The inability of Bumbling Bud Selig to resolve the territorial kerfuffle between the NL West First place San Francisco Giants and their AL West Wild Card bound Bay rivals, the upstart Oakland Athletics, may result in making Billy Beane available to become GM of the Boston Red Sox.
The situation is like the the dating sites profiles:
A: “IT’S COMPLICATED.”
“After the 2002 season, the Boston Red Sox made Beane an offer to become their GM, but he declined. On April 15, 2005, Beane received a contract extension to remain with the Athletics as its general manager through 2012, and new team owner Lewis Wolff awarded Beane a small portion of the team’s ownership. In February 2012, the Athletics extended Beane’s contract through 2019.” ” [Wikipedia]
Although Beane is technically under contract, if the team is forced to remain in Oakland, forever, despite the current shocking success of the team, a future of dwindling attendance in the immutable Oakland Mausoleum [aka Al Davis Memorial Crypt] may force the owners to move out of the Bay Area.
A decision that allows the A’s to move to a new $400 million stadium in San Jose [“LA-lite”], about an hour’s drive south of Oakland, would be very attractive to Beane; a move to Sacramento, or Las Vegas could make Boston a much more appealing venue, where Beane could succeed and write the sequel:
Moneyball …with Money.
Sources say that Selig recently indicated that his “decision” will NOT be a “yes or no.” This is at least consistent with his problem-solving history, where the $22 million Decider either:
1. Kicks the can down the road.
2. Punts out-of-bounds.
3. Goes into delay-of-game mode.
4. Appoints a “blue ribbon” commission
…or, rather than moving at normal speed, Bud defaults to his “half-fast” approach.
Thus did Bud appoint a “blue ribbon” committee to investigate the A’s/Giants dispute… in March 2009.
In May 2011 San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed sent a letter to Bud Selig asking the commissioner for a timetable of when he might decide whether the A’s can pursue this new ballpark, but Selig did not respond.
Since Bud appointed his Blue Ribbon Troika, the Mets, the Yankees, the Minnesota Twins and the Miami Marlins have moved into new parks.
The Giants insist that San Jose is in their territory, a fact included in Major League Baseball’s constitution in 1990. The owners say they bought the team in 1993 partly because it included the rights to San Jose, where they have spent tens of millions of dollars trying to develop fans and sponsors. Letting the A’s move there, they say, would be violate the MLB constitution and impact the team’s value.
The “case history” for precedents is “complicated:”
In 1990, Bob Lurie, the owner of the Giants at the time, wanted to move to San Jose; Walter Haas, the A’s owner, gave his consent. When Lurie’s deal collapsed, the Giants kept the rights to Santa Clara County.
Current co-owner Wolff argues that Haas agreed to give the Giants the rights to Santa Clara County only if the team moved there. Yet when Lurie sold the team in 1993, the buyers — which included the Fisher family — did so in part because Santa Clara County would remain Giants territory. When Fisher sold his stake in the Giants so he could buy the A’s, he did so knowing the Giants had control of Santa Clara County.
One proposal that is said to be floating would require the A’s to guarantee they can both pay for the ballpark, privately, and still spend enough money to field a competitive team. Owners Wolff and Fisher would have to promise they would not sell the team within five or 10 years for a quick profit.
The Giants would be required to pledge that the franchise or any franchise affiliates (sponsors, etc.) won’t file any lawsuits, which might re-open the MLB monopoly exception allowed by Congress; a thought that sends a sudden flush of human sewage to Selig’s left ventricle.
MLB would agree to project the Giants’ monetary status five years after the A’s are playing in the South Bay — and after that review, compensate the Giants for any losses directly attributed to the move.
San Jose would assure general cooperation and land acquisition.
Recall the Selig “Three Card Monty” scam, when in a very similar case, the Montreal Expos moved to Washington D.C., MLB granted the Baltimore Orioles certain financial guarantees (e.g. resale value, television rights).
Now, it appears that Oakland owners Fisher and Wolff will be screwed by Commissioner Bud; the kind of guy who would sell out a fraternity brother.
Wonder how that fellow Wolff get mixed up in this mess?
“I’m in baseball because of Bud Selig,”
said Wolff, who was a college fraternity brother of the commissioner.
How likely is it that the A’s will leave the Bay Area, even the state, even the country, and allow Beane to come to the Red Sox?
Call the Vegas Sports Book [1-800-379-9524], ask for “Lenny,” and get a few markers down on this:
- Selig will announce that his “blue ribbon” trio has recommended that the matter be kicked upstairs, just below Selig’s floor, to the owners. Selig will say that the committee recommends that the owners take a vote on the relocation of the Oakland A’s
- Approval of the owners would require a 75% majority.
- Expect the owners to side with the Giants, citing the black letter law in the MLB constitution.
- Expect the owners to then approve the relocation of the A’s to another suitable city, somewhere outside the Giants designated territory. And, of course not to any of their teams designated territories.
- Expect Wolff to throw up his hands and sell the team.
- Expect Commissioner Selig to toss out possible locations like: San Juan, Puerto Rico; Monterrey, Mexico; Portland, Oregon; New Jersey; Northern Virginia; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Norfolk, Virginia. Enter the “Las Vegas A’s” into the lost wage haze.
- Expect Selig to find a buyer [say, Jeffrey H. Loria, Marlins owner, who could sell his team to MLB] to move the team to Las Vegas; Enter the “Las Vegas A’s” into the lost wage haze.
Then, it’s a good bet that Beane will become discouraged with the franchise and, citing changes in the original agreement with the team, annul his contract; but don‘t put any serious money down on it.
The only “sure thing” is that Boston media will start to speculate on Beane becoming GM of the Red Sox.