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Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Oakland City Council approves terms for Howard Terminal ballpark against A’s wishes, but team undecided on next steps

The Oakland City Council approved a proposed term sheet Tuesday for the A’s $12 billion plan to build a waterfront ballpark and development against the team’s wishes, but the A’s remained undecided on whether to continue negotiating or walk away from the project.

Six council members voted in favor of the proposed term sheet for the Howard Terminal project that included amendments requiring affordable housing, tenant and anti-displacement protections and environmental protection measures. Councilwoman Carroll Fife abstained and Councilman Noel Gallo voted against the project.

Dave Kaval, the president of the A’s, said he was disappointed the council didn’t vote on the term sheet the team released in April. But team officials are analyzing the council’s amendments and what it means for the future of the waterfront development.

“We are taking time to really digest what was presented to us for the first time in the meeting and become more knowledgeable about what it means for the project, its future and the A’s,” Kaval said. “We are talking to the league on that.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 20, 2021 at 06:59 PM | 21 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. The Duke Posted: July 20, 2021 at 07:30 PM (#6029721)
All these cities think they have an ability to control events. I suspect the team will find all kinds of unpalatable terms. Las Vegas - come on down! You are the next contestant on the Make the Price Right.

I could be wrong, it may be OK but if it’s as OK they’d have consulted with the team first.

I assume Nashville and Charlotte wouldn’t get a west coast team. Sacramento could bid and apparently Portland has bid but why go to America’s protest capital.
   2. Tin Angel Posted: July 20, 2021 at 07:45 PM (#6029722)
I don't understand the "against the team's wishes" part of this:

The Oakland City Council approved a proposed term sheet Tuesday for the A’s $12 billion plan to build a waterfront ballpark and development against the team’s wishes


The plan was against the team's wishes (which makes no sense since it was their plan)? Or it was against their wishes that the city approve the plan?
   3. For the Turnstiles (andeux) Posted: July 20, 2021 at 08:14 PM (#6029725)
The team released their version of the term sheet a few months ago.
It is an incredibly complicated and ambitious project: the stadium itself will cost about $1 Billion out of project that will run $12 Billion total, including on-site and off-site housing development, some retail, and transportation improvements. To help pay for this, they proposed two tax increment financing districts (basically, giving them a share of the increased tax stream expected to result from the development), one in the direct vicinity of the park, and one including areas farther away.
All the Las Vegas posturing has been to try to get a vote on exactly what they proposed, but that was never going to happen.
In particular, there were questions about whether the second tax district would be legal, and also about whether they included enough affordable housing to conform with local guidelines.

So the city made some modifications and approved their own version of the term sheet.
It is close enough to what the A's proposed that it does not seem (at least from the outside) like the gap is unbridgeable.
The claim from the team that they are hearing about some of the modifications for the first time today is somewhere between disingenuous and a total lie.
And the claim that if they don't get their waterfront ballpark, retail, and housing with exactly the terms they came up with themselves then they will build a dome in the middle of the desert instead is not at all credible.
   4. The Duke Posted: July 21, 2021 at 09:20 AM (#6029814)
I’ve read enough articles that it’s clear there isn’t much of a personal relationship between the team and the council. You’d think after years of dickering that even if they had different views they would have better relations. But no

In St. Louis there is still a civil suit against the rams owners and there is tons of info coming out that the Rams and the league weren’t negotiating in good faith from the get - go. We’ll likely find something similar here when the A’s move to Las Vegas.
   5. The Duke Posted: July 21, 2021 at 09:27 AM (#6029817)
I have pasted the latest. The NFL will likely settle now and St Louis will get a ton of money:


a judge has ruled that the plaintiffs in the litigation shall have access to information regarding the financial worth of Commissioner Roger Goodell and five NFL owners: Rams owner Stan Kroenke, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Giants owner John Mara, and former Panthers owner Jerry Richardson.

The outcome has significance in large part because really rich people never want to be forced to disclose details about what they have. For a judge to tell six of the wealthiest men in America that they must turn over that information represents the kind of slap in the face that folks holding that kind of power and money rarely if ever experience.

