Introducing “The Payoff Pitch”

Just a note that starting today, I’m going to be writing a semiweekly (that’s the every-two-weeks one, right?) biweekly column titled “The Payoff Pitch” for my old friends at Baseball Prospectus. The topic will be all things baseball and economic; it’s subscription-only (though there may be a few freebies here and there), but subs are just $39.95 for the year, which gets you 26 of my columns plus a zillion other articles on all things baseball. First up: An in-depth look at what’s the deal with the Oakland A’s never-ending San Jose move plans?

Also on the A’s front: notes that the Oakland Tribune reported recently that two player agents say players are spurning Oakland because their team sucks, not because the Coliseum sucks, as team execs have insisted. Maybe that’ll be the topic of my next column.

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12 comments on “Introducing “The Payoff Pitch”

  1. Problem is, those two “execs” are anons. While a very public agent Boras has said exactly the opposite. That it’s the park, not the team, keeping his clients away. Doesn’t mean they’re both incorrect, but it also means the stadium is a problem for at least some players (and Boras tends to represent the bigger names ie: the players that actually matter).

  2. Agents are anons, I assume you mean. And yeah, that’s why I think this is ripe for further investigation.

  3. Good on the Sac council. Ask the developers for how they’re actually going to finance the arena so at least they know how much public money up front they’re going to be asking for. It’s amazingly thought out for a city council move.

  4. For some reason Sacramento arena news never seems to show up in my custom Google News feed. Thanks for the heads up, Mike.

  5. Good piece, Neil. You’re missing one important part of the equation, which is that the A’s lease ends definitively after the 2013 season and the Coliseum Authority has refused to extend the lease any further. The Authority has chosen to work with the Raiders at the Coliseum while leaving the ballpark to downtown Oakland. If one or both of those don’t pan out, the A’s will really be up against it.

  6. no where to go and unloved at home, sounds like a good candidate for contraction. but you know that the real power in mlb – the players association wont let that happen.
    oakland – the luckiest city since Hiroshima.

  7. Which is why they won’t be in Oakland long. No matter the issues with SJ, Selig has to know it’s a dead end in Oakland. And in the end he’ll have to man up and tell the Giants how it is going to be for the good of the game since we all know contraction won’t happen as long as the MLBPA exists (and there’s currently no other viable home for the A’s).

  8. it’s not a “game” it’s a business and bud-dy boy will do what’s best for the business and the gi-ants have more pull within the business than the a’s (as in daze) so they’ll get what they want.
    SJ is like a second-string QB, always more popular than the starter although unproven. it’s one thing for hockey to pull in the same 15k every night, mlb franchises need bigger numbers.

  9. The situation with the A’s (And Rays for that matter), will come up in the new CBA contract negotiation, because contraction is a bargaining chip, that the owners want to use, obviously the players would oppose that, because of a decline in jobs (Of course, that can be overcome by increasing the roster size by a player or two). It goes without saying you will find out very quickly if they can remain in the Bay Area, because if Brown’s no RDA idea goes forward, then they are finished in the area, and the A’s contraction idea makes more and more sense,

  10. Marine Layer: Expiring leases are no obstacle. I really doubt that the Coliseum Authority is going to turn away a paying tenant if the A’s still need a place to play in 2014. (Which they’re going to, unless construction on a stadium somewhere else starts in the next few months.)

    As for contraction, it’s less about what the union will allow than about what the owners are willing to spend. Wolff isn’t just going to declare bankruptcy, not when he has a $295 million asset (per Forbes) on his hands. He’ll want to be made whole, and I’m not sure I see the other 29 teams agreeing to chip in $10 million apiece just to make his personal stadium headache go away. Especially not when it’d almost certainly open up the whole antitrust can of worms – you think Oakland and San Jose wouldn’t sue if MLB tried this?

  11. I have a contact on the San Jose city council whom I have known since I was a kid. He stated to me a lawsuit is pre-mature right now as MLB has stated to the city they like San Jose and want them to hang tough for a bit longer.

    One of the three guys on the BRC (Irwin Raij)has been in contact with the city regarding its land acquisitions and progress on a consistent basis.

    If RDAs get eliminated Oakland is done as they just started an EIR. San Jose owns most of the land and Lew Wolff will buy the rest if need be.

    San Jose would adore the A’s and they would sell out consistently as it is well known in the Bay Area most fans support both teams. Now the 49ers and Raiders are a different story…

    I agree with Neil that contraction is not likely but I agree that a lawsuit is coming.

    The Clippers and Raiders won successful anti-trust lawsuits in the 1980s moving to LA and there is a precedent around this.

    @Paul- It is obvious you do not live in the Bay Area and understand the demographics. San Jose is dying for a MLB or an NBA team for that matter and would support the team thick through thin.

    The A’s have been in the Bay Area a long time and people in general like both teams but the Giants play in a jewel while the A’s play in a dump.

    Before the Giants got their ballpark it was a pretty even split attendance wise. That on top of Mt. Davis being built did not help.

    In conclusion the A’s will be San Jose eventually it just depends on how Bud Selig plays this out. If MLB has their AE challenged they will lose badly in court and that would spell disaster for Selig and his legacy.

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