Monday, February 28, 2011

An Unalienable Right

This weekend the San Francisco Giants played a split squad spring training game with their hated rival the Los Angles Dodgers (Beat LA!), which got me to thinking.

As I've mentioned before, I am a Giants fan and have been since the late 80’s when Will Clark was covering first base and before the team
had exclusive territorial rights over Santa Clara County. My penchant for the Giants came of my own volition when I could have just as easily chosen the Athletics as my #1, a time when the
“Bash Brothers” were all the buzz around the Bay Area and the team was finishing the decade with back-to-back World Series appearances (beating the Giants in 1989). My loyalty has even taken me as far as to attend a Los Angles Dodgers home game decked out in Giants attire for which I endured hoots, hollers, boos and insults (this at the age of 10) all in showing my unwavering support for my team, the San Francisco Giants.

However, before being a Giants or Athletics fan, I am a San Josean that understands the economic benefits to the city of having a Major League Baseball team here, as well as the role it will have in raising our profile. And so, you can imagine how frustrated I’ve become at the Giants continuing to block the Athletics attempts to move to San Jose.

So how could I show the Giants that my being a fan doesn’t mean I have to give up my other affiliations just for the sake of appeasing a group of egomaniacs insistent on keeping me and the rest of my city in perpetual servitude to their every growing desire for more riches and championships? In doing so, I want to make sure that it will make a statement that doesn’t involve some gimmick that might cost me life, limb or my freedom, say like climbing to the top of the Golden Gate Bridge with a banner proclaiming, “Save me from my overbearing and oppressive masters the San Francisco Giants and lift their territorial rights to San Jose”.

No, it has to be something that not only expresses my disdain, but also, metaphorically, is a slap in the face. What to do. How to do it. Aha! Why not purchase a Los Angles Dodgers hat, and whenever the two teams play, proudly wear it atop my head and root for a team that in my being I despise if simply only because they are the Dodgers.

Yes, perfect!

And so, it is with some hesitation that I will do what Giants fans across the Bay Area will call heresy, I'll purchase a Los Angles Dodgers ball cap. I can’t say I’ll be proud doing this, but alas, the Giants continued disregard for San Jose fans desire to have a team to call their own has forced me to this dire stage of contempt. Until such time that the territorial rights issue is resolved, it might just be you see me somewhere in San Jose sporting my newly purchased cap. Proudly. Nope. But for a cause. Yes.

So if we should cross paths, please be forgiving and avoid pelting me with your Ballpark Frank or throwing your Budwieser in my face, for the blue cap upon my head I
wear for the sake of making a statement, simply put, San Jose is not Giants Territory, so free us from our shackles and allow us our unalienable rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of a Major League Baseball team.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lew Wolff and Mike Crowley Stop by KLIV to Talk Baseball

Last night Athletics Owner/Managing Partner Lew Wolff and President Mike Crowley appeared on KLIV 1590’s The CEO Show with host Carl Guardino. Ok, so we know we wrote last week about Lew’s appearance on the Rick Tittle show, but we discovered some additional insight about an Athletics move to San Jose that you might find interesting.

As we all know, it has been almost two years (or four product cycles for a Silicon Valley company) since Commissioner Selig appointed his Blue Ribbon Committee to study stadium options for the Athletics for which their charge was to study options available in the Athletics territory (Almaden and Contra Costa Counties). So while we may be frustrated by their snail like pace, at least they've widened their scope. Of course the final recommendation will come from Commissioner Selig, and like Lew said, he is very "deliberative" and so like the 30 baseball owners, we will just await his decision.

Our very own Baseball San Jose Co-chair Michael Mulcahy called in during the show and asked Lew, “Beyond bringing baseball to downtown what do you envision and see for the future of downtown with the A’s being a part of that”, Lew’s response:

“I think a city, an urban city, especially the 10th largest city in the United Staes should have as its downtown a heart and the heart of the city needs, we think besides baseball if we are fortunate enough to get that, I think it will begat a lot of other things”.

