LA TImes baseball scribe Bill Shaikin has a fairly lengthy interview with one H.R. “Bud” Selig on the eve of the All Star Game. I say “fairly” because the Times has chosen to split the interview into ten (!) parts to hike up pageviews. In any case, Shaikin got Selig to comment a little on the SF-Oakland-San Jose love triangle on page 4. Here’s the excerpt with some interspersed commentary by yours truly.
Q: George Mitchell delivered the report you commissioned on baseball’s steroid era — 700 interviews, 115,000 pages of documents — in 21 months. It has been 16 months since you commissioned a report on the Oakland Athletics’ stadium situation, an issue that does not appear anywhere near as complex. The A’s still want to move to San Jose; the San Francisco Giants still say no. Why have you not been able to broker a deal between the A’s and the Giants?
A: …Now, as far as the San Francisco-Oakland thing: It’s complicated. I like both parties a great deal. We have territorial rules. I put a committee together that has the qualifications to understand. They’re still hard at work. They’ve still got things to do. This has a lot of ramifications to it.
Eventually, I will make a decision. What I want to say — because I’m generally very deliberate, as everybody knows — is that I didn’t want to have anybody say at the end, ‘Did you look at this? Did you look at that? What about X? What about Y?’
Selig is basically saying that he has all the cards here, so he doesn’t have to do anything right away. If San Jose is balking at putting a measure on the ballot without the decision, tough luck. Why should he put himself out and start making sausage with the owners when SJ hasn’t gotten everything done yet?
Q: Why is it not as simple as: The Giants claim their business will be severely damaged if the A’s move to San Jose, so you quantify how much their business is hurt and write them a check?
A: It isn’t that simple. You’ve got two parties involved here. There are a lot of questions that people raise about damage. It’s up to us to check everything out. There are a lot of questions the other clubs can ask — and I will ask — before we can make any move. I know that people want a decision. I understand that. But my job is to get it right. If it takes a little longer than people thought, so be it.
Ergo, “I really don’t want to open up this can of worms because of the effect on the NY teams. At least not until someone in the Bay Area has their act together.”
Q: The A’s and Tampa Bay Rays are the two teams still looking for a new ballpark. When the collective bargaining agreement expires next year, so does the moratorium on contraction. If the ballpark situations are not resolved, would you consider folding the A’s and Rays?
A: No, I wouldn’t. I think we have moved past that.
It’s too late to talk contraction until the after the next CBA begins.
We’re going into 16 years of labor peace. I regard that as maybe the prime reason for the growth of the sport.
Do you really think Selig wants two contracted teams as part of his legacy?
I love the new ballparks. I love revenue sharing. I love interleague play and the wild card. But I don’t think we understood how those labor confrontations were damaging us, whether it was 1972, 1973, 1976, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1990 or 1994.
There’s no need to fundamentally change the current CBA. The only people complaining are fans (and some owners) of small market teams. Everyone else (owners, players’ union) is reasonably happy.
There is no question that both of those teams need new ballparks. We’ll just have to work our way through it. Tampa has done a marvelous job running their team. [General Manager] Billy Beane has done a terrific job in Oakland. With the economics of baseball today, you’ve got to have a new stadium.
It’s hard to infer too much from this. I’ve always held that Selig will not retire until the Tampa Bay and Oakland situations are resolved one way or another. Since contraction is not happening, it has to be ballparks – somewhere. Once the Rangers’ situation is figured out, I expect Selig and DuPuy to spend a lot of time and resources on TB/OAK.
I’ll leave with one of the more revolting developments from Shaikin’s excellent interview:
I [Selig] was a Yankee fan when I was growing up here [Milwaukee].
Does he deserve a pass because Milwaukee didn’t have a major league franchise when he was a kid?
I am revolted. Utterly revolted. There is no longer any excuse, and I have lost any sympathy with Selig that I ever had for him.
