Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2012 Comes into Focus

We thought we'd had one too many egg nogs when, late last week, we heard about Bob Nightengale's tweet: "All signs and top MLB sources say that the Athletics will be granted permission by Feb to move to San Jose." Surely, we were simply overcome with the spirit of the season, but as it turns out, Nightengale's tweet was legit. And it further confirmed the momentum the Athletics' move to San Jose has gained. Thus, Silicon Valley got a little something extra to smile about on Christmas Eve.

Of course, it wouldn't be the holidays without Scrooge. This season, he comes courtesy of the San Francisco Giants. In an interview with the Chronicle, Peter Magowan, former Giants managing partner, called an A's move to San Jose "wishful thinking." Still acting as if they alone control Santa Clara County's territorial rights, the Giants continue to display the worst of competitive sports. The real wishful thinking is the belief that San Joseans will simply hand over control of their city's destiny to a greedy team from 40 miles north.

Still, even the Giants can't kill our holiday fun. As we look forward to 2012, all indications are that MLB will grant this move. As always, we are ready. In fact, the champagne is already chilling. 

You're up to bat, San Jose!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays from Baseball San Jose!






















We, here at Baseball San Jose, would like to wish our community of supporters all the best this holiday season. And though it may not come on Christmas morning exactly, we believe Santa will be very good to us very soon.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Painfully Obvious Conspiracy















Tonight, the Mercury's Tracy Seipel wrote about the seemingly shadowy group known as Stand for San Jose. But unlike Anonymous or Skull and Bones or The Secret Society of Super Villains, there really is no mystery here. Plain and simple, SFSJ is a front group for the San Francisco Giants. Apparently, the real secret is its membership. In fact, it's such a secret that even its own members don't know when they're representing the group in court, as was the case with SFSJ member Eileen Hannan. Only recently did she learn that she was a plaintiff in the group's lawsuit against San Jose. That's a curious way to run an organization, but when you're not really made up of anyone real, what can you expect?  

Ultimately, all of these are signs that the Giants are scared. Their grip on Silicon Valley is quickly loosening as signs point to a decision favoring San Jose within a month. The Giants' Santa Clara County territorial rights may soon be a thing of the past. And it is the truth that shall set them free. 

You're up to bat, San Jose!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mayor Quan's Last Gasp



In case you missed it, on Friday Oakland Mayor Jean Quan held a press conference to discuss plans she likely hopes will quell the desires of her cities sports teams to bolt town for greener pastures elsewhere.  It should come as no surprise Mayor Quan would be so assiduous in her attempts to keep her major sports franchises in Oakland, as they are a boon to a local economy and a symbol of grandeur for any city lucky enough to have even just one team.  Recent reports though make it more and more likely they could lose all three teams and that her attempts at retaining them are futile.   

Just a day before her press conference reports surfaced that the owners of the Golden State Warriors met with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee to discuss the feasibility of the team moving to his city.  There have been weeks of media reports stating Major League Baseball, at its January owners meeting, could make a decision on the San Francisco Giants territorial rights over Santa Clara County, which if lifted would free the Athletics to move to San Jose.  And, with the recent passing of long-time owner Al Davis, there’s speculation the Raiders would consider moving back to LosAngeles to be housed in a new stadium being planned for an NFL franchise.  So it seems the exodus of her cities three sports franchises is becoming more of reality as each day and week passes.

To be fair, fingers can’t solely be pointed at Mayor Quan as her predecessors failed to take serious action to find viable solutions to team stadium woes.  In particularly those of the Athletics whose initial attempts were done in Oakland.  

Given Mayor Quan’s recent political woes, it should come as no surprise she would fight so vehemently to keep the team's in town.  She is clearly looking to show Oakland residents that despite current calls for her recall, she continues to have her finger on the pulse of the city and understands how demoralized residents would be at losing any one of their sports teams, let alone all three.   Her plan however, specifically that as it relates to the Athletics, is just another pipe dream based on misleading statements that teeter on the edge of outright deceit.

In her letter to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, Mayor Quan writes, “We believe we have the only sites that can be delivered by 2014.”  This however seems unlikely given the almost two years it would take to complete an EIR before a stadium could even begin construction. This doesn’t even include community outreach, city council meetings, and in the case of the Victory Court plan, relocation of businesses currently occupying the proposed site.

