The Athletics get a step closer to San Jose

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The City of San Jose has received the results of a commission studying the economic impact of a new downtown stadium for the Athletics. Not surprisingly, the report says it would be a dandy idea:

The development of a 32,000-seat ballpark with 81 home games and three non-MLB events a year would lead to $130 million in annual spending throughout the local economy and $2.9 billion over a 30-year period.

The analysis also shows that a new stadium would create 2,100 full-time, part-time and seasonal jobs in San Jose, of which 980 would be new jobs. That number does not include players but does include team personnel.>

Of course every single pre-construction study like this ever devised has said that a new ballpark would cause cash and unicorns and stuff to fall from the sky and it doesn’t really ever turn out that way, so people shouldn’t get too excited.

My view is that the A’s need a new park, that San Jose seems like the best option, and that as long as taxpayers aren’t footing the bill, go ahead and build.  The thing, though, is that city officials shouldn’t be selling it to citizens as an economic development tool, because that just never pans out the way people say it will. Rather, they should be honest and say it’s a civic pride thing, and that they’re willing to pay a bit of money around the edges for land and infrastructure improvements if it means that they’ll get a big league team. Mostly because it has the benefit of being true.

The most interesting thing in all of this comes late in the article: “San Jose must be included in the team’s name, the city insists.”  I can’t figure that the A’s would have kept the “Oakland” appelation after moving so far anyway — and it’s not like they haven’t changed things up multiple times in the past — but it will be odd to say the “San Jose A’s.”  Cool-sounding, but odd.

DOJ settles antirust lawsuit against cable companies who don’t carry Dodgers games

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Last November, the U.S. Department of Justice sued AT&T, accusing its subsidiary, DirecTV, of being the ringleader in a plot in which it conspired with Cox Communications, Charter Communications and AT&T cable (then a separate company), to refuse to carry SportsNet LA, the Dodger-owned TV channel in violation of antitrust laws.

Now that lawsuit is over. The DOJ settled with AT&T last night.

The bad news: no part of the settlement obligates DirecTV or any of the other alleged co-conspirators to carry Dodgers games or to even negotiate to that end. There is likewise no fine or truly substantive penalty. It’s basically a “do not do this again!” agreement with some antitrust training requirements for executives and some orders to monitor their communications about these things.

“We are pleased to have resolved this matter to the satisfaction of all parties,” an AT&T spokesman said yesterday, likely in the tone of a guy who is pretty happy to have had a major antitrust suit against him settled so quickly.

When the suit was filed, I anticipated a settlement, as most antitrust suits brought by the DOJ are settled. Such a settlement could’ve featured a cash penalty or, more significantly, a brokered agreement between the parties in question in lieu of a cash settlement that could’ve led to Dodgers games being carried on more channels. After all, more competition is the end game of the Antirust Division.

As it is, however, it’s hard to see this as anything other than a surrender by the DOJ and a victory for the those carriers who coordinated their efforts to not carry the Dodgers.

An open question, unanswered in anyone’s statements yesterday, is whether this settlement is 100% about the merits of the case — keeping in mind that the DOJ tends not to file antitrust suits unless they think they can win, instead preferring to negotiate first — or whether it represents a new set of laxer priorities when it comes to antitrust enforcement from the Trump Administration and AG Jeff Sessions.

Video: Jake Arrieta hits a 465-foot home run off of Zack Greinke

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Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.

The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.

Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.

Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.