Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Bay Area Civil War Via The New York Times



An article in today's New York Times highlights the tensions between Northern California's three biggest cities over a potential A's move. Here's an excerpt:

Mr. Wolff declined to comment on his plans for the A’s, but has said in recent interviews that the team’s decrepit stadium in southern Oakland prevents it from competing financially — and on the field. In interviews, he has also raised the specter that the team would move out of state rather than stay in Oakland.

“We have determined that San Jose is the only option for us in California,” Mr. Wolff told San Francisco magazine this month.

Find the full article here. And thanks to Marine Layer @ the excellent New A's Ballpark for the head's up.

In other news, Stand Up For San Jose (aka the San Francisco Giants) new claim is that the A's must "make up the difference if projected economic benefits for a downtown ballpark don't pan out." Now that the San Francisco Giants are also a San Jose taxpayers' advocacy group, we can all sleep a little better, right? Read their latest ridiculous claims @ The Mercury News.

Finally, may you have a happy and safe new year! And may 2010 be the year we finally welcome our San Jose A's!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

An Introduction and a Letter to Santa


Hi folks, I’m DH De La O, and I’m the newest contributor to the Baseball San Jose blog. I’m excited for the opportunity to help bring the Athletics to Silicon Valley.

As a lifelong resident of the valley, I’ve witnessed its amazing transformation over the years. Yes, the population has skyrocketed, a true city center has sprouted, and high tech has taken hold, but one of the most significant changes I’ve seen has been in the city’s attitude. Sure, there are still some who stubbornly cling to a Mayberry-like vision for the city, but now more than ever people here are finally ready for San Jose to take its place amongst the nation’s great cities. San Joseans are finally ready to step out of the shadows and into the national spotlight. Are the A’s the key to that? Well, no. That’s obviously a tall order for any team. But the A’s coming to San Jose would be yet another significant indication that this city will be a major 21st century player. There are other important initiatives for the city to follow through on, of course. But this is surely a worthy endeavor; one that will pays dividends for the city in many ways. So, I look forward to doing my part. And thanks to Jacquie for the opportunity to help.

And now, if I may, I’d like to end my first post by sharing my letter, on behalf of all of San Jose, to jolly old St. Nick:

Dear Santa Claus,

Hello, how are you? We hope the season is treating you well.

We, the citizens of fair San Jose, just wanted to let you know how very good we’ve been this year. As you know, we believe in helping those in need in our community. And as it turns out, the Oakland Athletics need a new home. We think we can give them a great home, full of love and support. To help them out, we’ve acquired land south of Diridon Station, produced a solid EIR (which we continue to refine), and are building a broad coalition of business, political, and neighborhood interests. We’ve been as busy as elves, trying to help the A’s come to San Jose.

But not everyone has been so nice this year, Santa. Some people who say they are standing up for San Jose are really just standing in the way. But that’s okay; we’ll keep busy on our plan.

So, dear Santa, all we ask for this year is a MLB team of our own. We promise to take good care of them.

Thanks so much. Keep up the good work!

Love,
San Jose, California

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Great piece by Purdy in SJ Merc: "Fraidy Giants"

Mark Purdy has a great piece in the SJ Merc today, and he appropriately renames the SF Giants "Fraidy Giants."  Here is a short excerpt:
Last spring, after the A's plans for a ballpark project in Fremont fell apart, baseball commissioner Bud Selig appointed a panel of "blue ribbon" experts to examine the team's future in the Bay Area. The panel has done diligent work in Oakland, Fremont and San Jose. It has twice met with San Jose city staff and Mayor Chuck Reed. The panel's report is expected to be filed early next year.

The Giants don't want to wait. They obviously are frightened that the panel will conclude that MLB will make the smart choice to permit negotiations between Wolff and San Jose. So instead of relying on MLB's authority, the Giants' honchos are attempting a panicky end-around. If this were second grade, I would use the term "fraidy-cats" to describe them. But since I probably write more at the fifth-grade level, I will refer to them as the Fraidy-Giants.

 And Purdy also notes that San Jose is not fooled by the "Stand for San Jose Money to SF Giants" group:
No savvy local fan would join a "coalition" that is being bankrolled out of San Francisco as a hidden-ball trick to benefit interests that lie nowhere near the South Bay.

If the Fraidy-Giants want to regain some respect, they need to make their own case and stop hiding behind Weyermann and Herrera. Because take it from at least one South Bay rube: That strategy won't hunt. And it is our territorial right to say so.

Way to go Purdy, while the SF Giants are striking out you clearly hit a home run. 

And it seems that this must be a very slow time for Bay Area City Attorneys.  On Friday we learned that the SF City Attorney is threatening to sue MLB, and now we see that Oakland's City Attorney John Russo has time to waste as well:
"I do know that over the years, the Giants relied upon that territory in creating their ballpark, Russo said. "I also know that here in Oakland we relied on certain representations by the A's in signing a very flexible and advantageous lease with them. And I'm looking into whether or not their clear, and very clear attempt to move to San Jose - and San Jose's attempts to lure the A's - whether or not those are interfering with our rights under the lease."
So now we have both SF and Oakland throwing spitters at MLB and San Jose.  Note to SF and Oakland: San Jose is not only going to get on base, we are going to end up with a grand slam.

And our own Larry Stone once again shows why he is a Major League Player:
Stone says he gained further insight into the Giants' state of mind last month, when he and wife Carmen attended the San Francisco 49ers-Tennessee Titans game in owner Jed York's suite at Candlestick Park. Among York's other guests was Giants President Larry Baer, who toward the end of the game approached Stone and asked, "What's going on with the A's?"

Stone said he told him the team's fate was up to Selig, to which Baer replied, "The commissioner will never rescind those rights."

"I said, 'Oh, really?' " recalled Stone, who asked Baer why Selig would appoint a committee to study all the options for the A's if he wasn't prepared to let the team move to San Jose.
Baer countered that the panel was appointed solely to study options for the A's in the East Bay, outside of the Giants' territorial rights. "And I said, 'That's funny, because just last week the panel and consultants were meeting with the mayor of San Jose and staff from the redevelopment agency and looking at the potential site in San Jose,' " Stone recalled. He added that Baer seemed surprised by the news and walked away.
Stone: Home Run  Baer: Strike Out

Last, but never least, a bit of housekeeping.  You can now follow Baseball San Jose on twitter, click here to sign up as a follower.  And a huge thank you to all those who have helped increase our Facebook Group numbers!  In the last few days we have added almost 60 new people!  Good job and please continue to spread the word. 


