Tonight is the baseball All-Star Game, which means commissioner Bud Selig meets the media, which means the media ask Selig about the Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays situation, which means Selig says what he always says:
“[The Rays] have run a great operation; they’ve had very competitive teams,” said Selig. “To see they are No. 29 in attendance is inexcusable. Nobody can defend that. This is a very competitive baseball team.”
Selig said the only answer is a new ballpark, which has met stiff operation there. As for the Oakland situation, Selig said, “It is in my hands, in my committee’s hands. Many people say, ‘What’s taking them so long?’ It’s a very complex issue on both sides. It has further issues and the committee has been extremely thorough. They are spending an enormous amount of time with many people, and when they’re ready to come back to me, which I hope will be in a reasonably short period of time, we’ll move forward on that.”
As my old Baseball Prospectus colleague Jason Collette notes, Rays attendance may be low, but it’s actually up this year despite Evan Longoria being out with an injury. And the Tampa Bay area still has a recession that is exceptionally in the crapper. But then, it’s not clear who Selig is refusing to excuse for the attendance problems — maybe he meant Congressional Republicans for blocking a second stimulus package.
As for the A’s, meanwhile, this whole “the committee is still at work” thing is getting kind of ridiculous now. The current situation is pretty well summed up by recent tweets from two longtime Bay Area baseball reporters:
It's clear that MLB could face legit lawsuits from either side by making a decision. Thus: no decision. How long can this last? #Athletics
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) July 10, 2012
A's-Giants problem is simple: Giants want A's to pay hundreds of millions. A's want to pay nothing. Everything else is nonsense.
— Ray Ratto (@RattoIndy) July 10, 2012
At this point you have to wonder if Selig is hoping that either he or A’s owner Lew Wolff will die before he has to make a decision on this. Which at the pace things are going, is entirely possible.