Selig “satisfied” he’ll resolve A’s situation by end of 2014

MLB commissioner Bud Selig is retiring at the end of next season, in case you missed it — and as Deadspin hilariously points out, if you did miss it, he’ll probably announce it a few times more — but he’s not going to leave without waving a few more vague threats at the Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays stadium situations, because that’s his job, after all.

Here’s Selig on Wednesday, talking to CBS Sports’ John Feinstein about the Rays’ last-in-the-league attendance despite a playoff-bound team:

“That’s just disgraceful,” Selig said. “I don’t know how much blunter I can be than that.”

Selig didn’t say whether it’s the Rays management who should be disgraced, or Tampa-area fans, or maybe himself. (He’s retiring in disgrace because he couldn’t figure out how to get a winning team in Tampa Bay make the Rays profitable make people go see baseball games even after the owner spends years telling everyone what a dump his stadium is!) Maybe we can just agree to blame Josh Lueke — I bet everyone could get behind that.

And on the subject of the Oakland Coliseum:

“It’s a pit,” Selig said. “It reminds me of old County Stadium and Shea Stadium. We need to deal with that. I’ve had a committee working on it for two or three years, and there’s no question we’re going to have to solve that problem.”

(Editor’s note: Milwaukee’s County Stadium was decidedly not a pit. With its exposed-steel superstructure and catwalks to get to the upper deck, if you squinted a bit it actually resembled Wrigley Field without the ivy. But we digress.)

But hasn’t the committee been working on it for a long time? What’s the hold-up?

“We have, John, but I’ll tell you it’s far more complex,” Selig said. “Look, you have one team that wants to move and the other team doesn’t want them to move, and it’s a very complicated situation. Before I leave, I’m satisfied we’ll work out something.”

Ooh, is that … a promise? A prediction? An idle statement that Selig hopes everyone will forget about by the end of next season, and if they don’t, he can just talk about how disgraceful it is that everyone couldn’t settle their differences?

I think I’ll go with Door #3, though it’s always possible that that pending San Jose antitrust lawsuit against MLB will shake something loose, even if it’s only getting the San Francisco Giants owners to set a price for territorial rights, which A’s owner Lew Wolff can then decide whether he’s going to match. Still, if you gave me even odds on whether the A’s situation will be resolved by the time Selig finally departs the commissioner’s office, I’d put my money on “leave it for the next guy to handle.”


45 comments on “Selig “satisfied” he’ll resolve A’s situation by end of 2014

  1. “…even if it’s only getting the San Francisco Giants owners to set a price for territorial rights…”

    After all this time spent in negotiations, is it possible that the Giants haven’t set a price? Doesn’t seem like there’s much else to negotiate.

  2. I think it’s pretty likely that they haven’t set a price. What incentive do they have to do so, when they can just keep telling Wolff, “Sorry, not for sale”?

  3. If his “committee” hasn’t at least maneuvered things to the point where a price – some price, any price – has been mentioned, they’re failing beyond miserably. From Day 1 it had to be obvious that money had to change hands.

  4. “That’s just disgraceful,” Selig said. “How DARE they prove you don’t need a new stadium to win! Another two teams making me look like a liar! They’re ruining our scheme!”
    The one who is disgraceful is you, Bud Selig.

  5. “It’s a pit,” Selig said. “It reminds me of old County Stadium and Shea Stadium.”

    Oh I did not just hear somebody make fun of our former pit.

  6. I think Shea gets a bad rap on a lot of counts, and I have a sentimental attachment to it. But County Stadium was really an unappreciated beauty.

  7. the guy doesn’t even remember when he initiated his “Blue Ribbon Commission” to address the A’s situation–will be 5 years in Jan–not 2-3–only way this gets addressed is 1) SJ lawsuit gets standing or 2) bring in a commish that will actually use the best interests of baseball card–cant negotiate with someone when they refuse to come to the table–or 3) oakland figures out how to bring significant public funds to the table–like they will need to do to get the Raiders to stay–

  8. Given that the owners are going to be the ones hiring the new commish, 2 is not bloody likely.

  9. A few articles and some sport talk radio host have mentioned: GW Bush as a possible candidate for commissioner, dont know how well he ran the Rangers but would be a “name” non the less.