Play ball San Jose.

Friday, December 18, 2009

"Stand for San Jose Money to SF Giants": Don't be fooled by their agenda

Seems that we have a new anti-stadium group, "Stand for San Jose."   This group is rumored to be funded by the San Francisco Giants who do not want to see our area benefit from having our own MLB team.  A better (and more honest) name for the anti-stadium folks would be "Stand for San Jose Money to SF Giants."

Here is a bit more information about this group:
A special San Jose City Hall meeting Wednesday night to discuss a revised environmental impact report brought out dozens of people, including supporters and a handful of critics from a new San Jose Giants-backed coalition opposed to any taxpayer money that might fund the ballpark.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed on Wednesday said he found the coalition's position "odd" considering that the city — which owns Municipal Stadium, where the minor league San Jose Giants play — has forked over almost $1 million in the past two years to pay for upgrades and repairs to the stadium. On Tuesday, the City Council, acting as the redevelopment agency board, signed off on $300,000 for electrical improvements at the stadium.

"They ought to know about the funding of the stadium because isn't that who this group is? Did they not notice the million dollars we spent on Muni Stadium? It's kind of funny," Reed noted. "But I don't expect people to be consistent when it gets to these political issues."

Jim Weyermann, president and chief executive of the San Jose Giants and a member of the coalition, said Municipal Stadium is a city asset that has not had major repairs over the decades. He said the team has spent more than $2 million of its own money on repairs."

 So, if we follow the reasoning of the anti-stadium folks (aka SF Giants) we have this:  San Jose should not invest in MLB which would bring in millions of dollars to our economy because the San Jose Giants bring in thousands of dollars to our economy.  The fact that the San Jose Giants play at "Municipal" stadium is of course lost on this new group, the irony is simply amazing.

What "Stand for San Jose Money to SF Giants" wants you to ignore is the amount of money that leaves our city and county every time someone attends a game in San Francisco or Oakland.  Who benefits the most if things stay the way they are now?  The SF Giants, the city and county of San Francisco, and the losers are the residents of San Jose and Santa Clara County.

And we should also not ignore the fact that the San Francisco Giants are insisting that they "own" San Jose, yes, they own us.  The taxpayers and residents of San Jose has no right to make their own choice, no right to seek economic improvements in our area, those of us who live and work in San Jose should just realize that what is best for the San Francisco Giants somehow is all that matters.  I.  Think.  Not.

We need to show this new group that we are not fooled by their lies and deception. Take some time today and encourage your friends and family members to sign up for our Facebook group, "Baseball San Jose."  Right now we are at 901 members and with your help we can easily double that number.  

And along with "Stand for San Jose Money to SF Giants" we also have the City of San Francisco jumping into this mess, check out the letter they just sent to Bud Sellig
“Yet, tampering with the Giants’ established territorial rights would be just the sort of action that the City believed Major League Baseball was in effect promising it would not do,” Herrera’s letter contends. “As the City Attorney for the City and County of San Francisco, I am entrusted under the San Francisco Charter with the obligation to protect the City’s legal interests and to represent the City when a cause of action exists in its favor. I write to you now to make clear up front the legal concerns I have on behalf of the City should Major League Baseball tamper with the Giant’s territorial rights.”
The bottom line is that the SF Giants', "Stand for San Jose Money to SF Giants," and now the City of San Francisco, are all working together to protect the SF Giants in their misguided attempt to dominate and rule over San Jose residents and tax payers.

As a San Jose resident and taxpayer I am not fooled by any of this, and I know you are not either.  This is not rocket science, rather it is a simple and clear issue:  Does San Jose, the 10th largest city in the nation, a city with over one million residents, belong to San Francisco?  Do the residents and tax payers of San Jose have the right to make decisions about what is best for their (our) economy?

While the weather outside is getting chilly things are heating up here in San Jose, and I think that January is going to be one very hot month.

Again, I know this is a busy time for everyone but it only takes a minute to help us get more people to sign up for our Facebook group.

Play ball San Jose.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

New Pro Baseball for San Jose Website!

Though we are quickly moving towards the coldest part of the year, things are heating up for Baseball San Jose.  First we have a new website, Pro Baseball for San Jose.  The new site has links to information, faq's and more, make sure to bookmark the new site and send the link to all your friends and family members, especially if they live in San Jose.

I will still be writing the blog (there is a link to the blog on the new website), posting on events and other things you can do to help bring Pro Baseball to San Jose. One of the most important things you can do right now is to make sure you spread the word about our Facebook group, the blog and the new website

Secondly the Mercury published an article today comparing the owner of the A's to the managing general partner of the Giants:

With their teams sitting out this week's World Series, both are looking ahead to winter, when baseball's 30 owners will meet to decide everything from TV deals to big trades. As Wolff, co-owner of the Oakland A's, and Neukom, managing general partner of the San Francisco Giants, rub elbows, they'll no doubt be mindful that this same group of millionaires soon could redraw the Bay Area's baseball map.

With a three-quarters vote, baseball's owners can terminate the Giants' territorial rights to the South Bay and let the A's move to San Jose. But first, a commission appointed by Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is studying the A's stadium options. That committee met Thursday with San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and other city officials who've been assembling plans for a privately financed $489 million ballpark.
 And:

However, Selig's committee may conclude that a move to the South Bay would make the most money for baseball's owners. MLB teams participate in revenue sharing, where the wealthiest teams end up supporting less lucrative ones like the A's. Team boosters are certain a move to the more demographically affluent San Jose would lead to higher ticket sales and end the team's taking subsidies from the revenue pool.

The Giants also are fighting to hold onto that affluent South Bay fan base, as well as the profitable advertising deals, sponsorships and club suites the team has secured at AT&T park with high profile Silicon Valley companies.

One source close to MLB, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the issue, stressed that whatever Selig does will be based on what is best for baseball, not his friendship with Wolff.
 Those of us who live in San Jose know that the best place for the A's is San Jose, we have the population, a great site for a stadium and the building of a new stadium would be a financial boom for our city and the entire county. 

