River Cats may change affiliation from A’s to Giants (Updated with River Cats statement)

Update 5/19 11:15 AM – The owners of the Fresno Grizzlies aren’t showing concern about the future of their affiliation with the Giants. They feel that the long history of Fresno being a Giants’ town, going back to the Cal League in the 40’s, will win out in the end. In addition, the Angels have renewed their PDC with the Salt Lake Bees through 2016.

Update 2:00 PM – The River Cats released a statement about their affiliation with the A’s.

“Though our player development contract with Oakland does expire after this year, we place the utmost value on our affiliation with the Athletics. This year, as in years past, we will perform an internal evaluation after the season has concluded. Our first priority has always been, and will continue to be, providing our fans with the best experience possible at Raley Field. This year is no different.”

That internal evaluation will probably include exchanging the more successful A’s-supplied rosters with the generally mediocre Giants-supplied Grizzlies rosters. While there would be a honeymoon effect, chances are it would be offset by fan response to bad play in the long term. Is it worth it? That’s for the Savage family to decide.

Art Savage and Lew Wolff were friends going back many years, when Savage was the CEO of the fledgling San Jose Sharks. Seeing an opportunity to the north, Savage decided to gamble on moving a AAA baseball club from Vancouver to Sacramento, where there hadn’t been any kind of pro baseball in decades.  There was much shock and sadness when Savage died in 2009, at 58. Since then, his wife Susan and his sons have taken the reins of the River Cats, which are effectively the family business.

Despite the River Cats’ constantly excellent attendance performance (1st or 2nd in the PCL annually), the River Cats may choose to drop the A’s affiliation and shack up with the Giants after the end of the 2014 season, according to the Chronicle’s Susan Slusser. The River Cats-A’s Player Development Contract, which has been renewed with little rancor since the move from Vancouver, expires at the end of 2014. There is nothing stopping the River Cats from shopping around to hook up with a team that could provide maximum attendance and marketing opportunities, which in the NorCal market would clearly leave the Giants as the favorite, previous affiliations notwithstanding. 11 of the 16 Pacific Coast League clubs have their PDC’s ending this year, which will make the offseason a serious game of franchise musical chairs. A similar situation occurred in 2005 with few changes.

The simple fact of the matter is that attendance has dropped off from the 10k average crowds the Kitties experienced throughout much of their first decade at Raley Field, now at 8-9k per game. A trend of 10-15% drop off should be alarming for any club operator. If the move happens, it’ll be because Susan Savage felt that the best way to improve the bottom line was to work with the Giants. The orange and black fan base is extremely strong in Sacramento. Whether the team chose to keep the River Cats branding or switched to the Sacramento Giants, there would be more chances to leverage the Giants’ history and their greater ability (than the A’s) to keep stars. As Slusser noted, there’s also a chance for a more lucrative TV deal.

The Giants have every reason to pursue Sacramento if the Savage family is open to a new deal. Bringing Sacramento into the fold would further solidify the Giants’ hegemony in NorCal. It would provide a major obstacle to the A’s possibly moving to Sacramento, as the Giants could ask for unreasonable amounts of compensation if the A’s attempted such a move. The Giants would also have a better performing affiliate in a better market with a larger airport, a healthier financial outlook, and shorter driving distance for Giants farmhands.

Parent clubs pay for all player salaries and baseball operations, including coaches, for each of their affiliates. The minor league team’s responsibility is to cover marketing and ticket sales. Certainly the River Cats have been doing well, especially when compared to many of their PCL brethren. But there’s always the potential for more, so it would make sense for Susan Savage to at least take a cursory look. Sacramento is the belle of the PCL ball this offseason.

If the Giants got the River Cats and Sacramento market, that doesn’t mean that the A’s AAA affiliate could go to San Jose. While there’s no PDC for the San Jose Giants due to the team being owned by the SF Giants, there is a lease through 2018. Fresno would be the most natural alternative, although there’s a chance the Angels could also be interested as their PDC with Salt Lake City also ends this year.

One thing that could complicate matters would be if the Giants wanted to buy the River Cats from the Savage family. They already own the San Jose Giants, and they have the cash to buy any of their minor league affiliates outright if they chose to. If the Giants wanted to go that route and the Savages resisted, that would push them back into the A’s arms, since the A’s haven’t operated that way and probably won’t in the future. If the Savages wanted to cash out, there’d be no better time than this offseason. How chilling would that look? Giants surrounding the A’s on three sides: San Francisco, San Jose, and Sacramento. The A’s would have Oakland, Stockton, and Fresno. Talk about haves and have-nots.

154 thoughts on “River Cats may change affiliation from A’s to Giants (Updated with River Cats statement)

  1. You know those days when you just want to throw your hands in the air, point yourself in the direction to the nearest, deepest jungle and start walking?


  2. Saw this article this morning. Honestly I can’t say I’m surprised. Sac is a Giants town and that is readily apparent to anyone who has been there or particularly anyone who walks around Raley Field. For every A’s cap you see at Raley Field there are a good dozen Giants caps on folks heads. I imagine this puts a crimp in any A’s to Sac plans too. Undoubtedly the Giants next move will be to buy in to a minority share of the RiverCats ownership in another attempt to put another roadblock in the A’s way should they ever look to Sac.

    I’m more convinced now than ever that the A’s future isn’t in the Bay Area. And given the prevailing opinion of most baseball fans in the Bay I’m not entirely sure that’s a bad thing anymore. The region no long gives two shits about the A’s. Maybe it is time to look for a market where they can be the big/only fish. Not the diseased minnow who pines for better days and a better park.

  3. Also if the Angels are interested in Fresno as ML suggests, the A’s won’t be switching to them. The Angels will beat the A’s to the punch. I fully expect the A’s will end up with the least desirable affiliation in AAA that everyone desperately tried to avoid last time around, the Las Vegas 51’s. And the A’s lately have a history of being the team left standing when the music stops like when they got saddled with the Vermont Lake Monsters at Short A.

  4. Many FA MLB players (plenty of position players) evidently avoid the giants – so they have to badly overpay to keep or ink FA’s. Matt Cain, 88-80 career W-L – with a $20 mil. annual salary?. Scutero a good utility player – $9 mil. a year though? is Posey worth a $20 mil. salary? – no. Hunter Pence, $18 mil.? Blanco – $10 mil. salary? The giants have plenty of pressure to win more than the A’s in order to maintain their false dominance over the A’s.

    Also, behind the scenes, MLB likely does not relish the thought of the giants making the playoffs in the future. The giants post season viewer ratings have been a disaster for MLB, a few more years of the giants making the playoffs or the world series would be big trouble for MLB. The Giants are not in such a solid position as some fans believe they are. Rivercats schmiver cats – if the giants continue with more 76-86 W-L seasons – no one will care who their minor league affiliates are.

    • @duffer – Stop trying to hijack the comments with unrelated theories about the Giants’ TV ratings.

  5. @ML – this latest stunt may have another move that the giants are getting desperate – and pulling out all the stops to squeeze the A’s out of the bay area. Perhaps Selig is ready to ok the A’s move.

    • @duffer – This “stunt” is being initiated by the A’s AAA affiliate, who knows that several PDC’s expire this year. It’s business.

  6. Sadly, this is a very smart business move by both the Savage family and the Giants. The A’s are slowly becoming irrelevant in NorCal except for an ever-shrinking, hardcore group of fans.

    Wolff and Fisher going to wait and see how Rob Manfred (Selig’s hand-picked successor as commish) will rule with regard to San Jose. If Manfred turns down the move to San Jose, Wolff and Fisher will look to sell. I think there’s a good chance the Tampa Bay Rays will move to Montreal and the A’s will move to San Antonio or somewhere outside CA in the next 5-7 years. ML, do you honestly think Wolff and Fisher will own the team in 2020? Do you think the A’s will be in Oakland then? Impossible to know, but what’s your gut feeling?

  7. @ML – the giants owners also may be getting on MLB’s shit list. Looking at how the giants are dealing with the A’s, the other MLB owners may be bothered with the giants owners bullying tactics and what the giants will do next. There may be consequences for the giants actions – so far they have been lucky. Tyrant pro sports owners are typically not successful.

  8. Duffer, you’re living in a fantasy land my friend. Giants aren’t getting on anyone’s shit list. According to the MLB constitution they’re protecting their designated territory in San Jose despite the poor logic of why its theirs to begin with. And they’re definitely not getting on MLB’s shitlist for the actions of the A’s AAA affiliate. If anyone is getting on MLB’s bad side right now it’s the city of Oakland. MLB has given them 20 years to get their house in order and they’ve failed miserably.