  10. I’ll repeat a suggestion made here some time ago…

    Selig may still be sabre rattling and underestimating the length of time his own BRC has been “working” on this problem, but the simple fact is that the BRC and Selig have effectively both made their ruling/decision:

    It is abundantly clear that the A’s will not be given permission to relocate to San Jose until Lew Wolff and Larry Baer walk into Selig’s office holding hands and singing Kum-bay-ya. While I don’t agree with the “legality” of allowing one team to directly control the destination of another (outside of “that team’s” home city, and even then there must be some rationality employed… I can understand the Yankees being able to prevent another team moving into the Bronx or Manhattan, but Flushing? Queens? New Jersey? Demonstrate the damage moving a team to Harrison or East Rutherford would cause the Yankees, please?), the fact is that all sports leagues control the location of their franchises (today, it was not so two or three decades ago as someone is bound to mention…).

    Wolff knew the rules when he & Fisher bought the A’s. He owns the Oakland MLB franchise, not the San Jose MLB franchise, nor a freely portable business he is able to set up as and where he pleases. If he doesn’t like the rules, he could certainly sell the business as it is very, very profitable.

    He doesn’t seem to want to do that, despite his (and his pal Selig’s) claims of unreasonable encumbrance. ditto Sternberg.

  11. Keith: It’s possible that a fixed price hasn’t been set, and that Wolff won’t accept any “percentage” based price that SFG might have put forward for discussion.

    If I’m the Giants and I know MLB is (rightly or wrongly) defending “my” interests, I don’t want an up front payment for splitting my market. What I want is something like the Silnas got when the ABA was folded into the NBA… a cut of the A’s share of MLB revenues in perpetuity going forward.

    After all, if SJ is really the cash cow that Wolff, MLB and fans who clearly want the A’s there believe it will be, I want to be indemnified not with cash now, but a significant share of the A’s earnings forever. Why would you let your cousin Ernie move into your basement and not pay rent when he is starting a job that pays more than you make?

  12. all interesting theories—but bottom line–still doesn’t solve what bs wants solved–and LW has much more leverage right now than most folks realize. Sure he wants a new ballpark–and is willing to build one in SJ with private funds–just like the ‘9ers are doing and just like he is doing with the Earthquakes new stadium. But bs wont make a big boy decision to allow him to move further away from his competitior. Ok–fine–I will stay in Oakland and continue to collect $40M in welfare from my partners. And oh by the way–the place is an embarassement nationally with shit spewing everywhere so MLB only continues to look foolish for not making a decision. In addition to that, the Raiders, who Oakland has always bent over for, now want a football stadium on the exact site where the current Coli is and they want Oakland to pay $500+M to build it. Both teams leases are done this year and Raiders wont sign until a long term stadium deal is worked out which might include kicking the A’s out so they can start construcution on the new Coli asap. LW has told Oakland he wont stand in the way of the Raiders–so its quite possible MLB could have one of its playoff teams (hoping WS Champs) without a home next year because the commish bs couldnt earn his $18M a year and make a decision. Franchise value of Oakland has tripled since LW/JF bought it—$40M a year to play in a pit isn’t that bad–especially when you can still field perhaps the best team in baseball for 1/3 of what the yankees are paying.

  13. SJA:

    I agree with you on the Raiders front (including Oakland being ever willing to do absolutely anything for them, despite their dramatically lower economic impact compared to the ball club). But Lew Wolff’s franchise agreement with MLB – like all his counterparts – virtually guarantees that he has essentially no leverage against MLB. He will play in Oakland (or wherever designated by MLB) until MLB tells him otherwise. Period.

    It could be that the potential deal with the Raiders gives them the boot, but I don’t believe it will happen “soon”. Your user name pretty much gives away what your desired outcome will be, so it’s not going to be to your liking, but the A’s don’t have an option at present (even if the blue ribbon commission finds itself tomorrow morning and says “yep, SJ it is)… so they’ll remain the Oakland A’s for several years yet.

