Tussle Over Proposed A’s Ballpark in San Jose Heats Up

The Oakland A’s want to move to San Jose, approximately 45 miles south of Oakland and 50 miles southeast of San Francisco. The Giants oppose the move on the ground that the A’s granted the Giants the “territorial rights” to San Jose and the rest of Santa Clara County back in the 1990s when the Giants were trying to build a ballpark in Santa Clara.

Earlier this year, I explained the history of the Giants/A’s territorial-rights dispute over at Baseball Nation.

Territorial rights describes the way Major League Baseball divides the major metropolitan areas of the United States for its 30 franchises. (Well, 29 franchises in the U.S., plus one in Toronto, Canada). According to research done by baseball researcher and writer Doug Pappas in 2002, Major League Baseball amended its rules between 1990 and 1994 to expand the definition of territorial rights to include not just each team’s home city, but also the surrounding counties.

All of the two-team territories but one share the same counties: the Yankees and Mets; the White Sox and Cubs; and the Dodgers and Angels. Only the Giants and A’s split the counties surrounding their home cities. The A’s territory includes Alameda and Contra Costa counties; the Giants’ territory includes San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Monterey and Marin counties, “plus Santa Clara County with respect to another major league team.” San Jose is in Santa Clara county. To get your bearings, look at this map of California counties.

snip

[T]he Giants never built a stadium in Santa Clara county, because several voter initiatives to fund such a stadium failed. Instead, [owner Bob] Lurie sold the Giants to a Peter Magowan-led group, who in turn privately financed what is now called AT&T Park, in downtown San Francisco. Nevertheless, the MLB rule granting the Giants “Santa Clara County with respect to another major league team” was never amended.

Under MLB rules, a team can move into the territory of another team upon the vote of three-fourths of the owners, the two ballparks are at least five miles apart; the move results in no more than two teams in a single territory; and the team moving compensates the team already in the territory.

Commissioner Selig and a blue ribbon committee have been studying the A’s proposed move to San Jose, including the territorial rights issue, for more than three years. It appears the “study” is, essentially, a stall tactic in the hopes the teams can negotiated a resolution. Selig wants to avoid a vote of the thirty owners and the lawsuits that are likely ensue from a vote.

Meanwhile, the A’s and San Jose have moved ahead on plans for a new ballpark in downtown San Jose, just a few blocks from HP Pavilion, home of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks, as shown on this map published by the San Francisco Chronicle. Last November, the City of San Jose granted an option to the A’s to purchase a five-acre tract of public land for $6.9 million. The option contains two conditions: (1) no public funds shall be used in the design, construction or operation of the new ballpark; and (2) city voters must still approve the construction of the new ballpark. The option cost the A’s $25,000 per year. An architectural firm has drawn up renderings of the proposed ballpark, which you can view here.

Shortly after the option was approved, and the first year paid by the A’s, a group known as Stand For San Jose filed a lawsuit to block the proposed land sale. In legal terms, the lawsuit seeks a Writ of Mandamus, which is fancy term for a court order prohibiting the City from completing the land deal. Stand for San Jose claims that the City’s environmental and traffic studies were flawed and that city voters should have been asked to approve the land deal. The case, filed in Santa Clara Superior Court, is pending before Judge Joseph Huber.

From the get-go, the City and the A’s have accused Stand for San Jose — which claims to be a grassroots, taxpayer group — as being more of an “astroturf group” used as a front for the Giants. Given the Giants’ very public opposition to the A’s move to San Jose, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if, in fact, the Giants are involved with and support Stand for San Jose. It’s notable that Stand for San Jose is represented in the lawsuit by the well-heeled San Francisco law firm Pillsbury Winthrop and partner Ronald Van Buskirk, a veteran land-use lawyer. Unless Mr. Van Buskirk is handling the case pro bono (for free), it’s unlikely that a grassroots organization could afford his firm’s hourly rates for such a case. For their part, the A’s have their own well-heeled San Francisco lawyers involved in the lawsuit. Geoffrey Robinson of San Francisco firm Perkins Coie represents the A’s.

This week, the City and the A’s tried to turn up the heat on Stand for San Jose. They filed a motion asking the court to order the organization to produce witnesses to testify under oath about the origins, membership, and funding of Stand for San Jose, among other topics. The City/A’s argue that only San Jose taxpayers have legal “standing” to pursue the lawsuit and that Stand For San Jose doesn’t represent City taxpayers. We requested copies of the motion from the A’s attorneys but received no response. Stand for San Jose has yet to respond to the motion. A hearing is set before Judge Huber on September 21.

There is clearly both a legal and political purpose behind the motion. If the City/A’s can prove that Stand for San Jose doesn’t have legal standing to proceed, then the Court will dismiss the lawsuit, at least until the organization can establish it’s right to proceed. Politically, the City/A’s want to turn up the heat on the Giants’ efforts to keep the A’s out of San Jose. Sure, the Giants’ opposition is well-known; indeed, absent the Giants’ opposition, MLB’s owners likely would have approved the move already. But it may help the A’s with the Commissioner and the other owners to show the lengths the Giants will go to — financially and otherwise — to keep the A’s out of Santa Clara County.

