2011 Organizational Rankings: #18 – Oakland

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Yes, it’s a cliché, but statements often become clichés because they are grounded in truth. In the case of Oakland’s chain, the good things going in the organization only serve to cancel out the big glaring flaw – they just don’t have the kind of capital necessary to keep up with the big boys.

Present Talent: 77.50 (16th)

Athletics Team Preview

Future Talent: 75.00 (t-20th)

Athletics Top 10 Prospects

Financial Resources: 69.17 (28th)
Baseball Operations: 85.00 (6th)

Overall Rating: 76.50 (18th)

In the end, this ranking is all money. The A’s play in the worst stadium in baseball in the worst neighborhood for a stadium in baseball. For most teams, they can draw additional fans by winning games, creating a positive return on investment if they can put a good team together. The A’s? They won 102 and then 103 games in back-to-back seasons and attracted just 2.1 million fans in each year. When the team isn’t the best in baseball, that shrinks down to something more like 1.5 million. That they only have something in the range of 600,000 additional fans that can be convinced to come to the park when the team is super freaking good is an anchor holding them down.

If you’re owner Lew Wolff and you know that an additional $50 million in expenditures on player talent could lead to a nice bump in winning percentage, but that you’re barely going to sell another half million tickets, you would  need to generate $100 in profits (not just revenue, but profits) from each individual ticket sold in order for that to be a break-even proposition. The most expensive ticket the A’s sell is $75 – eyeballing the seating chart, the average looks to be around $35. Sure, you can gain incremental profit from selling those people hot dogs and beer, but unless you figure out how to attract a half million raging alcoholics with expense accounts, it would be a money-losing decision.

And so, the A’s are stuck. They generate enough revenue to give the front office enough money to keep afloat, but to actually win with any regularity, those guys have to spin yarn into gold. They were able to do it for a while, but they didn’t hold the patent on intelligent roster design, and now that the big boys are playing in the same sandbox, there’s not much room left for Billy Beane and company.

Even in years where they have money to spend (almost solely due to the fact that they didn’t have any highly paid players on the roster to begin with), they couldn’t get premium players to take their money, and instead had to turn their attention to trading for players who didn’t have a choice about whether they wanted to play in Oakland or not. You could certainly have a worse offseason than bringing in David DeJesus, Josh Willingham, and Hideki Matsui, but you could have a better one too – unless you’re running the A’s, at least. If you’re Oakland’s front office, that might be about as good as winter is ever going to get.

The lack of revenue gives the organization no margin for error. They have to hit on their draft picks and international signings. They have to keep their pitchers healthy. They have to lock up their internally developed stars at a young age and hope they don’t become old overnight. In a nutshell, they need to beat the odds with regularity, and unfortunately, that’s just an impossible assignment.

Even with all the respect we have for Billy Beane, David Forst, and the crew in Oakland, they’re running uphill in lead shoes. The league is getting smarter every season, and there simply aren’t enough “market inefficiencies” out there to make up for the fact that other smart teams have a payroll three times as large. The A’s can collect a whole roster of underrated quality performers, but then the Red Sox and Yankees roll into town with 15 guys Oakland can’t afford, and at the end of the day, the superior talent wins out.

Unless they move to a new stadium in a part of town that doesn’t scare away a lot of potential customers, the A’s are what they are – a well-run organization that makes enough good moves to be interesting but needs a few miracles in order to really contend for the title. In baseball, the A’s are the team bringing the proverbial knife to the gun fight. Their weak link is very weak, and it makes it tough for anything else they do to really make an impact.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

79 Responses to “2011 Organizational Rankings: #18 – Oakland”

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  1. Gumby says:

    This is pretty true, but is that really all you can say about the entire franchise? Not a word about the team’s current offense paucities, defensive prowess, up-and-comers or apparent weakness of medium term prospects? A little disappointed….

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    • Nate says:

      I guess you have to include the disclaimer for every single team, Dave.

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      • joe says:

        Yes, you should. If you are going to have serialized content that requires a disclaimer, it’s a poor usability decision to not include it on every article. People browse web *pages* and shouldn’t have to go to a separate document for necessary context to understand the page they are on.

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    • Charlotte says:

      We’re apparently going to have to say this on every page: the organizational rankings write-ups are just talking about finances and the front office, you can check the Team Preview for their current roster and Top Ten Prospects for the next generation.

