Manfred strengthens case for Oakland

As has become customary over the years, reporters asked the Commissioner about the state of new venue pursuits for the A’s and Rays. Since Rob Manfred took the mantle from Bud Selig, Manfred has taken a slightly more hopeful and defined stance than his predecessor. Taking that a step further, Manfred today said that he remains committed to Oakland, seemingly indefinitely.

From the AP:

manfred-oakland1

And another Manfred comment from the Chronicle’s John Shea:

manfred-oakland2

Hear that? The commissioner is bullish on Oakland! That can’t be said for any other time since the A’s have been in the Town. Baseball was more concerned about Charlie Finley than Oakland in 1968. Throughout the Finley, Haas, Schott, and Wolff tenures, no one inside or outside baseball talked glowingly about Oakland’s economic prospects. Now Manfred is, and for good reason. By the numbers, Oakland is exploding in terms of real estate values and rents. It’s attracting tech companies and their employees. For the Lodge, Oakland has finally become more than a centrally-located fanbase, it is a healthy market unto itself. What’s more, Manfred likes Oakland’s prospects into the near future. If you’re wondering what took so long, consider the economic prospects of Oakland in 2009.

Manfred continued to push the notion that the A’s should pursue the stadium plan regardless of what happens with the Raiders. He hasn’t gone so far as to set a deadline or mention consequences (for either the A’s or Oakland), but if you’re paying attention, you know that this fall is the time for MLB to make hay with Lew Wolff and John Fisher.

The current CBA calls for the A’s to get off the revenue sharing dole once a new stadium opens. So far, Wolff has pledged to pay for the stadium without requiring Oakland to issue any new debt or raise taxes. But if Wolff and Fisher are going to pay full freight on the stadium, they’re going to need some relief from that debt service. The best arrangement within baseball would be to allow the A’s for the possibility to receive revenue sharing if they hit a shortfall. That shouldn’t be an issue for the first few “honeymoon period” years after the ballpark opens. There are some potentially lean years in the future, so allowing the A’s to stay within the revenue sharing pool could be an effective safety net, especially if the A’s start entertaining larger payrolls normally shouldered by a new stadium.

One other interesting quote came from Manfred:

Baseball is the best economic investment for a city because of the number of home dates it drives.

Unless you’re a Raider die-hard economic denier type (they exist), this is a basic truism – at least relative to football. However, buried in there is the term best economic investment for a city. That could mean infrastructure, or public funding, or a quasi-governmental agency like the JPA to get bonds or loans, or free land, any number of things. That’s an indicator that for Manfred’s belief in and protection of Oakland, he’s going to want Oakland to make its own investment. To what extent is unclear. Rest assured that Manfred will play the bulldog at some point in the future, and he won’t be a pushover. Look at how he’s treating the “threat” of a minimum wage or overtime vs. the economics of minor league baseball.

Wonder out loud threateningly about the future of the minors, an institution where no team pays its players? That’s the lawyer we all know and fear.

57 thoughts on “Manfred strengthens case for Oakland

  1. So, Manfred says leaving Oakland would be a mistake while Selig said it was a “horrible mistake” to move there in the first place. Meanwhile, there’s no new ballpark plan or financing in place. Does Manfred realize that if the A’s move on their own and force the Raiders out of town, they will be hated by a lot of the same people they need as ticket-paying customers? I think the A’s hands are kind of tied until something is done about the Raiders. I still believe only one of the teams can stay.

  2. Rob Manfred is just younger version of Selig.

    He does not offer any solutions to the issue at hand but does speak more than Selig did. At least Selig did appoint a BRC to look at this.

    Manfred has done nothing to help the A’s. But if he can guarantee revenue sharing for life and the Raiders disappear from the Coli site. Could be a great opportunity for the A’s.

    But I am willing to bet with some odds the A’s will not have a ballpark 10 years from now but will still be at the Coli.

  3. “Baseball is the best economic investment for a city because of the number of home dates it drives.

    Unless you’re a Raider die-hard economic denier type (they exist), this is a basic truism.”

