Coming to a head

Tuesday’s Merc article by Tracy Seipel indicates a sense a desperation among the San Jose boosters and Wolff, in that they need Bud Selig to render a decision on T-rights in order for San Jose to move forward with a ballot measure. In weighs Roger Noll, who feels that Selig hasn’t acted prudently on behalf of either the A’s or Giants.

Roger Noll, a professor of sports economics at Stanford University, said Wolff’s frustration means “Selig isn’t doing the job of a commissioner, which is getting the Giants and the A’s to talk together.” He has predicted the two teams could strike a financial settlement for the territorial rights.

“It’s very difficult to reach a deal without the commissioner coming in and saying, ‘Look, I want a deal… and you guys need to work it out,'” said Noll. “‘And if you don’t, I will impose one on you.”’

Now that would be fantastic for the pro-San Jose folks. Unfortunately, it’s not realistic. From what I’ve gathered, there has been little discussion about prioritizing this issue. Even if Wolff brought it up at the brief owner’s meetings and in the process set himself on fire to get everyone’s attention, I still don’t think Selig and the owners would take action immediately. I could be wrong on this, but I’m going with what I’ve been stating the last six months: San Jose has to get its ducks in a row first, then the owners can talk. Unfair? Yes. Unexpected? Not in the least.

The question arising from this is: What risk is there to the political process if MLB doesn’t take action in time? Well, that’s not easy to quantify. Perhaps some group is taking a poll now on this, but I suspect that trying to explain the history and vagaries of MLB’s Santa Clara County territorial rights to the voting populace would be an exercise in futility. The last polls taken support a ballpark in a general way, so what’s the hold-up? In all likelihood, it’s the ballot language. The measure has a limit of 75 words, and the pols must have numerous drafts on hand, wanting the most ironclad (yet deliberately vague) version in place before they go to the voters. That’s the irony in all of this. MLB won’t budge until SJ has its ducks in a row, and SJ doesn’t want to move unless it has an indication from MLB that it wants to move forward. SJ doesn’t want the extra cost associated with a spring off year special election, and November 2011 is more than merely cutting it close, it’s practically late given a likely construction schedule.

It sounds like an impasse, except that MLB knows that it has survived just fine without a franchise in San Jose for the last century. Can SJ afford to be a little more patient? We’ll find out soon enough.

Note: The article mentions a new grassroots anti-stadium group called Better Sense San Jose. The site has been up since April or May and has a decidedly fiscal slant, though like Stand for San Jose, I’m skeptical as to who’s behind it. WHOIS lookups on the domain owner are blocked, whereas the contact address appears to be a P.O. Box at a UPS Store in the Rose Garden neighborhood. Come on, people, it’s okay to let the public know who you are.

9 thoughts on “Coming to a head

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention / new A's ballpark --

  2. What a shock that the new anti-A’s to SJ group appears to be yet another front organization. At this rate the Giants will have more fronts in SJ than a major drug cartel.

  3. There is no reason to think waiting MLB out will ever result in a decision being made by the committee. Selig wants San Jose to jump through this hoop and take on the election and that’s that. I’m extremely frustrated about the whole process, but I’m biased because I just want the A’s to get this stadium situation resolved. If I take a step back, I can see where Selig’s strategy makes sense. From baseball’s perspective, San Jose isn’t even contributing public money towards the stadium (as almost other MLB cities have in the past), so the least they could do is move towards putting the measure on the November ballot. The sooner the vote happens, the better for SJ since key distinguishing feature between SJ and Oakland, in terms of getting a new ballpark built, is that SJ is so far ahead in the process.
    Given Wolff”s recent comments, it certainly doesn’t seem like any back room deal has been reached. So, SJ isn’t the only one working on faith here. The A’s will be dumping precious resources into to a pro-ballpark measure that, even approved, might result in squat and will undoubtedly cause additional consternation amongst a significant portion of the existing fanbase.

  4. Selig, that man of courage, is simply too afraid to do the right thing and dump the idiotic territorial rights. The geniuses of MLB have locked themselves out of a lucrative market in San Jose and now , like someone who really needs a root canal but doesn’t want to endure the process, they are too afraid to do anything. So they do nothing and let the situation fester.

