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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
No, don’t stop me, because you have heard this one before, umpty-bazillion times. The Oakland Athletics want to move to San Jose; the San Francisco Giants, who own the baseball territory there, don’t want that. Commissioner Bud Selig was to rule on this
three years two years a year six months ago, but obviously, that hasn’t happened.
In the Los Angeles Times, Bill Shaikin writes it could happen soon:
There are indications Selig might rule by the end of the year. Yet, rather than say yes or no, Selig appears to be considering a ruling that could challenge both the A’s and Giants to fulfill certain criteria.
“I think there will be an effort to be Solomonesque,” said someone who has spoken with Selig but declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue. “This is not a ‘yes or no’ sort of thing.”
Bud Selig Solomonesque? This I gotta see.
But seriously, if the Giants aren’t budging now, what could Selig tell them before the end of the year that could change their minds? Shaikin posits some ideas, including funding for a possible new stadium in Oakland, but that likely isn’t there. And then there’s this:
The wild card is legal action — by the A’s or Giants, by Oakland or San Jose, or by third parties — that could stall the issue in court for years. If the A’s and Giants meet in the World Series, Selig might be better off letting the teams play for the championship, and for the rights to San Jose.
Now that would be fun: winner gets San Jose. Much more fun than “This Time It Counts”, anyway.
Well, it sure looks like this battle over hundreds of millions of dollars is turning ugly. Not sure if we could have seen that. But the City of San Jose, which wants the Oakland Athletics to move there as badly as the team's ownership wants to move, is getting involved. A group called Stand for San Jose filed suit against the proposed ballpark, ostensibly for reasons related to flawed environmental and traffic studies.
The city isn't so sure that a much larger corporation isn't behind the group, which is supposed to be something of a grassroots effort. A larger corporation such as the San Francisco Giants:
Last week the city filed for a court order allowing it to examine the organizational structure -- and any Giants ties -- of Stand For San Jose, a community group whose lawsuit over the proposed ballpark has raised questions about the San Jose plan's viability.
The city's latest motion asked the court to compel Stand for San Jose to demonstrate that it has legal "standing" to sue the city over the ballpark. The city argued the plaintiffs must be city taxpayers or to have objected to the ballpark proposal on environmental grounds.
The response from the Stand for San Jose group has been to argue for free-speech and privacy rights. Are the Giants behind it? We might never know, but if the City of San Jose gets its way, we'll have a pretty good idea.
The Oakland A's don't want to explore a ballpark in downtown Oakland, but Bud Selig reportedly does. The smart money's on Selig.
The A's have struck out every time they've brought up the idea of moving from Oakland to San Jose. What if they tried a place in California that's nearly as close?
Where could the A's move if they had to leave the Bay Area? Here's one bold proposal.
The A's have wanted to move to San Jose for several years. Bud Selig said something about it on Thursday! But if you're looking for grand pronouncements or a solution, keep looking.
On Monday, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the Oakland Athletics wanted to get their stadium issue on the agenda for MLB’s owners’ meetings, to be held on May 16 and 17.
Despite this desire, Slusser later reported it might not happen:
That will not ensure that the matter will become part of the agenda, however, according to those with knowledge of the inner workings of the owners’ meetings. In fact, the A’s desire to move to San Jose is not expected to be addressed during the May 16-17 event at the league offices.
Slusser’s article also says Commissioner Bud Selig wants this issue “on the front burner”, though no one else is talking much about it:
“Absolutely no comment. I am following the process,” owner Lew Wolff said, referring to the commissioner’s request not to discuss the stadium situation until it is resolved.
The article reiterates Monday’s report that the city of San Jose might consider filing a lawsuit challenging baseball’s antitrust exemption if the A’s aren’t granted permission to move.
This has been going on for three years. Based on this latest report, it seems likely to enter a fourth.
It seems like forever since the Oakland A’s began their push to build a new stadium in San Jose, but in reality it’s only been about three years.
