Lew Wolff: Bye-Bye Oakland

You read it here first: The A’s are coming to San Jose. “Lew Wolff knows San Jose.  He’s made major investments in our downtown and knows that a ballpark at the right site will be a major boon to San Jose’s downtown and citywide economy.” That’s from a column by Jude Barry, written for SJI four years ago—on Jan. 11, 2005.

In recent weeks, our friend Jude’s prediction has come closer and closer to fruition, and today the A’s may have taken one more step toward a move to the South Bay.

Wolff, the A’s managing partner, issued a press release this morning that reads like a final good-bye to the city the A’s have called home since 1968. “We have fully exhausted our time and resources over the years with the City of Oakland,” the statement reads. “Our attendance and low number of season ticket holders … continues to decline; even when our on-field performance produced play-off participation.”

Gary Radnich, the KRON-TV sportscaster, KNBR-AM talk-show host and San Jose native, speculated on his show this morning that the A’s will be moving to his hometown. 

“San Jose is where it’s at,” he said. “If you’re going to do anything in Northern California right now, you’re going to do it in San Jose. Lew Wolff knows that. He’s no dummy.”

Bruce Jenkins, the veteran Chronicle sportswriter, agreed with Radnich that San Jose is the perfect place for the team. He predicted that MLB Commissioner Bed Selig will okay the move, despite a territorial-rights conflict with the San Francisco Giants.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed has been pushing hard for such a move. On Thursday, the city council approved a measure placing the issue of a potential Oakland A’s stadium in San Jose on the agenda for its April 7 meeting.

“There are still many hurdles to leap before we’ll see a Major League ballpark in San Jose, including a citywide vote.  But things are moving in the right direction” Jude wrote that four years ago. Truer now than ever..


  1. YEEAAAAHHHHH!  Hopefully, any deal with the Giants (National Leauge) includes the San Jose A’s (American league) playing at AT&T Park while Cisco Field is being built in downtown San Jose.  Giants fans out there, this will help your team to $$$!  A win, win for everyone!

  2. Oh great. Another private venture looking for a bailout. Private money won’t make this happen, watch for demands for tax breaks, public funding and the lot. The A’s should stay in Oakland.

  3. Hugh #2,

    Don’t worry about the taxpayer subsidies.
    Just as Obama’s guys are making sure Chrysler is run profitably, the City of San Jose could oversee the running of the A’s.
    Maybe Judy Chirco could be the GM!

  4. The South Bay Sports Corridor is coming along.

    Out of sincere interest, where, precisely, should the A’s stadium for San Jose go?

    Again, I yield to more informed and and more respected bloggers on this matter to lay out the location for us.

  5. #5

    Out of sincere interest, where, precisely, should the A’s stadium for San Jose go?

    Although it will not happen, the 180 acres occupied by Reid-Hillview, used by a few hundred local recreational pilots, and numerous foreign flight school students, is the best location.

    This location is on Capitol Expressway, adjacent to Eastridge Mall, and the Light Rail was planned to be extended to Eastridge.  Additionally, it is easily accessible from 280/680, and 101.  Thus fans from around the Bay area can easily get to, and leave, the new stadium with minimal traffic impact.

    A side benefit is the land not used for the stadium can be turned into a park with soccer fields, ball fields, and maybe even an ice skating rink for local residents, or anyone else. 

    It would be nice to see East San Jose get something positive from this land, instead of the daily shower of lead pollution from RHV.

  6. Blue Fox

    Fascinating analysis, thanks.

    Permit me to suggest that the three things you mention,

    large land availability

    ability to incorporate other parcels in conjunction for other uses

    accessibility to transit corridors

    all also can be achieved in Santa Clara

    I am not, repeat am not trying to twist your comments, I think that there are two sites for the South Bay

    San Jose

    Santa Clara

    Let’s dialog in a cold, rational manner on both.

    Ps, you did a great job analyzing the East San Jose site.

  7. James,

    You did ask in #5 where the stadium should go in San Jose, not where in the South Bay, and I am sure that Santa Clara does offer some attractive sites.  However, I live in San Jose, so I admit I am approaching this from a partisan perspective.

    Isn’t Santa Clara trying to bring the 49ers, and possibly the Raiders, to your city?  Isn’t that enough for one city?  Let’s share the wealth, so to speak, and let San Jose get either the As or the Giants.  After all, we are the biggest city in the area, and already have one playoff capable team.  Plus Santa Clara already cleans up from a tax perspective with all the high-techs jobs in the city, while San Jose suffers from a lack of jobs, and the associated loss of tax revenue.

    It occurred to me that building a stadium at Reid-Hillview would also be an incentive for companies to locate at the Edenvale high-tech campus.  Properly using the land at RHV would be an economic bonanza for both San Jose, and Santa Clara County.  So, in a sense we all benefit from building the stadium at RHV.

  8. #9 B.H.,

    Don’t put to much stock into what The Clowns Matier & Ross have to say; their opinion is heavily tilted/bias toward SF and the Giants.  Their word isn’t testament.  Not sure exactly what their problem is with SJ having its own Major League franchise.  If Radnich, Jenkins and The Merc’s Mark Purdy (who’s actually spoken to Lew Wolff) feel San Jose is a real possibility, then go with that.

