Wednesday, March 30, 2011

At a Snail’s Pace

Happy Anniversary Baseball San Jose! Today marks two years since MLB Commissioner Bud Selig appointed a committee to study the Athletics stadium options and it seems we aren’t the only ones frustrated with the delay in a decision. In an article appearing in the San Jose Mercury News, Tracy Seipel (attempting to explain the mystery as to why a decision is taking so long), quotes San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed:

"We're in the same place today that we were in two years ago, waiting for Bud Selig to make up his mind," San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said this week. "A snail could have made it from Oakland to San Jose in two years."

We here at Baseball San Jose are fans of Mayor Reed for his enthusiastic and unwavering support of bringing the Athletics to San Jose, but a snail to San Jose in two years? Accoringto Craig Calcaterra, writing on NBC Sports Hardball Talk, through extensive research he determined that it would take longer for a snail to make the trek down the 880 from Oakland to San Jose, writing:

… a snail travels at approximately 0.000362005 miles per hour (yes, I looked it up). Assuming the snail takes I-880 from the Oakland Coliseum to downtown San Jose, it’s a 35.2 mile trip. Assuming the snail never sleeps — which is hardly fair to the snail — it would thus take that snail 11.1 years to make the trip about which the Honorable Chuck Reed is complaining. Indeed, the snail would not yet even be to the Farnsworth Street exit in San Leanardo.

While Mayor Reed may be no expert in malacology, the point is clear; it’s still a mystery as to what could be taking so long for a decision from MLB. At this point finding an answer is just speculation and conjecture. One thing for sure, San Jose continues to be the most viable option for a ballpark.

Despite the threat by Governor Brown to shutter redevelopment agencies across the state, San Jose has approved their EIR, purchased most of the land (with in plans in place to purchase the remaining parcels) and in an effort to protect agency assets, recently transferred them to a separate city authority. This can’t be said for Oakland, who for months prior to the governor’s proposal continued to say how they were better off than San Jose given their abundance of redevelopment funds to support their own proposal. But since all they’ve done is approve starting the EIR process it seems it may be too little too late.

There is a lot at stake for Oakland, San Jose, the Athletics and the Giants. Each deserve to at least know the answer to the question: Will the Giants territorial rights over Santa Clara County be lifted so that the Athletics can pursue a move to San Jose? Yes? No? We sure hope the answer to that question is yes, but knowing one-way or the other will help each to begin the process of closure so they can move forward and plan their own futures.

In July 2010 after Mayor Reed became impatient waiting for a decision from MLB he announced he would pursue a ballpark measure on the November ballot. At this MLB asked the Mayor to postpone an election offering to help pay the estimated cost of $1 million-plus for the cost of a future one. Was this going to happen this Spring (which started March 20)? According to Tracy Seipel’s article, Mayor Reed thinks he should have asked, “Spring of what year?”. At this point a decision telling us when a decision is going to be made might be a nice consolation to the two years we’ve had to wait hearing nothing at all.

While we continue to wait, our desire for an Athletics move to San Jose hasn’t wavered, and neither should anyone else’s. When the time comes for Commissioner Selig to make a decision - and it's made in San Jose’s favor - we need to be prepared to do what’s necessary to ensure a successful ballot measure.

Continue to keep your fingers crossed, and should you happen to come across a snail traveling down the 880 on its way to San Jose be sure to avoid running it over, no need giving Commissioner Selig any excuses for delaying his decision any further.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Contraction? No, Not Really.

Monte Poole at the Mercury News must have been on vacation the week the baseball world was all abuzz with news that Athletics owner Lew Wolff might be interested in purchasing the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for contraction of the Athletics. Those rumors were quickly dispelled in an Athletics press release that said:

There is no truth to this report. Mr. Wolff has no interest whatsoever in purchasing the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise. Furthermore, he has no knowledge of the source of any such rumor, and he has informed Major League Baseball and Dodgers ownership of his position.

And so with that we figured discussion on this topic, at least in the Bay Area, would cease and we could stick to the real issue, lifting the Giants territorial rights and thus allowing a move of the Athletics to San Jose.

However, Monte Poole seems less enthralled with sticking to the issue at hand and instead writes about a told before story that Weekend Update’s Anthony Crispino would be proud of. Monte says, “… there's a nasty whisper circulating about baseball that it might be neither, that the A's could be devoured by their associates”. Click here for the full article.

Contraction is far more complicated than just transferring ownership from one team to another. At issue would be convincing the MLBPA to go along with displacing 50 of its players (rumored contraction talks also include the Tampa Bay Rays). Not to mention what to do with the numerous minor league affiliates, the ripple effects it would have on those communities home to affiliates and what would happen to spring training facilities.

