Pitching Baseball

Imagine this: our County Assessor Larry Stone is standing on the mound at Candlestick Park.  It’s 1989. He’s a Sunnyvale City Councilmember and it’s Sunnyvale Day at the ballpark. Larry’s wearing a Giants cap and gets to throw out the first pitch.

The stadium is full and the fans are cheering. His name gets announced.  He rocks back.  His long arm reaches skyward and he throws the ball in the dirt – not the dirt at home plate where the catcher is patiently waiting.  No way.

Larry throws the ball in the dirt on the mound – just barely in front of his feet.  I’ve been to thousands of baseball games from Little League to Major League and that was the most pathetic pitch I’d ever seen.  I could have dropped a bowling ball and it would have gone farther.  So let me state the obvious:  Larry Stone can’t pitch a baseball.

But he can pitch a San Jose ballpark.  He’ll do that at a Downtown Rotary Club speech tomorrow at noon and his timing is perfect if you’ve read today’s paper. Lew Wolff is in position to buy the Oakland A’s from Steve Schott.

This is great news for San Jose sports fans, business leaders, civic boosters, and especially Baseball San Jose – a grassroots organization that is committed to bringing Major League Baseball to San Jose.  (Larry and I are both active members.  Anyone who wants to help the effort, can easily sign up at the website).

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.

When I worked at City Hall, I learned that Lew was smart and practical.  He can visualize a project and move the elements of a deal into place.  He’s also someone who can be creative and bring big projects to the table.  In Los Angeles for example, he’s working on a project across from the Staples Center that will be what some people are calling a “Times Square West.”

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.

Someday, Steve Schott will be fondly remembered as the guy who saved baseball for Oakland and Lew Wolff may be the guy who brought baseball to San Jose.

If that happens, under no circumstances – absolutely none—should Larry Stone be the guy throwing out the first pitch.

Note:  Dan Pulcrano corrects my first post with a comment.  Dan’s right.  I should have written that Terry Gregory “allegedly” said that he could take care of a political enemy by paying $50 to a crack head. 

13 Comments

  1. Jude,

    Due to the correction from the previous post – I have to ask:

    Is this an “alleged” story? 

    Can anyone else corroborate this story?

    Just checking.

    Doug F.

  2. I liked the idea of bringing the A’s to Santa Clara.  You could always call them the San Jose A’s of Santa Clara, like the Angels!

    Seriously though, I just want to see them down here so someday I can take my kids to a game less than 1 hour away.

    I wonder if we’ll be able to take BART to the new San Jose Ballpark?

  3. I was actually turned on to this site through a link on the Baseball San Jose website, so my support of the possibility of keeping the A’s in the Bay Area, and specifically bringing them to the south bay should be evident. 

    As a general comment though, I’m happy I did find this new site.  It’s a great idea and hopefully will generate alot of interest and discussion on a broad range of topics of importance to the residents of SJ.

  4. Jude, Jude, Jude,

    Enough of this baseball blather!  If Lew Wolfe wants to buy the A’s and move them to SJ – fine – as long as not one dime of taxpayer money goes towards the construction of the ballpark. 

    Have you read any of the analysis’ by economists who have llooked at the cost/benefit of publicly-financed stadia?  If stadiums are such a great deal, why don’t financially smart guys like Lew Wolfe build them with their own bucks???  Why do they let the chumps (taxpayers) and their sycophants in city gov’t. (mayors, supervisors, city councils) pick up the tab???

    Can you name one taxpayer-built stadium or arena that has paid for itself (interest included) and returned a profit to the citizenry?  Name just one.  Anywhere in the USA built in the last 30 years.

    I suggest that baseball fans (who are taxpayers first) GOOGLE the names “Mark Rosentraub” and “Joanna Kagan”.  Rosentraub is a college professor of economics who wrote the 1999 book: “Major League Losers: The Real Cost of Sports and Who’s Paying For It.”, and Kagan has authored: “Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit.”  Anyone who reads either of these books will come to the conclusion that spending public money on building a profit center for a billionaire and his millionaire employees is immoral, unethical and wrong-headed.

    Hopefully San Joseans will be tight-fisted enough to reject outright any ridiculous ballot measure that would subsidize America’s newest class of “welfare queens”: The pro sports franchise owner!

  5. Thanks, Jude . . . . . for your positive comments regarding bringing ML Baseball to San Jose.  With the Sharks, the San Jose State Spartans, the Earthquakes(maybe), and a ML Baseball franchise,  San Jose would be a well-rounded, ligitimate sports town indeed; reaping all of the financial and community building benefits therefrom!  Yea Team . . . . . All of them.  LG

  6. Thought Scott Herhold’s 1/13 column sized this situation up quite well.  Also, The Chronicle, 1/12 makes an intersting point, that Bud Selig would like Steve Schott to remain. Well, that’s what I’d like to see too. He has always demonstrated integrity, has his heart in the game, and is a local boy.  Seems like a major inspiration of SJI is to bring integrity back to the city, so, let’s try to keep Steve Schott on board.

  7. Wolff is a businessman.  He’ll take the best deal probably in Las Vegas cus that’s where the action is for sports and business these days.

  8. Mark,

    The question you raise about sports facilities paying for themselves is half the equation.  A more complete question is are they a benefit to the community?

    Most people consider HP Pavillion a benefit to San Jose.  Likewise for SBC and San Francisco.  Oakland and the Raiders are another story.

    You have to have a good deal, but the return on investment isn’t measured just in cash.

  9. It is odd that people would not support the Earthquakes, whine about supporting popular local arts organizations, yet are eager to spend millions of tax dollars to bring in a for profit team, which cannot even be owned by the city?
    huh.

  10. Why is it that the taxpayer has to provide the money for an athletic team so that local business and team owners can benefit. The philosophy should be that the “user pays” for anything he uses .