Oakland has supported the A's for 38 years, and this rich history cannot be compromised. A's fans have celebrated and suffered with this team, and almost two generations of A's fans have lived with their team playing Oakland. Help Keep the A's in Oakland and fight the move. Feel free to voice your opinion on topics by making comments on posts. Please, add your name or screen name to your comments, because the validity of your comment is hurt by being anonymous. Thanks and Go A's

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Sunday CC Times Article Skews Facts

An article was written in the Sunday Contra Costa Times by Steve Gilmore comparing the how really the A's moving to Fremont is similar to a number of professional sports teams moving outside their city to a suburban location, like the New England Patriots, the Detriot Pistons, and the Texas Rangers. He claims that the suburbs work fine for these teams, and claims that "Big city professional sports teams have been thriving in suburban arenas and stadiums for decades."

I do not agree; I wrote an email to Mr. Gilmore and to the editor of the Contra Costa Times contesting the facts and opinions wrote. I wanted to wait to post this blog, until the either Mr. Gilmore or the Times responded, but I have not recieved anything. Here is my email:

Dear Mr. Gilmore(egilmore@cctimes.com),

I feel your article is a manipulation of facts to impose a completely biased argument upon your readers. You say that suburban parks are fine and that"Big city professional sports teams have been thriving in suburban arenas and stadiums for decades." when that is not entirely true, especially not with baseball. Please consider the following faults with your article:

-The Detroit Pistons have had one of the most competitive basketball teams in recent years leading to their dominance in the attendence department. The Palace in the Hills was built in 1988, the next years they won two championships. When the Pistons failed to be competitive in the 1990's their attendence dropped, hitting their low in 2000/2001 when their average attendence was only 14,813. The Coliseum at Richfield- built on country roads between Cleveland and Akron — was the home of the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA team for 20 years. But the arena was difficult to reach and the team moved to Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland in 1994. The Coliseum was torn down and converted to parkland five years later. The Charlotte Bobcats have just moved into a downtown arena. I feel you need a winning team to support a suburban arena in the NBA.

-As for NFL, there are numerous suburban stadiums that are succesfull, you mention Dallas, the Giants, Jets and Patriots (The Redskins have been succesful as well). But the NFL is completely different from the MLB or the NBA, for the simple fact that there way less games. In the NFL each team plays only 8 home games. That equates to a huge demand for tickets especially if the team is a winning team (i.e. Patriots and Cowboys). It really does not matter where you put a NFL stadium people will go to games regardless. Baseball teams have 81 home games, that a lot of seats to fill in the middle of nowhere.

-As for the MLB, suburban and municipal ballparks are out of fashion, they were a cheap trend in the 1970's through the 1980's as America in general became more suburban. Many major cities, especially industrial cities like Oakland, began to lose jobs and population during this time and so citiess in the 1990's decided to build ballparks in downtown location to draw fans back to the city. Not necessarily to live there but to spend money and spur growth and development around the area(i.e. Baltimore and in recent years Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, SF,etc.). The Ballpark in Arlington is a buck of that trend, and it's had fairly decent results, maybe because of the suburban atmosphere in Texas or because the new ballpark stayed in the same location as the previous one. Yet, when Texas does not have a winning team, the attendance suffers even with a fairly new and nice stadium like Ameriquest Field; in 2003 after A-Rod left the team, attendance dropped to 25,856 and they were below the league average in total attendance. Attendance was up the next year with a 89 win season.

-You say, "Who cares whether a beautiful new A's stadium sits in Fremont rather than Oakland, as long as it's not in Las Vegas, Portland or San Antonio?" But, the A's are not going to leave the Bay Area, anytime soon. There is too much money and TV viewers in the region and it can easily support two teams. In a recent article in the
Hard Ball Times
Maury Brown says that cities like Portland, Las Vegas, and San Antonio have a much less Designed Market Areas (i.e. the number of tv households). Also Wolff has been quoted to say, "I've changed my mind," he said Tuesday. "'I don't want to leave California. I don't want to leave this district." The arguement that Wolff might leave the Bay Area is false and misleading. It makes people believe that A's should get their stadium built in Fremont as fast as possible, or else.

-You also say that if the A's move to Fremont South Bay corporations will buy boxes: "A move 20 miles south could help the A's tap into those deep corporate pockets in San Jose and the Silicon Valley. After all, somebody would have to buy luxury suites at a new stadium." Yet in a recent interview with Wolff on FSN during the A's-Yankee game, Wolff was quoted saying, "We'll have 40 4-person suites... The 18 to 20-person suites require a (huge base). If you have a law firm or a family, the 4-person suite makes a lot more sense... Milwaukee is the worst at selling suites, and we found out that the type most in demand there are those smaller suites." That suggests that Wolff doesn't expect South Bay corporations to buy luxury boxes in bulk.

