Selig: A’s and Rays don’t need new stadiums. Kidding!

Speaking of commissioners doing what commissioners do, MLB jefe Bud Selig told the Associated Press yesterday that, in case you were wondering, the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland A’s need new stadiums:

“The one given everybody believes is that Oakland needs a new stadium. The last time I was there, I probably shouldn’t say this, but I’ll say it anyway, it reminded me of County Stadium and Shea Stadium, and that’s not a compliment, in either case. … You can’t ask people to compete if they have a stadium that doesn’t produce any kind of revenue to give them a chance to compete. So that’s a given. …

“[The Rays] need a new ballpark, there’s no question. I talked a lot to Stu Sternberg, and he’s talking to people. He and I have had many conversations, and we’ll just monitor the situation. He’s doing what he should do. He’s there, he’s talking to all parties trying to see what he can do.”

With the A’s situation, of course, Selig’s stadium demands are complicated by the fact that A’s owner Lew Wolff wants to build a stadium in San Jose, but his plans are being held up by the San Francisco Giants exercising their territorial rights to that city, rights that are currently being upheld by … Bud Selig. Asked when he’d act to break this deadlock, Selig mumbled a whole lot:

“I’m always hopeful when there are debates amongst clubs, I try to lead teams in a direction of solving their problems themselves. … We’ve had a lot of meetings, spent an enormous amount of time. I’ve just met with both clubs again, and we’ll continue along this process. … Time will tell. I’m always hopeful. I’m an optimist, and I really believe that every problem has a solution to it. The question is just finding the right one, and so far I’ve been lucky on that score. And so I hope my string of luck will continue.”

It would have been nice if the assembled AP editors had asked him, say, how many more years he was going to keep saying that with a straight face. But that’s probably the kind of question that would cause Bud Selig to stop coming to your office to talk to you, which — hey, wait, win-win!

22 comments on “Selig: A’s and Rays don’t need new stadiums. Kidding!

  1. Well for what it’s worth both Billy Beane and Wolff hinted yesterday that Selig is in fact mediating a resolution to this fiasco. What that resolution will be and how long it will take them to come to it is of course up in the air, but it’s good news they’re finally all sitting down and talking about this even if it took them 3 years to do so (to say nothing of the previous 13 years the A’s have been trying to get a new ballpark).

  2. Maybe if Selig implemented a salary cap & floor with a REAL revenue sharing plan unlike that luxury tax of a joke, maybe the David’s could compete against the Goliath’s. I guess the only thing MLB learned from the NFL was moving regular season games to foreign soil & stealing home games away from team’s fans.

  3. while Tropicana Field clearly needs to be replaced, the coliseum could benefit from a remodeling (if and when the Raiders leave). It would be far nicer than the “big A” (also a remodeled ex-multisport stadium).

  4. Gad, every time you bring up this issue, it feels like you’re tearing open the wound again.

    What a weird situation MLB allowed itself to get into in the Bay area. It should be a shared market. The market everyone compares them to is NYC, where there really isn’t Yankees turf and Mets turf. They overlap. And, in fact, that’s how it works in the Bay area, too. There are A’s fans everywhere, and Giants fans everywhere.

    I grant you that there are 10 times as many Giants fans as A’s fans, but that should not matter.

    It still makes me sick that the Raiders caused a lot of this problem. That was a nice baseball stadium before the Raiders made demands.

    I’m one of the Giants fans, but on this issue, I think the Giants are wrong. I hope they bend here. They don’t have to break. It won’t affect their fan base if they do bend.

    O/T: They just won’t stop talking in Sacramento…

  5. Just because the NYC market is shared doesn’t mean the Mets and Yankees can do whatever they want without the other’s permission, though. Cf. the Mets rejecting the Yanks’ request to put their AAA team temporarily in Newark, leaving them a road team for the year while their Scranton home is rebuilt.

  6. I’m sure the Mets and Yankees cannot just operate in NYC in any old way they want — that’s what the antitrust exemption is about, to a large extent — but the Giants have really gone to extremes. They’re pinning the A’s down.