    This is simplistic and condescending. It is not a given that the city makes money on each date. It is possible for the city to lose money on each date, in which case the higher number of events could easily make baseball a bigger money loser than football would be. This statement also ignores the higher publicity/marketing value of football telecasts.

  4. The A’s getting assurances of future revenue sharing in the new CBA (on going), is key. MLB has to be willing to do there part considering they have confined the A’s to AC\CC.

  5. The Commish is whispering to Libby : help me out here, please. Get rid of the raiders.

  6. You just broke the code!

  7. Manfred knows full well that the Raiders are looking likely to build at the Coliseum with the Lott Group. It’s the Coliseum or bust for the A’s. He also knows there is no other financially viable site in Oakland. Thus, the pressure on Libby to pick the A’s over the Raiders. Next few months should be interesting!

    • The Lott group is nothing more than idea at this point, no? Do they have financing lined up. They do not have any ownership share in the Raiders and Davis is not obligated to sell them any.

      • The Lott group is reportedly asking for 20-40% ownership of the Raiders, which is to say, controlling interest. Mark Davis’ position on that is “DO NOT WANT”. He’d rather take the Raiders to Vegas than lose the team.

      • How does 20-40% constitute controlling interest?

      • Davis reputedly only owns 47% of the team, with 30% being the limit for controlling interest under NFL rules. So selling 20% would drop him to 27%, with resulting loss of controlling interest.

      • Additionally, the Lott group claims the teams value to be only at $1B, while Forbes calls out $1.4B. Davis is seeing them lowballing him and trying to grab control of the team, and like I said “do not want”.

      • “Davis reputedly only owns 47% of the team, with 30% being the limit for controlling interest under NFL rules. So selling 20% would drop him to 27%, with resulting loss of controlling interest.”

        This assumes that the stake given to the Lott group would come exclusively from Davis’ share, which may not be the case. In fact, I don’t know what percentage is held by other owners, but if none of them currently own 30% Davis couldn’t sell just 20% even if he wanted to without breaking the rule.

        It seems like giving the Lott group a stake while Davis retains control is doable. Of course, Davis will likely have little motivation to give up any stake in the team as long as hope remains someone will build him a stadium in Vegas without requiring an ownership stake.

      • “Additionally, the Lott group claims the teams value to be only at $1B, while Forbes calls out $1.4B. Davis is seeing them lowballing him and trying to grab control of the team, and like I said “do not want”.”

        This difference in valuation, if accurate, seems a much bigger obstacle than the percentages thing. If anything, the Forbes estimate seems low to me if one assumes the Raiders obtain a new venue as a result of the transaction.

      • There’s a guy on the Raiders’ side, keeping track of things, and evidently the Lott group offered $200M for 20% of the team, with a specific goal of getting team control. So, lowballed *and* would lose control of team.

      • “There’s a guy on the Raiders’ side, keeping track of things, and evidently the Lott group offered $200M for 20% of the team, with a specific goal of getting team control. So, lowballed *and* would lose control of team.”

        That doesn’t make any sense. According to what you just posted, it would require 30% to gain team control. So even if a 20% stake came entirely from Davis’ share (and I don’t see a reason why this would necessarily have to be the case), it wouldn’t give the Lott group control. It would either give one of the other owners control (if any of them had more than 30%) or no one (in which case the transaction presumably could not be structured this way).

        Do you have a link or something supporting this information? It seems kind of fishy, especially since $200M for 20% was the reported Kephart offer that Davis already laughed off the table. It seems unlikely the Lott group would have wasted everyone’s time repeating it. I haven’t seen anything reported that put actual numbers on a Lott offer, or even specifically said the Lott group would require control of the team.

      • “That doesn’t make any sense. According to what you just posted, it would require 30% to gain team control. So even if a 20% stake came entirely from Davis’ share (and I don’t see a reason why this would necessarily have to be the case), it wouldn’t give the Lott group control.”

        No, I said Davis owns about 47%, and the lower limit on controlling interest is 30%. That’s a 17% difference, and the Lott group offered $200M for 20%.