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      • Gumby says:

        Sorry for being ignorant: glad two of you took the time to blast me.

        If this series is only about the front office and finances, why don’t you call it that? An “organization” is more than a front office, no?

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      • Nate says:

        Gumby, the ranking includes all 4 factors, the details of the talent are the writeups that they’ve already done.

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      • adohaj says:

        I don’t get what peoples issues are with the format of the articles the links for the other parts are right in the article

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    • Brett Favre says:

      Gumby, you need to stop talking bud. You don’t know anything bout baseball

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    • Ben Hall says:

      It probably isn’t a bad idea to include the disclaimer for each team. Annoying for those of us reading each one, but for someone like Gumby who’s not it would be very helpful. I don’t think his/her comment was that awful.

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  2. Xenophanes says:

    Mariners and Orioles ahead of the A’s? I’ll have to be convinced.

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    • CampBrice says:

      I’m betting those two teams are next

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    • Gumby says:

      As has just been pounded into me, these are only about the front office and finances, even though they somehow allegedly encompass all parts of the operation. Anyway, the M’s and O’s have more $$ than the A’s, so if we’re using a one-dimensional metric, there you go.

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      • Xenophanes says:

        Org rankings take into account Future Talent, Present Talent, Finances, and Front Office. The writeups themselves are only about finances/front office. For the writeups of the future and present talent, the articles link to the Top Prospects and Team Preview writeups to avoid redundancy.

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      • Kyle says:

        Figure it out, dude.

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    • todmod says:

      Seriously – it’s not the end of the world or anything, but it’s pretty amusing that the Mariners seem to be about 5-8 spots too high AGAIN this year.

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      • Bill says:

        Well, they have an Ok farm system, arguably an above average front office, their ownership has shown a willingness to spend, and the have the best pitcher in the AL. I think I’d have put them one below Oakland, but as long as they go soon, they won’t be over ranked.

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    • brendan says:

      both SEA and BAL have a lot more money to spend.

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      • Mr. wOBAto says:

        but at least the Orioles have a much bigger hill to climb to ever see the playoffs. as the 5th best current talent, 5th best future talent, and 5th best FO in their own division the Orioles are pretty much sunk

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  3. PL says:

    Bud Selig needs to tell the Giants that seeing as they are the only team in MLB with “territorial rights”, and those “rights” (given to them by Oakland in the 90s to help SFG get a bigger fanbase) are bunk, so the A’s can get that new stadium in downtown San Jose, then the A’s make more money, have more sellout games and can attract the big name free agents. Simple.

    Why do the Giants need to “own” a city 50 miles away when their new stadium is located in a major city and tourist hub anyway? “Losing” SJ won’t hurt them one bit…

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    • Matt says:

      Why do the A’s need a city to build a stadium for them? If I’m the Giants, and I just built a stadium using my own piggy bank, and then the A’s want to relocate because Oakland won’t buy them a new stadium, I’d stick by my territorial rights as well, no matter how “bunk” they may be.

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    • Nate says:

      The Giants fan base is all of Northern CA. San Jose is actually the largest city in that area. They have absolutely a massive incentive to prevent Silicon Valley from becoming “invested” in the A’s.

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      • Joe says:

        You can hardly blame the Giants – they’re just protecting their own resources. Bud Selig is the one at fault here. There’s no reason his stadium commission needed over two and half years to do nothing. For the greater good of MLB, the A’s need the [privately] funded stadium in San Jose to become reality. NewBallpark.org has been chronicling the whole thing for a while now, and to my understanding, Lew Wolff owns most of the acreage needed to build the park with his own cash. The SJ mayor is adamant about bringing the team there, too – it’s all Buddy Boy’s fault.

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    • david says:

      people in SF are too far up their own asses to go to baseball games. south bay probably generates 60% of their attendance (ballpark figure, pun intended). if the a’s popped up in the south bay, it would absolutely cripple the giants.

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      • buck turgidson says:

        What a terrible image. But really true for the lifestyle consumers in SF.

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      • Joe says:

        That’s one hell of a guess. Do you know how many people walk from downtown SF for weeknight games? Sure, South Bay is a big part of the fanbase, but why would a new A’s park pull them away? That makes no sense. The idea is that there are bandwagon A’s fans / baseball fans out there who won’t go to the Coliseum, so a new facility will attract them, the current A’s fanbase, and perhaps some new South Bay fans.

