Thursday, March 22, 2012

An Open Letter to Larry Baer

Larry is the Giants Chief Operating Officer

Dear Larry,

We need to talk. It started a few years back, when Lew Wolff got it in his head that Oakland wasn’t the best home for the ballclub he’d recently purchased. The A’s play in a rundown stadium in a decrepit area of town in front of a dwindling—albeit loud and loyal—fanbase. The organization’s limited revenue stream prevents it from building a consistent winner and essentially makes them a ward of the league.

Enter San Jose. After it became abundantly clear that the City of Oakland has no earthly idea what it’s doing, and the fever dream that was Fremont faded quickly away, Northern California’s largest city was left to reap the spoils: a professional franchise in a sport that actually draws national interest. 

Sure, we have the 49ers moving in next door, but they’ll still bear the San Francisco brand. Then there are our beloved Sharks, who play in a league without a decent TV contract; the Earthquakes, who play the wrong sport; and the Sabercats, who ... aren’t really worth mentioning.

Major League Baseball will always be just that: Major League. And San Jose deserves a taste of Major League action. But you just won’t let us have nice things, will you, Larry?

I’m a third-generation Giants fan. My roots stretch back to the Polo Grounds. I was going to see the Orange and Black 12 years before you and your golfing buddies saved the franchise from exile to Tampa Bay. I was there for the ‘87 NLCS and both takes on Game Three of the ‘89 Series. I was there for the last season at the ‘Stick and the beginning of a new era at the Cove. 

Prior to the 2010 season, I fulfilled a lifelong dream and became a Season Ticket Holder. I was rewarded with the most glorious season of my life.

Earlier that year, the citizens of San José were treated to a poll, ostensibly funded by the San Jose Giants, your minor league affiliate. Residents were asked if they would support a new Downtown baseball stadium if it meant directing resources away from core city services like cops and firefighters.

Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, but that’s the idea behind a “push” poll. You know the answer you’re looking for, and you push the respondent there. It’s a common piece of political chicanery. Only this time, for me, it was personal.

That’s because the poll was actually funded by you and your golfing buddies. The same guys who 20 years ago saved my favorite team from leaving the Bay Area alone to the A’s were now spending oodles of dollars and miles of print to force the A’s out of the very same market. My hometown was caught in the crossfire.

Two years later, you’re still beating the same dead horse, touting your “territorial rights” over Santa Clara County as if we’ve been colonized by millionaire San Francisco lawyers in tailored suits.

What’s it gonna take to call off the siege, Larry? A few more dollars in your bank account? Your own island somewhere in the South Pacific? As Bud Fox famously asked Gordon Gekko: “How much is enough?”

I wish I could help you out, but I just cut a check to reserve my seat at AT&T for the 2012 season, so I’m a little short right now. It makes me wonder how many of those hard-earned dollars you’re going to spend in your quest to prevent San Jose from becoming a Major League City. And it makes me question why I keep contributing to the cause.


Peter Allen originally posted this letter on San Jose Inside and gave Baseball San Jose permission to post it on our blog.  

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The A's Respond to Recent Rumors

A few days ago, Bay Area baseball fans were thrown into a tizzy after Bill Madden of the New York Daily News reported that MLB was unlikely to grant an A's move to San Jose due to the precendant it would set for other teams. That report has since been denied by both the Athletics and MLB head offices. Still, the A's felt the issue needed further clarification; they issued the following statement this morning

Statement by Oakland A's ownership regarding A's and Giants sharing Bay Area territory:

"Recent articles claiming that Major League Baseball has decided that the A's cannot share the two-team Bay Area market were denied by baseball Commissioner Bud Selig last weekend.

Currently the Giants and A's share the two-team Bay Area market in terms of television, radio, sponsors and fans. Last year, the Giants opened a specialty store in the middle of the A's market (Walnut Creek). At the time, Lew Wolff commented that he was 'fine with the Giants store and wished there was an A's store in San Francisco.'

Of the four two-team markets in MLB, only the Giants and A's do not share the exact same geographic boundaries. MLB-recorded minutes clearly indicate that the Giants were granted Santa Clara, subject to relocating to the city of Santa Clara. The granting of Santa Clara to the Giants was by agreement with the A’s late owner Walter Haas, who approved the request without compensation. The Giants were unable to obtain a vote to move and the return of Santa Clara to its original status was not formally accomplished.

We are not seeking a move that seeks to alter or in any manner disturb MLB territorial rights. We simply seek an approval to create a new venue that our organization and MLB fully recognizes is needed to eliminate our dependence on revenue sharing, to offer our fans and players a modern ballpark, to move over 35 miles further away from the Giants' great venue and to establish an exciting competition between the Giants and A's.

We are hopeful that the Commissioner, the committee appointed by the Commissioner, and a vote of the MLB ownership, will enable us to join the fine array of modern and fun baseball parks that are now commonplace in Major League Baseball."

You're up to bat, San Jose!