Tag Archives: San Jose

The A’s Re-Rebuild

Oh the holiday’s brought up a few sports topics especially the Raiders since they played, but a lot of my hometown friends seemed to be talking about the A’s once again being in rebuild mode after the division rival Angels and Rangers made an array of championship caliber moves. I can’t completely blame the A’s for thinking about rebuilding after they saw what their divisional opponents did, but at the same time it feels like they aren’t even going to try AT ALL for a few years. They kinda half-assed the rebuild the first time around when they sort of rebuilt by trading pitchers, but then traded away a kings ransom (Cargo) for a crappy Matt Holiday. This time it’s really full on rebuild mode, and they are trading away any and all assets they have which should include Andrew Bailey in the near future (he was the only piece I honestly didn’t mind seeing go). They’ll probably ship off Brett Anderson as well when he comes back from his Tommy John surgery next season. The most perplexing part of these trades to us fans is that they had control over these pitchers for a long time before they even hit their arbitration years. Not signing Willingham or Matsui also put the writing on the wall that this team isn’t going to compete for awhile because they have zero offense outside Jemile Weeks now. Hell they aren’t even keeping around the beloved backup catcher who doesn’t even cost much to keep.

Sure they got some nice prospects back for Cahill and Gio, but the growing sentiment with my A’s friends is that this team has completely given up, and they won’t be following anything they do next year or possibly ever. I can’t blame them at all. It’s going to be painful watching this team, even more so than last seasons error filled crap fest. I’ve heard numerous times that it might be better to just root for a new team, like say, the Giants. This statement pretty much crushed me every time I heard someone say it over the past couple months, especially when my Uncle said it who is one of the main reasons I’m an A’s fan at all. Some of the most loyal A’s fans over the years jumping ship to a team that I didn’t necessarily hate, but am starting to hate them more and more. Honestly, the best part about the Cahill trade is that he’s going to the Giants rival the Diamondbacks. I can see him getting numerous 4-6-3 double plays against their weak hitting lineup, but even that will only bring me minimal enjoyment.

Anyways, the A’s are in a real life version of Major League the movie as the owner is desperate to move, and seems to be fielding the least competitive team possible. There also seems to be a growing dissent for the A’s moving to San Jose among fans, and I’ll be the first to say I’d love to see them stay in Oakland by Jack London Square, but at the moment that isn’t a realistic option if we want them to be competitive again (aka get corporate sponsors to push them into the $80-$100M range in salary). Can they draw people at the coliseum if they are good? Sure, but they’ll never have a large payroll that exceeds $70M, and teams have caught up to them on all the sabermetrics stuff that helped keep Billy ahead of the competition during the early 2000’s. On an even playing field, there’s noway to compete with such little salary to work with.

It feels like the odds are against them whether it’s moving to San Jose and being blocked by the Giants. And seriously, how many fans would the Giants really lose?!? They are in SF, a HUGE city, and can take all the fairweather east bay A’s fans if they haven’t jumped teams already. Whether it’s Oakland coming up with a viable option to build a new park for this team or San Jose. It doesn’t matter what’s being proposed or done for them, it almost feels like they’re inevitably going to have to move out of the Bay Area just like the Kings will probably have to move from Sacramento. I’m not sure what my A’s friends think of them moving out of California, but as lame as they think people in San Jose are, I’d much rather have the A’s there instead of some other state. Recently it sounds like the Giants aren’t going to give up their gold mine of sponsorships (SJ) without a fight, and Selig is too stupid to make a ruling on anything, so they probably won’t know what they can or can’t do until he’s retired or dead. Once again the A’s will go into another season with no direction for the future, and most likely losing more fans in the process. They need new facilities. They need more sponsors. They need a fresh start, and now I’m just hoping it’s going to be in the greater bay area or in California. No plans have been discussed outside the bay area, but I’m sure those talks will start soon if something doesn’t give. Mark my words!

