The A’s fortunes won’t turn on a dime

This sums up my thoughts on the Portland Oregonian’s John Canzano’s clarion call to recruit the A’s to Portland (or convince MLB to expand there):

The Portland Diamond Project group, which made two separate offers on land in the Portland area, is not considered a potential ownership group, according to Forbes’ Maury Brown.

Portland’s biggest problem is that it actively pushed aside AAA baseball to entertain MLS soccer years ago. No matter how much the market may have improved statistically, it’s still guilty of putting baseball on the back burner. Its only baseball team is the short season Hillsboro Hops, a team that pulls slightly more than 3,000 regularly in a stadium built to hold 4,500. PDX now has to go the Phoenix route, hoping that a spec-built stadium will be sufficient for an expansion team or a relocated team. In either case the club will have to wait at least three years for the stadium to be developed.

Brown also argues that any stadium in Portland should have a retractable roof like Seattle’s Safeco Field. After seeing from afar how inclement weather has affected early season games in the Northeast and the Eastern Seaboard, I have to agree. Teams can’t afford to lose revenue dates if they can help it.

Sure, it’s easy to crap on the A’s attendance so far in 2018. Those columnists don’t seem to understand the concept of loss leaders. That’s what last night’s 10-2 win over the ChiSox was. It attracted >20% fans who have never been to the Coliseum in its 50 years as a ballpark. Some of those fans may be the next generation of A’s fans, or those whose interest was recently piqued. The process to build a fanbase is a long, slow one, not triggered by one event or game date. The A’s have to earn the fan base’s trust, which will not happen overnight.

10 thoughts on “The A’s fortunes won’t turn on a dime

  1. The stalking horse for a new era…

  2. Great headline to this post, ML.

    It’s great to have you back.

  3. I got brought into the going-to-games-regularly fold by the large percentage of cheap tickets they had in the early 2000’s (I remember in 2001that you could get in for a dollar on Wednesdays, $2 on Mondays, and $4 on other days with a student ID. Nowadays, with $30 parking and a $15 cheapest ticket for a stadium that’s usually 80% empty? Not going to build anything that way.

  4. Agreed. If you can’t even hold on to a minor league team why in the world would MLB take you seriously!? Sacramento is a better option and even that isn’t happening.

  5. Hi ML

    If the laughter is in reaction to Canzano, I agree.

    But if you think there is no shot for Portland to get MLB in the next 7-10 years then I think you are mistaken. I’m not a fan of stealing other teams, so if this effort helps to spur the city of Oakland to get a deal done, that’s a win for Oakland.

    But I do think expansion is on the horizon and if Portland has the stadium details resolved then I think they would be a far more viable west coast candidate than anyone else.

    • @Greg – Frankly, I think that Portland will have to do more than buy some land for a ballpark if they want an expansion team. I’ve always thought that. PDX has been trying to do this “fairly” for Oregon taxpayers and politicians, but when the time comes MLB is going to extract its pound of flesh. You know that.

      • http://www.kgw.com/mobile/article/money/business/we-want-it-to-be-not-only-iconic-but-first-class-mike-barrett-on-baseball-in-portland/283-542935609

        There are video links floating around of the interview but this is the transcript.

        -This group is well connected and well financed; they know what they are doing and they know the long road ahead.

        -PDX has a $150m head start on funding. Personally I think they could tap hotel taxes as well (*maybe*), but it seems like they are prepared to make it work as a mixed use/real estate play.

        -The Blanchard site is fantastic. It has the potential to be PNC Park West, but even better because of year round activity and mixed use potential. Infrastructure is already in place (2 highways, project coming to cap the highway, great views of river/downtown/bridges/West Hills, parking garages, streetcar, light rail)

        -I am cautiously optimistic in the long run (like 7-10 years, after the Oakland and TB stadiums are resolved and an expansion partner like Montreal is ready).

        -A temporary stalking horse might be exactly what the A’s need right now to get a deal in Oakland. I hope it comes together in the East Bay for the A’s, and the only way I want the Portland A’s is if it prevents the Las Vegas A’s from ever happening.

        PS – sorry to hear about your health issues and I hope you continue to heal.

  6. Forgot to mention – I think will take $2 billion to make this happen between expansion fee, stadium cost, and paying off the Mariners broadcast rights.

  7. A thousand percent agree

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