    There really aren’t any suitable venues available to house the A’s even as a temporary/emergency measure should the stadium collapse (or the Baseball section be dynamited by the Raiders, for example), so unless you believe MLB would move them to Buffalo or Montreal as a short term measure, I don’t see what Wolff’s leverage would be… the fact that his lease is expiring works against him, not for him. MLB has already ruled he can’t move anywhere, so what leverage does he have with the JPA? “Give me a better deal or I’ll give my franchise back to MLB and you just see if I don’t?”

  14. An important reason for building the infamous Marlin’s Stadium was that they were being kicked out of Dolphin Stadium and wouldn’t have a place to play; so that drama has been tested, and it works.

  15. Jason,

    Miami didn’t have a major league stadium across a bay that could conceivably be rented for a year or two.

  16. @John- both the A’s and the Raiders lease expires at the end of the year. Raiders have said they want a new stadium exactly where the Coli is now and they want it now–not at some future date. So LW turns to bs and says–city your making me stay in doesn’t have a place for us to play anymore and you knew the lease expired in 2013 which is why your brc started working in 2009. So what do you want me to do bud and btw–any sweetheart deal that they are giving to the Raiders—they wont give to me/mlb–so once again–what do you want me to do. Leverage is being held hostage by a commish who has studied the issue for nearly 5 years and yet to make a decision–coupled with an expiring lease and a city that has no financial means to dole out public dollars to even one professional team much less two.
    and yes–I would like to see the A’s in SJ–and someday it will happen because the public in California will not willing (Sacto is not willing) use public dollars to fund ballparks, stadiums or arena’s–and Oakland doesn’t have the corporatations or the personal wealth to support the private development of sports facilitites.

  17. One point not really being mentioned is that these “rights” to Santa Clara County were given, for free, by the Haas family to the Giants so they could freely move to the South Bay. Since the Giants chose to stay in SF, why should these “rights” continue to exist when they were only acquired for a franchise shift?
    And, didn’t Charlie Finley pay the Giants in the first place to move to Oakland? I was only 7, so I could use some help here.

  18. Joe:

    It is true. The Haas family agreed to assign the rights to San Jose to the Giants “if they moved there”. Which of course, they didn’t. It was not an act of great generosity (at least, it wasn’t intended to be…) by the Haas family. They expected, not unreasonably, that if the Giants moved to San Jose they would acquire the rights to San Francisco. It wasn’t a gift in their minds so much as a trade.

    MLB has adopted the “what have you done for me lately” approach in taking a position on the rights to San Jose, which is that the A’s gave the rights to San Fran whether they moved to SJ or not (which is an odd position to take given that the commissioner is a former used car dealer, but life is funny sometimes…) and the Giants now “own” them. Nonetheless, since this was done long before Wolff & Fisher bought the team, they can hardly argue that they have been “done out of” something here. They didn’t own the rights to San Jose when they bought the club and they knew it.

    Not sure if Finley paid the Giants to move into Oakland in 1966 or not… anyone?

  19. SJA:

    But it can’t possibly happen “now”. First of all, any deal with the Raiders is going to take time to put together. The NFL is going to have to vote on whether the amount of tax dollar subsidy provided to the Raiders is “enough” to keep the massive parasite fed, and then the financing search begins. Think about where the Raiders are right now compared to when the 9ers were in the same position… We are literally 3-4 years on from that point and it’s unlikely that things will move any faster for the Raiders (they have the same issue with destinations to move to that the A’s do, and greater hurdles to pass than the 49ers did).

    Lew Wolff has already stated (I believe it’s linked on this site somewhere) that he will try to work out a lease extension at the coliseum. That lease extension is unlikely to be for one year, frankly. I would imagine it will be 2yrs with an option for a third.

