Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year 2011 (The Year of the Decision?)

As 2010 comes to an end San Jose still awaits a decision by Major League Baseball on Santa Clara County territorial rights. It has been 20 months since Commissioner Selig appointed a committee to study the issue and there is still no indication of what they might decide. At Baseball San Jose we are hopeful the new year will bring a decision and that it is in favor of allowing the team to move here. In the meantime, we will celebrate entering 2011 along with the rest of San Jose. Have an enjoyable and safe New Year's Eve.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas from Baseball San Jose

We at Baseball San Jose would like to wish everyone a happy and safe Christmas holiday.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

All for Show?

On Tuesday night, Oakland's city council voted 6 - 2 to spend $750,000 on a study for a 39,000 seat ballpark south of Jack London Square to house the Athletics (Click here for the article). But is Oakland really serious about their plans or, as Baseball San Jose Co-Chair Michael Mulcahy said yesterday on 1590 KLIV, is this just “political posturing?”

It has been over five years since the Athletics were purchased by a group led by Lew Wolff. They spent 2 ½ years looking for sites in Oakland before realizing they had exhausted all their options. After which they pursued options in Fremont, to no avail (read Athletics Nation's recent interview with Lew Wolff here).

So, now its nearly 2011 and San Jose is clearly the most viable option; a solid plan is in place—including financing—and it enjoys broad community, political, and business support. The final obstacle, of course, is the Giants' claim to Santa Clara County's territorial rights (which, when granted in the 1990s, came with no objections from the A's). Yet, only now does Oakland begin to take the A's seriously. Despite their sudden interest, Oakland city council president Jane Brunner was quoted in an article by CBS 5 as saying:

…if the environmental study is approved, the city will spend the money for it only gradually and will halt the study if the A’s and Major League Baseball announce that a new stadium will be built in another city.

That's not exactly a wholehearted endorsement of keeping the A’s in Oakland.

In San Jose, we've wasted no time in pushing forward with efforts to review the economic viability of a downtown baseball stadium and, as a result, have already approved our Environmental Impact Report (EIR). And unlike Oakland, San Jose’s council has consistently voted unanimously to support all stadium issues.

Some residents in Oakland have been very passionate about keeping the A’s, (as much as we in San Jose have been about a move here), so it really shouldn’t be any surprise that their elected officials would finally wake up. But again, unlike Oakland, our elected leaders have been proactive rather than reactive. Don’t be confused by what’s going on in Oakland, it really is nothing more than “smoke and mirrors” intended to appease anxious residents who are desperate to see their leadership take action.

The fact remains that there are very few options available to the Athletics other than San Jose, and if it doesn’t happen here, for fans across the Bay Area this could mean not just a move out of Oakland, but California.

So, enough with the posturing Oakland. Get out of the way, so San Jose can finish the job.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

While Major League Baseball Procrastinates, the Athletics Take Care of Business

The Winter Meetings might have come and gone with still no decision from Major League Baseball on territorial rights, but the business of baseball goes on (along with the agony of San Jose baseball fans) for the Athletics who made two significant additions to their roster this week.

The first was Hideki Matsui, the former New York Yankee and Los Angeles Angel who is expected to be the Athletics designated hitter. The second is former Athletic and fan favorite Rich Harden who could help bolster the bullpen or fill in as the fifth starter.

The A’s also made a trade in early November with the Kansas City Royals for outfielder David DeJesus. In addition the Athletics continue to aggressively pursue Adrian Beltre who they hope can fill their need at third base.

It no doubt has been very difficult for the A’s to make significant additions to their roster over the years given the Coliseum’s reputation for not being a hitter friendly ballpark. However, despite this and contrary to rumblings amongst some fans, the A’s continue to try and build a team that can compete with their rivals in the American League West.

On Tuesday, San Jose Mercury News Columnist Monte Poole wrote about how the A’s are becoming relevant again with their offseason additions. In the article he talks with General Manager Billy Beane who says:

"One of the benefits of having a young team and paring back the last few years is that you'll get to a point where you'll have major league players at low cost and you'll have some flexibility, which is where we're at this year," Beane said. "Is it relative to everybody else, to some of the deals that are out there? No. But for us, it's a little more unique.

“So we have been able to be a little more aggressive. And we still have some of the offseason, so we'll see where it goes. We plan on trying to be aggressive."

So it seems despite one of the lowest payrolls in Major League Baseball and the challenge of exciting fans in the Bay Area who are enamored by the Giants World Series victory, the Athletics will continue the work of assembling a competitive team of their own. Even if they aren’t yet playing in San Jose, we here at Baseball San Jose are excited at the team being assembled for the 2011 season.