The decision to allow the A's to move to San Jose, as noted in the Merc article, will be based on what is financially best for MLB.  Those of us who live and work in San Jose already know that our wonderful city is the best financial move for MLB and San Jose, for now we just have to wait for the owners to come to that same conclusion.

While we do not have much control over what the team owners will decide, we can show MLB that the residents of San Jose support bringing the A's to our great city by making sure to increase the number of people who have joined our Facebook group and subscribers to this blog.

Play ball San Jose.

 

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Baseball Season Never Ends

Did you know that Baseball season never ends?  It just goes into extra innings : )  Ok, so that was my lame attempt at humor, just one of those things one has to do on a Tuesday when Friday is still farther away then Monday.

Speaking of Baseball season never ending, how about a special event featuring the A's?  The San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce is bringing the A's and Earthquakes together for a special recognition:

This year, you are in for a special treat as we recognize The Spirit of Santa Clara Valley within our community and celebrate not one but two teams.  We are pleased to announce that the Oakland A's and the San Jose Earthquakes have joined forces with the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce for this special luncheon. 

Join us and hear how these two teams will SHAKE our valley with their exciting plans, and how these plans will JOLT our economy.  This event will be off the Richter scale.

"Experience the Quake" Spirit of Santa Clara Valley Luncheon

Monday, October 26, 2009

11:30am - 1:30pm

Fourth Street Summit Center
88 South Fourth Street
San Jose, CA  95112

A player, coach or member of the management team from either the A's or Earthquakes will sit at each sponsor table.  To RSVP, email janah@sjchamber.com not later than Monday, October 19, 2009.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Stephanie Caldwell at 408-291-5280

Tickets are $100 and you can register by visiting the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber's website.  Looks to be a fun event, make sure to grab your ticket before they are all gone.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

More news: Lew Wolff knows the way to San Jose

A couple of things:  The new A's ball park blog has a great overview of the released report, and since I am still reading through the report I will quote him here:
1. The firm used for this version, Conventions Sports & Leisure, is the same one used by the City of Santa Clara for their 49ers stadium study. I will be looking carefully for unrealistic projections.

2. Cost of the 32,000-seat ballpark is projected to be $461 million in 2009 dollars, $489 million in 2011 dollars. Ballpark would open in 2014.

3. The City's projected impact is ~$1.5 million in additional general fund revenue, net of increased city service costs ($45k). The A's would pay for all gameday police, emergency and traffic expenses.

4. Projected 2.1 million in attendance plus 3 non-baseball events.

5. 50% of attendees would not be from
San Jose and would be coming in solely for an A's game.
There are a few more points to read on the new A's ball park blog so make sure to click on the link and read the entire post. 

And then we have a Bloomberg article that quotes Lew Wolff:
Wolff said San Jose is now the best option for the team’s new home. The city, which has a population of more than 1 million and is the 10th-largest in the U.S., is about 40 miles (64 kilometers) south of Oakland.

“We’ve explored the Bay Area for a long time now and I think our only real option is downtown San Jose,” Wolff, chairman of Los Angeles-based developer Wolff Urban Development LLC, said in a telephone interview.

Wolff, 73, said he’s waiting to hear whether a move to San Jose would be allowed by Major League Baseball since the San Francisco Giants hold territorial rights to San Jose. Baseball spokesman Pat Courtney didn’t immediately return telephone and e-mail messages. 

As for Las Vegas or Portland:
San Jose is the best option “to stay in northern California and that’s what we want to do,” Wolff said. “We haven’t really explored other cities, nor do we want to.”
What never fails to amaze me is that we have no news for literally months, and now?  More news then we could have imagined.

Clearly San Jose is positioned for the A's, our job is to make sure that we are organized and ready to work hard to make this dream happen.

Last but never least, our facebook group went over 800 supporters today!  GREAT job everyone, and please keep on referring people to the group.

Play ball San Jose!

Just released: Economic Impact Analysis for the Proposed Major League Ballpark

I haven't had time to read the entire analysis yet, but wanted to make sure that you were able to download and read the report for yourself.  Will read and post on the report tomorrow, until then feel free to post your thoughts in the comments.

Update:  The Mercury just published an article on the report:

The analysis also shows that a new stadium would create a total of 2,100 full-, part-time and seasonal jobs in San Jose, of which 980 would be new jobs. That number does not include players but does include team personnel.
The analysis more than pleased Mayor Chuck Reed.

"San Jose is ready to play ball," Reed said in a statement issued this morning. "This report finds that it makes fiscal and economic sense to bring baseball to downtown. Our residents will benefit, our downtown businesses will benefit and surrounding communities will benefit."

At its core, the 74-page analysis — prepared by a consulting firm at a cost of $130,000 — establishes a set of negotiating principles that frame any possible agreement with the A's, including that the team — and not taxpayers — would be responsible for financing and building the stadium and financing all stadium operating costs

"We've told them that that is our expectation — that they would agree to cover all costs in and around the stadium that relate to their activity," said Paul Krutko, the city's lead negotiator. 
The link to the report is here, and here is the press release from the mayor's office:

Statement on Stadium Impact                                                                                                                         

Monday, August 31, 2009

Time to show your support

Bringing MLB to San Jose is going to be a process, and you can be part of that process by attending an upcoming workshop on Saturday, September 12th, 9 am to 12 pm, at the Parkside Hall, Room B
(west of the Tech Museum of Innovation)180 Park Avenue (east of South Almaden Boulevard) San José, CA.

The visioning workshop will focus on the Diridon Station Area Plan, and we have the opportunity to be heard as the planning for this area starts to take shape.

This event is one more way for us to show that support for MLB is alive and well in San Jose.  Mark your calendar and show up to be heard at this workshop.

Play ball San Jose.