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A’s Stuck in Purgatory…

Over the past five years, the A’s have been in a state of regression as they struggle with just about everything from facilities, to players, to attendance. They can’t get players to sign with them even when they do put out the best offer on the table, because they have crappy facilities. Players like Beltre and Furcal just use them as leverage for other teams who are offering them smaller or nearly the same contracts. The A’s want a new stadium yet Lew Wolff refuses to negotiate with the Oakland officials anymore than he already has, and they have been pushed to the back-burners by the MLB committee looking into their situation of moving. Their lineup is scattered with quadruple-A players, and there’s probably only a dozen A’s fans left (judging by attendance). I figured I’d break down the key issues with the team, and help get the word out on how dire our situation is. I know I’ve ranted about these issues a few times, but I figured I should put them all together to let everyone know what is what and draw your own conclusion on who is to blame. It’ll be my last post about it for awhile, I swear!

The Facilities

It’s strange how you come to different conclusions as time passes. Personally I enjoy the coliseum, and feel it has a little charm left even after they built the funny looking Mt. Davis for the Raiders games. It’s not a problem that they share the stadium with a football team, the problem is that the coliseum is in the ghetto, and there’s not much around the stadium. Jack London Square is cool and all, but it’s not the city. Many residents would rather go to a Giants game and talk about garlic fries while sending out e-mails on their blackberries. Can I blame them? Not really since they don’t care about the game anyways. Seriously, would you rather sit at PacBell or O.co Coliseum if you don’t care about the game? Easy answer. A’s fans at the games are great fans. The problem is there’s barely any fans going, and there’s nothing to do in that area, except maybe unload a few freight containers. In a time where your stadium needs to be connected to a mall and be in a thriving downtown-like area, the A’s don’t stand a chance in increasing attendance. Will the A’s move to San Jose to get a stadium built? After reading this brilliant piece by Howard Bryant on ESPN, I doubt it will happen anytime soon, and may never happen with the Giants trying to force the A’s into contraction (that’s what it feels like at least).

Pre-Mount Davis Coliseum

Nowadays players want to be treated like Mark Cuban treats the Mavs (state of the art training equipment and state of the art electronics everywhere). The coliseum was built back when players were allowed to smoke during the game in the dugouts. That should say everything about how dated the facilities are. Maybe that’s a reason why we seem to set records yearly for DL usage. As I said, I don’t dislike the coliseum, but if we need a new stadium to get our guys healthy and help us attract offensive players in free agency, I’m 100% for it.

About three years ago we thought we were heading to Freemont in what seemed like a done deal. I wasn’t excited, but wasn’t totally against it since we didn’t seem to have any other options. The deal fell apart for a few reasons, and from what I heard it was because there wasn’t solid BART access which put the A’s back to square one. This was probably the only time I really felt bad for Wolff during the process, because he spent around $30M of his own money getting that proposal in the works.

The Giants and Media Marketing

With the World Series win last year the Bay Area is owned by the Giants at the moment. They’ve always had more fans than the A’s, but now it’s ridiculously lopsided as all the sort of fans have jumped on their bandwagon. It’s almost impossible to find info on the A’s in the papers or on TV. The Giants are dominating the market as much as you can in a two team market. Hell, at the beginning of the year I could barely find a radio station that even talks about the A’s. Is this Lew Wolff’s plan to slowly make everyone not care about this team by spending $1 on advertising for every $100,000 the Giants spend? Seems like the strategy is working as attendance keeps dipping. It’s not like Lew Wolff is poor, I hear him and Fishcer have a net worth over a billion, but they don’t seem to put a dime of that into marketing this team. I’m not sure what I hate more about this fact that the Giants are the Bay Area team or that Lew Wolff isn’t really putting up a fight.