    Finally, “the same site” does not necessarily mean the exact same footprint for a new Raiders stadium. As others have said, it makes the most sense for Davis to make use of the free $200m eyesore that Oakland built for them as part of a new stadium. But it isn’t essential. He didn’t pay for any of it, after all, and he probably won’t be paying much (in relative terms) for the new building either. So why would he care if Oakland has to knock it down while a new Raiders stadium rises in the parking lot?

    IMO, Oakland’s cash strapped-ness works against the Raiders more than it does the A’s. A new small ballpark can be built for about half what a new NFL stadium will cost, and it gets more use/provides more revenue to the city than an NFL stadium ever will. It’s just a much better deal for the city.

    I’d like to see both teams stay in Oakland, but if there’s only room for one my best guess would be it’s the Raiders that go (Lew Wolff’s SJ desires notwithstanding…)

  20. @John- perhaps some recent articles about the Raiders desires will help you understanand my comments. and yes–it does mean the exact footprint as some elements of the existing Coli would be retained to reduce costs. http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_24037189/raiders-stadium-site-preference-could-hasten-exit

    As you read the article note what Larry Reid, Alameda County Supervisor says about the Raiders intentions and how they will impact any possibility of the A’s staying in Oakland. You question timing…Raiders wont sign a lease with Oakland until a deal is worked out (also in the article) and it would require near term construction. Relative to what LW is asking in terms of a lease from Oakland- 5 years- 3 of which would be club options to continue–and he goes on to say that he would not stand in the way of the Raiders if they wanted the A’s out in 2014. Asked what he would do in that event–he said “that’s our (A’s) problem—

    Bottom line is Oakland is being driven to a choice–and if they want to keep the Raiders its quite possible that they will then need to ask the A’s to leave. You can bet LW and Mark Davis are working hand in hand to force some decisions with Oakland to either move forward or move aside—it will be interesting but MLB does have a vested interest in making sure its teams have a ballpark to play in–even if it is a “pit”—5 years is a long time to study a situation–and to date MLB has yet to come forward and say we have a site in Oakland that we want the team to focus on getting a stadium built—finding a site should be the easy part–figuring out how to pay for it would be the tough task–and mlb hasn’t even gotten to first base in Oakland

  21. Well, of course Wolff is playing up the idea of the Raiders forcing the A’s out – he wants to convince MLB to let him leave, after all. But that doesn’t make it an actual immediate threat.

    What I don’t understand is why Oakland isn’t telling Wolff that if he wants to have a place to play next year, he’ll need to sign a long-term lease. What else would he do? Rent from the Giants? Play in Sacramento for a year? It would be hardball, yes, but it’s the kind of leverage that Wolff wouldn’t hesitate to use if the shoe were on the other foot.

  22. @Neil- Oakland is in a bind because if they try to “force” a long-term lease on A’s they have effectively told the Raiders, who want to “remodel” existing Coli to save money, that were not interested in working with you…and the Raiders do have an option in Santa Clara–home of the ‘9ers. So Oakland can’t play hardball with the A’s—and if LW is forced out—who knows–Sacto, ATT, or a temporary stadium like was built in Vancouver Whitecaps- http://www.bigsoccer.com/community/threads/vancouver-whitecaps-temporary-stadium-cost-14-5-million.1987731/

  23. one other thing–its not LW making the “threats” rather Mark Davis/Raiders is making the demands–LW is responding to how he would handle it if Oakland meets M. Davis demands–

  24. I had read that article, yes, SJA.

    But an article (heavily contributed to by Raiders and/or A’s personnel) in the SJMN is hardly impartial information. Sports owners are well versed in how to use the media to do their dirty work for them.

    I’m sure the Raiders do “want the exact footprint”. That doesn’t mean they are going to get it, and frankly, even if they do they are going to lose a fair bit of money while more than half their useable seats are demolished to make way for a copy of Mt. Davis. At very least, they’d be playing in a construction zone for two years at reduced capacity – significant reduced capacity for at least one of those years.

    The only people putting forward the concept that there is “immediate urgency” are those who stand to benefit from a deal hastily constructed and agreed to by the city. Don’t believe everything you hear or read, in other words.

