The Reckoning in May?

Update 3:45 PM – Slusser just tweeted that the issue will not be on the agenda even though Wolff has requested it. And the beat goes on…

Susan Slusser reports that the A’s are putting territorial rights on the owners meetings agenda next month. Will we finally get a resolution? We just might.

Back in December I had heard that ownership had the option to put the matter on the February meeting agenda. For whatever reason that didn’t happen. My guess is that the acceleration of the Dodgers’ sale and bankruptcy resolution came somewhat unexpectedly, which forced the A’s back onto the backburner once more.

There is an inherent amount of risk to making this move, as a vote could go against Lew Wolff and John Fisher. The big unknown is whether this vote is being shepherded by Bud Selig, who generally tries to build consensus before doing anything. Considering how long this has taken, anything’s possible. If this goes according to Selig’s M.O., he probably has both the votes and at least some kind of framework in place for a deal to compensate the Giants, whatever that is. If not, Wolff could lose and be left with no other option than to work something out in Oakland.

Slusser cites the Tracy Ringolsby article that we mentioned here last week, along with the threat of a San Jose antitrust lawsuit should the vote go against the A’s and San Jose.

Either way, I’m glad we’re finally getting somewhere with this. It promises to be a very exciting and newsworthy next couple of weeks. I’ll be back from San Diego the day before the meetings start, so I’ll be able to give it the attention it deserves.

P.S. – If you’re wondering whether or not a vote will actually be taken, just remember that the executive council had a report presented by Selig’s 3-man panel during the winter meetings. If the owners didn’t have the information necessary to vote on the issue before, they most assuredly do now.

114 Responses to The Reckoning in May?

  1. jon campbell says:

    rather have an up or down vote and have this matter finally settled regardless of the outcome than have the franchise in limbo bleeding fans left and right

  2. Nicosan says:

    What days in May are the meetings being held?

  3. Marine Layer says:

    @Nicosan – See calendar to right.

  4. Nicosan says:

    Ml sorry for not paying closer attention. Thanks

  5. eb says:

    I’m assuming either the Giants won’t budge and this is the only option left or there is already an agreement with Bud that the outcome is guaranteed. Either way, as a guy who is still holding out hopes for the A’s to stay in the East Bay, I’ll be stewing in a pot of dread and curiosity until these meetings.

  6. Dan says:

    Either way it’s good this is happening, FINALLY! Hopefully the A’s get their wish and there is a vote, regardless if it’s a Selig sanctioned one (decision has already been made, framework in place and it’s happening), or a forced one by the A’s. Enough with the indecision. If it’s going to happen, lets move the A’s on to the next phase and get going with a bright future in SJ. If SJ is not happening, lets find out so the A’s slow slog out of the Bay Area can begin and all of us can move on to being fans of other teams (or not at all).

  7. GoA's says:

    Too much at stake for such a high profile issue for bs not to know of the outcome already- no business leader would go ahead until the votes were secured-

  8. dan says:

    I want to see a lawsuit by SJ and am hoping Mayor Reed and the city council in SJ are lining up anti-trust lawyers. Lets go after the ATE and get rid of ATE.

    We should have a fund raising site for this. I will contribute what I can.

  9. Marine Layer says:

    @dan – There are plenty of business interests in the South Bay who’ll be able to contribute handsomely if a lawsuit were to arise. I don’t think you need to worry about that.

  10. pjk says:

    Nervous times for A’s fans. If the vote succeeds, MLB has to slap down the Giants from trying to gum up the process with lawsuits. If it fails, then we will need to see quickly if there really is anyone willing to spend $1 billion to buy the A’s and build in Oakland. Or, let the team rot for several more years while an SJ lawsuit against the anti trust exemption goes through.

  11. ACV says:

    i have full confidence if we can ever get far enough to the point of a vote, the votes are in our favor and we would easily pass. not only do we already have teams that have said they would vote in our favor but also there are teams that it seams obvious they would vote in our favor for example the yankees and mets. if they dont vote for us and then there would be a chance of the athletics moving into newark which is part of the NYC market

  12. Nicosan says:

    What is the threshold for getting something on the agenda? Slusser just said an MLB source said its not guaranteed to get on the agenda and voted on.