    And honestly the A’s aren’t blameless in this either. Wolff wants San Jose… we get that. But their patience doesn’t necessarily reflect the patience of their fan base.

  9. Wow this would be stunning news. The A’s would be theoretically boxed in; the SF Giants would be controlling San Jose to the south and Sacramento to the north, as well as San Francisco of course.
    I realize Portland may not be quite ready, as well as Seattle having a problem with a team located that close to their territory. I also realize San Antonio may not be quite ready, as well as Houston and Texas having a problem with a team being located that close to each of their territories, but when do we start talking about the fact that the SF Giants are slowly, but surly pushing the A’s out of the Bay Area.

  10. @dan: unlike the giants management and a few people on this blog – Wolf/Fisher/Billy Beane do not appear be panicky types – this is no big deal. The A’s are managed much more efficiently than the giants and the giants are under big pressure to out-perform the A’s. Besides, if the giants suffer a few more 76-86 W-L seasons – no one will care who their minor league affiliates are.

  11. @dan – also the federal judges won’t care who the giants minor league affiliates are when judges make their rulings.

  12. This whole idea of the Giants forcing the A’s out of the Bay Area (via what amounts to attrition or other methods) is overblown. The MLB certainly understands that the Bay Area has the money and population to support two teams. Those factors are not the issue. Bringing the territorial rights setup of the Bay Area in line with other 2-team markets is the issue. And until that is completely and totally played out, the A’s aren’t going anywhere.

    Oh, and there’s no way the Rays go to Montreal. They have a better chance of ending up in Charlotte, NC. And even that’s a long shot.

  13. I hope you’re right SMG because all this is so depressing I don’t even want to pay attention anymore. Oakland’s plan for a new ballpark for the A’s is try to force the owne3rs to commit to a privately funded ballpark in a place where it doesn’t make sense.

  14. @ SMG
    I here you and don’t disagree, but if the A’s are going to be on the revenue sharing program no matter where they play (if they can’t get San Jose), it really does not matter how rich the Bay Area is.
    MLB could simply want the SF Giants to be a mega club, the Redox of Northern California, if the A’s go to a secondary market it really does not matter if that secondary market is not as good, as a second team in the Bay Area because the A’s are already forced into a secondary situation, having to build in only 2 out of 9 Bay Area counties.
    If they move to Utah, Oklahoma City, Portland, or San Antonio, it’s all good because MLB will be opening up there product to a new market, again if the A’s don’t get San Jose it really a mote point about how rich the Bay Area is because MLB already owns that market and the A’s are going to be on revenue sharing anyway regardless of where they play, so why not open up a new market and bring in new fans while you’re at it..

  15. There’s too much over-reacting about this latest giants move. Perhaps the Giant’s owners believe minor league affiliate locations are important – no one else likely does. Look how successful the Sharks organization is – and their triple A equivalent plays on the East Coast! The Sharks have no need for a local minor league affiliate presence – neither do the A’s

  16. Well on the bright side if the A’s end up with the 51’s the players won’t have to take a huge facilities downgrade when they get called up to the majors like they do now moving from Raley Field to the Coliseum. At least Cashman Field is as big of a pit as the Coliseum.

  17. A’s up 13-3 in the 9th, they’ve hardly lost at a1l in the past 2 weeks and we A’s fans have only reasons to be depressed and anxious. Such is the life of the A’s fan.

  18. Duff, you obviously don’t pay much attention to MLB and it’s affiliates. Teams always try to have their affiliates at locations as close as possible to the mothership.

  19. @Dan – The Dodgers triple A affiliate located in Albuquerque, NM, the Angels is located in Salt Lake City, they both draw well over 3 mil. fans each annually, and enjoy huge cable TV deals – way better than the Giants. They don’t need a local minor league presence, only giants fans believe this is a big deal.

    • @duffer – The Yankees and Red Sox both have 3 affiliates within 2 hours of their ballpark. It’s about organizational efficiency AND building the brand within the region. The Padres tried to have their AAA affiliate in Escondido, but couldn’t get the deal done. Teams have been moving towards greater consolidation over the last decade. It’s no accident. The SoCal teams could have closer AAA setups by utilizing Las Vegas and even the Inland Empire (with a new ballpark). That could happen during the offseason.

  20. With MLB providing the cover to maintain the status quo, the Giants are in effect encouraged to continue with their aggressive behavior to hinder the competitive ability of their shared market rival(A’s). MLB, in effect is perpetuating the competitive dominance of the Giants over the A’s by allowing and continuing the unprecedented and unfair division of their shared Bay Area market.

  21. @ML – only the giants owners group, some giants fans, and evidently a few A’s fans believe this is a big deal. This latest Giants move is actually amusing. Also the deep-rooted mass neurosis and inferiority complex issues that the Giant’s owners group and many giants fans suffer would make a fascinating study in sociology – LOL.

    • @duffer – You don’t get it. It’s the River Cats that are initiating this. It absolutely matters as they’re an independent business from a bottom-line standpoint. They don’t get cash handouts from the A’s, and they won’t from the Giants. This is entirely business, not sure why you don’t see that.

  22. Duff, you’re also saying only Giants fans are saying this is a big deal… yet no Giants fans have even commented about this on here yet. And in the comments section on sfgate and on twitter it seems A’s fans are the ones concerned about this move… not Giants fans.

  23. If you’re an A’s fan in the San Francisco Bay Area, and you don’t think this is a big deal, IMHO you are being a bit nieve.

  24. @ ML is there anything keeping the A’s from making San Jose a triple A affiliate?, let me guess the San Francisco Giants.

  25. the Giants will have their way by 2025, no more A’s in the Bay Area. MLB won’t give up San Jose to the A’s, the Giants are taking Sacramento… Northern California will effectively be Giants territory. Where will the A’s go? Who knows?

    It’s been fun guys.

  26. Lake, there’s no AAA quality stadium in SJ and the Giants own the SJ Giants A ball affiliate there that isn’t going away any time soon.

  27. Awful lot of severely misplaced defeatism here.

  28. @ML – the giants are behind this – and the new Sac Rivercats owner may be as goofy as the giants owners are. The giants hype machine fools can only do much. Owning minor league affilates in SJ and Sac will mean nada if the Giants keep losing. The Dodgers will likely continue dominating that division for the foresable future. With La Russa now in charge at Arizona – the D Bags will become tough also and likely overtake the giants (La Russa likely will relish stomping on the giants too!)

  29. @duffer, We are on the same side, but I think you erroneously included Giants fans as being concerned about the prospect of the Giants taking over from the A’s as the parent ballclub of the AAA Sacramento River Cats. Giants fans can care less at any attempt by their team to appear to undermine the A’s. In fact, very few Giants fans have come out and publicly stated that they would not object to the A’s moving to San Jose, or anyplace else within the Bay Area market.

  30. @llpec, the giants owners definitely don’t believe that though. There are some Giants fans who believe some really goofy theories though. For example – that the giants owners effort of moving the team to San Jose were a big ruse, that the giants intentionally staged the relocation efforts in San Jose and wished to lose the measures of moving the team to SJ so the giants could gain territorial rights to San Jose and the giants planned in staying at SF the whole time – and never actually planned a move to Tampa, FL. Or that the giant’s meddling with the A’s (and the giants false “Stand for San Jose” propaganda group, the giants lawsuits at San Jose, and other bush league stunts by the giants owners – are perfectly ok and “just business”) – there are plenty of Giants fans believe those goofy theories.

  31. I always liked the current Giants/A’s AAA/A-Adv locations. I’m a Giants fan and I certainly want the A’s to stay in the area (Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento I really don’t care) and while this would seem to squeeze them out it really won’t. If Dublin or Sonoma or somewhere closer decided tomorrow to build and bring AAA to town the Giants/A’s would be all over it and this discussion wouldn’t mean much. You want your developmental players closer not farther to generate local interest in prospects and for easier communication/scouting but unless you own the team location means nothing else. If its not driving distance facilities mean more than anything else (one notable exception to teams moving closer is Tucson, both SD and ARI left for further distant cities who were willing to build). It’s hard to blame the River Cats, they have a better feel of the pulse of the fans in Sac. If they truly want the Giants, they will get the Giants. Looking at the list Seattle, Colorado, Houston and San Diego aren’t moving. A’s won’t go to as far east as NOLA or Nashville. I imagine LA won’t leave Albuquerque unless Vegas announces they are gonna build a new yard but they could be in the shuffle. So if the A’s are out their other options could be:

    Fresno: Seems like a simple swap but if Anaheim wants it that complicates things. Driving distance or puddle jump type flight wither way this is about 3 notice.
    Salt Lake City/Albuquerque: Flying distance. Not much else to say other than that. Both have decent ball parks (haven’t been to New Mexico but SLC a beautiful ball yard)
    Tucson: This would be a logical stop over if Portland or Boise or whoever tried to bring AAA to town. There is no currently operating franchise there so whoever that ownership group is would have to operate a team in Tucson for a bit. Tucson it appears is done trying to bring baseball to town long term.
    Las Vegas: Worst facilities and always ends up with the last pick in these shuffles. Just like SLC if the affiliate isn’t in driving distance it really dosen’t matter as long as it is in the general mountain/west region. The only upside to Vegas is that the roulette of stadiums and arenas that get proposed there might finally land on a AAA baseball stadium that gets done.