    The Raiders options in Santa Clara (or Los Angeles, as someone is bound to point out, home of staggering bounty that the NFL seems confusingly unable to exploit despite how obvious an option everyone says it is) aren’t as good as you suggest. Ask the Jets how that worked for them sharing in “old” Giants stadium (in the new one they are on a far more equal footing)?

    Saying you have options is a good negotiating tactic. Unless someone calls your bluff, of course…

  25. Neil:

    Given that the A’s and Raiders are (and have been for some time) running a tag team on the city, I don’t get why they don’t do exactly what you’ve said – to both teams.

    “Your leases expire at the end of this year. We will negotiate five year leases with each you, including mutual options for the last year, while we work together on new stadium plans/locations acceptable to all parties. The window to negotiate these new leases opens October 1st and closes on Oct 28th. It will not be extended. If a satisfactory agreement is not reached by the 28th of October, negotiations will cease permanently.”

    If both leagues are using Oakland (as they’ve used countless other cities in the past) as a pawn – particularly Wolff, who has made it clear he will not consider ANY Oakland options, why not reciprocate. If the clubs both want to leave anyway, why waste additional money on them?

    Refresh my memory Neil, are the Raiders on the hook for any costs related to Mt. Davis if they leave before it is paid off? I seem to remember that they have no obligation at all related to that construction, and that the city may actually be required to buy unsold tickets from the club… but I could be wrong about that… it was a long time agoooooo…

  26. I believe it’s all supposed to be paid off by the seat licenses sold by the stadium authority — HA HA HA HA.

    No clue whether there’s anything in the agreement that says the Raiders have to pay if there’s no team to sell tickets for. Probably not, given that Oakland was pretending PSLs would provide plenty of money, but I’ll check when I get home.

  27. @John- What LW has said is that there are no viable sites in Oakland to build a privately financed ballpark on—bs put a brc together in 2009 and 5 years later no one has told LW that he is wrong–funny as you love to trash public dollars for a ballpark but then you label a guy who is trying to do it with private dollars as holding a city hostage because he has pointed out the obvious about Oakland. Even Neil has indicated that there are few places in the country that could do what the ‘9ers have accomplished in terms of privately building their stadium–

    You mention Oakland as a pawn–as i recall it was Oakland who ruined a perfectly good ballpark to bring back the raiders and nearly 20 years later they still haven’t figured out how to build a new ballpark for the A’s—and yet you think that they have credibility with the A’s or Raiders to sign new leases and “we’ll figure it out this time”—right….

    Last–Raiders wont own a dime if they choose to leave–the $15M annual hangover from the Coli from the ruining of the ballpark will continue for the next 10 plus years–

  28. “If the clubs both want to leave anyway, why waste additional money on them?”

    And, regardless of whether they want to leave, it doesn’t appear that Oakland is really in a position to build new stadiums for either. So the city’s goal should be to maximize whatever benefits are left to be had. In the long-term the A’s, in particular, seem a lost cause. Get the most you can while spending the least you can.

  29. I read a couple of years ago where Peter McGowan said the A’s would NOT be welcome at AT &T nor at Candlestick Park as they both are within’ the Giants territory. I can’t remember if McGowan is gone completely, but that seems to be the Giants attitude.
    SanJose A’s – excellent synopsis of the situation(third above).that is exactly where things stand.

  30. Rob: I agree. There is less than a snowball’s chance in hell that the Giants will play landlord to the A’s. As for the temp stadium suggestion (vis Vanc. Whitecaps), forget it. One thing Selig understands is leverage… and building your own temp stadium in the proposed destination city is the polar opposite of that.

    No way. No how.

    SJA: Wolff’s claim that there are no viable sites in Oakland is garbage. He has already said that he will not consider any “Oakland” sites. So, what, he’s going to declare Victory Court (or wherever) a solid option? BS. He’s convinced he can get to San Jose without paying for the privilege. Trouble is, he’s wrong about that…. even his best pal Bud says so. This isn’t about “fairness” in business, it’s about getting a rich market for the price of a poor one. It’s a shell game, nothing more.

