Calling a bluff

There’s a reason why I don’t play much poker anymore. Frankly, I suck at it. I have no poker face. Apparently, we’re about to find out if San Jose has a good poker face too, because Bud Selig just announced that he is not going to bend to their will.

But, Selig said he would not let an Aug. 3 deadline from the San Jose City Council affect the committee’s timeline. San Jose officials have said they require a commitment from Major League Baseball by that date in order to put a stadium referendum on the November ballot.

If San Jose decides to table the measure, that’s not going to be further impetus for MLB to act. It’s amazing to me how stubborn they are about this. They have been slowly plowing away with their head down for five years now. Maybe they received some kind of promise from Selig when he visited a couple of years ago. Somehow I doubt it. Maybe Wolff told them that he’d work the channels and take care of the lodge, which sounds more likely. Whatever the real machinations are, San Jose will have to decide soon how truly serious about this they are. That means taking a bit of a risk and having faith in the citizenry.

MLB is the hot girl who gets all the attention in school, and San Jose is the average looking guy who is barely acknowledged by her. If he wants to take her to the senior prom, he needs to do all the prom stuff – rent the tux, get a limo, corsage, maybe a hotel room… otherwise she’ll find someone else. Perhaps her slacker ex-boyfriend.

Let’s keep this in proper perspective. The cost for San Jose to be in this is minimal compared to the way so many other American cities have been absolutely pillaged by pro sports leagues and franchises over the last thirty years. So come on, SJ, man up. Get the limo.

Selig also addressed a rumor about his panel perhaps working out a ballpark deal with Oakland:

Selig also denied suspicions that the three-person committee has overstepped its original information-gathering objective and has engaged in active talks to broker a new ballpark in Oakland.

Can’t fault the slacker dude from trying to get the girl back. Does this plot sound more John Hughes or Richard Linklater? Kevin Smith?

22 thoughts on “Calling a bluff

  1. I still don’t understand why SJ wouldn’t go forward with the vote this November irregardless of MLB making their decision or not. The basics of the stadium approval would not be changed with or without MLB’s approvals having been granted yet since no public funds are being used and the city was buying the land anyway.

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  3. While I don’t agree with SJ going forward with a ballot measure, I agree with Dan. San Jose, MAN THE F’ UP! Acquire ALL the land at Diridon (AT&T included) and put a damn measure on the November ballot. Stipulate a below market rate land lease to the A’s pending approval by MLB for relocation. Kind of like what SCCo. did Measure B/BART a few years back; 1/8 percent sales tax hike pending federal funds for the BART extension to SJ.

  4. Actually feel that if LW asked SJ officials to put the measure on the ballot in November, and committed to paying all costs associated with the campaign than they would go forward—whats not clear to me is whether or not the A’s can even be involved in a SJ referendum since they don’t have TR rights to SJ. Believe the ‘9ers invested $4M to get their 12000+ votes—-figure a similiar cost/vote investment in SJ would be required to make it happen—personally you can all call SJ out and tell them to man-up but bottom line is BS has no backbone or this ballpark would already be under construction.

  5. Selig is too scared to do the right thing – let San Jose have the A’s. A so-called leader who can’t lead…

  6. Reading the article today in Mercury News it now makes sense. Follow me here on this one:

    Selig denied suspicions that the three-person committee has overstepped its original information-gathering objective and has engaged in active talks to broker a new ballpark in Oakland.

    “Well, I would say they are wrong,” said Selig

    This is key, because Selig has been so mum on everything so far. This is the first statement he has made that has been definitive about anything relating to the committee.This should tell you where the A’s are heading to as the next 2 statements by him cements it.

    “It isn’t a question of holding them hostage. It’s a question of a very serious matter that’s going to affect two franchises, and before you make a reasonable decision, you have to have a comprehensive report that covers everything. That’s all that’s going on.”

    “We’re just trying to get a report so that no club, when we finally get to discussions, says, ‘Well what about this, did you consider that?’ ” Selig said.

