Selig’s Lamentations and the Law of Unintended Consequences

To hear outgoing MLB Commissioner Bud Selig explain it, he was stuck in the middle. Powerless. The issue was forever “complicated.” He wished he could’ve resolved it. So when he rolled through Oakland on his farewell tour, there was no staged ceremony near home plate, no televised gift of a rocking chair made of bats. The only real exchange was a series of questions from local media, asking him if he could’ve done more get the A’s to a new ballpark. All he could say was that a ballpark was needed. Acknowledging that the so-called Blue Ribbon Commission/Panel/Tribunal was effectively shut down, the only thing missing was a hook to pull him off the podium.

Anyone’s thoughts on how the A’s (and Giants) should be treated are largely colored by three views:

  1. Oakland’s standing as a major league host city
  2. How much power the Commissioner has over teams and whether he should wield that power
  3. The sanctity of territorial rights and baseball’s antitrust exemption

There was never a question of whether the Coliseum is decrepit enough to be replaced; of course it is. There’s also little question of whether San Jose is large enough or wealthy enough to host a team if not encumbered by territorial rights; of course it is. The three items listed above, however, are up for serious debate. And despite the A’s 11th-hour lease extension last year and the hurried extension talks this year (done to give Selig something to hang his hat on as much as anything else), those questions will continue to dominate the discussion moving forward. All we get for the next few years as A’s fans get is a brief respite. Frankly, that’s rather welcome at this point.

Selig touted the 22 parks built during his tenure as head cheese. Virtually all of those parks have a single thread in common that Oakland can’t give at this point: public funding. The notable exception is San Francisco, where the Giants were somewhat ostracized for daring to privately finance their yard. The Lodge thought that baseball was on a slippery slope to No-Subsidies-Ville, with noted baseball town St. Louis playing hardball with its beloved Cardinals enough that the team financed $290 million for Busch on their own. They didn’t need to worry, as the extortion game succeeded in Miami and Minneapolis, even through the recession.

Oakland doesn’t have cash to offer. Despite their repeated shows of incompetence, Oakland’s pols are not crazy enough to offer cash straight up (I think). But they’re showing signs of being willing to offer up a big swath of Coliseum land, which in the long run is nearly as good as cash. If the City/County hadn’t gotten so legally entangled with the Raiders, Oakland would’ve been in the position to offer a Coliseum City-like deal to the A’s. Selig would’ve acknowledged the skin that Oakland was willing to wager, and I’d be watching the game in a new ballpark right now instead of an old one. That’s not to say it would’ve been a good deal for Oakland. It would still be a big-time subsidy. But it wouldn’t have been as disastrous as Mount Davis, that’s for sure.

Selig took the acting commissioner job in September 1992, as Bob Lurie was finalizing a deal to sell the Giants to the Vincents (Naimoli and Piazza). Still carrying the scar from losing the Braves to Atlanta, he purportedly held off the deal long enough (enduring a lawsuit in the process) to allow San Francisco interests to pull an ownership group together. After failing to save the 1994 season, he worked hard to avoid further work stoppages, though he sacrificed the Montreal Expos to do it. After he screwed over the original TB Giants owners, he settled with another group to get them an expansion team in 1998, helping to infuse baseball with cash after the Lodge took it on the chin with the owners’ collusion lawsuit. In the process, he bound the Rays to practically unbreakable lease at a domed stadium. Plus he forgot that San Jose and Santa Clara County, which were gifted to the old Giants ownership when they pursued a ballpark in the South Bay, remained granted territories to the Giants after the new SF-only ownership group took over. All of that happened while he was acting commissioner.

As the elected, properly sworn-in permanent commissioner, Selig orchestrated the Expos contraction-then-expansion ownership swap among three teams that netted baseball a handsome expansion fee and brought baseball back to DC. To satiate O’s owner Peter Angelos, he and his executive team cobbled together a deal that made the O’s majority owner of a new regional sports network, MASN, which owned broadcast rights to the Nationals. Apparently Selig didn’t see the TV rights bubble coming or the conflict such an arrangement might create. The Nats, whose initial term on MASN is now up, want in on that bubble while the O’s are unwilling to pay market rates. Naturally, the teams are in court. Selig, who gave Angelos MASN to get him to stop a lawsuit against MLB, now sees two teams stuck in trench warfare, arguing over hundreds of millions of dollars. To mollify the Nats, Selig is giving the team money from his eight-figures-per-year iscretionary fund. These days $25 million or so is small potatoes compared to the riches Ted Lerner sees going forward, so the struggle continues.

