This guy feels our pain
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| By diamond_lil on Saturday, January 08, 2005 - 10:31 am:|
Posted on Sat, Jan. 08, 2005
ERIC GILMORE: TIMES COLUMNIST
A's fans get more fodder for worry
First, the A's ship Tim Hudson to the Atlanta Braves.
Then they trade Mark Mulder to the St. Louis Cardinals.
What next, move the entire team to a new city?
That's no laughing matter for A's fans. They've lived in fear of their team skipping town since the days of cantankerous former owner Charlie Finley and his mule Charlie O.
It doesn't take much for anxious A's fans to start sweating like 350-pound offensive linemen on a 100-degree day.
Recent news that Los Angeles developer Lewis Wolff will decide within the next three months whether to exercise an option to buy all or part of the team is enough.
So is news that Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman continued pushing this week to bring major league baseball to his city.
Goodman said Wednesday his city had taken a major step in that direction by hiring a company to develop a potential stadium site near downtown Las Vegas and that he was working on a stadium financing plan.
Does Wolff's decision have anything to do with Goodman's campaign to bring baseball to Las Vegas?
For the moment, probably not. But down the road? Could be.
If Wolff buys the A's, and Las Vegas or some other city becomes a viable option for his team, he could hold that hammer -- the threat of leaving -- over the heads of Oakland politicians.
Maybe Wolff buying the team would be good news for A's fans. Maybe he'd recruit other investors and raise millions to help build a sparkling new ballpark.
We just don't know. What we do know is that A's fans will continue to live in a perpetual state of limbo, supporting a team that could one day back up the Mayflower vans and leave town. That will test your loyalty.
Do you think Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Cubs or Giants fans worry about their teams moving? Their biggest concern is the high price of microbrews, garlic fries and assorted stadium grub.
Giants fans used to worry about losing their team until it built SBC Park, a privately financed, downtown gem. Without that new ballpark, the Giants probably would have moved.
The A's stadium issue is eventually going to come to a head. They won't play forever at the Network Associates Coliseum, a supersized monstrosity expanded to suit Al Davis and the Raiders.
The A's lease at the Coliseum runs through 2007. After that, they have three one-year team options.
If Wolff buys the team, it's hard to imagine him sitting on his hands, patiently watching as the A's play year after year in front of small crowds at one of baseball's worst stadiums.
Wolff, you have to think, will act decisively. He'll force the issue. That's another reason for A's fans to sweat.
Last July, Wolff issued a stadium report for A's co-owners Steve Schott and Ken Hofmann. He outlined a plan to build a $400 million stadium at a site on the Coliseum parking lot with the A's kicking in $100 million.
Let's just say no one's broken ground on that project.
Where on earth are taxpayers in Oakland or Alameda County going to come up with the remaining $300 million for a baseball stadium?
They're already paying countless millions through the nose each year for the flawed deal that lured the Raiders back to Oakland. At last count, they're on pace to retire that debt in the next millennium.
After next season, the initial Personal Seat Licenses expire for Raiders fans. Not even those inhabitants of the black hole are crazy enough to renew their PSLs when they know Raiders games rarely sell out.
So unless some genius comes up with a plan -- and fast -- taxpayers could be on the hook for even more money.
How can they justify spending money on a baseball stadium when there are so many other pressing needs in Oakland, from education to housing to health care to public safety?
The A's would have better luck selling the idea of a new stadium in the South Bay, Schott's home turf. But the Giants own baseball's territorial rights to the South Bay and keep blocking that move by the A's.
Schott repeatedly has said the A's can't survive in Oakland without a new baseball-only stadium. They still have no new stadium, but they might soon have a new owner.
You can't blame A's fans for worrying.
Contact Eric Gilmore at firstname.lastname@example.org
| By diamond_lil on Saturday, January 08, 2005 - 10:35 am:|
another article same paper...if link works...
| By kevink on Saturday, January 08, 2005 - 01:17 pm:|
What is the Raiders plan?
It seems like it will be a disaster after 05. Unless they can win a super bowl, they will be stuck with only a handful of season ticket holders, and a huge debt.
Are they L.A. bound again? I'm just curious.
| By wbell on Saturday, January 08, 2005 - 03:44 pm:|
The article is correct. Both sides need to work fast to come up with a valid solution. Many of the Raiders fans I know aren't happy with the OFMA and PSL situation. They still plan on attending games, but don't plan on renewing their PSLs unless the new contracts are lifetime.
