Selig from Phoenix weighs in on state of the A's
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Note from A's official website:
Selig weighs in on state of the A's
Commissioner Bud Selig stopped by Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Sunday and engaged the media in a 20-minute chat about the state of the game. The first question fired his way was regarding the possibility of Oakland being among the teams considered for contraction. His answer, no doubt, is encouraging for A's fans.
"I've never said this team or that team is a candidate for contraction," Selig said, "but I don't think we should spend any time worrying about the A's. ... They're doing well."
Selig was considerably less enthusiastic when asked if the A's can survive in the Bay Area without a new ballpark: "No."
"It's obvious they need a new ballpark," he said, "and hopefully we can begin to make some progress on that score. I'm hopeful they can solve their stadium problem ... I don't believe they can survive in [Network Associates Coliseum] over a period of time."
Selig also said that he thinks a new ballpark in Oakland should be a private/public partnership, a la Milwaukee's Miller Park and Pittsburgh's PNC Park.
"I believe that's the way to go," he said. "And I hope the people of Oakland will understand how important this is to the future of this team."
There was the obligatory Jason Giambi reference, too.
"This organization has great management -- extraordinary management, actually -- and has produced some exceptional players," he said. "But you can't be a successful franchise if you have to keep letting players go because of economics."
The last comment was a cheap shot that really doesn't match the facts the past few years. Apart from the Yankees, what team hasn't had to sometimes let a great player go due to economics?? The A's outbid 28 other teams for Giambi, and weren't that far short of the Yankees...certainly within spitting distance for a team leader supposedly interested in staying and leading. The A's have also done a superb job of signing up the young nucleus of the team. The real economics culprit here is the lack of serious revenue sharing. I wish BudLite would attack that core problem with the same gusto he has pursued radical realignment, contraction, and his own contract extension.
Here's Bruce Jenkins response to Selig
Selig targeting wrong team
Bruce Jenkins Monday, March 18, 2002
HE'LL NEVER get away with it. Baseball commissioner Bud Selig might be the A's sworn enemy, disgusted by their ballpark and convinced that the Bay Area is not a two-team market, but he'll be tossed into a lynch mob before he eliminates Oakland through one of his "contraction" schemes.
Tampa Bay, maybe. Montreal, absolutely. But consolidating baseball at the A's expense would be to punish one of the most intelligently run organizations in all of sports -- and, it says here, the most stable professional team in the Bay Area.
There are many forms of stability, such as the 49ers' fan base or the Giants' likelihood of massive crowds at Pacific Bell Park, and in those categories the A's can't compete. The definition here is on-field success, and how things look for the next few years. In that sense, the A's stand alone. Not bad for a franchise that drew universal criticism, on almost every front, only three years back.
A powerful statement was made last week when the A's announced a contract extension for general manager Billy Beane through the 2008 season. It said a lot about the owners, who recognized the game's hottest commodity. Even more impressive is the fact that Beane wants to stay.
He could write his own ticket in baseball, almost literally. If he camped out in George Steinbrenner's office for a few days, Beane probably could have Brian Cashman's GM job. The Red Sox wanted him desperately after the Dan Duquette disaster. The Dodgers could have lured him with big money and a chance to return home to Southern California. The Mets have coveted him for years, and Peter Angelos fancied Beane restoring some of the Orioles' luster.
Nothing is going to change in Oakland, not in any bottom-line manner. A new ballpark would be many years in the making, and Schott is committed to his remarkably low payroll, currently $40 million, a little more than half of the Giants' outlay. But Beane likes it here. He has been picking baseball's pocket for years with clever trades and draft picks. Even without Jason Giambi, he has a team full of youthful All-Stars, the game's best young pitching rotation and an astounding seven of the first 39 picks in the upcoming June draft -- all on a budget that would be considered laughable in the game's big-market cities.
If you stroll through the A's offices, in spring training or Oakland, you don't see a bunch of mopes trying to hide their disgust over a cheapskate owner (recall the Charlie Finley days, and you've seen that mood). On the contrary, it's a cheery place, full of bright and energetic people. Some are fresh, some date back to the Billy Martin years, but they strike the impression that they're onto something, that their odd-sounding formula is working big-time.