The Chronicle has learned that the A’s plan to put their stadium issue onto the agenda for next month’s owners meetings in New York.
A major-league source said the team is placing the stadium issue on the agenda in the hopes that a vote will be taken on the A’s desire to move to San Jose.
The rest of Slusser’s article is a rehash of where we’ve been before: the Giants don’t want the A’s in San Jose because it’s been their “territory” since the late 1980s, and Bud Selig did some more of the harrumphing he does so well:
Commissioner Bud Selig made some interesting statements to Tracy Ringolsby of FoxSports.com last month, telling Ringolsby, “Both sides are deeply positioned and I am in the middle of trying to fashion some type of an agreement. It is very complicated.”
If baseball had a commissioner with any backbone, it wouldn’t be that complicated, but this is Bud Selig we’re talking about. Anyway, Slusser writes that the A’s might ask for a simple vote of owners; they’d need a 75 percent yes vote to override the Giants, and:
Should the A’s fail to get enough votes to override the Giants’ territorial rights, it is possible that San Jose will consider filing a lawsuit against Major League Baseball, challenging its anti-trust exemption.
Well, baseball surely wouldn’t want that. Things could get interesting at the owners’ meetings. Stay tuned.
The curious little dance that the Oakland Athletics hope will eventually get their team approved to move to San Jose continues. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal has a suggestion of how to do this while appeasing the Giants, who still claim San Jose as theirs, which could involve helping the Giants financially, as MLB did for the Orioles when the Nationals “invaded” their territory:
The Giants’ concerns about losing their share of the lucrative South Bay market are legitimate — and never mind that the Giants only acquired the territorial rights to the area when former A’s owner Walter Haas granted them to former Giants owner Bob Lurie at a time when the Giants were considering moving to St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Giants worked hard to develop the South Bay market, just as the Orioles once worked hard to develop the D.C. market. And, when John Fisher and Lewis Wolff bought the Athletics in 2005, Selig explicitly told them they should not plan on relocating the franchise, sources say.
It is in the interest of both teams and MLB to have two strong franchises in the Bay Area, where the combined population of over six million is definitely big enough to support two teams, especially with the corporate dollars in Silicon Valley. Rosenthal reports that a San Jose city councilman is “willing to explore” an antitrust suit against baseball, but:
I also spoke with an expert in the field, Tulane law professor Gabe Feldman, who said that such a suit would be a “real longshot.” Even if the Supreme Court allowed San Jose to challenge baseball’s antitrust exemption, Feldman said, the city would face a second hurdle — other legal precedent that allows sports leagues to place reasonable restrictions on relocation.
There’s no reason for that. Bud Selig simply has to push all the parties to do the right thing, which is let the A’s relocate to San Jose.
The current ownership group of the Oakland A's would prefer to move the team to San Jose, where they could cash in on all of the Pets.com money that's still floating around down there. But not every A's fan is excited about that, especially the ones who are close to the current location, as well as fans from all points north.
If there were a way to build a nice waterfront park out by Jack London Square, say, the Giants would shut up about territorial rights and the A's would have a nice new revenue stream. According to noted Bay Area rascals Matier & Ross, there are two investment groups looking into this possibility:
Two investment groups - including one that recently dropped out of the high-priced bidding for the Los Angeles Dodgers - have expressed serious interest in buying the Oakland A's and keeping the team in its current home.
Managing partner Lew Wolff denies that the A's are for sale, but if Bud Selig and Major League Baseball uphold the Giants' claim to the San Jose area, Wolff could still cash out for a large gain on the $172 million the ownership group paid for the A's in 2005.
The Oakland A's really want to move to San Jose and the San Francisco Giants really don't want the A's to move to San Jose. We've got an impasse, and now we've got both teams arguing through press release. Is anyone "right"?