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    • Liem says:

      ‘ “Losing SJ won’t hurt them one bit…” ‘

      A stadium in San Jose would not only cost the Giants fans from San Jose, but also fans in the peninsula all the way up through Redwood City. The cities in between these areas include Los Gatos, Campbell, Saratoga, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Cupertino, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, and Los Altos–in others words, some of the Bay Area’s most affluent suburban neighborhoods would now be spending their Google, Apple, Oracle, Facebook, Intel, Yahoo, Ebay, etc. pay checks at A’s games. Don’t forget the revenue from from TV contracts, too.

      In terms of population, this area includes well over 1.5 million people. So losing San Jose would be the equivalent of losing the entire city of Philadelphia (only wealthier and growing faster). If I were the Giant’s I’d spend every spare dime I had to keep the A’s out of San Jose. Likewise, the A’s should do anything possible to get in.

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      • ChipJack says:

        Being a displaced Atlanta fan that has become an avid Athletics fan in the Central Valley, I’ve come to find that there are two kinds of fans in this area… Giant and A’s (I know… duh!) That being said, if an A’s fan lives in San Jose, he or she really doesn’t just go to a Giants game because it’s closer. So, if San Jose or Hayward became the new park for the A’s, I really don’t think it would affect the Giants’.

        Case in point… I have tickets acquired for Opening Day for the Athletics. $200 and I’m on the 3rd base line, row 1. That’s for TWO seats… I thought about taking a buddy to the Giants’ opener since he is a diehard Cardinals fan. Outfield crappy seats? $450 each!

        I don’t think the Giants will have an attendance problem in the near future. And if the A’s actually had a stadium, dedicated to BASEBALL and not some 1970′s shag carpet multi-purpose arena that people felt safe about parking their cars over a 4-hour period, then the A’s might actually be able to make some cash and be more than a little competitive in the VERY weak AL West!

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      • Liem says:

        ChipJack,

        You’re certainly correct to assume that “fans” of the Giants and A’s will likely not change their allegiances or preferences if the A’s move to San Jose; however, I don’t believe the issue for the Giants is losing thier die-hard fans, but losing casual spectators looking for something do on a summer night. Furthermore, as nickjp pointed out already, the suite sales and PSLs bought by Silicon Valley companies would also be lost to the A’s if they were to move closer to San Jose.

        As of right now, both parks are rather inconvenient for Silicon Valley residents to go to, but given the City’s cultural dominance, AT&T’s superior atmosphere and surroundings, a casual baseball spectator and a company looking to entertain its employees and clients are much more likely to go to a Giants’ game.

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    • nickjp says:

      It’s not only losing the fans, in fact, I’d argue if it was just that the Giants wouldn’t care nearly as much. It’s losing the corporate sponsorships and suite sales that are bought by all those Silicon Valley companies. They aren’t fans, they are using for exposure and marketing. So why would that pay for those 50 miles away if there was a newer version right in their backyard? If I’m the Giants, I cling to those rights.

      Furthermore, those rights were given to the Giants in the early 90s by the A’s but both ownership groups have bought their respective teams since then. This means the territorial rights were reflected in that price, so why would Neukom and company give away something they paid for (even if Bob Lurie didn’t).

      Lastly, the Giants are not the only team with territorial rights. Every team has territorial rights and if you want to move a team into those rights you have to pay for them. See Nationals/Orioles for a very recent example.

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    • DrBGiantsfan says:

      I the Giants are the only team in MLB with territorial rights, then why did the Nats have to pay the Baltimore Orioles a fee to move into their territory?

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  4. CircleChange11 says:

    If you look at what leads to poor ratings for FO it’s big, long contracts to players that underperform.

    Teams like the A’s, Marlins, Padres, etc cannot afford to offer any of these. They play young and value players. They have no choice but to “go young”. I think sometimes we credit teams for their only option.

    OAK is unique in that it is one of the innovators. Not just in OBP, but in developing closets and trading them for prospects.

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    • Eric says:

      everyone loves those closets!

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      • Jason B says:

        I traded my three best ML-ready prospects for more closet space. Like left-handed pitching, you can never have too much of it…

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Damn touch screen. Point taken. Closets are a huge market inefficiency … although more are becoming aware of their value.

