Bob Towar 
Member since May 17, 2013


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Re: “Streetcars Might Make a Comeback in Oakland

A return of streetcars: good for Oakland? worth the cost? I can't answer those things, but as a downtown resident I'd like to see it happen.
Craig S above is correct--local streetcar routes were all gone by November '48. The transbay trains continued, running on the bay bridge lower deck to the transbay terminal (which was built for them) until 4/20/1958. Key System is one of the most fondly remembered electric railways of America in the era before the double disaster of automobiles and TV.
I'm mostly commenting to point out that YOU and the people you know and love can ride Key System streetcars and "bridge units," along with other vintage equipment of the Muni and elsewhere, at the Western Railway Museum--Solano County, route 12 about 6 miles east of Fairfield.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Bob Towar on 05/28/2013 at 7:46 PM

Re: “The A's Belong in Oakland

Nice post. However, I'm always puzzled when people ask "why won't the A's ownership show interest in Oakland?" The Wolff/Fisher ownership group was hand picked for one specific purpose: Get the A's out of Oakland. All other considerations are secondary. Blaming the Oakland fan base for the team's troubles is completely disingenuous and with the media parroting phrases like "small market team" and "perennially low attendance," MLB and the A's owners are succeeding in convincing the world that it is the fans' fault the A's must move. Since taking over the team, the A's ownership has stated loud and clear, over and over: "We Don't Want You Here." Tarping off all the cheap seats in the upper decks was nothing but a direct insult to the fans. When you're hoping to debut a new product (the A's in San Jose), it is typical marketing practice to make the old product (the A's in Oakland) appear as out-of-date and unattractive as possible. So the owners have made the coliseum experience as maddening as they can. Want to go get a hot dog from a concession stand? Get ready to miss an entire inning to do so.
The A's media relations, community outreach, fan relations and overall marketing are absolutely pathetic. The East Bay is most certainly NOT a "small market", especially considering the potential fan base in the rapidly growing cities further inland.
The Oakland A's have three major enemies, all deeply committed to getting them out of Oakland: 1) Their ownership group. 2) Bud Selig (a man who has bad-mouthed the A's for decades and led an all out campaign to convince the other owners that the team MUST be moved.) and 3) Peter McGowan and the Giants. The issue isn't really "Giants territorial rights" in San Jose---it is that McGowan wants the A's out of the ENTIRE bay area so he can have this massive rich market all to himself.
These are the sorry realities. Oakland has made generous offers. Oakland businesses have expressed strong interest in keeping the team in Oakland--even to the point of suggesting purchase of the team by a local group. At no time since they took over the team has the Wolff/Fisher group even listened to any of it. Their tepid feigned interest in Oakland is a complete fake.
If you could catch Lew Wolff in a candid moment, I bet he'd even admit to being angered by last year's division title. The A's winning makes it more difficult to move them.
If the A's do move, it will mean the end of one of baseball's all time most exciting franchises. The A's and Giants are essentially opposite in character. The New York Giants were one of baseball's storied teams. After moving to San Francisco, they have displayed decades of boring, mediocre baseball until their recent success. The A's on the other hand, never flowered to their full glory until arriving in Oakland. They set the tone in their first month here with Catfish Hunter's perfect game. Some of the greatest A's players in history are Oakland or East Bay locals, including the great Rickey Henderson. The A's are the consistently exciting bay area baseball team, in contrast with the perennially boring Giants.
I read somewhere that Lew Wolff, Bud Selig and Peter McGowan were all frat buddies. That figures. The MLB owners are the ultimate "good old boy" network. The truth is that, if it weren't for baseball's anti-trust exemption, the only way to describe what these men are doing to the A's would be CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY. Modern baseball is not about fans. It's not about the cities or the ballparks, or the traditions, the history, any of that. It is solely and exclusively about MONEY. Baseball wants the predictable revenue that comes from long term TV contracts, corporate luxury boxes, and other groups that buy large blocks of season tickets. The LAST thing they want is the unpredictable revenue stream of walk-up, game by game attendance. They don't want us coming to the park! People coming to the park means staffing, restrooms, clean-up, and an array of other services. Unless you're a season ticket holder or are willing to spend $50 or more at the park--they'd really prefer you stay home, watch it on TV, and patronize the advertisers. That's modern sports.
Let's Go Oakland!

11 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Bob Towar on 05/17/2013 at 10:07 AM

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