VisioningWorkshop09_12_2009                                                                                                                                

Friday, June 5, 2009

SVLG supports bringing the A's to San Jose UPDATED

Another huge vote of support for bringing the A's to San Jose! The Silicon Valley Leadership Group:
adopted a formal position of support for the city’s efforts at a meeting of the Group’s Working Council, its policy-setting body, on Thursday, June 4. The support aligns with an earlier poll of Leadership Group members that found strong endorsement of the proposition that San Jose should be home to a major league team.
Here is a link to the survey given to SVLG members, and here are some highlights:
  • More than 70% of the 121 respondents agreed that the “City of San Jose (the third largest city in California and 10thlargest in U.S.) should be the home of a Major League Baseball team.” Only 9 percent disagreed; the balance had no opinion.
  • Notably, nearly 70% of respondents that currently “sponsor, advertise or purchase game ticket packages, would support both the Giant’s and ‘San Jose A’s’”.
Clearly we are moving along folks! And in the not too distant future we will be asked to step up to the plate and help bring the A's to their new home. Stay tuned as things are certainly getting interesting with more news to come.

And thank you for your good work in driving up our facebook numbers, right now we are at 773 members and growing!

Play ball San Jose : )

UPDATE:

From the Business Journal:
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said Friday he is hopeful the voters of his city will be able to vote in November on whether to build a stadium for the Oakland Athletics.
And:

He told the audience he hopes to have an agreement with Wolff hammered out by early July so the San Jose City Council could take up the issue in August. That time frame would need to be followed in order to get a stadium proposal on the ballot this fall.

Though Reed has said previously his city can’t afford to spend any public money on building the A’s ballpark, it does have a 14-acre site at Park Avenue and Autumn/Montgomery streets on the western edge of downtown San Jose where it could be built.

If the vote is in November, clear your weekends and be prepared to knock on doors : )

Monday, May 11, 2009

Yes, I have been away

Sorry everyone, life gets in the way of blogging sometimes : ) Anyhow, am back and have an action item for you.

But, before I get to the action item, things seems to be moving along for the "home team" San Jose, and given that our population has passed 1 million, our numbers should help convince MLB that San Jose is "the" place to be (we already know this, just have to make sure the powers that be get the message as well).

Action item: Tomorrow there is a city meeting, early afternoon, and one of items on the agenda has to do with the stadium:
Tuesday, for the first time, the City Council will vote on a handful of principles meant to shape any future negotiations with the A's. While those provisions hold the promise for some form of city contribution, they also make clear such an investment would require a citywide referendum and couldn't include San Jose's strapped operating funds.
The item should come up at about 3 pm or so, and if you can, please try to make the meeting (always good to show the council and mayor that there is support for MLB). The meeting is in the council chambers, San Jose City Hall, and don't forget to wear your baseball hat : )

If you can't make the meeting, you can also watch online, click here to go to the live stream.

Here is a link to the agenda, print it out if you like, or save it for historical purposes : )

Ok, that is it for now, be back after the meeting tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Great meeting last night, thank you!

A huge thank you to everyone who showed up at our events last night, we were well represented and had a great time.

Michael Mulcahy was gracious enough to provide our group with some very good "eats" at Billy Berks, and his remarks at the city council meeting were well received. Marine Layer who writes the New A's Ballpark blog has a great "play by play" of the council meeting, and if you want to watch the speakers for yourself, click here to find the video when it is posted (as of this morning last nights meeting had not yet been archived.)

Here are some pictures from last night, you might recognize a few of the folks who were there. First, here are the pictures from Billy Berks:

From April 7 2009


From April 7 2009


From April 7 2009


From April 7 2009


From April 7 2009


From April 7 2009


After Billy Berks we walked over to City Hall as a group:

From April 7 2009


Filled an elevator at City Hall:

From April 7 2009


And here are some young A's fans in the audience:

From April 7 2009


And here is the blogger who writes "NewA'sBallPark:"

From April 7 2009


There were a number of people who spoke in favor of the stadium last night, including former mayors Janet Grey Hayes and Susan Hammer, County Assessor Larry Stone and Carl Guardino of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (click here to read the survey done by the SVLG). Additionally there were a number of people who voiced both opposition and concerns, but overall I would say that there were more people who spoke in favor of bringing MLB to San Jose.

All said, it was a great night and it was nice to meet so many of our facegroup folks in person.

And WOW! Our facebook group is almost at 700! Keep up the great work everyone. We need to keep growing our numbers so when the time comes we are ready to get to work and help our city become major league.

Play ball San Jose.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

April 7th Rally and City Hall Council Meeting and some news

Join us at Billy Berks, 99 S 1st St, San Jose, CA 95113, on Tuesday, April 7th at 5:30 p.m. for a pre City Council meeting rally. We will be joined by Michael Mulcahy, co-chair of the study group looking at the feasibility of bringing MLB to San Jose.

After a short meeting/rally we will walk over to city hall for the council meeting. If you are planning on attending either the pre meeting rally at Billy Berks or the city council meeting, please RSVP on facebook, or send me an email Jacquie at baseballsanjose.com.

Wear a hat to show your support for MLB in San Jose. Last, if you live near the proposed stadium (downtown San Jose, Willow Glen, Rosegarden, etc., please email me if you will be attending either of the meetings). Now, onto some news.

Lots of news appearing lately, first off the Giants buying an interest in the San Jose Giants:

Amid a threat to their territorial rights in Santa Clara County, the Giants are moving to fortify their baseball outpost in the region.

The major league club has reached agreement to purchase a 25 percent stake in its Class A minor league affiliate in San Jose, club and industry officials told the Mercury News on Wednesday.

Does this mean the Giants now "own" more of San Jose? No, and this move isn't going to help or hinder the current drive to bring MLB to San Jose.

And of course those ugly "territorial rights" keep popping up:

The geography is simple: Downtown San Jose sits 38 miles from the Oakland A's current stadium and 51 miles from the San Francisco Giants' popular bayfront ballpark.

But the calculus is far less clear: Exactly how much is the capital of Silicon Valley worth to the two big-league baseball teams — the A's, who hope to move here, and the Giants, who are fiercely guarding territorial rights to the city?

From the same article, a bit of history:

In many ways, the current tussle over Santa Clara County — handed to the Giants on June 14, 1990, with the A's blessing — reflects an ironic twist in the fortunes of the two teams.

Back then, before Barry Bonds and their retro ballpark on San Francisco's waterfront, it was the Giants who found themselves looking to the South Bay for salvation, desperate to escape a decrepit, sparsely attended stadium.

And it was the A's who reigned as the Bay Area's baseball darlings, flush with record turnout — some 2.9 million fans alone in 1990 — and owners, the Haas family, who spent heavily on players to keep those fans coming back.