  5. Thank God for this blog! Couldn’t agree with you more R.M. The onus has always been on SJ to get its ducks rowed up. A plea to Mayor Reed and City of SJ: acquire all the land, complete EIR’s, and give the OK for ballpark construction (vote or no vote) and THEN, ONLY THEN, will we see MLB start to roll. As for this new front group of the Giants, if there true goal is to prevent public funds from going to a ballpark, then they could just fold yesterday…BECAUSE THE BALLPARK WILL BE PRIVATELY FINANCED! That was easy. By the way R.M., could you post again SJ Muni Code 4.95.010 if you get a chance. A quick read of the Muni Code shows clearly that the only time a SJ vote is needed for a sports venue is if direct taxpayer monies are used towards construction of said facility. It says absolutely nothing about providing land or leasing land for a privately built venue. I know we’ve disagreed on the public vote thing, but even you’ll agree that the Code is black and white with no gray area.

  6. Roger Noll hit the nail on the head regarding BS. Right now BS is playing right into the gints hand which is delay…delay…delay—giving them the opportunity to put up their scam organizations and try and influence any public vote in SJ–uncertainty in a voter’s mind never plays well—and for the pro-Oakland crowd–if you really think that the gints will stop meddling if SJ doesn’t happen–think again–Neukom is a lot smarter than to allow for a carbon copy of ATT to be built 7 miles away across the bay—his goal is a 1-team territory and to keep the A’s handicapped for as long as he can while they are here

  7. Actually GoA’s, for all the rampant speculation, “expert” opinion and newsprint provided for this story, Mr. Wolff summed up pretty well the current situation in one simple statement: “Bud has a full grasp of everything, and he’s trying to make a fair and balanced decision between us and the Giants.” Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not feeling a sense of dread over all this anymore. Again, San Jose gets its act FULLY together (not just partially) and the Rangers sale saga is behind us, things will start moving with MLB. As for the “scam” organizations, they’re really nothing to contend with on the grand scheme of things. Since no public funds would be used to finance the ballpark, they have no case; simple as that.

  8. Bill Neukom knows full well the A’s have tried long and hard to get something done in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. By blocking San Jose it will force the A’s to move out of the Bay Area in 3-4 years.

    BS has to make sure ever stone has been uncovered before making a decision. We all can assume at this point the MLB Committee report is finished and it has San Jose as the #1 place to build now.

    BS read this and told the Committee to go back to the drawing board with Oakland to see if there is one last way to get it done in the East Bay. Now this far beyond the scope of the committee but I am sure BS is compensating these guys to stay out in the beautiful Bay Area weather a little longer to “hold Oakland’s hand” in getting a valid proposal up.

    Even so it is years behind San Jose but BS doesn’t care. He would rather play this to the bone to before setting a precedent with MLB over this.

    Lew Wolff needs to educate his fellow owners that the Bay Area should be a shared territory like NY, LA, and CHI. Also he needs to point out the A’s before his time gave Santa Clara County to the Giants to help save them from leaving the area but failed to get something down out there and now it is time they returned the favor. Looking back the A’s should have said no and forced the Giants to move if this is how they were going to be treated by the same team they showed sympathy to.

    The Giants will cry “but we have several corporate sponsors” who helped build our current place, well they only have 5% of the corporations out there supporting them and the other 95% is untapped and unless the Giants plan to move themselves to San Jose they will never fully tap the South Bay.

    Also San Jose is 40 miles further away from San Francisco than Oakland and Lew Wolff needs to show a map to his fellow owners that moving further away from the Giants is a good thing and that San Jose is the largest city in the Bay Area by far and is 3 times the size of Oakland. Plus how in San Jose the A’s would contribute to revenue sharing and that even a new stadium in Oakland the A’s would still be on welfare from the league.

    Being a Giants/A’s fan from San Jose it is sad to see this occur and I no longer support the Giants because of their “selfishness” and egotistical logic claiming a city larger than their own as theirs. Plus not showing sympathy to the A’s after they showed sympathy years ago to the Giants when they could have done what they Giants are doing now. Plus the A’s have won 4 titles in the Bay Area? The Giants….DICK.

    I know Wolff doesn’t want to undermine his frat buddy BS but it is getting ridiculous at this point. 16 months makes no sense and San Jose should put this on the ballot in November and once it passes how can anyone stop the A’s at that point?

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