  32. This seems like minor news, but it’s really not and it’s part of a larger trend of the Giants simply 1) outmaneuvering the A’s and 2) taking advantage of every opportunity they have to stick it to their regional rivals.

    As a Sacramento resident, switching the Cats to the Giants would be a boon and probably seen as a “rebirth” of the franchise. I doubt the Savage Family would sell outright to the Giants – they really are very committed to both the franchise and the community – but a minority stake I could see very much in play.

    If this were to happen, it really is just another shoe to drop in the inevitability that the only thing that would keep the A’s brand relevant in the Bay Area is a move to San Jose. There’s no way that just building a new ballpark in Oakland would revitalize it – Giants reach would extend even more so across all of Northern California and then into Northern Nevada, which actually kind of skews pro-A’s, likely given the presence of the Rivercats for the past 14+ years.

    If the A’s got San Jose, then they could at least compete with the casual fans from the Peninsula and still consolidate their current fanbases in the East Bay and the Central Valley (presumably if they moved AAA club to Fresno).

    Gotta get those T-rights…

  33. Selfish me would love to see the Grizzlies be the A’s AAA affiliate, I get to see my teams players and the Grizzlies likely would win a lot more than they have. The realist in me is concerned with what has been a pretty incompetent Grizzlies ownership group who basically gets their rent covered by the City who can’t afford to pay it, and generally doesn’t have its stuff together. Secondly, the Fresno City Council, City Manager and Mayor aren’t much better than Oakland and the city has no real plan for attracting folks downtown. Most of their work has continued to be focused on developing sprawl, in Riverpark, Northwest Fresno and they have no plan for creating magnets downtown. So I think the A’s would be fine, but it just maddens me that Gnats get free control over everything. Hell I’m not even sure the A’s have a radio contract in english in Fresno, and Fresno I feel is even more solidly Gnats territory than SAC.

  34. @duffer: Since when have the Dodgers dominated the division? Since the beginning of the Wild Card era in 1995 (19 seasons in the books) the Dodgers have won the division 5 times, the Giants 5 times, the Padres 4 times, and the Diamondbacks 5 times. In that same time frame, the Rockies have won 3 NL wildcards, the Giants 1, and the Dodgers 2. With the exception of the Rockies, that’s a hell of a lot of parity. And most of what you say is pure conjecture, edging decidedly towards outright conspiracy theory.

  35. @smg – I am not referring to your past stats about past NL West division winners. The fact is the Giants now have a version of the Yankees west residing in their division. The new Dodgers owners group made an impressive statement by winning the NL West in a cakewalk in 2013. That organization appears committed to winning. Also, the giants now have the La Russa factor to contend with. The Diamond Backs could also be a perennial playoff contender now.

    Location of a team’s minor league affiliates has never been discussed as a factor in an MLB team’s success. Now, evidently (at least to the giants owners, and some Giants and A’s fans – it is a big deal) I’m not conspiring anything – just pointing out facts. If you believe otherwise – that’s your own business.

  36. This happens all the time in MLB baseball and happens quite a bit with East Coast minor league teams. BUT, I would have to say from a PR point of view, this bad for the A’s.

    I would say all or 99.9% of people who post here are smart about baseball and make intelligent comments about the A’s situation in Oakland.

    Therefore folks, isn’t this one more nail in the coffin for the A’s existence in Oakland? With the lack of ANY good news story regarding a stadium for the A’s, attendance figures etc…..a story like this makes the situation look even worse.

    As readers of this post, we should probably come to the inevitable conclusion that one day the A’s probably will not be playing in the Bay Area…no matter how many stories or blogs exist to try and keep them here.

    I just don’t understand how a team with 4 World Series titles…..16 Division titles and one of the oldest baseball teams in MLB can be encountering such a dire situation. ( By the way, all that winning has taken place in Oakland).

  37. @smg: Also, the La Russa factor is a big deal. La Russa put a stamp on the A’s which still influences the team today. Smart, heads-up baseball, excellent pitching, and excellent relief pitching. The D-Backs will also likely enjoy the benefit of Tony La Russa’s guidance for a very long time.

  38. Who in the general public is talking this up as a big deal? Especially considering literally nothing is even remotely close to finalized. Your statements seem to be based on the handful of people that follow this blog, and even then don’t seem wildly accurate. Why would the Giants have made mention of sharing AT&T temporarily with the A’s (under the assumption they would build in Oakland) if they flat out were doing everything in their power to oust them from the region?

  39. @Alex:
    “As readers of this post, we should probably come to the inevitable conclusion that one day the A’s probably will not be playing in the Bay Area”

    That’s the exact type of conjecturous assumption I’m talking about. There are tons of factors that have a MUCH bigger impact on the future of the A’s in the Bay Area. That assumption is based on virtually nothing concrete and is just people buying right into scare tactics by commenters without actually trying to contextualize the consequences of a minor league affiliate switching parent teams. To call it incomplete would be a massive understatement.

  40. @Alex It truly is a shame that it is coming to this. It seems like the genesis of the A’s as THE second class baseball team in the Bay Area started when the Santa Clara County T-rights were granted to the Giants in ’92, followed closely by the return of the Raiders in ’97. Since that time, it just seems like all the major players in the game have done whatever they wanted at the expense of the A’s.

    The major confluence to me that really setup the current cunundrum from those two events were that during the SChott/Hoffman ownership group, the A’s as a brand really had no champion to re-set the calculus. Beane is certainly a magnetic, transcendent figure, but his reach has, until very recently, only stretched to the baseball side of franchise, not to the business side.

    During the time when the Giants really consolidated their hold on NorCal (1992 – 2005), the A’s might have had some good times, but they realy had no one fighting back the Giants on the business/marketing side or trying very hard at all to get a stadium done…

    Now that the fate of the team rests pretty much in MLB’s hands, it seems like the powers-at-be may just see whatever Wolff and Oakland are doing as too little too late to reverse two decades of growing, non-challenged influence by the Giants…

  41. re: Why would the Giants have made mention of sharing AT&T temporarily with the A’s (under the assumption they would build in Oakland) if they flat out were doing everything in their power to oust them from the region?

    …Because the Giants know there is no public money and no private money in Oakland to pay for a new ballpark, and that offer was contingent on building a new ballpark in the A’s current territory. It’s an empty gesture. Having financed a ballpark themselves, they know enormous obstacles to doing this in Oakland. The Giants have been told time and time again that there are no sites in the East Bay. Their response to MLB? Keep looking in the East Bay…

  42. @smg: These things seem to be going over your head – I was referring to how the NL West has changed for the giants since 2013 – making the playoffs may be prove to be very difficult for them in the future. An minor league team (worth likely $50 mil. at most, and playing at a 9,000 seat ballpark) switching their affiliation is no big deal. The sky is not falling for the A’s, contrary to some giants and A’s fans might believe.

  43. @ SMG. Sorry man, that’s one of the points, the general public is not going to make a big deal out of it.By the time the general public makes a big deal of it the A’s will be gone.

  44. @ SMG. You seem to love your A’s, which is great (as do many posters here), but I’m not sure you realize how far the A’s have plummeted in the hearts and minds of Bay Area baseball fans in past years. I know MANY people who were fans of both teams in the 1990s (or mostly A’s fans) and they have all switched over to the Giants and will be raising their children as Giants fans. Why?

    The A’s, as we all know, play in a godawful stadium in the ghetto while the Giants own the crown jewel of ballparks in thriving neighborhood. The Giants are loyal to their stars and keep them around (perhaps too long) while the A’s have had to jettison their most successful players whom they couldn’t afford to lock in with long-term deals. While this may not seem like a big deal to diehard baseball fans who only care about the bottom line (wins/losses like Beane), the revolving door of players in Oakland distances themselves from casual fans. Moreover, the A’s are run by an ownership that is inept at PR and is reviled by its own fan base. Meanwhile the Giants ownership is greatly respected by its fans and “gets it done.”

