Contraction Alternative

Neyer today shoots down the contraction whispers re: the A’s and Marlins. His basis: lack of necessity and politics:

What’s more, even if both franchises were utter wrecks they still wouldn’t be serious candidates for contraction. No franchise would be. It was, what, eight years ago when this spectre was first raised, regarding the Twins and the Expos? I said then that it would never happen; that Congress (among others) wouldn’t allow it, and that the owners were simply floating the notion as leverage in their negotiations with the union.

I wish I were so right about something just once or twice every year.

Well, I think he’s right again here. But even if those obstacles were hurdled, wouldn’t it make more sense for the owners to sit around a table and figure out how to help ailing franchises rather than kill them? My assumption is that the Marlins’ and A’s owners would demand something akin to the market price + hassle charge in order to give up their franchises. I’m also assuming that, since Bud has cultivated a very chummy ownership group, they’d get at least that much. So we’re talking in the hundreds of millions here.

Here’s an idea: if the owners were seriously considering pooling hundreds of millions to throw at Oakland or Miami, wouldn’t it make much more sense for them to throw it at HOK and a general contractor to build stadiums or make improvements that the their home cities don’t want to do? Rather than a public black eye and a baseball black hole, such a move would result in a nice little revenue-generator for both the home team and the rest of the league, wouldn’t it?

Or is that crazy talk?


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Mark Armour
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Mark Armour

Crazy talk.  Although this makes sense in a vacuum, the owners are also thinking about the precedent this would cause.  When the next team goes looking for a stadium, MLB does not want the municipalities to know that this option might be available if the cities down pony up.

Crazy talk, but also sensible talk.  MLB should have a stadium fund to help avoid this problem.  But think about it: this last wave of stadiums (20 in 20 years) was pretty successful for MLB—nearly all the money came from taxpayers, and there are only two remaining teams in line.  Not bad.

Grady
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Grady

San Jose A’s!!!

(Athletics Nation is buzzing on this topic)

Craig Calcaterra
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Craig Calcaterra

Good points, Mark.  I’ll grant that I’ve been fighting the last war when it comes to stadiums and public dollars for some time now.  If only there were blogs in the late 80s. And it only, you know, I wasn’t a teenager at the time.

Mark Armour
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Mark Armour

I am on your side in this fight, and I have argued (against my own interests) against building a stadium in Portland.  Ccntraction was a used by the owners to get stadiums build 8 years ago, and I am not sure it did not work somewhat in Minneapolis.  The normal wedge (moving the franchise) no one is really believing anymore—there is no place to go really.

APBA Guy
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APBA Guy
The thing is, the A’s are making momey. Before Fisher/Wolff took over, the previous owners used to let their daughters fly the company plane to and from their universities, acknowledged paying themselves $3M apiece per year, and profiting up to $ 20M annually through revenue sharing left unspent on players, staff, etc.. So while the A’s can’t run up a huge payroll, they are doing ok, and eventually they’ll be able to sell the team to bigger fish in the pond at a handsome gain, provided they continue to manage the franchise well. Obviously they are looking for some kind… Read more »
Pete Toms
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Pete Toms

The NFL funded stadium construction via its “G3” program.  Likely partly due to the increased difficulty in getting public $$$ for football stadiums.  It is more difficult for football stadium proponents to make the case for the economic benefits due to the relatively few number of games….

C, I agree, could be a case of six of one….you either subsidize via rev sharing or build new digs

obsessivegiantscompulsive
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obsessivegiantscompulsive
Re: A’s situation:  I’ve considered this just a dance the A’s have been choreographing since Wolff took over.  Wolff has long been associated with San Jose and the South Bay and their efforts to attract professional teams to that area.  So it would be my opinion that that has been his underlying motive, which, of course, he cannot admit to publicly.  He has to play by the rules and cross the t’s and dot the i’s and not give any image that he’s purposefully doing things to move the A’s to the South Bay. For his first step, it was… Read more »
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