Mayor Quan’s stadium plan seems haphazard and short-sighted at best.  With the clock ticking and options running out, it seems apparent that this latest attempt is likely hers and Oakland's last gasp.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Decision Seems Likely


Last week the anti-ballpark group “Stand for San Jose” filed a lawsuit against the City of San Jose claiming they failed to perform a proper environmental review of the land designated for a ballpark.  It seems oddly timed given the scattering of talk going on about a possible decision from MLB Commissioner Bud Selig on the Santa Clara County territorial rights currently held by the San Francisco Giants.  As you know, if those rights are overturned, it would open the door to the Athletics moving to San Jose.  If media reports are any indication, we could likely hear a decision as soon as January during the owners Winter Meetings—marking almost three years since a Blue Ribbon committee was established to study the Athletics stadium options.   Everyone seems to be chiming in on the Athletics stadium woes, including Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf who was quoted on Tuesday in a San Francisco Chronicle article as saying,  


I'm totally supportive of Lew getting a new ballpark and going to San Jose," Reinsdorf said. "He needs to be there. It has to come to a head soon.  


So should we really be surprised by "Stand for San Jose's" lawsuit?  According to San Jose Mercury News Columnist Mark Purdy, probably not:
Clearly, the Giants are afraid that Selig will soon decide against them. Otherwise, why file the lawsuit at all? Why not let the other MLB owners decide the right thing to do? Perhaps because, as Reinsdorf's comments demonstrate, the Giants already know what that decision will be.
The San Francisco Giants seem to see that the writing is on the wall and will do anything to prevent the Athletics from moving to San Jose and controlling its own destiny.  Why should the South Bay be deprived by the Giants selfishness, veiled in their suggesting impropriety by the Athletics and San Jose.  Their actions in themselves tend to contradict their claims of an organizations right to territorial exclusivity given the recent opening of a Giants Dugout store in Walnut Creek , slap-dap in the Athletics designated territory of Contra Costa County.  The Giants arrogance is just outright astounding.  
Note to Giants: It’s 2011 and the St. Louis Cardinals are World Series Champions.  So how about you stop toting that 2010 World Series trophy everywhere you go like it’s the Holy Grail and focus on getting back to the playoffs in 2012.     



Monday, November 7, 2011

A Note From Baseball San Jose Co-Chairs--Downtown San Jose Ballpark Land







November 6, 2011

RE: Downtown San Jose Ballpark Land

Dear Friends of Baseball San Jose:

This Tuesday, November 8, the San Jose City Council will make an important move to secure many future benefits for our community – including hundreds of jobs and millions in new general fund revenue – by approving an option for the purchase of property to a private investment group for a downtown ballpark.  The sale option to the Athletics ownership group will send yet another powerful message that San Jose continues to be vigilant in its effort to attract the team.

The Council’s action will further prepare San Jose for the day when Major League Baseball finally sees the light and approves the move of the Athletics to the Bay Area’s largest city.

We want to be clear about three key points:

1.   If no ballpark gets built, San Jose will still own the property.  In other words, a $500 million private investment on a ballpark will have to be made to trigger the sale of the property.

2.   The land would be purchased at a fair market price with private funds in exchange for a $500 million private investment to build a ballpark in our community.  According to the highly respected Colliers International real estate organization, the fair market value for the parcels being optioned for a ballpark development is approximately $6.9 million, the same price the Athletics would be required to pay if the option is exercised.  Despite what the critics contend, this is no “sweet heart” deal taking money away from libraries and cops.

3.   The economic impact of a privately built ballpark in downtown San Jose is substantial.  According to the Economic Impact approved by the City Council on September 15, 2009, a privately built and operated Major League Ballpark will provide:
·   350 new construction jobs for each of the three years of construction.
·   $145 million total net economic impact generated during construction.
·   The primary economic impact will be generated by a minimum 81 home games a year, including $130 million in annual net new total output in San Jose.
·   The estimated annual fiscal return to the City is $1.5 million a year in General Fund revenues.

Please join us in supporting this action by sharing your views with the Mayor and City Council.  You can help by attending the meeting on Tuesday, November 8th at City Council Chambers at


San Jose City Hall at 200 East Santa Clara Street (between 4th & 6th Streets).  The meeting begins
at 1:30 pm and our agenda item will come up just after the ceremonial items that kick-off the Council meetings.  If you are unable to attend and speak in person, email the Mayor and City Council Member today!  Below is a list of their email contact information.

Thank you for your continued support and interest.