    If he wants to own the San Jose A’s all he has to do is pay MLB’s asking price (and who cares how much of that dosh goes to Baer?) If LW wants to own the San Jose MLB franchise he needs to pay for it…. thus far… crickets. He wants to own SJ for the price of Oakland.

    Funny thing. I’d like someone else to pay to have my 2002 Honda Civic converted into a Bentley Continental GT. So far, I’ve received the same response Wolff has…. shocking indifference, even though I can list a dozen ways in which the entire world would benefit from me owning a Bentley. Think of the spin off revenues and associated economic opportunities…

    Are you willing to advocate for my “encumbered” economic situation the way you are for Lew Lew? I sure hope so… but if not, why not?

  31. Fair point on maximizing the outcome, Keith.

    That said, I’m interested to know why you believe the A’s are a “greater lost cause” than the Raiders?

    I know LW is dead set against staying, but it seems to me like the Baseball team is the one that actually brings value to Oakland (though perhaps not net profit…). If you can spend half the money and secure 81 home games vs 10, why wouldn’t that be your goal as a municipality?

  32. “I’m interested to know why you believe the A’s are a “greater lost cause” than the Raiders?”

    “I know LW is dead set against staying, …”

    That.

    Your logic as to why building a baseball stadium is the lesser of two evils makes perfect sense, but I get the feeling there’s more love for the Raiders at this point. Nobody seems to care that football stadiums are best located in the middle of a field, out in the ‘burbs, near an interstate.

    So. The Giants owners bought the team with the understanding their territorial rights included San Jose. The A’s owners bought their team knowing their territory didn’t include San Jose. If Bud was really interested in letting them move to SJ, he’d say “Boys, we’re going to arbitration.” The Giants would pick a “number” – some form of compensation – and the A’s would respond. And they’d work from there. (I think part of the problem is that Selig –really– doesn’t want teams to get in the habit of building their own stadiums. He’s still hoping to extort a subsidized facility in Oakland.)

    Everything has a price and it’s not like having the A’s in SJ means death for the Giants franchise. If the Giants haven’t already put a price on the move after 4-5 years of “discussions”, I’m calling shenanigans. Sounds like they’re part of the ploy to try to draw blood from the dried-up turnip that is Oakland.

  33. Keith: Of course it’s shenanigans. It’s been clear pretty much from the start that the blue-ribbon commission is a fraud, or a fig leaf, or whatever metaphor you prefer.

    The Giants owners don’t need to be part of an MLB conspiracy; it’s enough for them to say, “we don’t wanna, and you can’t make us.” If they set a price, even a ridiculous one, then that’s just a starting point for negotiations, and they have no incentive to seek a compromise here — the status quo suits them just fine.

    SJ A’s: My point about the lease isn’t that Oakland has credibility, it’s that they have leverage, since the teams have gotta play somewhere in the short run. Cities always treat expiring leases as a crisis — oh no the team can leave we must offer them trinkets to stay! — but teams need a place to play *way* more than cities need teams to play in them. I’m not saying Oakland could demand that Wolff sign a 30-year lease at the Coliseum, but they could certainly lean on him for more than they’re looking at now.

  34. It strikes me that if the Tampa Bay Rays attendance is such a horrible situation, the next commissioner is going to have to find a market that will sell enough corporate season tickets to provide a suitable tickets sold average (if not turnstile count). I’m not sure the city of Tampa would have that kind of impact, and all the other candidates mentioned (Charlotte, Las Vegas, Sacramento, Portland, Norfolk) are likely too small, problematic, or laughable to seriously consider.

