The Chronicle’s Giants beat writer Hank Schulman has the scoop directly from the commish’s office:
And, it is not true that Commissioner Bud Selig and baseball owners have all but decided to uphold the Giants’ territorial rights to San Jose, which would preclude the A’s from going there.
There are two schools of thought in how the owners operate in regards to these kinds of votes. One is that like other political bodies, there has to be some amount of lobbying – direct or indirect – to garner votes. That’s what a lot of the traditional media and Oakland-or-bust advocates say is the big obstacle for Lew Wolff in getting territorial rights to the South Bay granted to the A’s.
Then there’s the other school, proffered by many in the national media and the local beat writers, that Commissioner Bud Selig pulls all of the strings politically, and that a vote is effectively a formality, a formal show of unity. I subscribe to this view because Selig’s body of work is testament to it – witness how Selig pushed through the playoffs expansion. It took longer than most expected, but he waded through it and came up with short-term (2012 only) and long-term solutions.
LIke it or not, that’s how Selig works. He did the same thing with the Astros sale and coming move to the American League. It’s not that he’s rallying votes or support. He’s making the deal, or “engaging in shuttle diplomacy” as Schulman suggests. The owners begged Selig to continue as commissioner until he’s 80 years old at $20+ million per year. They’re paying him to act as a mediator, facilitator, and a leader for their cause (and to some degree, baseball’s). He’s there because the owners don’t have to deal with political infighting while he’s the commish because he arbitrates practically every major issue on their behalf. That, folks, is how The Lodge works.
Note: Remember how Selig’s extension was voted 29-1, with John Moores dissenting? They retook the vote ten days later, and the final tally was 30-0.