Schott speaks....we listen...
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| By diamond_lil on Thursday, January 30, 2003 - 10:01 am:|
comments from the gallery please:
Schott thinks it will be a charmed year
John Shea, Chronicle Staff Writer Thursday, January 30, 2003
A's owner Steve Schott feels pressure to keep the A's and re-sign his MVP shortstop.
Pressure, that is, from his own family.
"I've got eight grandchildren, and someone's always coming home from school crying if there's a rumor in the paper that the A's are for sale," Schott said.
"They ask, 'You're not going to sell the team, are you?' "
Perhaps the most pressure comes from Schott's mother, Mary, who's 93.
"She's always telling me, 'Do what you can to sign Miguel,' " Schott said of free-agent-in-waiting Miguel Tejada. "She might be his biggest fan."
For the record, Schott insists he has no immediate intention to sell his half of the team -- co-owner Ken Hofmann might feel differently, depending on the moment -- and would love to keep Tejada beyond 2003 but is making no promises.
After watching his team fall in the first round of the playoffs three straight years, Schott wants to take the next step. He admitted he took last year's playoff loss to Minnesota harder than the previous years' losses to the Yankees, and he's increasing the payroll by $6 million to $47.5 million -- after a busy winter, the A's are $2 million over budget -- in a bid for a happier ending.
"It says that I, for one, want to win," said Schott, who has a new manager (Ken Macha), center fielder (Chris Singleton), DH (Erubiel Durazo), closer (Keith Foulke) and two possible starters (John Halama and Ed Yarnell). "I think this will be the charmed year."
Hofmann objected to raising the payroll, just as he objected to the A's adding salaries before last July's trade deadline, but Schott has the final say as the managing general partner and is forced to field questions about his comrade, who continues to decline interview requests amid reports that he's considering selling his share.
"I'm not sure what necessarily fits his fancy in the sense of whether he wants to stay in or doesn't want to stay in," Schott said of Hofmann, 80. "It depends on how his mood is or how he looks at his mortality. Until he decides on what he'd prefer to do, anyone who would buy out Ken would have to be approved by me and Major League Baseball.
"At times, Ken talks to people about buying him out. Nothing I know is imminent."
Schott said a recent published report that a South Bay venture capitalist would buy the team and build a ballpark was "just a bad rumor." For now, Schott has other pressing business. Tejada's contract expires after this season, and the A's will negotiate with him during spring training, which will be shortened because they depart March 19 for Japan and the season opener against the Mariners.
Two springs ago, the A's had another MVP entering the final season of his contract, and the Jason Giambi soap opera didn't end until he played out the contract and signed with the Yankees for seven years and $120 million.
Schott doesn't seem to have the patience for a repeat performance, especially after the team lost money in 2002 (he claims $5 million) for the first time in several years, due to $9 million invested in the draft -- the A's had seven of the first 39 picks.
"We're not going to go through the same situation we went through with Jason," he said. "We'll talk about it in spring training to some degree. If it doesn't happen, I'm sure we're not going to talk about it after the season starts. We don't want that distraction for Miguel at all."
Schott was reluctant when offering Giambi what would have been 40 percent of the payroll ($15 million a year over six years), and he seems to feel the same about Tejada -- particularly without the advantage of a new ballpark providing better revenue in future years.
"If Miguel is looking at seven or eight years, it's pretty tough to assure ourselves without a park like Pac Bell or others where fans come not just for the game, but for the happening," Schott said. "We drew 2.2 million people last year, and our goal is 2.3, 2.4 or 2.5. If it happens, it's a way to help with Miguel's contract."
Why do the A's need a new park when they're drawing relatively well, making annual visits to the postseason and receiving healthy amounts of revenue sharing (projected to be $12.3 million this year)?
"You've got to assume somewhere down the road, Bud Selig has a point," said Schott, referring to the commissioner's comment that the A's can't survive long term as Coliseum co-tenants. "We can't exist or do as well as we have been continually. You need your own facility to generate your own revenues. Teams have increased revenue 75 to 80 percent and have been able to sign more players and retain their free agents. We have to keep regenerating and rejuvenating."