It’s with that perspective that Selig has found himself stuck trying to satisfy both the A’s and the Giants. There’s Selig the legacy-protector, who would prefer to keep the team in Oakland if they could just pull out their checkbook. There’s Selig the Lodge-unity-protector, afraid to take the territorial rights issue head on for fear of reprisal from one faction of owners or owner. Then there’s Selig the procrastinator, whose blind eye towards many baseball issues (PEDs, inner city youth development, growing economic disparity among teams) made this particular outcome entirely predictable. Some want to give Selig credit for MLB Advanced Media or growing TV revenues, when really he just stood aside and let his underlings innovate for him. I mean, really, Selig and MLBAM? The guy doesn’t even have email.

Complete conjecture on my part: I suspect there was a plan at some point in which the Nats-O’s TV issue was resolved permanently and the under-the-table payments could be rerouted to either the A’s or Giants as part of another temporary deal. If the A’s were granted San Jose, the Giants would be given a “refund” of their revenue sharing payment. If the Giants kept the territory, the A’s would get the piece of the discretionary fund as financial ballast as they built in Oakland (remember, per the CBA revenue sharing goes away if the A’s build anew in the Bay Area). Over time such payments would taper off as the teams adjusted. With such funds indefinitely in use for another conflict, there was no solution to be had. Another consequence of the Nats-O’s dispute is that any thought of creating a new Bay Area RSN with the Giants in control in a similar arrangement to the O’s now has to be considered verboten.

So yes, Selig is right to an extent. The problem is complicated. Still, all it would’ve taken is better foresight to manage this and all of the other problems. They are merely ways of moving money around a table, out of one pocket and into another. Some have argued for MLB to establish a stadium loan program like the NFL’s G-3/G-4. That’s not happening soon because the NFL’s TV dollars used to establish G-4 dwarf baseball’s national TV revenue $6 billion to $1.5 billion. The big market owners see the new TV contracts, in which each team receives $50 million per year, as enough in terms of support when coupled with revenue sharing and the luxury tax. That’s enough to give the sense of competitive balance that Selig likes to tout. Then again, we all know that’s an illusion.

Competitive balance means allowing the poor teams to play as if they don’t see the glass ceiling. That’s your Oakland Athletics, now and into the foreseeable future.

72 thoughts on “Selig’s Lamentations and the Law of Unintended Consequences

  1. Tell me more about the rocking chair made of bats.

  2. Selig had years and years to do something about the A’s – principally let them go to San Jose – and he chose to hide under his desk instead. The one really big question ML brings up is Oakland’s status as a Major League city. It is a struggling city of 400,000 people that cannot conceive of funding a modern ballpark and the private capital isn’t there, either. The only hope remaining is Oakland giving Wolff the Coliseum land. I wonder what kind of voter referendum that might inspire if the city and county were to agree to that? And Selig thumbed his nose at the 10th-largest city in the country and chose leave all that Silicon Valley money on the table because he is afraid of the Giants.

  3. What makes the A’s ballpark issue so complicated is that Selig’s procrastination has led to a series of events dictating the conundrum, rather than getting out in front of anything.

    Inspired leadership would probably not have led the A’s to San Jose immediately, but probably right after Fremont stalled out. That would have been ideal – A’s poured their own money into the endeavor at the “best place in Alameda County they could identify” and it didn’t materialize. Right at that moment, Selig would have had the the ammo to go to the Lodge to say that he is reversing the T-rights to Santa Clara County back to the A’s – who had them in the first place – because the A’s made a good faith effort to build in their own territory and it didn’t work.

    • @ Taj Adib
      You have a good point, in that had Selig dealt with the TR’s in the first place(when he had a window of opportunity, to do so), this situation would not have taken on a life of its own, and the longer the SF Glints fight, the less likely they will be willing to give in.
      If San Jose does not win in court, can you imagine what the Giants would want then, for San Jose knowing how much new found leverage they would have?