For a downtrodden team, they sure do a lot of things right. They make superb trades for the likes of Jermaine Dye, Billy Koch and Carlos Pena. They have signed Eric Chavez, Miguel Tejada, Terrence Long, Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson and Dye to long-term deals (only Tejada's comes up after the '03 season), with Barry Zito certain to follow. Attendance is on the rise. Some feel they have slighted manager Art Howe by not offering him a long-term commitment, but that's an old story and likely to be smoothed over in the end. The A's basically operate like a big-money powerhouse, save the gaudy free-agent signings, with 102 wins (last season) as their showcase.
"Let's face it," new acquisition David Justice said the other day. "With a couple of breaks -- and I can think of one in each series -- the A's beat the Yankees in the playoffs both of the last two years."
You could just imagine Selig huddled by his television set, praying the A's would fall. Leaping out of his seat on the incredible Derek Jeter play. Thrilling to the sight of a Mariano Rivera save. "That's right, Oakland!" he shouts. "You're a low-revenue team with no chance, and you'll lose like a low- revenue team with no chance."
What an incredible buffoon. Here's Oakland setting the standard for professional franchises everywhere -- keep it simple, spend smart, kick butt --
and Selig's all ticked off because they aren't drawing 47,000 a night in the shadow of City Hall. Sure, that would be nice. But if you keep the focus on fantasy, you're missing the show.
Who else in the Bay Area has such a secure look for the immediate future? Certainly not the Giants, who stand to lose manager Dusty Baker and GM Brian Sabean at the end of the season. Sabean has a fabulous reputation and East Coast roots, and he easily could bring championships to a free-spending franchise. Baker probably would need a solid playoff run to keep the critics off his back, and whether he's overreacting or not, he states very clearly that he's "tired" of the second-guessing game.
The Warriors? They're the biggest joke in America. The Raiders head into the coming season with an untested coach, the 49ers seem all too ready to unload Steve Mariucci, and besides, there's no such thing as stability in today's NFL, only a bunch of desperate teams trying to keep a roster together for two years. The A's are Joe McCarthy's Yankees compared with any NFL team under its laughable salary cap, a league where yesterday's Baltimore Ravens are tomorrow's De Anza College.
So take a good look at the decision Billy Beane just made, and don't laugh too hard at the first paltry crowd on a Monday night in Oakland. There's a lot of fun between the lines.
E-mail Bruce Jenkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Susan Slusser's notebook:
Commissioner says Oakland won't survive without new stadium
Susan Slusser Monday, March 18, 2002
Commissioner Bud Selig stopped short of guaranteeing that the A's will not be candidates for contraction, but he told Bay Area reporters yesterday that there's little reason to fret.
"I haven't said that any franchise is or isn't a candidate for contraction, but I don't think anyone should spend a lot of time worrying about the A's and contraction," Selig said at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. "They're doing well."
Selig did stress that the A's need a new stadium in order to increase revenue, but when asked if the commissioner's office might revisit the issue of the Giants' territorial rights in the South Bay, Selig confirmed his support for teams' existing territories.
"I'm sympathetic to both clubs," Selig said of the South Bay issue. "The Giants have solved their problems, now it's important that the A's solve their problems."
Asked if the A's could survive without a new stadium, Selig said, ''No. . . . As good a job as Billy Beane and this franchise have done developing young players, they lost Jason Giambi, and you can't be a successful franchise if you have to keep letting players go because your revenues are hurt by your stadium."
A's owner Steve Schott, who along with partner Ken Hofmann listened to Selig's remarks yesterday, said the previous day that a new stadium in Alameda County is the team's focus.
Team president Mike Crowley is attempting to sign a new long-term lease with Network Associates Coliseum (the A's currently have a year-to-year deal through 2004). Schott mentioned that the A's are irked by the Coliseum's Joint Powers Authority's decision to schedule a Paul McCartney concert at the Arena at the same time as the A's Opening Night game vs. Texas.
I listened to most of Selig's comments on "Extra Innings," and was both disgusted yet not surprised at how nonspecific Selig was when talking about the problems of baseball. Clearly, his down-in-the-mouth characterization of the state of baseball is propaganda for the labor wars (clearly blaming the players' union for the inability to fix the institution).
But it amazed me how unspecific he was in terms of solutions. And what was most amazing was that none of the assembled media seemed to be willing to pin him to the wall. For example, he cited that (I think it was) all but two franchises lost money last season. So, the follow-ups would be, "Why haven't the highly-touted trend in new stadiums helped some of those teams which lost money?", and "Show us the books!" Clearly, new stadiums are not the answer, not by themselves certainly. And without open scrutiny of baseball's books, his pleads of poverty for MLB should be viewed with suspicion.