It didn't sit well with Schott that the A's were denied a spot in the World Series while the Giants arrived as wild cards.
"I started out eight years ago thinking the World Series was a dream," Schott said. "After seeing some of the teams that have gotten there and knowing how well we've played and a break here or there could've gotten us there, now I know it's not a figment of my imagination."
| By chavy4ever on Thursday, January 30, 2003 - 10:52 am:|
Miggy is as good as gone, Schott is just blowing smoke up everyones a$$ again.
| By diamond_lil on Thursday, January 30, 2003 - 11:58 am:|
1."It depends on how his mood is or how he looks at his mortality. Until he decides on what he'd prefer to do, anyone who would buy out Ken would have to be approved by me and Major League Baseball.
(Schott doesn't appear to have much respect for his partner and the rumors that they don't get along appear to be true, based on how he refers to him in the article)
2.Schott said a recent published report that a South Bay venture capitalist would buy the team and build a ballpark was "just a bad rumor."
(it makes me wonder what he would consider "a good rumor"...perhaps if the venture capitalist didn't want to keep the A's in Oakland? ...it was reported the venture capitalist liked the idea of building a ballpark in downtown Oakland...
GOOD and BEST RUMOR to us but "bad rumor to him!)
3.Hofmann objected to raising the payroll, just as he objected to the A's adding salaries before last July's trade deadline, but Schott has the final say ...
(another 'schott' at his 'silent' partner)
4."You've got to assume somewhere down the road, Bud Selig has a point," said Schott, referring to the commissioner's comment that the A's can't survive long term as Coliseum co-tenants.
(yes, one must assume that somehow, someday, Bud Selig will have a point and that point would only be to benefit Schott himself...right!)
5.Schott doesn't seem to have the patience for a repeat performance, especially after the team lost money in 2002 (he claims $5 million) for the first time in several years, due to $9 million invested in the draft -- the A's had seven of the first 39 picks.
(yes, the farm that came with the team has to be replenished or you, Mr. Schott would have to get players in the free agent market...and how much money have you made during the past years that you admit to not losing money...and how much money will you make when you sell the team?)
It is very unfortunate to feel this way. But I think that the only way we will ever be rid of this egotistic buffoon is if the A's play very poorly this year. Someone hit the nail on the head the other day: Beane is a blessing and our downfall. As long as this team wins or has a chance to win the big prize, Schott will keep riding the bandwagon mascarading as head conductor of the choo-choo train.
Very sad indeed.
| By deajay on Thursday, January 30, 2003 - 12:50 pm:|
I especially love the part where Schott talks about drawing 2.3, 2.4 or 2.5mil and that it could help to sign Tejada. What total bullshit. He's trying to blackmail fans into lining his own pockets.
That statement is also contradictory to his earlier one saying his doesn't want a repeat of the Giambi-like fiasco with Tejada. Well, if he's going to wait until the season is over to see how many fans they draw, what does he think it is going to be?
The whole thing is a sick friggin joke. Beane's comments last season that Tejada's contract was this winter's priority. Now, it's spring training. Sound familiar?
Oh yeh, and if he's got a good feeling this is going to be a "charmed" season, he'd better take another look at his no-hit centerfielder and worse yet, no right handed pop off the bench.
| By kevink on Thursday, January 30, 2003 - 01:40 pm:|
As usual, Schott speaks and we're all left disappointed. Nobody should expect anything different from this guy though. Oh whoop-de-doo we raised payroll by $6 million. Lock up the world series and fit the rings!! Of course Selig's got a point when your in his BACK POCKET!!!!!
Of course it's all being set up to not sign Tejada, and eventually have a losing season and less fans and then conveniently Schott has his excuse to dismantle the team, move it, or let Selig have his wishes at last. Schott of course will just claim that there was "nothing else he could do" and he'll blame everything on the fans. Hopefully, somebody saves the A's before all this happens.
| By kbailey3131 on Thursday, January 30, 2003 - 02:43 pm:|
Why is it when I read Schott and Selig, I feel like I'm on drugs or something. The guy just talks about a totally different reality it seems to me.
