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Steve Schott's new image?!?!?!?!

OAFC BBS - All Topics: Archive: Steve Schott's new image?!?!?!?!
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Sunday, March 17, 2002 - 12:24 pm:

http://www.oaklandtribune.com/Stories/0,1002,10835%257E469101,00.html

Article Last Updated:
Sunday, March 17, 2002 - 4:18:49 AM MST

Stadium-minded A's cozy up to East Bay
By Mark Saxon
STAFF WRITER


PHOENIX -- The owners of the Oakland A's haven't done much in the past few years to win the affections of East Bay fans. First they admitted they coveted the South Bay as a future home, then they couldn't hold onto superstar Jason Giambi.

But times have changed.

The bubble has burst in the Silicon Valley and the A's have abandoned any hope of moving to Santa Clara County. Now, with the East Bay apparently their only hope for a new baseball-only ballpark, the A's owners are making an effort to patch up their public image. They feel they've been unfairly portrayed as only being in it for the money.

"We haven't been treated as fairly as we could in the press," co-owner Steve Schott said. "We're proud of what we've done, we're proud of the people in our organization. We've been portrayed as people who are only in it for the bottom line, who are not interested in winning. No one wants to win more than I do."

Schott emphasized one thing Saturday: Whatever hope the team has of landing a new ballpark, it lies in the East Bay now. Asked whether the A's had given up on moving to Santa Clara County, Schott said, "Basically, yes.

"We pretty much decided we don't think it's a viable alternative, and we're not actively pursuing it."

Of course, that doesn't mean the A's are any closer to getting a stadium built in Oakland or elsewhere in the East Bay. Schott said he was "cautiously optimistic" the team could eventually complete the stadium deal.

But he's also aware of the obstacles he faces with Oakland and Alameda County taxpayers, who already are battered from their dealings with the Oakland Raiders.

"Someone very high up with the city who I won't name told me, 'There is no money,'" Schott said. "It's going to be a tough, uphill battle. I hope it can be done, but I don't want anyone running around saying it's going to be a cakewalk."

Considering a new stadium couldn't be built before the 2006 season, the A's already have begun working out a medium-term lease for the Network Associates Coliseum through 2005. As of now, they're on a year-to-year basis with their current lease through 2004.

Now, with the wheels just barely in motion to build the A's a new ballpark -- possibly in downtown Oakland -- Schott, who made his fortune in the home-building business, said things are looking up. But they're far from rosy yet.

"When the time comes to pick a site, we have to all be on the same page," he said. "We're going to be there 30 years. There are three words that mean anything in real estate: location, location and location. We only have one chance to build this park, we better make sure it's in the right place."

Even though the A's have reached the playoffs two straight years, and are one of the oldest franchises in baseball, they continue to be rumored as being on the bubble when baseball moves to contract teams as early as next season.

Schott said he doesn't think the death of the A's is a possibility.

"I don't want to be contracted. I've got a lot of sweat in this organization from the last six years," he said. "I want to win the World Series."

Schott strongly asserts that he and Hofmann paid the Haas family's the $95 million asking price rather than the $72 million that was reported when they bought the team. He also said rumors over the last several years that the team was for sale were simply that, and he reiterated that the A's aren't for sale now.

Schott also said he's angered at times by the treatment the A's receive from the people who run the Coliseum -- the Joint Powers Authority.

"Every time I turn around, the A's continue to become the stepchild," Schott said.

He said that he's upset that singer Paul McCartney is launching his North American concert tour next door at the Coliseum Arena on the A's opening night April 1.

"Opening night is our marquee day," Schott said. "Now, when people realize it takes them two hours to get to the ballpark and they can't find a parking space, how many people are going to want to go back to the ballpark again? This is our product."

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Sunday, March 17, 2002 - 12:51 pm:

Who knew? Turns out A's co-owner a natural dealing with media

March 17, 2002

PHOENIX


Oakland A's co-owner Steve Schott sat down with the media on Saturday to tell his story. This was a rare occurrence because, in the past, Schott has avoided the media as if the merest contact with notebook-toting stiffs might give him a droplet infection leading to a cold or worse.


Recently, he's hired a public-relations consultant, a man named Sam Spear, one of the best in the business. Spear figured Schott, who knows how to speak in clear, declarative sentences and is convincing when he gets going, has nothing to lose by showing his face.


