Yesterday I did lengthy interview with Tony Frye (@GreenCollarBB) of Swingin’ A’s about all manner of stadium stuff. Since it came on the heels of the election, we talked a lot about that and the Raiders. We talked a good deal about the A’s too, and I tried to show how the two are interrelated and how the teams’ fates are intertwined as long as they’re in Oakland.
Swingin’ A’s Podcast Episode 4
My part of the interview comes about 36 minutes in and runs a whopping 50 minutes.
In the interview I discuss Walter Haas and Steve Schott, the latter a subject of a Frye blog post from earlier today. I focused on Haas, partly because of some renewed interest in what he did towards the end of his ownership tenure. Take a look at some of these articles:
A’s fight economics to build dynasty
Athletics to move if Raiders return?
Athletics seek protection against return of Raiders
While we remember Haas for his great generosity, winning teams, and partnership with Oakland, what has gotten lost was that when the winds started to swirl around the Raiders and their potential return to Oakland, Haas picked up on it early and voiced his worry about it. He soft-played it, didn’t want to make appear like he was threatening to move out of Oakland. He made it clear, however, that the team was losing money because of his family’s sacrifices. He was going to sell at some point if it got much worse, which it did. He ended up selling at a heavily discounted price because of the big debt load. Haas felt his business was threatened, so he reacted the way you’d expect a business owner to do – to try to protect his team. Some owners have taken this to unseemly extremes, and it’s unfortunate that Oakland has had to suffer the worst of that behavior from Al Davis and Charlie Finley.
I’ve mentioned this before and it bears repeating: it’s no coincidence that the A’s salad days occurred when the Raiders were gone. The three-peat A’s won the most, but turnout was not particular good and Finley whined about it frequently. With no competition from football on or off the field, Haas didn’t feel a threat. He allowed the Giants to explore the South Bay, in hindsight a strategic error on his part. Haas was as genial guy as ever existed in the Bay Area. But he was still a businessman who knew what was Priority #1 when backed into a corner.
Listen to the interview, rate it on iTunes, and give feedback here in the comments section. I had a good time talking to Tony, and I expect to do another one of these in February, after the Coliseum City ENA expires. Then we can talk next steps. For now, give this a listen.
P.S. – The day Frye asked me to do the interview, Mike Davie of Baseball Oakland wanted to be on too. He’ll have his own episode at some point with a lot of Oakland cheerleading and ownership bashing, I assume.
I was glad to hear the point about the NFL (not) funding two stadiums in multi-team markets brought up, considering that I had mentioned it a couple of times in recent threads. I definitely see that as a major, but as of yet under-the-radar issue in regards to Oakland’s chances.
Good interview, its good to hear the impartial and bitter truth about Oakland’s stadium situation. I for some idiotic reason could not find the podcast on i tunes to rate your interview.
OT: Has anyone seen this critique of entertainment districts? http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2012/12/13/best-of-blog-the-pitfalls-of-entertainment-districts.html
I wonder if Wolff & Fisher have examined the failures of KC and MPLS while crafting development models for either the Coliseum or Dridion.
Wolff has made a career and fortune from being a developer. I’m sure he’s aware of the various opportunities and risks.
LOL at Todd Van Poppel ruining the A’s salary structure. A bigger LOL at the thought that baseball’s TV market had stagnated in 1990.
Was Mike Davie interested in a debate? I can’t imagine he’d be interested in that. But maybe he is, who knows.