    Simply put, the Giants have skillfully made efforts to secure their dominance over the entire region. In the South Bay, they have held onto their T-rights and bought the SJ Giants. In the moneyed East Bay, they have opened a successful Dugout Store in Walnut Creek. Now, quite likely, in Sacramento, they will secure an affiliation with most successful, highest valued MiLB team in our State Capital. Meanwhile the A’s will be reduced to operating their minor league teams in the near bankrupt, poorly run, low-income cities of Stockton and Fresno.

    Despite all the A’s on-field success in the Beane Era, the A’s have last won the World Series a quarter century ago, while the Giants have won two rings in the past four years. You are DELUSIONAL if you don’t see how the Giants are becoming THE ONE AND ONLY Bay Area baseball team. Every year, the A’s are becoming a more distant afterthought in the minds of the vast majority of the Bay Area’s casual baseball fans, its TV Viewers and its businesses. The transplants from other parts of the country (and immigrants) who move to Northern California are gravitating towards the Giants too. Does this map clear things up for you? http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/04/24/upshot/facebook-baseball-map.html?_r=0

    I understand why you want to stay optimistic, but the potential affiliation switch of the RiverCats deal IS a big deal when viewed through the lens of these trends. Listen, I’m sorry to be the gloom and doom guy, but the A’s have been sinking in the minds of all but the most committed fans. The real Battle of the Bay is becoming a rout.

  45. A couple of theories from up river in Sacramento
    Over morning coffee: We hear talk that the A’s might be temporarily relocated to Raley Field in West Sacramento while a new stadium for them is being built. If true then the River Cats would be temporarily relocated and the team’s community building efforts disrupted. A change in affiliation might help them thwart an effort to temporarily relocate the A’s to Raley Field.

    At the bar after a long day: We dream (fantasize/hallucinate) that the A’s would permanently move to West Sacramento/Sacramento. This would force the relocation of the River Cats. Presumably the current ownership would sell the team rather than start over in a new city, mostly likely one outside of California. A change of affiliation then potentially places the River Cats ownership in a better negating position.

    Just thinking and drinking in Sacramento.

  46. “The real Battle of the Bay is becoming a rout.”

    That’s because MLB chooses to continue and allow the dominance of the Giants over the A’s by perpetuating the unprecedented division of their so called shared Bay Area market into two separate unequal territories. It doesn’t hurt that the Giants have the crucially influential local media in their back pocket, as well.

    As the only recourse, it looks as if the real fair battle of the Bay may have to be resolved in the courts.

  47. The River Cats are gone to the Giants for sure. The A’s would he re-upped their deal if it was possible as Sac is way convenient for call ups.

    Sacramento is a big city for a minor league team and the Giants know it full well and from the River Cats perspective affiliating themselves with the Giants is a better move all around for all reasons ML stated above.

    The A’s will end up in Salt Lake City or wherever as Fresno will go with the Angels, makes too much sense for Fresno to affiliate themselves with the big market Angels vs. A’s when they were with the Giants before.

    @IIpec- The courts will decide this…

  48. The River Cats haven’t switched over yet. It might not even be in the A’s best interest to continue their PDC with them. This isn’t a problem. It’s an opportunity. As I’ve been saying for years, it’s better to understand the process than predicting outcomes even if the River Cats allign with the Giants.

  49. Longtime lurker here, living in san jose and from Sacramento. Several posts have commented about this potential Aaa switch cementing sacramento as giants territory, that Sac already leans giants, etc. As a native sacramentan , I can tell you with certainty that any mlb team that moved to Sac would immediately be embraced as the favorite team of nearly everyone. The homerism there is really something, more akin to a midwestern city than CA. If it were the A’s, it would be even easier for people to embrace, since they could keep the G@$nts as a favorite NL team, while the causes of friction between the two teams would be lessened.

  50. @ Illpec. I don’t disagree, but I wouldn’t hold out much hope for the Cotchett winning a court battle or striking enough fear into MLB to resolve the territory issue in the A’s favor. The Lodge is fuming over being brought to court by San Jose.

  51. @ Sid/IIpec
    Yeah it look like the courts will settle this one way or another, baring a mericale, if San Jose dose well with the lewisite the A’s get San Jose, if San Jose does not do well with the lawsuit, which I unfortunately believe may be the case, then it’s what an 80-85% chance the A’s leave the Bay Area altogether ?, I hope I am wrong, Oakland or San Jose doesn’t really matter, because as we all know, or should know the San Francesco Giants goal is to get the A’s out of the Bay Area, the Giants may not have planned this move, but it looks like another nail to the A’s Bay Area coffin may have simply fallen into the Giants lap.

    @ Briggs
    And just as I say this (write), you bring up an interesting and good point, they may renew the little hope I have left.

  52. @ Stomper
    Totally agree with you, I don’t hold out much hope that the courts will help San José’s cause, or the fear of the courts well help San José’s cause. I believe that whatever good will or sympathy Lew had built up with some of the owners, much of it was washed away when San Jose moved forward with the lawsuit.

  53. Thought I should drop this in to offer another prespective. At least publically, the Grizzlies say this is a non-issue.


    @nicosan-didn’t see your comments last night, but if you are serious the A’s are on am790. They do get preempted sometimes (FSU baseball, Lakers, or local HS football in the fall) but otherwise you can catch KK and Vince. They even have some commercials now mentioning the A’s, which has been a baby step up over previous years.

  54. So what happens then? Lew sells the franchise back to MLB, the so-called Clorox group is found to not really have the $2 billion necessary to buy the franchise and build at HT, and the MLB holds the team somewhere until a new city is ready to build a stadium? MLB locking itself out of San Jose is just mindboggling.

  55. Might as well be claiming that the Mets are going to be forced out of New York because they lack a geographical territory where they have more fans than there are Yankee fans in the same area. Most of the predictions made in this comments section are extreme extrapolations.

  56. @SMG
    You bring up the Mets and the Yankees, I believe you also brought up the Dodgers and the Angles (excuses ne if it was someone ells), but both of those metropolitan places have 20-23 million people living there, so if you reduce both LA and New York to pretty much a third of their size, 7.5-8 million people, which is the size of the Bay Area, then you may begin to see why strategic placement of minor league franchises is so important.
    In the strictest since Sacramento is not part of the Bay Area (9 bay counties), but it’s a good midsized market of I think over 2 million people that sits right outside the Bay Area, I think the last Bay Area town going in that direction is , point being Sacramento and the surrounding area up north has been a San Francisco Giants strong hold for many years, and The A’s with a triple A’s affiliate right there was staring to make inroads in that fan base, a fan base that is perfectly happy to drive a little way down 80 to see the parent club of witch ever team A’s or Giants there city and area are representing.
    With so little margin for error, if this move happens what MLB is saying to the A’s is not only do you have to stay in your restrictive area of Alameda/CCs, we will not allow you to have San Jose, and if your triple a affiliate, which you depend on for future fan support and share sports network with in Sacramento decides to go with the San Francisco Giants, that’s ok too.
    Wow, we can agree to disagree but this move weather intended or not, by the Giants is one more nail in the A’s Bay Area coffin.

  57. @ pjk
    Could not agree more, with you on that one.

  58. Sorry comment before last I meant to say I think Vacaville is the last Bay Area town going in that direction (toward Sacramento)

  59. oh please, the seats are full now at att because frisco are winning games. Did you notice the empty seats last year ? oh sure people bought the tix but many did not come to games last year.

    It is all about winning in this area except for the W’s. The W’s fans don’t care, they just keep coming.

  60. Which means what? Sacto probably sticks with the A’s?

  61. Perhaps the Giants will see the value in keeping Fresno, after all they own the Bay Area already and Fresno is a lot closer to LA (Dodger territory), then Sacramento, thank god the Giants have someone other than the A’s to compete with.
    This does bring up another issue, it’s been said that Lew had a gentleman’s agreement, with the River cats owner before he passed away, you would think after Mr. Hass’s gentleman’s agreement with the SF Giants regarding San Jose, Lew would have gotten something a little more concrete, then a gentleman’s agreement, if that’s the case.

