Comment of the Day: Silicon Valley and the Oakland A's

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Earlier today I noted how Silicon Valley CEOs are getting on board the bring-the-A’s-to-San Jose train. I said that I thought this was a weird thing for tech company CEOs to be doing, inasmuch as it shows a boosterism — and an economic ignorance — that is usually reserved for politicians and  car dealers and insurance executives. My general thinking: you’d think our leading edge technology CEOs would be above that kind of provincial stuff.

A regular reader from the Bay Area — not APBA guy, BTW — wrote in to tell me, no, they most certainly aren’t above that provincial stuff:

It drives them nuts that San Jose “which is larger than San Francisco”
remains the second sister (or even the third) of the Bay Area.  And it
really drives them nuts that most of the world renown of the region goes
to this vague term “Silicon Valley” instead of the much more bankable
“San Jose”.  And I can assure you that they have plans to call them the
“San Jose A’s”  and every single telecast say, “in the capital
of Silicon Valley” or something like that.

And even further, I am
guessing that the SVLG is made up of a bunch of former orchard owner’s
grandchildren who now own every low-rise office park that carpets this
fine valley, and that they are every single bit the Midwestern insurance
company/car dealer mentality, writ slightly more Cabernet-loving and
Ferrari-affording due to their lucky geographic location. 

Oh, snap.

The A’s are considering rising sea levels in planning their future ballpark

Oakland Athletics
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The Oakland Athletics ballpark saga has dragged on for years and years and years. They’ve considered San Jose, Fremont and at least three locations in Oakland as potential new ballpark sites. The whole process has lasted almost as long as the Braves and Rangers played in their old parks before building new ones.

In the past several months the Athletics’ “stay in Oakland” plan has gained momentum. At one point the club thought it had an agreement to build a new place near Peralta/Laney College in downtown Oakland. There have been hiccups with that, so two other sites — Howard Terminal, favored by city officials — and the current Oakland Coliseum site have remained in play. There are pros and cons to each of these sites, as we have discussed in the past.

One consideration not mentioned before was mentioned by team president David Kaval yesterday: sea level rise due to climate change. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Kaval mentioned twice that the Howard Terminal site would have to take into account sea-level rise and transportation concerns — and he said there have been conversations with the city and county and the Joint Powers Authority about developing the Coliseum site.

The Howard Terminal/Jack London Square area of Oakland has been identified as susceptible to dramatically increased flooding as a result of projected sea level rise due to climate change. On the other side of the bay both the San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors have had to consider sea level rise in their stadium/arena development plans. Now it’s the Athletics’ turn.

Sports teams are not alone in this. Multiple governmental organizations, utilities and private businesses have already made contingency plans, or are at least discussing contingency plans, to deal with this reality. Indeed, beyond the Bay Area, private businesses, public companies, insurance companies and even the U.S. military are increasingly citing climate change and sea level rise in various reports and disclosures of future risks and challenges. Even the Trump Organization has cited it as a risk . . . for its golf courses.

Fifteen of Major League Baseball’s 30 teams play in coastal areas and another five of them play near the Great Lakes. While some of our politicians don’t seem terribly concerned about it all, people and organizations who will have skin the game 10, 20 and 50 years from now, like the Oakland Athletics, are taking it into account.