The lawsuit and the pending motion are just two twists in this never-ending saga. The City of Oakland is trying to re-launch efforts to keep the A’s there. We are covering all the angles. Look for more stories soon.



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Wendy writes about sports and the business of sports. She's been published most recently by Vice Sports, Deadspin and NewYorker.com. You can find her work at wendythurm.pressfolios.com and follow her on Twitter @hangingsliders.


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OmahaJoe
Guest
OmahaJoe
3 years 10 months ago

Wow. The amazing thing to me is how badly the A’s got screwed on the original territorial deal. How/why did they agree to that massively lop-sided division of the bay area?

Jack
Guest
Jack
3 years 10 months ago

The Giants were planning to move to San Jose which wasn’t much of anything before the tech-boom. The A’s then could move in on the city of San Francisco, which was far wealthier, but unwilling to finance a new stadium. However, the Giants move to San Jose was voted against and the new Giants ownership self-funded a stadium while the economy of San Jose boomed.

Bigmouth
Guest
3 years 10 months ago

When was that? I was born and bred in the Bay Area, an I don’t recall any suggestion the A’s were ever going to move to SF.

Jack
Guest
Jack
3 years 10 months ago

Not that the A’s were going to move, but they would reap the benefits of San Francisco, just like the Giants are reaping the benefits of San Jose.

Tim_the_Beaver
Member
Tim_the_Beaver
3 years 10 months ago

Walter Haas agreed to give the Giants that portion of the Bay out of generosity, with the understanding that it was so that the Giants could build a ballpark down there. That never happened, and the territory was never changed back. It’s sad that such altruistic “best for baseball” action is now so far in the rear view mirror for the Giants.

mettle
Guest
mettle
3 years 10 months ago

Well, you have to remember that the As were the new team and were working from a one-down position.

Also, the A’s territory, at the time, was far closer in population than it is now because this pre-dates the massive growth of Silicon Valley.
In 1970, it was the East Bay — C.C and Alameda county, that had been growing 3-fold every few years. In 1960, Alameda county was twice the size of SC; in 1950 it was 3x.
Now SC is almost twice the size of Alameda.

Troy
Guest
Troy
3 years 10 months ago

The A’s weren’t really “new” to the area when this all happened, they had already been to the WS 6 times and won it 4. You’re reaching a little too far back. Most of this history is from the early 90s.

Blizburgh
Guest
Blizburgh
2 years 7 months ago

Well here is an idea that will solve the problem the Giants and cause the A’s more heart ache including 5 other markets. Have the A’s return to there former starting point in Philadelphia. That way Philly will have 2 teams in an area with twice the amount of population on the east coast. The Giants can have the whole S.F. area and A’s can fight with other local teams such as Philles, Nat’s, Oil birds, Mets and Yanks.

TKDC
Member
Member
TKDC
3 years 10 months ago

So basically the A’s will eventually be able to move to Oakland, as the law says they can, but SF will play every card in their hand, ethical or not, to delay the move so they make a little bit more money.

TKDC
Member
Member
TKDC
3 years 10 months ago

edit —

move to San Jose

Jon Sullivan
Member
Jon Sullivan
3 years 10 months ago

Well, the territorial rights to San Jose do have economic value to them. I don’t blame the Giants for wanting compensation for those rights, though as an A’s fan I do wish the process would move along a bit faster.

McBagger
Guest
McBagger
3 years 10 months ago

What “law” is that? The A’ss will NOT be allowed to move to SJ– they don’t have the votes to force it to happen and the Giants want them out of the area so that we can play the Red Sox to the doyers Yankees. No WAY the Giants agree to this move. The Stand for SJ case is a sideshow — the A’ss can’t/won’t build in Jokeland and they can’t move to SJ…they’ll be in San Antonio soon enough.

Tim_the_Beaver
Member
Tim_the_Beaver
3 years 10 months ago

This is a great summary of a complicated topic. Thanks Wendy. I read two baseball blogs every day: this one, and http://newballpark.org/ which is by far the best news source on the topic.
My take: you are exactly right that Selig is biding his time, hoping that one of two things occurs: the Giants and A’s can negotiate a settlement for access to the South Bay, or Oakland can get its act together and put together a *viable* ballpark proposal. (I add the emphasis because Oakland has gone through numerous ideas, but never given them the proper leadership to make them viable. And by viable, I more or less mean financially viable).
So what will break first? The A’s patience? Bud? Oakland? I honestly have no idea at this point. I see the chances of the A’s location as 50/50 for SJ/Oak 10 years from now. It’s sad that the real losers in all this are A’s fans, who have no clarity on the future of their team.

mettle
Guest
mettle
3 years 10 months ago

I actually think that Alameda/East Bay is a viable location for the A’s long term and moving to the South Bay is short sited.
Silicon Valley already had it’s income and population boom 1970-2000 and won’t be getting much bigger – they’re pretty maxed out with millionaires. On the other hand, Oakland is beginning a big population and income resurgence.