    I don’t know all the Mets-Yankees history, and I’m sure they’ve done nasty stuff to each other. But this nasty?

    This Giants-A’s rivalry affects a much larger geographical area than you’d think, too. It’s basically everything from about Monterey north, to as far east as Reno — and probably all the way up into Oregon, too. It’s completely insane.

    Very few life-long Giants fans who live in SJ will switch to being A’s fans if the A’s move there. The Giants are paranoid on that point, for sure.

  7. Maybe if Selig implemented a salary cap & floor with a REAL revenue sharing plan unlike that luxury tax of a joke, maybe the David’s could compete against the Goliath’s.

    I think the players’ union might have something to say about any unilateral imposition of a salary cap.

  8. Oakland Si, the Coliseum could never be remodeled to even approach a modern stadium like they did in Anaheim. Anaheim wasn’t ever really a multisport stadium, it was a 60’s baseball park (like Dodger Stadium) that was modified to host football for a few years and then was modified back with a few HOK enhancements. It was and remains a fine baseball park that the Coliseum has never held a candle to. The Coliseum was designed and built as a concrete multipurpose donut. No amount of sprucing up can change that underlying handicap short of a complete tear down and rebuild to eliminate the terrible circular shape, distant stands, and massive foul territory. Like all of its brethern the Coliseum will not be long for this world as it should be.

  9. the old car salesman Bud makes the line “believe half of what you read and none of what you hear” particularly relevant with his sleight-of-hand gibberish.
    after all of his bluster, the a’s (as in a daze) are still stuck between a rock (gi-ants) and a hard place (staying in oakland).
    oakland (new place or not) will be the graveyard for the franchise and there’s no guarantee that the $$$’s will flow in s.j.
    the gi-ants own that market, really only enough for one mlb franchise and they won’t give in to to a giveaway to a competitor – would you?
    the rays (not as much of a daze) have a contract that will cost ’em if they openly defy it. the owners knew that when they bought the franchise. guess ol’ buddy hopes that a little pixi dust will fall and magically resolve these situations.

  10. “…Very few life-long Giants fans who live in SJ will switch to being A’s fans if the A’s move there. The Giants are paranoid on that point, for sure…”

    they aren’t paranoid, that would make it personal.
    it’s strictly business, mlb is a business…

  11. Anyone ever thought of bringing pro baseball to Puerto Rico or Mexico? That’s a thought.

  12. Sorry Dan your irrational and reflexive hatred for the city/people of Oakland leads you astray here. The Coliseum was a perfectly fine ballpark to see a game in before the football renovations (which you might know if you’d actually been to an A’s game in those days). It wasn’t perfect, or the equal of Angels Stadium for some of the reasons you mentioned, but if Oakland had given two shits about the A’s (not that theirs much reason for them to if we’re being candid) and gone ahead with the mid-90’s baseball only renovation plan would have continued to make a fine ballpark to see a game in despite the abhorrent dimensions. Its become fully clear just how much that monstrosity they built to block one of the nicest views in baseball (at the time) ruined it.

    As for Beane/Wolfe hinting.. they’ve been doing this for a while as well so I’m not sure how much its worth. Call me when Selig has a) the votes or b) a deal brokered. Until then its best to treat any statement from either side as jockeying for the settlement and what the price tag will be for the inevitable move.

  13. Unrelated to Oakland but related to territorial rights, Neil, how did the Nets get the Knicks to allow them to move to Brooklyn? Or did they not have to?

    Btw – this idea that lifelong Knicks fans in Brooklyn will suddenly abandon the Knicks and become nets fans is laughable and I think giants fans in San Jose would act the same

  14. Warren, I went to plenty of A’s games prior to 1995. It was a decent ballpark for it’s time (easily one of the better parks in MLB in a time when most parks were concrete donuts with astroturf). However, times have changed. The Coliseum even without the addition of that eyesore in center field would still be a 47 year old multipurpose donut stadium with small concourses, bad plumbing, old wiring, distant seats, too much foul territory, poor sightlines and a dysfunctional management triumvirate. Mount Davis was just big steaming pile of dung on top of the cake. And on top of it almost every other park in the game has either been replaced or heavily renovated (and was a baseball only park to begin with).

