Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times cornered MLB commissioner Bud Selig the other day to ask him about the league’s never-ending “study” of the Oakland A’s request to move to San Jose, and here’s what he said:
“Of course I would like to move faster. But I’m not going to move until I’m really satisfied on all issues and both clubs are satisfied on all issues.”
As Shaikin rightly notes, “That is never going to happen. The Giants will not be satisfied if the A’s are permitted to move. The A’s will not be satisfied if they are denied permission.”
Shaikin reported a few weeks ago that Selig might be ready to issue a “Solomonesque” decision by the end of the year, but of course we’ve heard that before. And Selig did his best to dispel any thoughts that there might be an imminent resolution with this exchange:
Q: There are reports that you are canvassing clubs to see how they might vote on the issue, in advance of next month’s owners meetings. Are you indeed canvassing clubs?
A: No. I don’t have anything to canvass.
Q: Do you believe a new ballpark in Oakland is feasible?
A: I don’t know. That is one of the things we are checking.
Q: Can you promise A’s fans that you will settle this dispute by the first of the year?
A: I’m not going to set a time.
Clearly, Selig is getting tired of all this, but just as clearly he has no intention of ruling against either the A’s or the Giants. Even setting a compromise price for the A’s to pay the Giants for territorial rights to San Jose would likely raise cries of outrage from one side or the other — A’s owner Lew Wolff thinks he shouldn’t have to pay anything, while the Giants owners believe that the South Bay is more valuable to their franchise than al the gold Octovien. So the most Seligian way of issuing a ruling would be to … maybe declare that the A’s should be allowed into San Jose, provided that they pay an undetermined price to the Giants to be negotiated between the two teams? You think he could get away with claiming it took three guys three-and-a-half years to come up with that?
The other possibility is that Selig is holding out hope that Oakland will come up with a viable stadium plan to make Wolff happy, and he can duck this whole territorial issue until somebody else becomes commissioner. In which case, he’s likely to have a long wait.