Susan Hammer                                       Michael Mulcahy
Co-Chair                                                  Co-Chair


Email Roster for Mayor and City Council Members:

Mayor Chuck Reed: mayoremail@sanjoseca.gov

Councilmember Peter Constant: District1@sanjoseca.gov

Councilmember Ash Kalra: District2@sanjoseca.gov

Councilmember Sam Liccardo: District3@sanjoseca.gov

Councilmember Kansen Chu: District4@sanjoseca.gov

Councilmember Xavier Campos: District5@sanjoseca.gov

Councilmember Pierluigi Oliverio: pierluigi.oliverio@sanjoseca.gov

Councilmember Madison Nguyen: District7@sanjoseca.gov

Councilmember Rose Herrera: rose.herrera@sanjoseca.gov

Councilmember Don Rocha: District9@sanjoseca.gov

Councilmember Nancy Pyle: District10@sanjoseca.gov

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hockey is back!

Graphic by Mitchell Ethridge





















The first game of the San Jose Sharks' 2011/2012 season has finally arrived. The team is already looking amazing. This season, let's bring the Stanley Cup to its rightful home in Silicon Valley. Best of luck, boys!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hope You Enjoyed the Show!
















We had a fantastic turnout tonight for Baseball San Jose's special viewing of Moneyball. Thanks to all our great friends for their support; you're a big part of why the A's will ultimately call Silicon Valley home.

We believe that Billy Beane can, and will, win that last game of the seasonin San Jose.

You're up to bat, San Jose!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Watch Moneyball with Baseball San Jose

Join Baseball San Jose this Wednesday as we head to the theaters to watch "Moneyball." Based on the book of the same name, Randy Myers of the San Jose Mercury News writes that it "scores as one of the sharpest, most entertaining films of the year."

Join us as we remember the momentous 2002 Athletics season in which General Manager Billy Beane uses computer stats to assemble a team of ragtag players that saw them win a record 20-games in a row.

When: Wednesday, September 28th
Time: 6:15 (movie starts at 6:50)
Where: Camera 12, 201 South 2nd Street, San Jose

Wear your Athletics or Baseball San Jose gear and receive $1 off the price of admission.

First 25 people who RSVP to info@baseballsanjose.com will receive one free ticket.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Seriously, We'll Take ANY Decision Now...






















The latest Mercury News editorial about the never-ending A's-to-San Jose saga, pretty much says it all:

"Just Make a Decision, Selig—Any Decision" 
September 18, 2011

In a stalemate, any kind of change can turn into an opening for resolution. So with Pollyanna optimism, we hope the departure of Bill Neukom as the San Francisco Giants' managing general partner provides an opening for Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to finally decide whether or not the A's can move from Oakland to San Jose.

Approving the move, contingent on a financial settlement with the Giants, would be the right choice. It would turn the A's into moneymakers instead of a financial drain on other team owners, and it would directly benefit Major League Baseball: The other likely homes for the team would be far less profitable than San Jose, and Selig's mission is to act in the best interests of the game.

But at this point, any decision on the move is better than no decision. If Selig can't bring himself to say yes to San Jose over the Giants' objections, then he needs to say no. Period. The city, if not A's owner Lew Wolff, needs to move on.

This wearying saga began in 2009, when Wolff gave up on plans for a stadium in Fremont and turned to San Jose. City officials scrambled to assemble land, work the ballpark into its downtown plan and prepare to float a ballot measure, since voter approval would be required for the project.

But Major League Baseball first had to approve the move, since the Giants had been granted territorial rights to the South Bay when they explored building a stadium here in 1989. Selig clearly has been caught between, on one side, the Giants, who are rolling in dough since their World Series win last year and don't want South Bay competition; and on the other side, along with Wolff, some other team owners who are tired of subsidizing the low-attendance A's in their current, clunky baseball-football stadium in Oakland. 

So Selig named a task force to give him cover. Er, wait, we mean to carefully analyze the facts and make a well-grounded decision. Yeah, that's the ticket.

That was two and a half years ago. Either it's a task force of snails, or Selig lacks the courage to act on the facts.

South Bay political leaders, a community coalition and some captains of industry have been lobbying Selig to bring the A's here. But he is beholden only to his board, which is made up of team owners, including the Giants.

Neukom was a formidable board member, a dynamite litigator who seemed to relish the prospect of a legal fight. Team president Larry Baer, taking over for him, is as vocal an opponent of the San Jose A's, but some think he might be more open to a deal.