  13. Nicosan says:

    No I guess Commish decides it gets on. That will be the indicator if this has juice or not

  14. Mike says:

    So a month from now. We may finally feel like we have a future or that day can feel like what Kings fans went through last week.
    ….
    F U Giants!

  15. Nicosan says:

    Slusser is saying no go for May vote now, re another source https://twitter.com/#!/susanslusser/status/192020681234448385

  16. Makhan Singh says:

    I’m going to be on edge until then. Really at the end of the day we just want an answer so we can move on! I’m crossing my fingers for the vote because from the sounds of everything SJ would really help the A’s get some much needed revenue. We need to be able to compete.

  17. G & G says:

    Excuse me for asking i’m still new to reading your Blog, you have probably have stated the answer in the past. When the A’s move to San Jose who will then own the rights to the East Bay? The A’s? The Giants? or still undecided?

  18. Anon says:

    Armageddon approaches! Finally….

  19. Johnny_Cake says:

    Are you kidding me? Selig is going to dismiss out of hand our proposal?

    I’m almost at the point of giving up.

  20. martin says:

    “@susanslusser – I hear from an MLB source that the #Athletics stadium issue will NOT be on next owners meetings agenda, despite their desire to have it on.”

    Well BS just ended that idea quickly.. Now did the A’s just piss him off?

  21. Marine Layer says:

    @G & G – That’s to be determined. It would be held by one of the two teams.

    @Johnny Cake – Not dismissing it. Waiting to vote until he has a deal in place. Just as with the Dodger situation, a lot can change in a month.

  22. Nicosan says:

    I always wonder if this is gamesmanship to get Giants to talk.

  23. Anon says:

    Dammit…if true that the vote will be delayed, it looks as if the A’s are now trying to force the issue, which is great! However, BS is still trying to broker an agreement with the Gnats in the interim.

  24. dan says:

    the only way to put pressure on BS and MLB is to sue them. In 1994, MLB had to award Tampa a team after Florida Scotus ruled against them in a 5-1 decision. MLB could have appealed to SCOTUS but they would not chance that. SCOTUS has always let Congress handle the ATE issue.

    SJ must use MLB. It is the only way.

  25. Dan says:

    Mike, sounds like it assuming Selig doesn’t derail it. Hopefully they do vote and hopefully we get an answer one way or the other. One answer will provide a future for the team, the other will at least give A’s fans some closure and time to prepare for the inevitable end of the A’s in the Bay Area (as you say not unlike what Kings fans are now going through).

  26. Tony D. says:

    R.M.,
    IF the A’s aren’t on the May agenda, what else could possibly be on it? Almost every major issue confronting MLB has been dealt with: Dodgers, Mets, Padres, etc. What else could possibly be discussed on May 16-17?

  27. Dan says:

    What, Selig derailed it already? How can the team want it on the agenda and it just be taken off?

  28. Nicosan says:

    You have to be optimistic that these drips lead to some action. It’s been over 15 years. Just a little while longer.

  29. Tony D. says:

    For the record, Wolff and Co. are staying silent (the proverbial “I have no comment at this time, just following the process”), so who knows who the “source” was for the initial story. I would just caution everyone to just relax (I know it’s tough). Even if it doesn’t happen in May, I feel it will happen eventually, so after 7 years of this I’m remaining patient.
    On a lighter note, I read over at SFGate that sadly, the daughter of MLB committee member Cory Busch (Alexis) was lost at sea over the weekend near the Farallon Islands. Alexis was a former bat girl for the Giants and (as most of you are aware) her father Corey is a former Giants executive who (as well as being a committee member) once tried to get the team to San Jose himself. Wolff is quoted in the story as knowing Corey Busch for a long time and that he is deeply saddened for Mr. Busch’s loss. Perhaps this tragedy has put on hold any negotiations between the A’s, Giants and MLB (?).