Spear was right, of course. So there Schott was in the bowels of Phoenix Stadium, seated at the head of a conference table giving a short bio about himself. Forget that he's owned the team six years; it was good to get the bio, finally.


He has gray hair, a straight nose, a strong jaw. He grew up in the Bay Area and attended Bellarmine Prep and Santa Clara University, where he was a pitcher. But he blew out his arm and went into the building business, where he earned a ton of money. He said he wasn't born with a silver spoon in his mouth -- he really used that phrase.


He spoke matter-of-factly, his manner direct and unaffected. He'd written notes on a yellow legal pad, but didn't consult them. He was good at this group thing, and you wondered why he'd remained so long in hiding.


Then he threw the meeting open for questions and he answered all the questions you'd have asked if you were there. So try a few of these.


How much did he and partner Ken Hofmann pay for the team? This is a controversial question because stories have circulated over the years that Schott maneuvered a discount price while Walter Haas was on his deathbed. But Schott said he paid exactly what Haas requested: $72 million plus $23 million in deferred debt.


"That's $95 million in my books," he said.


He also said he and Hofmann didn't pursue the team; they had to be convinced to buy it.


"We were beckoned," is how he put it. "The Haases were at their wits' end."


Are the A's currently for sale?


"The team is not for sale," Schott declared. He said if it were for sale, and that's purely a hypothetical, he would not sell to someone who'd move it from the Bay Area. He swore any plan to move to Santa Clara is over with and dead, although he clearly longs for Santa Clara, believes the dot.com money could help his team get rich.


"Oakland, how many big business do you have down there?" he asked.


Does he want a new stadium?


You bet he does.


"The A's are as good or better than the Giants," he said. "Why do they charge what they charge, and we charge what we charge? The simple answer is the stadium." He also said, "To be competitive, we need a new stadium. Our revenues are so far below (what they need to be)."


He said he's "cautiously optimistic" about getting a new stadium in Oakland or somewhere in Alameda County. And yes, he would pay some of the costs, although he didn't say how much.


Then he dropped this news item. He almost had a stroke, he said, when he found out Paul McCartney is giving a concert at the Oakland Arena on opening night. "That's the kind of treatment we get," he complained.


"(The concert) was scheduled by the same people trying to get us on line with the stadium. It's like a big play on Broadway opening night.


"If it takes two hours to get to the ballpark and people can't find a parking space -- it's a horrendous thing for us to think about. This is our product. We've only got so many marquees. We don't have the Yankees coming in twice or the Red Sox coming in twice. We've got some National League teams. I don't think they'll excite people. We've got to convert them fast."


Then he thought about Mark McGwire.


"Mark didn't want to be here," he said. "He couldn't hit 70 homers here. He didn't have guys before and after him who could protect him."


That remark about McGwire came out of nowhere. That shouldn't surprise you. Schott, as we're getting to know, says what's on his mind, and sometimes the effect is to blow your mind. Example: "We're not in it for the ego," he said of himself and Hofmann. "The Mark Cubans are in it for the ego."


How do you think Cuban, who owns the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, will feel when he reads that one?


Or here's another straight-from-the-lip Schottism. Speaking of his partner Hofmann, he said: "He'll do whatever I want to do."


Obviously, Schott doesn't worry about the fallout from his remarks, and that's a good thing. It's nice to meet a man who speaks uncensored.


When someone asked why he finally opened up to the media, he replied, "Ken and I haven't been treated fairly in the press. We've got a story to tell. It's about time the message got out."


Schott is entitled to get his message out, and he's learning he can't be treated fairly if no one knows who he is. Let it be noted he didn't duck any questions and he gave all the right answers. So although he made a late start in going public, he also made a good start.


Contact Lowell Cohn at 521-5486 or lcohn@pressdemocrat.com.


Email story | Print story | Subscribe to paper

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By eyleenn on Sunday, March 17, 2002 - 02:39 pm:

I for one was happy to hear Schott stick up for the team with regard to Opening Night. Whoever allowed McCartney to be booked at the Arena that night should be fired.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By kbailey3131 on Sunday, March 17, 2002 - 02:45 pm:

"Schott is entitled to get his message out, and he's learning he can't be treated fairly if no one knows who he is."