  62. @Lakeshore:
    The combined statistical area that includes the Bay Area + Stockton/Lodi + Santa Cruz/Watsonville (I use this because for some reason if you go by formal metro area definitions, the Bay Area is broken into pieces that don’t make sense in practical reality) is the 5th largest such division in the country. If you tack on the statistical area around Sacramento for the purposes of baseball markets, then it becomes the 3rd largest. Chicago is a 2-team market where the Cubs dominate in terms of popularity despite less success than the White Sox. Like I said before, the Yankees utterly dominate the Mets in terms of popularity in that region. Baltimore-Washington seems a bit more evenly split. And the greater Los Angeles area skews notably towards the Dodgers. My point is that these are 2-team markets where in most cases one of the teams is drastically more popular and yet the “lesser” teams are under no threat of being forced to move. And as I’ve said numerous times, these markets provide models for how territorial rights SHOULD be addressed in the Bay Area. I don’t think anyone is denying that the A’s play second fiddle to the Giants and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future (rightly or wrongly), but that’s A LOT different than being forced to move. The only way the A’s move (anywhere) at this point or in the foreseeable future is if one of 2 things happens: 1) The team is sold. And there’s been literally zero indication that that has any chance of happening. OR 2) MLB allows the move to San Jose, whether it be through a vote, the courts, a mutual territorial agreement, or whatever. And this is all without even addressing the difficulties of theoretically moving the A’s out of the area.

  63. This could just be saber rattling by the Savages to milk a better deal out of Lew Wolff.

    And if the Cats switch to the gnats, it would be a good short term move (gnats bandwagon), but bad long term – quality of product would decline due to the gnats inferior farm system, and then attendance would decline.

  64. @ SMG
    I can get with that, I agree with you on the statistical data for population and the way that it’s mapped out and how it does not always show a true picture of the Bay Area, or Northern California, but when you factor that if The Bay Area or say Monterey to Sacramento, is still a lot smaller then LA or NY.
    So total population is still an issue comparable to those other places, but I get your other points and agree with most of them.
    Another factor is I don’t think the other teams in the two team markets are actively trying to get there neighboring team to leave, the way I believe the Giants are doing to the A’s, one dose not have to be a conspiracy theorist to see what the San Francisco Giants are doing.

  65. @ jeff-athletic
    Yeah, that could be true.

  66. I will ask again, and not sure if this has been mentioned here:
    Does anyone think this is a move by the Giants in order to keep the A’s from one day moving permanently to Sacramento and Raley Field?

    Keep in mind, the current design of Raley Field allows room for expansion and construction into a Major League Baseball stadium. Would not take much $$$ to turn this into a viable MLB park.

    Maybe the Giants are reading the tea leaves and will make a move into this area and corner this market before the A’s have ideas about moving here permanently.

    The A’s would be smart to just buy this affiliate and keep the AAA club in Sacramento and stop the Giants’ marketing creep into the Sacramento area.

    • @Alex. In order – No. Wrong. A’s haven’t previously, and aren’t now, considering moving to Sacramento. The asking price for the River Cats would probably be $40 million on the open market. That’s a huge price to pay to not build anything there.

  67. @ Alex
    On the surface I would say no, but there is nothing I would not put past the San Francisco Giants.

  68. If the Grizzlies become the affiliate, can we get A’s games back on KAIL TV 53?

  69. No Corp support in Sacto. Same in Oakland.
    Lots of gov buildings in Sacto though

  70. Does anyone know approx what a PDC is worth to a AAA club? In other words, how much funding to the River Cats get from the A’s annually?

    • @Briggs – AFAIK there has never been an effort to establish a market for PDCs. Non-baseball operating expenses for AAA could range from $4-6 million per team depending on market. Teams can bring in $10+ million from that, which they can keep after expenses. They don’t pay any license fees to the parent club, and the parent club gives no support other than paying for players and coaches. Forbes estimated that the River Cats in 2012 made $9 million.

  71. @ Alex – another response in order:

    1. No, primarily because Raley is not a long-term MLB stadium.

    2. Wrong. Raley would have to be pretty much 100% reconstructed. Raley was built in the last “flood” year here, and because the timetable for construction was compromised, the Savages had to use poured concrete block instead of steel for the construction of the main deck. The only way Raley could be rehabbed to MLB condition would be to remove the entire upper deck, remove the lowest 20-30 rows of seats all the way out to the foul poles for under-stands clubhouse and training facilities, and completely redo both dugouts.

    3. The A’s may well have designs on moving to Sacto if things do not pan out in the Bay Area. But the most likely location for a new A’s stadium would be in the Arco Park complex where Sleep Train Arena now resides.

    4. The A’s would indeed do very well to keep their affiliation with the RiverCats, but it appears (at least for right now) it’s out of their hands. The ‘Cats attendance has grown a bit moribund, and they are no longer the new, shiny minor league team in town thanks to the Republic FC who are averaging almost 20,000 per game. The Savages are probably looking to goose their attendance numbers right now, and that is best and most easily done for them by affiliating with the Giants.

  72. The A’s will not move to Sacramento ever….The reason why is TV.

    Right now the A’s get around 45M-50M on TV alone per year, this keeps them afloat as they have the lowest revenue in all of MLB.

    By moving to Sacramento the Giants will seal off the Bay Area leaving the A’s with a fraction of their current TV revenue as right now they are televised to 10M+ people all over Nor Cal.

    It would turn in a Warriors-Kings situation TV wise and it would make the A’s even more small market. They would need a major public subsidy from Sac cause of this….Not happening with the Kings arena about to be approved tomorrow.

    We are at 5+ years since the BRC was formed and MLB has done nothing. San Jose had full right to sue MLB and take them to the cleaners and let the courts decide it.

    Let that coward Selig burn in court…..Where he always loses.

  73. If the Rivercats would sell for $40M and bring in about $9M a year that sounds like a pretty good investment. I know what I’ll do if I ever hit it big at a start up. I also promise to keep them with the A’s.

  74. @Alex “I just don’t understand how a team with 4 World Series titles…..16 Division titles and one of the oldest baseball teams in MLB can be encountering such a dire situation. ( By the way, all that winning has taken place in Oakland).”
    How can you make that comment and ignore the A’s 5 World Championships, 9 pennants, and 8 playoff appearances in Philadelphia?

  75. I don’t see this switch happening, but if it did, wouldn’t it create an opportunity for the A’s?

    The Giants own only the major league rights to San Jose, and they have tried to shore up their position through ownership of the single A SJ Giants, who have a lease at municipal stadium.

    But AFAIK, nothing prevents a AAA PCL team from moving to SJ, other than the practicality of a ballpark. But what if Lew bought a AAA franchise (say, Vegas) and moved it to a temporary park in Santa Clara County?

    It would take a significant investment, but it would also radically shake up the whole t rights discussion and plant a huge green and gold flag in the the South Bay. The Giants would not be pleased, and that may be a reason they’d just as soon see the A’s re-up with the River Cats.

  76. @SMG. “The only way the A’s move (anywhere) at this point or in the foreseeable future is if one of 2 things happens: 1) The team is sold. And there’s been literally zero indication that that has any chance of happening…”

    Lew Wolff is 79 years old and John Fisher has shown very little interest in running the team. You really think there’s zero chance of the team being sold if the SJ lawsuit fails?

  77. Lew’s son, Keith, will come in and run it. He’s the one who went door to door in Warm Springs and put up with the NIMBYs over there. He sounds like a boots on the ground kind of guy.

  78. @SierraSpartan

    Thanks for the clarification regarding Raley Field. Had read some years back about the current stadium in Sacramento being able to be converted to MLB style stadium, if desired. Had not heard about problems either with the current sstadium location as well.

    @Sid…if you can give me a legal reason that the Courts will rule in favor of the A’s it would be great to hear one. Every legal expert consulted in this matter agrees that if the case were to get to the Supreme Court, they would not even hear it and instead tell the A’s to take their complaint to Congress.

    Even if this case gets to discovery, it’s not clear what material a judge would allow to be put forward. A ruling here may or may not benefit the A’s. In addition, these rulings and proceedings always take forever and the A’s are fighting time as well.

  79. ^ How the courts don’t openly acknowledge the absurdity of MLB’s anti-trust exemption is incomprehensible to any logical human being. The fundamental question here is a slam dunk, “Is MLB an interstate business subject to the associated anti-trust laws?” The answer is clearly and objectively ‘yes’. And despite all the rhetoric and analysis, I still have an impossibly difficult time understanding how that isn’t being acknowledged in the face of the rules that apply to other major sports leagues.

  80. @ SMG:

    they are all bought and paid for. Congress critters and judges are very well paid.

