As the San Francisco Giants captured their first World Series trophy in the Bay Area, the Oakland Athletics sat quietly on the sidelines with a ballpark situation in limbo. Will MLB finally resolve the situation this offseason?
MLB likes to control the message, and the message in the playoffs always was focused on the Texas Rangers (great story with a team resurgence under new ownership) and the potential of the Giants winning the team’s first championship since 1954 — and its first in San Francisco.
So it’s no surprise that there was virtually no talk of the special committee still meeting to recommend a ballpark fix for the Oakland A’s: it did not fit in the storyline. Now, there was the occasional columnist opining on the lack of activity, even concluding that the Giants win solidified their opposition to an A’s ballpark in San Jose.
We’re not so sure the World Series win really changed things too much, for a couple of reasons. First, we will give Bud Selig and outgoing MLB President/COO Bob DuPuy some credit: they might move slowly, but they do consider both history and the long-term when coming to big decisions. Territorial rights are a huge deal for owners, and the fact that San Jose is squarely within the Giants’ territory is a huge obstacle for A’s owner Lew Wolff. Maintaining the integrity of territorial rights is important not just for the Giants owners, but also for other owners — like the Steinbrenners and the Wilpons, who rely on those territorial rights to keep another MLB team out of New Jersey and the New York City region. It may not be a perfect system, but it is the system that has evolved over the decades.
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