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.

Rangers sign Josh Hamilton to a minor league deal

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The Texas Rangers have signed Josh Hamilton to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Not at all surprising. The Rangers released Hamilton last August, but that was simply to make some room on the 40-man roster. His season was already toast due to the surgery he underwent to repair lateral and meniscus cartilage in his left knee which had the added bonus of revealing that he had an ACL injury as well, which required reconstruction. At the time of his release both he and the Rangers made noises about him coming back on a minor league deal in 2017.

Hamilton turns 36 in May. The smart money has it that his big league career is over, but Hamilton would be silly to retire given that he is owed $30 million this coming season. That the Angels are paying $26.41 million of that makes it far less painful for the Rangers as well. If he can hit in the spring, hey, let him DH some and pay him low money. If not, no skin off of anyone’s nose. He can request a release on April 1 if he hasn’t made the big league roster.

A-Rod to host a reality show featuring broke ex-athletes

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Alex Rodriguez’s transition into retirement has featured a serious move into the business world. He has gone back to school, worked seriously on investments and has started his own corporation. Yes, he’s set for life after making more money than any baseball player in history, but even if his bank account wasn’t fat, you get the sense that he’d be OK given what we’ve seen of his work ethic and savvy in recent years.

He’s going to be getting another paycheck soon, though. For hosting a reality show featuring athletes who are not in as good a financial shape as A-Rod is:

Interesting. Hopefully, like so many other reality shows featuring the formerly rich and famous, this one is not exploitative. Not gonna hold my breath because that’s what that genre is all about, unfortunately, but here’s hoping A-Rod can help some folks with this.