  4. I”ve said it before and I’ll say it again: It makes no sense whatsoever that the Bay Area isn’t one large shared territory. Personally, I’d like to see the ATE abolished and for territories to be done away with altogether, but changing the Bay Area into a shared territory is the next best thing.

    It also boggles my mind how other owners don’t see the t-rights issues in the Bay as a special case, without the risk of threatening their own t-rights (maybe they do and just haven’t been allowed to vote). The A’s and Giants already share a media market and metro area (technically it’s a CSA and not an MSA). This isn’t a case of a team moving in to another team’s market/metro area for an outside market. Allowing an already two-team market to change into a single territory rather than a split territory is significantly less dangerous for other owners in business terms than it was to allow the Expos to go to DC and become the Nats.

    Why the issue hasn’t been approached by the Lodge in that way is beyond me. They could solve the t-rights issue in the Bay Area without putting the ATE at risk and without setting a precedent for changing t-rights in their own markets.

    • And you think Oakland would just stand there and allow itself to be excluded from any pro franchises in the future? You think Oakland wouldn’t sue? What would happen if the Miami Marlyns wanted to relocate to Oakland? Would Lew Wolff or MLB have any say in the matter? That’s a nice dream scenario for folks who could care less about what happens to Oakland. Sorry, the World doesn’t work that way. Oakland has plenty of recourse in the courts should your fantasy come to pass.

      • The irony here is that you stick to utter delusion and yet try to tell people that you know how things work when you objectively don’t. You have nothing to contribute to a productive discussion, so you should just stop until you can learn to not be a literal zealot.

      • Sue for what? Isn’t that what San Jose is doing? That argument hasn’t worked in SJ, why would it work for Oakland?

  5. After watching the Bud Selig interview on CSN I see why the market is not shared. It is because Walter Haas agreed to it, there was no “sly one” under his nose.

    Selig stated “the prior owners had an agreement”, meaning Haas agreed to pigeon hole the A’s into Oakland and allow the Giants to reign over a majority of the market including San Jose.

    Haas, for all his philanthropy was a “spoiled rich kid with a silver spoon” and did not see the business value of creating a shared market.

    It makes sense on why is Chicago, NY, and LA shared? Because those owners together in each market “agreed to share the market” as a whole. They spoke about it when the leagues merged. No one question the Bay Area…..that is Selig’s fault for not doing so and he knows it.

    The Giants had not even secured financing yet for Pac Bell Park in 1993 either.

    The Giants took advantage of Haas it is known he did not understand business in the least bit and it showed losing millions on the team during his tenure.

    Now, the Giants reign supreme and the A’s are stuck in a dump because of Haas and inadvertently Selig himself for not calling this out.

    Selig, now after seeing Baltimore-Washington blow up in his face refuses to do anything.

    This moron said with litigation going on “we can’t do anything”…..What!!! It was 4 years of doing “nothing” before San Jose sued!??

    I want to punch Selig in the face….and I am a Giants fan.

    • LA became a 2-team market in 1961, NY became a 2-team market (again) in 1962, and the Bay Area became a 2-team market in 1968. Chicago is the only one with a continuous 2-team presence. It makes no sense to treat LA and NY differently than the Bay Area when they all became multi-team markets in the same decade.

      • Both Los Angeles and New York became 2-team markets in the early 1960’s through expansion – meaning the incumbent owners got paid to allow it.

        I suspect the same situation exists in SF/OAK/SJ. Once the Giants get paid, the A’s get San Jose. The only question is how much.

      • If the A’s left the Bay Area altogether, they’d have to be paid $200+ million by the Giants to relinquish the East Bay and 1/2 of NorCal TV rights. The A’s wouldn’t see much of that money, since it would go towards paying off whatever team(s) whose TV territory the A’s encroached upon.

      • @ sierraspartan/SMG
        Not to be defending the SF Giants, but if I were them I would say the A’s can purchase the rights to San Jose right after the pay us for the right to be in the Bay Area in the first place (Oakland), the Giants never received compensation for the A’s coming to the east bay in the first place, perhaps the Giants fell they should be paid twice.
        Don’t like it, don’t agree with it, but I would see their line of thinking.