    Now if the city of Oakland had spent the 150 million they blew on Mount Davis demolishing the old bowl down the foul lines and rebuilding the park as a more baseball friendly place maybe you’d be right and it would still be a good place to see a game. But they didn’t.

  15. The Knicks agreed to waive their rights to Brooklyn so the Nets could move there, though no one seems quite sure when or why. It’s especially strange since they forced the Nets to pay them when moving from Long Island to New Jersey, a move that helped forced the Nets to sell Julius Erving to the 76ers.

    As for lifelong Knicks fans, I’ll agree with you. However, if you’ve been to Brooklyn lately, there are a *lot* of people here who are originally from outside New York, and whose allegiances are presumably up for grabs. It might end up being a Tampa Bay Rays situation: The first few years half the people in the stands are rooting for the opposing team, but eventually you start to build an independent fan base.

  16. re: Nets/Knicks – It’s a precursor to the one-way toll bridge concept. Pay it all to go one direction and you get to go back the other way for free ;)

  17. “Warren, I went to plenty of A’s games prior to 1995.”

    The opposite follows from your comments.

    “Now if the city of Oakland had spent the 150 million they blew on Mount Davis demolishing the old bowl down the foul lines and rebuilding the park as a more baseball friendly place maybe you’d be right and it would still be a good place to see a game. But they didn’t.”

    Thanks for conceding my entire point. ;)

  18. Warren, even prior to Mt. Davis the old bowl was still the most distant foul line seating in MLB. Believe me I had my season tickets in Sections 124 and 120 between 1987 and 1996 so I know just how far we were from the action. That’s not to say it wasn’t a decent place to see a game (far better than it is today), but it still wasn’t baseball friendly. And a rebuild that moved the foul line seating in would have made it more baseball friendly. Nothing about my statements is contradictory. Rather I think your blind Oakland love is blinding you to the fact that the Coliseum was nothing more than an “ok” venue for the 1960’s-80’s era when a large number of stadiums were enclosed concrete donuts, domes, and had neon green astroturf.

    However time has gone by and every last one of those stadiums has been abandoned, demolished or in the case of those that weren’t multipurpose like Anaheim and KC they’ve been heavily renovated. The Coliseum’s design even w/o Mt Davis as it stands today would be an multipurpose 60’s anachronism without some heavy modification far beyond what the Angels did to their stadium in Anaheim. And even if it had undergone Schott’s desired baseball leaning renovations in the mid 90’s (a renovation Oakland shot down by the way to pucker up to Al Davis’ backside), who is to say the A’s wouldn’t be preparing to call for a new stadium anyway here 15 years later (just as the Angels are starting to do). Remember the Coliseum site isn’t exactly “prime” real estate as far as MLB is concerned these days. Being surrounded by industrial wasteland and gang territory is not exactly a selling point when trying to draw people to the ballpark no matter how nice you may perceive the Coliseum to be.

    Time to take the Oakland blinders off Warren and realize the Coliseum’s day is done and would have been done with or without Mt. Davis. All Mt. Davis did was speed up the process.

  19. @Dan – SOMA was an urban wasteland, before the Giants built ATT. We used to go down there for donuts, after a late night drinking in the “happening” part of the city.

    Coliseum City is going to revitalize that whole area. Get used to that idea, because its coming!

  20. azephan, who is going to pay for it? It does cost 3 billion dollars you know. And so far the only identified sources of funding are the three teams, one that’s trying to leave to SJ, one that’s trying to leave to SF, and one that’s never had much money (and may be trying to leave to Santa Clara or LA shortly).

  21. The $30 million cardboard-cutout mumbles again. The prairies of empty seats around MLB are his stumbling, bumbling legacy. After he murdered the Expos and I gave up on MLB, I’ve been pleasantly surprised how I don’t miss it. Keep pounding the greedmonger, Neil!