Ghost of Blue Ribbon Panel Speaks Out in Favor of… The Coliseum

Former Giants VP Corey Busch, who was part of Bud Selig’s Blue Ribbon Panel to study the A’s future in Oakland (and San Jose) a decade ago, was interviewed by the Merc’s Shayna Rubin yesterday. And boy, did Busch had some thoughts.

The big reveal was Busch’s belief that former Giants owner Bob Lurie was never going to ship the team to Florida. Selling the team was, as Busch recounted, merely a ruse to motivate a local buyer for the franchise, which eventually happened when Peter Magowan stepped up. That’s not to discount the tremendous amount of drama at the end of Lurie’s ownership tenure, which involved St. Petersburg and dalliances with San Jose and Santa Clara. Exploration of the South Bay included A’s owner Walter Haas agreeing to cede Santa Clara County to the Giants, which was previously an unassigned territory for MLB’s purposes. The South Bay is now and forever San Francisco Giants territory, even though they will probably never play a game there.

Busch also went out of his way to defend the Coliseum, decrying A’s ownership’s desire for a downtown ballpark – and only a downtown ballpark – at Howard Terminal.

Busch determined the Coliseum site was viable in 2014 on Selig’s blue-ribbon committee to explore ballpark options. He still attests the A’s can build the ballpark village of their dreams around the site. MLB and the A’s declared this month that the Coliseum site “not viable” as a location for a new park.

“The notion that the Coliseum, if properly developed in its totality, is not acceptable is kind of silly. It’s nonsense,” Busch said. “I know for a fact there are people in the commissioner’s office who know the Coliseum site is a good site.”

All Bay Collective’s 2018 Estuary Commons concept (Coliseum/Airport area)

Right now the Coliseum is not in the conversation due to the stubbornness of ownership. At some point it will re-enter the picture, unless everything from this point forward falls in line for Howard Terminal. For all their posturing, the A’s still continue to attempt to buy the City’s half of the Coliseum. And even though Dave Kaval announced the A’s were on “parallel tracks” with Oakland and Las Vegas (I thought there was no “Plan B”?), it’s not hard to see a third path, one that brings them back home.

21 thoughts on “Ghost of Blue Ribbon Panel Speaks Out in Favor of… The Coliseum

  1. ML,
    Any idea if we’ll ever get access to the full report from the MLB “Blue Ribbon” commission of 2014? Would like to go to my grave knowing what exactly MLB said about San Jose and/or why the move wasn’t approved (sigh). I’ll forever abhor the Giants for their territorial stranglehold on SJ, but I find it hard to believe the A’s move didn’t happen just based simply on their objections.

    A Coliseum ballpark would be way easier for ALL A’s fans to get to via BART/880: Hayward, Fremont, Concord, Dublin… San Jose. Not just the fans who live within a mile of the fantasy HT site!

  2. In the Oakland political ecosphere, a Coliseum ballpark is the path of least resistance. It is easier to teach a dog to juggle than it is to convince Oakland politicians to take anything other than the path of least resistance. Accordingly, if the A’s want to build at Howard Terminal, they must very clearly communicate that the Coliseum is not an option and never will be. Otherwise, nothing will ever get done at HT. Also, on the topic of the A’s ballpark, the only people I trust less than the Giants are the members of the former Blue Ribbon Commission. This guy checks both boxes, and I am sure he’d be quite happy if the A’s built their new stadium on Mars.

  3. Of course Corey Busch is supporting the Coliseum over Howard Terminal. As a former Giants VP he supports the Giants interests, and the Giants oppose HT because that would make the A’s financially viable and competitive with the Giants. The Giants want the A’s to stay at the Coliseum so they can continue to dominate in the Bay. Am I missing something here?

  4. Agree Rickey- giants long game has always been to force the A’s out of the Bay Area so they can have one of the most lucrative markets all to themselves- unfortunately, I think they are on the homeward stretch

  5. Of course Corey Busch is supporting the Coliseum over Howard Terminal. As a former Giants VP he supports the Giants interests, and the Giants oppose HT because that would make the A’s financially viable and competitive with the Giants. The Giants want the A’s to stay at the Coliseum so they can continue to dominate in the Bay. Am I missing something here?

  6. Corey Busch is a former Giants VP who still supports the Giants interests. The Giants don’t want the A’s at Howard Terminal since that would make the A’s financially viable and more competitive with the Giants. So it doesn’t surprise me that Busch wants to see the A’s at the Coliseum. Am I missing something here?

  7. Really sorry for the duplicate postings! For some reason my sign-in was rejected so I kept trying. My bad.

    I seriously don’t believe Busch is suddenly looking out for the interests of the A’s.

  8. I’d think Busch isn’t being completely open here, but I agree with him. I’m probably the only one left, but I still haven’t heard of why HT is better over the Coliseum.