We seem to all get so caught up with the stadium that we forget all the other great things that will come along with it (consider how area's have been transformed in San Diego, San Francisco and Baltimore) and so it sure is great to hear that Lew shares our committment to San Jose beyond baseball.

County Assessor Larry Stone (BOOOO!) also called in and asked what Lew thought the governor’s proposal to shut down redevelopment agencies would mean to a downtown ballpark. According to Lew not much since we are past the need in San Jose that we require a contribution from RDA. And what about those two parcels that still need to be purchased? No worries, because as according to Lew “we have other options”.

The interview touches on a number of other issues, including the Athletics 2011 season, Cisco's plans for implementing technology into a new stadium, and of course how GM Billy Beane is adjusting to his being portrayed by Brad Pitt in the upcoming move "Money Ball".

For the full interview, click here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Santa Clara Attempts to Save Their Stadium Plan

San Jose isn’t the only local municipality in Santa Clara County looking to protect redevelopment money in hopes of building a professional sports stadium. As you probably know, last June Santa Clara voters approved an agreement between the city and the San Francisco 49ers to construct a 68,500 seat stadium. As part of the agreement the city would contribute $42 million dollars in redevelopment funds. Well, as you also probably know Governor Brown has proposed doing away with redevelopment agencies across the state and taking away their money.

In an effort to protect redevelopment funds, on Tuesday the City Council is planning to approve language that would “memorialize” language into the official deal. What they're hoping for is to show they have been crafting the proposal long before Governor Brown proposed nixing redevelopment agencies. It seems however that there is no Plan B in place if their attempts are ignored by the state and those funds are taken anyway.

(For the full Mercury News article, click here)

In San Jose we face our own concerns regarding the governor’s plans. However, we are lucky that the city had the foresight to begin the process of acquiring land for a proposed stadium long before the conversation of shutting redevelopment agencies was being had in Sacramento. Additionally, the city has already begun implementing a plan to purchase the remaining parcels through selling current redevelopment holdings and then using those proceeds to complete the site area.

The battle is just beginning on the future of redevelopment agencies, but lucky for us San Jose is in a much better position to save their stadium plans than it seems Santa Clara is.

In other news…

On an update of a story we wrote about earlier this year, it seems in fact that Pablo Sandoval has lost weight during the offseason which amounts to 38 pounds. He has also shed his body fat from 30% to 19%. Click here for the full article. Congratulations Pablo, now maybe the Giants can focus their energy on shedding their territorial rights over Santa Clara County.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Jean Quan On the A's in Oakland

In case you missed it, yesterday morning Oakland Mayor Jean Quan appeared on the Ronn Owens Radio Show to discuss issues in her city. Of course a question regarding the Athletics came up and yes, of course, we here at Baseball San Jose were listening intently.

So let's go over why Mayor Quan thinks Oakland is in a better position than San Jose to build a stadium for the Athletics, and then of course where we think she's wrong.

1) "You have to remember that its Major League Baseball that decides where teams go and the Giants as far as I know are not at all in the mood to cede the South Bay territory".

Mayor Quan is in fact correct that Major League Baseball makes the final decision, but let's be clear that the Giants are only one of thirty teams in the league. In order to remove these rights and thus allow the Athletics to move, it would require a 3/4 vote of these teams or 23 (actually 22.5, but we'll just round up) to approve. The Giants therefore only account for one of the eight needed to deny a move.

2) "The San Jose redevelopment district is pretty much out of money. Mine actually is fairly well funded, if the governor doesn't take those funds".

While Oakland might be flush in redevelopment funds, Mayor Quan says it herself "if the governor doesn't take those funds". In San Jose most of the land needed has been purchased and they have plans to purchase the last few pieces to complete the proposed site. Oakland on the other hand has just now started the EIR process. So if the governor does successfully take redevelopment funds, San Jose will be just fine.

