Friday, November 14, 2008


San Francisco's Business Times profiles the life and accomplishments of outgoing Giants' chief Peter Magowan:

Magowan said his memory of the Giants and Dodgers leaving New York in the 1950s prompted his efforts to keep the team in San Francisco.

“I remember the very negative, traumatic effect that losing the Giants and Dodgers had on the community in New York. These were two of the most famous teams in baseball. The Giants won the World Series in ’54, the Dodgers in ’55 and two years later they were gone. … I saw the same thing happening in San Francisco.”
I've criticized the guy before, but you gotta give him his due. He kept the Giants in San Francisco (and if he didn't, there wouldn't be any Rays today) and he made a splash by bringing in Bonds, which helped build momentum for a sweet stadium which the Giants paid for themselves. While it's easy for wiseasses like me to slag on the Giants' recent performance and decisions, anyone who remembers watching midseason games from Candlestick (50 degrees, windy, 1,282 fans) can attest to the fact that baseball in San Francisco is better off for having Pete Magowan around the past 15 years.


Jason @ IIATMS said...

And ask anyone who's watched a game at PacBell (or whatever it's called now), that place is gorgeous, and not financed with public funds.

Big props for that.

Pete Toms said...

I watched 1 game at Candlestick. It was the last season for baseball there, missed Pac Bell by one year. Along with being a dump, it was a pain to get to. The BART doesn't go there, I had to schlep out on a bus. It was easier to go to Oakland ( which I did same trip, courtesy of Enron but that's another story ).

As for Magowan, he gets a lot of praise for building PacBell with his own $$$. I question if he is as noble as a lot of ball fans think. He tried to get public $$$ but, he didn't have any other choices. Also, IIRC he got the land for nothing, so to say it wasn't publicly subsidized is not entirely true. Also, IIRC, there were infrastructure costs associated with the new stadium that he didn't incur either.

Having said that, I believe he was passionate about the Giants. Most of these owners are passionate abuot it, that's why they buy in. They made their fortunes elsewhere and buy teams because they're big fans. Rich boys with toys. If I had a billion dollars, I'd be exactly like Ted was.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Magowan did a great job. He saved and revitalized a moribund franchise. I think most Giants fans will look back on his tenure favorably. The Park is a gem, no doubt, and the BULK of its cost was borne by investors. Yes, they got a sweetheart land deal, and the city improved the transit infrastructure to help it along. That sounds like a partnership to me, and I think Magowan deserves credit for navigating an impossible political culture in SF and getting the thing done. The fans and club benefit, and the city gained a major new tourist attraction.

Pete Toms said...

From "Public Dollars, Private Stadiums".

The new Pacific Bell Ballpark opened in 2000 and has been touted as the only privately financed ballpark among the recent wave of new stadiums.....


Although some view the Giants as magnanimous in not asking for handouts, this perception misreads the history. The Giants got fewer public dollars to be sure, but not for lack of trying! The new stadium went to public votes four separate times and lost each referendum.....Finally, the team's most recent ownership group, headed by Peter McGowan, decided to build a stadium largely with private financing.....


A certain amount of public money has gone into the project, despite proclamations to the contrary. San Francisco used a tax-increment financing plan to provide money for infrastructure and neighborhood improvements around the new ballpark....Nevertheless, the Giants are able to say that the park itself was built with 100 percent private financing and no public dollars.

No mention of free land, so perhaps I'm wrong on that count...

If I lived in the Bay Area I would have no problem with this but then I would go to a lot of baseball games....if I never went to a baseball game, I would probably have a different opinion.

M.C. I question how great a tourist attraction these ballparks are. Certainly there are some baseball tourists - I've been one on different occassions - but are there enough to justify the public expenditures? My readings on this subject indicate that no, this isn't the case.

Meanwhile, I expressed my support to city council here many years ago to build a ballpark for private interests and the past 2 consecutive years expressed my desire that they reach a lease agreement with our pro team.

Anonymous said...


Despite my biochem degree, my wildly unscientific impression is that AT&T benefits greatly from baseball tourists. That's why it's packed until about September 7th (believe me, the team has already faded before then), and relatively sparse after that.

One thing it has in common with Candlestick, it's still 50 degrees in June. If you sit in the shade at night, it's 50 degrees in August. But like Candlestick, you can fry in the sun. The weather difference is definitely the wind. Candlestick howled. AT&T is much more benign. Still, it is brisk, that's why you see all those people with blankets and watch caps.

But what a view. Next time you all visit SF, walk around the stadium on the water side. That center field entrance is spectacular and rarely photographed.

Pete Toms said...

APBA guy. I don't dispute that there are a lot of tourists at ballgames in SF. I visited SF once and went to two ball games ( A's & Giants ).

My point is, I would have been in SF on vacation with my future wife had there been baseball in SF or not. I suspect the same of most of the tourists you see there. How many wouldn't have come to SF if the park wasn't there is the question. I bet not a lot.