Baseball for San Jose

There are a few key things to be done if baseball is to become a reality in our City.

First, find the very best site that maximizes the opportunities and minimizes the opposition. It will not be easy and the search must be transparent and involve the neighbors and citizens of Central San Jose. Trust them. Some will think it has to be done in secret. However, my strongest advice is that nothing can be kept secret in big time sports – there is always a feeding frenzy by the media surrounding these stories. Besides, we need the support of all the people of San Jose, not just the Baseball San Jose and Chamber of Commerce advocates – they are important, but much more momentum and trust is needed.

Even with only two homes and a short list of businesses in the Arena zone, a fire storm of opposition arose from the Shasta Hanchett and Willow Glen areas. They were concerned that traffic would be impacted on Lincoln Ave. and quality of life ruined in the entire Willow Glen neighborhood.  In some contentious meetings, I often felt like I was siting a nuclear reactOR not a family sports/entertainment complex in the center of the City.

Second, begin a two-fold approach in the media and legally to get San Jose released from the territorial rights granted in 1992, done only to help the Giants and MLB. The media war must be won.  Since when does MLB get to assign us, a major American city like some chattel? I hope there can be some elementary justice even in big time sports.

Third, don’t let your reach exceed your grasp. This will not be accomplished while Ron Gonzales is Mayor: face it because he already knows it.  Yet Mayor Gonzales can do an important thing for our community by not overreaching and teeing up the ball – and the stadium – for the next Mayor.

Last, for all those critical of my cautionary note on Baseball – don’t kill the messenger. Listen to those who have been there, made mistakes, and learned lessons.  There is much that can be accomplished if the wooly-headed planners, political spinners and mercenaries are removed and common sense comes into play.

10 Comments

  1. Stories regarding the San Jose neighborhoods regarding the proposed ballpark can be found in the February 3rd, 2005 issue of the Rose Garden Resident newspaper and the February 16th, 2005 issue of the Willow Glen Resident. Type http://www.svcn.com in your browser and then click on either of the above mentioned newspapers’ logos. Under archives select the the date you’d like of the paper you’d like to read.

    David Cohen
    Publisher

  2. Tom gives some good advice when he suggests that the process not be done in secret and that the city invest trust in it’s citizens. A novel concept in San Jose politics! Thanks for a breath of fresh air.

  3. You are right that Mayor Ron can’t get this done.  He won’t even do anything to keep San Jose’s two-time champions, the Earthquakes, in town—how can you expect him to navigate the steps it would take to get baseball to SJ?

  4. If I were a citizen of San Jose, I would be outraged that the city is considering gambling $400 million in order to attract—what?—a bunch of steroid enhanced, spoiled brat millionaires and their team owners? 

    But I’m not a citizen of San Jose. So I’ll just watch in horror as you guys slowly bankrupt your city with another Taj RoGon. Maybe it’s the mayor’s secret plan to bring down housing prices?

  5. Yeah, what’s with this fetish for trying to get a major league team to San Jose which is never going to come here; when there already is a majot league team in San Jose (the Earthquakes) that the mayor doesn’t do anything to keep here.

  6. Points well taken. Especially Point #3 on not overreaching your grasp.

    I am struggling with Ron Gonzales avoidance of addressing the San Jose Earthquakes. Its a complex subject, but certainly much simpler than the coordination of Oakland A’s to the South Bay.

    Facts are we have nearly 500,000 kids playing soccer in the Bay Area. San Jose Earthquakes have been the earliest professional sports team in San Jose. Yet it never seems to materialize to see the capabilities of what a soccer sports complex can bring to San Jose.

    HomeDepot stadium in Southern California (Carson, CA) is a beautiful example of a well designed soccer stadium. In addition to the main soccer field, it is well equipped with soccer fields on the outer perimeter, tennis courts, great parking access, well landscape, grassy areas around the stadium, great views of the field from every location, adequate food/beverage & bathroom access.

    It has brought a lot of attention to soccer in the USA, and has been home to the last several USA MajorLeagueSoccer champions.

    A field such as this in San Jose will provide soccer fields for youth games & tournaments, tennis courts for citizens, a wonderful soccer field and a stadium that is multi-purposeful it every sense of the word.

    Since Mr. Gonzales cannot see that vision, I hope that others in our community can see the value of leveraging our existing youth soccer fan base and expanding it to the next level. San Jose Earthquakes is a team IN San Jose, RIGHT NOW. Leverage your existing home base team and help ensure their stay in San Jose for a long time.

    As was said by Tom McEnery, don’t over reach your grasp if you have a team right now in San Jose who needs a home base. Don’t wait until another city snatches them away to see the value they provide our Multi-Cultural community.

  7. I believe that bringing baseball to San Jose and keeping the Earthquakes in San Jose are two separate issues.  It would certainly be easier to keep the Quakes and I agree that a nice soccer stadium could benefit the community.  But I don’t think that the soccer stadium and baseball stadium projects are inversely related.  The folks supporting bringing a team to our city, Baseball San Jose, are also supporters of Soccer Silicon Valley, the group trying to build a soccer stadium.  And if you go to SSV’s website, you will see a banner that reads, “SSV supports Baseball San Jose”. 

    I grew up playing soccer in the area and remember the old Earthquakes, and the teams since that time.  Soccer has always been an area favorite but the fact is, soccer, even in our area, is a small spectator sport in the US.  The major soccer leagues are always in trouble of folding.  And building a soccer stadium would likely have little impact on businesses in San Jose.  Therefore, the soccer project would need to serve the many functions Elizabeth noted, and more.  It should take the place of Spartan Stadium for many of the mid-level attendance events, such as college football bowl games or outdoor concerts.  In other words, the soccer stadium project is most valuable as a civic resource and should be supported for that reason.

    Baseball, or football for that matter, should be supported for a different reason.  Major sports are a source of community pride.  Major sports are a symbol of the regional strength of a city, and I think San Jose deserves an identity of its own, apart from San Francisco.  Aside from community pride, major sports provide a huge entertainment outlet to the area residents.  40,000 people every game for 81 games per year, or more than 3 million people.  A city like ours should have the major entertainment outlets that the 10th largest city in America deserves.  And baseball should be only one part of that.

  8. Face it folks, the only baseball team San Jose will ever host is the Class A San Jose Giants.  And the only ballpark that San Jose will ever host a professional baseball game in is non other than Muni Stadium.  Get over it folks.  MLB will never, ever allow the a’s to move to the south bay.  Even if they were to change their mind, it would cost a kings ransom to pay the Giants for these rights.  Also, San Jose voters will never EVER subsidize with taxpayer money a ballpark for a very wealthy owner – funds that should be raised in the private sector.

  9. hugh g., why would it cost a king’s ransom to pay the Giant’s for something that they didn’t spend any money for?  Tom is right about how upset we should be that MLB treats us like chattel.  I can get to the A’s now pathetic park even easier than I can get to SBC Park.  Stranger things than moving the A’s to SJ have happened before.  Sustained, persistent effort by the community can overcome many obstacles.