  30. Johnny_Cake says:

    @Tony D. – Is it possible that they don’t anticipate having much to work on next month? I don’t know, but I can see the meetings occurring with something to the effect of, “we’ve settled most of our business to this point that can be settled, we’ll tidy up small things now and continue to monitor the development of larger projects.”

  31. Dan says:

    Tony, how is a young woman dying tragically a “lighter” story than one about a stadium vote for a team that is ultimately playing a game?

  32. Burton says:

    I for one don’t want a vote until Bud Selig calls for it. I don’t want to defend the guy but as was stated in the blog post, the other owners don’t have all the information. I believe the process was not a farce, very legit. The findings of the blue ribbon panel should be made available to the owners in full. I don’t see how Lew Wolff calling for a vote would guarantee that. Also, however this turns out, there should be some kind of strong recommendation from MLB as to the future direction of the franchise. A no vote could lead to legal proceedings that could in turn put the franchise back at square one; or at least right back to where they were when Mt. Davis was first built. What if lawsuits were filed by all parties and suits became so expensive and time consuming that Wolff and Fischer decided to pull out? That’s VERY unlikely, it might be enough of a possibility that Selig should want to avoid it all cost. The Athletics could become such a financial drain on MLB with no future stadium on the horizon that come the next negotiating period for the next CBA, the dreaded “C” word might get tossed around.
    This blog has been a godsend for facts. The facts of this matter of San Jose and Oakland have yet to change. San Jose’s Private Stadium financing vs. any financing in Oakland. Remaining on revenue sharing in Oakland vs. no longer receiving revenue sharing in San Jose. Bud Selig for all his many faults is committed to the financial well-being of baseball. Selig’s statements lately have seemed to suggest he’s leaning towards San Jose; because San Jose is better for business. I doubt very much Selig would deny a move to San Jose if the Giants were the biggest hurdle. As many commenters have mentioned for years on this blog, the legal headaches that could arise if San Jose is denied could be an even bigger problem for MLB. The financial findings of the blue ribbon panel should be presented in full to all the owners. Until that happens, I’d rather there not be a vote. The gears moving towards San Jose seem to be in motion now. That’s good enough for me.

  33. Ezra says:

    You’re tearing me apart!
    .
    You say one thing, he said another, and everybody changes back again!

  34. pjk says:

    Let’s face it: The A’s will never be allowed to move to San Jose. Either some magic billionaire comes forward ready to be a savior in Oakland, or the franchise gets moved or folded.

  35. Tim says:

    There is probably negotiation going on and the A’s just weren’t happy with the progress (or lack thereof) so they want to call for a vote. I think Selig is probably delaying it because he still believes he could find a settlement soon. Either way, I think this is going to reach the point where we aren’t kidding around anymore. If the meetings pass and there is no resolution in sight, you can bet the A’s will push a lot harder for a vote. Otherwise we might see a settlement before the meetings. Which leads me to the question: can a vote be taken independent of the meetings?

  36. Burton says:

    “can a vote be taken independent of the meetings?” – Yes.

  37. Marine Layer says:

    @Tim – Backing up Burton’s reply, the league frequently takes votes in conference calls outside the meetings.

  38. Sid says:

    Dan is 100% correct a lawsuit is the only way.

    I have said this for 2 years that unless your force Selig’s hand nothing gets done because he believes in his own mind “his way is the right way” regardless of what everyone else tells him.

    Tampa Bay Rays only exist because Vincent Piazza had the balls to to sue MLB and was one step from the Supreme Court after he won in the Florida Supreme Court.

    Curt Flood Act in my opinion says to me the A’s to San Jose is a perfect example of why Congress pushed the Act through in the first place….too repeal not strengthen the MLB AE.

    San Jose should get the players union on their side and sue directly. The lawsuit would force the owners to push the Giants of the island and bring this to a swift conclusion.

    The lawsuit would not even be heard in court as Selig knows full well the AE will go down in flames unless he settles it fast.

    We are on 1128 and the time has been long overdue for the A’s to be in San Jose. 1128 days is ridiculous for any issue especially one of this nature.

