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MLB asks San Jose to put off ballpark referendum

Oakland Athletics logoIt takes nine months to create a baby; it apparently takes three times as long for MLB to hatch a ballpark plan, as Bud Selig and Bob DuPuy ask San Jose officials to delay a referendum authorizing the use of city redevelopment funds to buy land for a new A’s ballpark.

Fed up with delays from Major League Baseball over the future of the Oakland Athletics, the San Jose City Council — spurred on by Mayor Chuck Reed and A’s owner Lew Wolff — went ahead and accepted a request to place a referendum question on the fall ballot that would basically have the city acquire land for a new privately financed A’s ballpark. The Council must approve the question at its Aug. 3 meeting if the question is to be included.

That didn’t sit too well with MLB, who saw the referendum issue as being premature: they want to see a special committee appointed by Selig to finish its work on coming up with a ballpark recommendation. That the committee began its work 18 months ago — and still hasn’t finished, apparently — isn’t a factor for MLB. There really are only two decisions the committee can reach: recommend some sort of deal with the San Francisco Giants for the San Jose territory, or recommend that the A’s stay in Oakland. (If the latter happens, you can bet Wolff will put the team on the market and it ends up somewhere else.)

Reed gave no indication one way or another in his press statement if he would indeed delay the referendum issue. One interesting fact: MLB offered to help pay the costs of a referendum next year if it is indeed delayed. As longtime observers know, that sort of offer almost never happens.

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