I mean why are we talking about Halama and Yarnell as "two possible starters"? And why wouldn't he know if Silent Ken is going to be bought out? And yes, I agree, if I hear one more time how he had to out-think somebody to make the A's better I might just puke. Geezus, first he had to fight Bud off supposedly for contraction, then he has to fight the temptation to sell to No. Virginia or DC, then he has to fight Beane on who to acquire at the trading deadline, then he's fighting Hoffman to spend the money. Holy crap, if this is the outcome of his winning the battle with Hoffman then damn, we should cut the guy a break because Hoffman doesn't want to spend any money then!
I got to give him and Beane credit tho, they have set the "poor us" rally cry up very well and very consistently.
Perhaps the most pressure comes from Schott's mother, Mary, who's 93. "She's always telling me, 'Do what you can to sign Miguel,' " Schott said of free-agent-in-waiting Miguel Tejada. "She might be his biggest fan."
Unfortunately, like Chuck Colson during the Nixon years, Schott is probably willing to run over his mother to save some money.
Schott thinks it will be a charmed year
Reminds me of the geeky guy with the specs, talking with the management team in the IBM ad. "What it is?" the A's owners ask. "Self-healing baseball franchise pixy dust..." Owners: "How does it work?..." Geeky technician: "Sprinkle some on the baseball team, and all it's problems are fixed...Easy..." Owners: "Is it expensive..." Geeky tech: "No, it's cheap...Soy-based..." Owners: "Looks like we have a winner..."
Schott said a recent published report that a South Bay venture capitalist would buy the team and build a ballpark was "just a bad rumor."
Actually it's a *good* rumor, but either way, it's probably untrue.
| By bubba69 on Friday, January 31, 2003 - 11:39 am:|
| By kevink on Friday, January 31, 2003 - 04:34 pm:|
From the Merc, the silicon valley investor rumor is mentioned again today:
Yes, we all know that just because Schott denied the rumor, it means absolutely nothing.
The last time he denied a rumor, the interested buyer even had a deadline scheduled to plunk down a non refundable deposit...which of course he refused to spend since he wasn't able to get a indication from Selig what he could relocate the team to DC...
now THAT to me was a 'bad rumor' indeed...
| By oaktownfan on Friday, January 31, 2003 - 06:33 pm:|
-Doesn't show up at fanfests.
-Won't resign Tejada after the Giambi fiasco.
-Doesn't want to be in Oakland.
-Raises playoff tickets to unbelievable prices.
-Has sets sight on south bay when everybody knows it's never going to happen.
-Alienates the blue collar Oakland fans by saying the it's best for A's future if they move out of the city.
-Lies to his g.m. and fans when he said he would offer to spend more money before trade dealine.
-Shows no support for a ballpark in Oakland when the city and A's fans worked their asses off to make the project a reality.
Yeah, Schott sure has done a lot to make fans and the city of Oakland believe or trust him in anyway. He should think about firing his pr man because he's done nothing to improve his image.
| By jayho on Friday, January 31, 2003 - 11:09 pm:|
oaktown, so true. Someone should compile that and send it to the sports editor at the Trib...
| By diamond_lil on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 11:22 am:|
Glenn Dickey is a close friend of Sam Spear so Schott has Dickey in his pocket, clearly seen in this column. Dickey loves Oakland, but he loves his personal interests a lot more.
The dream of getting a new park in downtown Oakland, which would create new revenue streams, has been tabled, with the economy in the toilet and Mayor Jerry Brown proposing a housing project, which would require a $61 million subsidy, for the same parcel that is considered the best site for the park.
How about telling the story the way it took place. Why not say that the City Council and the Ballpark Committee headed by Robert Bobb, Dick Spees and other civic leaders waited to hear from the A's owners regarding the proposed redevelopment project incorporating the ballpark... and the owners played dumb, looked the other way and never came to the table or show any public or political support for the project.
Schott never showed and never will show any interest in staying anywhere in Oakland. It is better to know the truth and face its consequences than cover up the stink with some sand. Schott and Selig are holding the A's hostage. Pure and simple.
| By eyleenn on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 12:11 pm:|
It's also ludicrous to think that Schott would have used the WS money to keep Howe and sign Tejada. Hah.
| By diamond_lil on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 12:59 pm:|
As for Steve Schott's "bad rumor" comment and denial of any possible sale of the team...