        47 – 20 = 27

        27 < 30

        Link to most recent article by CarolinaRaiderFan, a guy with experience dealing with casinos and development who admit he's put 1500 hours into researching this specific subject, including making contacts with people, from the Sands and Majestic groups, to multiple reporters, to the Mayor of Las Vegas:

        http://www.silverandblackpride.com/2016/7/13/12171834/stadium-update-new-information-out-of-oakland

        Up until April, CRF was a "no way are the Raiders leaving Oakland" guy. He's now saying, with all his research and contacts, that it's 90% likely the Raiders go to Vegas.

      • “No, I said Davis owns about 47%, and the lower limit on controlling interest is 30%. That’s a 17% difference, and the Lott group offered $200M for 20%.”

        You’re missing the point:

        #1 You are assuming that ALL of the theoretical Lott stake would come from Davis’ share. What is the basis for that assumption? If Davis were interested at all, he could simply say he wouldn’t sell more than 17% and any additional would have to come from the other existing minority owners.

        #2 You just said that the lower limit on controlling interest is 30% and that the Lott group is seeking 20%. 20% < 30% – in other words, insufficient to give the Lott group control. In any event, although the article you linked does say the Lott group is offering $200 million for 20%, I do not see where it says the Lott group is seeking control.

        As far as an offer of $200 million for 20%, if true that's a ludicrous offer and would make me think the Lott group is totally unserious. The fact it's the same as the Kephart offer that was already considered a non-starter makes me think that someone reporting on this – perhaps CRF's anonymous sources – is confusing the two. I'd need to see something more definitive than a fan blogger who acknowledges not being an insider citing anonymous sources to believe this is accurate.

        And as far as a 90% chance of going to Vegas, everyone is entitled to their opinion but that's still completely speculative at this point. Large projects like this are hard to do under the best of circumstances and there are still a lot of hurdles to overcome. They don't have a site yet, they don't have legislative approval for the public contribution, they have a minimum $200 million funding gap at the moment that may grow considerably depending on what site they come up with, and they would need NFL approval for the move. It doesn't look like the gambling thing is a deal breaker, but NFL ownership will have to be convinced that a city that is only the 40th largest media market in the U.S., with a transient population and uncertain support from its corporate base, is a good location for an NFL team. At this point, there's not enough information for anyone – even the NFL owners themselves – to handicap the probability of this. I agree Vegas looks like a somewhat likely possibility but this is far from over yet.

      • “You just said that the lower limit on controlling interest is 30% and that the Lott group is seeking 20%. 20% < 30% – in other words, insufficient to give the Lott group control"

        But sufficient to cause Davis to *lose* control, meaning all decisions must be agreed upon by a majority of percentage of ownership … which means the Lott group has a major say, and may be able to sway non-Davis owners to their side of a dispute. Therefore, even 20% gives them some control of the team.

      • “But sufficient to cause Davis to *lose* control,”

        Only if ALL of the Lott stake come out of Davis’ end. You keep making this assumption without explaining why you are making it.

        “meaning all decisions must be agreed upon by a majority of percentage of ownership … which means the Lott group has a major say, and may be able to sway non-Davis owners to their side of a dispute.”

        Neither Davis nor the NFL is ever going to agree to a “management by committee” structure. I believe there may even be a formal NFL rule on this. This is a complete non starter (as a proposed valuation of $1 billion would also be). I don’t think any management structure is possible unless one party controls at least 30%.

      • “Why doesn’t he have smaller interest owners sell their share”

        He can only sell what he owns. Their shares are not his to offer, and if there’s been a ownership meeting about it, no one’s said a damn thing.

        At a guess, since they don’t have any other say in the team, some are waiting until the team value increases in Vegas to sell. Why sell low when you can wait and sell high?

      • ““Why doesn’t he have smaller interest owners sell their share””

        I never specifically said this. If you are paraphrasing what I said, the quotation marks don’t belong.

        “He can only sell what he owns. Their shares are not his to offer, and if there’s been a ownership meeting about it, no one’s said a damn thing.”

        Obviously this would have to be negotiated. However, Davis’ and the minority owners’ economic interest in this is aligned. None of them would likely consider selling ownership stake unless the new stadium increased the franchise value enough to net out at more money overall. But why should Davis bear the full freight of paying for something that will benefit all of them in proportion to their shares? This is the reason the assumption that any sale of ownership would come entirely out of Davis’ end seems ill-founded.

