Monday, April 25, 2011

Spread the Truth About the A's Ballpark Situation

We hear a lot of false things about Oakland from the small but vocal pro-Wolff crowd. It got even worse last week when hosts from our own A's radio station -- 95.7-The Wolf -- used the forum to misinform people with no facts while badmouthing Oakland.

If you want the facts about the A's ballpark situation, we've provided a basic list that's backed up with sources and web links. Heck, feel free to use it if you want to call into 95.7 to refute the misinformation that too many 95.7 talk-show hosts are spreading. (Their phone number there is 1-888-266-9653.)

Here is the A's fact sheet:

1.
What's so great about Victory Court?

a. Excellent Public Transit Options
* Lake Merritt BART Station -- just a few blocks and a five-minute walk away from the ballpark site.
* The Amtrak train station, where commuter trains also stop, would be just four blocks away.
* The Jack London Square ferry stop is nearby on the northern side of Jack London Square.
* And a new ferry stop could be added near the Jack London Acquatic Center, about one block from a Victory Court ballpark.
* The Broadway Shuttle, called the "B," is a free bus that runs every 10 minutes from 24th and Webster all the way down Broadway to Jack London Square. With a new ballpark, you can bet they'd add a Victory Court stop.
* Oakland Streetcar: A future streetcar may be built that would stop at Victory Court, as part of its downtown loop.

b. It's three Revenue-Generating Projects in One:

*Oak-to-Ninth
*Victory Court Ballpark
*Jack London Market

All three of these tax-revenue-generating projects on the waterfront would be spurred on by ballpark construction, with the A's ballpark acting as the catalyst.

Click here for more info on Victory Court.

c. The restaurant/bar/housing/entertertainment infrastructure (like at Wrigley Field and Fenway Park ) that makes a ballpark area cool is already there:

Which is why Travel & Leisure magazine last year called Jack London Square one of the nation's "next great neighborhoods."

2.
No corporate support in Oakland?

Not true. Oakland and the East Bay region have plenty of corporate support to support a new Oakland ballpark.

Plus, if the South Bay counts companies from towns all over the 650 and 408 area codes, Oakland should be allowed to do the same, from all over Alameda County and Costra Conta County. For corporations, Oakland and the East Bay have:

*Clorox
*Dreyer's Ice Cream
*Pandora
*Kaiser-Permanente
*Cost-Plus
*Bio-Rad
*Ask.com
*Pixar
*Chevron
*Solyndra
*Novartis (formerly Chiron)
*Port of Oakland
*Safeway
*KLA-Tencor
*Bayer
*MobiTV
*Sendmail
*Leapfrog
*Jamba Juice
*EA Maxis
And huge Oakland solar companies like
*BrightSource
*Solar Trust
*SunGevity

And over 100 others around the East Bay and the Bay Area who have pledged support to Let's Go Oakland and to buying luxury suites at Victory Court.

3.
A's aren't making money?

Not true. According to Forbes Magazine last month, the A's have averaged more than $23 million in profit per year over the last three years. Since Wolff and Fisher bought the team, they have made $123 million in profit from running the ballclub in just six seasons. Just think how much money Wolff & Fisher would make if they actually tried to please the fans.

Click this link for verification.

4.
A's can't compete in Oakland, just look at all the free agents who don't come here?

Not true. The Oakland Tribune's Joe Stiglich wrote an article in January that refuted Wolff's and Beane's whining about this. Here's what Stiglich wrote:

"Two agents -- who each have represented major leaguers for many years -- said the A's stadium gets overblown as a factor that's kept many free agents away.
"What is frustrating for them is that none of them believe that they can win (with the A's)," said one agent, requesting anonymity."

Plus, Wolff is on record as saying that once the A's get a new ballpark, they don't plan to increase the payroll that much, that it "will be business as usual. Billy likes it that way. Frankly, it's more fun."

