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December 11, 2008

Fremont site owner: Keep those A's offa our lawn

If the original site targeted by the Oakland A's for a new stadium in Fremont wasn't dead before, it sure looks to be now, as the site's owner declared itself "strongly opposed" to the stadium project. While the A's have approval of Cisco Systems, which holds a long-term lease on the site, the opposition by Catellus Development Corp., which also owns an adjacent shopping center, makes it extremely unlikely that the city of Fremont would approve the deal.

That leaves the Warm Springs site elsewhere in Fremont, but that has its own problems. In particular, Jennifer Lin of the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy tells me that the new site does not appear to be in a redevelopment area - meaning it wouldn't be eligible for tax increment financing. This means the A's would be entirely reliant on finding someone to lend them money using as collateral a condo development at the Catellus site that may or may not happen - that's the kind of mortgage that might have gotten approved in 2005, but not so much today.

MLB unelected strongman Bud Selig, meanwhile, threw additional uncertainty into the A's fate yesterday by sending A's owner Lew Wolff a letter giving him permission to consider "other communities" if the Fremont plans fail. Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty told the San Jose Mercury News that A's officials told him they interpreted this to mean that San Jose was now open for consideration, the San Francisco Giants' territorial rights be damned; A's officials denied this. Further updates once everybody's on the same page of their scripts.


"other communities" does NOT mean SJ ... SJ is in the territorial rights of the Giants and MLB will not open up territories of other teams. More likely Selig meant he's free to look outside the bay area ... Sacramento is my bet.

Posted by howard on December 11, 2008 11:35 AM

Other communities definitely includes San Jose. They've got a completed EIR, a downtown stadium site set aside for purchase (and a well connected one transit wise). The only thing between the A's and SJ is the Giants territorial rights, which MLB granted and MLB will take away after the A's give a small tribute to the Giants as payment.

Posted by Dan on December 11, 2008 11:44 AM

Define small.


Posted by LeftWingCracker on December 11, 2008 11:52 AM

I'm sure "small" will be into the millions, but it'll be up the Giants.

Posted by Dan on December 11, 2008 11:54 AM

Dan, you are a mental midget. We're all sick and tired of your wild speculation without and sort of facts to back it up. There is no sort of indication that MLB will revoke/change territorial rights ... in fact Selig has stated quite the contrary many, many times. The Giants have indicated that the rights are not for sale. Move on little guy.

Posted by howard on December 11, 2008 02:52 PM

Selig's comments yesterday appear to say otherwise, your opinion of my mental capacity not withstanding. And Scott Haggerty from the Alameda Co. government concurs with this analysis of Selig's comments as it appears does mayor Chuck Reed in San Jose and Councilman Dave Cortese. Now if you have anything constructive to say please feel free to share.

Posted by Dan on December 11, 2008 03:49 PM

Dan, I know it's difficult but read through Selig's comments and tell me where he mentions either San Jose or changing territories.


Posted by howard on December 11, 2008 04:52 PM

You need to read between the lines of what Selig said. Then you need to read what Alameda Co and SJ officials said in response to get where SJ comes into the picture. The A's are likely done in Fremont.

Posted by Dan on December 11, 2008 05:33 PM

I know this is the Internet and all, but can we please try to have this debate without the insults? Hate the opinion, not the opinionated...

Posted by Neil on December 11, 2008 06:58 PM

Neil, you're right.

Howard, I hate your opinions that come accross as if you know what you're talking about but couldn't be further from the truth. By the way, everything else about you seems fine.

No way MLB opens up territorial can of worms. Selig has said time and again he's not open to doing this and this letter makes no mention of this intention either.

Let's wake up and smell the coffee, midget ... whoops I mean I hate that fact-less opinion of yours.


Posted by howard on December 11, 2008 07:36 PM

I suppose it's progress...

For what it's worth, I don't see Selig sandbagging the Giants on this either, though obviously Wolff has always had the ability to try to buy them out of San Jose, if he can afford it. That said, I've read "Lords of the Realm" and know that baseball owner machinations are mysterious and ineffable, so anything's possible.

Posted by Neil on December 11, 2008 07:52 PM

MLB could make Santa Clara County a shared-territory like the other two-team markets enjoy; thus allowing the A's and San Jose to legally pursue each other. This wouldn't set a bad precedent for MLB or hurt the Giants franchise value. All the A's would have to do is provide the Giants with some monetary compensation: one time payoff, percentage of revenue sharing checks, long-term TV deal on the Giants-owned CSNBA. There are ways!

Posted by Tony D. on December 11, 2008 10:26 PM

Didn't the Nats and Orioles have some sort of dispute on this matter? And didn't it come down to TV rights or something?