    This statement when combined with the first two tells you that the committee has stated San Jose is the best choice as why would Selig be so adamant about how “detailed” it has to be?. If Oakland was had a place to then why not announce ASAP it as Oakland is in the A’s territory currently?

    The Giants could sleep easier knowing they will still own Santa Clara County.

    It is obvious Selig is making sure he can secure the 3/4 votes and wants to be sure he can have a comeback for any objection the Giants say in front of the other owners.

    All this time we have been ripping Selig for no reason. He is right about territorial rights being a sensitive issue and before he makes a precedent around this he wants to make sure he has all the information necessary before opening a “Pandora’s box” that no one has seen before.

    The longer this process draws out the more if favors San Jose because of the fact if the committee found something in the A’s current territory they would be working with Lew Wolff right now. Instead they are digging as hard as possible to prove San Jose is the only way.

    Makes sense….

  7. Also why say “It isn’t a question of holding them hostage. It’s a question of a very serious matter that’s going to affect two franchises, and before you make a reasonable decision, you have to have a comprehensive report that covers everything. That’s all that’s going on.”

    If there is a site in the A’s current territory then why would affect “two franchises”??

    The only way it would affect “two franchises” is if the best site is San Jose.

    Wow, Selig is going to “hook up” his old fraternity brother Lew Wolff with the gold mine he always dreamed of.

  8. In keeping with the John Hughes theme:

    Is Oakland the Ellen Griswold to SJ’s Christie Brinkley (Christie may seem like a good idea, but would never actually attain Clark)?

    The Jake Ryan (has her no matter what) to SJ’s Anthony Michael Hall (keeps trying and trying, but…) (I guess Fremont could be the comic relief a la Long Duck Dong)?

    I have no idea how to do The Breakfast Club, but I guess Selig can be the principal.

    Oakland seems more like Ducky (seems to click with the general essence of the team/girl) while San Jose is more like the Andrew McCarthy character. I guess San Jose had to succeed in one of these (although Pretty In Pink only changed from Ducky to McCarthy getting Molly because test audiences panned the first one, so…)

  9. Co-worker who’s a huge A’s fan (lives in Hollister and attends 30+ games a year) brought up an interesting point yesterday at work. Heard via radio opinion (station/source unknown) that all of this “anxiety and frustration” on Wolff’s part is to give the public the impression that Selig isn’t giving him preferential treatment because “Lewie” is basically “his boy.” Makes sense to me. We all know damn well that Selig isn’t going to let his frat brother down when all is said and done; but don’t make it to obvious to the public because some might cry foul.
    On another note, if Fremont or Oakland were still being seriously considered by MLB (as SFGate reported), since both are currently in designated A’s territory, we wouldn’t be having this damn study or conversation now would we ;o)

  10. You could be right that Wolff doesn’t want to appear to be getting preferential treatment, but I don’t think “frat brother” goes very far in today’s business world. The only criterion MLB will use is what will be in the best interests of baseball (maximize revenue), and unless you think San Jose will significantly hurt the Giants (I don’t see it) San Jose is the correct answer.

  11. @Sid– while your logic makes sense on the surface here is where it falls apart a little bit. If LW was going along for the ride knowing that things will go his way than he most likely would have said to SJ to put the initiative on the November ballot and that the A’s will step up and foot the freight—like the ‘9ers did. He’s not saying this which is leading to the confusion in SJ as evidenced by Mayor Reed’s comments and editorials like in todays Merc chastisig MLB/BS. Given this, if SJ wanted to move forward in November, they have 3 weeks to do so…..which I doubt will happen unless LW steps up and offers to carry the load…and the signals that he is giving to the city right now don’t lead me to believe that he will.

  12. @Go A’s- Because nothing has been resolved yet Lew Wolff cannot tell anyone to do anything until MLB gives direction. Therefore he is no position to tell San Jose to do anything so if it is to go on the ballot for November it is on San Jose.

    Regardless if this moves forward in November or next year Selig has given every indication that San Jose is the choice and that he needs to make sure he doesn’t run into anymore hurdles with the Giants or anyone else.