If not, and Selig can't approve the move, then he might as well just come out with it and say no.
Wolff most likely will sell the team, and a new owner will move it outside the Bay Area. And cash-strapped San Jose can make other plans for that downtown land.

It would be an unfortunate resolution, but it would be better than none.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

This Just In: Neukom Out at SF Giants
















The Mercury's Mark Purdy had tonight's big scoop when he reported that Bill Neukom, the San Francisco Giants' managing general partner and CEO, will not returning for the 2012 season 

What this will mean for the A's desired to move to San Jose is too early to tell. But what was seeming like another long, hopeless autumn is suddenly promising to be a lot more interesting. Has a major roadblock to the San Jose A's finally been lifted? Let's hope so. 

You're up to bat, San Jose!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Lew Wolff's Not Happy with Frank McCourt

















As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Sunday Oakland Athletics owner Lew Wolff became the first MLB owner to call on Frank McCourt to give up his fight to keep the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise. As you probably know, Frank McCourt is in the middle of a nasty divorce that has brought up questions of money taken out of the team for his personal use. Lew was prompted to speak out after a lawyer for McCourt argued in court that money his client took out of the Dodgers was far less than that which Selig took out of MLB. Quoted in the Los Angeles Times, Lew says, "For anyone to seek to diminish Bud's accomplishments in order to rationalize their own actions is, in my opinion, ludicrous and hugely disingenuous.”

With a relationship going back 50 years to their days as college fraternity brothers it should be no surprise that Lew would come to the defense of his friend Bud Selig. Conspiracy theorist might suggest that Lew’s sudden interest in the Dodger situation probably means he has an interest in purchasing the team, despite months of denials. Or perhaps he is just trying curry favor with the Commissioner in hopes of getting a favorable decision on the Giants territorial claims to Santa Clara County, which have served to hinder his plans of moving the Athletics to San Jose.

Regardless of what you think Lew’s reasons are, one way or another let’s hope the Dodgers mess is sorted out quickly so it can stop being used as an excuse for continuing to delay a decision on territorial rights. It’s been over two years since Commissioner Selig formed his committee to study the Athletics stadium options and it’s about time we learned of its findings. For a franchise with the third most World Series wins and nine players in the Hall of Fame, it seems only fair that as one of baseball’s other storied teams, the A's should receive the same attention as the Dodger in ensuring its continued success.  
 

Friday, July 29, 2011

He's (Still) Just Not That Into You

 














The Tribune's Angela Woodall reports today on Oakland's latest effort to stop its hemorrhaging of sports teams. This time it's the Oakland Raiders that may be looking to Silicon Valley for a new home. As was recently revealed (but long suspected), the San Francisco 49ers have been in talks with the Raiders about the possibility of building a new joint stadium. The location of such a stadium is yet to be determined. However, the Niners seem keen to stay the course in Santa Clara, where, in 2010, voters approved $114 million in public funds. The team also recently announced $138 million in luxury box sales for their future Silicon Valley stadium. And Niners' owner Jed York believes the NFL's recent labor deal only helps his prospects in Santa Clara; with its so-called "stadium credits," the league will now set aside up to 1.5% of revenue for the construction of new stadiums.

True to form, Oakland has again shown up late to the party. Only now has the city's RDA appropriated $4 million for a coliseum design and environmental impact report (EIR). (And in case you're wondering, the city's other EIRthat of the fantasyland called Victory Courtis yet to be seen.) Of course, this will mean the involvement of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority, the fine folks who triumphantly negotiated Overstock.com's recent naming rights deal. That cash cow will bring in a whopping $7 million for six years. Yes, you read that right: just $7 million for six years.

As with the San Jose stadium situation, Oakland is positioning itself to be everyone's Plan B. Woodall points out that, "if the Santa Clara deal falls apart, o.Co Coliseum could be an option for the 49ers." At this point, the Raiders seemingly prefer to stay put in Oakland, but economic realities, as well as league pressure, may force their hand.  

So, where does all this leave the A's? According to Woodall:

The A's, which share the existing stadium with the Raiders may have to be factored into the plan if Major League Baseball blocks the team from moving to San Jose. Co-owner Lew Wolff reached earlier this week by telephone said he has no information about the plans. "We've seen nothing," he said. The coliseum area, he added, is a great site but a new stadium would not persuade him to stay in Oakland.

