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The A's in San Jose: what's it gonna be, Bud?

Mar 16, 2010, 3:15 PM EDT

So Bud Selig appointed a committee to study the intricacies of maybe possibly hopefully hypothetically moving the Athletics to San Jose.  The problem: the Giants’ territorial rights.  I’m not expert of decision making, but it strikes me that Bud’s committee had to answer a relatively small, relatively simple few questions: (1) Are the A’s viable in Oakland; (2) If no, would the A’s be better off in San Jose; (3) if yes, what is to be done about the San Francisco Giants’ territorial rights.

Easy questions? Not necessarily, but not utter killers either. I think it’s safe to assume that the answer to (1) is no, at least given the realities of Lew Wolff’s ownership and what the people involved are willing to do as opposed to all that is possible to save baseball in Oakland.  From there it’s easy to say that (2) is “yes,” and to the extent there is any specter of doubt in San Jose it’s the San Jose government’s problem, not baseball’s. At least not yet.  That leaves (3), which is how best to buy off the Giants.  Tricky? Sure, but you out a handful of folks in a conference room for an afternoon you can come away with four or five bullet points on how best to attack the problem.

Which makes me wonder why it has taken a year of studying the matter, yet still no report.  At least that’s Bud’s story.  As the Chronicle’s John Shea points out, however, Oakland officials — specifically Mayor Ron Dellums —  said the report is done and that Selig has seen it.  But still, no word from the Commissioner on what they’re gonna do with the Athletics.

One year. The Allied powers figured out how the post-war partition of Europe was going to go down in less time. The Bretton Woods conference established the system that kept financial order for 60 years in less time. It didn’t take too much more than a year to get a man in space after the formation of NASA.  You’d think that a handful of people could figure out how to properly dispose of a baseball team in that time frame. 

  1. RobRob - Mar 16, 2010 at 5:41 PM

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but you are assuming that this committee has designed to “figure out how to properly dispose of a baseball team.” In reality, the committee was formed to stall for time it would take to reach an agreement to move the team to San Jose (and probably time to get San Jose to build them a new stadium). Any product of the committee (e.g., a report) will be definitive about the viability of Oakland, but ambiguous enough to support any and all options for San Jose. In other words, it will be useless.

  2. lynx - Mar 16, 2010 at 8:08 PM

    Why is everyone so hung up on this issue of the Giants “rights” to San Jose? Those “rights” were granted in a letter from the Commissioners office during a (failed) ballot initiative to build a stadium in San Jose for the Giants in the mid-90’s. The stadium was never built, and the Giants have actually done less than the A’s since then to create a presence in the South Bay. Those “rights” can presumably be reassigned by another letter from the Commissioner’s office.
    That being said, a new ballpark in Oakland would highlight a fantastic new downtown development project already underway, and keep the A’s with their longtime fans in Oakland. Look at Cleveland, Baltimore, Denver, Detroit, etc. for the urban renewal blueprint. Baseball fans from San Francisco, Marin and the Peninsula would even flock to it, assuming it would be an attraction like AT&T Park is now. They would be less likely to go to San Jose than they are to the current Coliseum location.
    If you want to “dispose of” the Oakland A’s, “dispose of” them in Oakland, which is crying out for a downtown waterfront park. It’s a no-brainer.

  3. APBA Guy - Mar 16, 2010 at 8:34 PM

    I think they’ll keep waiting until some town somewhere says “We’re in the Way Back Machine and we’d be willing to taxpayer-finance a new stadium for you poor, poor owners.”
    Until then, the only report you’ll see will list problems with a host of possible solutions.

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