Tim_the_Beaver
Member
Tim_the_Beaver
3 years 10 months ago

No offense, mettle, but this is exactly the problem the A’s face: yes, the East Bay is “viable” for many theoretical reasons. When it comes to looking site by site, however, and seeing what development costs and regulatory hurdles (env. impact, zoning, transportation, etc) would be, you quickly find out that there are literally no good ones. They all have significant problems/hurdles. The City of Oakland’s brass focuses way too much on the type of argument you make, and way too little on the problems that actually matter

mettle
Guest
mettle
3 years 10 months ago

Not sure what you’re referring to here.
How is Oakland a more difficult place to develop than elsewhere in the Bay Area?
So, everything combined, San Jose would be just as difficult PLUS there’s the issue with the Giants.

MajorDanby
Guest
MajorDanby
3 years 10 months ago

Jack London Square beckons…we can have dueling parks by the bay!!

Tim_the_Beaver
Member
Tim_the_Beaver
3 years 10 months ago

Not really sure what isn’t clear. Name the site in Oakland and it has potentially insurmountable problems that don’t exist in SJ: Jack London Square- can’t purchase or zone the land for the ballpark. period. Colliseum City- development costs are far higher than the option in SJ, AND you need to get the Raiders on board (Warriors already leaving). Howard Terminal- significant land development/cleaning, and it’s far from BART. this is just a snapshot. AND none of these have environmental impact reports done. San Jose, on the other hand, 1) already has land purchased 2) already has an EIR, and 3) (to boot) has a much better corporate base for support. If your curious about more detail of each of the Oakland sites, head over to newballpark.org and search for each of the sites. you’ll get all the ugly details you want.

Troy
Guest
Troy
3 years 10 months ago

The problem Oakland faces is that it can’t finance the stadium the way it can in San Jose. In the Bay Area, you cannot get public money for a stadium, it won’t happen. The Giants privately financed their stadium largely with the large corporate base they have in The City. Oakland lacks that corporate base, but San Jose doesn’t. The only way to finance a stadium in the Bay Area is to take advantage of the corporate base. Otherwise, any added revenue the A’s get from a new stadium will simply go towards paying the mortgage and they haven’t improved their situation.

E
Guest
E
3 years 10 months ago

Or maybe they could use the revenue sharing money they’ve been stuffing into their pockets the past few years while crying poor and putting out a lower quality product to buy their own stadium. This fight is the worst – between super millionaires about future millions – and overall bad for baseball. I don’t think it’s ok to say either team is right, they’re both trying to protect their own selfish interests.

cthabeerman
Member
cthabeerman
3 years 10 months ago

E: The Athletics actually have a better record than SF in the past decade, and since the ownership change. They may be crying poor, but they haven’t been putting out a lower-quality product.

McBagger
Guest
McBagger
3 years 10 months ago

“A’ss fans?” All 17 of ’em? Please. They couldn’t even sell out WS games at home in the 70s…there’s no there, there. San Antonio would be a good fit. While they’re at it, they could take the wayduhs with ’em.

Average_Casey
Guest
Average_Casey
3 years 10 months ago

Wow, the A’s tried to help the Giants out of the goodness of their hearts years ago and now are paying for it. How sad is it that this kind of proves the idea that no good deed goes unpunished?

Michael Corleone
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Michael Corleone
3 years 10 months ago

It’s not personal. It’s business.

GOB Bluth
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GOB Bluth
3 years 10 months ago

If it’s business, I’ll go away happy. If it’s personal, I’ll go away, but I won’t be happy.

a
Guest
a
3 years 10 months ago

BEADS?!?!?!?!?

mick
Guest
mick
3 years 10 months ago

I will not dispute the fact that Mr. Haas was a greatly respected gentleman, but he was also an ultra-successful businessman. It would seem unlikely that he allowed the Giants to have territorial rights to Santa Clara (which he did not technically own to begin with) purely out of the goodness of his heart. He obviously had something to gain in drawing from the lucrative San Francisco market. To strip the Giants of their territorial rights to Santa Clara is not tantamount to “righting a wrong” done to the A’s. Both the current Giants and A’s ownership groups knew full well of the situation when they purchased the teams. It would seem to be a greater wrong at this point to award territorial rights to an owner who has completely ignored and alienated his current fanbase in an attempt to move his team to a location where he figures to reap the benefits of a massive retail/residential/entertainment development.

gobears
Member
gobears
3 years 10 months ago

I think you aren’t listening to what Mr. Corleone is saying. I hope you don’t own a racehorse.