        OAK, like other small market teams seemingly get “credit” for not having long-term, biug contracts, as if letting Giambi and Tejada leave was their choice.

        Also interesting how much of OAK’s success is linked to steroids. Seriously look at the names involved, and OAK was “leading the way” in that department. I find it interesting because they had one of the most meticulous and observant managers in the late 80s, and a former player as a GM in the 90s/2000s) that would be able to easily spot such differences in physique and performance.

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      • Danmay says:

        I was about to look up Matt Thorton to see if he was developed by OAK.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        I was thinking of Gregg, Koch, Street, and possibly Bailey.

        But when looking at the actual moves, what OAK got back in return wasn’t that great.

        As an aside, KW got Jenks off waivers from LAA, and traded Joe Borchard to SEA for Matt Thornton.

        MLB trade rumors (website) has a great series on “GM History” with all of a GM’s moves available in spreadsheet form.

        In terms of WAR and Dollars, this would be interesting to formulate and analyze.

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      • Guy says:

        @CC11
        I don’t think Oakland get credit for not having ugly contracts, that’s just the way they are, they can’t have them. The reason they get credit is because of the way they keep (kept) performing even after their star players left. It’s not “hey they did well not to sign [player] cos he’s declined” it’s “hey they managed to win even with out [players]“

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  5. Once upon a time (1990), the A’s had the highest payroll in baseball and the Yankees finished in last place.

    With all due respect, I see this as a glass-half-empty analysis, which is pretty typical. It overlooks a lot of what’s right with the A’s — family-affordable baseball and regularly competitive teams. The Coliseum is in an industrial part of town but it’s easily accessible by public transportation and parking is reasonable. It’s realistic to take a family of four to an A’s game for $100, which is something that can’t be done on the other side of the Bay. A’s fans also never have to complain about bloated contracts (a la Rowand and Zito) holding the team back.

    The result is that the franchise is only capable of putting together a competitive stretch every 10 seasons or so, rather than always being competitive.

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    • Patrick that is a great point. Also with respect to 1990, funny you should mention it because I believe that year Kansas City was second in payroll! (My how times have changed…). But the A’s need to do a better job absolutely in marketing their strengths. They need to really reward fans for coming out, because casual fans clear view the Giants and A’s as substitutes and are going out for a “baseball experience” not a particular club necessarily. The A’s need to shrink that comparative advantage that the Giants have and their only method for doing so is thing like adding more concerts/fireworks/family packages etc and outmarketing the Giants. They won’t outdraw the Giants but they’ll get a few extra fans in the seats who just want to go out and get some entertainment not caring about who necessarily is on the field.

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      Actualy, since moving to OAK the A’s have put together a few stretches where not only were they competitive, but likely the “best team in baseball” (for multiple years).

      1971-1975
      1988-1990
      2001-2003

      It’s actually amazing that Reg-gie is viewed as a “Yankee”. I was reading through James’s Encyclopedia the other day and Jackson’s context-neutral years with the A’s are just amazing.

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  6. Sam says:

    The 16th in present talent pretty clearly underrates them according to the projected standings, whether from CAIRO, PECOTA, Las Vegas, or pundits. Everyone seems to project them to be a bit over .500 in the tougher league.

    They project to be significantly better than the Mariners in the near future, and there’s no real reason to prefer one over the other after that.

    I look forward to seeing the logical gymnastics required to put them behind Seattle.

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    • suicide squeeze says:

      The Mariners have a better farm system and more money. Plus the Mariners are all of 1 spot higher, so I don’t think the difference as far as these rankings go, is significant.

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  7. Xeifrank says:

    Pretty reasonable ranking. I have them at #16. Their strength is obviously fielding a competitive team with a limited payroll. But that conclusion is pretty obvious.

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  8. buck turgidson says:

    Your talk about the neighborhood is based on some stereotypes that aren’t even relevant. A’s fans don’t get mugged on their way to the game. If it was so dangerous we wouldn’t see a stadium filled with middle class white folks every time the Sox and Yanks come to town. The area hasn’t really declined since the heyday of the late 80′s early 90′s. The reality is that the Coliseum is old and unattractive but it’s still a fine place to see a game and even spectacular on a sunny day. And it’s centrally located for the greater bay area on BART. It’s about a million times nicer than the trop.