It’s no secret Lew Wolff desperately wants to move out of Oakland and preferably to San Jose, but the Giants own the territorial rights. A little over a decade ago when Pac Bell park was in the works, the A’s then owner gave them the rights to the south as a gentlemen’s agreement to give them some leverage to get their stadium built. Unfortunately the same situation has come up for the A’s, yet the Giants refuse to relinquish those rights back to the A’s. How does moving from 15 miles away from the Giants to 60 miles away from them hurt their market more? Tough for me to answer that as I’m no financial guru. I do know that the Giants want to be big spenders like the Yankees and Red Sox, which at this point seems like it could happen if Wolff keeps tightening his wallet and the Giants keep the A’s out of San Jose. Seems like the Giants could return the favor, and maybe that would even open Oakland back up to the point where they negotiate again. Right now with no real ability to threaten to leave, the city of Oakland doesn’t have to scramble and put together a good stadium deal…

Billy Beane

I’ve found it comical how people are blaming Billy Beane for the A’s lack of success on the field. Maybe it’s because the movie Moneyball is coming out, and people want to knock him off the proverbial pedestal, but it’s got to be tough to build a team when you’re constantly in limbo. Sure we could’ve kept Ethier and Cargo, but almost all Beane’s moves at the time made sense to me, so he gets a pass for those two. In any kind of business you need a plan, and as of right now there are no long term plans with this team, so it makes his job nearly impossible to succeed at, which is why I’ll give Beane a pass until we know more than a year into the future. Hell our contract with the coliseum agreement is up after this season, so we might not even have a stadium next year! Hopefully they don’t play in the parking lot… When you’re a GM and have no idea what the future holds, it’s impossible to map a team strategy out. We’ve always done a lot of one year contracts, but we usually lock up a couple guys, and that hasn’t been happening. Personally, I blame the unstable future. Based on some of the contracts that Beane has offered to top free agents, he is serious about fielding a good team. Unfortunately, we end up with a lot of new guys or castoffs, because the “premium” free agents don’t come here because they can get paid the same elsewhere where they have better facilities. Even with all the Dodgers problems, at least they know they’re staying in LA. The A’s have relatively no idea when or where this team will be in three to five years. Hopefully it’s not still at square one where they are today or I might be forced to give up on baseball all together.

Side rant: The only thing I’m still pissed about with BB is the fact he let Ron Washington go. I said a couple years ago before Texas started being the class of the AL West, losing Washington might curse us. He was a players coach and instead we got a non-players coach in Geren. How could he let go of the coach that EVERYONE in the locker room loved? He made the players want to play, and kept the locker room relaxed and loose, you can’t put a price on that. If I could only ask Billy one question, it would be why we let Wash go instead of giving him the keys to the car.

The MLB

I guess this is who I blame at the moment for our purgatory status. The MLB made a three man committee that Bud Selig appointed to sort out this whole mess over two years ago. According to Selig, it might take awhile longer to make sense of all the options in this dispute. I’ve already vented about it, so I won’t tell you how ridiculous it is that it’s taken over two years since he appointed the committee. Yes, there’s tons of issues, involved in crunching the numbers and projecting the effects on each community, but they’re building Farmer’s Field in LA without even having a team here! You’d think he could give everyone in the A’s front office an update or two on the progress at least. If you needed another reason to hate Selig here it is. 75 CEO’s in San Jose wrote up a letter telling him why he should approve the A’s move to San Jose, and how it would work financially. They are currently the 10th largest city in the US (surprising to me), and seem to want to help fund the building of the stadium. So what does Selig do when he recieves this letter from some of the richest men in the US? He ignores it, and doesn’t respond. Is it because they aren’t Jewish? Is it because he loves the Giants? Is it because he’s senile and doesn’t even remember reading the petition/letter showing where and how they would acquire land and funds to build the park? Only Selig could answer that, and based on how he’s treated us the past couple years, I doubt we’ll ever hear an answer to that petition.

