Thursday, April 29, 2010

Oakland's Economic Impact Report Released

While I was not able to attend the press conference due to work I am still
nonetheless excited about the prospects presented in the report and look
forward to Saturday's Community Meeting. ( The report
is 75 pages long and I haven't had time to read it all but there are a
couple of things that stand out. One thing is the LOSS of revenue by the
City and the County if the A's leave:

If the A’s Leave City of Oakland / Alameda County
Finally, GG+A studied the economic and fiscal impacts related to the
current baseball operations at the Coliseum. This analysis shows not
only the current financial benefits that the A’s provide today, but
also answers the question “If the A’s leave Oakland, what would the
City and County lose fiscally and economically?”
City of Oakland
The following bar graph shows that if the A’s relocated out of the
Oakland, then the City would immediately lose on an annual basis (a)
885 jobs; (b) $47.1 million in Net Direct Spending; (c) $73.8 million
in Total Output; (d) $29.4 million in Income; and (e) Taxes of

This is why we fight, this is why we have kept pressing on keeping this
team in town. Its not just a part of our community and culture but
important to the economics of the city as well. We care about this town
and want it to have the best available resources and opportunities for

The other thing that stood out was how conservative the estimates are. For
example the people that put this together (Gruen Gruen +Associates) uses
the number of 1.7 million for the amount of fans that would be attending a
new stadium in the JLS area. Yes that number is low, but keep in mind that
having blown up figures of 3 million in attendance will get us nowhere if
those figures aren't met. Its good to plan low and get good results then to overstate and come up short in the money department.

So far I am a big fan of what I am reading so far, I will dive into it some
more and look forward to seeing you all on Saturday!

Read the Report here and Doug Boxers PowerPoint here

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A's Signs of the Times

Earlier this week, the A's Internet world was up in arms over a Tweet done by A's pitcher Brad Ziegler's.

"Do people really think that boycotting baseball games in Arizona is going to eventually lead to removal of the new immigration law? All it's going to do is hurt the D-backs. It's not much fun to play in front of an empty stadium in your home park. We're going through that when A's fans boycott our games because ownership has threatened to move the team. The lack of fans gives them all the more reason to seek other alternatives for a new home city. And the players get punished, having to play in an empty stadium for something that we have nothing to do with. You can make your opinions known in lots of ways, but ultimately, boycotting games affects the players more than the owners. Just remember, to most owners, having a baseball team is a hobby on the side. They all made their money elsewhere before buying the team. Sorry for the political rant. Just wish true fans would seek alternative ways of protesting other than boycotting games. Don’t punish US …"

While I understand Ziegler's frustration, blaming fans for the problem is the wrong answer. No one is "boycotting" A's games. Despite our frustrations with current team management, we here at BaseballOakland actively encourage more people to come to the Coliseum and enjoy our Oakland A's.

Fans have been expressing their frustration in other ways while still attending A's games. Take the case of dedicated A's fan Jorge Leon. He has never boycotted an A's game and he attends 40+ games a year. However, that hasn't stopped Leon from expressing his frustration in other ways. Bringing signs and banners to the stadium to protest the A's actions has been his way of protesting, yet it has him running afoul of A's management. Fortunately, the word has gotten out to not only the East Bay Express, but also Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle, and even the sports page of The New York Daily News.

While we understand that the A's can set their own policies about what is hung, removing signs that protest ownership shows a remarkably thin skin by A's owners. Why is it that signs that have taunted David Justice, Derek Jeter, the Red Sox and others were allowed, yet signs criticizing Lew Wolff are not? Lew Wolff pulls no punches in blaming the city and fans for his problems. Why can't fans be allowed to express their own frustrations? Limiting signs only shows how much the message is trying to be controlled and distorted by ownership. You would think that a professional organization like the A's would have better things to worry about then fans' signs.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Lake Merrit Station Area Plan and Victory Court

Big thanks to VSmoothe at AbetterOakland for putting this up on facebook or I would have never found out about it.

On Wednesday night, there was a meeting about the Lake Merritt Station Area Plan. As you can see in the map provided on the Website, ( the Victory Court proposed ballpark site is located in this redevelopment zone. It was presented as a collaborative effort by Oakland CEDA, the MTA, BART and Peralta Colleges. As Vsmoothe mentioned in her blog post, the area is somewhat of a donut hole surrounded by fairly active areas such as Jack London Square, Chinatown, DTO and the Lake Merritt Area, and this was the first of several meetings to gather community input on what was needed for the area.

