The Silicon Valley Leadership group has sent a letter to Bud Selig in support of the Athletics moving to San Jose. You can read a press release about it and — if you click an extra link — a copy of the letter here. It’s signed by the CEOs of Cisco, Yahoo!, eBay, Adobe and seventy others. The upshot: they think a ballpark in downtown San Jose would be swell and that it would “create jobs” and “strengthen the economy.”
Maybe most interestingly, they argue that a team in San Jose would in no way diminish support for the Giants. It’s support from Silicon Valley companies, you’ll recall, that the Giants are most worried about losing if the A’s move south. Wonder if the CEOs are willing to make actual commitments to the Giants in exchange for them dropping their opposition to the team moving . . .
Intrigue aside, I think the A’s need to move to San Jose for their own sake, but I’m somewhat surprised to see a letter like this from tech business leaders. Sure, we all love baseball, but the whole “a ballpark will create jobs and stimulate the economy” argument has more or less been debunked by every smart person who has
studied the issue. The people who benefit from ballparks are basically
the owners of baseball teams and people who own parking lots. The real benefit the signatories to this letter would get would be quality of life and employee/client entertainment opportunities. Which they do note in the letter, I’ll grant, even if they do make the “public good argument” a bit more strongly.
Of course, the move wouldn’t hurt too terribly if this was primarily a private project, which the A’s and San Jose leaders claim it will be. I just find it weird that putatively forward-thinking tech companies would get into this kind of boosterism. Maybe I’m just idealizing Silicon Valley in this regard, however, and they’re no different than the insurance companies and car dealers and stuff that get on these kinds of bandwagons back east.