The Oakland Athletics wanted to discuss their proposed move to San Jose at the quarterly MLB owners' meetings, but but they couldn't even get the issue on the agenda.
That didn't stop Commissioner Bud Selig from making some comments about the issue on Thursday after both the A's and the Giants, who don't want the A's in what is their official territory, made presentations to MLB's executive council:
Asked whether the A's would consider other relocation possibilities, Selig responded: "You'd have to ask Lew Wolff. That's really his decision to make."
Twenty-three teams have opened ballparks since 1989, and the A's and Tampa Bay are the only two teams still seeking new stadiums. Wolff would be allowed to consider other sites within the A's territory -- such as downtown Oakland -- but approval from MLB would be needed for a move outside the territory.
"It depends where they'd be. They could be all over the world, for that matter," Selig said. "They need approval. We have to go through an approval process. It just depends on where they're moving to."
Well now. That's something that has been mentioned on occasion -- the idea of the A's relocating outside the Bay Area -- but never publicly by Selig in this manner. "All over the world", Bud? Really? Where could the A's actually relocate? Here are some ideas, some realistic... some, not so much:
The California capital is the home of the A's Triple-A affiliate and is less than 90 miles from the team's current stadium. It's the 20th largest television market and the second-largest (after Orlando) without a MLB team. Problem: no suitable stadium and clearly, no public money available to pay for one.
The powers that be in Vegas would love a MLB team. The chances of Bud and the owners approving a MLB team in the gambling mecca are near zero. There's no suitable stadium there, either, though in Vegas money would probably be available to build one. They'd likely have to build a retractable dome; like Phoenix, the summer climate is way too hot to play outdoors most of the summer.
The Canadian city's metro population is about 2.3 million and they've been dying to get a MLB team for decades. They have a domed stadium that could be easily adapted to baseball. It's not clear whether MLB owners, burned with a team in Montreal, would approve a move to Canada.
MLB has played some regular season games in Monterrey, between the Mets and Padres in 1996. Baseball is wildly popular in Mexico; the questions of a suitable stadium (the 1996 games were played in a park that seated only 20,000 and wasn't major-league quality in terms of lights) and how American-born players would get along in a Spanish-speaking city would probably nix this move.
So how about this? There's a city in North America with a metropolitan population of about six million -- just a bit smaller than the Bay Area -- with a new major-league quality stadium and many rabid sports fans that could support the A's.
I'm talking about Philadelphia. MLB could figure out a way to schedule two teams in Citizens Bank Park, right? Why not move the A's back to their roots? Sure, you'd have to realign the divisions again -- can't have Philadelphia and Seattle in the same division -- but Bud & Co. are great at figuring that kind of thing out.
The Philadelphia Athletics. Embrace the past, Bud. It might work for everyone.