    Maybe you could look a little deeper at ownership. Wolff/Fischer et al have turned a profit every season in the 2000′s and have done nothing to improve marketing or the fan experience at the coliseum.

    In spite of all you say about the market and other teams being smart (well not Seattle, Baltimore or Anaheim or even the Giants for that matter) the team has rebuilt and is in a position to challenge the Rangers for the division.

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    • S. says:

      The neighborhood comment stood out to me, as well. The basketball arena, located right next to the Coliseum, has one of the better NBA attendance records, and they draw fans from all over the Bay area, not just “scary” Oakland. And the Oakland airport is just down the road–are people too scared to go to the airport, too?

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    • Liem says:

      The Coliseum maybe easily accessed by BART, but that’s not the ideal fan an MLB owner is looking to attract. An MLB doesn’t want a smart savvy PT rider who’s looking spend under $100 to enjoy a game. An MLB owner would much rather prefer a suburban couple coming to the game in an over-sized gas guzzling SUV hauling their 2.3 children. That is type of fan who is willing buy PSLs at ridiculous prices and spend $321.62 each game.

      Unfortunately for the A’s, the Coliseum is the worst location for that fan. Most of those types of fans live in the South Bay or Peninsula, which means BART is not an option. If one were to drive from the South Bay, one would have to endure the nightmarish traffic of 880 or 680; Peninsula drivers would have to choose which bridge offers them the best view while moving at 15 mph.

      Could the same be said of the commute to SF? Probably, although Peninsula and South Bay folks could take the CalTrain. But the fact that AT&T is beautiful, new, and in the city makes it a no-brainer when choosing between it and the Coliseum–which you correctly stated has the perception of being run-down and old.

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      • Fergie348 says:

        Dude, what are you talking about? BART is accessible from both the South Bay and the Peninsula – depending on how far out you live you might have to drive and park at a BART station but you don’t *have* to drive to the park. Public transit access to the Coliseum is one of the only plusses of the whole A’s experience. The stadium itself is dumpy and the whole vibe there is third class all the way. Most spring training stadiums in AZ have more charm.

        The reason that the Coliseum is packed for Sox games is all the Red Sox fans coming out. They’d see their team regardless, which is certainly not true of A’s fans. I agree they need a change of scenery – San Jose would be a good destination but if they can’t make that happen what about Portland? If they could get a stadium there, that would be an awesome place for the A’s.

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      • Liem says:

        Fergie,

        “Dude”, the most Southern BART station is the Mowry Station in Fremont. That means a San Jose fan would have to drive on 680 or 880 from the 101 interchange past the 237 interchange to the Mowry Ave exit. According to Google maps, that’s 18 miles, “dude”. In traffic that’s conservatively estimated to be 40 minutes, “dude”. The BART ride from Fremont to the Coliseum is another 26 minutes. Assuming you find parking quickly, catch the train right when you get to the station and speed walk to the park, you’d make it to the park in about 1:15. For a family of four, the round trip BART tickets would cost about $30. At that rate and price, driving would be about the same speed but more economical.

        Taking BART from the Peninsula, a commuter would have to travel 20 miles up to Milbrae (a 40 minute drive in traffic), take a 57 minute train ride, and pay $9.90 one-way. Again, a family of four would be better of driving and paying the parking/gas, “dude”.

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      • Tom says:

        I am a season ticket holder and live on the coast of the peninsula. The San Mateo bridge average speed east bound during rush hour is about 55. I am able to get to the games in 75 minutes and return home in 60. The 880 debacle for me lasts only about 10 miles.

        I think that your analysis incorrectly excludes the entire North Bay fan type that would also be desirable. Growing up in Napa and Santa Rosa, there was about a 50-50 split in fan allegiance up there.

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    • Buti says:

      Yea, the neighborhood comment bugs – scarey Oakland, brown people! The crappy 1970′s stadium w/ evil Mount Davis blocking out the hills and sucking the life out of the park air is the problem, not the neighborhood.

      If ownership was interested in a downtown Oakland ballpark ala AT&T, people would show up.

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  9. Nick says:

    I’m not particularly fond of the A’s, but this ranking is WAY too low. Seriously, Seattle is ranked higher? Then again, this site IS owned by Dave Cameron

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  10. buck turgidson says:

    As far as good winters go, the A’s transactions were epic compared to what the Angels did (Scott Downs?) and better than Texas overpay for Beltre and no Cliff Lee. Name the teams besides the Red Sox and Brewers that did more to improve their rosters.