His "not to worry" comment about the A's status was contradicted by his more explicit comment that the A's cannot survive in the Bay Area without a new stadium, but did it elicit a follow-up question from the media? That follow-up question should have been, "Says who?!" I'm beginning to have more faith in Steve Schott in proving wrong Bud Selig's "conventional wisdom." The idea that the the Commissioner will determine who stays where based on his whim, particularly when he has not announced any grand plan to "save baseball" from its own mistakes, is ludicrous, and yet no one got in Selig's face regarding his autocratic hypocracy.
This man is a visionless hypocrite. Baseball's future is iffy as long as Bud Selig calls the shots.
I listened to that vile man spout off yesterday and was left with the same reaction gregorymark, I do not understand why anybody takes the man seriously, why the owners rest the game in his hands, or how he got this far in his business life, even as a used car salesman.
The question about the new stadia and them not always being a problem for low revenue generating teams is THE million dollar question. Not only hasn't the press asked him to explain the reason but the House committee let him off scott free too.
His answer about the territorial rights issue here was mindboggling. He first said he had to respect the rights that teams had. Then when it was mentioned to him that the A's had voluntarily relinquished those rights to SF for their stadium drive, seemingly contradicting Selig's previous statement which made it sound as tho the Giants had always had the rights to the So. bay, he kept repeating that the "A's relinquished them" as if to say that there are as playground children say "no gives back"
I'm really starting to think if anyone ever asked Selig really one of the questions which are inevitably begged by his ludicrous statements they'd never get a straight answer because he is incapable of giving one.
The fact of the matter is that if one of the "sacred" territories fell, it would open the precedent and they could all fall, including the most sacred of them all, and one of the major reasons for the disparity in MLB, the NEW YORK/NEW JERSEY territory.
The issue of the South Bay territory could have been resolved with money and a buy-back from the Giants. They claim the marketing rights they now own were an integral part of the financial planning for their new ballpark. They would have to been compensated, but they would have given in if either San Jose or Santa Clara were willing to pony up a ballpark.
The truth of the matter is that even if the Giants were willing to concede to sharing the South Bay again, the A's would still have been turned down by both San Jose and Santa Clara, like the Giants themselves were turned down.
Both the Mayor of San Jose and Santa Clara told Mr. Schott, NO PUBLIC FUNDING from us. It would have gone to a vote and they would have lost just like the Giants lost three times.
Selig and Mr. Schott leave out these little details and the media is frankly, too lazy or
too indifferent to ask and insist.
| By eyleenn on Monday, March 18, 2002 - 11:04 am:|
Our best hope is that BS's comments make both Schottmann and the politicians realize that a new ballpark is crucial to the long-term survival of the A's in Oakland. BS may be full of BS, but he does hold the proverbial gun to our heads, despite his nice-nice comments about not fretting about the A's future.
Yeah, don't you love the charade...
Five teams are on the contraction list...but we are not saying their names...but I'll give you a little hint though...there are five cities who have not built a new ballpark...
guess who are the five teams on the contraction list and I'll give you a prize...
a dinner date with the master of all BS...Mr. BS.
Bud Selig saying "There's nothing to fret about the A's," is like the IRS auditor saying, "I'm from the government; I'm here to help."
"...there are five cities who have not built a new ballpark...guess who are the five teams on the contraction list and I'll give you a prize..."
How come we've got this guy figured out, but the writers and other media people who follow baseball full-time don't?
How in the world can this guy be allowed to hold a gun to the head of these unnamed (but not unknown) teams-without-new-stadiums, considering the empty promise of new stadiums regarding the health of franchises? Example: Has PacBell Park put the Giants closer to the Yankees in terms of parity? This is one of the joys of being an A's fan (all praise to Billy Beane!), that even with their "run down" Coliseum, the A's are more competitive with the Yankees than perhaps any other team in baseball. Why hasn't anyone put this question to Selig? As long as the A's remain successful on the field, and grow in attendance in the stands, Selig's "conventional wisdom" remains a false premise.
