It was about the right time to read some righteous indignation from the Merc’s Mark Purdy, and in today’s edition he serves it up. He goes on the attack against the Astroturf citizens group and SF City Attorney Dennis Herrera. The biggest salvos are saved for the parent club, what Purdy calls the “Fraidy-Giants.”
The angle I had thought about before was money. Purdy points out that Larry Baer and the husband of Giants VP of Communications, Staci Slaughter, both contributed money to Herrera’s campaign. For that they got a nice piece of sabre-rattling. From that the San Jose boosters, who have been quietly raising money up to this point, will only be more motivated to raise even more money for the ballpark efforts. It won’t take much appearance of meddling from the city up north to get it started, so congratulations, Dennis Herrera and the Giants.
As for the little Giants, Purdy tries to dispel the oft-held belief that the team would be forced to move.
And here’s the worst part: The “coalition” is also allowing the false belief to spread that the San Jose Giants would be forced to leave town if the A’s move here. Not true. Under baseball rules, if the A’s move to the South Bay, owner Lew Wolff and Major League Baseball would have the option of asking the San Jose Giants to stay or go. However, Wolff stated a year ago that he had no intention of forcing the minor league team to leave town, saying it would be the decision of Weyermann and his owners. Wolff has frequently reiterated this stance.
What Purdy doesn’t mention is that the team will get some kind of compensation whether they move or not, and the compensation will be greater if they have to move. It’s not a matter of the SJ Giants being forced to leave town, it’s whether or not they have more lucrative options in the future. I have written in the past that the Giants would be forced out, but perhaps T-rights could be redrawn in a way that keeps the SJ Giants at Muni. I just don’t see it as realistic. Right now, grassroots groups are forming to craft proposals to lure the SJ Giants to another part of the Bay Area.
Update: The Merc’s Internal Affairs column describes a brief encounter between Larry Baer and Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone, a longtime proponent of bringing MLB to the South Bay.
Stone said he told him the team’s fate was up to Selig, to which Baer replied, “The commissioner will never rescind those rights.”
“I said, ‘Oh, really?’ ” recalled Stone, who asked Baer why Selig would appoint a committee to study all the options for the A’s if he wasn’t prepared to let the team move to San Jose.
Baer countered that the panel was appointed solely to study options for the A’s in the East Bay, outside of the Giants’ territorial rights. “And I said, ‘That’s funny, because just last week the panel and consultants were meeting with the mayor of San Jose and staff from the redevelopment agency and looking at the potential site in San Jose,’ ” Stone recalled. He added that Baer seemed surprised by the news and walked away.
Over in Santa Clara, Jed York has made the 49ers officially the “bigger man,” by publicly admitting that Oakland would be a good relocation option if the Santa Clara stadium plan fails. When it comes down to a new stadium it gets complex. Sure, the infrastructure is there, but the ideal site within the complex is the existing Coliseum, which might mean that the old girl would have to be demolished to build anew. Frankly, if the two teams don’t explore a rebuilt Coliseum option, they’re both foolish. The public contribution is already there, and it would be much easier to get justification for additional redevelopment funds if they were for the purpose of having both teams in house. Combined, I think it could pass muster as the NFL’s required public contribution, which at this point is the biggest hurdle for getting anything done – regardless of city.