concessions, etc

    …How much would this cost? $200 million to renovate the same old stadium? Even if it made sense to renovate, Oakland doesn’t have the money. I agree privately financing a Raiders stadium in Oakland is something that faces tremendous odds against it.

  62. Very early in the morning here. I see you mention selling the parking lots. Still not sure that works.

  63. It’s not likely to be a figurehead, it will probably be Rob Manfred as new commish and I dont know that he will be much different than Selig. Again, they work for the owners, so he may not want to rock the boat. Or maybe he wants to get this done. The only scenario I see Fisher and Wolff building in Oakland is if they were given complete control of the Coliseum complex for a new stadium and development, and I don’t see that happening. It’s the only option that makes sense financially for them but it makes little sense in looking at past actions by the authority. Raiders always get first dibs. I don’t think a Raiders’ stadium can pencil out unless Colony gets something like a big chunk of the team and/or a lot of the land surrounding a stadium for development. Either way, The authority’s only chip to play is the land.

  64. One thing I don’t have a hard time believeing: other MLB owners are pissed at being used by SJ. That gambit ONLY pays off with SJ winning something substantial in court. That’s why it worked in TB and Seattle.

  65. Well I guess the alternative would be at least forcing MLB to open its books in discovery, but I think Wendy Thurm has stated that will be a high hurdle to get to before even getting to jump it. If we were to get to that point, could force MLB to deal with SJ but that is a ways a way and no where near a guarantee.

  66. I totally agree with all of what you said. SJ will be like a log jam until something happens that forces MLBs hand (in court or otherwise), the land at Coliseum City is the chip for Oakland.

  67. “The land at the coliseum is the chip for Oakland.” Respectfully disagree Jeffrey, but its all good (see my previous comment). Re SJ’s lawsuit, I’ve never been a fan of it and always felt there were (are) more constructive ways to get MLB’s approval re A’s. That said, I don’t feel SJ resorts to the legal process unless they have Wolff’s blessing. Perhaps in the end we’ll all see that there was method to the madness after all… 😉

  68. MLB’s dismissive, “You’re just an inconsequential Frisco suburb” attitude toward San Jose warranted a lawsuit. Won’t talk to us in the conference room? Won’t talk to our mayor? Fine – we’ll talk to you in court.

  69. How come none of you SJ partisans call out Mark Purdy when he is consistently wrong about the A’s-to-SJ stuff?

  70. @ss- can you cite specifics for mark purdy?

  71. Purdy has noted Oakland can’t get it done for the A’s, which has still proven to be correct after all these years. He’s been wrong, I believe, about suggestions that a decision was imminent.

  72. what has Purdy been wrong about, other than saying a decision was imminent?

  73. @stanley, Mark Purdy and Tim Kawakami are both sports columnists for the San Jose Mercury News. Mark Purdy is very much for the A’s move to San Jose, While TK is against any team moving to San Jose, let alone the local A’s team. Given the fact that a proposed A’s San Jose ballpark will be 100 percent privately funded, whose side do you think the overwhelming majority of San Jose Mercury News sports column readers would be more in agreement with, Purdy or Kawakami?

  74. Was Purdy really wrong about a decision being imminent? MLB did make a decision back in June. It was vague and conditional, but a decision nonetheless.

  75. @ Duffer “If San Jose wins at the Ninth Circuit of Appeals, it would be very surprising if MLB were to appeal. In recent years, when push comes to shove – MLB has backed down, wishing to avoid the SCOTUS reviewing its MLB ATE.”
    _______

    I wouldn’t be so sure about that. If SJ wins in the 9th Circuit and MLB DOESN’T take it to the Supreme Court, then MLB has no ATE in areas under the 9th Circuit. That’s from Hawaii to Montana to Arizona. MLB would almost HAVE to appeal it.

  76. No ATE in part of the country isn’t no ATE in all of the country. That said, I doubt SJ will “win” the 9th Circuit in that kind of way. They want it to go to the SCOTUS. That’s what a “win” is for them.

  77. I don’t see where Purdy was wrong in suggesting a decision was coming soon, as Briggs said there was a decision, it was not the one Purdy or many of his readers would have liked, but there was a decision made in June 2013, it certainly was not the final decision because in spite of it the A’s are no closer to a new home, at least no closer to a new home in the Bay Area.
    I have not read much of Kawakami, but it’s evident he does not have many fans here. It’s been suggested that Kawakamis sources are simply people in the Giants organization, although he said in the article that they were independent sources not the from the Giants (not saying it’s true), to be fare when ML says he has herd differently, it would be easy to assume those sources where either in the A’s organization or have close ties to it, point being ML’s sources may have just as much of an ax to grind as Kawakami’s, if in fact they are tied to the Giants.

