BOB:  Athletics stadium limbo

Athletics still hoping for San Jose home

Major League commissioner Bud Selig recently talked about the Oakland Athletics’ stadium issue. He said it’s up to owner Lew Wolff whether to consider different sites for a new ballpark but he also said that as of now, he’s focused on a move to San Jose. He also said at the quarterly owners’ meeting that there’s still no timetable for a resolution on the San Jose issue. For now, it’s up to the San Francisco Giants because they control the territory that includes San Jose.

At the moment, Wolff can look at any location within his territory without getting league approval. If he wants to move, then it gets a little stickier. San Jose is closer to San Francisco than Oakland, and the Giants were given that territory when the built their new ballpark, so it looks like it’s going to take a lot for the Giants to let the Athletics move in.

MLB has record-breaking weekend

With interleague play across baseball last weekend, the turnstiles appeared to move more then at any other time on this side of the Memorial Day weekend. Whether you like interleague play or not, there were 1,652,935 tickets sold in the 45 games over the weekend and this breaks the record set in 2006, when 1,640,976 tickets were sold in the weekend before Memorial Day.

It also was the best-attended 45-game weekend since the final weekend of the 2008 season. Baseball attendance has been good so far and through Sunday, it was were at 18,637,924 tickets sold, which is 6.7 percent better then this time last year.

Mets get 2013 All-Star Game

The New York Mets and their ballpark, Citi Field, were awarded the 2013 All-Star Game. It’s the second time the Mets will have hosted; the last was 1964 at Shea Stadium. This isn’t a big surprise because most new ballparks have gotten the All-Star Game within a few years of construction.

Aroldis Chapman sued for $18 million

Danilo Curbelo Garcia recently sued in Miami federal court alleging that Cincinnati Reds fireballer Aroldis Chapman falsely accused him in a human trafficking case. He’s suing for $18 million in damages. How the story goes is that to get in the Cuban government’s favor, he threw Garcia under the bus. That favor allowed Chapman to rejoin his team, which eventually went to the Netherlands where Chapman defected from.

Garcia is a legal U.S. resident who lives in Miami, but he also hold Cuban citizenship. The lawsuit was filed just before Chapman was arrested for driving under suspended license in Ohio earlier this week.

Minor league merchandise sales did well in 2011

Minor League Baseball announced this week that licensed merchandise generated $52.2 million in sales in 2011. This was the third best year since 1991 and it’s a 2.2 percent increase from 2010.

Of the top 25 top-selling teams, only four weren’t in the top 25 in 2010. The new teams were the Greensboro Grasshoppers, the Louisville Bats, the Omaha Storm Chasers and the Salt Lake Bees.

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  1. ely said...

    i’d take issue with “San Jose is closer to San Francisco than Oakland, and the Giants were given that territory when the built their new ballpark, so it looks like it’s going to take a lot for the Giants to let the Athletics move in.”

    1. while SJ may be, as the crow flies, closer to SF than to Oakland, SJ is further from SF than Oakland is. so the issue is not proximity or any kind of “physical” encroachment.

    2. the Giants got the territorial rights to SJ years before they built their current ballpark – they asked for and were granted those rights when, after failing to get SF voters to build them a new ballpark, they tried to get SJ voters to do the same (w/ same results). when new ownership decided to build/finance their own park in SF, they asked for, and received from mlb, a reaffirmation of this territorial right to SJ. This is the crux of the issue—Giants refusal to give up their “right” to SJ.

    3. the Giants, apparently, are not holding out for more to get them to cede their rights (like the orioles got when the expos moved to dc). It appears that they, like current A’s ownership, believe that remaining in Oakland is untenable, so the desired outcome for Giant ownership is not getting a bigger payoff (for ceding their rights), but forcing the A’s to move out of the territory, making the Giants the single team in an enormous market. They believe that this is a far greater payoff than anything they could get from the A’s directly.

  2. Brian said...

    Interesting Ely.  I guess I’m just going with what I have.  If there was no way the Giants were giving up their rights, then I don’t understand why Oakland is still pressing the issue.  MLB seems to want to stay out of it so my assumption was that because the A’s weren’t looking at other options, there’s still a chance a San Jose move is possible.

  3. Darren said...

    There is little doubt of what the Giants are trying to do.  However, the question comes down to the Giants’ “rights” to San Jose.  This is just a ton of posturing coming from the Giants.  There is some validity to it.  But keeping in mind these rights were given to the Giants by the A’s to facilitate the Giants move that never happened.  I don’t think their claim is that strong.  They are going to get compensated in the end.  The Giants are just being difficult to get the best possible deal.

