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Happy Fifth Anniversary to the Committee Studying the Oakland A’s move to San Jose

Mar 31, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

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Yesterday was an important day. It was the fifth anniversary of Bud Selig convening a committee to investigate the Oakland Athletics potential move to San Jose.

Not that we shoulda expected anything by now. Anyone who has followed baseball’s business matters for any length of time can tell you that Bud Selig forms committees for one purpose and one purpose only: to get people to quit asking him about things or blaming him for stuff. To give him a committee he can point to in order to say “hey, they’re working on it. I’ll know something when you do.” There’s no real urgency to fix the problem, obviously.

So the A’s still sit in Oakland, San Jose spins its wheels and people act like the A’s not being there is about anything other than the Giants owning territorial right to San Jose. Which they don’t like to mention, because to do so is to remind people that baseball has carved up territories in a way that is every bit as retrograde as European carving up Africa in the 19th century.

But at least the five year anniversary gives me an excuse to listen to this:

 

  1. modernishfather - Mar 31, 2014 at 4:05 PM

    It’s raining here in the Bay Area, so there’s a very good chance that the Coliseum “fountains” will be bubbling up to celebrate.

  2. Bob - Mar 31, 2014 at 4:20 PM

    Selig is just terrible.

  3. juuuuustabitoutside - Mar 31, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    This is the fault of the SF Giants and MLB in general for allowing territories.
    The Giants claiming territory issues screams at Congress to look into MLB’s antitrust issues.
    The Giants took public funding to get a nice new ballpark in downtown after playing in the permanent cyclone that is Candlestick Park.
    Now they are afraid they will lose fans if the A’s do the same in San Jose, 48 miles away.
    How far away are the Angels and Dodgers? 32 miles.
    How about Cubs and White Sox? 11 miles
    Mets and Yankees? 10 miles
    If you don’t want to lose fans… put a better product on the field!

    • lingerie00yardsale - Mar 31, 2014 at 5:21 PM

      Both the Athletics and Giants ownership groups purchased their respective teams at prices that reflected the territories available to them. Now the A’s owners have decided that they’d like to move their team to a territory that they acknowledged wasn’t theirs the moment the signed the contracts of ownership.

      Meanwhile business owners in Oakland are coming together with a ballpark proposal for Jack London Square in downtown Oakland that Lew Wolff is ignoring because he is clearly more interested in realty speculation than the well being of Oakland Athletics fans.

      • juuuuustabitoutside - Mar 31, 2014 at 5:30 PM

        This should be a debate between Oakland and San Jose to come up with the best solution for the franchise and its fans. The bystander Giants should not have veto power.

      • clydeserra - Mar 31, 2014 at 6:04 PM

        Now, I am not blaming the giants here, but they certainly did not purchase the teams with that in mind. that is hagwash that is being used to make their argument.

      • jkcalhoun - Mar 31, 2014 at 9:10 PM

        It clearly doesn’t matter whether you or I think the Giants’ position on the importance of the territorial rights that were assigned to the club when the current ownership group bought the franchise is hogwash. What matters is whether at least 3/4 of the other owners think it’s hogwash. Not enough of them do, it appears, because Selig hasn’t got the votes to overturn the assignment.

        I don’t disagree with the desire to strip MLB of its antitrust exemption, which would undermine the clubs’ current ability to keep franchises boxed into a given area without their approval to move. But unless and until that changes, the owners decide, and apparently the Giants’ contingent made their points with them rather effectively.

    • dlevalley - Mar 31, 2014 at 5:35 PM

      Worth pointing out — AT&T was built with entirely private money. The city did kick in a $10 million tax break. But the entire $350+ to build the stadium came from the Giants.

      Also worth pointing out: the A’s ceded San Jose to the Giants, considering the area unworthy of fighting over. The Giants should, clearly, help out the cross-bay team, and are winning no fans by holding out. But it’s not like the Giants stole San Jose from Oakland.

      We can’t let people forget the privately funded stadium part, though. Every time some owner screams about how they can’t afford to build a stadium without massive public subsidies, AT&T is a (the) shining example that it can be done without.

      • blabidibla - Mar 31, 2014 at 5:54 PM

        It’s not true the A’s considered the area “unworthy” of fighting over. A great portion of both fan bases come from the south bay. If anything the south bay was in a rapid expansion at the time, that neither SF or OAK can match, and that continues to this day.

