Experts: the City of San Jose is delusional when it comes to the A's

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At least as far as the numbers go:

A recent analysis commissioned by the city — part of San Jose’s renewed quest to land the A’s — offers a rosy picture of the financial benefits such a stadium would bring.

But experts who study the economics of ballparks reviewed the numbers for the Mercury News and raised plenty of concerns. Chief among them: The cost for the city land the ballpark would be built upon is significant, they said. With three more parcels to buy, acquiring the land for the stadium over the years could amount to at least $42 million, according to a Mercury News analysis.

“You can’t come out saying that this doesn’t have a cost if all we’re supplying them (the A’s) is the land,” said Victor Matheson, associate professor of economics at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. “The land is very valuable real estate.”

This is the central problem with any stadium plan, even the ones where the public outlay is intended to be minimal. In fact, it’s probably even worse in those cases.  If Whoville is going to actually build a stadium for the local nine, at least all of those expenditures are out in the open.  Sure, the final price will end up being higher than anyone predicted, but at least it will be sold to the public as “Whoville taxpayers to pay for stadium.”

In places like the Bay Area, where pure public funding is a political impossibility, there are all kinds of incentives to hide the ball with respect to just how much the taxpayers are actually going be hit for.  As the experts here note, nothing is free in this world, even when all of the politicians involved claim that it is.

I still think that San Jose is the right place for the A’s, and if I lived there, I don’t think I’d have a problem with some minimal public outlay to make it happen.  But there has to be honesty from the government when it comes to this stuff.  They can’t sell it as a painless financial panacea.  Come out and say: “this will cost a little, but it will be worth a lot in the long run,” and let the chips fall where they may.

For much, much more on this — and I really mean much more — check out the most excellent “New A’s Ballpark” blog, which is all over the entire A’s-to-San Jose story.

Magic Johnson to take over the Lakers, but will still be part of Dodgers ownership

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 15:  Earvin 'Magic' Johnson attends game one of the National League Championship Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field on October 15, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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This is more significant for basketball fans than baseball fans, but Magic Johnson is taking over basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers. Dan Feldman over at PBT has the full story on that.

For our purposes, you probably know that Johnson is part of the Dodgers ownership group. Anthony McCullough of the L.A. Times got comment from the Dodgers, saying that despite his new full-time job, his status with the Dodgers will be unchanged:

Maybe I’m alone in this, but I’m not entirely certain what Magic does with the Lakers, so the first clause in Kasten’s comment may be doing most of the heavy lifting here.

Matt Wieters is close to signing with the Washington Nationals

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 02: Matt Wieters #32 of the Baltimore Orioles connects on a two-run home run in the fourth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on October 2, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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Jon Heyman reports that the Nationals are closing in on a deal with catcher Matt Wieters. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that it’s a two-year deal. UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is for two years, at $21 million. There is an opt-out for him after year one. He will get $10 million in 2017 and, if he returns in 2018, he’ll get $11 million.

Wieters was not expected to go this long without signing, but his market, which many thought would be robust, never materialized. The Nats had been rumored to be interested for months, but they were apparently waiting to swoop in late and get what one presumes will be a bargain.

Wieters, 30, finished last season hitting .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and 66 RBI in 464 plate appearances. The Nationals currently have Derek Norris and Jose Lobaton, so who falls where in the catcher fight in Washington is unclear, but one presumes that Wieters getting a two-year deal puts him at the top of the depth chart.