But while the South Bay was already well on the way to becoming the economic powerhouse it is today, ceding it seemed a no-brainer for A's officials tempted by the prospect of having San Francisco and the North Bay all to themselves. It wasn't until years later, baseball sources say, that the A's realized what keeping a piece of Santa Clara County could have been worth.

Ultimately, the Giants never did make their way south, losing a fourth and final ballot measure in 1992 that would have committed San Jose tax money to a new stadium.

The bottom line is what makes the best business sense for all of MLB, not simply the Giants, and my guess is that moving the A's to San Jose is going to improve MLB's balance sheet.

Don't forget: RSVP for Tuesday, see you there!

Play ball San Jose.

Monday, March 30, 2009

MLB forms committee to look at A's stadium situation

Go figure, I don't post for a week, and now three in one day (and no, it is not three strikes and I am out). Just had this article sent to me, and thought you would like to see it as well:

Commissioner Bud Selig is putting together a committee to look at the A's stadium situation, saying that the team can't stay in its current situation at the Coliesum forever.

"Lew Wolff and the Oakland ownership group and management have worked very hard to obtain a facility that will allow them to compete into the 21st century," Selig said in a release. "To date they, like the two ownership groups in Oakland before them, have been unsuccessful in those efforts, despite having the significant support of their corporate partner Cisco. The time has come for a thorough analysis of why a stadium deal has not been reached. The A's cannot and will not continue indefinitely in their current situation."

And:

According to the release, the committee will be chaired by Bob Starkey, a stadium expert and financial consultant for Major League Baseball. Corey Busch, a former executive with the Giants, and Irwin Raij, a lawyer with Foley and Lardner who worked extensively on both the Washington and Miami ballpark proposals, will also serve on the committee. MLB president and chief operating officer Bob DuPuy will work with them, and the group will submit a report to Selig.
Most interesting is this update from the above article:
I'm told that Busch has no ties with the current Giants' ownership group and that his Giants' background would have no impact on the territorial issue whatsoever. In fact, there's a feeling that the Giants' current ownership group might not be altogether thrilled that Busch is on this committee. It's safe to say that A's believe he will be objective when it comes to territorial rights.

Whatever happens with the A's bid for a new stadium, there will be questions about the economic climate and if the time is right to get such a project underway, even with private funds.

Bottom line? MLB is getting off the bench and starting to seriously study what will be the best move for the A's, and San Jose is looking pretty good right now folks. Stay tuned as I am sure there is going to be some more information later this week.

Play ball San Jose.

Lunch time whiffle ball tomorrow

Jack Wimberly, the new Vice President of our facebook group, has organized a lunch time rally/whiffle ball game tomorrow (Tuesday, March 31) in front of city hall, 200 East Santa Clara Street, San Jose.

The game starts at 12 p.m., bring your lunch, meet some other BSJ supporters (I am going to try to be there) and don't forget to wear your A's colors. You can RSVP by clicking here, hope to see you tomorrow.

Thanks to Jack for getting the ball rolling on this fun event.

Play ball San Jose.

So things are getting interesting

First of all I have been absent due to a family issue, my 90 (almost 91) year old father in law has had some health issues and has moved from his home to my brother and sister in laws house. For the last month we have been cleaning out his house (60 plus years of stuff mind you), painting, ripping out bathrooms, and so on, in order to get it ready to rent. No, we are not finished yet, however we are finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

So, in my absence from this blog (but not the news) a few interesting things have popped up on the radar. First of all we had a guest opinion piece this weekend in the Mercury:
Is a baseball stadium in downtown San Jose a good idea? As city officials again seek to bring the A's to San Jose, this is a question that must be considered carefully, with full, open public involvement.
And:
The city is wisely starting a Diridon Station Area planning project, but the baseball stadium is not part of this study. It should be added, if the city is serious. However, the tail shouldn't wag the dog.

The transit center will be much more than a service for a stadium. It will be an important gateway to and catalyst for downtown San Jose. Land around it will become much more valuable. Stadium projects typically are subsidized in part with low-cost land grants and property tax abatements. Are there other land uses for this valuable location that may provide greater long-term economic benefit to the city and significantly reduce our structural budget deficit?

I agree with Helen Chapman that an open and thorough process is paramount in our quest to bring MLB to San Jose. As to the land use issue Chapman brings up, business always brings in more tax dollars then housing, so the discussion on what will bring the greatest long-term economic benefit to the city needs to compare apples to apples, ie, what other types of businesses could have the same impact on our economy as a stadium.

On that point we can look to the economic impact from HP Pavilion:

A new study this month commissioned by the folks who run San Jose's HP Pavilion produced some staggering numbers about just how successful the downtown arena has been since its opening some 15 or so years ago.

Total events? 2,600. Jobs created? 5,000. Cumulative economic impact? $1.7 billion. And, the study by Berkeley-based SportsEconomics asserts, San Jose every year sees a direct infusion of $5.4 million because of the stadium. All that for the comparably paltry $165 million it took to get the thing built.

Keep in mind that there was opposition to the Pavilion, yet you would be hard pressed to find anyone who owes up to that opposition today. Clearly the Pavilion has been an asset to our city, and in my opinion, a new stadium with a MLB team would be an even bigger asset in the long run, and we will need to remain engaged and involved with the process to make our dream a reality.

Along with the opinion piece and stats on HP Pavilion we also had a glimpse of some interesting statements by Lew Wolff:

He pointed out that San Jose officials have selected a site and completed environmental studies necessary to build a ballpark, and that a business group is preparing to start a campaign in support of an A's move to San Jose.

"I think they probably are in as good a position as anyone in California," said Wolff, who is co-owner of the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer. "They are the 10th-largest city in the country."

The article also mentions that Wolff is actively seeking a solution to the territorial rights with MLB. While the territorial rights are an issue, they are not a deal breaker by a long shot, and as has we all know, the bottom line is what works best for MLB and not just one team. There is no doubt that keeping the A's in our area is good business, the fan base is here, we have great weather, a large metropolitian population, great public transportation to the proposed site and we already have proven that we have the ability to support a sports franchise (Sharks).

