Superficially, at least, Oakland still hasn't given up on the Athletics ...
- The city is placing its hopes of keeping the A's in Oakland on three sites near the Bay where officials believe a new baseball-only stadium can be built.
As Major League Baseball continues to study the feasibility of keeping the team in Oakland or moving it to either Fremont or San Jose, city officials broke months of silence Thursday by publicly unveiling the sites — and declaring their belief that baseball officials are taking Oakland seriously in its attempts to keep the franchise.
The current Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum site, where some had discussed the possibility of building a new stadium, is on the back burner.
Oakland A's co-owner Lew Wolff has signaled his hopes to move the team to San Jose after saying repeatedly the team has "exhausted" its time and resources in Oakland.
The A's released the following statement Thursday: "The report is in the hands of the committee and the commissioner. We will be prepared to comment once they have finished their overall study of our ballpark situation and made a decision."
The baseball committee is expected to complete its report in January. Their work to identify potential sites for a new ballpark in one of the three cities began after plans to move to a separate Fremont site fell apart earlier this year.
One thing I didn't "know" until just now ... the Giants' "territorial rights" to San Jose did not exist until 1992, when the Giants were trying to get a ballpark built down there. That's right; they secured the rights essentially as a contingency ... but now the franchise acts as if San Jose is some sort of birthright.
As I've written before -- and as you know if you've spent much time on the 101 -- though downtown San Francisco and San Jose might seem fairly close on a map, between 5pm and 7pm on just about any weeknight, they seem plenty far apart. What's more, for every San Jose fan the Giants might lose, they could pick up one in Oakland or Berkeley, because it's a quicker trip (via BART, anyway) from those cities to AT&T Park than to downtown San Jose.
All of which the Giants must know. They're like everyone else, afraid of change. And yes, they might actually lose a small bit of revenue if the A's moved south. What I can't figure out is why anyone else should care. Bud Selig and the other owners are suppoesd to be thinking about Major League Baseball, not the San Francisco Giants. Wouldn't the best thing for Major League Baseball be two strong franchises in the Bay Area, rather than one strong franchise and one weak one?
Anyway, supposedly MLB's going to actually do something next month. But 1) this is exactly the sort of thing that I expect to be delayed, and 2) I'll be shocked if the Giants' claim is voided, and the A's allowed to move. One compromise, of course, would be for the A's to pay the Giants an indemnification fee. Essentially, Bud Selig can probably do whatever he wants (assuming he can line up enough votes). I just don't trust him to do the right thing here.