Selig says he’d “like to move faster” on A’s deal, except for the moving faster part

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.

13 comments on “Selig says he’d “like to move faster” on A’s deal, except for the moving faster part

  1. Now that the Islanders have their new home, the attention shifts to the other Orphan case which is the A’s. I think the strategy that Selig will use is the stall tactic, and wait to see if the Raiders & Oakland come to an agreement to extend the lease beyond the end of the 2013 Season. It is a given the Raiders do not want the A’s there (And the Raiders are a bigger priority for Jean Quan and company), and the threat of a move to either Santa Clara (With the 49ers) or LA, is something that Mark Davis can use when dealing with the City. If they stay, then the A’s have to find a new home, if not, then they probably remain in Oakland. I think this issue is going to be settled one way or another pretty quickly, and Selig knows it.

  2. Apparently the Raiders and elements of the city along with the “Save Oakland Sports” group have announced they’re making an announcement of some kind in mid November. Frankly I think they’ll be announcing they’re all going out for drinks after the announcement… but others are holding out hope for more.

  3. So if the Raiders re-up with Oakland, then the A’s … what? It’s not like this would make the Giants any more willing to hand over San Jose.

  4. It is not so much about Giants letting them go to San Jose, they actually want them out of the Bay Area. Why? If the A’s left the Bay Area (Or got consolidated), it would be an opportunity to pick up the casual A’s fan, and add another Television Market to their Broadcast Network. My point really is, if the A’s do not have a fallback position (Such is staying in Oakland), then we will know one way or another if they have a future somewhere else, or will they get consolidated. If in the end, they have no place to play, what other option do they have? Since, the Coliseum Lease is ending with the Raiders, we will know soon enough.

  5. “Consolidated”? You talking about contraction? That’s even less likely to happen under Bud’s watch than him imposing a decision in this long-running soap opera.

  6. Contraction is a better word, but if they can’t play at the Coliseum (Because the Coliseum refuses to give them another lease (Choosing instead to keep the Raiders)), or cannot get to an alternative site such as San Jose or even Montreal, the only options become playing the Season on the road (Like the Scranton Yankees this year) or contraction.

  7. Oakland has, in fact, already offered the A’s a new lease:

  8. Yet again, Wolff & Co. aren’t interested in Oak., if they are they would not have expended their attention and resources on SJ.
    They expect the customers there to spend substantially more per capita in SJ than Oak., in both the individual and corporate categories and are probably correct. Contraction is even less likely, because MLB franchises are like an iceberg, with much that fans don’t see – business arrangements with broadcasters, suppliers, spring training locations/foreign “academies”, minor league affiliates, player contracts as well as having to negotiate the loss of members with the players union.
    Bottom line is that the A’z will have to pay the piper (Gi-ants) or stay where they are.
    BTW – Montreal is so far out of mind in MLB it might as well be on another continent and a road warrior setup is not realistic.

  9. I wouldn’t put it past Selig to mumble the “C” word if the Raiders are convinced to stay and A’s turn out to be (direct or indirect) casualties of that decision. But it will never actually happen. The PA would simply not accept such a decision.

    There have been many suggestions that the “best” use of the present coliseum site would be to allow the Raiders to demolish what’s left of the baseball stadium and build the other peak of Mount Davis. I don’t know if that has been said because there is no hope of fixing the place for baseball with the Mtn already there, or if people legitimately think that location can work for the Raiders.

    There are ballpark sites available in Oakland (and if they really do require the “extra” $200m that HOK/Wolff have said they do to build, I would suggest that a real estate mogul should understand that that number then would form the starting point of negotiations on “how” a ballpark gets built). The fact that Wolff won’t consider them does not and should not move MLB’s position on who (if anyone) owns the rights to San Jose or any other site Wolff may covet (for free, at least). Lew owns the Oakland MLB franchise, not Fremont, not San Jose and not the Yankees.

    In brief, I’ll repeat what I said a few weeks ago: The best judgment Selig could make on San Jose is that neither the Giants nor A’s have the rights to it – that SJ remains MLB property and will be made available to the highest bidder. Selig might very well find that if the territory had to be purchased from MLB, it would be less coveted than it presently seems.

  10. This all comes down to economics… MLB has a debt rule after the last collective barraging agreement. It will not allow any team to be in serious debt, ala the giants with their ball park. Fortunately the giants have been able to stay afloat, but this is why they say they need san jose

    1. MLB wants public money for their stadiums, this will not happen in the Bay Area
    2. MLB will not allow a team to privately finance a stadium if they feel they cant make it work financially (i.e. pay back money they borrowed).

    For 1, this is the only way oakland will be able to keep the A’s but Oakland has many more problems that need to be addressed before they spend public money on a sports franchise.

    For 2, all privately financed models (adjacent real-estate, seat license, suites etc..) will not work in Oakland, the economics are just not there, and not to mention the politicos… (Seems like every 6 months a new site is found in Oakland, which is them just cycling through the same sites mentioned before)

    So MLB and BS will not make a decision until they know SJ is solid, there still issues with land acquisitions and a voter approved referendum for the use of the land. And more importantly will LW financial modle work in san jose. Until all this is practically “iron clad” for BS no decision will be made. BS can take as long as he wants cause he knows one thing:

    Oakland and pols will never come up with a solid plan, he will let them spin their wheels, play lip service to them like they actually have a chance to keep the a’s.

  11. Actually, the debt rule shouldn’t come into play here at all:

  12. I stand corrected :)…

    It feels that this whole process is dragging on because LW/SJ stil have not proved to MLB how it will work financially in SJ. If SJ came out and said to BS and MLB “we will pay for the stadium with public funds” this whole territory rights issues would not matter. lol..

    But I guess if Oakland said the same thing we would have a “no to san jose” tomorrow…

  13. Well, inasmuch as if SJ came out and said, “Here’s $500 million for a stadium,” Lew Wolff could afford to turn around and offer the Giants anything they wanted for territorial rights, sure. But other than that, I think the issue here is exactly what everybody says it is: The A’s want to be able to move to San Jose without paying a territorial rights fee, and the Giants are saying, “Offer us the moon, and maybe we’ll think about it.” And Selig isn’t going to force a solution, because that’s not what he does.