So you see, there is a lot more to the issue than just saying to ownership: we’ll just give you another team in exchange for allowing us to contract.

We get it, it's been two years since Bud Selig appointed a committee to study the Athletics stadium options and frankly we are all getting a little antsy waiting on a decision. The angst we feel drives us to speculating and conjuring up stories for the sake of finding answers, but sometimes it can be taken a little to far.

Baseball San Jose continues to be focused on making our case as to why an Athletics move to San Jose makes sense for Baseball, the Athletics and the entire Bay Area and to us talk of contraction is just that, talk.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Time for the Giants to Man Up

On Saturday the Press Democrat published an article written by columnist Robert Rubino who wonders “Are Giants afraid of the big bad Wolff?”.

As we approach the two year anniversary since Commissioner Selig appointed a committee to study the Athletics stadium options, it’s apparent that the hold up isn’t the issue of a viable stadium site (San Jose has proven such with the site just South of the arena), but that the San Francisco Giants really are just a bit insecure. Rubino asks:

Are the Giants actually afraid some of their fans might switch their primary allegiance to the San Jose A’s? Doesn’t say much about their faith in their faithful, does it? And so what if, for whatever reason, some Giants fans in the South Bay became San Jose A’s fans? That would mean having to compete harder to win back those fans or work harder to attract new fans. And that’s unacceptable, why?

It seems after a season in which they finished as World Series champions, the Giants would have a bit more confidence in their fans, many of which suffered on cramped trains to make the trip to San Francisco for the celebratory parade. It seems the Giants might be afraid some competition will force them to work harder fielding a winning team to drive adoring fans to their ballpark. As the early 90’s showed, the Bay Area is accustom to having two winning teams and able to faithfully support both. And anyway, isn’t competition what we all strive for in professional sports and in this case, when it comes to business side, in Silicon Valley its what we thrive? As Rubino says, “If the Giants had any competitive cajones, they’d welcome the A’s to San Jose. They’d man up and say “bring it on,” and let the chips fall where they may.”

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Friday, March 11, 2011

The A's and MLB Respond to the Japanese Quake

Major League Baseball teams and players have been quick to respond to yetserday's devastation in Japan. Understandably, this is a trying time for MLB's Japanese players, including Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, Brewers reliever Takashi Saito, and Yankee pitcher Kei Igawa. Here at home, A's slugger Hideki Matsui and catcher Kurt Suzuki also expressed deep concern for their relatives in Japan. Luckily for both players, their families back home appear to be safe.

MLB Comissioner Bud Selig also addressed the disaster today. He released the following statement: 

All of us at Major League Baseball are thinking of our many dear friends and colleagues in Japan today. Major League Baseball extends its deepest condolences to all those who have been affected, and we have the families and friends of our players as well as our peers and business partners in our thoughts.

We have been in communication with the members of our office in Tokyo. Through our shared love of baseball for more than a century, Japan is a particularly special place to us, and we are deeply saddened by the disaster that has confronted the nation.

Major League Baseball will certainly provide aid with the relief efforts in the days and weeks ahead. We will do everything we can to help Japan.

The A's have designated their upcoming Japanese Heritage Day, scheduled for April 3rd, a fundraiser to aid earthquake relief efforts.

The thoughts and prayers of all of us here at Baseball San Jose are also with the people of Japan. We encourage everyone to contribute generously to international charities aiding the victims of the devastation. As Californian baseball fans, we keenly understand the impacts of major earthquakes, so please give generously.

Here is a list of just some of the organizations that could use your could help:

American Red Cross (or text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10)

Save the Children 

International Medical Corp (or text MED to 80888 to donate $10)

Doctors Without Borders

Oxfam America

Monday, March 7, 2011

Not Just Talk

In case you thought my diatribe last week was just talk, I present you a photo of me posing (in front of the jersey's of the Giants most acclaimed players) with my most recently purchased Los Angles Dodgers hat. This will stand as my protest to the Giants obstructionism in our efforts to bring the Athletics to San Jose. I will wear it only when the Giants and Dodgers play one another and until the territorial rights issue is settled one way or the other.

Wanna join my efforts? Purchase your own hat or borrow one from a friend (or in the case of a Dodger hat, an enemy), take a picture and share it with Baseball San Jose on Facebook. You can also email your picture to and I will happily post it for you.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bloomberg Article

In case you missed it, yesterday Bloomberg published an article about the Athletics attempts to move to San Jose. Lew Wolff isn't happy with the Giants claim that a move would hurt the team, quoted as being "aghast". Giants President Larry Baer is no mood to partake in a "back-and-forth public debate with Lew". Could this mean that if Major League Baseball approves an Athletics move to San Jose the Giants wouldn't fight it at the ballot? Probably not, but one way or another we all just want Commissioner Selig to make a decision. For the full article click here.