San Jose is no panacea for the Athletics … how about New York?

54 Comments

The A’s have been waiting about three years for Major League Baseball to clear their way to San Jose. At this point I’m wondering if it will ever happen. But even if it does, Neil deMause explains that San Jose is no pot of gold for the Athletics.

That’s because (a) the A’s would probably have to pay the Giants some $7-15$ million a year in territorial rights payoff money; and (b) because there are limits to how much more revenue a private ballpark in San Jose — on which Lew Wolff would have to pay a mortgage — could bring them:

According to Forbes, the Giants pulled in $230 million in revenue last year compared to the A’s $160 million. Let’s say that the San Jose market is strong enough that the A’s are able to turn themselves into Giants Lite, giving them $210 million a year. That $50 million-a-year bump would be enough to pay off Wolff’s $35 million in annual mortgage payments and checks to the Giants and give him $15 million to spare.

$15 million extra a year ain’t gonna pay for big free agents, which means that the A’s aren’t going to suddenly be a mega-competitive franchise the way some assume the will be simply by virtue of having a new stadium.

So what to do? deMause thinks what I’ve been thinking for some time: New York is the only answer:

New York City is a television market that’s triple the size of the Bay Area, and there are millions more households a short drive away in New Jersey and Connecticut. The New York metro area is the one market where a team owner could build a stadium with all the trimmings and end up with plenty of profit left over, thanks to the inevitable cable riches that would await.

Of course it isn’t happening because of the territorial rights thing. The Yankees and Mets would never allow it.

But the fact is, the territorial rights thing reflects a vastly different baseball economy — and a vastly different United States — than that which currently exist. Unlike in the mid-20th century, there are a not a ton of new cities growing like mad and demanding new teams like Los Angeles, Atlanta and Houston once did.  The pattern of growth has been existing cities — existing markets — growing ever larger.

The Yankees and Mets play in a city that is way better equipped to handle three teams than some markets are to handle one. Same goes for Chicago and Los Angeles, each of which have huge suburbs sprawling out their sides able to handle more baseball.

Except they’re not allowed to due to anachronistic territorial rights.

Odúbel Herrera has homered in four consecutive games

Hunter Martin/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Phillies outfielder Odúbel Herrera produced what proved to be the game-winning hit on Wednesday afternoon, drilling a go-ahead solo home run to right field off of Cardinals reliever Sam Tuivailala in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Phillies went on to win 4-3, as the bullpen actually held on to a lead for once.

Herrera has now homered in four consecutive games and in five of his last six contests. The major league record is eight consecutive games with a home run, held by Don Mattingly, Dale Long, and Ken Griffey, Jr. The Phillies record is five consecutive games with a homer, held by Dick Allen, Mike Schmidt, Bobby Abreu, Chase Utley (twice), and Rhys Hoskins.

On the season, Herrera is batting .299/.355/.491 with 12 home runs, 41 RBI, and 35 runs scored in 297 plate appearances.