So with all these comings and goings, one thing remains the same: Oakland is as an unattractive an option for the A's as ever. The A's are ready to move on. And who could blame them?

You're up to bat, San Jose!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Commissioner Selig Still Silent on an Athletics Move to San Jose

Tonight is the Major League Baseball All-Star Game marking the half-way point of the 2011 season. Thus far we have still yet to get a decision from Commissioner Selig on the territorial issue that has stalled any potential move of the Athletics to San Jose. Yesterday, during a Town Hall chat, the Commissioner was asked “What is the latest on the possible relocation to San Jose for the A's franchise”? In response he said,

Well, the latest is, I have a small committee who has really assessed that whole situation, Oakland, San Francisco, and it is complex. You talk about complex situations; they have done a terrific job. I know there are some people who think it's taken too long and I understand that. I'm willing to accept that. But you make decisions like this; I've always said, you'd better be careful. Better to get it done right than to get it done fast. But we'll make a decision that's based on logic and reason at the proper time.

Still no clear indication of when we can expect a decision or even a decision on a decision. With Selig continuing to dodge the territorial issue, the Athletics continue to experience dwindling attendance playing in one of the worst ballparks in Major League Baseball. As of the end of the first half, the Athletics are averaging a paltry 19,157 fans per game, coming in only above the Tampa Bay Rays (19,115) and the Florida Marlins (17,101).

On an All Star Game side note, you might recall this winter the Athletics were in pursuit of two high profile free agents to bolster their offense, Adrian Beltre and Lance Berkman. Both players decided against a move to Oakland, and in Berkman’s case even signed with the St. Louis Cardinals without any expectation of receiving regular playing time. It seems, according to the agent representing Adrian Beltre, who said in an interview in January with Fox Sport’s Ken Rosenthal, “It’s not the city. It’s not the team. It’s the ballpark. And there are no fans there.” Well it seems the decision by both players to skip on playing at the Coliseum played out well as both are starting in the All-Star Game this evening. So not only does the Coliseum keep fans away, but high-profile players. Given the Athletics anemic offense of late it seems they really could have used a couple of All-Stars in their lineup.

The second half starts on Friday for the Athletics, lets hope we can expect a turnaround for the team that takes them to the playoffs for the first time since 2006.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Photo Op

You might recall that in May Mayor Reed sent Commissioner Selig a letter asking when he could expect a decision on territorial rights. As you know, the City of San Jose has already selected a site, purchased property, and completed an economic impact study. In short, the project is shovel-ready and just awaits the go ahead for conducting an election that would ask San Jose residents to approve construction of a ballpark. Alas, Mayor Reed has yet to get a response and it seems he’s becoming a bit antsy for a conversation and will just about resort to the most jovial of attempts to get it .

In today’s San Jose Mercury News, columnist Mark Purdy writes that Mayor Reed is considering a photo op with the commissioner, or at least with the statue of him that stands outside the Brewer’s ballpark in Milwaukee. Putting an A’s jersey on the statue, Mayor Reed would pose for a picture in an imaginary conversation.

Postulating about the committee formed to study the A’s stadium issue, Reed is quoted by Purdy as saying,

"I think they did all their work in six months," Reed said of the committee members. "And since then, it's been a dodge."

Mayor Reed’s frustrations are starting to make him wonder if it’s time to consider challenging Major League Baseball’s antitrust exemption granted to them in 1922. The process would have to start with congressional hearings, and while the Mayor hasn’t had conversations with San Jose’s local delegation, might it be just around the corner? Mayor Reed says,

"We haven't gone down that path. Not that we won't. But if Lew hasn't wanted to do it, we don't want to do it. I think Lew should be steaming angry."

While Lew isn’t steaming angry he has every right to feel as frustrated as Mayor Reed. One way or another, Commissioner Selig should be as diligent in dealing with the A’s stadium issue as he has been about the ownership issues surrounding the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers. Baseball fans in San Jose and Oakland deserve a decision so we can enjoy the game on the field without the distraction of wondering where the A’s will next be playing.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Summer of Discontent?















