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July 29, 2010

San Jose agrees to stadium vote delay

As predicted yesterday, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed has agreed not to put an Oakland A's stadium vote on the November ballot, conceding to MLB's demand that any referendum wait for the league's relocation commission to first issue its ruling on whether the team can move there. A vote could now happen in the spring, or later, depending on when the issue of territorial rights to San Jose is hashed out.

Reed defended his "vote first, ask questions later" gambit as "a way to help get the process moving, to try to get them to act more quickly," while city council member Sam Liccardo called MLB commissioner Bud Selig's offer to pay the cost of a spring vote "the first indication that the league is inching closer to a decision on territorial rights." Whatever makes your glasses look half-full, guys.

The San Jose Mercury News' Mark Purdy, meanwhile, reports on several rumors flying around about the MLB negotiations now underway:

One thread is that Selig has been working with the bankers who loaned the Giants money to build AT&T Park, making sure their obligations will be met if the A's move. Another thread is that Giants' owner Bill Neukom is threatening to have his team's sponsors sue MLB if the A's move. (The Giants themselves can't sue baseball because it's forbidden under MLB's antitrust exemption, so Neukom must find surrogates.) Yet another thread has MLB threatening to contract the A's out of existence and pay off Wolff.

Concludes Purdy: "None of these threads may be true. All may be true. But until there's a resolution, the crazy ride will continue." As Brian Pinhead was fond of saying: "One thing's for sure — no one knows."


Problem Neukom is going to find if he sues is that any suit actually benefits the A's. There is nothing keeping the A's from moving today other than baseball's antiquated old boys club and the anti-trust exemption. Any suit will further erode that protection. Look at it this way, if this were the Raiders we were talking about, the NFL could do almost nothing to stop their move (just as the NFL couldn't do anything to block the Raiders moving twice now).

Posted by Dan on July 29, 2010 06:30 PM

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