McBagger
Guest
McBagger
3 years 10 months ago

Common myth. The A’ss helped the Giants out b/c the Giants were/are essential to keeping MLB alive in the Bay. The A’ss are not. They’ve always been weak stepchildren to the Giants. In any event, it doesn’t matter WHY the G’s have the rights, but rather that the DO have them. Shuffle on to San Antonio, get the wayduhs back to LaLa and return the W’s to the City. SJ can keep the Sharks.

Mike B.
Guest
Mike B.
3 years 10 months ago

Does this mean that their new team name would be the “Greater Bay Area Athletics of San Jose”? Because that would be awesome!

sfgiantsfan4ever
Guest
sfgiantsfan4ever
3 years 10 months ago

How about the Contraction Athletics.

The bay area consistently supports 1 team and thats the giants. No one cares about the A’s who havent won a world series in 23 yrs.

Better to disband that franchise, there’s enough room on the giants bandwagon for migrating A’s fans, feel free.

The A’s are like the homeless, salvation army of mlb who steal money from revenue sharing. Selig would be smart to contract the A’s as his plans 10 yrs ago were. A’s will never get SJ and city of oakland cant support them

Michael Corleone
Guest
Michael Corleone
3 years 10 months ago

I am a Giants fan and this post represents only the fringe moranicy of the fanbase. I like the A’s, just not in San Jose.

Bigmouth
Guest
3 years 10 months ago

What Michael said.

McBagger
Guest
McBagger
3 years 10 months ago

I am a third generation Giants fan and MC’s post represents the fringe lunacy of the shortsighted. To compete with the doyers we have to have HUGE cable money. The only way to get that is to be the only team in the area. Adios, athleticos…hasta el alamo.

MAC
Member
MAC
3 years 10 months ago

Wow, a San Franciscan Romney supporter.

mettle
Guest
mettle
3 years 10 months ago

Then the Bay area becomes the largest Metropolitan area with only one team and you have 29 teams, which begs for expansion to 30.
Then where do you expand?
Vegas (2 mil)? NC (2.5mil)?
If Pittsburgh (2.5 mil) can have a team, it seems reasonable that SF (7 mil) should have 2.
Heck, Sacramento has 2.5 mil people (I think it’s the biggest metro region without a team). So, maybe put the franchise somewhere near there and the 2.5 m teamless fans in Alameda and Contra Cost counties.
The biggest city, after SF and SJ: Oakland

Jon Sullivan
Member
Jon Sullivan
3 years 10 months ago

Since 2000, the A’s have won 11 more games than the Giants have. Say what you want about their payroll decisions, but we’re not talking about a rudderless franchise that can’t win games.

Adam D
Guest
Adam D
3 years 10 months ago

If we’re willing to consider more extreme solutions… the San Antonio/Austin area is a large metro area that could support a pro team (and keep the A’s in the AL West). But then, of course, you have to have the exact same discussions with the Astros that you are having now with the Giants…

channelclemente
Guest
channelclemente
3 years 10 months ago

Jon, it’s not about the wins, it’s about an agreement that if broken, effects a lot of teams, not the least of which are the Yankees and the Rays.

matt
Guest
matt
3 years 10 months ago

leave the bucs out of it jagoff

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
3 years 10 months ago

Selig should show some guts for once in his miserable tenure and tell the Giants to back off. Both teams should share NorCal as their territory, but if they can’t even do that, the boundary should be drawn as roughly a line East starting from the SF/SC border.
Secondly, baseball should expand to 32 teams and have 4 regional leagues (AL and NL no longer existing) in the SE,NE,Central and West, reducing travel and rationalizing the playoffs. NC and NJ would be good locations, as would many other areas.
If only baseball had a real commissioner.

McBagger
Guest
McBagger
3 years 10 months ago

If Pitt can have a team at 2.5MM people, then LaLa can have four, and NY can have 7!! Fun with math!

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
3 years 10 months ago

The simplicity of “2.5M in this city means a city with 5 can hold two” is pretty annoying. Look at the Metro area, the next closest team, as well as other substitutes. Look a the Cardinals, St. Louis isn’t a huge city, but they draw well and have a ton of exposure because there are no teams south to the coast, no teams directly east until Baltimore, Chubbies northeast, no teams north, no teams southwest until the Rangers, and no teams west until the Royas. That’s a HUUUGE territory for them to capitalize on, they have a storied history, and are the main show in town and (mostly) the only show in town during the MLB season.

It’s not as simple as looking at the population of the city. If you did that, you wouldn’t realize how blessed the Rangers and Cardinals are.

As for this situation, I think moving Oakland to San Jose is what’s best for baseball. Could move them to Sacremento I guess but I don’t know the interest there. Portland apparently wants a MLB team.

One other thing to consider is the “only show in town” thing. The Oklahoma City Thunder play in a pretty small city. However, they are the only pro team in the whole state, so they get a ton of support. You could possibly move the As to the biggest city in a state with no pro teams and see if they support it the same way. It’d have to be a state that appreciates baseball though.