Here is a good take on the territorial rights issue:

There's only one thing keeping Wolff from living out his San Jose fantasy, and that's the San Francisco Giants holding the territorial rights to the San Jose area. The Giants are unwilling to budge on that one, and they're doubling down on their angry public rhetoric. "Baseball's constitution defines Santa Clara County as the Giants' territory," Giants spokeswoman Staci Slaughter said. "It's the heart of our fan base in many respects."

San Jose is the heart of the Giants fan base? Does Giants spokeswoman Staci Slaughter know where the Giants play their games?

This will manifest as a war for the hearts and minds of Major League Baseball owners. MLB comissioner Bud Selig, Wolff's former fraternity brother, is already down --writing in a January letter that he supported the San Jose move. The owners would have to approve the move with a three-fourths majority. It's a double-edged sword for them. They share revenue, and owners would love to see profits maximized within the Bay Area's largest and wealthiest city. They would all profit from that move. On the other hand, this opens the door to other teams moving into their markets, so they'd have to consider the precedent that their own turf could also be put up for grabs.

Last, but never least, a few housekeeping items:

1.) Our facebook group is 649 strong and growing, keep up the great work everyone!

2.) Don't forget to RSVP for Tuesday, April 7th (San Jose City Council), stay tuned for more information and details.

Play ball San Jose.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A's to Oakland: thanks, but no thanks

The A's have sent out a statement by Lew Wolff today telling Oakland, thanks, but no thanks:
"We have fully exhausted our time and resources over the years with the city of Oakland, dating back to previous A's ownership," he said in the statement. "We recognize conditions have not changed. Letters to Major League Baseball offer nothing new or of any real substance. Outside stimulation to have us continue to play in an aging and shared facility may generate press and 'sound-bite' opportunities, but do not provide any tangible alterations in the circumstances we face."
Click here to read the entire statement.

The above statement comes on the heels of this story:

Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums and City Council President Jane Brunner appealed Thursday to the commissioner of Major League Baseball to do what he can to work with the city to keep the A's in Oakland.

Dellums and Brunner made their pitch in writing after plans to build a ballpark for the A's in Fremont fell apart last month, and as San Jose officials take steps toward luring the A's to their city.

"We are writing on behalf of the city of Oakland to make clear that we are prepared to do everything reasonably possible to keep the Oakland A's in Oakland," the letter from Dellums and Brunner said. "We are committed to working with Major League Baseball and the A's owners to keep the team in Oakland."

And:

Ken Pries, the A's vice president of communications and broadcasting, said in an e-mail that A's owner Lew Wolff was aware of the letter. "He has no comment at this time and his focus now is on the team and the start of the 2009 season," Pries wrote. "His goal and desire for the organization is to determine a way to keep the team in Northern California. A goal that has not changed."

At the top of the Merc's website is this story:

Plans for the A's to move to Fremont fell apart last month, and San Jose is viewed by many people as the leading contender to and the team. But the San Francisco Giants hold territorial rights to Santa Clara County, meaning Selig may have to get involved if the A's are allowed to move to San Jose.

Wolff's letter noted attendance and season ticket holders in Oakland are both among the lowest in baseball — even when the A's are playing well on the field.

"Our goal and desire for the organization is to determine a way to keep the team in Northern California," Wolff wrote. "That goal has not changed. We have no interest in covering old ground again, as we need to move forward in finding a future home for our team."

Dellums' office did not immediately comment.

Interesting to note that yesterday Wolff had no comment, and today he makes a very strong statement that his energy isn't going to be in negotiating plans he has already rejected. Oakland now finds itself at the bottom of the ninth, two outs and no one on base.

How does this play for San Jose? First of all it indicates that moving the A's to our city is much more then a 50/50 proposition, I would say we are now looking at 80/20, the biggest caveat being territorial rights, and the second hurdle being the building of the stadium.

Given that MLB is a business, their bottom line is profit, and if it makes financial sense to move the A's to San Jose, those territorial rights are going to disappear. In my opinion moving the A's to San Jose may well increase the overall profits for MLB and the owners who are now subsidizing teams like the A's.

As to the building of the stadium we shall have to see what our electeds and business leaders come up with by way of funding. A best case would be if a majority, if not all, of the funding will be private funding with some taxpayer money used for improvements to the site. Given that there is no proposal on the table anything written at this point is a guess, so we shall have to wait and see what our city and the "A's to San Jose Study Group" comes up with by way of funding.

And once again you all amaze me! Our facebook group is now well on the way to 600 members! Way to go everyone! Keep on inviting your friends and family.

Don't forget: April 7th is the day we will need to show up at city hall, mark you calendar and plan to be there to show your support for MLB coming to San Jose.

Play ball San Jose.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A's to San Jose Study Group raises money for poll

Just received word that the newly formed "A's to San Jose Study Group" has raised enough money for a poll. This is great news, and I would expect that a poll will be, as they say, "in the field" within the next few weeks or a month at the latest.

As I am watching the rules committee meeting right now there seems to be a broad support for baseball, as well as some reasonable concerns by the public. Concerns raised: make sure that there are a number of well publicized public meetings, EIR out of date, the projected impact on neighborhoods and a few other issues.

Here is a link to the mayor's memo, and please make sure to mark April 7th on your calendar, that is the day (night) that we will need to be at city hall to show our support.

(Update: The upload seems to have made the document unreadable, try going here for a better version. And here is the memo from Councilmembers Pyle, Herrera and Campos)

Here are some links to stories covering the meeting today: KCBS, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Once the polling is done we will have a better idea of where we stand with the residents of San Jose. I will guess that support should be fairly strong if there is little to no public money used in the building of the stadium. We shall have to see, but hopefully we will get good news in a short amount of time.

And WOW! We hit 500 members on our facebook group yesterday, and right now we stand at 516 members, you all rock!

Again, mark your calendar for April 7th.

Play ball San Jose.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"A's to San Jose Study Group" names co-chairs

Just received a news release from the "A's to San Jose Study Group," announcing two newly appointed co-chairs:

Former San Jose Mayor Susan Hammer
San Jose Businessman Michael Mulcahy

This is huge news! Hammer has long been an advocate of bringing MLB to San Jose, she is well respected and she has the past experience of dealing with MLB. Having Hammer join with this newly formed group of community and business leaders is clearly a step in the right direction, and sends a strong message to MLB that San Jose is ready for the big league.