The reason for the conclusion has significance as well. The judge, who made the ruling from the bench (which means the evidence pointing to it was clear), concluded that clear and convincing proof exists to support a finding that those individuals operated in a fraudulent manner. As to the rest of the owners, St. Louis has 10 days to present evidence supporting that they should be forced to surrender their financial information as well.

The financial information has relevance as to the question of punitive damages. If a jury ultimately decides that the NFL and one or more owners operated in a way that justifies an award over and above the money actually lost by the St. Louis plaintiffs because of the move, the financial worth of the defendant becomes critical to determining proper punishment. The more money someone has, the greater the award needed to punish those individuals for engaging in bad behavior and deterring others in the future from conducting themselves in a similar manner.
   6. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: July 21, 2021 at 10:08 AM (#6029823)
This got me thinking about the last several franchises that have relocated, and I realized: In my lifetime (born in 1974) there has only been one team that actually moved- the Expos to Washington after the 2004 season. That stands in clear contrast to the couple of decades before I was born, when there was a ton of relocation:

Washington to Texas, 1972
Seattle to Milwaukee, 1970
KC to Oakland, 1968
Milwaukee to Atlanta, 1966
Washington to Minnesota, 1961
Brooklyn to LA, 1958
NY to San Francisco, 1958
Philadelphia to Kansas City, 1955
St. Louis to Baltimore, 1954
Boston to Milwaukee, 1953
Baltimore to St. Louis, 1902

That's it - only one existing franchise relocated before the 1953 season; then 10 times it happened between 1953 and 1972; then it has happened only once in the 50 years since then.

A few things:
1) When you boil it down, why was there so much movement in a 20 year stretch, surrounded by virtually no relocation in the 50 years before, and the 50 years after, that generation? Was it the shift of the population had been a powderkeg waiting for massive realignment, and once a few teams did it, it became obvious that more teams were needed in the west? If that is the case, then it strikes me that we are due sometime before too long for another significant realignment to the south, given how much the population has shifted over the last 50 years to the southward. This is where cities like Charlotte, Nashville, and San Antonio enter the conversation. You could also argue that expansion addressed some of this over the past 25 years, with two western additions (Denver and Phoenix), and two southern additions (Tampa and Miami).
2) It's kind of interesting that no team that has lost a franchise is currently without one, excpet for Montreal. Washington twice lost a team - but now has the Nationals. Seattle lost a team, but got the Mariners. Milwaukee lost the Braves, but got the Brewers (Pilots). Baltimore lost a team in 1902, but eventually got the Orioles (Browns). NYC lost two teams, but gained the Mets. Kansas City lost the A's, but got the Royals. And then there are a few teams that lost a team, but still have another team (Boston, Phily). But of all the cities that have had an MLB team, the only one that doesn't still have one today, after 145 years of MLB, is...Montreal. I think this is part of why it feels so wrong or unnatural that Montreal doesn't have a team, and it strikes me that at some point it is inevitable that they will again have a team (Tampa?).
2)

   7. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: July 21, 2021 at 10:50 AM (#6029834)
Bear in mind, before 1960, expansion wasn't a thing. If your city wanted a team, it had to get an established franchise. And, by the same token, if your franchise was struggling, your team could easily find a place to move to, as the country (and baseball) had expanded greatly since 1901 but MLB hadn't.

In the 1960s, you start to get some expansion, but there are still opportunities for teams to move. But by 1969, the league is now at 24 teams and those openings have mostly closed.

It's a good question why there was no attempt to expand MLB before 1960. I think part of it is that existing owners saw baseball as a cash cow and why would you share that (as opposed to today, where expansion is an opportunity to make bank off expansion fees; there were no willing investors willing to buy off existing teams in 1930), and part was the Great Depression/WWII that made the 30s and most of the 40s a terrible time to think about starting a team, even if it were possible. By the 50s, though, the economy was booming and population growth had produced lots of lucrative markets.

And there are the minors to think about, too, since of course many cities without a ML team had a MiL team, and those were more independent up until the postwar period.
   8. Jay Seaver Posted: July 21, 2021 at 12:20 PM (#6029855)
When you boil it down, why was there so much movement in a 20 year stretch, surrounded by virtually no relocation in the 50 years before, and the 50 years after, that generation?