Billy Baroo
Guest
Billy Baroo
3 years 10 months ago

“…city of oakland cant support them” I would agree with you except I would rephrase that as “The East Bay will NEVER support Lew Wolff by choice.” The Giants were in a similar position in the early 90’s; low attendance; an owner who wanted to move; a multi-purpose stadium; lots of uncertainty. What happened next? The team was sold to visionaries who spent money to upgrade Candlestick to be more fan-friendly while, at the same time, began working on a new downtown ballpark. This ownership lost money during those years but it ended up paying off big time in 2000 when the new park opened. The area that the new park now stands was once a drug-infested slum that has now turned into the hip place to be. The same thing can happen in Oakland except that it must happen without Wolff/Fisher/Beane/Crowley, who are hell-bent on SJ or bust. If they sell and this fab-four are long gone, then and only then will we see the same thing occur in Oakland for the A’s. A downtown park by the water would have the same effect as AT&T Park. Attendance will rise dramatically, corporate sponsors will flock in, revenues will grow, and the franchise value will skyrocket. And the best part? This can all occur without this drama that Wolff has created with his SJ love affair. They all need to go asap otherwise this thing drags on for years. If I was a decision-maker for the city of Oakland, I would negotiate the 2013 lease with near impossible terms. This guy has ruined the franchise, is getting a sweetheart lease right now, and is making money due to revenue-sharing. If they get the go-ahead for SJ from his frat buddy I would not want them in Oakland beyond the lease expiration. Let them find their own temporary home to play. Hey, maybe they can play at SJSU’s baseball field. I say good riddance to an underhanded liar and I would never support the SJ A’s……..ever. It would be schadenfreude for me and I’d be rooting for them be perennial losers each and every year. Why the vitriol on my part? Simple. I can easily accept a legitimate move to SJ where all options have been looked at thoroughly in the East Bay. If the East Bay proved to have real viability issues, whatever they may be, then so be it. I would support the move. However, Wolff and his group have been dishonest the entire way through and his transparent attempt to alienate the fanbase is nothing short of despicable. His motives were well-known all along. He never gave Oakland a chance and this is why Oakland leaders are keeping him out of the loop on their dealings to keep the team. He did the same thing with the Fairmont Hotel in SF. He went back on his word per the contract he signed that specifically said the hotel is to remain intact and the new owner shall not try to build condos. That didn’t last very long before he violated his word. His excuse was that the hotel was not “viable.” Sound familiar?

I Agree Guy
Guest
I Agree Guy
3 years 10 months ago

That…..is one impressive wall of text.

Tim_the_Beaver
Member
Tim_the_Beaver
3 years 10 months ago

I think I disagree with a bunch of these words, but perhaps I’ll just concede.

logic... try it
Guest
logic... try it
3 years 10 months ago

This is just not true, Wolff tried for years to find a place in Oakland, but wasn’t supported by the city.

Troy
Guest
Troy
3 years 10 months ago

You are clearly mistaken. Oakland and the East Bay have been given a chance…multiple times.

Troy
Guest
Troy
3 years 10 months ago

Consistently support the Giants? I swear Giants fans don’t know history. It wasn’t so long ago they were in the same exact boat. Here’s a fact: Between the time the A’s moved to Oakland and the Giants got their stadium, more people had walked through the Coliseum gates than Candlestick.

Candlestick Parker
Guest
Candlestick Parker
3 years 10 months ago

Not necessarily. Before the leagues merged in the 1990s, the NL counted only “paid attendance” — number of tickets paid for that were actually used. The AL used the loose standard of counting all tickets paid for, whether used or not (which is what MLB uses today).

In any event, Candlestick depressed Giants physical attendance. But TV and radio results always told the same story: even at the height of the Bash Brothers in the late 80s/early 90s the Giants dominated the Bay Area market.

McBagger
Guest
McBagger
3 years 10 months ago

And yet despite that, the A’ss can’t get a new ballpark and MLB has no interest in helping them do so as they did the Giants when we were almost in St. Pete. Not the same boat at all…the Giants have always been the major team in the area and always will be. The A’ss will never get SJ and cannot fund their own stadium. Begone to Texas already!

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
3 years 10 months ago

AHAHAHAHHAHAHA you spell “A’s” like “ass” AHAHAHAH THAT’S SO FUNNY, O MY GOD YOU’RE CLEVER, AHAHAHAHAHA, MAN, THAT REALLY HELPS SWAY MY OPINION IN YOUR FAVOR AHAHAHAHA

JimNYC
Guest
JimNYC
3 years 10 months ago

“All of the two-team territories but one share the same counties: the Yankees and Mets…”

Um… No, not at all. How did a mistake this obvious get put in one article, then quoted in another article, and nobody noticed how obviously mistaken it is?