-Finally, You say, "The A's have not drawn well since moving from Kansas City to Oakland in 1968." Where do you get your facts? You're right that the A's didn't draw well during the amazing 70's run, but as you mention that was because fans were alienated by Charlie 'O'. When fan friendly Walter Haas bought the team he turned things around and attendance got better hitting it's peek during the late 80's and 90's during the 'Bash Bros' years. Considering that the Colesium is a suburban style park, it has drawn fairly well even in recent times drawing over 2 million fans the last 5 years. Also consider, while the Giants played at the 'Stick, and the A's played at the Coliseum, the A's outdrew the Giants 10 out of the 17 seasons. If it wasn't for the cheap Schott years the A's in the 90's could have continued to outdraw the Giants.

You are writing for a major paper that is respected and read around the Bay Area; why are you misleading people with these manipulated facts? Thank you for your time.



Anonymous pachyderm said...

Yes Drummer, this is a great response. Hopefully, more people including myself will your lead in telling the FACTS about this issue. This weekend at A'S/Giants series, going to be hecklers from SF who be chanting "Let's Go Fremont" so we need tell 'em the FACTS. Plus, Contra Costa Times is big sponsor of the A'S so his bosses can use your response against him. Now, I will let our resident troll respond to you.

-Edgar Martinez, A'S Fan

5/18/2006 11:27 AM

Blogger Marine Layer said...

Have to point out a few things. The downtown arena in Cleveland hasn't insulated the team when they performed poorly any better than the Richfield Coliseum did. In 2002-03, the season before LeBron James was drafted, the Cavs averaged 11,496 per game. In the last decade, the Cavs have outperformed the Pistons at the gate only once. Again, you're cherry-picking statistical data.

The assumption that the South Bay isn't capable of supporting a Fremont ballpark is a poor one. BBSJ has a list of South Bay companies that are already committed should the team move to San Jose. Why would moving to Fremont dissuade them? They'd still be closer. The minisuite idea is a good one because a new market has opened up. It's also not the first place that's done it - the Dodgers have converted many of their field level seats into 4-person boxes with table service. Are the Dodgers incapable of selling large suites? Of course not, they're just seeing a new selling opportunity.

The rest of the letter is pretty good. I would caution against just picking statistical data that supports your arguments. It makes them an easy target.

5/18/2006 12:31 PM

Blogger Georob said...

Until Lew Wolff and city officials can agree on and commit to a workable site in Oakland, your argument has no merit.

Just more whining courtesy of our friends at the OAFC.

"KUM-BA-YAAA....My Lord......."

5/18/2006 1:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was a well thought out letter/email, but for professionalism sake, make sure you spell your cities right (i.e. PittsburgH).

5/18/2006 1:38 PM

Blogger drummer510 said...

Thanks for the spelling correction. ML, I wasn't trying to say at all that Cleveland was out attending Detriot, because I know they are not. I was just trying to make the point that Gilmore was choosing one of the most successful fanchises in the NBA as a suburban arena, instead of looking at trends throughout the league.

I'm for the smaller suites, I think there a great plan, I was pointing out that it could hint that Wolff isn't counting on corporate dollers buying boxes, he's counting on families and law firms. I agree, I think the South Bay can support the team, but yes I think a ballpark in Fremont may dissuade some corporations to invest just because the team wouldn't have the name San Jose A's. But yes that paragraph is my weakest argument.

5/18/2006 2:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

is Georob the poster formerly known as danguide?

fucking troll.


5/19/2006 12:19 PM

Blogger Georob said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5/20/2006 12:16 AM

Blogger Georob said...

No, I'm a 30-plus year native of the East Bay(Richmond) who now lives in Fresno. I want terribly to see the A's stay in Oakland, but am disappointed and embarassed at the arguments being presented in this and other forums.

You can doubt the sincerity of Lew Wolff all you want, but he still controls the team. It's not a public entity like a museum or library; it's a private business. Could he be doing more to keep the A's here? Absolutely. But Oakland city officials can also be doing more and have chosen not to. (Perhaps they did with the prior ownership, but that was several years ago)

But instead of lobbying those officials and offering solutions, boards like this and the OAFC choose to instead whine about "tradition", "legacy" and how "baseball shouldn't be in the suburbs" And all while Lew Wolff continues to put together a Fremont stadium not because it's the best site, but because it's the ONLY site he has.

If you're not part of the problem, be part of the solution. Unfortunately, too many Oaklanders are used to the way problems are resolved in Berkeley. Namely, to grab a sign and cry.

5/20/2006 12:18 AM

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