    • Yeah, “Pigeon holed” in that awful Oakland place in the center of the Bay Area, with great transportation and the best climate in the World.

      That horrible, horrible, Bud Selig. How
      could he have done that to the A’s? Everyone knows there’s a bubble over Oakland where nothing can get in or out and advertising or frequency waves can’t get to the wondrous, delightful and prosperous Silicon Valley.

  6. I feel the new commissioner or baseball will allow the Tampa Bay Rays to move to Orlando or Tampa itself. Then he should allow the A’s to move forward with building a ballpark in Oakland an still get revenue sharing for 10 yrs.

    • It’s not the commissioner keeping the Rays out of Tampa. It’s their lease at Tropicana Field and the city of St. Pete keeping them out of Tampa proper.

    • How is the current commissioner keeping the A’s from building a ballpark in Oakland? Selig probably would’ve liked that as there’d be no conflict. It was the team’s desire to leave that caused the issue, otherwise this would’ve been done a long time ago (unless Oakland politicians screwed it up).

  7. In Tampa, the officials in Saint Petersburg wanted a sizable payment in order to let the Rays out of the lease. Saint Pete invested a lot in the ballpark and wanted to be compensated. Selig, I believe, countered with an offer of $0.00. I’m sure he doesn’t think that situation is his fault, either.

    • The thing about the Trop is that lease will eventually run out, at which time the Orlando/Tampa Bay are will be ready and waiting. While I’m sure they have zero desire to wait that long, it’s also position that that stadium will age without proper maintenance and do their job for them. Either way, patience is truly key for them.

  8. The Trop is a complete piece of crap. I might even go so far as to argue that it is worse than O.Co if you account for age. O.Co at least has a slight excuse insofar as it is old. It’s 48 years old and the Trop is 24 years old and only very slightly better.

    • @ SMG
      I am with you on that, It really something, that the Trop is so bad? At least with the coliseum you can it was built to the standards of it’s contemporaries.

    • The Oakland Coliseum is a far better place to watch MLB than the Trop. Anyone who says the Coliseum is worse has an agenda. The Coliseum is better than any dome or any ballpark with artificial turf. The Oakland Coliseum is also far more comfortable than Wrigley Field or Fenway Park as far as modern amenities like the West Side Club and a much more spacious setting. The Coliseum is also a better and more comfortable experience than any hot humid open air ballpark in Texas, Saint Louis, Atlanta, etc..

      • See above, take your zealous delusion elsewhere until you have some relevant and productive to say.

      • I.e. There is not one single professional baseball analyst, writer, or expert that would rate O.Co. above the stadiums in Arlington, St. Louis, or Atlanta.

        NOT. ONE.

      • @ Elman

        Actually your statement has more to do with the weather then the ballparks, when it comes to Texas, St Louis, and Atlanta.
        It’s a little ironic in Atlanta and Texas’s case, because one is abandoning a relatively new, fine ballpark to build an even newer one, and the other is considering doing the same to what I consider to be a vary underrated ballpark in Arlington, I assure you most A’s fans would be greatly appreciate either cast off.

  9. The situation is actually a farce. Unlike the Montreal to Washington DC move – where the Expos (Nats) moved from Canada to the Baltimore franchises’ backyard and into the Orioles territory. Understandably, the Orioles owner, Angelos was miffed and was justly compensated for that move with the MASN deal.

    The giants – on the other hand – are attempting what must be a first in professional sports. There has been no other situation in a two team fanbase situation, where one team opposes the other team moving further away – the concept is actually humorous. The giants owners are behaving worse than a woman with a bad case of PMS – and Selig is an accomplice to the giants bizarre plan.

    Selig also must still be troubled by the San Jose vs MLB lawsuit – he recently commented that the A’s new stadium is being held up by the litigation – (that proves that MLB must be still concerned about losing the MLB ATE). San Jose likely won’t be deterred by Selig’s comment – they will likely continue taking the case to the SCOTUS if needed (unless MLB pays them off) Reid and co. likely are enjoying watching MLB and Selig squirm anyways.

