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Dickey Article

OAFC BBS - All Topics: Archive: Dickey Article
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By jayho on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 11:56 am:

A's at crossroads for 2003

Glenn Dickey   Saturday, February 1, 2003

THE A'S are approaching one of the most critical times in their history.

The A's have been a model franchise, winning 100 or more games in three consecutive seasons while being run as a business instead of a philanthropy.

That approach has been scorned by sportswriters who are always willing to spend an owner's money, but it's looking better and better as more teams are stuck with foolishly expensive contracts given to unproductive players. Even the Giants, who have not been prodigious spenders, would love to be able to eliminate the contracts of Livan Hernandez, Marvin Benard and J.T. Snow.

The A's success has been made possible by the baseball side, headed by general manager Billy Beane, which has identified and developed outstanding young players, while also filling holes with astute trades, such as the one in which they acquired DH Erubiel Durazo.

Now, though, the contracts of those young stars are escalating and putting pressure on the payroll. Managing owner Steve Schott has shown he will put profits back into the payroll to pay for players who can help the team win, but first, those profits must be realized.

Which means, the A's attendance must make a healthy jump this season.

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.

So, increasing attendance at the Coliseum is the goal. "I'd love to see a huge jump, from 2.2 million to 2.6 or 2.7 million," said A's President Mike Crowley, "but something around 2.5 million is probably more realistic."

The schedule will help. Last year, the Yankees played only one weekday series in Oakland; this year, they'll be in for two weekend series. The Atlanta Braves will be in for an interleague series.

Crowley would love to see the A's develop a natural rivalry within their division, too, which they've never had. "I know we'll never have anything like the Giants have with the Dodgers," he said, "but our rivalry with Seattle has picked up lately because of the Mariners' success, and it's possible we'll now develop a rivalry with the Angels."

Starting fast would also help, and the change of managers should do the trick. Art Howe's laid-back approach worked over an entire season but it also meant that players didn't approach the beginning of the season with much urgency. Ken Macha will not allow that.

The A's have changed advertising agencies, to Goodby, Silverstein and Partners, the firm that developed the "Billyball" campaign, which is still fondly remembered more than 20 years later.

The new ad campaign will promote individual players, and they've got some great ones, including league MVP Miguel Tejada, and Cy Young Award winner Barry Zito. It will also emphasize the swagger the A's have developed by winning.

The A's ticketing strategy, with cheaper tickets and concession prices on Wednesday (they'll probably go from $1 to $2 this year), is a controversial one. Marketing people say that it's foolish to present the same product at much different prices because a disproportionate number of people will choose the cheaper game. The A's have had crowds of 50,000 on "Dollar Wednesday" followed by crowds of 12,000 for the same opponent.

But Crowley defends the strategy as fundamental to the A's approach. "We want our games to be affordable for families, which few sports events are now, " he said. "We don't have variable pricing for different games and we have the same price on Wednesday, no matter who the other team is. We had the Yankees on Wednesday night last year."

There's one other critical factor for the A's: postseason success.

Each successive level brings additional revenue. If the A's had reached the World Series last year, as they should have, the plan was to use that extra revenue to sign Tejada to a contract extension and give Howe the money he wanted in a new contract. Instead, the season ended abruptly in the first round of the playoffs, Howe left for New York and Tejada is still unsigned.

It's a delicate balancing act for the A's, with many ifs. If their attendance takes a big jump, if they make the postseason again and this time go deep into it, they'll be able to re-sign Tejada and the future will be bright. Those ifs show why this is such a critical time for the franchise.

E-mail Glenn Dickey at gdickey@sfchronicle.com.
 
---
Almost laughable. This article is a crock of shit.

And the A's using "world series money" to sign Tejada and Howe? Howe left because Beane didn't like him. Tejada won't be resigned because Schott would rather pocket the money and buy flatscreen wall mountable TV's or something of that like.

Argh

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By eyleenn on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 12:10 pm:

Exactly right, Jayho. I wonder if Dickey really believes that or if he's just shilling for Schott.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By oaktownfan on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 12:22 pm:

The A's haven't resigned Miggi, I haven't renewed by season tickets. I said that if they didn't resign him I wouldn't renew my tickets and I'm following up on it. Makes me sick that this is happening again. I'm going to net a lot this season but by me not renewing my season tickets, I'm hoping that this will send a small message to the front office that fans like me won't stand for this b.s.