Keep up the good work Athletics, and we hope to see you soon throwing your first pitch in San Jose.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Plenty of Game Left

It's been quite a week for all concerned in the A's stadium saga. The roller coaster drama was the result of a baseball blog's unnamed source report which claimed Comissioner Selig's blue ribbon committee was leaning toward choosing Oakland over San Jose. Not surprisingly, boosters on both sides were atwitter with the news that A) the committee was finally ready to issue its findings and B) that it would favor Oakland's eleventh-hour pitch.

The 2010 winter meetings have now come and gone with no official word about the A's next move. And still, no one has been able to substantiate that initial report. For his part, Lew Wolff quickly refuted it, followed by MLB, which said:

Despite reports or speculation to the contrary, Major League Baseball has not completed its study of the Oakland A's stadium matter nor has the Commissioner's Special Committee recommended any sites or territories for the development of a new ballpark for the A's. No date has been determined for the committee to issue its findings.

So, there. The game continues—with plenty left to play.

You're still up to bat, San Jose!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

And May All Your Christmases be Green and Gold

On Sunday, San Jose held its 29th annual Holiday Parade. One of the largest on the West Coast, the parade attracts spectators from all over the Bay Area.

Joining Baseball San Jose in the holiday cheer were A's pitchers Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson. They stopped by the BSJ booth to sign autographs and greet fans.

The large crowds were another reminder that the South Bay is as much A's country as anything else. And as always, Silicon Valley greeted the Green and Gold warmly. Hopefully, its just a matter of time before we can officially unroll the San Jose A's welcome mat.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Proposed Ballpark Walking Tour

Haven't made it to a walking tour, no worries. Below is a short video tour. Hope you enjoy it.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Oakland's Victory Court Proposal: Not a Purdy Picture

The Mercury's Mark Purdy is unimpressed by the hoo-hah surrounding Oakland's last-ditch effort to keep the A's. The so-called Victory Court site was officially unveiled last night in Oakland—well, sort of. It was really just the first step in initiating an environmental impact report (EIR), which, at the earliest, would be completed in 2012 or 2013.

Purdy, as frustrated as any of us about the glacier-pace at which this whole process has moved, sizes up the cities' competing plans:

Oakland has not even begun an environmental impact report for its ballpark site. 

The San Jose site's EIR has already been completed, revised and certified. 

The proposed Oakland site is not entirely owned by the city and is currently occupied by 16 businesses. All would have to be relocated. This could involve a lengthy eminent domain process and cost millions.

All of the parcels on the San Jose site already are owned by the city's redevelopment agency or are being purchased by that agency -- which, admittedly, is having financial issues. However, Wolff has said that, if necessary, he would loan money to the agency for purchase of the land. He wants to get on with it. 

The proposed Oakland site is tucked away next to Interstate 880 with uncertain parking and traffic issues that could clog roads. The nearest BART stop is five blocks away. 

The San Jose site is literally on the doorstep of Diridon Station with links to light rail, Caltrain and Amtrak. Thousands of parking spots are nearby. The traffic model has already been tested by Sharks games at nearby HP Pavilion.

In San Jose, members of MLB's so-called "blue ribbon panel" have visited San Jose City Hall at least twice in the past two months. They reportedly have been going over the stadium drawings and plans in detail, right down to the height of light poles in relation to the airport's landing path.

Oakland has no detailed ballpark drawings to examine.

The ballpark-naming rights in San Jose have already been negotiated with Cisco Systems, which is eager to see "Cisco Field" built in its hometown.

Oakland has no company publicly stepping up to commit naming-rights money.

Doesn't get any clearer than that, does it?

Of course, overreaching Oakland boosters and lazy reporters have made much noise about the missed March election deadline in San Jose this week. But as we've pointed out, unlike Oakland, this city has its ducks in a row. Just give us the go-ahead, and San Jose is ready to roll.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

April, June, or Whenever

You might have read a story in the Mercury News by Tracy Seipel about it being unlikely there would be a ballpark vote in March since we are still awaiting a decision by Major League Baseball on the territorial rights issue. Like the rest of San Jose, we here at Baseball San Jose are anxious for a decision and while we would like to know sooner rather than later, our efforts to build support has never hinged on an election in March. Whether we like it or not, Bud Selig has a process he wants to work through and there is very little we can do to push him along. While we might be frustrated we will forge ahead in making our case for why the A's in San Jose makes sense and continue building support for an election in April, June or whenever it is a decision is made. Who knows, maybe it will come next week when Major League Baseball meets in Florida for their Winter Meetings.

This Sunday, if you happen to be out at the San Jose Holiday Parade, stop by the Baseball San Jose booth and say hi. From 11:00 am - 12:00 pm Athletics pitchers Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill will be by to sign autographs, so if our smiling faces aren't enough maybe theirs will be.

Find us on Facebook.