    The real goal of the giants is to drive the A’s out of the bay area. They do not want the A’s to build a new stadium in Oakland either. If Wolff builds something similar to the Coliseum City plan – that could work out very nicely for the A’s. It would also likely be a much safer venue than phone booth park is (Fans likely wouldn’t be concerned about being attacked or mugged at a Lew Wolff A’s stadium (unlike ATT Park)

    • duffer – I’m not too sure the Giants want the A’s out of the Bay Area. I believe what the Giants are looking for (outside of $250M or so for rights to SJC) is for status quo. They’re just fine with keeping the A’s in the E.Coliseum, and would probably cheerfully continue to pay into revenue sharing to keep them there.

      • A Wolff built A’s stadium/entertainment complex at the Coliseum site would likely be (worst case scenario) even moderately successful. Even a last place A’s team could probably average 25K + per game with a new ballpark there. A Coliseum City type sports/entertainment venue would have several advantages over the Giants phonebook park – much easier access, safer, and would attract more fan interest. The Giants owners don’t want that scenario.

        Also, the giants would have the whole bay area MLB television rights market for themselves if their plan to squeeze the A’s out locally would be successful – the Giants also desire to acheive that.

  10. The spitting of the shared two team Bay Area market into two distinct separate territories is not only unprecedented with MLB’s other multi-team shared markets, both past and present, but It also is unprecedented with the shared multi-team markets in the three other major league sports(NFL, NBA, and NHL) as well . While it appears obvious that Mr. Haas was both foolish and naive for granting the Giants territorial exclusivity to the South Bay given that the team never did move there and remained in San Francisco, there is no excuse for why MLB never did rescind the territorial spitting up of the Bay Area market Unfortunately, what transpired was the dividing up of the Bay Area market into two distinct separate unequal territories that perpetually gave the Giants a huge competitive advantage over the A’s.

    • @ IIpec

      I hear you, I would say he may have been foolish and naive in the sense that he did not require the south bay to revert back to a shared area, after the Giants failed attempt to build there. He may not have been thinking foolish or naive, in the sense that if the Giants were successful he would have had the center of and everything of the Bay Area all to himself, but more then likely he was just being a good owner, that was concerned about the game as a whole.
      One of those rare times In live that being an ass, would have actually helped.

    • The Giants were an unstable, pathetic franchise at that time though. Haas possibly didn’t consider them as a serious threat to the A’s – either in SF or San Jose- maybe the Haas ownership can’t be blamed for that oversight.

      • The Giants also had different owners. Lurie may have been a bit more open to having a “gentlemanly” relationship with Haas. But then new owners came in and that changed.

  11. who’s not to say even if the a’s ownership is willing to build in oakland at the current coliseum location those bastards from across the bay wouldn’t try to do something to sabotage the process and or building of a new venue/ballpark village for the a’s.

    if this whole thing with “stand up for sj” is any sign and the possible speculation by piccinini that he was sabotaged in a way in buying the a’s in the mid to late 90s…no doubt that halloween colored team would do ANYTHING to drive the a’s out of the bay area which as many have noted is and has been one of their main business goal.

    oh yeah selig can kiss my ass. one of the worst owners in all of pro sports history.

    • Definitely – we will soon undoubtedly see a “Stand For Oakland” group – opposing building a ballpark in Oakland – courtesy of the giants owners.

      • Given the attitude in Oakland, you could see a group formed to be against a new ballpark in Oakland just because of the fact that Lew Wolff would be involved. There are plenty of A’s fans out there who would do anything to spite Wolff.

      • @ duffer/ letsgoas
        Duffer, I don’t know if that statement is more funny or sad, but I think the Giants will begrudgingly go along with a new venue in Oakland, simply because as much as they may want the A’s out of the Bay Area (Portland, San Antonio), they want them out of San Jose more than Oakland, if they have to stay in the Bay Area, and attest to this point there is no indication that they will move out of the Bay Area, but I do agree with you, that is what the Giants would like most of all.

      • @ SMG
        It is ironic Wolff (whom I certainly have been critical of), the one man that has been so reviled by the Oakland-Only folks, is the one man that can pull off a CC like project, if it were to ever happen.

      • Wouldn’t at all be surprised to see a “grass roots” group springing up to oppose any efforts to let Wolff develop the Coliseum property. “No taxpayer giveaways to billionaires!” would be the battle cry. Collect signatures, get a referendum on the ballot, hammer home Fischer’s wealth in ads, measure to let the A’s have the property fails, bye bye A’s from the Bay Area.

