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March 07, 2011
A's stadium holdup is a money issue and a territorial issue and a floor wax!
So San Francisco Chronicle columnist Ray Ratto was on a podcast the other day to discuss the Oakland A's stadium situation and, well, let's let the fine folks at newballpark.org transcribe from there:
The "Blue Ribbon Committee" is a fraud. The territorial rights argument is a fraud. This is about one thing and one thing only, and it's always been about this: Do the A's have the money to put a shovel in the ground? If they had the money to put a shovel in the ground, we would've gone to Bud Selig and said, "We're ready to go now." And then Bud Selig can either tell the committee to produce a report or he could just go without it and start harvesting votes if they really want this to happen. I think it is incumbent upon the A's to show that they're ready to go right now and the fact that they keep saying, "well we haven't seen the blue ribbon report..." You know what? That's due diligence and you're supposed to do that. If you've got that stuff down you're already working at that.
...In the current economic climate, where you really need help from cities and states to get buildings done if you don't want to go into your own personal debt. I think that the idea of a San Jose stadium is really fading. It may be dead at this point. It's taken too long for the A's to get what ducks they have in a row, in a row. So I think the problem here is the A's needed more help than they let on and now they're stuck.
As newballpark.org notes, this is sheer wild speculation, and not even especially logical speculation given what it calls the "black hole of information around Selig." Continues writer Marine Layer:
I've said before that Selig isn't going to act until at least one of these cities has all of their ducks in a row. That means the site, legal/political clearances, everything. San Jose isn't there yet. Oakland isn't there yet. And the Grim Reaper is coming fast for cities. Plus there's the possibility that upcoming CBA negotiations will come into play, especially because the biggest debate will be about revenue sharing. If you're Selig, why would you lift a finger until this other stuff shakes out? I wouldn't.
And there's a further point that Marine Layer doesn't get into: It doesn't make any sense to say "it's not the territorial rights, it's whether Wolff has the money" when how much money Wolff needs is directly dependent on how the territorial rights are worked out. As I wrote a month and a half ago:
To make a San Jose A's move work, then, you'd need to generate enough new revenue to:
* Pay off the Giants' indemnification demands for giving up Silicon Valley;
* Generate around $30 million a year extra to pay off the estimated $461 million construction cost of the San Jose stadium that Wolff says he will build himself (California being probably the hardest state in the nation to get taxpayer stadium funds approved in, given its stringent public referendum requirements); and
* Leave some money left over to pay all those free agents that Rosenthal insists would come a-running as soon as the A's were out from the shadow of Mount Davis. Figure $50-60 million total at minimum--and it would all need to come from new San Jose fans, less the number of lost Oakland fans.
It's a tough mathematical nut to crack, even when you don't have two sides playing North-going Zax and South-going Zax.
The nut becomes less tough, clearly, if Item A is reduced. Which is what I've been saying all along: It's not a question of how much money Lew Wolff has in his piggy bank; it's a question of whether he can cut a deal that makes the Giants (and by extention Selig) happy without cutting so deeply into his revenues that a San Jose stadium deal no longer pencils out.