I think Selig realizes that the A's are one of the only teams that has gone toe to toe with the Yankees on a small budget w/low revenues. It's that fact that scares the begeebers out of him. If the A's can build a winner by being economical and living within their means then golly maybe other teams can too. Then he can't cry "new stadium" everywhere and be taken seriously. People would question the necessity for new revenue if the existing revenue is divided in a way that made sense, if the owners receiving this revenue actually reinvested it.
I thought BS was going to come clean yesterday and say that uncontrolled spending needs to be eliminated in order for these new revenue streams to start to "save the game" Arizona with their new park is still in the hole because they spend money like they are printing it in the basement.
I am absolutely convinced that Selig would have a cow if the A's advanced out of the Divisional Series last fall or even the year before.
OH, and his other brilliant explanation yesterday dealt with long term contracts and the A's. He's not happy that the A's or any other team looking to keep their talent around uses long term contracts to do so because it is long term debt and the sports is swimming in enough red ink. That made no sense to me because it doesn't seem like there is an alternative to that, short of the players agreeing to play for free...
| By darth2900 on Monday, March 18, 2002 - 12:06 pm:|
what a jerk... no long term contracts, cities need to build the stadiums... blah blah blah.
Why does anyone waste ink on the boob.
The problem is that they don't measure success with the same yardstick.
Success for them is "stream of revenue" and they have declared (with Schott's endorsement) that the Coliseum is not a place they can survive as a franchise.
This has nothing to do with the A's winning record or with attendance, mind you. They don't feel the corporate money is there and they blame the ballpark for the lack of revenue.
I know that the size of the ballpark (60K+) is not conducive to people purchasing season tickets, especially when they know they can get good seats as a walk up. We all know that the season ticket fanbase is very important to any team. But the A's have not focused on that and have in fact catered more to the walk up crowd by saving good seats by blocking them for their "best draw" games. So in fact, encourage people not to buy season tickets. It is an idiotic policy.
And nobody even questions how much more revenue they could get if they tried to market the team better, i.e. get a radio station as a flagship station to market the team better as the Giants do...but they want to sell their own adds and have their own employees working on their radio show so they are limited to games only.
They don't tap into the Central Valley fan base by organization bus trips like the Red Sox do in New England...and other marketing things which was done during the Andy Dolich tenure which it totally lacking now.
They need to look at these things which will not change with a new ballpark. It takes a lot of more fan and corporate marketing to bring fans in than a new ballpark.
"I thought BS was going to come clean yesterday and say that uncontrolled spending needs to be eliminated in order for these new revenue streams to start to 'save the game'..."
I'm sure you noticed, kbailey, but for the rest who didn't hear the Great BS, he said that the owners could pass revenue sharing in any form, any time they wanted to, but the real impediment was the players' association, since this is an item that comes under the purview of collective bargaining.
My view of Selig's crocodile tears over teams' long-term debt is this: Why should he care? If some owners are able and willing to run their teams in the red, let them. This is America, for crying out loud! There will eventually be a day of reckoning for those franchises that are run as if there's no tomorrow. While that day of reckoning may be harsh for some franchises, so be it. I'd rather let the laws of a free economy weed out the losers than have Selig pick "winners and losers" based on flawed reasoning.
| By darth2900 on Monday, March 18, 2002 - 12:19 pm:|
I agree that the marketing for the A's right now sucks.
It seems like their idea of a good marketing campaign is funny commercials... don't get me wrong their commercials are awesome, but there is more to it than that for crying outloud.
I think they should be tapping into the Sacramento market in a big way... the triple A team is there so they have an in.
I hear A's players on the sport's talk on KHTK 1140 Sacramento more than on any bay area station... why aren't they making an effort to get the players on the Bay Area stations? Why aren't they organizing bus tours that leave from Raley Field?
Oh geez here I go on my soapbox... the point is, there marketing sucks.
As far the radio situation goes. The Ticket wanted to carry the A's and would have been great because they are a sports station and would promote and cater to the A's as they do with the Raiders. However, because the A's want to sell their own commercials and own their use their own employees on the post game show, they prefer to carry a non sport station and limit their radio promotion and exposure. It sucks and it is simply small minded and very bottom line thinking.
| By darth2900 on Monday, March 18, 2002 - 01:42 pm:|
I emailed the program director at the Ticket and asked him last year why they didn't carry the A's. He said because they get more listeners from Standford Basketball adn Raiders games and there would be the potetnital for too many conflicts.