Mulcahy is a strong community and business leader who has amazing leadership and organizational skills, on top of having a great singing voice (maybe he should be nominated to sing at our first opening day). Having worked with Mulcahy before, I can tell you first hand that he is one of the nicest, smartest and hardest working individual you will ever have the pleasure of meeting.

In case you were wondering, the "A's to San Jose Study Group" is an organization focused on keeping the public and city hall informed and up to date on the actions of our local "movers and shakers" who want to bring MLB to San Jose. This group is also working on raising money for polling as well as reaching out to our public and private leaders.

From the press release:
For the past month, an ad hoc group of community leaders and elected officials have convened to discuss the political feasibility of bringing the Oakland Athletics Major League Baseball team to San Jose. Among others, the group has been comprised of County Supervisor Dave Cortese, County Assessor Larry Stone, businessman Bill Baron, attorneys Dave Robeson and Sam Chuck, along with representatives of Mayor Chuck Reed’s office and members of the City Council.
Today's news is also important as it sends a very strong message to MLB that San Jose is not only serious about the A's, we have the leadership in place to make this happen.

So, stay tuned to this blog for more updates and breaking news, as soon as I learn anything else so will you.

And thanks so much for your help in driving our facebook numbers, we are currently at 492 members! If you haven't yet invited your friends and family members, please take a minute to invite a few more people today and help us break .500 ; )

Play ball San Jose.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Working together

The Mercury's editorial today was spot on, especially this part:
Major League Baseball needs to acknowledge that San Jose is the only practical option for the A's in the lucrative Bay Area market. Wolff has dealt with the city for decades. He has good relationships with Mayor Chuck Reed and downtown Councilman Sam Liccardo.
San Jose is clearly the best location for the A's, an even better site then their current home in Oakland. To achieve our dream of bringing MLB to San Jose we need to be a team and work together. Our team has many components, including elected officials, business leaders, supporters and residents who live near the proposed stadium location. And as things progress we will be called upon to take action by showing up for meetings, writing letters and more. Above all each part of our team needs to remain focused on the big picture: bringing MLB to San Jose.

And the Mercury hit home with this as well:
We believe San Jose residents would like having the A's play downtown. They've seen the Sharks and the arena enrich city life. And while some neighbors will fight a ballpark, others have moved downtown for a more urban experience. Condos near AT&T Park in San Francisco don't suffer from proximity to that great ball field.

The vote on the arena was very close, but today hardly anyone admits to having opposed it. The same would happen with a ballpark for the A's. But to win support, city leaders will need to work together. That's why the enthusiasm of both Reed and Campos, his political nemesis, is a very good sign.

You will be able to watch Rules Committee meeting online, here is the link, or you can attend in person, here are the details:

Rules & Open Government Committee
Wing Public Rooms Room 118+119
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Time:2:00 PM to 5:00 PM

I won't be able to attend in person, but will be watching online and blogging the meeting from home.

Finally please make sure to mark your calendars with the April 7th date, which may well be our first call to action. The meeting should be in the evening, and I will try to get something online that you can print out and bring with you to show support for BSJ.

Play ball San Jose.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Return of the Nimby

Now that the A's and San Jose are back in play, concerns from residents close to the proposed stadium site are once again being voiced. In all fairness those who would be most impacted by the stadium should have all of their concerns addressed. On the other hand, our city needs to do what is in the best interest for our city, weighing concerns against the economic impact of a new stadium.

Scott Herhold discussed his neighbors concerns today, and then he finished up with this:

So where one of my neighbors bemoaned a possible explosion of fast-food restaurants if the A's come to town, I see a ballpark pumping energy into The Alameda. In 15 years, I've seen nothing but good from the impact of the HP Pavilion.

I don't mean the city ought to accept any ballpark under any terms. We know there are good and bad deals. When the city negotiates with Lew Wolff, it needs to bring its "A'' game, and I intend that as no pun: He's bringing his.

What I do mean is that a ballpark can be — with the right rules, in the right circumstances, for the right price — a big plus for the city and even for most of the neighborhood. Now, the A's white shoes are a wholly different matter. .

While I do not always agree with Herhold, on this matter we are in complete agreement. Herhold's support of new ballpark, even though he may experience some inconvience, is welcomed. Herhold also understands that a stadium project could have widespread positive economic impacts for the entire South Bay.

And we also should not forget all those who raised the same or similar objections to HP Pavilion, as noted by the New A's Ballpark blog:

Proponents of the ballpark point to all of the naysaying regarding the arena's development. The arena didn't destroy either Shasta/Hanchett or the further away Rose Garden, and it actually led to redevelopment of downtown and the Cahill Park neighborhood immediately west of Diridon Station.
We all know the obvious: a new stadium in downtown San Jose is going to impact life for many of us who call San Jose home, some more then others, but there will also be benefits to our city and its residents. Moving forward it is imperative that concerns are addressed, benefits noted and concessions made where possible.

Play ball San Jose.

Monday, March 2, 2009

San Jose is still the one

The Mercury had an interesting story on Friday:
In a dig-the-enthusiasm-but-don't-go-too-far e-mail to Mayor Chuck Reed, Wolff revealed: "Naturally my decision to cease our efforts in Fremont has generated a lot of calls, e-mails, etc. from your community and a number of others," Wolff wrote at about 8 p.m. Thursday. Though "I do not wish to seem disrespectful, and I always am delighted to take calls from elected officials and others, I would appreciate you letting those who wish to contact Major League Baseball officials that, as far as I am concerned, such contacts are not recommended."
And I found this blurb on Rob Neyer's Blog (ESPN.com writer):

When I invited the Athletics to Portland on Wednesday, I was of course just fooling around; at this moment there is neither the political nor the corporate support for a $400 million construction project. Not to build a millionaires' playground, anyway.

The best outcome for the A's and their fans would be staying in the Bay Area. My only real concern is for those fans, many of whom would presumably have a non-arduous trip to a ballpark in San Jose. If you've been to the Bay Area -- and particularly if you've tried to drive from San Jose to downtown San Francisco during anything like rush hour -- you know the two cities don't feel particularly close to each other. For every San Jose fan the Giants might lose, they might gain a fan from Berkeley and Oakland.