Conclusion

It feels like there’s a lot of people to blame for this mess. Again, I wrote this more to inform everyone out there of our situation rather than blame a certain person or people, it’s been a group effort to ruin this proud franchise. The A’s have some great fans, but unfortunately I’ve heard more than a few recently say “it’s just easier to follow the Giants”. I don’t like bringing up the movie Major League when it’s referencing my team, but it feels like all the forces in the league are against us, and one or more of these crooks is trying to get rid of the A’s in Oakland at least. We can’t attract free agents because our facilities suck, our owner doesn’t want to stay in Oakland or negotiate with the city for a new stadium, Selig and his merry men don’t seem to give two craps about us, and the Giants would rather see the A’s die a slow death than give them the territorial rights that the A’s gave them for nothing less than two decades ago. Talk about the odds being stacked against you! It will be a Billy Beane led miracle if this team makes the playoffs anytime soon.


Who is Trying to Kill the A’s? Selig? Wolff? The Giants? Or the City of Oakland?

A common sight at the Coliseum, empty seats.

It’s no secret; the A’s have needed a new stadium for the past 15 years. What’s crazy is there’s still a few cracks from the 89 earthquake. I’ve wanted to break down the whole A’s moving somewhere situation, but I knew it would be a long winded effort. Since the Raiders moved back into town, the Oakland Coliseum has been less than adequate for a baseball team. Brad Ziegler recently tweeted that he was disappointed in the fans for not coming out, and why wouldn’t he be? The A’s sported the lowest attendance in all of baseball averaging a measly 17,392 per game last year. This year they’ve only played 15 games, but still have only averaged 17,056  per game. Ziggy later tweeted “I understand some come in late, but it’s frustrating to be at this level and know that at Triple-A (Rivercats), there are twice as many fans at the game.” I’ve been to both stadiums, and sadly it’s true, the Rivercats are a bigger draw in Sacramento than the A’s are in Oakland, and the crowd is probably louder in Sac too for AAA games. It’s also a reason Mceezy and I feel they would be a nice fit in Sacramento, but the feeling there seems to be that it’s too small of a market to support an MLB franchise. The Rivercats stadium was built in a way that it can be added on to easily, but I’m sure A’s Owner, Lew Wolff, has looked into that option, and most other possible options over the past seven plus years he’s been looking for a new stadium deal. The former owners pretty much sold Wolff the teams majority stake, because they were tired of getting rejected on their new stadium proposals. The saddest part is, that the few fans that are showing up, are being thrown out if they have negative signs ala Washington Redskins style. I don’t buy that Lew Wolff is a Sam Presti, so we can squash that rumor that he hasn’t tried in the city of Oakland. He wants to keep the team in the area, so I think or I’m sure he would’ve tried to move them. He reportedly released a 227 page book on his efforts to stay in Oakland from 2003-2006 when the Freemont deal sort of went through. Either way, the A’s need a new stadium somewhere, and whether that’s going to be in Oakland or not remains to be seen. Continue reading


Things to Look Forward to in the 2010 MLB Season

Well, Mceezy did his tribute to the excitement of the upcoming baseball season, and I felt it was only fitting that I should write about sine if the storylines that will intrigue me during the 2010 season. Now that the teams have rounded third base in spring training, they are heading back home to the “real parks” for the last few preseason games. There’s a lot to look forward to that isn’t dealing with the Yankees and Red Sox (If you’re a hater like me), so here are ten things I want to watch develop.

Tim Lincecum – Can he win back to back to back Cy Young awards? If he stays healthy, I don’t see why not. He’d probably also solidify himself as one of the most dominating pitchers of all time (or at least this era) joining Gregg Maddux and Randy Johnson as the only other two pitchers to accomplish that feat. Thankfully Cy Young voters have gone away from counting wins as one of the biggest factors in handing the award out. It makes it much more likely, since he doesn’t get much help from the unfriendly Giants offense. The problem this time around is he will have to contend with Doc Halladay! Continue reading