Bud Selig was at O.co Coliseum last night on his Farewell to Major League Baseball tour and expressed regret he was leaving office without a final solution to the Oakland Athletics ballpark situation.
He was blunt in an assessment of his performance regarding the A’s, where there’s been a lack of concrete new-ballpark developments in the last five years:
“Do I wish it would have been solved? Of course I do. I wish it had. And I understand people’s frustration,” Selig said. “But is there anything I could have done differently? I don’t think so.
“I’m toughest on myself, and I would say, ‘I wish I could have done this or that.’ But I can’t say that here, because it really wouldn’t be honest.”
Any final resolution on the A’s ballpark front will come under the Rob Manfred reign. Predictably, the Mercury News’s Mark Purdy, one the biggest cheerleaders for a new San Jose ballpark, takes a shot at Selig for not allowing Wolff to set up shop in Giants territory:
Yet as diplomatic tour stops go, Selig visiting Oakland was still a little like Churchill visiting troubled Northern Ireland — which the British statesman once dismissed as “the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone.”
In Oakland, there are no dreary steeples. But there is one very dreary baseball venue. Selig witnessed O.co in its full shambolic glory, with the faded upper deck tarps, the Raiders’ football yard lines still painted on the outfield and part of the infield turf chopped up from football cleats.
Fans of the A’s believe that Selig should have done something about all this by now. Either he should have personally taken the hands of Oakland politicians and dragged them through every step of a legitimate new ballpark project, or he should have allowed A’s owner Lew Wolff to pursue the ballpark he desires in eager San Jose.
Or…he could have done exactly what he did, upholding MLB’s territorial system (which is a lot more sacred within MLB ownership suites than most outsiders realize) and not allowing the A’s ownership to set a precedent — a precedent that could allow other teams to move into protected territories controlled by the likes of the Yankees, Mets, Phillies and Red Sox.
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