Maybe television has something to do with it. Pre-1950, you've probably got a local minor/independent league team that you can see live, and you're following others via box scores and maybe radio, which you can have on in the office. Television and night games expand the demand for local, major-league-caliber product, and having a large city to yourself creates new opportunities. A team is still probably cheap enough for a millionaire to buy as a status symbol and hobby at this point.

It's a good question why there was no attempt to expand MLB before 1960. I think part of it is that existing owners saw baseball as a cash cow and why would you share that (as opposed to today, where expansion is an opportunity to make bank off expansion fees; there were no willing investors willing to buy off existing teams in 1930)


When did commercial air travel really start to become a thing? I'm guessing that prior to WWII, baseball schedules were basically built around the trains, and expanding the league beyond that Boston-Chicago-St. Louis-Washington rectangle would be logistically tricky before teams could start affordably chartering jets. Then a bunch of owners see the chance to move to places where they're not hemmed in so much, and once everybody gets comfortable where they are, the league can start identifying underserved cities and adding teams.

I'd disagree that expansion is much of an opportunity to make much money now, though - national revenues have grown so much that even if the league charged $2B per new team and distributed all of that to the 30 owners, it would be something like six years of splitting things 32 ways rather than 30 before owners would have made more if they hadn't expanded, unless you could find a spot where a new team dramatically increases the league's revenues, and I don't think that exists in the United States. Maybe teams in Montreal/Vancouver/Mexico City/Monterrey increase the value of national-network rights to MLB in Canada and Mexico enough to move the needle a bit, but then you've got to find investors willing to put up $2B plus whatever they have to sink into a stadium.
   9. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 21, 2021 at 12:54 PM (#6029859)
I would divide the history of franchise relocations into two distinct movements. First of all you had the lesser teams in multiple-team cities:

Brooklyn to LA, 1958
NY to San Francisco, 1958
Philadelphia to Kansas City, 1955
St. Louis to Baltimore, 1954
Boston to Milwaukee, 1953


These are all reasonable moves that made the game healthier, I would say, introducing major league baseball to new areas without depriving it of any existing markets.

Then you had the next wave:

Seattle to Milwaukee, 1970
KC to Oakland, 1968
Milwaukee to Atlanta, 1966
Washington to Minnesota, 1961



In each case, the departing team was replaced in fairly short order. My sense is that MLB looked at these things and asked: Why are we doing this to Milwaukee, which has shown itself to be a major league city? Why are we doing this to Kansas City? I can just imagine if my local team, the Rockies, moved out of town only to be replaced by a new Denver Zephyrs franchise in four years. That would be horrible for the long-term prognosis of baseball in Colorado. But that's what we had going on in the 1960s.
   10. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: July 21, 2021 at 01:32 PM (#6029864)
#9: Also interesting that the first wave was five moves that went from a multi-franchise city (Boston, St. Louis, Phily, and NYC) to cities that had no teams.
   11. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: July 21, 2021 at 03:10 PM (#6029885)
St. Louis to Baltimore, 1954

This one has always surprised me in that it wasn't sooner. Baltimore wasn't as big as St Louis but was probably the largest city without any MLB team. And in the era of train travel it would have been a big advantage to be in the NE corridor. Though I guess having four teams on the east coast and four in the midwest gave the AL some sort of geographic balance.
   12. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: July 21, 2021 at 03:27 PM (#6029887)
Baltimore to St. Louis, 1902

It was Milwaukee to St. Louis. Baltimore moved to New York, even though the Yankees insist they didn't.

But of all the cities that have had an MLB team, the only one that doesn't still have one today, after 145 years of MLB, is...Montreal

Louisville (and a slew of other towns that had 19th-century teams) say hi.

And then there's Buffalo, Indianapolis and Newark, which had Federal League teams in 1914-15.

And since THE NEGRO LEAGUES ARE MAJOR LEAGUES! now, we'll have to include Memphis, Birmingham, Montgomery, Jacksonville, New Orleans...
   13. JRVJ Posted: July 21, 2021 at 04:11 PM (#6029895)
6, great post.

Two additional comments: (a) One reason why there hasn't been expansion could be that even fast-growing southern cities don't have as much of a "core" or a strong enough sense of community to rally around a MLB team for 81 home games.