3) "Oakland is very well poised, and we have a big collaboration between private and public leaders in the city to keep the A’s in town".

How to respond. Oh, wait...

SVLG--MLB Commissioner Stadium Letter 9-8-10

(Interview begins at the 31 minute mark and the Athletics question at 45:30)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lew Speaks Out

Last week Athletics owner and managing partner Lew Wolff appeared on Titillating Sports with Rick Tittle on Extra Sports 860 AM. Lew discussed a number of topics, including the upcoming season, the Athletics possible purchase of Extra Sports 860, the Oakland Coliseum upper deck tarps and our favorite topic, an Athletics move to San Jose.

As we all know, a move to San Jose is being held up by the San Francisco Giants territorial rights over Santa Clara County, and so you might think that Lew would hold some animosity towards them and their managing partner Bill Neukom. Well this couldn’t be further from the truth as Lew not only isn’t critical, but shares in the excitement of the Giants World Series victory saying that their success was “an added stimulus and quite a thrill”. Going even further he’s complementary towards Bill for following through on his vision for the Giants shared with him some years prior.

So where do we stand on a decision from Bud Selig? According to Lew we are getting closer to a decision, but there is still no indication of when it could come. Now again, you might expect a reaction from Lew to be less than kind as he has been waiting two years for a decision, again you’ll be disappointed as he says:

“He’s (Bud) contemplative, Socratic, I think the approach is fine. I would like it to go faster, but we’re patient.

It seems being frat brothers doesn’t even help drive a decision from Bud (they both attended the University of Wisconsin). As Lew quoted one owner in a conversation they had, “he treats the guys that bother him nicer that he treats a friend”. Hmmm…

No worries, we continue to be optimistic that when Bud does make a decision it will be for allowing the Athletics the opportunity to move to San Jose, as after thoroughly reviewing the facts they will show we have the best stadium plan and an enthusiastic fan base to support a professional baseball team now and into the future.

Click here for the entire interview.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines from Baseball San Jose

We'd like to wish everyone a happy Valentine's Day. Of course, we know that San Jose's commitment to baseball remains strong and it's only a matter of time before the A's bask in Silicon Valley love, so keep up the good work!

You're up to bat, San Jose!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Show Must Go On

It seems Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has upped her public relations campaign to keep the Athletics in town having spoken to Tracy Seipel from the Mercury News as well as the KGO Morning News Show.

Mayor Quan continues to claim that Oakland is in a better position than San Jose to build a stadium for the Athletics. The facts however seem to contradict this claim:

San Jose


Support of Athletics Ownership

Completed EIR

Purchased Some or all of the Land

Now of course, we understand there is an issue of territorial rights over Santa Clara County that no manner of preparation can negate. As Mayor Quan said in the Mercury News:

"The reality is that even though you have land," Quan said of San Jose, "you still have not gotten permission'' from Major League Baseball to relocate the A's to San Jose. "My timeline is less urgent than your timeline," said Quan. "You are trying to woo them away, but the reality is the team is here."

Less urgent? Seems a bit misguided given that Governor Brown is proposing to shutter RDA’s across the state and take their money, and in Oakland’s case this would be $80 million needed to purchase land and relocate businesses. San Jose too would feel the effects if their RDA were shut down, however, unlike Oakland they refuse to sit back and just await the final outcome. Instead, they are aggressively pursing options to finish the land acquisition.

And yes, as if we had all forgotten, she is correct that the team is in Oakland. However, the city once again continues to take a not so urgent approach to building a stadium which has added to dwindling fan support (2nd lowest attendance in MLB last year). So, whether it is in San Jose or elsewhere (likely out of Northern California) the Athletics don’t seem to have a future in Oakland.

Credit to Oakland though for not giving up and fighting the good fight. It just too bad they've let their opportunity pass them by.