  81. SMG, actually the A’s can be blocked from moving a AAA team into San Jose too by the Giants.

  82. FYI: Alex. The SCOTUS last voted on the MLB ATE back in ’76 – 38 years ago. Their vote was 5-3. One of the justices who upheld the MLB ATE at that time later regretted voting for it and believed it should be overturned – that would make the vote 4-4. The MLB ATE has really become a farce since ’76. The SCOTUS justified it back in 1922 because they believed that MLB was an intrastate business only – they believed no interstate commerce was involved with MLB. These days, many teams actually make most of their revenue from interstate commerce – due to the mega-bucks television rights deals. So the MLB ATE has become a complete farce. Also, MLB has been avoiding a possible SCOTUS ruling on their ATE lately, cutting deals with teams before their cases reach the Supreme Court. They appear to be avoiding a Supreme Court decision on the MLB ATE. Where do you get your information? There are many legal experts that believe the opposite of what you say – and believe the MLB ATE is in trouble.

  83. @duffer
    Information is obtained from various legal journals and articles writren about this case. Just google A’s..MLB lawsuit and read away. Not difdicult to deduce from various sources, opinions and comments that the A’s face a huge uphill legal battle …regardless on how the courts ruled in the past.

    Thanks for your opinion… and you do have a legit argument, not sure mlb seesit that way.

  84. @Alex: Much of the information obtained from various legal journals and articles written about the case also are of the opinion that San Jose stands a good chance of winning San Jose vs MLB. Are you sure your sources aren’t Tim Kawakami and/or Ray Ratto. In fact, the latest Wall Street Journal story about the A’s and the MLB ATE quotes Nathan Grow, a legal expert, stating that it would be surprising if MLB were to win. (the Wall Street Journal is a much more credible source than the giant homers Kawakami and Ratto are!)

  85. Longtime lurker…

    Maybe I’m just frustrated, but I’m so over this whole mess. I was once a Pro-Oakland only person, then saw the light and jumped on the Pro-SJ/Bay Area stance. But now I find myself Pro-Franchise! Seems like the A’s worn out their welcome in the Bay Area, or at least were manipulated into this reality. Just pull the plug and pack the trucks up for Portland.

    Ramin (Formerly Stomper00)

  86. Dan: I’m failing to see what that has to do with anything I;ve said.

  87. @jeffrey, bringing back memories of watching Monte Moore and Ray Fosse on Channel 53!!!! I think Griz games are on some channel in Fresno, like 43 or something if I recall. One benefit would be that Tioga Sequoia and Full Circle brewing are both within a short distance of Chukchansi.

  88. Does anyone know if A’s are on regularly on AM 790 in Fresno/Clovis? Is it a decent signal? I think it was a progressive talk station before if I recall.

  89. SMG, sorry was replying to Simon.

  90. Ramin – Regardless of your team affiliation, the fact is that the A’s draw well considering that they play at an obsolete old dump of a stadium. There are several MLB teams with much newer stadiums than the A’s that are drawing worse than the A’s are. The A’s don’t need to move to Portland – even though the giants owners – and some giants fans, such as yourself – want them to.

    Since Oakland city officials have had 19 years to get a new stadium for the A’s and have done nada – the A’s are likely moving to San Jose.

  91. Duffer – My post has noting to do with the A’s attendance issues. It’s more of a respect issue, to which (in my opinion) the A’s don’t get enough as they deserve throughout the Bay Area.

    Oh by the way, I never have nor will I ever be a Giant’s fan! I have one team and one team only, the A’s! I move to the Bay Area largely because of the A’s in 2012 and have been to 157 games since I moved here.

    Ramin (Formerly Stomper00)

  92. @Alex- Keep in mind there is another case between SJ and MLB being fought in LA county around the State Claims that is separate from the Anti-Trust case.

    Even if SJ loses the Anti-Trust case it is not over by a long shot as the State case continues.

    When Bud Selig (irony) moved the Seattle Pilots to Milwaukee, Seattle lost on Anti-Trust grounds but embarrassed MLB in State Court hence you have the Seattle Mariners.

    Tampa Bay is the example around SJ having their appeal upheld. When Piazza won in 1993, the 9th Circuit forced a full blown trial….MLB (Selig)tucked their heads between their legs and settled….Hence the Tampa Rays.

    @Ramin- Read my post on TV above, same applies in Portland. Seattle Mariners have a big TV deal that covers Portland. They would fight any move to Portland as it would hurt their TV revenue.

    The A’s are stuck in the Bay Area because of this. No small market without a big public subsidy makes sense in light of TV revenue the A’s currently get.

    The Giants are going to take the River Cats and pigeon hole the A’s even more.

    Sacramento was never an option for the A’s but I am hoping the Raiders strike a deal with Oakland (ML’s 200M idea) and force the A’s into ATT Park and sit on the Giants heads causing pain…

  93. @Nicosan: see my comment above. Yes they are on 790. It is now the ESPN2 station in town (940 being ESPN). I get a pretty good signal through most of the town. 790 also just got the Raiders, so they will likely preempt the A’s games on Sunday’s in the fall now. But we get almost all the games. I will say a couple of times last year they had issues where they forgot to turn off the national feed so you would hear both the game and ESPN radio at the same time. But they were actually responsive through Twitter to get the problem fixed.

  94. Sid, the issue is whether SJ has standing. And unfortunately their standing is legally shaky. That doesn’t mean that won’t necessarily succeed anyway, but Piazza isn’t an apt comparison. Piazza had the deal done with an MLB team. All SJ has is an option agreement with no stadium for the team to play in. This would have been a slam dunk if Wolff were on SJ’s side legally. At any point the courts can toss it for lack of standing and then SJ would have to fight THAT up through SCOTUS before they could begin to challenge the AT itself.

  95. “How the courts don’t openly acknowledge the absurdity of MLB’s anti-trust exemption is incomprehensible to any logical human being. ”

    What are you talking about? The courts absolutely openly acknowledge it. multiple current Supreme Court Justices have said in public that it makes no sense. The District Court hearing the case, quoting from earlier court decisions, said he “agrees with the other jurists that have found baseball’s antitrust exemption to be ‘unrealistic, inconsistent, or illogical.

  96. Re: standing.

    The District Court judge ruled that SJ has plead a sufficient injury for standing in the state claims. The *only* reason SJ didn’t have standing for a claim under AntiTrust law is due to the exemption.

    In other words, the ATE itself IS a standing issue. SJ otherwise has standing, and when a court, be it 9th circuit or Supreme, rules on standing it will be ruling on the ATE itself, unless there is disagreement with the lower court re: the injury.

  97. ^ Well it has obviously translated into nothing.

  98. Well that’s not even necessarily true – oftentimes, lots of criticism of case law helps get it reversed later on.

    Especially when a few of the people criticizing a decision are currently on the US Supreme Court and may hear a case on it.

  99. I guess the main question is this regarding the city of San Jose vs. MLB:

    Will the SJMLB lawsuit be the case that finally breaks the back of MLB’s anti-trust exemption?

    Brown vs. Board of Education was the case that broke the back of segregated school’s in this Country.

    Wondering if the SJMLB case has enough “legal-strength”…as that case did to finally do away with the stupid MLB exemption.

  100. My last comment in the previous thread was meant for this thread. OOPS! Oh well, messing up on my last comment on this blog kind of sums up everything that’s happened to date. Peace…

  101. @ Alex,

    a) MLB won’t let it get that far;

    b) I can’t possibly see how the Supreme Court could uphold the ATE in this day and age. The Commerce Clause isn’t a question in this case. That part is well-settled, and even the previous decisions didn’t turn on that because even by then the original decision was so outdated. MLB’s only arguments are: you should keep it going because we already had one, and that Congress never changed it. Those are both incredibly weak arguments and are argued, to no avail, in every single case where old law is nonetheless overturned by a court.

  102. @ Jeopardydd
    Is it true that the SC will not here this unless the congress changes the ATE?, I keep herring that if San José suite got that far, the SC would not here it because it could be a congressional matter. I don’t know if that’s true, and you seem to understand the legal stuff well.
    I would have likened to ask xoot (think was his handle), as well but I believe he had a melt down on the comment board, perhaps it was not him but we had some legal hot shot in here, that seemed to have a good idea of what he was talking about, anyway I was wondering what your opinion was, or could you help me understand that a little better.

  103. @ Lakeshore

    Not really.
    It’s what I referred to in my previous comment – that MLB will argue that Congress could have changed the law to remove the judicially-created exemption but didn’t and that therefore Congress wants it this way.

    This is a very weak argument (especially since there are no legislative notes saying that that is what Congress intended), but it will be made. It’s in the class of arguments a side without good arguments makes in order to give a possible way for the court to rule in their favor if the court is actively looking for some way to do so. That DOES happen, it’s just not likely to happen.

  104. @ Alex
    I would appreciate your feedback (on that question), as well.

  105. @ Jeopardydd
    Thanks, really appreciate it.

