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'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.