    Rejoice guys…It is only a matter of time before the A’s will be in San Jose. 2014 Opening day, coincides nicely with the 49ers moving in 2014 to Santa Clara.

  13. @Sid–like your optimism–but a superstituous sports guy–also hate it when someone predicts victory in advance…latest example the Dutch by selling WC Championship banners 1 week before the game—arghhh…

    Agree with what you say about LW and SJ—bottom line is I don’t think that the city can raise $5M mnimum to pull off a ballpark campaign without the A’s being involved. Only so much corporate support would be available at this point given the economy…no way SJ will step up and fund the campaign by itself—optics would kill it–so my sense is nothing happens in November…perhaps a March vote…more of a citizens initiative—which will require someone to donate an extra mil to cover the costs of a special election….

  14. @GoA’s- I agree, going in on it without the A’s behind it maybe a mistake. If the city has to stage another election for 1 million dollars in March I am sure Lew Wolff will gladly pay the bill. I think it is best to wait like the 49ers did to make sure it passes. Also like you said the economy is still in a rut in general and waiting until March won’t hurt as much as one would think.

    In either case the signs point to San Jose. There is no reason otherwise why this would take 16 months as if Oakland/Fremont had viable places as then MLB would have told its committee to start working on it with Lew Wolff. Why delay this for so long unless it was going to involve the Giants??

    Thanks god there is a anti-trust exemption in baseball or Bill Neukom (who is a very good lawyer) would argue this for years in court. But the anti-trust exemption prohibits teams from suing each other or MLB therefore any case would get thrown out immediately.

  15. Just wanted to say I like your post ML, creatively amusing

  16. Tony, if Fremont and Oakland were NOT still under consideration by MLB, then it comes down to San Jose or relocation outside of the Bay Area. And truthfully, there really is no other city right now that look like a “slam dunk” relocation candidate.

    I’ll repeat what I’ve said in the past:

    1) Selig doesn’t yet have enough votes among the owners to change TR’s.
    2) The owners want to see the economy improve before they DO vote to change TR’s
    3) This isn’t about San Jose, it’s about the Giants wanting Northern California to themselves.

    Given these scenarios, can you blame Bud Selig for trying to keep Oakland as a possibility?

  17. I’ll keep saying it; there are very powerful people (and politicians) who want the A’s to stay in Oakland.

    The Giants, of course, would love to have the area to themselves, but in my opinion, they would rather a ballpark in Oakland than SJ.

    Think about it … are the folks who come to ATT, going stop and join the A’s bandwagon? No.

    But if they move to SJ, that will “stir the pot” and possibly, hurt the Giants’ bottom-line.

    Oaklanders will stay A’s fans and South bayers will change to A’s fans. The Giants will fight tooth and nail for south bay fans to stay in their back pocket.

  18. David,
    The A’s have already lost a great number of east bay fans to the giants with the opening of AT&T. There is no reason to think the A’s won’t lose a whole lot more if they move south.

  19. GoJohn, your question assumes they have any fans left to lose. Their latest attendance figures would suggest they’ve got little left to lose.

  20. The current coliseum attendance, and fan base are two different things. There are countless fans who just don’t want to go to the coliseum for many obvious reasons. A new stadium wherever it may be will bring more people simply for the fact that it would be nicer. Don’t judge the fanbase by the lack of attendance at a crappy stadium. The Giants attendance increased over a million when they got PacBell Park. The same could happen in Oakland. I do agree with GoJohn10. The fact that a new park would be 30 miles farther south would turn off a large number of east bay fans.

  21. It may turn off some East Bay fans, but the hardcore fans will still attend games, and the new and existing fans in the South Bay will be able to make more games. The more important part is the corporate support in the South Bay which will blow the support they currently have out of the water.

  22. You’re so right LS,
    Hard-core Giants fans in the South Bay make the trek to AT&T Park; hard-core A’s fans from the East Bay will make the trek to downtown San Jose. Our Bay Area freeways/transit lines were made to be trekked in both directions ;o)

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