      • @ pjk

        Unfortunately, I could see that happening.

  12. I just wonder if MLB is holding off on deciding anything about the Bay area, until the Giants want to sell. That way they can negotiate with the new owner and get a true dollar figure on splitting the market. Ie. With the Astros sale, they came to an agreement on sale price, then MLB forced/negotiated the move to the AL West with the new owner, for a $50 mill discounted price, covered by MLB.

    With the Bay area, maybe the difference ends up being split between the A’s and MLB. But at least a new prospective owner would be willing to put an actual value to those rights to SJ. Ie. “I’ll buy the team for 1.2 bill if rights stay as is, but only 1 bill, if the A’s move to SJ.”

    • @ David
      That’s an entrusting theory, but is there any indication that the Giants will change ownership groups any times soon? Or that key members the existing ownership group (that refuse to budge on San Jose), will sale their portions and step away? Unfortunately I don’t think so, and it’s not like MLB can’t wait another 25 years, for that to happen while the A’s remain in need of a new venue, or can they?

      • I assume that the existing ownership group can/will continue to obstinate regarding SJ, because they can. They could just say the rights are worth $500 bajillion-fuffillion dollars, because as long as they remain owners, there is no accurate gauge to the team or region’s financial outlook. There is no recourse otherwise. However, a new owner, is still trying to get access to the lodge. There will be a definitive dollar figure attached to the team, and I’m sure a prospective owner is much more willing to be open to a discussion, otherwise MLB doesn’t approve the sale.

      • Also, even though the Giants likely aren’t planning a sale in the near future, unfortunately its not like the A’s have a lot of options. Even the proposed site in SJ, is small, limited dev opportunities, and the A’s would have to fit 100% of the bill. So even from MLB’s perspective its probably not the best solution, and staying at the CC site development funded almost entirely by the A’s isn’t very attractive to the league either. And the only reasonable tertiary market to consider would be Montreal, which is more likely earmarked to threaten the Rays in 5 years.

        MLB is likely just in a holding pattern. The current options aren’t that good, and the current situation with Giants might be resolved with time and a new ownership group. Maybe the state or one of the cities start talking public funding. While it sucks, MLB is just playing the waiting game.

      • @ David

        Yeah, I agree with you a new owner, would open up a unique opportunity to negotiate the TR’s, as your example of Houston elasticated rather well, I am just saying what’s the likelihood that would happen anytime soon?

      • @David – the A’s are outdrawing Seattle (with a newer, better looking baseball-only ballpark) And Seattle’s fan base is the same size as Montreal’s. Seattle’s is also much larger than Sacto, San Antonio, and Portland. Besides – MLB has also previously failed miserably in Montreal. None of those possible MLB locations are likely attractive to the A’s.

        Selig has been at least consistent because he always maintains that the A’s need a new stadium. MLB likely would prefer a new ballpark for the A’s in either San Jose or Oakland – the giants owners are the problem. Perhaps the new MLB commissioner will get things done.

      • @duffer
        I agree that MLB wants the A’s in a new stadium. But I think they don’t like any of the options currently available to them, even SJ has some issues. So I think they are relatively content to sign that 10 year lease, rattle the saber a few more times, and wait for something to change.

        Re: Montreal. I think MLB strongly believes in SF/Oak/SJ as a 2 team market. I don’t think they want to leave that much of a corporate base left for 1 team. I don’t think they’ll hold Montreal over the A’s head as any sort of serious leverage. I think MLB knows the Bay area will support 2 reasonably strong teams, its just a matter of figuring out where, and when.

        However, I do think Montreal gets dangled over TB head in about 5 years. There has been 0 traction in TB. And TB hasn’t yet proven to be a strong market. There is concerns about corporate support, disposable income, and the transient nature of the population. Montreal offers more than TB on that front. What killed Montreal: no revenue sharing, terrible Canadian dollar, 0 public funding for a new stadium, $0 for their TV rights, checked out fanbase after strike cancelled WS and subsequet sell off. How many of those issues remain. 1 – public funding for a new stadium, and the outlook on this would have changed considerably. In 5 years Tor and TB will be playing a regular season exhibition series in Montreal. If Montreal was in the same division as the Jays, Red Sox, and Yankees, they would actually draw reasonably well. I think long-term, MLB has to be considering moving the team from TB to Montreal. Not saying it will, but I do not think TB is safe in the mind of MLB the way the Bay Area is.

