The Oakland Athletics are expected to file the paperwork needed to put a decision on a San Jose move on the agenda for the upcoming owner’s meetings, but it’s not clear whether the request will be granted.
The process is simple: a team files paperwork with the commissioner’s office, then the commissioner decides whether to place an item on the agenda and in what form.
In this case, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the A’s are asking that they be allowed to move to San Jose, a move requiring approval from three-quarters of MLB owners; alternately, Bud Selig could allow the team to move based on his ability to decide in the best interests of the game. The issue is simple: if a deal cannot be worked out between the San Francisco Giants and the A’s (and despite what is claimed by our faithful correspondents, there is little reason to believe they already have an informal agreement in place), then the Giants must be ordered to give up a large part of their territory in Silicon Valley to make way for a new competitor.
For the A’s, there’s the desire to bring things to a head: it’s been years since the A’s first explored a move to San Jose, and all the prep work — working with the city on a ballpark site — is basically done. And with the team floundering in Oakland, Lew Wolff and crew are really left with two choices: sell the team or move it.
But the A’s are not expected to be successful in placing the item on the agenda, from what we hear. The issue is simple: despite the years of deliberations on the matter, Bud Selig isn’t ready to make a decision, especially when there’s a chance — however small — that Oakland and Alameda County could still come through with some sort of workable ballpark plan through a redevelopment of the existing Coliseum site. And we’re not entirely sure the A’s really want the matter to come before a vote, because there is plenty of reason to believe it would be rejected by owners.
On the one hand, there are owners sympathetic to the A’s plight: San Jose is seen as the best open market for MLB, and it’s seen as being its own distinct market, no matter what the Giants argue. Allowing the A’s to move would solve one more market issue for baseball. On the other hand, San Jose baseball enthusiasts continually ignore how reverential baseball owners, particularly those in the Eastern United States, regard territorial issues: if Bud Selig can set aside an existing territorial right, what’s to stop him or a future commissioner from placing a third team in New York City or a second team in the Boston or Philadelphia territories, three areas that could easily support another team?
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