The Yankees play in the County of Bronx. The Mets play in the County of Queens. Among the other NYC teams, the Nets play in the County of Kings (borough of Brooklyn); and the Knicks and Rangers play in the in the County of New York (borough of Manhattan). The County of Richmond (borough of Staten Island) does not have a major league professional team.

I mean… this is pretty easy stuff here.

Giants fan #2
Guest
Giants fan #2
3 years 10 months ago

Meanwhile, little miss Sacramento sits patiently at the end of the bar watching while the A’s ply San Jose with drinks, roses and promises of a long romance, all the while knowing that her big bad Giant boyfriend nearby will never let it get that far. Only when it’s last call will Mister A realize that San Jose is clearly unobtainable, and turn his attentions to the only option left at the end of the geographical bar. Sacramento may not be the best option, but at the end of the night, she’ll be the only option.

The Giants ownership group originally purchased the team with the legal agreement that San Jose was their exclusive territory. The A’s current ownership purchased the team knowing this was the case. They will never be allowed to move to San Jose without years of legal wrangling, and Oakland will never manage to figure out a way to build a new stadium there. The only other viable option in Northern California is the capitol city, and with the Kings set to move, Sacramento will be looking for a another sports franchise to replace them. It might take awhile, but eventually the A’s will realize the only other choice is to either stay in their decrepit old ballpark, or move out of the area completely (presenting your 2018 Albuquerque A’s). Suddenly, Sacramento won’t seem like such a bad option…

Jon Sullivan
Member
Jon Sullivan
3 years 10 months ago

Two problems:

1) The A’s already have their AAA franchise in Sacramento.
2) While the median household incomes for each city are roughly equal ($50,267 for Sacramento and $49,721 for Oakland based on U.S. Census Bureau figures), there are wealthy surrounding cities like Berkeley that don’t exist near Sacramento. Also, the corporate base in Sacramento is less than it is in the East Bay.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
3 years 10 months ago

What are the substitutes in Sacremento vs the other options? What’s the expected growth?

obsessivegiantscompulsive
Guest
3 years 10 months ago

When Arizona took over the Phoenix area, the Giants AAA franchise was kicked out, so the Sacramento team would be too.

If that is all it takes to prevent a MLB team from moving in is a minor league team, then there is already the San Jose Giants.

Hurtlockertwo
Guest
Hurtlockertwo
3 years 10 months ago

This is kind of funny, anyone from the SF bay Area knows people are usually A’s fans or Giants fans, doesn’t matter where you live. (same for the Raiders and 49er’s)

Mcneildon
Guest
Mcneildon
3 years 10 months ago

I completely agreed with your general premise a while ago and commented on a previous article about this topic with that mindset. However, somebody from the Bay Area–I’m from the East Coast–explained to me that the Giants’ concern is that the numerous corporate entities in San Jose that currently purchase suites from the Giants and contribute advertising dollars to the Giants would be funneled to the A’s if they moved to San Jose. Is that a valid concern? I honestly don’t know anything about Bay Area regional dynamics.

Jason
Guest
Jason
3 years 10 months ago

Agree with the above … plus the Giants fan base extends much further south than the Bay Area. The coast down to probably Santa Barbara and the central valley to Fresno. Now if you put a team geographically between the Giants and those fan bases perhaps it erodes their support long term?

bowie
Member
bowie
3 years 10 months ago

If the A’s moved to San Jose, then all that upper East Bay and inland area (Richmond, Berkeley, Oakland, Hayward, Walnut Creek) would be much more open to the Giants. AT&T park would be a lot more accessible than O.co for most of those residents.
Downtown Oakland is about 40 miles from downtown San Jose, and only 12 miles from AT&T park.
So there is some gain for the Giants here in terms of territory– it’s far from a total loss of territory.

Jack
Guest
Jack
3 years 10 months ago

But the Giants would still be losing. I’m sure if the Giants thought they could profit from relinquishing San Jose and gaining the East Bay, they would have.

Train
Guest
Train
3 years 10 months ago

I think they are trying to have their cake and eat it too. The shift in territory will likely have negligible effect on their revenue (if anything it would increase their fan base as they picked up the greater East Bay). But they know they have something of value to the A’s as well and are trying to get as much compensation for it as they can, despite the fact they would benefit from the change.

Jon Sullivan
Member
Jon Sullivan
3 years 10 months ago

The two aren’t mutually exclusive. The Giants know that their territorial rights are valuable, so even if they believe they will see a revenue boost from the A’s moving, it’s still in the best interest of the club to maximize the value of the settlement received for relinquishing the rights to San Jose.

Jon Sullivan
Member
Jon Sullivan
3 years 10 months ago

Hahaha. Or just read what Train said.

Mcneildon
Guest
Mcneildon
3 years 10 months ago

Part of me thinks that maybe the Giants are being intransigent and protracting this for as long as possible with a long-term goal in mind: they hope that if the A’s can’t move to San Jose and don’t have attractive options available in Oakland they’ll eventually just relocate outside of the Bay Area leaving the entire market to the Giants. I mean, if I owned the Giants and thought I could drive a competitor to another market I would do whatever I could to achieve that.