At the meeting, they assigned all attendees to tables and, following a brief introduction by CEDA Deputy Director Eric Angstadt, Councilmember Patricia Kernighan and others, we were able to discuss the issues in the area and what people wanted to see built there. The topics discussed included safety, more retail, higher density housing and improved pedestrian access. When the ballpark was not mentioned specifically by anyone, I brought it up to the people at my table. The response within my group was overwhelmingly positive. While there were concerns about increased vehicle traffic and where people were to park, the consensus was that a ballpark located at Victory Court would bring increased pedestrian access, improved police presence and more retail to the area. It's hard to say if this was the opinion of the majority of the people in the area, but I feel that the initial public viewpoint is looking favorable to a Victory Court ballpark.

On a closing note, a friend of mine who joined me at the meeting took a long walk from the MTA building (across the street from Lake Merritt BART), grabbed Chinese food in Chinatown and then had a beer at the Trappist in Old Oakland. He remarked how close and easy a ballpark at Victory Court would be to these already vibrant Oakland neighborhoods.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tribune Poll Strongly Favors Keeping A's in Oakland

A readers poll from the Oakland Tribune shows overwhelming support for keeping the A's in Oakland. 74 percent of respondents were against the A's moving, while just 26 percent were in favor.

Let's be clear, the poll was as unscientific as it gets. Yet, it's just one more sign that Oakland and East Bay residents strongly support keeping the A's in Oakland. Somehow, it was fitting that the poll results ran next to a letter to the editor from the event director of the Oakland Running Festival. That event was wildly successful, and it proved that Oakland officials and residents will step up to the plate and more-than-adequately support big events. Like, ahem, a new waterfront ballpark.

But our favorite letter to the editor actually accompanied the strong poll numbers published by the Tribune. It was written by our friend, Jorge Leon. Here it is:


Please don't take our A's away!

As an Oakland A's fan, I would be brokenhearted and would not follow the A's if they were to move. If the team moves, you will erase a great history and tradition here in the city of Oakland, I've been an A's fan since '88.

The only good thing my father gave me was the passion to love my A's. We have potential here to be even greater than we are right now!

Lew Wolff has potential to become a great owner if he would just work with the community and keep the A's in Oakland, but I guess greed for the green plays a lot, too.

I just feel bad for the Haas family. Knowing then that the owner now would be trying to move the team, Walter Haas would've never sold the team for a discount price. No, please don't go: 42 great years! Keep it going. I live and die with my Oakland A's.

Jorge Leon

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Send Letters to the Tribune

The Oakland Tribune is asking a question this week: Should the A's move to San Jose?

Our short answer: No. Definitely not, because Oakland is a great sports town with a very rich baseball history defined by great teams and excellent fan support. Also, A's owners from 1995 to the present have not given the city of Oakland a real chance, choosing instead to flirt with other cities and to poison the waters at home. There's more, but we'll send the long answer to the Tribune.

Now, here's where you can send your answer to the Tribune:

Your letters must be 250 words or less and include your name, address and daytime phone number. All letters are subject to verification and editing. E-Mail: (No attachments, please.) Fax: Talk Back, (650) 348-4446. Write: Talk Back, 477 Ninth Ave., Suite 110, San Mateo, CA 94402.

Let's Go, Oakland!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Oakland Running Fest = Success for Oakland and the A's

While the traffic cones have been removed and the festivities are over, people are still talking about how awesome the Oakland Marathon was. Baseball Oakland and friends were out in full force that day bright and early, waving A's flags and beating our drums to support Oakland and the runners. Our enthusiasm was not unnoticed, as it was picked up by the Oakland Tribune and this blog.

One may wonder, "What does this mean for the A's?" According to the Tribune, the marathon was a huge success for several downtown Oakland businesses. The Pacific Coast Brewing Company reported doubling its weekend customers. Closer to the proposed ballpark sites near Jack London Square, Kincaid's restaurant reported a $10,000 increase in business. The success of this event proves at least three things:

1. Oakland has the abilities to create and hold large scale events.
2. People from not only Oakland but all over the Bay Area and elsewhere will come to Oakland for events.
3. Good events in Oakland are good for local businesses.

One member, "Mark A.", noted that a new downtown stadium in Oakland would ave a "Pac Bell like" effect on this city. We couldn't agree more. Oaklanders not only used it as a running event, but also as a celebration of Oakland itself. If the Oakland A's owners were to embrace this city, Oaklanders would embrace the team like never before. More pride in baseball = more tickets sold. More tickets sold = more corporate sponsorships and luxury box sales. More people downtown = more customers for local business, and increased revenues for A's ownership.

Its easy. It makes sense. Oakland is a true world class city that has the tools, people, creativity and money to make things happen. If the Oakland Running Festival is any indication of a barometer of future success, the future is pretty bright.