I replied to him and said that sounded prttey lame and asked if it really had to do with KNBR owning the Ticket, he replied "It is not possible for us to broadcast the A's."
| By darth2900 on Monday, March 18, 2002 - 02:00 pm:|
I just emailed the ticekt guy again to get some specifics.. like he will tell me or anything.
| By darth2900 on Monday, March 18, 2002 - 02:15 pm:|
here is Mr. Hammers response:
We don't carry the A's live broadcast and have no plans to make a pitch for them either.
Program Director-The Ticket 1050
Asst. Program Director-KNBR 680
| By darth2900 on Monday, March 18, 2002 - 03:02 pm:|
Upon further pressing of Mr. Hammer I got this:
I can't have the A's because of too many conflicts with Raiders and Stanford football in Sept and Oct.
Time for an email campaign if you ask me
Two years ago when i inquired why the A's would not go to The Ticket, i was told is was because of the A's wanting to control their own commercials and radio show.
Darth, perhaps you could e-mail Ken Pries (director of media broadcasting) of the A's and ask the same question. His e-mail is:
| By darth2900 on Monday, March 18, 2002 - 05:52 pm:|
I did and I will post his response here... if I get a response.
| By kevink on Monday, March 18, 2002 - 07:39 pm:|
At least we can be happier this year with our radio station than last year. You can actually get 610 not only in Oakland and SF, but past Sacramento!
The A's marketing has traditionally sucked. Back in the 80's while the Giants were coming up with those slogans that I hated like "you gotta like these kids" and "humm-baby," the A's did nothing (and still out-drew the SF team). Now they basically rely on there ads and their winning team. They could be doing much more, like having management come out and declare that they will do everything possible to keep the A's in Oakland, by signing Rickey which would have added 100,000+ more fans AND helped the team, by providing shuttles from Sac and San Jose to the games to reach out to A's fans in other areas, and by keeping former players around and linking them to the A's great legacy.
I need to work for the A's marketing department.
| By darth2900 on Tuesday, March 19, 2002 - 12:13 pm:|
See, I think we should all take over marketing the A's. We obviously have more of a passion for it... ha!
"...and declare that they will do everything possible to keep the A's in Oakland..."
What? You want them to lie to us?
| By darth2900 on Tuesday, March 19, 2002 - 09:32 pm:|
I got a phone call from Ken Pries... can you believe the dude actually called me because my work email has my desk number in the signature... I was kind of floored when my phone rang and there he was. Very nice guy to be totally honest.
He explained that Lee Hammer and him have known each other a long time. I guess what getting the A's on the Ticket really boils down to is KNBR owning the ticket and part of the Giants. Now this isn't exactly what he said but it was along those lines.
| By eyleenn on Tuesday, March 19, 2002 - 09:34 pm:|
No big shock there.
| By bubba69 on Tuesday, March 19, 2002 - 09:46 pm:|
Is this start of a kinder gentler Oakland A's front Office?
I knew KNBR and The Ticket were Giant's shareholders. But have heard from several sources that The Ticket still tried to carry the A's but
it may have been prior to PacBell which could have been when they joined the ownership group.
Ken Pries is indeed a very nice guy. In fact Ken, as David Alioto have been with the A's since the Haas ownership and both are really very easy to talk to...but they have to abide by ownership policies and interests of course...
Did you get to ask Ken about the selling of their own commercials as a reason they are limited in choice of radio station? I know that they left KSFO for that reason. In fact I heard it was KSFO who told the A's they dind't want them anymore.
| By darth2900 on Wednesday, March 20, 2002 - 07:22 am:|
I didn't ask about KSFO, but I think it makes sense that the Ticket wouldn't want to carry the A's since their parent company owns part of the Giants.
He explained to me that he had worked with Lee Hammer long ago to try and get the A's on the ticket. I asked him about the advertising thing and he said that had nothing to do with the A's and Ticket.
| By rono on Wednesday, March 20, 2002 - 08:44 pm:|
It is my understanding from people in the radio business that the A's buy their own radio time and sell their own commercials, because they can't get big companies or radio stations to pay large amounts up front in the form of radio rights. The Giants evidently don't have that problem, but it is a problem for other teams in other markets too. With so many games on TV radio is harder to get big money for in terms of guaranteed contracts so they have to sell it piecemeal. Does anyone else have insight into this matter?