        “At a guess, since they don’t have any other say in the team, some are waiting until the team value increases in Vegas to sell. Why sell low when you can wait and sell high?”

        Again, Davis’ and the minority owners’ economic interest in this is aligned. If the Vegas offer is a better economic offer overall (and it appears that it would be) most likely they’ll ALL wait to see how that pans out. That’s common sense.

        What I’m saying is, even if you take Vegas off the table, 20% for $200 million is so ridiculous I doubt that’s what’s really being discussed.

  8. Oakland will never “get rid of the Raiders” if they want to or not. The NFL will never let that site go. All talk of Las Vegas/Inglewood/San Antonio/Sacramento/San Diego/Portland/St. Louis/Mexico City/Constantinople is just smoke. Its hard ball with the city/county/JPA. The coliseum site has 10,000 parking spaces centrally located in the 5th media market in the nation, with a major freeway adjacent to it with an easy off ramp. It has an existing bart station. It has an international airport less than a mile away, with a Bart connection. The Raiders just sold out their season tickets. As mentioned above Oakland is exploding in value as is the Bay Area. The NFL will never give up this site. Ever. I’m sure MLB and the A’s understand this as they navigate from here.

  9. Funny that Manfred neglected to mention the even more explosive growth of the South Bay (San Jose), probably because of the past lawsuit. Amazing that we’re still no closer to a solution than we have been before….

  10. The Raiders are likely relocating to Vegas. Davis can still retain majority ownership with the Las Vegas plan. The only the Raiders stay in Oakland is if Davis is willing to sell an interest in the team (and lose majority ownership status in the process) Oakland is broke and can’t finance $300 mil. + needed to partially finance a new NFL stadium , Davis would probably need to fund 100% of the cost of a new Raiders stadium in Oakland.

    Also, Manfred has been very pro-Oakland since taking over as commissioner (quite different from Selig’s stance, who was non-committal at best about Oakland)

  11. The only reason the MLB commissioner is bullish on Oakland is due to the moronic baseball fans based in the South Bay!!! Let’s travel 40 miles to Oakland or to SF in 2-hour traffic because SJ is a small town of a million plus that can’t support a major league team, and we’re happy with supporting a single A minor league team affiliate of the Giants! Wake up sheep!!!!

  12. It’s A’s ownership willingness to finance their own stadium that has got them ignored by the mayor’s office. They say they got the $$, but do nothing! The A’s ownership is either cheap, dumb, or both. I don’t want to hear the whining about the Raiders. The Raiders don’t have half the scratch the A’s do, and theyre being twice as proactive than the A’s towards solving the issues because of it. Big fish eat little fish, but this big fish(A’s)just swims idly, stupidly, stating at the little fish. If the Raiders sink a shovel into the coliseum grounds, the A’s have two years to vacate, and it will be no one’s fault but their own.

  13. Bottom line is that Manfred, just like Selig, doesn’t give a flying leap what happens with the A’s, just so long as they remain in their current “territory”, and they are forced off revenue sharing ASAP. Pure speculation on my part, based on the history of this situation, is that Selig only formed the BRC as a ruse, and never intended to allow the A’s into SJ, just leading on his buddy Lew for 5 years, then saying “it’s complicated, too bad Lew”. Gee, what a “friend”.

    All that being said, it’s looking more and more like the Raiders are headed to Vegas, meaning (along with the Dubs heading across the bay) the A’s get Oakland, AC/CC all to themselves, and yes indeed this area is on the upswing. Also, it seems John Fisher is taking a more active role. And with Raiders leaving, Libby doesn’t have to play both sides – she can concentrate fully on working with the A’s.

    MLB sucks big donkey balls, in how they’ve conducted their business, and how they’ve treated our beloved A’s. But in spite of my extreme cynicism, I’m slightly hopeful for something to get done in the future, in spite of everything MLB has done.

    • It’s crazy that the MLB lodge is willing to continue forking over revenue sharing to the A’s for playing in Oakland (if the lodge simply ok’ed the A’s moving 40 miles further away from SF to San Jose, they would no longer need to pay the A’s revenue sharing – go figure) The A’s deserve revenue sharing also – since MLB is restricting the A’s building a new ballpark at only two of the nine counties – a very lopsided deal favoring the giants.