The A's released a statement earlier on Wednesday that reaffirmed their belief that they should be entitled to move to San Jose and build a new ballpark. The timing of the release had to do with Bill Madden's article in the New York Daily News suggesting that the A's weren't likely to be awarded rights to San Jose.
The Giants weren't amused with the statement, and they fired back with a statement of their own:
Mr. Wolff and Mr. Fisher agreed to these territorial designations and were fully aware of our territorial rights when they purchased the A’s for just $172 million in 2005.
The population of Santa Clara County alone represents 43% of our territory. Upon purchasing the team 20 years ago, our plan to revive the franchise relied heavily on targeting and solidifying our fan base in the largest and fastest growing county within our territory.
The fur's a flyin'! Long story short: The A's maintain that the South Bay was given to the Giants as a gesture of goodwill, and that they should have the favor returned. The Giants countered that the current ownership groups involved in the deal had nothing to do with what happened in the '80s, and that both of the current ownership groups bought their franchises for prices that were in no small part based on the territorial-rights agreement that was already in place.
I'm sure the two franchises will get a couple of drinks and hash this out one of these weekends.
The Oakland Athletics got upset enough about reports that they wouldn't be allowed to move to San Jose, that they issued an official team statement on the matter.
On Sunday, the New York Daily News’ Bill Madden wrote that MLB will continue to honor the San Francisco Giants’ territorial rights in San Jose, California, preventing the Oakland Athletics from moving there.
Not so fast, says the commissioner’s office. Henry Schulman:
I’ve just been told by someone in the commissioner’s office that contrary to what a New York newspaper suggested yesterday, the A’s proposed move to San Jose is not on life support. And, it is not true that Commissioner Bud Selig and baseball owners have all but decided to uphold the Giants’ territorial rights to San Jose, which would preclude the A’s from going there.
Schulman further writes that Madden’s column “does not reflect the current situation”, and further:
It’s also clear to me that Selig is engaging in shuttle diplomacy between the A’s and Giants to try to forge a negotiated settlement, which undoubtedly would be the best way to end the stalemate.
These negotiations have been going on for nearly three years. Nearly everyone in baseball except the Giants recognizes that it would be best for the game if the A’s were allowed to move to San Jose. One of these days, maybe Bud Selig will actually push the owners to do the right thing.
Does this qualify as a report?
There's no source, not even an anonymous source. Not "a front-office executive with knowledge of the situation" or "a source within Major League Baseball" or even "someone highly familiar with Bud Selig's hair".
There's just Bill Madden, passing along the knowledge that Major League Baseball will uphold the San Francisco Giants' claim to territorial rights in San Jose, thus keeping the Oakland Athletics from moving there. Bill Madden:
Unfortunately, the "Moneyball" film came up empty with the Academy Award voters, and the same fate beckons for Beane and Oakland A’s owners Lew Wolff and John Fisher in their determined effort to move to a new stadium in Hi-Tech haven. The latter prospect, in which, for a variety of reasons, MLB is going to uphold the San Francisco Giants’ territorial rights in San Jose, will be especially disheartening for Beane.
If this really happens -- and again, this hardly seems an authoritative report but Madden has been in the business for a long time and presumably has some excellent sources -- it's not exactly the end of the world. Yes, the A's will explore other sites. But Portland and Las Vegas and San Antonio aren't exactly screaming for Major League Baseball and the Yankees and Mets won't let the A's move to Brooklyn or New Jersey. It's really hard to win in a stadium like the Coliseum ... but it's hard to win where the Rays play, too, and yet somehow they've been doing it.
This is really a shame, though. Generally speaking, Major League Baseball should allow franchises to follow the people and the money. Forcing the A's to remain where they are is good for nobody except the Giants.
Why are the Oakland A's still playing in their concrete mausoleum? Bud Selig, that's why.
The Oakland A's want to move to a new ballpark in San Jose. The San Francisco Giants claim they own the exclusive right to conduct business in San Jose. We have a proposal to resolve the dispute.