Seriously, a Yankee fan? I mean come on!
This sux! I’m getting very impatient. At this point, build it ANYWHERE! Build it in Livermore for all I care, as long as we get a new stadium in the bay! Ridiculous!
…What if the Cubs and White Sox had “territorial rights” to Milwaukee in 1970, when Selig moved the Pilots there?
Selig does not have the courage to make a decision, apparently afraid of what Neukom might do. MLB made these idiotic territories and have locked themselves out of a lucrative market as a result. I’ll bet most of these genius owners still have no idea San Jose is further from Frisco than Oakland.
Why of why can’t we get our South Bay Congress persons to introduce legislation stripping MLB of its anti-trust exemption?
Selig’s legacy will be puncuated by one word: steroids.
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I’m starting to wonder if Selig is overcorrecting toward the Giants’ viewpoint in an effort to not seem biased toward his old friend Wolff. Otherwise, leaving the franchise (and fanbase) to just twist in the wind is senseless.
Selig obviously knows he needs 3/4 votes of the owners and is avoiding that at all costs. Lew Wolff if he is smart should be calling up all his fellow owners and educating them on the current situation.
It seems the committee is working with Oakland to make a legit proposal out there even though it is years behind San Jose.
Selig needs to invoke his “best interest of baseball” clause and let the A’s move to San Jose. Kuhn vs. Finley it was ruled years ago the commissioner has the right to make decisions that overrule the owners in matters that affect the game.
The A’s get 30 million in revenue sharing while the Giants put in 30 million. This is simple math, the A’s put in 30 million (60 million swing) and the Giants only put in 10 million (20 million swing) per year.
This saves the Giants 20 million a year and baseball has one less team off revenue sharing.
What MLB needs to understand is Oakland; even with an new place for the A’s to play would still get revenue sharing because Oakland is a small city with minimal corporations. Cities like Cincinnati, Baltimore, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia (Yes, even them), Washington, Arizona, San Diego, and Milwaukee all have newer facilities but yet get $$$ from revenue sharing.
San Jose is a city 3 times as large and has massive corporations..hence the name “Cisco Field”. They would be a large market city in MLB terms compared to several cities with teams out there.
MLB is run by a bunch of morons…This is not a hard math equation to do.
-“Why should he put himself out and start making sausage with the owners when SJ hasn’t gotten everything done yet?”
-“Once the Rangers’ situation is figured out, I expect Selig and DuPuy to spend a lot of time and resources on TB/OAK.”
Damn straight R.M.! Everything you need to know in a nutshell. Sure have come a long way from the “there’s no anarchy in baseball” b.s.
re: MLB is run by a bunch of morons…This is not a hard math equation to do.
That pretty much says it. They don’t want to offend anybody, so instead of going to a lucrative, slam-dunk market that’s only 35 miles from the existing stadium, they will give it another try in a place that has been dismissive, even contemptuous, of baseball and is many years and many millions of dollars behind San Jose in progress for a new ballpark. Will Cisco stay on as corporate sponsor for a new ballpark in Oakland? Will Wolff want to spend his $$ to build it? I’ll bet the answer to both these questions is no.
From Bud Selig’s “chatting with fans” at the All Star Game:
“Will the A’s be allowed to move from Oakland to San Jose, thus encroaching on territory claimed by the San Francisco Giants? The answer: Not yet.”
“At least not until someone in the Bay Area has their act together.” Damn straight! ;o)
Wow—a little condescending considerign what SJ has put together with most of the land/EIR and waiting for BS to at least indicate that he will resolve the TR issues if voters approve of the ballpark–seems to me the pot is calling the kettle black here
My bad GoA’s, that last quote of my last post was actually what RM stated above; not Selig. Added it to my post for some extra sensationalism.
A year ago I emailed MLB to ask them when the committee would done and Selig answered the question during his town hall for fans in St Louis at the all star game. He said they’d be done soon and here we are a year later.