  35. The A’s A’s (should), be the heart and soul of Oakland. If the A’s were the heart and soul of Oakland, the fans are not showing it. The Raiders had 20 straight years of sale outs (before they left for LA), and the Warriors, who have had some of the worst NBA teams over the last 38 years (championship in 75), have had a legendry fan base in supporting a (mostly) losing the team. The A’s, where are all the fans that support the heart and soul of Oakland?
    I am as Pro-Oakland as they come, but I think we have to be honest here, all of the other five Bay Area sports franchises, have either played in, or considered playing in deferent locations within the Bay Area, with not nearly the outcry, you see in the A’s situation.
    The Raiders have played in Oakland, San Francisco, and Berkeley (outside the Bay Area LA)
    The Warriors have played in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose.
    The Sharks have played in San Jose, and San Francisco.
    The 49ers have played in San Francisco, and will soon play in Santa Clara.
    The Giants have played in San Francisco, and made the attempt to play in San Jose.
    The A’s have only played in Oakland (Los Vegas because of the Raiders)
    The A’s would like the same consideration the Giants had back in the 90’s, the Pro/only-Oakland folks are going to have to be a lot more then vocal, if they want the A’s to remain in Oakland..

  36. I’m generally in favor of a streamlined process and removing government involvement as mush as practical. So in that regard I am glad to see two large projects being put on a slightly more reasonable path to fruition. However, what turns my stomach is the way government works. Hey, Project A and Project B are in Representative S and T districts, hey! we can make a deal to sidestep our own rules (just make sure when my bill comes up, you give me full support – whether it is a good bill or not). But for Representative Y and Z projects? Oh your projects must remain within the rules of full governance.

  37. Berry (or George):

    Your suggestion that A’s fans do not support the team is just plain wrong. They are ahead of seven other teams in attendance this year, and six of those clubs have either relatively new or heavily renovated facilities in which to play.

    www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/MLB/2013-misc.shtml

    It’s easy to take a look at gross attendance and say “Oakland doesn’t care”. But the number of bums in seats isn’t the whole story (and even if it were, Oakland is ahead of many other MLB markets as noted.)

    If you really want to know what level of ‘intrinsic support’ any team in MLB has, business journals are the place to look. There you can see what percentage of fans in any given market support their club with their hard earned dollars.

    www.businessinsider.com/chart-mlb-per-capita-attendance-2013-8

    Looks like Oakland fans are ahead of both NY, both LA and both Chicago teams, as well as Miami and Houston in terms of actual support for their franchise. So, I guess we can cue the “NY fans, you will lose your teams if you don’t step up” articles…

    The real issue Lew Wolff has isn’t that fans “hate” the A’s, or that he can’t spend money to build a winning club (A’s are winning, and are also ahead of six other teams in payroll this year). It’s that his market is smaller than he would like it to be. Hence the San Jose wishes…

  38. Here’s a question for the assembled multitudes: If Bud or his successor were to declare, “You can’t have San Jose, Lew. Like it or lump it,” do you think Wolff would:

    a) sell the team
    b) pursue a stadium in the East Bay
    c) open a Hard Rock Cafe in an unused Mount Davis luxury suite
    d) sue MLB
    e) try to move to _________
    f) disappear in a puff of logic

  39. Good question Neil, I was thinking about that very thing this morning.

    If MLB gave him a firm no (and I guess we are assuming they haven’t done so, since he still thinks they might say yes if he waits ever so patiently… which I believe to be incorrect, but whatever…), he would have just two options:

    – Negotiate a stadium at one of Oakland’s preferred sites
    – or try to move somewhere else.

    Now, it would be really interesting if it came to that, because if he actually believes any of the things he says about Oakland, negotiating a deal in East Bay is almost certain to be followed by an attempt to sell the team (possibly even back to MLB, who knows). There is no payoff in attempting to sell the team at the present facility and Wolff knows it (or rather, a smaller payoff than he would like…)

    Personally, I don’t believe he’d try to move anywhere else because there is nowhere significantly better than Oakland that he could move to (without paying someone else for the privilege, which history suggests he won’t do). Oakland isn’t New York or Chicago, granted, but it isn’t the worst market in MLB by a long shot. You get what you pay for (*unless you are an NFL owner whereupon you pay for essentially nothing and receive massive transfers of wealth in the form of taxation from the very serfs who buy your tickets and $9 beers) and what Wolff & Fisher paid for is Oakland’s MLB market.