It's been a hot one in Silicon Valley this week. And while the heat has a way of making some people feel listless or languid, it can make others agitated and distressed. Lately, waiting on a decision from MLB Commissioner Bud Selig inspires more of the latter. To illustrate this, NewBallpark.org, probably the definitive guide for the Athletics' stadium saga fiasco, has a daily counter of the number of days its been since "MLB started reviewing the A's stadium situation." At this writing, it's a depressing—and astonishing—828 days! Speaking of NewBallpark.org, Jeffrey August recently vented his own frustration with this painfully (and needlessly) slow process in a post entitled "The Cost of Indecision." Taking a uniquely Silicon Valley perspective on the issue, August wrote:

At Facebook, there are signs posted all around the place that say “Done is Better Than Perfect.” I think Bud needs to visit and catch a glimpse of how business is done these days. At Pandora, I am sure that copyright law policy and advertising sales campaigns and boosting subscription service account holders are all issues worked in unison. No, the “Dodgers and Mets have really screwed up… everything else is on hold” sort of dalliances don’t usually hold muster at companies that own the future.

Having a consensus builder at the helm isn’t exactly like having a visionary running the show. Having a man who can’t make a decision without the approval of those he “leads” is cutting into our fan base. And by our, I mean we. Me and you and all of us who should be preparing for a new yard instead of bickering about where that home should be.

Imagine if Selig had treated the A's with half of the urgency he's given the Dodgers. Instead, every day that passes without a decision, the Athletics are left to wither on the vine just a little bit more. Selig's impotence has put the team in a increasingly precarious position. Let's face it, soon more and more doors will be closing for the A's. Howard Bryant's excellent article on ESPN.com last week only further confirmed this impending sense of doom:

The ultimate decision of whether the A's will be allowed to move to San Jose belongs to Bud Selig alone, but pressure has created a four-way, high-stakes game of chicken between Selig and the A's, the A's and the Giants, Selig and San Jose and Wolff and Oakland. The one absolute to the convolution is that the Oakland A's are cornered -- to the south by Selig and in Oakland by the combination of Wolff's conviction that no workable site exists in the city and an expiring lease in a stadium that is unlikely to be renewed while Wolff intimates that he wants to leave town. 

But out of this gloomy scenario has sprung an interesting Facebook group, Hey Bud, PleA'se Stop the TeA'se. It's the brainchild of Athletics Nation's emperor nobody and borne out of frustration from Bud Selig's seeming lack of initiative, leadership, and care. The group is a sort of neutral zone for A's stadium boosters, advocating for neither San Jose or Oakland specifically, but simply for a decision from Bud Selig—one way or the other:  

We come to you today to ask you to set aside your nominal differences and your petty divisions as fans and embrace with us this program of building a movement to get Commissioner Selig to make a decision ... We also feel that as complex as all this is, the simple core of it is that Bud and Bud alone has the power to make it come unstuck, by whatever means he has at his disposal to do so in his role as head of MLB.  We are looking for him to exercise his office and do his job, and to do whatever it is going to take to show leadership in these circumstances so the A's can emerge out of their current wildernessitself a result in no small way of this pattern of neglect and diffidenceas a product, as a team, and as a proud and historic franchise.

So Commissioner Selig, it's getting hot. And we're getting restless. Make it official already. The San Jose A's are ready to go.

You're up to bat, San Jose!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Peter Gammons Has Something to Say

Last Friday MLB Network Analyst and Hall of Fame Baseball writer Peter Gammons talked to the Murph and Mac Show on KNBR about Athletics issues, including the recent firing of Manager Bob Geren, Billy Beane, payroll and the Coliseum.

On the Coliseum Peter doesn’t have the kindest of words calling it the “Al Davis Dump”. When asked why the Athletics payroll doesn’t reflect their owners (John Fisher) riches, he says,

“Because nobody goes to the ballpark, there are no TV radio rights, and there not going to lose their shirts. The Oakland A’s either have to move or be retraced. They can’t exist in the dump. There’s no chance of succeeding there”.

Retracting the team would be an unfortunate turn of events, not just because the Bay Area would lose one of its cherished professional sports teams, but because Major League Baseball would be severing ties with a franchise that has a lasting connection to MLB's history, having been one of the American Leagues first 8 teams and a 9 time winner of the World Series (3rd most in MLB history).

The Athletics franchise is a testament of perseverance having already survived two moves, from Philadelphia to Kansas City (1955) and then to Oakland (1968). Surely a move 60 miles south within its already existing fanbase couldn't hurt them. Plus, there are plans in place to build a state of the art stadium in the heart of the country's 10th largest city with abundant amenities and a dedicated and loyal fanbase.

