November 11, 2008
BASEBALL: Holliday On The Road To Fremont
Now, we're starting to get some real activity in the baseball offseason. The big news is a projected, non-finalized blockbuster deal sending Matt Holliday to the A's for a package that reportedly includes Greg Smith, Huston Street and Carlos Gonzalez. I'll try to look at the on-the-field angle once we have a final report of the players involved, but this is an interesting deal from the perspective of analyzing the A's franchise, since it represents the A's doing the big-market thing and packaging young players for an established star, represented by Scott Boras, who is going to command a huge salary on the free agent market after the 2009 season (much like when they acquired Johnny Damon, who promptly had a lousy year and then left). It remains to be seen whether Lew Wolff is planning to pull the trigger on a big contract for Holliday now that the A's are heading for a new stadium and a new city.
On that subject, Fremont Mayor Bob Wasserman ran for re-election as a supporter of finally bringing the A's to Fremont by 2012 (his opponent was against the plan), and Wasserman's victory is widely seen as a victory for the new stadium. Wolff sees it that way, and is still hopeful that the park can be ready by 2011:
Despite challenges to building a new baseball stadium, Oakland A's owner Lew Wolff said "we can get it done" in Fremont.
Wolff said Monday at a luncheon of the Associated Press Sports Editors that, "We're getting close to receiving the first drafts of the environmental impact reports," according to ESPN.com. "We've run into lots of things, which every developer does in California."
Some Fremont resident concern about traffic and public transportation access to the project, for example, has dogged the project.
Still, Wolff cited last week's election results in Fremont as a development that broke in his favor. Voters in the city re-elected incumbent Mayor Bob Wasserman, a strong supporter of a plan by the Oakland Athletics to build a $500 million stadium surrounded by 3,150 residential units and enough retail and restaurant space to fill almost nine football fields.
The bad news:
Wolff would change the team's name to the Athletics at Fremont, and the classic brick ballpark, scheduled for completion in 2012, would be named Cisco Field after the computer networking company.
Ugh. I suppose "at" conveys their transience better than "of" ... given the franchise's history, they may as well just call them the Traveling Athletics and be done with it.
This is a pretty interesting deal in terms of what it means for Holliday. Everyone knows that Boras always wants his players to go to free agency, but Holliday's performance after moving from Coors to the Oakland Coliseum (whatever it's called now) will either cement or dispell the perception that he's a product of the altitude, and either make or cost him a ton of money.
Mets should have gone after Holliday.
I remember hearing my pastor talk about his minor league contract to play with the Kansas City As when I was growing up, and thinking he must be mistaken...then finding out where they had been before.
"Athletics at Fremont????" Uggghhhh....
I recall as a kid, my father telling me that the A's used to play in Philly, and he'd gone to several games at Shibe Park/Connie Mack Stadium. As a 7 year old, I couldn't fathom any team other than the Phillies playing in Philadelphia.
The Athletics at Fremont. What a freaking joke. Do us all a favor, empty suits, and let the fans name the team.
For what it's worth, it is approximately 7 more miles from the Oakland Coliseum to Fremont as it is from Yankee Stadium in The Bronx to Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. If the Giants didn't stop calling themselves "New York" when they moved in the 70's and were not even in the same state, I cannot see why the A's need to disassociate from Oakland when it is so close down the Nimitz Freeway. If they really want a new city association, why not San Jose? It will be closer than Oakland, and people outside of Norcal have actually heard of it. You don't hear the Mets calling themselves the N.Y. Mets of Flushing or anything quite so stupid.