Delirium Nocturnum
Guest
Delirium Nocturnum
3 years 10 months ago

People who live here (Bay Area) aren’t changing allegiances based on location of ballparks. Can’t tell you how many folks in the East Bay are Giants fan – LOTS – and there are a smattering of A’s fans in SF. That said, a snazzy new stadium would almost certainly bump up attendance at least for a little while.

Jason
Guest
Jason
3 years 10 months ago

Maybe nobody over the age of 15 .. but what about the next generation of fans. The Giants have to be concerned about their long term market share, not just short term.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
3 years 10 months ago

Jason, isn’t fan allegiance in baseball something passed down? Baseball seem to have a lot more of a deep rooted allegiance thing going than other sports. If you grow up with dad a Giants fan and you see him rooting for them and talking about the history, and grandpa, and all your uncles, I’d think most people would be inclined to be Giants fans. Then again, it’s contrarian hipsterville over there (or so I hear) so maybe they’ll all be Athletics fans.

Hunter
Guest
Hunter
3 years 10 months ago

Why can’t the A’s raze the coliseum, and rebuild a decent ballpark on the same land?

DowntownChico
Guest
DowntownChico
3 years 10 months ago

The stadium is surrounded by undeveloped land. There is no commercial presence near the Coliseum. There is also very little residental development, and the little that is there is low income. The site is not in a place that is considered a “recipe for success.”

(Also, I’m not sure the site passed the environmental surveys taken, not sure tho)

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
3 years 10 months ago

It’s also difficult to get to. When I lived in SF, I was a Giants fan first and A’s second. Even though the A’s were better then, I often took a bus and sometimes drove to Candlestick rather than driving over to the Coliseum, which I did occasionally.

Troy
Guest
Troy
3 years 10 months ago

Financing

Mcneildon
Guest
Mcneildon
3 years 10 months ago

I don’t think the Raiders would be on board with that plan.

Hunter
Guest
Hunter
3 years 10 months ago

Oh they play football in Oakland? My bad.

NRAF
Guest
NRAF
3 years 10 months ago

The City of Oakland has long been more receptive to the Raiders than the A’s. The classic example of this is Mount Davis, the awful monstrosity of suites/bleachers that now exists in the outfield, which was built in order to lure the Raiders back from their stint in LA. Prior to this construction, the Coliseum was a fine, though not great, baseball facility.

One of the Raiders’ stadium plans involves just what you describe (building a new stadium at the Coliseum site), which would effectively hang the A’s out to dry. Because of the A’s standing relative to the Raiders, this isn’t a real option for a baseball stadium. Plus what DowntownChico says about the already poor location.

Hunter
Guest
Hunter
3 years 10 months ago

Am I the only one who sees “Alameda” and my first thought is “It’s where they keep the nuclear wessels.”

DowntownChico
Guest
DowntownChico
3 years 10 months ago

The worst thing for this situation is to allow the stalemate to continue. As it stands, the A’s have no incentive to spend loads of money, because they are more profitable keeping payroll minimal and gaining from the revenue sharing. Also, as the A’s continue to draw money from revenue sharing, it causes more people (team owners) to have a vested interest in the matter. And the current goal is to place presure on the front office of MLB to make a ruling, or allow for an ownership vote.

Selig needs his “committee” (which who knows if it even exists), to release their “findings” (if they have even been looking into it), and make a clear determination on the subject so that the dominoes can begin to fall.

Mr Punch
Guest
Mr Punch
3 years 10 months ago

IIRC, former Giants owner Bob Lurie was a San Jose guy and a real estate developer in that area. The A’s would have been happy to see the Giants move south, making SF and the North Bay area more open to them. The main issue here is probably not population, but corporate HQs/luxury box sales – SF and Silicon Valley have the big concentrations. As I see it, the Bay Area will struggle to support two teams unless one of them (now the A’s) can move south. At this point, no move out of the area is likely to be viable – those markets just aren’t big enough.

Mark Reynolds
Guest
3 years 10 months ago

I used to work at a political law firm filing campaign and lobby reports. Stand for San Jose should be required to file quarterly or semi-annual campaign reports with the City of San Jose disclosing their funding and expenditures. You should be able to call the City Clerk and request a campaign report.

Mark Reynolds
Guest
3 years 10 months ago

I couldn’t find anything with the City Clerk or State of California. Maybe they aren’t a registered PAC or ballot measure committee. Must be a nonprofit of some kind to be able to get away with no filing campaign reports.

Tim
Guest
Tim
3 years 10 months ago

While Stand for San Jose may very well be a sock-puppet organization, they’re just a part of the greater rule that every Bay Area construction project must face at least one lawsuit. Which is more a law of nature than a law of man.