That said, I doubt the A's move at all. I could see Wolff unloading them once he realizes he can't use it as a vehicle for cheap development deals. The sports side always seemed secondary to him.

Posted by Gdub on December 12, 2008 05:22 AM

tony, keep your sj cheerleading to marine's site ... over here we'd rather deal with reality. sj not gonna happen in your lifetime.

Posted by jock on December 12, 2008 11:23 AM

The Orioles & Nats had a TV Righst-territorial dispute, amicable resolved with a nice, tidy payment to Peter Angelos.

One thing I don't get though - the O's & Nats involved a brand new team moving in to an established territory & MASN (i.e. Angelos) had to cut up a whole pie. since the A's are already in the Bay Area, is it really that big of a shift in sharing the pie? I mean isn't the San Jose market already kinda-sorta split between the San Francisco & Oakland?

Sorry folks, I don't know the way to San Jose.

Posted by Jonathan on December 12, 2008 01:12 PM

The Orioles never had territorial rights to D.C.; they had TV rights, which is a different thing. So the necessary payout for moving the A's into the Giants' territory isn't clear.

Given that the Giants are reliant on Silicon Valley fans to help pay off their $28 million a year in stadium debt, I can see where they wouldn't want to give that up easily. As ridiculous as this whole matter of MLB assigning "territories" is, they have a legitimate argument that they build a stadium counting on San Jose belonging to them, and changing the rules in the middle wouldn't be fair.

Posted by Neil on December 12, 2008 01:27 PM

I've always found it ironic that the only reason the Giants have a territorial claim to the San Jose area is because of the Giants aborted attempts to move there in the early 90's.

Posted by Dan on December 12, 2008 02:08 PM

So it's not just a matter of baksheesh, then. I wouldn't have thunk that many Silicon Valley moguls would have been strongly affiliated with the G-men.

Then again, I suppose the Giants did all kinds of reasearch and surveys and the like showing the geographical distribution of their attendance.

Posted by Jonathan on December 12, 2008 02:09 PM

Hi Folks ... Big Giants fan here from the south bay and felt compelled to speak up. Neil's right on the money here. Giants built new park with private money with alot of support from silicon valley fans and firms. They built it knowing that no other team would infringe into this territory and the current owner of the a's bought his team knowing that this stipulation was in place. The Giants have many, many fans like myself in the south bay. The south bay is vastly Giants supporters among baseball fans as opposed to a's - this is validated by many demographics studies I've observed over the years in addition to tv/radio/merchandise sales. So when talking about "fairness" we should always consider the facts.

I think the a's would be better off staying in the east bay or moving to Sacremento where they'd have the market to themselves.

Posted by Giant Fan on December 12, 2008 02:38 PM

Hey Big Giants fan, there are also Big A's fans like myself in the South Bay. Funny, when the A's were winning in the late 80's/early 90's, everyone I knew in San Jose was an A's fan. Once "telephone" park opened, it became the "in thing" in Silicon Valley to brag about going to a Giants game and wearing black/orange "SF" hats...typical Bay Area.

Neil, Dan's right: the only reason the Giants have T-Rights to South Bay is because they were supposed to build a ballpark in San Jose (1992); obviously, that never happened. And talk about not being fair: Bay Area only two-team market where territories aren't shared. Bottom line: the Giants play in San Francisco, not San Jose. Making Santa Clara County, or entire Bay Area, a shared territory would bring the region in-line with the other two-team markets (NY,LA,CHI).

MLB team in San Jose won't hurt the Giants. In fact, compensation over an A's move would only HELP the Giants financially. Unlike what Big Giants fan suggests, most Giants fans in San Jose aren't season-ticket holders; 50-45 miles much to far for 81 games per year. Heart of Giants fan base primarily San Mateo Co. Silicon Valley companies are likely to support a Fremont ballpark just as likely as a San Jose ballpark; really, is 11 miles (Fremont sites vs. downtown San Jose) really going to hurt the Giants pocket book? NOT!

Hey Jock, go "itch" somewhere else...this is REALITY pal!

Posted by Tony D. on December 13, 2008 03:15 AM

Oh, I realize that the Giants have San Jose as their "territory" for ridiculous reasons. All I'm saying is that MLB has created a mess that the Giants have built their business model on, so it's going to be a pain to untangle.

Clearly there's a price point where it would be worth the Giants' while to give up San Jose. Whether that's an amount that the A's could afford to pay, I honestly have no idea.

Posted by Neil on December 13, 2008 09:40 AM

Isn't the U.S.A. and the majority of the world in a recession? And what's with the yankees spending over 200 million on 2 players? MLB is screwed up. The best league NFL just layed of employees, at least the NFL is grounded and wise. MLB is a joke of a league until they wake up and it's a shame because I love baseball but not at any cost.

Posted by John on December 14, 2008 04:59 AM

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