  4. ely said...

    brian, as far as “just going with what I have,” even accountants (especially accountants) should know not to go by public pronouncements of owners, commissioners & politicans. follow the money!

    as for “I don’t understand why Oakland is still pressing the issue.” they don’t (to there way of thinking) have any viable alternative. They believe (reasonably in most cases) (1) staying in Oakland is untenable, (2) the Giants rights claim is bogus (ie, based on historical accident, involving prior ownership groups over 20 yrs ago, granted for a giants’ move to SJ which never occurred), (3) its in mlb’s best interest if A’s move to Oakland (gets them off the revenue-sharing tit),  (4) it’s in frat-bro bud’s power to resolve the situation in their favor (though they should realize that it’s not his M.O. to act without consensus). so they have no alternative but to press the issue, hoping for a favorable resolution.

    I have no doubt that, just as the A’s have a $-figure for what moving to SJ is worth to them, the Giants have also valued the A’ moving out of the area. And i have no doubt that the Giants figure is greater than the A’s. That’s the issue here.

    If the A’s can’t get SJ and believe that staying in Oakland is untenable, their only option is to sell. But the untenability of Oakland and the lack of a viable city to move in means their ROI is unsatifactory, compared to the value of getting the SJ market.

  5. east of oakland said...

    Something missing :  When the A’s first mentioned the move to San Jose, the Giants purchased their AAA team, which is in San Jose.  So SF ‘rights’ to San Jose are a lot stronger than mentioned.

    San Jose for years refused to build a park, until the Obama election.  I suppose the voters changed horses in San Jose and the newbies think it’s a deal, history says otherwise.

    A’s have no reason to sell (they have existed for years in their current fashion), but they are happy to spread that idea around.  The A’s can swap with their AAA club, and draw fans like crazy.  Sacramento is no dinky capitol, their city budget dwarfs Oakland and is half of San Jose’s.  Unlike San Jose, you can actually drive around Sacto, and more importantly there are tons of A’s fans already in place.

    I suggested the above one night on MLB Radio, there were callers living 2 hrs away from Sacto saying they liked it.  NO ONE from San Jose called to object.

  6. ely said...

    i agree, an excellent primer. call me cynical, but i’m going to take exception to the article’s conclusion/summation (quoted below):

    A brief summation:
    Why territorial rights? Oakland did SF a favor when they were trying to build a new stadium in the early 90’s and were considering the South Bay. Territorial rights were created in the hope that it would give the Giants the public votes to support a new South Bay ballpark. That didn’t work out. Unfortunately, the territorial rights “favor” had financial value which was included in the price of the Giants franchise when the team was sold in 1992. The Magowan group bought the rights that were intended as a gift. Now the South Bay rights are a financial entity, and the Giants have actively worked to expand their Peninsula/South Bay fan base. There is real value in that, and the Giants have every reason to demand compensation if MLB revokes the territorial rights to the South Bay area. But there is a very strong moral argument that the A’s were originally under no obligation to give the rights to the Giants in the first place. So no-one’s fully in the right and it’s a mess. One would hope Bud Selig would work quickly to solve this mess and let everyone move on, but he’s instead waffled on the issue. This leaves the A’s unable to create a secure long-term plan and well, here we are.

    1. i disagree with the commonly-held idea that kindly uncle wally haas was just doing the giants a favor. it was strongly in the A’s interest to get the Giants out into SJ, deserting SF for the A’s too swoop in (bear in mind that the A’s were one of baseball’s strongest franchises at the time, a well-drawing powerhouse in a decent baseball-only ball-park (this was before mt. davis) that was easily accessible from SF via BART (as candlestick was not, and a SJ park would not be). i’m not discounting that the A’s gave away the territorial rights for no compensation or consideration, or that haas didn’t play hardball to drive the giants out of the market (as i’m accusing current giant ownership of doing to the a’s). but to characterize this as just altruism by the nice guys who owned the A’s is missing a big point.

    2. an appeal to “moral” arguments, in this situation, is silly and naive. that kind of stuff is not play here; no judgments of right & wrong will be made or will affect the outcome. if you think wolff is gonna win based on oral arguments, i’d like to provide some moral arguments for why that a***ole should be stripped of his ownership. sorry guys!

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