    San Jose has a better case than Tampa Bay did. Why? Because a business only 35 miles away wants to move to their city not 3000 miles way like Tampa Bay.

    To restrict a business mobility wise is UN-American and it is time for the right thing to occur.

  39. Dan says:

    Sid, not Dan, dan. I’m Dan. And I don’t think a lawsuit will ever happen. Nor would it solve the problem. Even in leagues w/o ATE’s teams don’t just “move” without some form of authorization from the leagues. Take the Kings last year. NBA doesn’t have an ATE and they still blocked the Kings move to Anaheim.

  40. Dan says:

    Doesn’t seem like he’s speculating. Seems like that’s what he’s been told. Only issue I see though, is who do they expect to pay for a new SJ arena in 10 years to replace the HP Pavilion?

  41. jeff-athletic says:

    At least Wolff/Fisher aren’t standing idly by anymore – the hiring of the hotshot lawyer, and now asking for the issue to be on the May owners meeting agenda.
    .
    Also, at least Selig finally said something about the issue a few days ago, saying he’s working on a deal.
    .
    It had been moving at a glacial pace, and now it seems like it’s picking a little steam.

  42. Dude says:

    Another day, another tiny hint of progress smashed to pieces. Sometimes I think this will literally never end.

  43. dan-is-now-daniel says:

    Ratto has been trying for years to be funny like Scott Ostler . Ostler is so much better at writing funny/biting pieces.

  44. Freddy says:

    When are you guys to going to wake up and finally figure it out? This will end someday – when Lew steps aside or the Fishers cut the line.
    .
    The poor fellow proved he was out of his league the very moment he took control of the team. Remember “reducing inventory increases scarcity and perceived value” and all that “intimate ballpark” hustle? Well that TARP deal didn’t work out so well.
    .
    Now he’s busy adding another inch of paperwork to his binder – you know, the one that takes him two hours to go through page by page. The one that proves everyone else – the city of Oakland, the property owners between 66th and High, the Fremont NIMBYS, the SF Giants, etc. – are the ones to blame.
    .
    I hate to disappoint all the loyal fans of San Jose, but he he has yet to propose a viable plan. On the field, off the field, moving the field, marketing, media… you name it. How could he he? He doesn’t know sports, he doesn’t know our area – he’s a real-estate developer from Southern California. He has never once displayed any accountability for the franchise he purchased – that which he owns. The territorial rights granted to his franchise are now scorched earth. He’s still busy plowing salt in that ground.
    .
    So now he plans to buy lawyers with the revenue sharing money provided by the profitable owners to sue these owners, thus forcing them to dig back into their wallets to shell out for their own defense? Bad, bad move. The antitrust exemption is as key to the industry as home plate is to the game. His fratbuddy Bud or one of the other owners needs to take him aside, explain the rules of the game. Lew, first you gotta get on base before you can steal home.

  45. TW says:

    I disagree this story (if true) means BS has this largely worked out. It has for a long time and continues to be BS knows the vote is close but he is no where near certain. And BS’s reputation says he wants to be certain. Put another way, if BS had the votes he already would have leveraged the Giants a while back. Conversely, If the vote was not close going the other way, BS would have told the A’s “sorry” (it’s just a bridge to far).
    IMHO the story (again if true) and the announcement of the big legal guns being hired also means the vote is close. And the forcing of the vote and the hiring of the legal big guns means the A’s subtly strong arming the process. A “look, you know I have my legal team, now I want a vote!”.
    I do agree with other who say it is a risk. This is it! Unless a lawsuit can turn the decision around, if the A’s lose this vote they are not going to SCC (and no team will for a long long time if ever). I am glad to see the issue will be forced to a head (once again if the story is true).

  46. TW says:

    my apologies, I missed the update. I guess never mind :-)

  47. Jesse says:

    Bud Selig said that there will be no vote when there is pending litigation on the stadium issue.

  48. Pudgie says:

    @ Jesse – What is the “pending litigation” to which you are referring?

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