Note that while Portland has been mentioned as possible place for the A's to relocate, right now, according to Neyer, Portland does not have the political or business infrastructure in place to make that move possible, San Jose is far better situated by way of political will and organization, not to mention that the A's are already located in the Bay Area. You can read more about Portland's efforts by visiting their stadium website (which you will note hasn't been updated for a while).

So, given the above information, what do we do moving forward? We keep doing what we are doing, getting people to join the facebook group and this blog. Our facebook group is, as of this post, at 399 (WOW!), and we need to get that number up into the thousands to show MLB that there is widespread local support for bringing the A's to San Jose.

In the near future we may also be called upon to show up at public meetings, and it will be important that we arrive in large numbers if we want MLB to know that the residents of San Jose are worthy of the "big league." Keep watching this blog and the facebook group for updates on meetings we will need to attend. Until then, keep doing what you are doing and start saving those pennies for your season tickets.

Play ball San Jose.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Another day, another story in the Mercury

I really got a kick out of the story today in the San Jose Mercury:

Councilwoman Nora Campos and two of her colleagues are wasting no time when it comes to San Jose's pursuit of the Oakland A's, saying the economic stakes are too high to wait.

In a memo to be taken up next week by the City Council's agenda-setting Rules and Open Government Committee — the first formal proposal thus far — Campos, Rose Herrera and Nancy Pyle want the full council to schedule a discussion March 24 on how best to proceed in stadium talks with the A's and Major League Baseball.

Now, why did I get such a kick out of this story? Because the San Jose City councilmembers who are taking the lead on moving the A's to San Jose.....are........women : ) Yes, that is, in my book, something worthy of pointing out.

Now, onto other developments. Our facebook group is growing fast, we are almost at 300 supporters! We need to get that number up into the thousands, so, once again I appeal to you to get your friends and family members to join our facebook group, click here for a direct link.

And, Matt Lera posted this picture on our group (from the San Jose Redevelopment Agency)

Isn't that picture too good for words? Image how it would be to sit there on a warm summer night, surrounded by family and friends, enjoying our San Jose A's, and knowing that we will be able to get home in a matter of minutes versus hours.

The Redevelopment site linked above has a wealth of information, reports on economic impact, EIR and more, make sure to take a look at what they have done so far, some very good information to have on hand.

And thanks to those of you who are signing up for email updates, if you haven't yet signed up please take a moment to do so, you will find the email subscription box in the top left corner of the blog.

Time for the weekend folks, I will try to post Saturday or Sunday, but if I can't, look back here for a post on Monday.

Play ball San Jose.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The winds of change

Our San Jose leaders have once again started to gather and work on bringing MLB to San Jose:

A day after the Oakland A's cut off relocation talks with Fremont, San Jose's elected officials and community leaders jumped to work Wednesday on reviving a stadium romance that withered nearly three years ago.

Some gathered in a hastily called meeting. Other boosters signed up for a new "Baseball San Jose" page on Facebook. They talked of conducting polls and rounding up sponsors and perhaps even offering a discount on city-owned land already earmarked for a downtown stadium.

So, what is "our job?" To generate interest and support for MLB in San Jose:
But among the steps San Jose could take to persuade Wolff's fellow owners to change those rights: producing poll numbers that show widespread local support for the team and drumming up lists of potential sponsors and season ticket buyers.
In addition to poll numbers we can do two things right now to show support: sign up to follow this blog (and receive email updates), and ask your friends and family to join our facebook group.

There will be many other ways to get involved in the near future, but for right now our primary job is to show widespread local support for bringing MLB to San Jose. Invite your San Jose friends and family to join the facebook group, and then ask them to stop over here and sign up for email updates.

If we want MLB to seriously consider moving the A's to our area we need to prove that our interest is strong enough to support a MLB team. I know that San Jose is the best place for the A's, you know it too. Our job is to make sure that MLB sees just how strong our support is and will be once the A's call San Jose home.

Play ball San Jose.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mark Purdy: "San Jose. Of course."

Mark Purdy (San Jose Mercury) today writes:
The next move is Major League Baseball's move. Otherwise, the A's may never move to the place where they needed to move years ago:

San Jose. Of course.

Tuesday's news was no shock. A's owner Lew Wolff officially announced that he has "ceased" his plans for a ballpark project in Fremont. (New motto: City Of Angry Neighbors Who Hate Baseball.) It merely confirmed last week's reports that the team and Fremont had fallen out of love.
And yes, we do have some work, including the territorial rights that are a road block, but according to Purdy those rights may not be that hard of an obstacle to overcome:
As I have noted, those "territorial rights" do not "belong" to the Giants. Those "rights" are the property of Major League Baseball, which permits the Giants to claim them. But the "rights" can be overturned with one swift vote by MLB owners.
There are other cities, including Portland and Sacramento that are possible locations for the A's, but neither of these locations measure up to the possibilities that San Jose can offer.

San Jose has the land available to build a stadium downtown, complete with amble public transportation. Additionally, the downtown location would create a huge amount of pre and post game activity for all of the surrounding businesses, not to mention the jobs that would be created with the building and staffing of said stadium.

Are we ready, finally, to move forward? Time will tell, but you can certainly help get the word out by becoming a follower of this blog, and also joining the facebook group, "Baseball San Jose."

Time to play ball San Jose.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Do you know the way to San Jose?

Finally we hear that Fremont is "officially" dead:
The Oakland A's slammed the door on any move to Fremont today, citing strong opposition to both of their stadium proposals.

"I have concluded that further consideration of the A's relocating to Fremont must cease," team co-owner Lew Wolff wrote in a letter sent to city officials today.

Wolff's announcement has been expected since last week when he halted the environmental process needed for approve a future stadium either adjacent to the Pacific Commons shopping center west of Interstate 880, or between interstates 680 and 880 near the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. plant.
There is only one logical place for the A's to land, and that is San Jose. Now, there are many obstacles to overcome, but if anyone can do this we can.

Personally I never thought that Fremont would work out, my biggest reason being that a ballpark in downtown San Jose just made better economic sense, and secondly having Major League Baseball here in San Jose is a dream of mine.

So, keep checking this blog for updates on how you can once again be a part of bringing Major League Baseball to San Jose.

Play ball San Jose.