I was born in 1975. Which means my earliest years of going to the coliseum (and knowing what is going on) were the Haas days. The pinnacle of my baseball rearing was the Bash Brothers years. I lost faith in the organization around 1994.
My point here is that I have a great deal of respect for the Haas family, but people need to wake up and smell the coffee. The Haas family's largest payroll was less than half of the highest payroll of the current ownership group. I doubt the Haas family would be spending 75 million a year. Even if they (or Schott for that matter) did it wouldn't be enough to keep Giambi, Tejada, Hudson, Mulder, Zito, Hernandez, and all the others who are on my no longer here bobblehead shelf in Oakland.
I agree the A's need a new stadium. I really wish it had been uptown. I am less excited about the Coliseum plan, but I do believe that in the next three years the A's either have a new stadium or they are gone. It is my thought that the best case scenario for us fans in Northern California is that the A's become the Sacramento A's in 2010 (Check census projections for the size of Sacramento in 2025). My worst fear is that the A's will become the Portland A's around that same time.
I am tired of this being blamed on Schott and Hoffman. They have been stuck in a stadium that bites and is one of the worst stadiums in all of baseball, which was not the case when they bought the team. Two things have happened to make this occur. The Raider Reconfiguration of the Mid Nineties and the advent of new stadiums in virtually every other market in baseball, including a new stadium a matter of miles away that offers a better experience for casual fans. Whether we like it or not, large payrolls are tied to the number of casual fans attracted.
There are three streams of revenue that teams need to compete. Stadium is one third of the pie. I think people misconceive this to mean attendance; it really is more than attendance but it is the part that relates to casual fans for the most part (as in what they are willing to pay to go see a game). Even if the A's drew 3 million in the Coliseum they would not have the revenue stream of their competitors in the American League West. Media revenue is another area that the A's could stand to improve, but unless the Hearst Corporation is looking to buy the team and a radio station to serve as a mouthpiece this isn't immediately addressable. Corporate Partners are a third area, that is related to stadium revenue but I think of it separately because it is less about bringing people into the stadium. In any event, Corporate Partners would be more willing to sign up to support a team in a new stadium. Two of the three streams rely on the stadium.
I guess I wouldn't complain too much if the A's moved to Sactown, as I live in Elk Grove. I would prefer they stayed in Oakland. A very important part of making that happen is for a new stadium to be built there. It is time for us fans to really step our efforts and write the politicians in Oakland, tell them how much money you spend in Oakland when you go to games.
The way I see it, Schott and Hoffman have held up their end of the bargain in a lot of respects. The most important the whole "put a winner on the field." I believe these trades will help this trend continue. I think of all the doomsday predictors when Giambi left and Hatteberg came. In Billy We Trust. Now let's get Ignacio Dela Fuente and his friends to help us out.