5.
Oakland officials haven't done anything to keep the A's over the years?

Not true. Over the years, Oakland has worked hard to keep the A's. Check out the list:

1995 - Steve Schott and Ken Hofmann buy the A’s, and Oakland and county officials try to please the new owners by paying them $11 million in cash, and up to $20 million in baseball-related stadium improvements.
1998 - Schott and Hoffman put the team up for sale. The Oakland city council and Alameda County officials start working with Schott and Hoffman and MLB to choose a suitable buyer.
1999 - Oakland/Alameda County officials spend much of 1999 working with A’s owners and Bud Selig on finding a new local A's owner for the A’s. Oakland officials select a group led by Andy Dolich and Robert Piccinini. In September 1999, MLB owners tabled the vote and made no decision. Oakland officials were shocked and A’s fans were furious.
2001 - After Steve Schott attends a Santa Clara City Council meeting saying he wants to move the A’s there, Oakland and Alameda County officials respond again that they want to work with the A’s on building a new ballpark in Oakland. Schott does not publicly respond.
2001 – A report says that Schott and Hofmann are on the verge of selling the A’s to a Hollywood producers with Las Vegas ties. The news shocks Oakland city officials like City Manager Robert Bobb, who had met with A’s owners just a week before about extending their Oakland lease.
2001 – City Manager Robert Bobb hires HOK Architects to study ballpark sites in Oakland and other parts of the East Bay with the goal of keeping the A’s in Oakland
2002 - Robert Bobb tries to interest the A’s in the Uptown site, located in downtown Oakland. A’s owners Steve Schott and Ken Hofmann never publicly support the site and never show up at an Oakland City Council meeting. Since then, A’s owners and officials have appeared at city council meetings in Santa Clara, Fremont and San Jose in support of ballpark plans in those cities, but never in Oakland.
2002 - A’s fans held a rally outside Oakland City Hall before a City Council meeting where HOK Architects gave a presentation on ballpark sites. No one from the A’s front office attends either the rally or the meeting.
2005 - Ex-Oakland Councilman Dick Spees approaches Lew Wolff and offers to lead a booster group comprised of Oakland business leaders to help get a ballpark built in Oakland. Wolff rejects Spees’ efforts, telling him that he wants to do it alone.
2005 - Oakland Councilmen Larry Reid and Ignacio De La Fuente react favorably Wolff’s presentation to redevelop hundreds of acres near the Oakland Coliseum. Yet, according to later news reports, Wolff almost immediately started negotiating with the city of Fremont for a ballpark in Fremont.
2006 - Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums meets with Lew Wolff to discuss keeping the A’s in Oakland. Wolff also rebuffs Dellums, telling him that he is focusing on Fremont and that Dellums shouldn’t “break his pick on this one."
March 2009 - After the Fremont ballpark plan falls apart, Dellums again reaches out to Wolff. But Wolff again rejects Dellums. So, Dellums, Oakland City Council President Jane Brunner respond by sending a letter to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, as does U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, who is an Oakland resident.
December 2009 - Oakland announces two new proposed ballpark sites (and an additional site that was previously examined) near the Jack London Square waterfront.
April 2010 - Oakland City Council President Jane Brunner and Let’s Go Oakland leader Doug Boxer release an economic report touting the benefits that a new Jack London Square ballpark would have on Oakland. Brunner and Boxer also hold a public meeting at an Oakland school to discuss the ballpark sites.
December 2010 - At two separate meetings, the Oakland Planning Commission and the City Council approve doing an EIR for the Victory Court ballpark sites.

Click here for the source link.

6.
The A's haven't drawn very well in Oakland?

Not true. The A's have drawn as well or better than the Giants whenever they had a good owner committed to keeping the team in town. In contrast, look at Wolff and Fisher. When they took over in 2006, the A's previous season's attendance was more than 2.1 million and right in the middle of the pack for all of MLB.

Then Wolff tarped off the 3rd deck and threatened to move out of Oakland. Since then, attendance has gone down every year Wolff has owned the team. The common denominator recently is Wolff, not Oakland or loyal A's fans who just want a commitment from the owner.

2 comments:

Matt said...

Keep the A's in Oakland and give San Jose an expansion team!

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