Like somebody here said about a week ago, the A's ownership won't resign their stars once their contracts are up and even though the Ellis' and Crosby's might fill the rolls nicely, they'll never compare to the talent or popularity that a Tejada or Giambi will ever have. Fans will get tired of this ownership and slowly the wins will decline and so will the attendance. Now this might not matter if the rumor of this silicon valley investor is true.

Why doesn't someone make a huge banner titled:

$chott $ell the A's!

in bold green letters and bring it to fanfest parading it around and hang it up during the q&a sessions. I'm sure that the fans would applaud to that. Heck, don't stop fanfest, hang it near the bleachers every home game so the television cameras can see it.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 12:43 pm:

I'm not surprised at all by Glenn Dickey's column.
I was told by somebody very close to the A's organization that Sam Spear, Schott's PR guy, is very close friends with Dickey. Furthermore, he (Sam Spear) is in very good terms with the media in general and we all know many mediots are more than willing to shill for ownership in exchange for a good meal at the owners box...most of these mediots don't give a damn about the A's anyway. It isn't like they are going to be protective of the team as we are as fans.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 01:07 pm:

As a matter of fact. I just sent the link below to Glenn Dickey with this note.

Keep promoting the worst owner A's fans ever had to deal with...sleep well Mr. Dickey...
as you continue to stab A's fans in the back.

Article Last Updated:
Sunday, August 04, 2002 - 2:57:35 AM MST

http://www.oaklandtribune.com/Stories/0,1413,82%257E1865%257E773718,00.html

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.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By kevink on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 05:11 pm:

Of course if we don't draw 2.5 million there will be a slew of articles blaming fans and questioning if the A's can "make it in the Bay Area," with absolutely no mention of the great years of the Haas era. There will be Schott apologists galore as he contracts the team or sells it to Nevada or Portland or D.C. "You can't blame Schott," they will say. "The fans just wouldn't come out. Oakland only averages 12,000 and that's not enough," even though the real numbers were a lot higher. Remember, if you lie enough times, those lies become facts.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By sactodavey on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 05:33 pm:

Considering that no team untillthe A's in 1988 drew over2 illin a year since when does a team have to every year need to draw 2.5 mill just to eep its players?

it is either baseball is so screwed up with high salaries that teams now need to draw more fans then they have a right to draw or schott is balckmailing the community for a bigger draw which will not gaurentee him resigning miggy anyway so Schott can bank more $$$ before he sells the team, i don't know which is true but it is just plain blackmail period and it is almost time to boycot the team to keep these liars from making more $$$ wich will NOT go back intop the team.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By jayho on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 05:48 pm:

kevink

perception is reality unfornutely.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 06:55 pm:

here's the response I just got from Glenn Dickey after I sent him the article from the Oakland Tribune. It really seems he is deeply entrenched in Schott's pocket alright...

"This was a bullshit story. Another guy who wanted to get a little publicity
with a phony offer and found a writer who would fall for it. I talked to
people in the commissioner's office about it, and it was a phony all the
way.
glenn dickey"

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By rono on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 08:46 pm:

Right on both counts. Dickey can be bought and the buyer was not legitimate( big hat but no cattle).

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By eyleenn on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 08:47 pm:

I wonder how the Dick defines "phony." The D.C. press seemed to think the story was real.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By dorrit on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 08:52 pm:

Oaktown, did you let them know that's why you won't renew your season tickets-because they're not re-signing Miguel? It's one thing not re-newing, it's another to give them reason why.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 09:26 pm:

So Selig is now in the business of making "phony" referals to his fellow owners? This Ledecky fellow has been around for a long time and has very close ties to Selig. His name first surfaced when Selig was trying to force a sale of the Reds.

Schott's quote re Mr. Ledecky:

"He was just somebody (commissioner Bud Selig) wanted us to talk to," Schott said. "But it came down to we just didn't want to sell. He was supposed to be a tycoon, but he didn't have nearly enough money."


http://www.bayarea.com/mld/bayarea/sports/baseball/mlb/oakland_athletics/3875252.htm

http://sanfrancisco.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2002/07/01/daily45.html


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