As for LA, if the Saints or Vikings don't move there, the NFL will place an expansion team there.
| By kevink on Saturday, January 08, 2005 - 05:54 pm:|
without season ticket holders the raiders will lose a LOT of money. They certainly are aware of this, and we all know L.A. is running around Uncle Al's brains somewhere.
I hadn't heard the Vikings-to-LA rumor before.
| By wbell on Saturday, January 08, 2005 - 06:29 pm:|
If the overall attendance stays relatively the same, individual game tickets bring the same amount of revenue as season tickets. What the team loses is the interest it normally gains from holding season ticket payments. Of course if the team has another bad season, overall attendance will fall.
Minnesota and New Orleans have shaky stadium situations. Both teams are considering Los Angeles if they cannot get new stadiums.
I agree Warren. The OFMA is the big problem. They and the city of Oakland are the ones who decided to make PSLs a 10 year deal. Al Davis wanted it life time... Its a very scarey time to be a Oakland fan...I can handle my team sucking (because that happens to every team).. But fans in other citys KNOW their guys will stick around... Where is the Hass family when you need them? I sooooo wish I could buy the A's!
PS. Hello All!
| By eyleenn on Sunday, January 09, 2005 - 12:03 am:|
Vinnie!!! Welcome back!!
I have been checking the board out...Just been soooo swamped, I rarley get a chance to post, and spend enough time.
Miss my battles with Sacto... Is it April yet?
| By kevink on Sunday, January 09, 2005 - 10:59 am:|
I don't think the Vikings are going anywhere.
I was just in Minneapolis. The LA thing is most likely just a threat to get city officials to agree to build them a new stadium.
The Vikings have great fans, but lost a lot of them when they moved into the dome. It just hasn't been the same since, but they won't be moving out of Minnesota any time soon.
| By eyleenn on Sunday, January 09, 2005 - 02:30 pm:|
Blow up that dome!
Vinnie, what could be more important than posting here???
| By wbell on Sunday, January 09, 2005 - 02:46 pm:|
Lost fans? The Vikings have been in the dome since about '82. The Met is long gone.
The Vikings long-term fate is not assured. Red McCombs has put the team up for sale and the new owner will determine where the team ends up.
| By kevink on Sunday, January 09, 2005 - 03:41 pm:|
Yes, I have talked to people up there that stopped going to games when they built the dome. Most of them still follow the team but don't have any interest in going to the dome. I just don't see vikings-to-LA happening with the kind of interest they have up there in football.
As for the Saints, I don't know anything about their situation, but it does not strike me as a big NFL town off hand, especially given their sad history.
| By wbell on Sunday, January 09, 2005 - 04:45 pm:|
Still mad after 20+ years? The Met wasn't THAT great.
The Vikings are selling out these days, so I doubt they are missing many fans.
| By kevink on Sunday, January 09, 2005 - 05:32 pm:|
The Met was outdoors, that was a homefield advantage that was more attractive to many fans up there who could care less about negative temperatures.
Selling out is even more reason why they will likely stay in MN no matter what McCombs grumbles about.
| By wbell on Sunday, January 09, 2005 - 10:14 pm:|
The best homefield advantage is a good team. Freezing weather sounds like a good idea, but as GB fans have learned recently, it doesn't guarantee anything.
The folks who preferred the Met are probably fans of ice fishing. ;)
If McCombs does sell, those sellouts won't guarantee that the team won't move.
| By deajay on Monday, January 10, 2005 - 09:17 am:|
Speaking of the Vikings, it's a shame it wasn't snowing in Green Bay yesterday, then perhaps an imaginative fan ... with a good aim ... could have plunked Moss with a heavy snowball right in his a.., when he mooned them yesterday. Another class act who's all about, "me, me, me" and wants to make sure he is front and center at all times. I sure hope the Eagles humble him bigtime next weekend.
| By kevink on Monday, January 10, 2005 - 10:34 am:|
GB is a BAD team with no defense and a QB that has completely lost his magic! Cold weather could not save this team, not much could.
Yes, there are many crazy ice fishers in MN.
There are no gaurantees with anything in life, even teams staying where they should.
Eagles should prevail next week and put Moss in his place.
| By pachyderm on Monday, January 10, 2005 - 03:14 pm:|
Miss my battles with Sacto... Is it April yet?
We all miss the battles with Sacto especially now when Sacto is getting too comfortable with his keyboard. He needs his human spell check back.