  40. And it was announced today that a major Dubai financier is now involved with the Coliseum City project (800 acres in and around the current Coliseum area) that would include at least two stadiums (assume A’s and Raiders for the now). Here is the link:
    http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_24209665/deep-pocketed-developers-sign-up-coliseum-city?source=most_viewed

  41. @John Bladen-You are right when Wolff &Fisher bought the A’s San Jose was not included but franchise values have increased so much since the purchase that argument holds no weight anymore.

    There are zero viable sites in the East Bay period. For anyone to think otherwise is simply foolish and short sided. Wolff tried his best and failed in several locations before giving up.

    MLB knows full well San Jose is the only way, hence they refuse to say no or even vote on it. If they did it would make San Jose case in court that much stronger. By sitting idle they are simply kicking the can down and praying for a Oakland miracle. You wonder why Selig is going senile and thinking the BRC has only been working for 2-3 years, it will be 5 years come January with no report.

    The A’s cannot stay at the Coliseum any longer, they should have been in San Jose over a decade ago. The Giants greed and selfishness is appalling and I am a lifelong Giants FROM San Jose no less… The A’s wanted to help the Giants years ago and this is their reward?

    This is wrong what has happened to the A’s. They play in a dump and have a TV market of 10M people but yet are on revenue sharing? How does that make any sense?

    Selig is too much of a coward to do the right thing and let the owners vote. He wants “everyone” to agree but the thing is the Giants never will. The Giants know San Jose is a gold mine and it is untapped being so far away from them and the A’s currently. People would rather go to a Giants game even if they suck cause of the ballpark.

    The A’s do not get fans even when they are good. When comparing their attendance look at the other 2-team markets for a fair comparison. You cannot compare them to small markets like KC and Tampa Bay….The A’s are actually a big market team trapped.

    If you look a the other 2 team markets only the lowly Chicago White Sox got less attendance than the A’s. They were horrendous this season with 99 losses while the A’s won 96 games. They were barely less than the A’s too! So do not sit there and tell me they get fans cause they do not and the ballpark is the reason why. In a big market like the Bay Area the A’s with 96 wins should be top half easily or even top 10.

    Oakland is not feasible because they want what San Jose is getting….A free ballpark. Their inept political leaders try to think they have a vibrant community when the entire area is “depressed” as the late Al Davis said.

    In the end San Jose will get the A’s. No amount of stalling will stop it at this point with the lawsuit in full swing. Even if they dismiss it, San Jose will appeal to a higher court. History has shown sports leagues winning in the lower courts but getting nailed in the higher ones.

    You need to see this for what it is….Giants greed and Selig’s cowardice. Even so, Wolff has the team winning big time. The A’s are a big market team and soon when they get to Cisco Field it will show with big payrolls and titles.

  42. SBSJ:

    You are completely incorrect. Lew Wolff will not get to San Jose without paying MLB/Baer for the privilege. The A’s shouldn’t be in SJ any more than they should be in NY or Chicago or LA.

    Name any of the cases in which “history shows” sports leagues losing on appeal (your words)?

    I appreciate the fact that SJ is suing MLB, however their case is weak and they know it. They cannot use the courts to force their way into MLB (I wish it were otherwise, most of the taxpayer bloodsucking would end if any market had a ‘right’ to an MLB franchise, but it is not…) The best they can hope for – in fact the only thing they are hoping for – is that MLB will cave rather than fight this battle in a public court… They did that for Tampa, however it is vitally important to remember that Tampa Bay was not disputed territory. San Jose is.

    The A’s did not “help” the Giants or give them anything for free. As noted on another post, the Haas family agreed to permit a Giants move to San Jose if they built there. The A’s ownership saw it as a trade, South Bay for San Francisco. The Giants didn’t move, and MLB curiously considers the conditional surrender of that territory by the A’s as permanent and unconditional.

    I’d really like to see Selig end this circular pantomime… but the best way he could do it is open up the bidding for an expansion franchise in San Jose.

    Then we’d see whether the Giants or A’s (or someone else) wants that territory more. Is America about raw capitalism or protectionism?