      One would also think that many MLB owners would be po’ed about paying the A’s revenue sharing, since they could avoid paying it by simply approving the A’s move to SJ.

  14. It doesn’t matter much that Oakland is getting richer.

    Most people in the Bay Area are still going to go to Giants games if the two teams remain 10 miles away from each other. There are already “rich” areas in Oakland’s territory, and people from there get on BART and stay on it right through Oakland and get off at the SF Embarcadero stop when they want to see a ballgame.

    I think that they could have carved out their own good market in SJ, but it’s never going to happen when they are basically next door to the Giants.

    • A lot of those fans will stop at an A’s game if there was a new state of the art ballpark, and if the A’s stop operating like a AAA club.

      • So you are saying that if the club wins like they did from 2012-14, fans would come in droves?

        2014 Oakland Athletics 88-74 2,003,628
        2013 Oakland Athletics 96-66 1,809,302
        2012 Oakland Athletics 94-68 1,679,013

        2014 San Francisco Giants 88-74 3,368,697
        2013 San Francisco Giants 76-86 3,369,106
        2012 San Francisco Giants 94-68 3,377,371

      • @Anon- Those #s would be 25% more with a new ballpark at the Coli hands down.

  15. Wolff if he was willing to share the Coli site with Davis could have his ballpark ready in 4-5 years.

    Fact of the matter is Wolff refuses to entertain any two stadium deal at the Coli with the Raiders with both teams leaving for 3 years and returning.

    Mark Davis on the other hand is more than OK with a two stadium situation but he wants the land around the Coli to sell to help bridge his funding gap while keeping parking for both teams.

    Fact is Davis’ stadium is twice as much as Wolff’s and Wolff/Fisher are top 5 richest owners in all of MLB while Davis is one of the poorest in the NFL.

    In SJ, Wolff was only getting a stadium with no development and was willing to pay for it and agreed to get off revenue sharing.

    But in Oakland, when offered only a ballpark next door to the Raiders with no development in what is a growing area, stay on revenue sharing forever…..what does he say?

    Hell no!

    Says something to me pretty clearly.

    That Wolff is not bargaining in good faith and refuses to work with Oakland and the Raiders to solve this problem.

    The Coli site can easily fit two new stadiums (Raiders being built on top of the current site) with parking available.

    Wolff/Fisher have the money……its about time they got this done. The Raiders are NOT the obstacle here.

    • Does Wolff want to compete with the Raiders for the few crumbs left of corporate sponsorship dollars in the East Bay? No, he does not…At least Wolff is not out there telling Oakland – “Hey, there’s a $400 million gap in financing here. Hint, hint, hint.”

      • This. Why would Wolff want to have a *landlord* whose team is competing for said corporate money? (Davis wants all 120+ acres)

        Wolff has also dropped hints that all he’d ask for from the city financially, is what they’ve already offered the Raiders in infrastructure improvement value.

        There seems to be a disconnect in understanding:

        Not agreeing to work with the Raiders is not “bad faith negotiations”, it’s declining an offer he does not feel is worthwhile. You have to be negotiating in order to do so “in bad faith”.

        There is no compelling (or legally required) reason to do so, when he can wait it out for the Raiders to leave and get the whole site.

        There is also the issue of whether the A’s continue to receive revenue sharing, which will be ironed out post-season when the current CBA expires. The argument that the A’s do not occupy one of the 15 largest markets (as long as they cannot build where they wish in the bay area) is a strong one.

      • @ ccctl

        “There seems to be a disconnect in understanding. Not agreeing to work with the Raiders is not “bad faith negotiations”, it’s declining an offer he does not feel is worthwhile. You have to be negotiating in order to do so “in bad faith”.

        Re:

        If you’re either not negotiating when you said you would, or not truly negotiating to solve the issues but to simply stall in hopes to further a different agenda (move to San Jose, or Raiders gone), then you are not negotiating in present good faith.