  78. Late to the party, just sifted through the comments after reading Kawakami’s article.

    My takeaways from this (as a Giants fan who wants SJ opened up to the Athletics):

    1) The Giants want status quo. They are just fine with things as they are; they’re probably even cool with paying into revenue sharing to keep the A’s a (financially) lower-echelon team. Their stadium is close to being paid off, they’re still drawing in excess of 3M per year, and they’re making money hand over fist, so why change?

    2) MLB would probably like a new stadium in Oakland, but as long as we don’t have too many sewer backups, the current situation works just fine for a significant portion of the MLB ownership. MLB has historically been change-averse, and there’s not enough passion to change to overcome the inertia that MLB is now exerting over the whole situation.

    3) We won’t see any significant movement until Mark Davis figures out what he’s gonna do with the Raiduhs. Whether it’s stay where he’s at long-term, move in with the Yorks down in Santa Clara for a few years, or move to LAX, the only significant movement on the stadium front is not going to happen until Davis either craps or gets off of the pot.

    Sorry to say, ML, you’re gonna be writing about this subject for probably another decade or so unless Lew ups and decides to sell to somebody out of town.

  79. @GoA’s

    Tony LaRussa was at Opening Night with Lew, at Owner’s party and in Owner’s box, etc.

    So was the probable next commish…different guy altogether…was with Lew all day and all game long….hew was behind home plate 1st few inning with Lew and Billy Beane. No one reported on that, did they?

    The point is, Kawakami, like most media, has no clue what MLB is thinking. Most media can’t even get the facts straight. Yesterday and today there are articles floating around based on TK’s opinion – but treating the opinion like it is a set of facts – which it is not.

    Believe it or not MLB wants resolution as much as we all do (save for the Midgets).

  80. No ATE in 1/3 of the country might as well be no ATE in the entire country. It would surely then get challenged in the East at that point, with non-binding but persuasive cites to the 9th Circuit’s decision and the added fact that the sole justification that remains for the ATE (that MLB needs and relies on it to continue existing) cut out from under them.

    Further, even if a challenge in another part of the country fails at the Circuit court level, the Supreme Court is more likely to take up a case where there is a split in different circuits. A 9th Circuit win for SJ likely means that it would go to the Supreme Court sooner rather than later anyway.

    I think MLB would appeal. Even more likely, MLB might settle before the 9th Circuit makes a decision.

  81. @Jeopardydd- History would suggest your theory is off.

    San Jose does not want the ATE to be overturned by the 9th Circuit as that is above the pay grade of the 9th Circuit like Judge Whyte was last year.

    They are looking for is the scope of the ATE to be narrowed construed to the reserve clause only and that the ATE does not extend to franchise relocation. That is how Piazza won in 1993 in the 9th Circuit after losing in the lower levels….like SJ did.

    Once he won, the 9th Circuit judge ordered a full trial with full blown discovery. MLB, at that point also lost to Piazza in Florida State Supreme Court on torturous interference claims….Sound familiar? San Jose is fighting MLB in State court right now in LA on the same basis.

    MLB settled the case for 16M to Piazza and granted him the Tampa Bay Rays.

    The last thing MLB wants is the ATE going to the Supreme Court where it could get overturned. Look at the NFL vs. American Needle, the NFL won on all the lower levels and got greedy and went to the Supreme Court looking for a de facto ATE.

    They got shot down 9-0 as the Supreme Court ruled the NFL are 32 separate businesses and not a single entity, this was only a few years ago.

    MLB would lose miserably in SCOTUS and they know it full well, T-rights would get laughed at hard by SCOTUS justices.

    Eventually San Jose will win because:

    1. The 9th Circuit rules in their favor (most likely)forcing a settlement.
    2. They lose in the 9th Circuit and appeal to SCOTUS, if MLB wins in SCOTUS then the dream dies but would MLB risk that after seeing how the NFL lost so miserably in recent years?

    MLB lawyers know they were screwed the moment Judge Whyte allowed this case to be appealed and broken up into two cases hence they have had “zero comment” since the decision.