EXACTLY!!!!! Stop issuing press releases and talking through the newspapers and get out in the city and get out on the media airwaves and maybe, just maybe, you wouldn't be so vilified and if you stopped talking like a carpetbagger maybe, just maybe, the JPA would stop treating you like a second class citizen!! BE MORE VISABLE AND BE MORE COMMITTED TO THE AREA!

Even though the ballpark isn't going to be a cakewalk and there probably isn't any city money available that isn't earmarked for something else, that's still no excuse to act shadowy. Even if they had sent a deputy assistant flunky to read (not speak on their own) a prepared statement from Schott and Hoffmann I would have gushed over the fact that "they are at the table."

I'm still not excited about this ownership, not as much as I should be by what they are saying and have been saying since December...They need to stop speaking to me through the press and start speaking to me as their fan.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Sunday, March 17, 2002 - 03:47 pm:

here's another column on yesterday's media conversation with Schott

http://www.bayarea.com/mld/bayarea/sports/baseball/mlb/oakland_athletics/2878453.htm

Posted on Sun, Mar. 17, 2002

New ballpark heads agenda for A's owners
Schott says more revenue is needed to keep team in Bay Area
By Rick Hurd
CONTRA COSTA TIMES

PHOENIX - He said he's "conservatively optimistic" a new ballpark eventually will be built for his team but acknowledged that it will an uphill struggle. He said he's committed to keeping his club in the Bay Area but that he doesn't know how long it can survive there. He said he has no plans to sell but that doesn't know how long he'll feel that way.

In short, A's co-owner Steve Schott answered many questions and left several others unanswered during a pow-wow with the Bay Area media Saturday at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

Schott addressed multiple topics during the 45-minute session, including contraction, baseball's competitive imbalance and his franchise's success the past three seasons. He even talked about why he is trying to be more open with the media this season.

"In fairness to (owner) Ken Hofmann and me, we don't feel we've been treated real fairly in the press, and we want to get our message out," he said.

So here is that message: The A's, Schott said, can't survive in the Bay Area without a new ballpark or a new economic structure in Major League Baseball. Thus, he said, getting a ballpark built is foremost on his agenda.

"The team is committed to the Bay Area. I'm not going to say just Oakland, but if there's a sight somewhere out of Oakland, in Alameda County, I'd say that's a reasonable focus for this organization to look for," he said. "I'm conservatively optimistic that something will be put together."

Schott said the A's ownership group would "absolutely" be prepared to share the cost of spending for a new park but added that public money also will be needed. And he acknowledged that last part could be a problem, especially in light of the money Oakland taxpayers were charged when the Raiders moved back to Oakland from Los Angeles in 1995.

"We'd have to get a two-thirds vote (on a ballpark proposition)," he said. "So that is going to be a tough up-hill battle."

Earlier this week, HOK Sport, the architectural company hired by the City of Oakland to submit plans for a park, submitted four sights it deemed the most favorable. This could be the Bay Area's last chance to keep the A's; Schott said the franchise no longer sees building a new stadium in Santa Clara County as a viable option.

For now, the A's will continue playing their games at Network Associates Coliseum. Their lease with the stadium expires in 2004 and team president Mike Crowley said he and the city are working on extending it. Crowley said the A's have broken even in each of the past four seasons, and that its revenues have increased during that time and been poured into the baseball operations. The A's payroll is expected to be around $40 million this season, up from just over $15 million in 1998, Crowley said.

But Schott said the A's will continue to operate at a disadvantage as long as they stay in the Coliseum. The team can generate only so much revenue there, he said, and it won't be enough for the team to remain competitive unless baseball changes its financial structure to include "more balanced revenue sharing."

With a new home, it's also likely that Schott's team will continue to be mentioned as a candidate for contraction. Last winter, commissioner Bud Selig and owners were close to eliminating the Montreal Expos and Minnesota Twins, but it now appears the Twins will be spared.

"As far as I know and as far as I can tell you, (contraction) will be something that's as remote as I can possibly think," he said. "I can't imagine a franchise with the this tradition and this history -- over 100 years old, founded by Connie Mack -- and with what we've been doing the past three years ... in my opinion, it's just an empty rumor."

Nevertheless, Schott acknowledged that the long-term outlook for the A's are not bright unless a new park can be built.

"The what ifs are scary," he said.