I don't pretend to be an expert on San Antonio, but I've been there three or four times in my life, and it always amazes me that for a city with such a large population (metro area) it feels so much like a small city. Don't know if that's the case for Charlotte and/or Nashville.


(b) Geography can be tricky, even if the population is there.

The two Florida teams, whatever else you think of them, suffer from this, as South Florida (from Homestead to Boca Raton/Lantana) is so spread out on a North - South axis that it takes forever to get anywhere... and for the Tampa area, the Bay and bridge situtation is a pain in the neck, as has been amply reported.
   14. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: July 21, 2021 at 05:23 PM (#6029910)
When did commercial air travel really start to become a thing? I'm guessing that prior to WWII, baseball schedules were basically built around the trains, and expanding the league beyond that Boston-Chicago-St. Louis-Washington rectangle would be logistically tricky before teams could start affordably chartering jets.


After WWII, and especially after the introduction of the Boeing 707 (1958) was when coast-coast flights became practical, though the Lockheed Constellation and the Boeing Stratocruiser, both propeller planes, did the job before then with less speed and more noise. The de Haviland Comet came first (1953) but really wasn't ready for prime time until the Comet 4 of 1958 (long and interesting story there). Interestingly and perhaps somewhat coincidentally, the Dodgers/Giants move was also in 1958.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: July 21, 2021 at 07:23 PM (#6029928)
Some factors not yet mentioned:

Pre-1950: There was the depression then the war. Moving teams/expanding requires investment.

Minor leagues: They were everywhere. They took a big dip around the first war, the early depression and the second war. But at its peak, there were over 400 minor-league teams active. There were viable local markets everywhere ... travel was difficult though. (Mentioned above.) By 1960, there were fewer than 100 minor-league teams.

50s: Suburbanization, westward expansion, probably TV. 2-team cities weren't particularly viable anymore. The PCL was making noises about becoming a major league. The 50s was actually a time of massive upheaval in basically all entertainment industries. The big bands died; the dance halls died; non-music radio obviously died; the movie palaces crumbled. MLB made it through by moving loser teams westward.

60s expansion: mainly a reaction to the baby boom and general population growth. In 1920, the US was about 105 M; in 1950 it was 150; in 1980 it was 225.

As to current southward movement ... the issue here is that new population spread has been along interstates, very spread out. So as mentioned, you just don't have new heavily concentrated population centers. Charlotte is likely a better market than Cleveland now (or in the near future) but not by leaps and bounds.

I looked at the Forbes list around this question a few months ago. Other than the Mets, Angels and Nats, you don't see expansion teams in the top half of the franchise valuations. That's mainly small-medium market size and maybe a lack of history (contrast with St Louis). Baseball doesn't particularly need more Cleveland, Minnesota, KC, Cinci, etc. The "logical" thing would have been to put another 2-3 teams in NY metro and another 1-2 in LA metro like 40 years ago when you might have gotten away with it -- that would at least have given you a set of more equitable markets.

By the way, the Giants were all but moved to Tampa and the Padres all but moved to DC at some point there. Nice to see DC might have gotten it right this time.
   16. Snowboy Posted: July 21, 2021 at 08:11 PM (#6029934)
Minor quibble: the Washington Nationals of DC are not an expansion team.
   17. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 21, 2021 at 08:39 PM (#6029936)
Other than the Mets, Angels and Nats, you don't see expansion teams in the top half of the franchise valuations.
The Astros, Rangers & Blue Jays are also expansion franchises in the top half of the Forbes ranking.
   18. SoSH U at work Posted: July 21, 2021 at 08:42 PM (#6029937)
Minor quibble: the Washington Nationals of DC are not an expansion team.


Every franchise outside the original 16 is an expansion team.
   19. Snowboy Posted: July 21, 2021 at 09:58 PM (#6029951)
Heh, I see your point.
   20. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: July 22, 2021 at 02:53 PM (#6030055)
Every franchise outside the original 16 is an expansion team.

Well, that would include the Yankees, wouldn't it? I mean, the baseball establishment insists that the Yanks were TOTALLY NOT descended from the 1901-02 Baltimore Orioles, so...
   21. Walt Davis Posted: July 22, 2021 at 06:21 PM (#6030079)
The Montreal Expos, a 1969 expansion team, moved to DC.

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