        Wolff has not proven that he is negotiating in good faith (IMHO), he has employed the “Wait Davis out strategy”, or the “Wait MLB out strategy”, or the I will take “Whichever strategy pays off first” strategy.

        That’s not negotiation, at least it’s not negotiations in good faith. What it is indeed is negotiating in bad faith, because he is choosing not to negotiate at all or do some negotiations so it would appear that he is truly negotiating, which may be very good for Wolff and up until this point he has had the right to do but it’s not negotiating in good faith.

        So, yes there is defiantly a disconnect…

      • Negotiating in good faith?

        Davis is the one who said he wants to stay in Oakland and that’s his goal. Oakland has presented Davis a viable offer and Davis refused to discuss it.

        Davis also blamed the A’s for why he wouldn’t negotiate on it, and as ML called out that claim is simply ridiculous,

        Meanwhile Davis has flirted with any city with a pulse.

        I’m not saying either one is a saint in this whole thing, but Davis is far worse.

      • @ Slacker

        I guess you didn’t get the part where I said I had a problem with pretty much everyone.

      • @lakeshore

        Yep, I saw it. My main point is that while no one is innocent in this, some folks are significantly more guilty than others. Lumping them all into the same bucket isn’t a true assessment of the situation.

    • “The Coli site can easily fit two new stadiums (Raiders being built on top of the current site) with parking available.”

      Sigh.

      Hey, ML – any chance of dusting off those old layouts of the Coli complex and setting Sid straight on this one?

  16. You guys (Lakeshore and Sid) are saying Wolff is not negotiating in good faith. Wth?

    The other negotiating parties (based on your assumptions that the Raiders want to share the coliseum site with the A’s, which is flat out wrong) are proposing something that is not a good deal for the A’s. For them to fork over $500 mil + of their private money for something where they don’t have site control and have extreme competition for fan/corporate money, would be a colossally bad business deal.

    The only person not negotiating in good faith is Mark Davis. Until the NFL decision on Rams in LA, Davis was putting all of his energy into LA with the Chargers. Now that he didn’t get that, he’s putting all of his energy into Las Vegas. All the while, he keeps blaming the A’s for not being able to get anything done in Oakland. When in reality, the A’s current lease explicitly allows for the Raiders to take over the site, with notice (so the A’s can find a temp venue), and MD is short on financing at Oakland.

    It’s all total and complete bullshit. MD speaks out both sides of his mouth. He probably does have a sentimental desire to stay in Oakland, But he just wants someone to either build him a stadium, or he wants shared costs.

    Meanwhile, the A’s have always said they can and will finance a new ballpark themselves, so long as they have site control, the city handles infrastructure, and they have some way to help mitigate the risk and help service the debt (ancillary construction, etc). That’s more than reasonable. And the only reason they tried SJ was because they had already tried numerous sites in Oakland and Freemont for years, and nothing ever penciled out. Now they are forced to completely focus on Oakland. Meanwhile, the Raiders are totally focused on where they can get free money (not Oakland, but probably LV).

    All that said, I am fed up with the A’s/Wolff/Fisher waiting game. In my opinion, they need to be much more pro-active. Lay their cards on the table and make it clear to everyone involved what they are willing and capable of doing, and the business/competitive reasons.

    I’m also not completely on board with their stance on Howard Terminal. While I agree with their stance that there are too much extra costs, I think rather than just saying:
    “NO! TOO COSTLY!”,
    it should be:
    “Sure, so long as the city/county handle all the regulatory hurdles, and pay for toxic cleanup, and pay for all the additional infrastructure costs (like BART extension, bridges over train tracks, etc). Then we’d be very interested.”

    I’m also fed up with the A’s operating like a AAA club. This whole cycle of always trading established players for prospects, then when/if those prospects get good for a season or season and a half, they get trade for yet more prospects. All the while they keep their payroll well below the profit limit (I think Wolff has said they can still turn a profit if they keep payroll around $100 mil or less, but they continually hover around 70-80 mil).

    • @ jeff-athletic

      It’s not an either or proposition, meaning because I think Wolff has not negotiated in good faith that I somehow believe Davis has. I don’t.