D.t.
Guest
D.t.
3 years 10 months ago

So wouldn’t the easy solution be to have the As and Giants share northern California like the other markets do? The As get a new stadium and they both get to broadcast their games to more people.

Lonely Marin A's Fan
Guest
Lonely Marin A's Fan
3 years 10 months ago

The territories don’t have anything to do with television rights. The A’s and Giants games are both broadcasted throughout the entire Bay Area.

Daniel
Guest
Daniel
3 years 10 months ago

The owners of the A’s are spoiled billionaires crying poverty. There are plenty of corporations in East Bay; they (the owners) could spend their money on fixing up the coliseum but they don’t. There was not a problem with getting people to the ballpark in the 2000s and late 80s when A’s we’re great. And if anything east bay has become gads wealthier since then.

Look up Fischer family owner of Gap Old Navy Banana Republic. They have more money than god and spend it liberally on art and on ultra conservative politics. When it comes to the A’s for some reason though their rear ends pucker up. They should move the team to Oklahoma City or something.

D.t.
Guest
D.t.
3 years 10 months ago

Do they even have the authority to “fix up” the collisium?

FieryFurnaces
Guest
FieryFurnaces
3 years 10 months ago

Nope

Shankbone
Guest
Shankbone
3 years 10 months ago

“indeed, absent the Giants’ opposition, MLB’s owners likely would have approved the move already” – not sure if this is accurate. If the big market teams didn’t mind or supported the A’s move, it would be done. Its not just the Giants squatting on their rights at play here, its establishing new precedent, or avoiding such.

The owners have changed over the years, from Stoneham/Finley et al, but the point about Wolff/Fisher knowing the rights situation upon purchase and having that reflected in the price is a good one, and its absent this summary. This SJ lawyers fee boondoggle really won’t change a thing big picture. Its still the vote of the owners that counts.

Here’s what I want to know: what is a reasonable price for the Giants to give up the rights? What has Wolff/Fisher offered? Why is the city of Oakland run by incompetents who can’t leverage the necessary land use permits/enviro red tape to get an honest proposal together?

Finally, in 1993 Silicon Valley was simply not worth anything, and now its a corporate gold mine. Preceding cautiously with an eye towards what the future might bring makes sense. And hard core A’s fans are getting screwed, which is a bitter pill. They might need to look at their ownership/GM instead of blaming the Giants for everything though.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
3 years 10 months ago

If the Raiders at some point end up moving back to LA, what are the chances that the Athletics get a lot more support in the Oakland area to improve their situation?

obsessivegiantscompulsive
Guest
3 years 10 months ago

Either way, the A’s owe the Giants, and a lot of money, if they want to move to San Jose.

If you want to cite recent situations, the fact is that both teams bought the team knowing that the Giants own the South Bay rights. Like in any other business, if the A’s now want that property rights from the Giants, they need to pay for it.

And they can afford it, Forbes list them having over $20M in EBITA for every year of Wolffe’s ownership, which is around the amount of revenue sharing money that the Giants have been paying in all those years. I would be OK with Oakland paying the Giants around $120-150M – or the profits that they have made during his ownership from the Giants revenue sharing – for the rights, plus that is in line with what the Nats paid the Orioles, plus baseball inflation.

If you want to look at the long-term view, Haas might have “given” up the rights to San Jose and the South Bay to the Giants, but they should not really have been his rights in the first place. The A’s moved into the Giants territory in the 60’s. There was no payment that I’ve heard about, and at that time all of the SF Bay Area was Giants territorial rights. All the rights they have now, they stole from the Giants long ago. The A’s paying to get into the South Bay would right a historical wrong, as would them moving out of the area.

The delay with Selig cuts both ways. I’ve suspected for a while now that Wolffe asked his college frat buddy to ‘delay’ the findings of the committee. The longer it takes, the more money Wolffe can soak up in revenue sharing money from the Giants, because he knew that there was most probably no way he could move south without paying the Giants. He’s just using the Giants revenue sharing money (look at Forbes, before Wolffe, the EBITDA was much lower) to pay back the Giants.

Something else that this article is missing is that the San Jose land deal is a sweet-heart deal for the A’s. The city paid something like over double the price that Wolffe is paying for the same pieces of land, even though (I believe) it took city powers to buy together all those parcels of land. He should be paying twice the cost, not less than half the costs that the city paid. The citizens of San Jose should be outraged by this, especially during times like this where the Mayor is playing hardball with the police and firemen unions on pension costs, reducing things there, while handing over money to the already rich A’s owners. Maybe the Giants are funding this, maybe not, but who is looking out for the poor San Jose taxpayers?

In any case, the A’s should pay the Giants. The matter is how much should they pay. I think the Nats set a precedence, and a recent one at that, that could be copied for this situation, adjusted for baseball inflation and the difference in population and economy. It is all pretty simple, but Wolffe apparently either thinks he can get away with paying less or he’s trying to make the Giants pay for it themselves.

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