SAN FRANCISCO -- Commissioner Bud Selig hopes the sale of
the Oakland Athletics to team executive and Los Angeles developer
Lewis Wolff can be completed by April.
"I know there is a lot of work going on right now," Selig said
Wednesday after announcing that San Francisco will host the 2007
All-Star game. "There is no change in the status right now.
These sales take a long time. I hope it's resolved by opening
Wolff met last month with baseball's ownership committee. Any
sale agreement must be approved by at least three-quarters of the
30 major league teams.
Wolff, the vice president for venue development for the A's,
also met last month with the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
Authority to discuss a new stadium but withheld comments about the
pending deal because of a confidentiality agreement.
The commissioner reiterated his position that the A's cannot
move to San Jose, which is interested in bringing a major league
team to the biggest city in Northern California.
The Giants have territorial rights to the San Jose area and
owner Peter Magowan has not been willing to relinquish those.
"As far as territorial rights go, I have been very clear not
only here but everywhere," Selig said. "Territorial rights are
established and that's what they are. We don't have anarchy in
baseball. We don't change things we don't move things around. The
territorial rights situation is the same today as it was the first
time I was asked and that might have been 10 years ago."
Wolff was hired by the Oakland Athletics in 2003 to help find a
new stadium. He had an option to buy the team from Steve Schott and
Ken Hofmann and hopes to close the deal in the next two months.
Wolff is a former part owner of the NBA's Golden State Warriors
and the NHL's St. Louis Blues, and a longtime friend of Selig's.
Schott and Hofmann bought the A's jointly in 1995 with Schott
serving as the managing partner.
A's manager Ken Macha hasn't met Wolff, but has heard positive
Still, he will miss Schott and Hofmann. Hofmann often came down
to say hello about five minutes before first pitch.
"Both Steve and Ken were very nice to me," Macha said during a
luncheon Wednesday with media members. "Ken was very supportive
and Steve is a demanding guy, and I can't fault him for that. I
enjoyed it to a point that it's going to be different."
On another ownership issue, Selig said at least six groups had
submitted $100,000 fee to make a bid to buy the Washington
Nationals and he hoped to have the sale wrapped up soon. The former
Montreal Expos, who were purchased by baseball's other 29 teams
three years ago.
"There's a lot of interest," he said. "I hop to have it done
by early spring. It will take time to work through all of these."