      • The mistake with expanding to Tampa was that those people were already mostly Yankee fans. And I’d argue that Charlotte, NC has been at least passingly looked at as a potential relocation market for the Rays.

  13. Ideally, I would like to see for some of the big Silicon Valley companies to get a campaign going to promote the move of the A’s(already located within the Bay Area market) to San Jose. These companies have the financial wherewithal needed for a well run advertising campaign to promote the nation’s tenth largest city to have a MLB team, especially given the fact that the relocation of the A’s would not require a third team for the Bay Area market. The campaign would also point out the fact that both MLB and the Giants are blocking such a logical move.

    • @IIpec

      Money talks, BS walks!

    • Don’t count on any new ownership group for the Giants backing off of San Jose. The value of the franchise is inflated because of the Giants’ exclusive rights to Silicon Valley and their ability to block any team from going there. The Giants will raise the price accordingly thanks to these “rights.” It wouldn’t make sense for a new owner to pay Big $$ because of this and then concede.

      • Its not that new ownership would back off, but they would be forced to put a legitimate $ figure to those rights. Right now the Giants can say its worth whatever they want. But a prospective buyer would be put in a position of saying SF with the rights its $X, without the rights its $X-$Y. Great, then MLB can assess the bid, decide if/how they can meet $Y, split with A’s, put limit on when those rights would expire for SF. But with the current owners its difficult for MLB to get SF to cooperate on anything.

      • Hate to sound like a broken record, because I think David has a good point. about any new Giants ownership group being put in the position of having to negotiate on the TR’s issue just for the right to be in the good old boy’s fraternity.
        Unfortunately however, the Giants are not for sale and probable won’t be for a long time to come, as a matter of fact it does not appear that anyone in that organization is going anywhere, anytime soon. so yeah.

      • @Lakeshore
        I agree it doesn’t sound like the Giants owners are going anywhere anytime soon. And sadly I’m really thinking that the A’s ballpark situation won’t be changing anytime soon either. I would be surprised if this doesn’t languish for another 10 years. I’m trying to figure if that’s good or bad for MarineLayer.

    • Of course, any criticism of either MLB or the Giants for their respective roles in blocking the A’s move to San Jose would be done in a subtle way.

  14. As an addendum to a previous post, we can expect opponents of any plan to let the A’s have the Coliseum property to demand the A’s pay “full market value” for the site. Which would kill any incentive to even do the development.

  15. ML, tangentially info related to the info we got a few weeks back about Wolff working with a new architectural firm other than 360 like he’s done in the past. We have have a reason now.

    360 was just acquired by HOK (designers of most of the new run of ballparks). Don’t know if that means Wolff has been working with HOK instead or with a completely different firm. But its definitely an odd twist given Wolff’s long time affiliation with the guys from 360 when its come to his projects including the almost finished Earthquakes stadium.

    • When I found about the acquisition on Tuesday, I asked a couple industry sources about the impact. Expect a post about this soon.

      • Looking forward to it. Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t HOK spin off their stadium design division into what is now Populous a few years ago? Seems odd to me that they’ve now acquired a stadium/arena development outfit like 360 now when they had their own (which had an understandably huge name when it was HOK Sport).

  16. I’d like to thank Bud Selig for helping to keep the A’s in Oakland. Isn’t strange that Oakland A’s fans have Bud Selig and the SF Giants to thank for keeping our A’s in Oakland where they belong.

    • PJK,

      Howard Terminal is THE best site for a new ballpark for the Oakland A’s. Howard Terminal has been taken off the table by Lew Wolff simply because Wolff has more leverage without Howard Terminal on the table. When I say “leverage” I mean possible excuses for leaving Oakland all together.

      I have no problem at all with Joe Tuman including Howard Terminal as one of the sites for a new ballpark in Oakland.