I now know when he is not telling the truth...and its when he is moving his lips.
Just a reminder of what he denied last time around:
Article Last Updated:
Sunday, August 04, 2002 - 2:57:35 AM MST
A's flirted with sale offer last month
D.C. tycoon talked with team during 'Uptown' Oakland ballpark dispute
By FROM STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS
While Oakland ballpark proponents were fighting for a downtown stadium for the Oakland A's, team owners were in serious negotiations to sell the franchise to a Washington, D.C., investor.
A's co-owner Steve Schott had reached terms to sell the team to Washington entrepreneur Jonathan Ledecky for about $170 million, according to sources and to documents seen by the Washington Post.
But the deal collapsed when Ledecky missed a mid-July deadline to pay the A's $12 million in nonrefundable deposits. Ledecky, who formerly owned an interest in the Washington Capitals hockey team, had been seeking additional investors in the Washington area.
Ballpark supporters in Oakland were not surprised Saturday at the news of the near-sale of the team, saying it may shed light on why the A's had not made a strong commitment to a downtown Oakland stadium.
"If this sale was in the wings, obviously they were not going to be enthusiastic about a downtown stadium until the issue was resolved," said Oakland City Councilmember Dick Spees (Montclair-Laurel). "We kept thinking, 'If they were really interested in a downtown ballpark, why don't they come forward?' But that never happened."
Ballpark supporters cited the team's absence during the debate over a new stadium as a significant reason for why the Oakland City Council voted in July to move forward with a large housing development instead of the ballpark proposal. The housing project is to be built on the same site identified as the best spot for a baseball-only stadium in the East Bay.
A's President Mike Crowley said after the council's vote the team was waiting on the results of a city-sponsored study for how a downtown ballpark would be financed before throwing its weight behind the stadium plan.
On Saturday, A's spokesman Jim Young said "the team is not for sale," adding, "Mr. Schott looks forward to entering the process of securing a new baseball-only facility for the A's in the East Bay."
Ledecky, meanwhile, had told potential investors he planned to keep the A's in Oakland but could possibly relocate them to Washington if financing for a new ballpark did not materialize in the East Bay.
Double team's revenue
Ledecky implied his group therefore potentially could beat three other potential investment groups vying to establish a Major League Baseball in the Washington market and be in a win-win situation no matter what happened. He told potential investors a new stadium in Oakland could double the team's revenue, while a move to Washington could double its value.
But a high-ranking Major League Baseball official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said MLB made no assurances to the Ledecky group that it eventually would be able to relocate in Washington. In fact, the official said MLB does not want to relocate a West Coast team to the East Coast for logistical reasons.
Also, putting a baseball team in Washington likely would anger the Baltimore Orioles who believe they own the territorial rights to the area. Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig also frowns on investment groups buying a team to relocate it.
'Using Ledecky' speculation
Some team watchers have speculated Schott and MLB might have used Ledecky to extract better lease terms from the city of Oakland and Alameda County and to put pressure on city and county officials to revive political interest in keeping the team.
But Oakland officials said the A's never used the threat of leaving or selling the team as a way of getting a better lease deal. However, the team's threat to move to Santa Clara last year helped spur the drive for a new ballpark in Oakland.
$500,000 a year in rent
The A's last month signed a new five-year lease extension at Network Associates Coliseum. The deal calls for the A's to pay about $500,000 a year in rent.
A's spokesman Young added Saturday that "both Mr. Schott and (co-owner) Mr. Ken Hofmann are excited about extending the lease at the Coliseum through 2007."
Selig, Ledecky and Schott did not respond to messages on this topic during the past week. Schott said at the All-Star break a month ago that he had discussions with Ledecky but the team was not for sale.
It was the second time in the past year that a potential sale of the A's fell through. In August 2001, a deal to sell the team to a group of Hollywood investors with ties to Las Vegas collapsed just as news of the potential sale became public.