      Davis may be the biggest jerk of the bunch, I believe that all sides Wolff/A’s, Davis/Raiders, along with the city and county have all in some measure engaged in not negotiating in good faith.

      I call Wolff out the most (here), only because I fill some commenters give him as pass by and large. I definitely think there is blame to be had by all clowns involved.

      • The onus doesn’t go on Davis either. He is offering to finance 67% of a new Raiders stadium in Oakland (very generous by NFL, or any pro sports league standards – most municipalities typically brunt most of the cost for a new stadium, not the franchise owners). Davis is also correct about the idea that the Coliseum should be demolished and a new stadium built (it is likely too old and obsolete for a re-do) Also, it appears the only way the Raiders could stay in Oakland is if Davis is willing to sell an interest in the franchise to finance a new stadium – and lose majority ownership in the process, who could blame Davis for passing on that deal.

      • @ duffer

        As I said,

        ‘I definitely think there is blame to be had by all clowns involved.”

        You have commented and read comments hear long enough to know, I have a huge problem with the San Francisco Giants and MLB, as well as but perhaps not to the same extent as the Oakland A’s (Lew Wolff), The Oakland Raiders (Mark Davis), the NFL, the Golden State (I mean San Francisco Warriors), the cities of Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose, Jerry Brown (especially), as former mayor and present governor of California, and every mayor of Oakland since, along with the Oakland city consul.

        I probably left out a host of thousands, but I did love Robert Bobb and the efforts he made that cost him his job.

    • The A’s are very similar to most MLB clubs, they hold their expenses to 50% of their gross profit. Since their attendance isn’t that great and their media rights deal is so-so, they pay a low team payroll. Also, the A’s have a solid plan for an new ballpark and plan to pay 100% of its financing – the San Jose plan. Yet MLB doesn’t acknowledge the A’s SJ plan and limits the A’s to building in Alameda and CC counties only. MLB and the Giants are culprits here – not the A’s.

      • Oh absolutely agree about the gints and MLB being culprits. When the idea was first proposed, the “BRC” should have taken no more than, say, 6 months, and concluded that the BA is a SHARED territory. The A’s did have an essentially shovel ready solution in SJ. But MLB is more interested in keeping the A’s crippled so the Gints can flourish. And to make it all much worse, MLB’s BRC took 5 years before Selig gave a definitive answer (“no”), and basically did absolutely nothing. And the fact it took 5 years made everything much worse for the A’s, being in limbo and unable to get anything done. It was all a ruse. Selig can keep saying “it’s complicated” all he wants, but it’s overwhelmingly obvious what his intentions were. Selig is a lying sack of shit who completely stabbed his buddy’s back.

        As for the 50% of revenue thing. The $100mil figure I gave was based on the 50%. And Beane has mostly remained well below that.

        I just think an adjustment to his “Moneyball” ways is in order. I little more could be spent keeping players they develop, and less spending on crap like Butler.

      • In terms of the $100M, even if the A’s spent $100M that would have little to no impact on the field.

        Look at the Butler signing. It’s a relatively low dollar amount free agent signing and A’s fans view it as handcuffing the team. Compare that to the Giants and Zito or the Angels and Pujols. If the A’s made a mistake like that they’d be crap for the life of the contract. They have no margin of error.

        Look at the impact Chavez had on the team.

        Plus no free agents want to play in a dump. The A’s would have to overpay which makes it even riskier.

        I don’t like the A’s constantly trading either, but it gives them the chance to compete. They trade one good short term asset for 3+ potential assets. They’re playing the law of large numbers here and that is their best option to compete.

    • @ jeff-athletic: “I’m also fed up with the A’s operating like a AAA club. This whole cycle of always trading established players for prospects, then when/if those prospects get good for a season or season and a half, they get trade for yet more prospects.”

      I couldn’t agree more. Seems like if the A’s get to keep their revenue sharing as a result of the new CBA, they need to agree to spend more on payroll and to sign at least some of their own players to contracts. If they do, maybe they will find that their attendance and media money will actually go up!

      • That’s exactly the point I was getting at. The A’s don’t need to spend like drunken sailors and bind themselves with idiotic contracts like Pujols. Nor do they need to be so miserly all the time.

