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The A’s plan to force a vote on the move to San Jose

Apr 16, 2012, 4:30 PM EDT

San Jose postcard

For over three years the Oakland A’s have waited patiently for Major League Baseball to do … something with respect to their planned move to San Jose.  Major League Baseball has studied it, they claim, but we all know that the study was a b.s. time killer. They could have researched and built an atom bomb in that time, so determining something like “San Jose > Oakland” wouldn’t have been too big a trick.

The A’s are tired of waiting. As the San Francisco Chronicle has learned that the A’s are going to try for an up-or-down vote on the San Jose move next month:

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 A’s have been waiting for more than three years for the issue to be resolved.

Given that the Giants oppose the move on territorial grounds and given that most other teams would likely not want to set a precedent which could undermine their own territorial rights, one presumes that the vote, if taken, will go against Oakland.

Which may be what they want and expect. Right now, one would think, they just want out of limbo.  And forcing a vote on it may goose Major League Baseball into figuring out something for them, one way or another.

  1. natstowngreg - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    The Athletics’ frustration is understandable. At this point, it seems they have little to lose by forcing the issue, though failure is likely.

  2. cur68 - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    Harrumph!” said Bud, who’d been picking at his latest face bandaid. He slammed down the printout from young Calcaterra’s webpage.

    Harumph. This is most irregular! Get Beane on the telephone, Maude!” he bawled out his office door, eschewing, as was his custom, his “newfangled” intercommie thingy. He didn’t trust gadgets.

    Shortly, “Mr. Beane on line 1 for you, Mr. Selig.”

    Selig grabbed the handset and stabbed random buttons on the phone base till Billy Beane’s voice could be heard,

    “er, Hello? Mr. Selig? This is Billy Beane…hello?”

    “Billy, young fella, do you know what “Harrumph!” means? It means I’m not ready for this change, that’s what it means!”

    “er…what?”

    “Don’t mess me about, young fella! Harrumph! You tell that boss of yours to wait for the committee! Do you hear me? Harrumph!“, Selig slammed down the phone.

    “Maude! These bandaids don’t stick!” he bellowed out his door.

    Maude came to the door holding a colourful box. “Those bandaids are from 1955, Bud. Here I have a newer box for you. They have superheros on them. Which one do you want?”

    Bud’s beady eyes lit up, “Do you have Aquaman?”

  3. APBA Guy - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    I for one am not holding my breath. Goodness knows how many additional delays and stalls Air Bud has up his procedural sleeve.

    But I think the A’s forcing the issue has more to do with the belief that, after the Dodger sale, the value of every franchise just went up 50%. That being the case, why would ol’ Lew not cash out? Let some Wall Street type buy the club and deal with the politics in Oakland and among the owners.

    Of course, it’s entirely possible that every franchise BUT Oakland increased in value, damaged as Oakland has been by current ownership. We’ll see.

    But I’ll be shocked if there is an actual vote in May, and double shocked if the vote allows Oakland to move to SJ.

  4. scatterbrian - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    Just like the fans, they just want an answer. Three-plus years of waiting is beyond ridiculous, especially when the A’s are trying to move further away from the Giants.

    They can also avoid precedent if they simply returned the territorial rights back to the A’s. They were given to the Giants so they could move to Santa Clara/San Jose, and when that didn’t happen, they should have been given back to the A’s.

  5. AlohaMrHand - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    The A’s should seriously consider looking elsewhere.San Jose is just not going to happen.

    • cackalackyank - Apr 16, 2012 at 10:59 PM

      See also: Portland, San Antonio, New Orleans, Buffalo, or maybe even the Carolinas or Tenesse.

      • cackalackyank - Apr 16, 2012 at 11:03 PM

        Yeah, Tennesse should have had another “n”.

  6. dlf9 - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    I would like some bright, young, bourbon drinking, former attorney to opine on whether this is step one in Wolfe’s plan to sue for alleged violations of antitrust laws. Did the Curt Flood Act Congress passed a few years ago continue to shield MLB? Or is the Piazza (father who tried to buy the Giants, not son who played for Dodgers, Mets, et al) case the death knell which would allow Al Davis / Bob Irsay -like franchise moves?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:15 PM

      I’m not bright or young, but I’ll fill in until that guy gets here:

      I doubt that he would sue. It’s one thing to get bent out of a shape. It’s another thing for a friend of Bud to sue and really upset the apple cart. Seems unlikely.

      And I don’t think they’d have a great shot of winning. The Piazza case dealt with franchise sales, not territories/location. So I think they’d be flying without even a small precedent at their disposal.

  7. natstowngreg - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    Two comments on this fine work of literature:

    1. I think the lack of action is the Giants’ doing, not Bud’s. Bud isn’t the dictator of baseball; he needs support from his bosses, the owners. Craig did a good job of explaining why the support isn’t there. So, like the politician he is, Bud has a committee to hide the lack of support for the Athletics’ plans. (No doubt, politicians in Canada do this sort of thing as well.)

    2. Sorry, I just don’t get all the hatin’ on Aquaman on this here blog right here. Guess I just don’t read enough comic books.

    • natstowngreg - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:35 PM

      Oops, wrong level. This was re: Cur’s comment.

      • cur68 - Apr 16, 2012 at 6:03 PM

        Hello, someone critiquing high art? I shall try to rejoin: Politicians in Canada have another tactic. Its called “study it in both official languages”. Hardly ever need a committee when one bilingual person can delay it for decades just getting the language right.

