Art Spander 5/8/02
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| By fanamy on Wednesday, May 08, 2002 - 09:39 am:|
Art Spander's column from the Daily Review this a.m. I'm glad someone has the cajones (did I spell that right, Lil?) to say this in print! :-)
OAKLAND -- It's politics, of course. We knew it before Steve Schott said it. The guy on the Oakland City Council is a politician. And a grandstander.
He'd be against motherhood and apple pie if Schott, the Athletics' co-owner, came out in favor of it. Naturally the guy on the Oakland City Council is against a proposed new lease with the A's.
"Obviously, we want the A's to stay, but not at all costs," said the guy on the city council, the president of the city council, Ignacio De La Fuente. Obviously? Would someone look up the definition of "obviously."
For the last couple of years, the A's have played at Network Associates Coliseum rent free. That could continue through 2004. But the Athletics, finally committed to staying in the East Bay, have agreed to sign a new lease, a lease through 2007, a lease that obligates the A's to pay $450,000 a year rent -- which is $450,000 a year more than they have been paying.
And the guy on the city council says he doesn't like it.
"It's politics," said Schott. "I hope it's just a little blip in the road. Nothing's easy. I just hope when all's said and done, we'll have total unanimity on all this.
"It's important for us. Because our next step after the lease is approved by the (Coliseum) Authority, Board of Supervisors and city council is to begin strategizing on what we're going to do on the baseball site in Oakland. What's the best site? How is it going to be financed?"
Unanimity? In the Bay Area? What do think this is, Peoria?
We aren't in favor of anything, but we'll oppose everything.
"We're stepping up and saying we're going to start paying you," said Schott, "when we wouldn't have had to pay. And if we break the lease we have to pay, as opposed to us just leaving.
"We're making a deal, a very solid deal, and like someone said, it may not be the best deal for the city of Oakland and it may not be the best deal for us, but it's a compromise. And any good deal is one where neither party's satisfied. When (attendance) gets to 2 million, Oakland gets a percentage of the tickets, and that means the deal will probably be well over $500,000 when all is said and done."
The A's used to pay more. They also used to play in a place that was fitting for baseball, if not perfect for baseball. Then the Raiders returned, and the Coliseum was rebuilt into a football stadium. Thus the Athletics were awarded special dispensation.
Oakland and Alameda County are losing money on the three teams that play at the Coliseum complex, the Raiders, Athletics and Warriors. The Raiders and Warriors, argued Schott, are not his problem.
"Please," said Schott, "let's compare apples to apples, not lemons to grapefruit. We did not come here with the idea we were going to bilk the city of Oakland out of a lot of money. I know nothing about the Raiders and Warriors deals, but those are the ones that were made. Don't try to make them up with us. Not while we're trying to work on our new stadium."
A stadium that still could be at any of several locations. A stadium in which the A's are uncertain how much they'll invest.
"I have not spent any time yet on any site," said Schott. "This way I can't be prejudiced either way until I go visit the sites and do an analysis on each individual site. I have not taken a position."
His position on financing is also unannounced.
"Without a doubt," he said, "we are going to invest. But we have no idea what amount of money we're going to put in. Some reporter wrote the A's should go 50-50. How do you know how much you're going to have to put in when you don't even know how much it's going to cost? That's absurd."
So is the thought the Athletics, like the Giants, would erect a stadium with private funds.
"Major League Baseball told us, 'Don't even think of asking us for approval if you're going to be financing it like Pac Bell Park was.' They said you can't put together another stadium like they did, like the old saying goes, with rubber bands, mirrors and glue."
First, however, the A's must pay the piper, get their new Coliseum lease past the guy on the city council. You can't play baseball until you play politics.
Art Spander, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, can be reached by fax at (510) 531-8068 or by mail at P.O. Box 10376, Pleasanton, CA 94588. He can be reached by e-mail at
This is why I urge as many fans as possible to go to tomorrow's JPA meeting at 8:30am at the Coliseum West Side Club.
I know is starts to get tiresome to have to show up at all these political sessions, but if we don
't show our interest and voice our opinions now, it may be too late to do anything about it after the politicos screw things up like only they can do it...
So please folks...take the morning tomorrow and show up at the JPA meeting... even if you don't speak, your presence will make a statement that we are paying close attention to their decisions and actions.
Amy, you were close...it's cojones!
| By linusalf on Wednesday, May 08, 2002 - 01:12 pm:|
Show up early at 8:30 and go to the game afterwards!!!!!!!!
Btw, where's our banner Mickey? I put up Rickey's banner in left field yesterday but there was no sign of our Keep our A's in Oakland in right field...what happened?
Anyway, tonight I'll putting Rickey's banner in front of section 119...
See you all at the ballpark tonight and tomorrow morning at 8:30 at the ballpark!!!!!West side Club!!!!!
| By chris_d on Wednesday, May 08, 2002 - 01:25 pm:|
Thanks, Mike. Hey, will we see Colbert there, too?
| By linusalf on Wednesday, May 08, 2002 - 01:40 pm:|
The banner was left in my car and i was unable to give it to keith. Considering we lost....Tonite is a good nite to bring it back, besides our record is not too good siecne it has been sitting in my car so i need to give it to Keith ASAP!!!
Oh and BTW ILF better not say the A's wont be at the JPA meeting becuse i will be in uniform!
| By linusalf on Wednesday, May 08, 2002 - 01:40 pm:|
and as far as i know colbert will be there
Great Mike, I was really joking about the banner...I know you probably got busy etc...
I'm working on getting the ushers to be at that meating also...they only have to start work at 10:00 tomorrow and could get there early to represent their union along with Mary Lou...
I'm also going to ask Rickey if he could show up there early as an Oakland resident interested in keeping the A's where they belong...it never hurts to ask...he signed our petition and he loves the A's and Oakland just as much as any of us or more! I'll ask and see what happens....
We have to represent and show the politicians that this is the time to compromise and weigh what we have to lose or gain with this lease extension....and we could lose the A's if they screw things up again!
| By eyleenn on Wednesday, May 08, 2002 - 09:08 pm:|
Doesn't Rickey live in Hillsborough or Burlingame? I know he used to.