MLB Commissioner Bud Selig won’t meet with San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed about a new Oakland A’s ballpark, saying that intermediaries could address Reed’s concerns.
Reed made a lot of noise on April 2 about wanting to meet directly with Selig, warning that he may launch a legal effort to bring in the A’s if his city’s concerns weren’t addressed.
It’s usually not a smart move to raise the spectre of litigation when you have a weak hand, and Reed is metaphorically holding a pair of twos in this situation. In a letter to Reed, Selig politely declined the invitation to meet and said the appropriate party to meet in Major League Baseball was Bob Starkey, the former Arthur Andersen accountant who helped work out ballpark issues for the Minnesota Twins and who was appointed in 2009 by Selig to head the “blue-chip” committee evaluating the ballpark needs of the A’s.
Here’s the text of Selig’s letter:
I appreciate your continued interest in the Oakland Athletics’ request to relocate to San Jose, as expressed in your April 2, 2013 letter to me. As you know, Major League Baseball is currently evaluating this request in accordance with our rules. As part of this process, our Select Committee has been in frequent contact with the City of San Jose. If you believe there is additional information that Major League Baseball should consider in completing its assessment, the best way to proceed at this time continues to be for you to contact Robert Starkey or other members of the Committee.
I will not address any of the specifics in your letter, other than to note that your vague reference to “additional litigation” is neither productive nor consistent with process that the Athletics have initiated under our rules. That said, you can rest assured that whatever decision is ultimately made will take into consideration all of the information that we have received and will be in the best interest of Baseball.
The A’s are tussling with the San Francisco Giants over territorial rights to San Jose. The Giants say they control the territory and rely on Silicon Valley revenues to pay debt on the privately financed AT&T Park. The A’s want to build a new ballpark in downtown San Jose, but that’s not a sure deal: the pair do not control all the land needed for a facility, and the state of California may take legal action to reclaim the rest.
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