Can you pay the way to San Jose?

As was mentioned the other day, the A’s still might move to San Jose, but if they do, they’d better not be expecting any handouts:

Amid all the talk this week that new challenges in Fremont could be thawing San Jose’s long-frozen hopes for landing a showpiece A’s stadium, city officials Wednesday were cool to tepidly optimistic when it came to relaunching any all-out push to woo the team’s owner, Lew Wolff.

One one hand, there’s Mayor Chuck Reed: “I won’t be calling,” he stated. “Lew’s got my phone number.” Not that he won’t listen if Wolff or his partners decide to give him a ring — with at least one, um, minor caveat.

“He’ll have to bring his checkbook,” the mayor said. “We don’t have any money.”

Good for Mayor Reed!

Not that there’s total opposition to the idea, as others in San Jose government are at least thinking about it. And unlike in Fremont, an environmental impact study has already been made for at least one potential stadium site. Click through to the article for some cool graphics showing how an A’s stadium might fit into San Jose.

As I’ve said in the past, I think the idea of the A’s in San Jose makes a lot of sense. I’ll admit, however, that this is merely a gut feeling. Any of you Bay Area dwellers have any local insight on this? Either in terms of practicality (i.e. Would people go? Are there any non-obvious problems with baseball in San Jose?) or in terms of likelihood (i.e. will San Jose never allow it).

Like I often say, this is an interactive forum, so if you have any thoughts on the matter, please, enlighten us in the comments below.

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  1. MooseinOhio said...

    If they move can we call them the “Greater San Francisco Bay Area A’s by way of Oakland and Kansas City but born in Philadelphia”?

  2. APBA Guy said...

    My own opinion, and it’s just that, is that Wolfe/Fisher continue to drive for more location options for the same reason Boras seeks to get many teams involved in bidding for his players:

    1) if there is compettion among potential landing sites, the final deal will likely be more attractive to the A’s
    2) if there is competition, the towns can never be too sure of the outcome, and will negotiate with less assurance

    Wolfe/Fisher have way more money than the previous owners but they certainly would want a Yankees-type deal if they could find it. With the economy out here (8 years of being punished for voting the “wrong” way in presidential elections, etc.) in a bad way, the Mayor of San Jose is establishing his negotiating position up front: we have land, but no money.

    And with the AT&T;stadium deal foremost in peoples minds (largely private funds), largely private funding is likely the kind of stadium deal civic leaders have no choice but to pursue.

    There is not a lot of difference for those of us that live in SF, North Bay (Marin, Sonoma, Napa) or the Peninisula (San Mateo, northern Santa Clara) between Fremont and San Jose. The geography I just described is largely Giants fan base. So seeing the A’s will be an occassional thing anyway.

    The benefit of San Jose as I see it is the nexus of the road and rail network. For the natural A’s fans in the East Bay and South Bay resident, it will be much easier to get to San Jose than Fremont. More importantly, like SF, once there, there are many more pre and post game entertainment options.

    When growth resumes in the area it will be largely in the East Bay and southern Santa Clara County. The new location is much tougher for the East Bay future residents, but much better for the Santa Clara guys.

    And this last point may be important since by the time any stadium deal is completed, we’ll either be well out of this recession or looking at a long term flat spell that could reshape stadium plans completely.

  3. wmseryan said...

    Why can’t the new model be:

    Instead of corporations spending millions to name a stadium, a few band together to build the stadium. Seems citizens would look more highly upon these companies for helping bring/keep baseball in their community rather than just slapping a name on a structure.

  4. KW said...

    That downtown San Jose locale near the Pavilion would be a no-brainer for the A’s over Fremont.  It’s fairly easy to get to from either the Peninsula (where I live) or the East Bay and you have 1 million SJ residents to choose from. 

    There’s also some good pre and postgame spots in that area. 

    I think the hurdle would be convincing (paying off) the Giants for the rights to Santa Clara County.  From what I’m hearing out here, there’s no way the Giants are going to give that up.  It takes away their only advantage in this market.

  5. Ken Arneson said...

    There’s one or two things going on here, both equally plausible.

    1.  The Fremont deal was to be financed with housing sales, and the market for that has crashed.  So Wolff is looking for some extra leverage by floating San Jose again.  And/or…

    2.  The recent election has made the proposed San Jose site so incredibly, amazingly attractive that MLB is apparently now willing to tell the Giants to take their territorial rights and stick it somewhere.

    Voters approved both a high-speed rail line in California, and an BART extension from the East Bay into downtown San Jose.  The site that San Jose has ready and waiting for a ballpark will be literally adjacent to the site where Amtrak, Caltrain (local rail to San Francisco), the High Speed Rail, the local light rail and BART all converge.  AND…the federal government is suddenly in a mood to spend all sorts of money building exactly this sort of infrastructure project.

    In other words, San Jose may not have any money to spend, but Washington, DC does.  If there’s one thing Bud Selig understands, it’s how and where you can get the government to pay for your stuff.

    Downtown San Jose hasn’t ever been the commercial heart of Silicon Valley; the wealth here is distributed in a more suburban layout.  But putting a ballpark next to this transit convergence will give downtown San Jose much more gravity from which to suction high-tech wealth.

    I’ve always thought that downtown San Jose was the best place to put the A’s, but now it’s even more true than ever.  I think MLB would be totally stupid to pass up this location now.

  6. Nate said...

    Ugh, the MLB “Turf Wars” need to be euthanized, but based on HQ’s refusal to discuss them on the TV rights recently I don’t see that happening in this scenario either. I think there are other ways for a community like SJ to flex their muscle. “Why are we considered Giants hoes?” would be how I would state it (I do not currently hold public office).
    I’m pretty sure SJ could sustain another team, much better than Fremont, although they might lose some of the Stockton/Modesto crowd. Getting the Hollister/Gilroy and maybe even Monterey vacationers might be enough to make up for it though.

  7. SanJose A's said...

    Ken said it very well—add to this that San Jose is the 2nd wealthiest city per capita in the United States, the 4th largest media market,more Fortune 1000 companies than both San Francisco and Oakland combined and the 10 largest city and you have a perfect location for a MLB team that if re-located to San Jose would be further away from its competition.  Add to this that a future bullet train that has been approved will bring fans from the central valley to downtown San Jose in 45 minutes or less and you have greatly expanded the fan base and reach of MLB.

    The challenge remains for MLB to make the move and eliminate territorial rights—-which were afforded to the Giants, free of charge, by Walter Haas, owner of the A’s at that time, to allow them to consider moving to San Jose.  Prior to this Santa Clara County where San Jose lies was also the territory of the Oakland A’s—

    The last thing MLB needs is another Arlington—beautiful ballpark in suburbia but nothing around it and therefore not a destination spot-

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