We still await a decision from Commissioner Selig on territorial rights, in the meantime, you can listen to Peter Gammons interview by clicking here.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A New Addition to the Team

Yesterday Major League Baseball opened up their First-Year Player Draft. With the 18th pick the Athletics selected Vanderbilt pitcher Sonny Gray who just completed his junior season with a record of 11 -2 and a 2.01 ERA. At 5-11 he is being compared to former Athletics ace Tim Hudson (currently with the Atlanta Braves) and Philadelphia’s Roy Oswalt. Given the pitching talent the Athletics currently have on their roster, Sonny Gray would be a great addition, as according to Athletics scouting director Eric Kubot, Gray is an “incredible competitor”. With talent running thin in the Athletics farm system, Baseball America ranked the system 28th, there is defiantly room for improvement throughout the system. The next pick for the Athletics won’t be until third round (105th overall), having traded this year’s second pick to the Tampa Bay Rays for Grant Balfour.

In other Athletics related news…

If you are planning on attending an upcoming game at Overstock.com Coliseum, you’ll have a hard time finding the stadium as beginning today it will be known as O.co Coliseum. Don’t fret though, Overstock.com hasn’t reneged on the six year deal it signed at the end of April, it’s just part of a shift in branding by the company.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Another Reason for Baseball in San Jose: The Fans


Does San Jose have a sustainable fan base to support a Major League Baseball team? As the U.S. Census Bureau reported in its 2o10 Census, San Jose has a population of 945,942,making it the 10th largest city in the U.S., so it would be easy to argue then that San Jose has a large pool of potential baseball fans to pull from. However, population alone isn’t a strong enough argument to make in the strength of a city’s fan base, as cities such as Minneapolis (48th) home of the Twins and Milwaukee ( 28th) home of the Brewers are experiencing good attendance, 4th and 9th respectively. In comparison, much larger cities such as Houston (4th) home of the Astros, Phoenix (6th) home of the Diamondbacks and San Diego (8th) home of the Padres are experiencing less success in filling their respective stadiums.

So how else can we determine whether San Joseans would support a Major League Baseball team? Perhaps by looking at attendance data for the four professional sports teams housed in San Jose, the Sharks (NHL), Giants (California League), SaberCats (AFL), and Earthquakes (MLS) and see where they rank in their respective leagues. These teams represent distinctly different sports, varying fans and popularity in their sport that can vary depending on local (ex. Hockey is much more popular in Canada than Northern California, in part because of their differences in whether).

Taking into account that teams play in facilities of varying size, total attendance and average attendance can skew results in favor of teams with larger facilities. This can present a false impression that fan support is much stronger than that of other teams playing in smaller facilities. So instead, for the purpose of this analysis, average capacity is used (including those examples above) which in our opinion is better reflective of each communities support of their particular team, as a stadium that is 100% full is a much more enjoyable experience than one that isn’t fulfilling its potential capacity.

As the proposed baseball stadium in San Jose shows, while it would be the smallest in Major League Baseball, it would bring a uniquely different experience that would further support there being an active and supportive fan base, but do San Joseans have the fortitude to be a perennial baseball fan for 81 games a year?

As mentioned above, currently there are four professional sports teams that call San Jose home, looking at their attendance – again, based on average capacity - each team in their most current season is averaging attendance in the top 1/3 of their respective leagues, above the average*.




Regardless of the sport, San Jose has constantly and consistently supported its local teams and in return has been rewarded with successes on the field/ice, with multiple championships being brought to San Jose over the years. Since 2000 the Giants have won 5 California League Championships (’01, ’05, ’07, ’09 and ’10), the SaberCats have won 3 Arena Bowls (’02, ’04, and ’07) and the Earthquakes (in their earlier adaptation) won 2 MLS Cups (’01 and ’03). San Jose still awaits the Sharks to bring home the Stanley Cup, but despite this they consistently are an NHL powerhouse, the last two years appearing in the Western Conference Finals and receiving the President’s Trophy for having the league’s most points during the 2008-09 season.

San Jose and Major League Baseball makes sense, more specifically the Athletics in San Jose. The support San Jose could give in filling an Athletics stadium is just another reason why Major League Baseball should lift territorial rights and open the door for an Athletics move.

* We acknowledge that the San Jose Earthquakes attendance is skewed given they play in the smallest stadium in the league - more than twice as small as the league average – however, it’s an experience that is unique to San Jose (yes, we know they play at Buck Shaw stadium in Santa Clara, but even when they move into their new home, capacity will only be slightly larger at approximately 15,000).