      Wolff could still get development rights at Coliseum City while building the actual ballpark at Oakland’s beautiful Jack London Square.

      • @ Elmano
        It might be more lucrative to have the development rights to Howard Terminal, then to the coliseum site, but the ballpark itself would have to act as a catalyst, to spur the sort of economic activity the A’s will need to support it, sense Wolff does not want to build there its sort of a moot point.
        If he is willing to build in Oakland (still an if), while it would be nice if he wanted to build at H.T. (if it can even be done), I’m just glad he can and is willing (apparently), to build somewhere in Oakland.

    • At least Turman seems to realize that HT is a pipe dream even if in a perfect world it is his preferred site. I’ll consider that progress.

  17. Howard Terminal is DOA, Elmano. I think the new lease even forbids the city council or the county from even bringing it up again. If Tuman gets elected and resurrects that dead site, he is in violation of the lease agreement. Right in the interview, Tuman points out just some of the the massive problems with Howard Terminal: heavy industrial use in the area, poor access, no BART, etc.

    • “Massive problems with Howard Terminal.” Like contaminated soil? What about the AT&T site? Was that contaminated and how far is AT&T Park from Bart?

      There’s a Bart station at 11th & Broadway within walking distance of the Howard Terminal site. If they were to build the ballpark closer to the ferry pier at Clay Street, it would be an easy walk of a little over a half mile. The Clay Street Ferry Landing is also right at the door step while Amtrak sits just across Jack London Square.

      We already have garages all over Jack London Square, Chinatown, Old Oakland and City Center which would be available on weekends and for weeknight games. If more parking is needed you just build it on the north side of the tracks and construct an additional footbridge to go with the two footbridge currently serving the area.

      This over exaggeration of how difficult Howard terminal would be is nonsense designed to take the best site for a ballpark in Oakland off the table.

      • ML did a thorough story about the costly problems associated with building at the HT site – no need for a feasibility study done for that costly and impractical site.

      • I find myself in complete agreement with duffer. It’s like I’m living in Bizarro.

      • @ Elmano
        Can Howard Terminal be built on? (Probably still don’t know), perhaps but at what cost, and whom is going to pay for it? Just because something is possible, doesn’t mean you do it just because it can be done.
        It’s already abundantly clear Wolff would rather not build in Oakland, so he defiantly is not going to pick the most difficult and costly place to do so, even if it would look nice on a post card. (I would love for him to do it as well)
        Wolff has said he would reconsider the coliseum site; he went so far as to say he would give Oakland, his “sincerest effort.” (I hope that’s true), According to ML he is in talks with the JPA, talks that could actually lead to something.
        Do I trust everything Wolff says? I don’t trust everything anyone says, but if he really is trying that’s more than the Warriors, whom are ready to leave Oakland high and dry regarding the outstanding bonds on the arena, or Raiders, whom are threatening to leave Oakland for a second time (for a city that’s not even in the Bay Area), If Wolff is playing Oakland for the benefit of trying to prove to MLB he tried one last time, well Oakland (the city I love), should have taken this situation a little more seriously than they have over the last 20 years, that’s longer than most municipalities get, to get their act together.
        BTW: Wolff is talking about paying off the debt, which the Raiders and Warriors caused? If he is not being truthful about doing that, it’s a lie that neater the Raiders or the Warriors have ever told…

  18. yeah i guess the 9 figure price tag to clean up and prep the ht site is just an afterthought by the oakland only folks.

    if there is one drawback if the a’s stay in oakland, something i still don’t mind even though i think sj has and will always be the best site especially financially, is to see the oakland only folks arrogantly patting themselves on the back thinking they “won” this whole debate. ugh.

    • Yes, no need to rehash all the facts about the never-going-to-happen Howard Terminal site. People are going to choose to believe what they want to believe, facts be damned. But there will be no ballpark at Howard Terminal.

  19. yeah I’m still amused by reading maybe a month ago that it was wolff’s fault for not getting that victory court site done and had nothing to do with the local businesses at that location not budging, not to mention the death of redevelopment of funds.

    but as mentioned if those people want to live in their own little world reading what they want to read, seeing what they want to see, believing what they want to believe then go ahead.

    just don’t try to bring that nonsense here where you’re actually going to be called out for it.

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