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  11. Jon A. says:

    “The A’s play in the worst stadium in baseball in the worst neighborhood for a stadium in baseball. ”

    I have to disagree with the neighborhood part of your assessment. Have you ever been to Yankee Stadium? You know, the one in the middle of the South Bronx? Outside of a two-block radius around the stadium (and only on game days at that), that neighborhood has been a crack-infested war zone for the last 30 years. It’s purely speculation on my part, but I would venture that the new Stadium is probably worth more than every other building within a half mile radius, combined. The only saving grace is that people going to the Stadium have two NYC subway lines immediately adjacent, but you could say the same for the Oakland Coliseum and BART, as well.

    On the subject of baseball stadiums in crappy areas, let’s also look at the neighborhood around Turner Field in Atlanta. On the north side of the stadium (closer to the state Capitol building) it’s not awful, but walk more than a couple of blocks in any other direction and you’re taking your life into your hands. And, unlike the stadiums in Oakland and the Bronx, there isn’t even public transit close by – you have to walk damn near a mile to get to a train.

    West Oakland isn’t great. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live there. But to say that it’s worse than the areas around Yankee Stadium and Turner Field is a stretch – and I’ve lived in all three cities.

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    • Noah says:

      The Coliseum is in East Oakland.

      Fruitvale (the neighborhood on the other side of the BART tracks) is already a blue collar Latino neighborhood with a smattering of hipsters and Asian immigrants. The stereotype of the 1980s crack zone Oakland is gone.

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    • Anon says:

      Comparing anything to Yankee Stadium is a little unfair. The Yankees could play in Camden and sell every game out.

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  12. Just a random question to throw out. If Mt. Davis was never built. Would the Coliseum be so bad or would it be renovatable (word I have now coined) a la Anaheim Stadium? I think it had the potential to be a neat ballpark brought up to modern standards, guess we won’t ever find out.

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    • Danmay says:

      But have you seen the beautiful view of the infield from Mt. Davis?

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    • Noah says:

      My dad said the Coliseum was beautiful in the 60s, before they added all of the concrete crap and stopped doing proper maintenance and facility upgrades. There was a panoramic view of the Oakland Hills over center field. He said it was pretty much perfect on a summer night with the sunset and the microclimate in the area. Almost as nice as Dodger Stadium, he claims.

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  13. baty says:

    But, while Oakland does a nice job reading talent, they need some help to push themselves above the lower half of the league. Their current basket of future talent will be an obvious test in understanding Oakland’s ability of restructuring a team within this philosophy. There might not be a team in the league that is relying on the “near future” talent projections of young players more than the A’s. This process of recycling has been going on for while now, and while the management of value has been very efficient, it looks like the seeds are planted for being maybe the youngest team in the league approaching 2013.

    I think it’s too soon to put the A’s at any clear advantage / disadvantage with their front office and future talent operations.

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  14. Elmano says:

    There’s nothing wrong with the location of the Oakland Coliseum. I guess you aren’t aware of all the develop[ment which has occured on Hegenberger Road recently. There’s a Lee yearsxus dealership, a brand new huge Toyota dealership, a newer Walmart, InNout burger, new hotels, etc. Also, that area is far better now then it was when the Oakland A’s under the Walter Haas ownership were drawing 2.6, 2.7, and 2.9 milion fans in consecutive years in the late 80′s and early 90′s.

    It’s not the ballpark or the convenient neighborhood with its very own BART station. I stay away becuase of Lew Wolff and John Fisher. These carpetbaggers have alienated the fanbase with their years long romance with charmless San Jose. Oakland A’s fans had to endure another South bay carpetbagger ownership prior to Wolff taking over. Steve Schott was romancing Santa Clara for years. Oakland A’s fans have been disrespected for the last 15 year with constant threats of relocation to the South Bay. That’s why attendance is down. Get your facts strait.

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    • Carligula says:

      Elmano,

      I’m an A’s fan. I love the A’s. I don’t mind the Coliseum, much. I’ve had season tickets there, and will again when the team looks decent enough. But please tell me you’re not claiming a new In’n’Out to be the basis of a neighborhood revival?