  106. @Lakeshore/Neil

    I think @Jeopardydd summed up the legal argument pretty well and I also agree the case will not get to the Supreme Court.

    If it gets to that point….Discovery…. will make everyone scramble for the exists and MLB will have to force a decision upon the Giants (to allow them move to SJ with some compensation)….or the A’s (to sell the team to MLB or an outside investor who will move the team or another local investment group willing to build and keep the team in Oakland).
    Remember: no MLB owner wants to open up their “books” in a Discovery process.

    What’s odd….and a side note….. is that Donald Sterling has hired most likely the best anti-trust lawyer in the country. Maxwell Blecher….not sure why San Jose didn’t hire this law firm to represent its case.

    This law firm has been involved in some high profile anti-trust cases…including the one involving the Raiders in LA. Not sure if San Jose even contacted this law firm….or if it did…refused to take the case.

    Interesting because this law firm is based in Los Angeles…..where the SJMLB case has been relocated.

  107. @Alex- SJ didn’t hire an attorney- the attorney is taking the case pro bono- and Cotchett is no lightweight- he has been involved in the sports arena with the nfl and is considered to be one of the top dogs in his field- attached is his bio so you can read up on his credentials- http://www.cpmlegal.com/attorneys-Joseph-Cotchett.html

  108. “actually the A’s can be blocked from moving a AAA team into San Jose too by the Giants.”

    @Dan, How? The Giants’ rights to Santa Clara County are specifically limited to the right to exclude any other Major League Club. This is a unique provision of the MLB Constitution. No other Club has any part of its territory qualified in this way.

    The Giants can exclude any major or minor league team from San Mateo or SF, as the A’s can from Contra Costa or Alameda. But any minor league franchise is free to operate in the South Bay, which is why the Giants bought the San Jose team.

  109. @Alex: MLB forcing Wolff to sell the A’s would a bizarre scenario. San Jose would continue with the lawsuit anyways – taking it the SCOTUS, and if MLB were to lose, they would be liable for some huge damages – both to Wolff and San Jose. Cutting a deal with San Jose and approving the A’s move here would be a more likely scenario.

    Besides, Oakland is broke and can’t build a new ballpark for the A’s. A new owner would be required to pay nearly $2 bil. (for the A’s purchase and a new Oakland ballpark – which potential owner would be willing to do that?) Moving the A’s out of town would be equally foolish. The east bay is a superior MLB fanbase when compared to Portland, Vegas, San Antonio – moving the A’s from a midsized-to-large MLB fanbase to a small fanbase would be a stupid move by MLB (judging by some of Selig’s decisions – he doesn’t appear to be very bright though) MLB would likely not force a sale of the A’s. Besides – if the A’s weren’t able to receive a favorable ruling by the Supreme Court – Wolff would likely build a ballpark in Oakland anyways.

  110. Simon, all MLB teams have veto rights on MiLB teams based on affiliation within a certain distance from their home stadium. It’s the reason the Brooklyn Cyclones and Staten Island Yankees needed approval of the opposite number MLB team before they could be placed in their respective cities. The Yankees and Mets came to an accommodation to allow the opposing MiLB teams into the region. I doubt the Giants would be so accommodating. Or frankly that the A’s would be vis-a-vis the San Jose Giants if they weren’t already there.

  111. @duffer
    If the team is put up for sale, a new owner will eventually have to decide on one of those possibilities you describe. They are crazy, but rich people do crazy things with their money all the time…..
    (Seattle signing R. Cano for 10 yrs at 240 million)….Hey …if a bunch of millionaires want to buy a team, move them to a smaller market and pay millions more for a new stadium…or sucker a municipality into building it for them….more power to them……look what happened in Miami with the Marlins new stadium …..City and County on the hook for over 400 million….your right Oakland can’t come close to paying that. Although MLB would love that to happen.

    If a solution can’t be found for the A’s and Tampa Bay….I guess there is always contraction….but I think the MLB Players Association and the Union would strike or boycott if that we’re to happen. Can’t see them agreeing to the loss of 60 plus jobs.

  112. Alex – are you sure you aren’t a giants fan? your logic is very similiar to some giants fans. There are several other MLB teams, with new baseball only stadiums, drawing worse than the A’s. In 2013, the A’s, playing in an obsolete football stadium, outdrew 7 other franchises, all with new baseball only ballparks. In 2014, the A’s are ahead of several teams in attendance, and very close to others ahead of them. The A’s actually don’t need to move anywhere, there are several other MLB franchises, all with newer stadiums than Oakland, drawing worse than Oakland – those teams should be more a concern for MLB and better candidates for possible franchise relocations than the A’s are. There is actually nothing wrong with Oakland’s fanbase – the A’s play in a dump, their attendance would be much better if they played at a new baseball only stadium. That argument can’t be made by MLB clubs drawing worse than the A’s

    The giants are making the argument that the A’s should leave the bay area because the giants know that the giants fanbase is not solid – the A’s almost drove the giants to Tampa, FL before – and the giants believe the A’s will do it again – the next time successfully.

    • @duffer – The A’s are 27th this year in attendance. They’re usually among the bottom 6, their place depending on how good the team is. The stadium sucks, but it’s in a big market with better weather than most other markets. There is zero chance you’ll convince anyone that A’s attendance threatens anyone including the Giants. If the Giants even dipped to 2.5 million per year, that would still be better than nearly every season of historical A’s attendance. You’re barking up the wrong tree. The A’s are not to be measured against small market teams. They are meant to be measured against the other two-team markets.

  113. @ML- even so, other franchises with new ballparks drawing worse than the A’s are should be more of a concern for MLB than the A’s are. The A’s would likely draw average atleast 28K per game in Oakland, with a new stadium, which is good. Sure, San Jose can do better. The giants owners, and some Giants fans such as Alex, are using your argument to get the A’s out of town to protect the giants, who do not have a stable history in SF.

  114. @Bad Karma, Thanks for the heads up, I’m hardly home to visit my parents but it’s good to know they are on radio, although I even listened to the Spanish-language station because Amaury and Manolo do a good job announcing.

  115. WdontE@duffer
    Wrong…huge A’s fan, but look at the reality….where is the A’s local tv deal….non cable?The A’s do a lousy job of marketing the team & the corporate dollars just don’t exist in Oakland.

    The A’s can’t.get a local tv deal…kpix…kron etc, because the stations know the team will not athe ratings to make it worth tge $$$ for advertisers. That’s the reality attendance is only part of the equation….i wish it were different or better for the A’s, but right now it’s not.

  116. I can’t even tell if you’re being serious duffer. This isn’t some damn conspiracy by the posters here. Who here has explicitly said the A’s SHOULD leave the area?

  117. re: the A’s do a lousy job of marketing the team & the corporate dollars just don’t exist in Oakland.

    …Sigh. Here we go again. Blame the owners for the East Bay people not showing up. We’ve already gone over all this – A’s have a great team, clever ad campaigns, great promotions, low costs, etc. So why don’t the people show up? Has to be bad marketing, of course, and nothing to do with the viability of the East Bay market for MLB. Has to be the owners.

  118. Does anybody have any evidence whatsoever, that “marketing” plays any more than a negligible role in the A’s attendance problems? I constantly see people saying it, but haven’t seen a single shred of evidence.

  119. @duffer-sorry for all the typos in the last post.

    @Jeopardydd- I think you answered your own question. If a team does not think it has a viable East Bay market, then why pour money into an expensive marketing campaign. Marketing encompasses advertising & promotion…if you can’t get the bodies to the stadium or eyeballs to the TV screen…then there is no advertising or good marketing. And yes it does play a role, in addition to the stadium experience as well.

    Statistically, the A’s have been the better baseball team in the Bay Area in terms of wins & championships. Unfortunately, they came 10 years after the Giants and have constantly seemed to be playing catch-up ever since. I wish things were different…..attendance at an even level with the Giants, the media not so biased against the A’s & Oakland…but it is what it is.

    By the way just read that Mark Davis now has 400 million for a new stadium….I thought he only had 150 mill a few months ago? Did he sell part of the team? He indicated that he needs financial help in building a new stadium. What happens here will also. greatly affect the A’s

  120. @ Alex,

    Sorry, but what a BS answer. You gave no evidence at all. You just repeated the assertion.

    Do you have any evidence?

  121. @alex- I would have $400M too as long as Oakland gives me the development rights to CC and kicks out the A’s….oh and I would want all revenue associated with naming rights PSL’s etc. what’s Oakland to use to pay back it’s -400-600M investment if Mark gets all the revenue streams?

  122. @Jeopardydd

    Not sure what you mean.