Not so fast. The A's are denying that anything is imminent, and the Giants are still screaming bloody murder.
No other two-team market has territorial rights assigned. The A's gave the Giants the rights to Santa Clara County in 1993, when the Giants had their own stadium vote on the ballot in San Jose. The Giants insist that when they financed AT&T Park, all agreements with lenders were based on the team's current territorial rights, including corporate-rich Silicon Valley.
"Those long-term commitments wouldn't be there without that," Magowan said. "Investors would not have taken the risk if there was belief that our chief competitor could create a shiny new stadium right in the heart of our fan base."
Well, that's real sweet and everything but nothing lasts forever. Let us imagine for a moment that the money keeps leaving Oakland and keeps moving to San Jose. Should San Jose, an hour away from AT&T Park, be forever disqualified from Major League status regardless of how many people live within 15 miles of downtown?
Magowan is absolutely right about one thing: the investors took a risk. There was never any legal document guaranteeing the Giants territorial rights in San Jose for eternity. Territorial rights are granted on a whim by the owners, and they can be un-granted on a whim.
Of course, this being the Land of the Free and Home of the Lawyers, it might not be quite so simple. Ultimately, though, MLB's bylaws trump the Giants' investors, and I believe those bylaws allow the owners to take San Jose away from the Giants if they like.
Everything in the Universe doesn't find its natural balance. We might never see a third team in the Tri-State Area, as much sense as that might make. But not allowing some imaginary team to take up residence in Brooklyn or northern New Jersey isn't anything like not letting an existing franchise move from one spot in the Bay Area to another spot ... a spot more distant from the Giants than the old spot.
Frankly, I'm sick of this whole affair. The Athletics are a sick franchise, and if getting them healthy means making the Giants' lot marginally more difficult, it seems to me a move that MLB has to make. In the best interest of Baseball.
MLB will reportedly deliver the A's gift in February, but A's fans can celebrate now; their long-rumored move to San Jose is about to become a reality.
The Oakland Athletics may not be in Oakland for much longer, if new reports about the prove true: USA Today writer Bob Nightengale reports that sources say the Athletics will be granted permission to move to San Jose by February.
This move has been a possibility simmering on a back burner for some time now; Rob Neyer wrote about the potential of the San Jose A's in September. But while it has been a possibility for many years, with the A's looking to improve their accommodations from the outdated O.co Coliseum to a new ballpark and/or get out from under the shadow of the successful San Francisco Giants, this new approval may accelerate a timeline to get the A's out of the city they have called home since 1968.
The A's have been succeeding as second-class MLB citizens for some years. A move to San Jose may change the calculus in the Bay Area.
For more on the Athletics, visit Athletics Nation.
Bay Area Sports Guy makes a really interesting point about the Athletics’ potential move to San Jose … Despite everything you’ve heard, such a move might actually make the Giants more competitive in the long run. Read on:
A lot of Giants fans are like their favorite team’s ownership group — they’d be happy if the A’s were either contracted or left the area entirely. But that would ultimately prove disastrous to the Giants’ on-field fortunes. As the only game in town, the Giants might not sink so far as to become the Royals or the Pirates, but they’d have no real motivation to do anything other than the least amount possible to keep the team profitable.
If the A’s get a new ballpark, their increased revenue stream would force the Giants to react in kind if the Athletics made an Angels-like move (like signing a high-profile free agent for the first time in several years). Sure, now it seems like the Giants are entrenched as the region’s preeminent team. But most sports fans are fickle, and existing sports fans keep on procreating and making new ones — impressionable young fans who might be swayed to root for a good American League team in a newer, warmer ballpark.
Essentially, the Giants seem to be sort of coasting now because ownership thinks they can … which is great for profits, but maybe not so great in the standings. There’s definitely something to be said for healthy competition, and right now there just isn’t one.
A shift in the Giants' management might grease the skids for an A's relocation ... but probably doesn't.