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  15. baycommuter says:

    The Giants were the first team in Northern California, play in the best stadium and in the city that is the cultural and financial center. San Jose is bigger than San Francisco, but the immediate metro area is only half the size (they’re 40 miles away from each other, so there’s only partial overlap.
    The negative value to the Giants of an A’s move to San Jose is far less than the positive value to the A’s, MLB revenues, and, as Scott Boras recognizes, to the players of having a solid franchise instead of one that will always be a recipient of revenue sharing. Thus, the Giants will eventually be forced to give way, perhaps at a good price to them.

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    • Danmay says:

      That’s where the conversation should end for me, well put.

      It’s not that the A’s moving will have no effect, it will, but baseball, on the whole, will definitely benefit from the move.

      [That, and I still can't get past how pissed I am that the A's gave the territorial rights to the Giant's in first place, different owners or not.]

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  16. Noah says:

    From the perspective of a long suffering Giants fan (and we’ve been suffering WAY longer than A’s fans) who can finally enjoy a team that righted its ship, the A’s are screwed unless they find a new ownership group. The Giants and the Bay Area need to have the A’s on the other side of the bridge. It’s good for Oakland, good for baseball and good for the region for our rivals to stay where they are.

    Lew Welch is a greedy L.A. real estate jerk who sees the A’s as a way to build shopping malls and condos around the park he wants in San Jose. He doesn’t love the game of baseball. He loves money. He also has told Oaklanders he basically hates Oakland about a dozen times by even refusing to listen to serious, well thought out proposals to build a beautiful new park in Jack London Square. In Downtown Oakland. Where the team belongs.

    Remember when it was a foregone conclusion the Giants were moving to Florida? Dark days for us. But look at what can happen with the right owners and a little initiative.

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    • sleepingcobra says:

      There’s more: A pro-Oakland group (Dolich/Piccinini) was mysteriously blocked from even *making an offer* to buy the team in 1999 by Oakland-hater Bud Selig, who happens to be Lew Wolff’s frat brother. Wolff was allowed to buy the team a few years later.

      You can read all about it here: http://www.baseballoakland.com/history/timeline1.php

      As far as I’m concerned, there’s way more to this story than incompetence – or even greed. The players in this saga are virulently *anti-Oakland.* And, save for a handful of local sports writers, it barely even gets mentioned. I’d go so far as to say there’s even a little racial semaphore in all of this, but that, of course, must be left untouched.

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  17. Liem says:

    As a Giants fan who grew up in the suburbs of San Jose, I’m hoping that the A’s do not claim San Jose as part of their territorial rights.

    That being said, I can hardly blame Lew Wolff for wanting to move into San Jose market. Nor can I understand why A’s fan are mad at the ownership for wanting to do so. The Fangraphs community prides itself on using data and statistics in order to arrive at objective and sound conclusions. Well, take a look at these stats:

    (As of the 2000 census)
    City A has a population of 399,484 people and an average household income of 40,055.
    City B has a population of 894,943 people and an average household income of 70,243.

    As an owner of MLB franchise, which city would you prefer your stadium be located in?

    Stats from: http://www.bayareacensus.ca.gov/cities/cities.htm

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  18. Elmano says:

    The problem is that the over 45,000 Oakland Athletic fans on the Let’s Go Oakland facebook site want the team to remain in Oakland. The fanbase understands that Oakland and the A’s have an incredible history and that baseball is about history and tradition. Lew Wolff bought the Oakland A’s so he needs to deal with it and find a solution in Oakland. Wolff should have kept his hands off of the Oakland A’s and let MLB allow the pro-Oakland group headed by Andy Dolich and Robert Piccinini by the team and keep them in Oakland for the long-term. The fanbase comes from Oakland, Alameda County, Contra Costa County and San Francisco in that order. The fans don’t want to go to San Jose. Why don’t the San Jose boosters understand this. I don’t care how many corporations you have or how much money you have, the fanbase doesn’t live there and doesn’t want to go there. Why cant you and Lew Wolff understant this? Show the fans a little respect. Your arrogant attitudes like this is all about San Jose and San Francisco is disgusting. How about little ol Oakland and the vast majority of the fanbase? Do we count for anything? Pathethic!