    In terms of Marketing?…..yes it does help…..look at what the Giants are doing with their marketing campaigns & promotions. It’s taught well in business schools and applied well in the real world.

    The Dodgers are doing the same thing as well..they launched a new marketing campaigns in English and Spanish after the new owners came on board.

    Marketing is a mulch-billion dollar business. Obviously the A’s are doing something wrong.

    All the evidence you need is on the radio…television. Marketing turns into sellouts, merchandise sales….and if you can’t see that…or realize that helps….the you are out to lunch.

  123. Yes, we can be sure the Raiders will want all sources of revenue that they can possibly get their hands on as the team’s contribution to stadium construction, leaving the city to provide only one source of founds – taxpayer dollars. And that is not going to happen. If we take the Raiders offer to kick in $400 mill for a $1 billion stadium + the $0.00 the city has offered, still leaves a bit of a shortfall, I think.

  124. re: ..look at what the Giants are doing with their marketing campaigns & promotions.

    …What are the differences between the A’s and Giants marketing campaigns? Please explain for us. Maybe the Giants play in a wealthier area and have a much better stadium, could that be it? Nah. Has to be the A’s owners fault. What the A’s are doing wrong is they play their games in a city that can’t help them pay for a new stadium and doesn’t have the corporate base to privately build one, either. And didn’t even Dave Stewart say Oakland was a “football town”? The A’s are one of MLB’s most-successful franchises on the field and one of the least-successful financially. It has everything to do with the market they play in. It’s not the mean old owners.

  125. @ Alex,

    The Giants having more fans does not mean that it’s because of the A’s marketing. They may…well…have a better stadium. Or perhaps they are in a more desirable city. Or perhaps they have been in the Bay Area longer. And so on.

    So, once again, please give me one piece, just one piece of evidence, that the problem with the A’s attendance is in any meaninful way due in part to marketing.

  126. @Jeopardydd,

    I’ll put it this way…..other than the product on the field….how could the A’s marketing department convince me to go to an A’s game? What reason do I have to spend three or four hours there….despite the challenges of an old stadium…how could they convince ANY average fan that an A’s game is a great experience? Attendance figures point out that this is ONE of their problems. I mean you can’t get any better than the team is doing right now….the A'[s are a product so how could they convince a baseball fan to have a great Colosseum experience.?

    With the team running on all cylinders I think they could do a better job of promoting and marketing the product.

    It is a component of the problem, not sure there is a viable solution.

  127. @ Alex,

    Are you going to give evidence or not?

    You are using bad attendance as evidence for a lack of marketing. it doesn’t work that way. There are many other factors that could be causing it.

  128. @ Jeopardydd
    Yes many factors exist and bad marketing is one of them. Why don’t you think it is?

  129. @ Jeopardydd

    I guess we will have to agree to disagree….evidence or not…..

    evidence might be in the returns they get from a typical marketing & promotion campaign such as when the A’s promote and market free parking Tuesday’s…..Fireworks night….attendance does go up. What happens on nights when there are no promotions?

    But again, as you say overall attendance is affected by many factors.

  130. Attendance is still abysmal on free parking nights, despite this $20 value. Must be the owners. Hey, I know – maybe the owners should pay people to park their cars at the Coliseum, say $10 per car? That ought to be some great marketing. The “poor marketing” nonsense is just a way to deflect from the reality that the East Bay has not been a good market for baseball. Even when they had Reggie, Catfish, annual World Series titles and a good stadium they still struggled to draw. And nobody was a better marketer than Charlie Finley – I was a kid in New Jersey at the time and knew all about the Swingin’ A’s, who played 3,000 miles away.

  131. “And nobody was a better marketer than Charlie Finley – ”

    He was an unmitigated disaster for the A’s in building a stable fan base, and the franchise in many ways still has not recovered from him even 35 years later. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and the first impression most people had of Finley was very negative. The man openly and continuously disparaged his players and the fans of the Bay Area, regularly threatening to move the team to Denver, Washington, Tampa or wherever. He even disparaged the franchise – dropping the name “Athletics” and sending Philadelphia A’s relics to a dumpster. Finley gave people the impression that the A’s had no history and no permanent roots anywhere. They were all about him and his genius.

    It took real effort to go from winning three straight World Series to drawing 400,000 fans for the season and having your games broadcast only on an amateur college radio station in just a few years. But that was Finley – he managed to field championship teams while building up almost no good will. The only thing the man ever did well for the long term health of the team was selling to the Haas family.

  132. Simon, all MLB teams have veto rights on MiLB teams based on affiliation within a certain distance from their home stadium. It’s the reason the Brooklyn Cyclones and Staten Island Yankees needed approval of the opposite number MLB team before they could be placed in their respective cities.

    Dan, this is not correct. All major and minor league teams have specific territories from which they can exclude any other professional team (“independents” like the Northern League are an exception, because they are not parties to the agreement).

    Staten Island and Brooklyn are within Yankees/Mets territory. What is unique about the Giants rights to Santa Clara is that they are specifically limited to other major league teams. They do not have the right to keep a minor league team out of the county.

  133. I’m with Jeopardydd on this. The A’s biggest problem for attendance, BY FAR, is the terrible stadium (and surroundings) and less affluent location.

  134. Simon: Wasn’t Finley frustrated at the lack of support his championship team was receiving, hence his threats to move and attempts to sell off the team’s best players? The team won the championship in 1974 and finished almost last in attendance.

  135. Here is how to cure the A’s marketing problem: a new ballpark.

  136. ^ Well a new ballpark not in a terrible location. I.E. where there is actually stuff to do and places to go around the ballpark, not just a giant parking lot in the ghetto.

  137. Simon, I believe that is incorrect. I’ll see if I can find the link but this was specifically addressed a few years ago and even discussed on this blog. The Giants have veto rights over any MiLB teams placed in their “stadium” territory which includes Santa Clara County.

  138. Wait a minute, so confused – a few years back when the A’s were struggling, all the Oakland-only folk talked about “If Lew had a better team and wasn’t so cheap, people will come.” This team is the first this year to reach 30 wins, coming off back-to-back division titles. And now the problem is marketing. All just excuses. Ballpark sucks, ticket prices are great. And if you are using the “evidence” of what stores are open to justify marketing, puh-leease. News flash – the Warriors don’t have a store in a mall. Does that mean their marketing sucks too?

  139. Well said daveybaby- the victim mentality of the Oakland only folks is getting pretty old-

  140. pjk – you are without a doubt either the classic debbie downer or an attendance troll to the max. I literally become depressed when I read your posts and I picture Ben Stein’s anyone voice, monotone, or even Eyeore.

    From what I have read you came from what? Jersey? And you’re hung up on that unbelievably, catastrophic and important topic of San Jose’s lack of major league status? And the A’s moving there would fulfill you in some way? Cool.

    Just my personal opinion but, with all the crap happening in this country and the world, if this situation is that crucial, important, and vital to your ego, then hopefully you will eventually be fulfilled. I personally think you will because LW knows what he’s doing and he’s not an Oakland kind of dude.  Otherwise you may want to consider an alternative approach.

    Negativity can be very harmful to the psyche.

  141. @davebaby: The ticket prices are definitely unbelievable. I got front row mezzanine on the 3rd base side, lined right up with the 2nd-3rd base line, for when the Yankees are in town in June. $52 for a seat. Couldn’t pass that up in a million years.

  142. “LW knows what he’s doing”

    Kindly show some evidence of that.

  143. freddy – I don’t have tangible evidence of that. I do know that people like LW operate on a different time-frame than everyone else. What seems like an eternity to us is simply reaching the plan’s next milestone to them. Then it’s off to the next goal within the plan.

    People like him have a big picture and goal. They plan accordingly. They already have money so it’s really about the end result. If it takes years then so be it. That’s why they bring their children and often grandchilden into the business.

    I’m not 100% certain what his endgame is. Publicly it’s San Jose and has been for years so that’s all I can go by at this point. Is it San Jose, out-of-state, controlling the entire Coliseum area development, contraction, or some other plan? Only he and a select others know for sure.

    When I said what I did I simply meant LW is following his plan and, whatever that plan is, he will find a way to achieve the end result.

    Put another way, 99% of people are looking to hit the lottery, score the next big stock, pay down their mortgage and debt, and pay the minimum credit card payment.

    LW is likely in a different camp. I’m guessing no mortgage. Uses unlimited credit card for expenses but is paid in full each month. Zero personal debt. Owns very little stock but is probably more than satisfied with a 4% 30-year tax-free bond. Hires an accountant to manage cash-flow. All just my opinion of course.

  144. Larry Baer being considered? I know it’s unlikely, but wow, the thought is just sickening.

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