I had the Cisco Field press conference going on my computer at work this morning as I was trying to track down a particularly tricky bug in some software I'm writing. I reached a critical stage in my debugging just when Bud Selig got up to give his speech, and stopped paying attention. So if Selig said anything brilliant, I cannot comment on it.
What I did hear before and after Selig was not particularly surprising. But I'll just jot down a few reactions:
If you have to have a corporate name for your ballpark, Cisco Field is probably about as good as it gets. It rolls off the tongue pretty easily. The name has some regional connotations, not unlike Pacific Bell Park.
As much as I like the "Cisco Field" name, I hate the news that "of Fremont" will be part of the team name. The Angels have an excuse for such a goofy name, because (1) their lease required it, and (2) Anaheim is the home of Goofy.
The only way I'll ever say the words "of Fremont" is if we can convince the other AL West teams to follow the same convention. Somethingorother Athletics of Fremont. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Texas Rangers of Arlington. Redmond Mariners of Seattle.
I was a little disappointed to see the ballpark rendering look so enclosed. The most beautiful thing about Fremont is that the East Bay hills always feel as if they are right on top of you, even if you're down close to the bay. It would be as much of a shame to block the view of the hills as Mount Davis was, if not more.
But if you look at the slideshow on the A's web site, the hills do appear to be visible, at least from the upper deck. So I'll hold out hope for this.
When Billy Beane said we can start rooting for players instead of just for laundry, I thought two things: (1) The A's believe they're gonna make a lot more money in this ballpark, and (2) I wonder if giving Billy Beane more money to play with is actually a good thing.
Beane's record with signing free agents has been spotty at best. Arthur Rhodes, anyone? But perhaps his record has been spotty because spotty players are all he can afford. Maybe with some more money, the A's can actually pursue players who are more of a sure bet. Can you imagine the A's signing a top-tier free agent? Seems impossible today.
I was highly impressed by Cisco's Chief Demonstration Officer. Not so much with his demonstration, though. I was impressed with his title.
How did he (Jim Grubb?) get to become a Chief Demonstration Officer? Was he so good at his job that Vice President of Demonstration just wasn't a big enough title to describe him?
A question: when did Cisco become a software company? All this "upgrade my ticket" stuff: what does any of that have to do with routers?
Does anyone outside of the A's and Cisco organizations think that having a super-high-tech ballpark is a brilliant idea? The only way high tech is going to make fans happier at the ballpark is if the high techs helps make the lines shorter. They need to use the technology to provide real value, not just make things shinier.
Don't get me wrong. Cisco is a great company. They make great, solid, reliable hardware. I can't think of a single high-tech company I trust more to make a quality product.
But Cisco isn't sexy. They make the kind of technology you're only supposed to notice if it doesn't work. How do you showcase something that supposed to not be noticed?
You hire a Chief Demonstration Officer and slap your name on a ballpark, I guess.
Reading the body language a bit, it seemed pretty clear to me that Lew Wolff wants to name the team the "San Jose Athletics", but Bud Selig doesn't want him to.
I think they wanted to make a point about mentioning they were staying in Alameda County. They could hardly mention the words "Oakland" or "Fremont" in the press conference without also saying the words "Alameda County".
A reporter picked up on this, and asked about it. I think the conversation went like this (not by any means a direct quote):
Reporter: I understand why you have to deal with Fremont, but what does Alameda County have to do with this process?
Wolff: Um, nothing really. But did you notice we're staying in Alameda County?