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More MLB-to-San-Antonio rumors

Believe them at your peril.

Could the Oakland A’s find a home in San Antonio?

At least one Oakland elected official thinks so, but Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff says San Antonio sports fans shouldn’t hold their breath.

“There’s nothing happening over here,” Wolff said.

“Our name’s been thrown out, but we went through that with the New Orleans Saints. I went through that with the Marlins. We didn’t spend a lot of local money but we spent a lot of time on it. You get these owners telling you one thing, and the baseball guys, administration, telling you something else. They’re going to have to be a hell of a lot more serious and a hell of a lot more coordinated to expect any of these communities to express any interest in it.”

However, Oakland City Councilman Larry Reid said he doesn’t believe the A’s are bluffing in their threat to leave the city if they don’t get a 10-year lease extension at the Coliseum.

Reid told San Francisco Chronicle blogger Phil Matier that San Antonio and Montreal are possible destinations should the A’s not get the deal they want.

“They have options,” Reid said, citing sources among the Coliseum Authority negotiators who have been working for 14 months to try to reach an A’s lease extension.

When asked if he thought the threat was real, Alameda County Board of Supervisors President Nate Miley said, “I’d put money on it.”

Here’s the blog post on which this story is based. It mentions that Montreal is another possible relocation option for the A’s, and in doing so broke my brand-new Irony-O-Meter. I paid forty bucks for the damn thing, too – guess I better mail in that warranty form. Anyway, as noted before, San Antonio may be a viable landing place (or expanding place) for a MLB team someday, but that day is not today, and likely won’t be anytime soon. San Antonio and – I can’t say it with a straight face, so please pardon the guffaw – Montreal are much more useful to MLB right now as points of leverage in this sort of negotiation. If it ever gets more serious than that, I trust that grassroots folks like MLB in San Antonio will be a bit more chatty on social media about it than they are currently. Enjoy the All-Star break, y’all. There should be some real baseball news again soon.

Still dreaming about MLB in San Antonio

From The Rivard Report, a grassroots group in the Alamo City is keeping hope alive.

If you’ve been a San Antonio sports fan for any length of time, you’ve heard it. It’s the label that the Alamo City has been saddled with for decades. Whenever the topic of a new sports franchise in San Antonio arises in the national media, the card is played and the discussion moves on without a second thought.

Perhaps this label was appropriate a number of years ago, but San Antonio is a different place. This city’s major sports potential deserves an opportunity to be reevaluated.

Though “small market” is commonly assumed to refer to television markets, population is a gauge that cannot be overlooked. Though its metropolitan area population ranks 25th in the nation, San Antonio is the seventh most populated city (by city limits) in the U.S. Among the top ten on this list, San Antonio is the only city with just one big-four (NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL) professional sports franchise. In fact, all of the six larger cities have at least three such franchises.

Many critics of this statistic cite the greater metropolitan area rankings that put areas such as Dallas-Fort Worth in high regard. What’s overlooked in this analysis is geographical reach of San Antonio sports. If you include Austin, Corpus Christi, the western range toward Del Rio, and the Rio Grande Valley, San Antonio becomes one of the largest markets in the country.

Now, the obvious small market argument points to the television market. Though TV ratings typically fail to include the aforementioned geographical reach, they are important to the potential franchise owner. Sure, San Antonio often can be found ranked in the 30-40 range for TV markets.

The group is called MLB In San Antonio; here’s their Facebook page. The main issue, which I have dealt with before, is the relative lack of population in the San Antonio-New Braunfels MSA. I am skeptical of the authors’ attempt to wave their hands at that by invoking Austin, Corpus Christi, and Del Rio in the San Antonio sports market. For an eight-games-a-year NFL schedule, I could buy that; the Texans have season ticket holders who live in San Antonio, though they’re hardly a big slice of their total fan base. For an 81-game MLB slate, however, I have my doubts. If you can show me that a non-trivial number of Spurs tickets are sold to folks from outside the greater SA metro area – not counting fans who travel specifically to see their hometown team on the road – then I might buy this calculation. But it’s always seemed like wishful thinking to me.

The other obstacle is that there currently isn’t a venue that MLB would accept for a team in San Antonio. Sorry, but the Alamodome won’t cut it as anything but a temporary site while the real stadium gets built. The days of stadium-sharing for MLB teams are over. I’m honestly not sure where you’d put a stadium for an MLB team in San Antonio. If you really want to lure Austinites to the games, putting it north on I-35 somewhere is the best bet, but that would make it less convenient for the masses of people who live west on I-10 or south of downtown, such as those Corpus and Del Rio folks. And we haven’t even talked about how such a stadium would be financed.

The main thing these folks have going for them is that there are two teams that could eventually want or need to relocate – the Oakland A’s and the Tampa Bay Rays. The A’s would be a perfect fit, with the Astros and Rangers as division mates. Putting the Rays in San Antonio would probably mean something like shifting Cleveland to the AL East and putting the new Rays in the Central. Doable, but might require buy-in from Cleveland, since they’d be moving to a more difficult division. If either of those situations starts to heat up, then there could really be something to this. But don’t be surprised if San Antonio is little more than leverage. Having at least one suitable location that wants a franchise but doesn’t have one is always a useful thing for the league. I wish the fans in San Antonio good luck, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up too high.

Starting with a bang

Congratulations to the UTSA Roadrunners for winning their first-ever football game. Now please inform your fans that storming the field afterward is maybe not such a hot idea.

The arrests of a small group of University of Texas at San Antonio football fans who were among hundreds of others that rushed the game field after Saturday’s historic victory has sparked a campus controversy and stoked calls for police to drop the charges.

The game, which marked UTSA’s inaugural match and drew an NCAA record-breaking 56, 743 people to the Alamodome, was free of disruption until the moments after the home team clinched a 31-3 win over Oklahoma’s Northeastern State Riverhawks.

[…]

“We’re not saying the police department did anything excessive or weren’t following protocol,” said Derek Trimm, who served as the university’s student body president last year. “It’s just we would like to see a different type of solution than to tackle the students and put them in prison.”

San Antonio Police Department spokesman Chris Benavides said he had not yet reviewed the reports, but said officers were acting in the interest of safety.

“I can tell you we don’t single any one individual out,” he said. “If there were arrests, it’s because the officers felt there was probable cause for them to make the arrests.”

Normally, rushing onto the field after a big win is a time-honored tradition. I’ve seen my share of such celebrations at Rice Stadium over the years. It’s just that usually the field in question is in a stadium owned by the school that just won the game, and is located on their campus. When the stadium is owned by someone else, and the security is being provided by non-campus police, well, discretion is the better part of celebratory hijinks. The good news for those who were arrested is that the Bexar County DA has decided to go easy on them. One hopes this will be all straightened out by the time they win their next home game.