The Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin, apparently offended because Oakland A’s playoff tickets are too affordable (no, really, read it for yourself), yesterday delved into the never-ending standoff between the A’s and the San Francisco Giants over territorial rights to San Jose. And, like so many others before him, he’s convinced himself that MLB commissioner Bud Selig is going to force a solution any day now, really:
There are indications Selig might rule by the end of the year. Yet, rather than say yes or no, Selig appears to be considering a ruling that could challenge both the A’s and Giants to fulfill certain criteria.
“I think there will be an effort to be Solomonesque,” said someone who has spoken with Selig but declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue. “This is not a ‘yes or no’ sort of thing.”
That would go against what both Jayson Stark and Selig himself have indicated, but let’s play along and try to picture what a “Solomonesque” solution would look like. Clearly the two teams can’t share the area: Either the A’s get to move to San Jose, or they don’t. So the only way to split the difference would be for Selig to set a price for the A’s the pay the Giants in exchange for the South Bay, either in cash or a swap of rights to the East Bay or both.
Which could work in theory, except that setting a price on revoking territorial rights is exactly what Selig has been trying to avoid, since that would open the door to teams wanting to know how much it’d be to horn in on the New York City market, say. It’s always possible that he’s changed his mind and decided to start smacking heads together, but if so, why has he waited so many years to do so?
A’s owner Lew Wolff, for his part, said that he’s tired of waiting around for an answer, and that if Selig imposes any “criteria” that would require more waiting, “They might as well just tell us no.” Of course, Wolff has complained like this before, and it hasn’t gotten him anywhere.
Most likely, this is just another sportswriter looking for a column idea on a slow news day. Unless we should be taking “Solomonesque” more literally, and Selig is really threatening to smite San Jose with a sword and let neither team have it unless they agree to a solution. That’d be cool, if only because it’d show that Selig is capable of dramatic gestures other than the “I can’t hear you” one.