    Look, it’s quite simple: San Jose provides Lew Wolff/MLB with a “Kick Butt” ballpark plan and a deal is worked out with the Giants to allow a move of the A’s to San Jose.  As I’ve said before, a win win for everyone!  No need for threats of lawsuits, congressional intervention, etc.

  9. Blue Fox,
    Reid-Hillview is an AWFUL site for a MLB ballpark! Diridon/Arena is the SUPERIOR site in NorCal for obvious reasons. Lets do our homework before we post silly things.


  10. The A’s?  Really?  And please not directly in downtown.

    Getting out of downtown at 4th street onto 280, right before the 87 change over, is bad enough when the sharks are playing.  Put them close to Morgan Hill but still in San Jose’s city area.  (pardon my lacking knowledge in city boundaries)

    We covered this stuff in one of my sports management classes.  While my income doesn’t really make a HUGE contribution to taxes (I don’t make that much currently) I still worry a bit about how much San Jose is going to contribute to this…

    I thought the game plan was to try and find other ways to bring money in without costing us more.  Let’s focus on that a bit more shall we?  At least before we go borrowing more money to pay for something like this.

    If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.  Good rules to live by if you ask me.  Maybe that is a bit too ‘Back to the basics’ for San Jose?


  11. Downtown San Jose is the best site not only because of the location of the site but for the economic acivity it will generate—-building outside the downtown core makes no sense and for anyone living downtown that questions wanting a ballpark—-come on—-you choose to live in an urban environment—embrace what a ballpark to offer—which will make a dramatic improvement in the downtown activity—

  12. #13

    You forget that economic activity anywhere in San Jose generates tax money for San Jose.  Downtown is not the only location that generates tax money.

    Reid-Hillview is the superior location for the reasons outlined above.  So far, nobody has put forth any valid reasons for downtown, other than it is downtown.

    However, most people around San Jose, and the Bay area, do not want to go downtown if at all possible.

    First, the aircraft from SJI ruin the experience of being downtown.  These airplanes will most certainly ruin any outdoor downtown ballpark games.  To think otherwise is to live in a fantasy world.

    Second, it is to much of a hassle getting into and out of downtown.

    On the other hand, Reid-Hillview is very easy to get to and leave.  No hassles.  Plus, Eastridge Mall, adjacent to the site will provide plenty of pre-game and post-game shops, resturants, and things to do.

    This is where the tax revenue will come from, not from people fed-up and angry by being downtown.

  13. No 14—something tells me you haven’t been in downtown SJ in awhile—I live in LG—and we head to downtown when the Sharks are in town, we go to plays at the rep, Ice skating/christmas in the park, center for performing arts—-and each time we have dinner somewhere downtown and spend our entertainment dollars there—door to door when the Sharks play—20 minutes—-so not sure where your data point is coming from that it is hard to get in and out of…not to mention…most people in my age group find downtown San Jose pretty darn nice and continuing to improve—a ballpark will continue to enhance this—-

    Happy the leaders of SJ have a bit more visiion than a few bloggers here—cities role is not just to provide services but to help define revenue streams that can pay for those services—-this is one way to do it!

  14. As an old time diehard Giants fan I grew accustomed to making fun of the way the laid back, lackadaisical Dodger fans would begin pouring out of Chavez Ravine in the top of the seventh. “LA Wimps”, we’d mutter as we recalled the last frigid Candlestick twi-night doubleheader we’d survived by stuffing discarded wadded up newspapers under our clothing to keep from freezing to death.
    As a longtime San Jose resident, knowing the nature of today’s typical San Josean, it would be pretty hard to stomach my hometown’s humiliation as NBC’s cameras panned around the yawning, latte sipping, bluetooth clad, distracted bunch of yuppies in our sparsely filled, multimillion dollar,  Whoeverthemostexpensivearchitectintheworldis-designed stadium.

    Separation of Church and State? Maybe.
    Separation of Sports and State? Definitely.

    No more using tax dollars to subsidize millionaires. Not AIG executives. Not sports franchise owners.

  15. Darn, I hope the A’s don’t come to San Jose. I don’t want public money to build a huge stadium rite downtown where people will have to cough up $30+ per ticket and $6 per beer to go watch millionaires play a game. Let Santa Clara have it. I’d rather have more park space and LEEDS-type green housing developments than a crappy stadium that won’t benefit my quality of life.

  16. I really think this A’s stadium idea is awful because taxpayers are going to end up subsidizing it somehow. But #14 wrote the following absurdity: “First, the aircraft from SJI ruin the experience of being downtown.  These airplanes will most certainly ruin any outdoor downtown ballpark games.  To think otherwise is to live in a fantasy world.”

    That fantasy world includes New York, where Shea Stadium and its new replacement are right on the approach to LaGuardia’s Runway 31. Go to a Mets game and watch and hear the airplanes all night long if they’re landing 31 or departing 13.

    I oppose A’s to SJ, but the airport argument is nonsense.