Despite the uncertainty, Schott insisted he and Hofmann have no intention of selling the team any time soon. He also disputed reports that the team was nearly sold last summer to a group representing Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

"There was never any fact to that at all," he said. "There wasn't any truth to it. Mandalay ... came to us through the backdoor through (general manager) Billy Beane. They wrote us a letter. I guess there was some talk of us moving to Las Vegas. They just wanted to talk to us. Nothing else."

Still, Schott wouldn't deny that at some point he and Hofmann might see no choice but to sell the club if a park isn't built. But he wouldn't say at what point that might be.

"We haven't crossed that bridge yet," he said

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By bubba69 on Sunday, March 17, 2002 - 07:16 pm:

Ok...how come no one is at issue with the do see what they charge and do see what we charge statement? I was walking back to the bart station after the meeting Tuesday with one of the flag guys and he said..."Better enjoy it now..when they get the new yard we will all be priced out"..That will be true to a point..I hope it is not as bad as Pac Bell....B69

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By linusalf on Sunday, March 17, 2002 - 07:50 pm:

Thats a big concern. I hope the ownership does what Pittsburg and Cincinatti are doing, which is making the Luxury Suietes, Diamond Level,ect. some of the most expesive in the leauge, while only rasing the tickets prices in the other sections by small amounts.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By jeffreyb on Monday, March 18, 2002 - 09:29 am:

the reality is the prices will be higher, the seats will be narrower, and the rows will be closer together (less leg room).

yet, just like Councilman Spees said, without a new stadium, the A's are gone.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Monday, March 18, 2002 - 10:35 am:

Hopefully they will look at the good and bad examples the recent new ballparks have made.

The worse example and what NOT to do was what
Reisndorf did with the new Comiskey Park. He alienated all the fans and totally catered to the
corporate community only. When the team went into
a tailspin and down cycle, all the diehard fans he had alienated were gone and never returned.

There is no reason for them not to make some kind of scaling of prices, making the high price tickets compensate for a good portion of
affordable seats.

I also wonder how long it will be for the novelty of some of these parks to wear off, especially when teams go on down cycles. I give PacBell another 2 years and bet their prices will be coming down drastically. Unless they keep winning big, the corporate dollar takes a hike real fast,
especially with the downturn of the economy.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By eyleenn on Monday, March 18, 2002 - 11:11 am:

Rick Hurd of the CC Times obviously doesn't know the difference between the word "site" and the word "sight". Inexcusable.

I hope Schott is willing to put his money where his mouth is when it comes to a new ballpark. Otherwise, he's just whining.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By ramjet1 on Monday, March 18, 2002 - 12:55 pm:

The advantage of doing something last, you learn from the mistakes down earlier. The only way this thing can work in Oakland is to keep the park accessible to all the fans not just the rich and famous.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Monday, March 18, 2002 - 01:09 pm:

"There was never any fact to that at all," he said. "There wasn't any truth to it. Mandalay ... came to us through the backdoor through (general manager) Billy Beane. They wrote us a letter. I guess there was some talk of us moving to Las Vegas. They just wanted to talk to us. Nothing else."

The author here also didn't do the homework or assumed wrong. Hopefully is was not Schott who said that...the Mandalay group introduced by Billy Beane was NOT from Vegas nor did have any intentions of moving to Vegas...the Mandalay group introduced by Beane was from LA and never proposed or intended to move the team to Vegas.
This was asked of Billy Beane by Ron Owens during a radio interview and Billy confirmed the story and corrected the mis-information between the two groups.

If Schott really said that, sorry...In Beane I trust and I heard it from Billy's mouth.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By darth2900 on Monday, March 18, 2002 - 01:38 pm:

I think the part of the quote that is important "I guess there was some talk of them moving us to Las Vegas."
I don't read that as him saying they were going to move to Vegas if sold, I take that as him saying the media made that assumption... that is what the popular consensus was. We know differently, but at the time that this was going down I had 2 seperate friends from the East Coast (one in Boston one in Florida) call me and heckle me because there were stories talking about the A's possibly being bought by Mandalay and moved to Las Vegas.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Monday, March 18, 2002 - 01:41 pm:

That may very well what he meant. I also remember reading that at the time Selig had nixed the deal because of the same assumption. But one would think Selig would have been correctly informed about the group don't you think?

Anyway...H2O under the bridge now...but it would have been nice to have Beane as part owner and team president.


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