        For instance the Donaldson trade – for one, it was much too soon, he hadn’t yet reached his peak or market value, and two, they didn’t get near enough for him, and three, he was the type of player that they could have tried to extend before his arb years were done. JD is a franchise type player, and rarely do any prospects work out that well. Once in a while, it’s worth it for the A’s to take a risk on a bigger contract. Just because the Chavez thing flopped, doesn’t mean it’s always going to.

        Of course, I’m not saying the A’s should ham-tie themselves to albatross contracts. But once in a while it’s worth it to try to extend their own home grown talent a few years past their Arb years.

        But Beane’s preference is to trade assets well before that, and get more prospects. Then if any of those prospects pan out, they get traded really really soon, and A’s fans only get to enjoy that player’s success for a season or two. Thus, it’s a lot like watching a AAA team.

        And keeping to this strategy is not even a maintenance type thing, it’s more of a downward spiral. The more Beane does this, the more fans/media/advertisers get alienated/indifferent, and the less revenue comes in, the more miserly and trade aggressive Beane has to get.

        All the while they keep saying “well, it will get better when we get a new ballpark”. But that waiting game is getting old.

        The A’s – Beane, Wolff, Fisher – all need to get more pro-active and aggressive on all fronts.

        Beane needs to be willing to keep guys a little longer, and spend a little more doing so. You don’t build a brand without having fan-favorites.

        Wolff/Fisher need to be very pro-active on the ballpark front. While they’ve “looked” at a number of sites, they’ve pretty much sat on their hands waiting for other things to pan out (MLB allowing SJ, Raiders doing something, Oakland doing something), and those things never do pan out.

        The A’s need to take control of their own destiny. They owe it to their loyal (and sadly, increasingly fewer) fans.

  17. re: the Lott Group. Just the latest Mighty Mouse for the Raiders. “Here I come to save the day!” I argued a year ago online with a guy who insisted Floyd Kephart was going to get the Raiders a privately funded new stadium. He was very upset that I didn’t put any stock in that.

    re: San Jose. I don’t think MLB wanted San Jose to become a Major League city without having to pay for the ballpark. That’s the bottom line. Very bad precedent. ATT Park is enough of a bad precedent for those struggling MLB billionaires.

    • Sounds logical, but they’re just fine with a privately financed park in Oakland (which is the only thing possibly on the table). So, it’s more about keeping them in Oakland, to benefit the Gints, than avoiding the “bad precedent”.

      • Is MLB fine with it? It’s questionable that it can even be pulled off without a substantial public investment in Oakland. Manfred the other day prodded Oakland about baseball being the best economic investment for the city. In other words, he wants Oakland to spend money. Lots of it. He’ll run up against the same brick wall the NFL has when trying to “encourage” Oakland to spend money.

      • I think it was less “spend money on the A’s”, and more “you gotta chose one, chose the one that has a longer, steadier flow of money, even if it isn’t larger chunks”

  18. Very simple solution, and no additional cost to anyone: since there is already a great baseball park in San Francisco, and a great football stadium in Santa Clara, the A’s pay the Giants some money to share AT&T (Golden Gate A’s), and the Raiders do the same regarding the 49ers to share Levi’s [San Francisco (Bay Area Raiders)]. The Raiders and A’s owners don’t have to cough up a few billion for a new stadium, as paying the 49ers and Giants would be one hell of a lot cheaper, and neither team leaves the Bay Area! If people in the East Bay have a problem with that, then do a fundraiser for both teams to get your stadium built in Oakland. Otherwise I think you know what you can do.

    • @LD:
      A: The A’s have enough cash to build a new stadium in Oakland or San Jose, they don’t need public financing, Also the A’s owners despise the giants organization so much they may refuse to play at ATT Park even on a short term basis while their new ballpark is being built. When Selig and Larry Baer suggested the A’s might play at ATT Park if Oakland couldn’t agree to a lease with the A’s to continue playing at the Coliseum – Lew Wolff didn’t even answer that possibility and instead suggested the A’s would build a temporary ballpark if no deal could be struck with Oakland officials.

      Also, Mark Davis has no desire to play at Levis stadium as a long term solution.

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