Does MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred really know the Oakland A’s Ballpark Issue? Well, based on statements the MLB Commish made during Monday and Tuesday of this week, it seems to this blogger that the otherwise seemingly well-prepared sports exec had zero clue what he was talking about, or doing.
Consider these head-scratcher actions:
1) Rob Manfred, obviously as tired of hearing the word “lawsuit” attached to any sports business issue in Oakland as I am, elected to go all whole HAM and threaten to move the team to Las Vegas. Since Las Vegas has no plan to bring a Major League Baseball Team to Sin City, Rob Manfred’s words rang hollow, and he had to backtrack on them.
2) Since about 97 percent of the mainstream media are as unfamiliar with the City of Oakland and Oakland A’s situation as Rob Manfred is, they completely missed how Manfred just plain undressed the Portland Ballpark Plan with his subsequent A’s blast about public money. After he made the Vegas error, he doubled-down by saying that the A’s want taxpayer dollars. So, at that point, it was obvious to me we were on a tram-ride to stupid ville. Harsh? Damn right. Here’s why.
3) If anyone knows the situation (and it’s obvious the Mercury News Editorial Board doesn’t just reading an editorial they wrote that’s so freaking off base I refuse to link to it), they know what’s happening. They know that A’s President Dave Kaval has worked effectively with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and California Assemblyman Rob Bonta and California State Senator Nancy Skinner to get legislation that will allow the Oakland City Council to establish a tax increment financing zone (called The Howard Terminal Infrastructure District within the legislation called Senate Bill 293) around Howard Terminal and Jack London Square. Where was Rob Manfred while creating that was going on? Where was the Mercury News Editorial Board?
If MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred or the Mercury News Editorial Board knew about the tax increment financing zone, they’d know that the provision would give the A’s the taxpayer subsidy they seek for the ballpark.
If MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred (or the Mercury News Editorial Board for that matter) knew how to do tax increment financing calculations (as I do), they would know that the Oakland A’s stand to gain between $460 million and as much as $700 million toward a ballpark at Howard Terminal.
That’s money that would be applied to Howard Terminal, and it would be the largest subsidy ever provided by the City of Oakland for any development project in its history. That includes the proposed 1993 $293 million subsidy the Rouse Corporation wanted from the City of Oakland to build a 2 million square foot shopping center at what’s now the Square Building and an apartment complex starting just inside the Telegraph and 18th Avenue intersection.
So, anyone media or not saying that Oakland doesn’t want to spend money on sports needs to stop, read, and smile. Especially considering the giant homeless problem we have, one would think some high-dollar amount would be committed to that, or a creative way to use the money from sports to solve the problem, but this version of Oakland seems reluctant to take such actions. But, I digress.
Maybe Rob Manfred can show both a heart and a brain and jump in and help us improve Oakland, rather than threaten it.
Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media