Staff Writer Robert Gammon and the Washington Post contributed to this report.
| By kevink on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 05:01 pm:|
I wonder when this whole saga will finally come to an end.
It's really frustrating because all we can really do is sit and wait (and squirm). Life being and A's fan I guess.
| By fansince79 on Sunday, February 02, 2003 - 10:42 pm:|
Sadly, kevink, I think you are right, this is the life of an A's fan. The viability of the A's in Oakland has been challenged almost since day 1. And almost always by those who would benefit most by their departure. As long as there are those who would benefit from the the A's leaving the Bay Area we'll have to deal with threats and rumors of their moving. And I think the reasons given will continue to be as transparent they are now and have been. I think one of schitt's comments illustrates it well...
(----Why do the A's need a new park when they're drawing relatively well, making annual visits to the postseason and receiving healthy amounts of revenue sharing (projected to be $12.3 million this year)?
"You've got to assume somewhere down the road, Butt Selig has a point," said Schitt, referring to the commissioner's comment that the A's can't survive long term as Coliseum co-tenants. "We can't exist or do as well as we have been continually.")
The A's have been here for over 30 years and they are currently drawing well and having on-field success and schitt's only respose is basically "well bud sez it's so"?
| By jimmyjack on Monday, February 03, 2003 - 02:05 pm:|
The underlying tone I've noticed on this site in the short time I've been observing confirms my feelings regarding the A's situation. Namely, the A's have been relatively successful of late mostly due to their strong starting pitching. They rely on very few full-season ticket holders and rather have to remain competitive to draw enough fans to basically break-even despite a payroll that ranks among the lowest in MLB. When a star player reaches free-agency, the team has a choice to pay him roughly 25% of the team's payroll or see him walk as Giambi did and hope to get lucky with a draft pick or two. Tejada is next - sign him for 15M a year or see him walk. Next comes Chavez. What happens when the big 3 starting pitchers enter free agency in the next couple of years? At some point, they all leave; if they somehow manage to hold onto them, good luck fielding a competitive team when 3 guys consume 90% of your payroll. Fans will start to get disillusioned, which I sense may have happened with many of you (re: I'll cancel my season tickets if Tejada leaves). I'm sorry to say it, but the only way out seems for the A's to move to Sacramento, Portland, etc. where they can make a fresh start.
| By chris_d on Monday, February 03, 2003 - 03:15 pm:|
"I'm sorry to say it, but the only way out seems for the A's to move to Sacramento, Portland, etc. where they can make a fresh start."
I respect your opinion, but that's exactly what they said about the SF Giants for decades until a new owner came in and committed to the city, was PR savvy, fan-friendly and did his part financially to build a new park.
Move the A's to any of the fine places you mentioned above, and you will still have the same problems (probably worse, given the lack of peripheral population in those cities) you have now with the A's in Oakland.
Is it Detroit's fault they're not drawing well with the Tigers right now? Is it Milwaukee's? The A's are just fine in Oakland right now. Bring in a new owner with the slightest bit of commitment, vision and fan-friendliness and Oakland would draw 2.5 million in its sleep.
| By deajay on Monday, February 03, 2003 - 03:23 pm:|
Don't look for any team to move to Portland. The state of Oregon currently has the highest unemployment rate in the country. And I'm not seeing where most of their politicians think a baseball franchise is a priority. The city has shown interest (in Expos), but no financing pkg (which will be required) was provided.
| By diamond_lil on Monday, February 03, 2003 - 09:59 pm:|
Yup, the grass is always greener elsewhere...
Are the fans from other cities so very different from Oakland A's fans?
The sad thing about all of this is that it is by now a stigma and a perception that even some A's fans accept as truth. They forget that the A's outdrew the Giants 17 seasons to 10 before their ballpark was built.
My response is always the same. If every A's fan who complains about the attendance, would actually go to the ballpark half as much as some of us here, the A's would draw 3 million fans every year.
| By oakland_j on Thursday, February 06, 2003 - 03:28 am:|
"...and he's increasing the payroll by $6 million..."
How generous of ol' Steve. Unfortunately for his image, I recall him saying last year that the A's would be receiving about $6 million more from the new CBA. Hah.