        A good run down on the history of the territorial claims here:

        http://www.athleticsnation.com/2012/4/18/2958535/territorial-rights-a-not-so-brief-history

        “Selig, in his discussion with Ringolsby, appeared to have some sympathy for the A’s arguments, saying, “It is different because in 1990 when Bob Lurie wanted to move the Giants to San Jose, Walter Haas, the wonderful owner of the Oakland club, who did things in the best interest of baseball, granted permission. What got lost there is they didn’t feel it was permission in perpetuity. He gave Bob permission to go down there. Unfortunately or fortunately, it never got changed. We are dealing with a lot of history here.”

      • clydeserra - Mar 31, 2014 at 6:05 PM

        the A’s ceded SJ to the giants in hopes they would move there and the A’s could take over SF.

      • clydeserra - Mar 31, 2014 at 6:08 PM

        @blab athleticsnation is not a good source.

        There was no Altruism on the part of Haas. It was a good business decision (except they should have had them expire).

        Either way, as an A’s fan, I am glad the Giants are keeping them in Oakland.

      • blabidibla - Mar 31, 2014 at 6:19 PM

        Feel free to leave the messenger out of it then and debate the message. I was quoting Selig, who like him or not, is a key figure in the debate.

        The article goes into great detail regarding the long history of the two clubs in the Bay Area. Having grown up in SJ, I was there when the Giants tried to move. I’ll agree it wasn’t totally altruistic in motive for the A’s, but it was good agreement for both clubs at the time when the Giants were struggling to stay in the Bay. Now that the shoe is on the other foot…

      • jblokhed - Mar 31, 2014 at 11:03 PM

        They actually tried twice. In 1987 and 1989, losing SJ voters each time. They would have been in Tampa in 1993 if not for Peter O’Malley.

      • jkcalhoun - Mar 31, 2014 at 11:51 PM

        And what else did Peter O’Malley’s devoted bloc of voters among the owners accomplish during his reign of influence? Was that the bloc that neutralized the “small market” contingent that wanted to push a hard line with the MLBPA in order to force a salary cap, even to go as far as risking the cancellation of the World Series?

        No?

        Yes, O’Malley in Los Angeles and Tom Werner in San Diego were outspoken in favor of keeping them there, but I don’t believe O’Malley had enough influence to sway the owners at large against their own inclinations. Not on this vote in 1992, and not in the labor war that followed. The owners at large voted in favor of the Giants staying in San Francisco.

  4. Liam - Mar 31, 2014 at 7:13 PM

    I took LSD for the first time five years ago yesterday as well. It is possible Bud contacted me to be on the committee and I just don’t remember it. My bad if I’m the hold up, everyone.

  5. cackalackyank - Mar 31, 2014 at 8:02 PM

    I say we get that committee a cake. I know just where to get the ingredients for it, too. Let’s make it with the stuff that bubbles up out of the drains in the Oakland Colisewerum.

  6. jblokhed - Mar 31, 2014 at 10:33 PM

    Let the “thumbs downs” fly A’s fans but…

    The A’s, despite probably being in “the right,” will never move to SJ because:

    1. They have no specific plan. Where will the stadium be? Who will pay for it. The endless lawsuits by “environmentalists” and unions have not been headed off. Why would Selig take on the Giants with nothing concrete.

    2. The A’s are not even the JV, they are the Junior JV in the Bay. They have no leverage.

  7. embinoratsicus - Apr 1, 2014 at 4:08 AM

    The A’s should sell to an ownership group that wants to build a stadium in Jack London square on the waterfront. Better for the fans, better for the A’s, better for baseball. But the current ownership cannot see past the value of the “ballpark village” that will form the major part of the investment and continuing revenue stream.

    Let’s get some baseball people back in ownership of this team.

    Also, the A’s had higher average attendance than the Giants up until AT&T park was built, and ticket and concession prices went through the roof. There were dry spots, but there were also the same at Candlestick. The A’s are actually a more fun team to watch, and they are better run from a baseball standpoint than the Giants. If they had a new stadium with increased revenue, and if people would give them the respect they deserve given their common post season appearances in the last several years, then this would not really even be a question.

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