        I do not know why the hate for Aquaman. But, that’s Craig. An anti-Aquite. Unwise if you ask me, to go on record and spread anti-Aquaman propaganda. Dude’s a god-ilke being. Do not piss him off. This is why Craig experienced a flood, flu and multiple rain outs last season. He was more popular with rain clouds than Rob McKenna, was our boy Craig.

        As to Bud and his committee being a way to not say no to Lew Wolff et al, well it sure seems like a good way to irritate the heck out his good buddy Lew, to me. Its inefficient, deceitful, evasive, and some other long words which = “not very nice”. In fact, the whole thing is more plausible if you consider Bud to be the sort of guy like I’ve depicted: resistant to change unless there’s a lot of money in it. Clearly, since this is good for the A’s, but not anyone else, either good or bad, really, it’ll be something he’s “agin”…Harumph.

  8. stairwayto7 - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    Move the A’s and Raiders to Portkand!

  9. SmackSaw - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    OK. Let me get this straight. The Giants will get upset if the A’s move further away?

    • hackerjay - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:52 PM

      Moving farther away from the Giants, but closer to all the Silicon Valley money that the Giants love so much.

      • scatterbrian - Apr 16, 2012 at 6:29 PM

        What’s truly mind-boggling is that there are two teams in New York and Chicago, and yet the Giants are allowed sole rights to the third- and fourth-most populous cities in California.

      • jkcalhoun - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:17 PM

        The combined populations of San Francisco and San Jose amount to only 65% of the population of Chicago, only 46% of the population of Los Angeles, and only 21% of the population of NYC. So my mind is not nearly as boggled about it.

        The combined populations of San Francisco and San Jose is smaller than the population of Houston. Somebody get Bud on the line — I’ve got a new suggestion for a new home for the A’s.

      • scatterbrian - Apr 16, 2012 at 11:33 PM

        jk –
        As far as I can find, the SF Bay Area is the only region divided by counties, and it’s that distribution that is mind-boggling. The Giants currently have rights to six counties (Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo, Monterey, Santa Cruz and Marin) with a total population of 4.235M. The A’s get two counties (Alameda and Contra Costa), population 2.559M. Alameda County shares a border with Santa Clara County (San Francisco County does not) and yet the Giants own those rights.

      • jkcalhoun - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:51 PM

        It’s not totally arbitrary. At I’m sure others have explained elsewhere, the Giants are currently assigned all the counties more closely associated with life and activity on the Peninsula and the A’s are assigned the counties more closely associated with life and activity in what’s known as The East Bay. Although the dividing line at the border of Alameda and Santa Clara Counties may seem arbitrary when looking at it on the map, the distinction has real basis in local culture.

        Also: as hackerjay said, corporate Silicon Valley money is the big prize in the South Bay, and the relationships with companies located there have become vital to the Giants. You simply could not move the A’s into that area without significantly and permanently hurting the Giants. A reasonable argument can be made that the best way to turn the A’s fortunes around is to reestablish them as a stronger franchise within their current territory — they were able to draw well over 2 million there less than ten years ago. Such a turnaround probably requires a new ballpark; I can’t help thinking that a good deal there could be struck if only the A’s had an owner committed to making it work instead of being distracted by the lure of the other franchise’s lifelines.

    • normcash - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:38 PM

      What’s really infuriating is that the territorial rights the Giants hold to Santa Clara county were granted to them free-of-charge by the A’s when the A’s were owned by the Haas family. At the
      time, the Giants, bedeviled by a bad stadium and a poor team (sound familiar?), were on the verge of moving to Tampa Bay. The Haas family, as public-spirited as owners can be, agreed
      to grant the Giants territorial rights hoping it would keep them in the Bay Area. No good deed goes unpunished, as they say. The Giants now claim that those rights were an important part
      of the value of the team when the current ownership group bought the team as well as as aspect of the financing for AT&T Park. Neither claim bears scrutiny. Oakland and most of the East Bay suburbs are much closer to the downtown San Francisco than Santa Clara County is.
      Indeed, AT&T Park is about a 10-mile drive FARTHER from San Jose than Candlestick is!
      Of course, the 3-year “study” is a joke—there has been no such study, or, if there is, it took a few months to finish. It’s all MLB politics. The A’s are probably not viable in Oakland even with a new stadium. In 1968, when the A’s arrived, Oakland was the 4th largest city in the state and San Jose was about the same size as Toledo. Now, SJ s the third-largest city in the state (about to pass the 1 million-mark) and rapidly growing. For geographical reaons, getting to the the A’s park is difficult, even for East Bay residents. MLB either wants the Bay Area to be a two-team market or it doesn’t.

  10. mybrunoblog - Apr 16, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    Oakland is a dead baseball city. Sorry folks….ok, what market needs a baseball team?
    A’s have moved twice. Maybe third time is a charm.

  11. baseballbarrister - Apr 17, 2012 at 12:07 AM

    Bud Selig’s miss management of the Montreal/Puerto Rico Expos was embarrassing. His move of the Astros to the AL was a cruel joke. And his bungling of the A’s situation is proof positive that he’s clueless. A’s fans, and baseball fans everywhere, deserve better.

  12. chumthumper - Apr 19, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    I lived in San Jose for four years several years ago. The SF stadium was colder than crap. (Never sit in the shade.) Oakland was just a tad better. They both should be outlawed. San Jose may be an improvement. You gotta be a baseball fan to go to games in the bay area.

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