For nearly a decade MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has been in dereliction of his duty in solving the territorial stalemate between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants. Now, the A’s lease is up and they have no place to play next season.
Could the A’s be moved East to play in the AL East?
Today his Press Flack has floated the idea above the Bay Area, like a methane cloud, that the Giants, who have stubbornly opposed the Athletics proposal to move to San Jose, claiming that they own the territory, allow the Oakland team to play at A T & T Park in San Francisco.
The Giants have yet to respond.
They could see it as an opportunity to use the “rent” money to pay off their mortgage on their magnificent ballpark.
The Commissioner’s PR team is creating the impression that, if the Giants object to the Athletics moving in, he will order them to do it “in the best interests of the game.”
Instead of acting to resolve the conflict in a timely and conciliatory manner, “Butt Sealing” has gone into his favorite problem-solving routine: ignore, deny, hesitate, stall, and appoint a committee.
The Commissioner stalled so long that his former fraternity brother, Lew Wolff, owner of the Oakland franchise, gave up and filed a law suit.
Just last month, October 11th, a judge ruled and the City of San Jose lost on one legal issue but won the right to proceed with its lawsuit against MLB.
This was the Commissioner’s Office spin:
“Major League Baseball is pleased that the Court dismissed the heart of San Jose’s action and confirmed that MLB has the legal right to make decisions about the relocation of its member Clubs.
It must have been important for Selig, who has sat with his thumb up his rear for a decade, to win the right to make decisions about the relocation of its member Clubs.
This is San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed statement regarding the City of San Jose’s lawsuit against Major League Baseball:
I am pleased that the judge has allowed our case to move forward. Major League Baseball’s unfair and anti-competitive actions are costing San Jose residents millions of dollars in annual tax revenues. .. San Jose filed this lawsuit after waiting patiently for more than four years for a decision from Commissioner Selig. The court’s decision this brings us one step closer to paving the way for San Jose to host a major league ballclub.
This is what U.S. District Judge Ronald White’s wrote:
“Although MLB’s frustration of the option agreement is not an antitrust violation, MLB is nonetheless aware of the Option Contract and has engaged in acts … indicating an intent to frustrate the contract,”
The result is that the lawsuit will continue, but it did not resolve the over-riding reality that the Oakland Athletics’ lease with the Oakland Coliseum ended with the 2013 season and Bud now has a franchise without a place to play next season.
“Bud, the schedule maker is on line 1…”
[If you are not familiar with just how often Bud has kicked the can down the road from Oakland to San Jose, read the brief history below the main post.]
If his threat to force the Giants to share their new ballpark with Oakland turn out to be more Bud bluff and bluster:
- 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.
- 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.
Or, maybe Bud plays the “World Baseball” ploy and moves the Oakland franchise to Australia and names the team “The Haze”?
The “Aukland Haze.”
Bud, is that you Schedule Coordinator banging on your door?
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 gets mixed up in this mess?
“I’m in baseball because of Bud Selig,”
said Wolff, who was a college fraternity brother of the commissioner.