  9. A little off topic ML, but just read an article out of Vegas that Clark County officials are proposing a 1.25 square mile “Stadium District” around Allegiant Stadium: shops, restaurants, hospitality, housing (the usual). Any chance a ballpark becomes part of this plan for the A’s?
    BTW, I know a lot was made on Twitter about the A’s and Vegas city officials having no record of ever “talking, negotiating.” But wouldn’t the A’s actually be dealing, negotiating with Clark County officials and not the actual city of Vegas? Especially if a ballpark is built near The Strip?

    • See the STAR bonds post from a couple days ago.

      • Thank you. I’m not really seeing how the STAR Bonds post relates to my question; realize those funds can’t pay for a brick and mortar stadium. However, looks like they might be able to finance the retail, restaurants, hospitality, etc of the Allegiant Stadium District. Also, it does look like the A’s would be dealing with Clark County and NOT The City of LV, in which case all the tweets/talk about “Vegas City officials have no record of speaking to the A’s” a moot point.

      • The source in the post notes that Clark County ruled out projects pursuing a MLB franchise. I tried to do some rough math on it. Any further effort would be a waste of time given that there is no proposal yet. Clark County is trying to get creative, that’s why they tried the STAR bonds process in the first place. As for the Allegiant Stadium District, there isn’t the kind of revenue potential there to make it work in any substantial way for the A’s. I worked for a company that had a yard north of the stadium that was bought out to make way for a parking lot there. It’s not the Strip.

      • Thanks again ML. Would a funding source be necessary for a hypothetical Vegas ballpark? I’m thinking a land donation, with enough room for a ballpark and ancillary development, would be enough for the A’s in Vegas, especially if they can get back on the annual $70 million “small market” revenue sharing handout; Just my opinion of course. As for the proposed Allegiant Stadium District; it may not be directly on The Strip, but perhaps right across The 15 would be good enough, especially if the District becomes a Downtown Summerlin/Las Vegas Ballpark on steroids.

  10. I can sense the frustration of Dave Kaval and the A’s in the May 31 KPIX interview

    1. After much study the A’s determine that HT is the best available site.
    2. After much study the the A’s determine Coliseum is not feasible.
    3. Both “after much study” are paid for by the A’s.
    4. The A’s will pay for the stadium and the infrastructure.
    5. The A’s only get the portion of property tax exceeding that which is currently collected for infrastructure reimbursement. (If the increment is less than anticipated, the A’s take the hit.)

    However, Corey Busch and other prognosticators believe they are far more intelligent than the A’s. If HT is built, John Fisher and his investors risk losing $12 B and the City of Oakland risks…nothing.

    If the A’s move to Las Vegas, it will be the result of arrogant politicians and their NIMBY allies.

    • 1. HT is definitely the best site for making the most money.
      2. Feasible for what? That hasn’t been defined in the slightest.
      3. A study that hasn’t been published. I know what that’s like.
      4. They’ll promise they’ll pay for it. Then when interest rates inevitably rise in the next year or so, watch Fisher & Kaval run back to the table to reneg.
      5. That’s why they’ll reneg. Bottom line it looks insane for a private company to have a nearly a $1 billion liability (infrastructure) over a part of the project they have little control over. They haven’t even specified how this will be phased in – over 20/30/40 years?

      If the A’s move to Vegas it’ll be because they were sloppy and lacked prudence and patience.

      • The Raiders were “sloppy and lacked prudence and patience.” Now look where they’re at. At some point, after nearly 25 years of trying to get a new ballpark, enough has to be enough when it comes to dealing with the City of Oakland.

      • ML

        Thanks for your quick response. You bring up good points.

        1. The A’s are brash: KTRB-KGMZ-KTRB-KNEW
        2. Inflation, high interest rates, and recession are likely.
        3. With recession, HT & Coliseum are dead in the water.

        Referencing points #1, #2, and #3, would it be best for the Oakland City Council to:

        1. Vote yes to HT on July 20 (pass the blame)
        2. Sell their share of the Coliseum to the A’s for $85 M (follow the example of Alameda County and stop paying for debt and other operating expenses).
        3. Make it clear that, other than tax incremental financing, the city of Oakland doesn’t have any spare change.

        With a recession, if the A’s leave Oakland it will be because Vegas, or some other city, is willing to build and finance (pay for) a new stadium.

      • 1. Brash? The A’s radio solution is lazy.
        2. The Coliseum is twice the size of Howard Terminal and the build out will cost half as much, and won’t require nearly as many political tricks. If that’s not more feasible, nothing is.
        3. That’s a given.

        I’m not going to address your what if scenario because the collected pols are not united behind a vision for HT and refuse to discuss it honestly. I have not idea what they are thinking at this point.

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