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    • Liem says:

      Elmano,
      No one is questioning the loyalty or dedication of Oakland fans. The problem is that MLB is a business. The Oakland A’s are a franchise of that business. As business men Lew Wolff, the other owners and the commissioner have to make business decisions.

      Do the Oakland fans and the current fanbase count for anything? Yes, they count for exactly however many dollars they spend. San Jose has more money and is therefore more desirable, even if the fans are casual and fair-weather. That’s why the pro-Oakland group that wanted to buy the A’s couldn’t put forth a business model that could compete with Wolff’s Southbay centric model. Although East-Bay fans maybe more fanatical and mindful of the franchise’s tradition, they ultimately they do not spend enough money.

      Remember, Oakland is not the only Bay Area city that has been shafted by pro sports team. Even SF was dumped by the 49ers in favor of Santa Clara. It’s not disrespect, it’s just business.

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  19. Elmano says:

    This was about building a ballpark for the Oakland A’s and not about relocation. There’s plenty of money in the Oakland Metro area and in San Francisco. The problem is 15 years of disloyal ownerships who have always run the operation with a one-foot-out-the-door mentality because they were from the South Bay and had business interests there. Oakland has already shown what it can do in supporting an ownership committed tom winning and committed to the community. You have to have both or the potential of Oakland’s central location along with it’s impressive transportation network and great climate will never be maximized. The Warriors do extremely well in Oakland in a building 50 yards from where the Oakland A’s play. It’s not about the neighborhood, it’s not about the lack of money or access to corporations, it’s about a disloyal ownership which has alianated its fanbase at every turn.

    MLB defrauded Oakland out of an opportunity to have an ownership group committed to staying in Oakland and instead gave the reins of the franchise to a San Jose trojan horse owner who would create long-term instability in the franchise by flirting with relocation just about every year. Oakland and the East Bay have never had a chance to show its potential because of the constant talk of relocation by an ownership who constantly devalues Oakland, and Oakland A’s fans. The fans are not in San Jose so it really doesn’t matter how much money you have if you’re surronded by Giant fans. San Jose needs to butt out and try to figure out how to retain Police and Fire.

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    • Liem says:

      Again, I agree that Oakland is viable, it’s just not preferable to San Jose in terms of money. You made a good point about the Warriors, but I think the Warriors are in a different situation than the A’s. The Warriors have the Bay Area market all to themselves. I imagine if they had to compete against a team in San Francisco or San Jose, the situation would be different. Also, I can remember reading about the new Warriors’ ownership considering a move to San Jose as well; I cannot so find the source on that one, though.

      In the end, I hope you’re right. As a Giants fan, I’d love for the Giants to keep San Jose all to themselves, but I think the rest of the MLB is too eager to have the A’s in the middle of the Silicon Valley.

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  20. baycommuter says:

    The A’s relationship with Oakland and Oakland-only fans are in a bad marriage. You can see the dynamic in the comments of Elmano. “If only MLB had picked the right owner” is like “If only he had taken the job I told him to take.”
    “If only they could see Oakland is the best location for a team” is like “If only he didn’t see that I’m a better wife than that new girlfriend could ever be.”
    The other spouse is tired of the argument has long since moved on, in this case, to dreams of getting a divorce and marrying San Jose, who unfortunately is being held captive by a Giant meaner than the one in Jack and the Beanstalk, but that’s another story…

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  21. Candlestick Parker says:

    The Giants acquired Santa Clara County in the early 1990s, when it was nobody’s territory. The A’s happily approved the exclusive award of the county to the Giants, not out of any altruism, but in hopes the Giants would leave SF and thereby turn the A’s into the dominant North Bay team.

    It didn’t work out. The Giants remain the dominant team in every part of Northern California, except for about a 200 yard radius around the Colisseum. And that’s the A’s fundamental problem. Their brand got off to a horrible start back in the Charlie Finley era, and except for a brief surge in the Haas era, they’ve been the unloved stepchild of the Bay Area. A new ballpark will ameliorate but not solve that problem.

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  22. baycommuter says:

    The Giants are clearly the #1 team and will remain that way. There is something of a social class distinction between Giants and A’s fans, but it’s not as intense as Cubs/White Sox or Niners/Raiders and doesn’t leave the A’s with enough revenue. However, the South Bay has grown fast enough that it now can support its own team, and the economics of a move to San Jose (the nation’s ninth largest) can’t be denied forever because of territoriality.

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