    MLB’s lawyers know it; they are just raking the cash until the inevitable.

  82. @Sierra S.

    If MLB was historically change averse Santa Clara County would have never become the sole territory of the Giants. Ditto for all the other two-team markets and their existence (someone had to come first!).

  83. tony, that’s an overly simplistic way of looking at it. MLB as an organization is slow to change, and fights change tooth and nail. It was just this past off season in which they were patting themselves on the back for “making history” by becoming the LAST league to adopt a real instant replay system of review. Only three decades after the NFL… It’s not just about franchise relocation. They are a lawful monopoly. Monopolies grow by fighting change.

  84. I’m not very impressed with kawakami. There’s a very good book called, “A well Paid Slave” documenting Curt Flood’s saga with the MLB and SCOTUS. There’s absolutely no chance the ATE survives another Court challenge. All of the Justices involved with each case have written extensively denouncing the original ruling, stare decisis nonwithstanding. One has to believe that the current Court will tire of MLB constantly appearing in the Court over this issue and will finally put it to bed and overturn the ATE, thereby rectifying something the Court should never have done in the first place.

    As for the Owners, they are all successful businessmen who have been through the litigation process. Of course they are going to say nothing concerning pending litigation. No matter their individual views, they know it’s in their collective best interest to say nothing at this point. The fact that this case is recieving expedited attention speaks volumes. I am with those who believe MLB will settle this before the Ninth makes a ruling. Imagine the consequence if they don’t. We won’t just be talking about the Giants and their anomolous TR’s. If the Ninth strikes them down, then any team can move into ANY market at any time. I doubt the Yankess, Mets, Red Sox, Dodgers, etc etc are going to view that prospect favorably. Why should they risk their market share just to protect the Giants? They won’t.

  85. I predicted it last year, San Jose will get a baseball team . . just not the A’s. SJ will get an expansion team, just like other cities have in the past.

    Regardless of whether you are pro Oak/pro SJ, a city has never sued MLB for a baseball team, already in another city, and won. Expansion team rewarded-yes, but not a hand over.

    If SJ claimed the A’s from Oakland, MLB would make history, and other cities could sue for a team to move to their city. MLB doesn’t want that, so SJ will get an expansion team.

    In addition, Oakland would most certainly sue MLB if they moved the A’s.

    Lew might as well sign a 10 year lease and work with the city… stalemate.

    The End.

  86. Ivan, the ONLY way SJ would get an expansion team is if the A’s left the bay area. There is absolutely no way in hell the bay area gets 3 teams. It’s just not going to happen. And SJ isn’t suing FOR a baseball team. They’re suing for the right to compete for a baseball team. The only thing it would do is allow all cities to make their pitch to other MLB teams free from territory rights of a nearby team in another city.

  87. @ Ivan
    I love you my man, but dmoas is correct. NY and LA don’t have three teams and the Bay Area doesn’t even have half the population those places have.
    I don’t like to talk in absolutes, but the Bay Area won’t have three teams in the next one hounded years.

  88. On what grounds could Oakland sue MLB if it lost the A’s? Once the A’s complete their lease requirements, there is nothing legally binding them to the city. Oakland could sue and it would be thrown out in about 90 seconds. When a company moves from Town A to Town B, Town A doesn’t really have grounds to sue…

  89. Ivan,
    You have NO idea what you’re talking about.. (Wow!) BTW, miss Balfour..

  90. JJ will be just fine- the booing is so bush league- just what he wanted to do- show up and falter his first 2 times out-

  91. What’s up with the “for now” shit?

    • There goes freddy, disregarding one article but getting ultra-sensitive about a headline from another article. Get a grip.

  92. @Ivan,
    There’s nothing to “prove,” you’ve already done that with your previous commentary. Try thinking these things out before you type…

  93. @Tony

    Just what I thought… back to my recliner chair, and outdoor hunting reruns.

  94. good grief. Now there are two teams fighting over a region and someone actually thinks it would be acceptable to have three?

  95. @Jeffrey

    If San Jose was awarded an expansion team, why would SF and Oakland fight over it? SF has a fan base, Oakland has a fan base, SJ has a fan base. I know I’m in the minority here, but SJ is the 10th largest city in the U.S. and I think it can hold it’s own. Are you saying it couldn’t? What are saying really?

    Anyways, that’s my reasoning here, what yours Jeffrey?

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