Selig to impose “Solomonesque” solution on A’s, Giants? Bud Selig?

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.

9 comments on “Selig to impose “Solomonesque” solution on A’s, Giants? Bud Selig?

  1. As much as I would like Selig to delay and get Wolff to sell, I’m not sure how accurate the article is. The first message of the article: postseason tickets start at just $10. That is incorrect. The absolute cheapest tickets started at $15, most were $18 by this morning, and many are now soldout.

  2. ESE, no the plaza outfield were only $10 initially. But thanks to dynamic pricing they started rising fast.

  3. Dan…ah yes, dynamic pricing. yet another way for poor benighted insolvent billionaires to screw ordinary people out of money.

  4. Mark Purdy wrote on this topic in the SJMN today.

    I won’t paraphrase his “Poor Lew/Poor San Jose” theme, but suffice it to say he clearly feels the real problem here is the commissioner.

    For once, I don’t think the problem in this case is the used car dealer. Frankly, Wolff has had plenty of time to reach a financial agreement with the Giants. Either he isn’t willing to pay a reasonable amount, or the Giants are refusing to name a reasonable price (and I’ve heard both ends of that argument from both interested and disinterested parties). If it’s the former, Wolff is just waiting for Selig to do his dirty work and grant the A’s a market their owners did not pay for and do not own. If the latter, a more fervent appeal to MLB would seem to be in order.

    I don’t for a minute believe either of those options is the case. The Giants would agree to a reasonable solution. Wolff and Fisher would like to pay them nothing (or have MLB pay them on the A’s behalf).

    The true “solomon” solution would be, as Neil has suggested, declaring San Jose to be part of no-one’s territory other than MLB. If either the Giants or A’s (or anyone else) want it, they have to pay fair market value to MLB for it.

    In a manner of speaking, this would be a shotgun solution. Whatever price the Giants name for “surrendering” the territory (that they may not actually be entitled to, if you read the Haas agreement closely) is what they themselves would have to pay to secure it going forward.

    The real issue I have with Wolff/Fisher’s plan is that they seem to feel they can ‘get’ San Jose at the price they paid for Oakland. They can’t. And the sooner they admit that to themselves, the better off everyone will be.

  5. It is the case of yet another writer stirring the pot while the franchise he covers fades out of the picture. As always, it comes down to the $$$’s no matter what local scribes throw out as shills for Wolff.
    A’z wan’t SJ on the cheap and Gi-ants won’t let that happen, they spent too much time and effort cultivating the south bay to just let it go.
    The “rights” to east bay territory can’t come close to equal the business power of SJ and Silicone valley – corporate $$$’s.
    The “horn-in” price to invade NYC market would be so prohibitive that it would saddle a franchise owner with overhead costs that can cripple an organization. Why would the Mets/Yanks want to cut the pie smaller, even with an entry payout?
    This would be far more than what Larry B. & co. want from Wolff & co..
    Bud-ie is stuck between his ol’ pal who wants a cheap deal and the Gi-ants who are a financial force in MLB and want real compensation for the loss of south bay business. Looks like he favors business over friendship.

  6. “they spent too much time and effort cultivating the south bay to just let it go.”

    They did? The Giants showed no interest in the south bay until about 4 years ago when the A’s first started moving their sights there.

  7. @Dan

    Depends on how far you go back. The Giants had 2 separate proposals to build a stadium in San Jose that got voted down.

    FWIW, they were willing to fund AT& T Park on their own knowing that the south bay corporate sponsorships would pay a big chunk of it.

  8. @Trueblood,
    No, South Bay corporate sponsorships DID NOT pay for a “big chunk” of AT&T Park. That’s a Romney-esque, Giants talking points lie! Private financing, sale of charter seats, and traditional sponsorships (Coca Cola, Chevron, then Pac-Bell naming rights) paid for the vast majority of the Giants ballpark. Only 15% of Silicon Valley companies actually support the Giants (per SVLG survey of a few years back)