Listen to Bill Madden’s interview with The Drive. It’s far more substantial than the one with the KNBR morning zoo.
Madden’s arguments are these:
- From reading the Major League Constitution, the fact is that the Giants’ hold over the South Bay is ingrained. Per the document, any change would have to be via a 3/4 vote of the owners and could not occur via a Selig decree.
- Changing T-rights would create a huge precedent, which Stuart Sternberg could use to move the Rays to New Jersey.
- Bud Selig would like to broker an agreement but Madden doesn’t know how it could be done because Giant ownership feels it would be “committing suicide”.
Confronted by the A’s denial, Madden defiantly asked, “What did I get wrong?” Well, for starters, he got the history of the territorial rights arrangement wrong, though I figure he’d probably correct that if he had the chance. There is the question of how broad an action Selig can take. Madden says that Selig can’t. Lew Wolff’s position all this time has been that it is the commissioner’s decision to make. It’s not quite that simple, however.
Selig generally doesn’t operate by decree, so it’s something of a false argument. The only time in recent memory that he has “decreed” anything was the fateful decision to end the 2002 All Star Game in a tie. Everything other decision was the basis of him lobbying owners as a group to a specific decision or endgame. Yes, some kind of agreement has to be brokered, which Madden alluded to. No one’s breaking news there. How and for what $$$ have always been the sticking points, given the Giants’ and A’s positional gulf on the matter.
Madden even concedes this:
“… Or let Lew Wolff tell me how I’m wrong. I love Lew Wolff. He’s a great guy. My personally feeling is that I’d like to see the A’s in San Jose because I’d like to see them survive. San Jose is the second (sic) largest city in California and they ought to be able to have a baseball team. The fact of the matter is, for whatever reason, Wally Haas ceded those rights to Bob Lurie. And that was the reason Bob Lurie was able to sell the Giants for $100 million.”
San Jose is actually third largest, but I can see how a New York guy can get that wrong.
Eric Davis asks the proper question in the interview,
DAVIS: To your knowledge, have the A’s been denied San Jose or not?
MADDEN: No, I never said that. See, this is the problem. Everybody’s saying that Selig said has told the A’s that they aren’t going to San Jose. I DID NOT SAY THAT. The column does not say that… Is there anywhere in therewhere I said that Bud Selig’s gonna tell them they can’t go to San Jose? I’m saying that under these circumstances they’re not going to San Jose. But it’s not Selig that’s going to tell them that. These are the circumstances.
Bill Madden, you can thank your headline writer/editor/intern/monkey for having to go on the defensive on today. To his credit, he ends the interview with perhaps his most salient point:
I’m sure the commissioner’s not very happy with me on this story. Part of the reason being I’m sure he’s hoping he could broker a settlement between these two teams. Maybe he can. Right now I don’t see that happening.
After the Madden interview ended, Brandon Tierney and Eric Davis both came to the same conclusion: Madden’s connecting dots as opposed to reporting actual news. Is it nothing? Not at all. It’s properly giving attention to the elephant in the room, which is that the A’s and Giants are miles apart on what they think Santa Clara County is worth in terms of a settlement. It’s Selig’s job to broker that deal, and he reportedly won’t start brokering in earnest until the Giants’ astroturf group drops their lawsuit in San Jose. And let’s keep in mind that the way these settlements have gone in the past, there is a baseline: settling team pays half of $75 million “fee” to infringed team, league and other 28 owners pay the other half. Giants ownership know this and want no part of it. They’d just as soon pay the A’s to leave the Bay Area completely. Then again, there is the possibility that arbitration may be in order. Neither team is a stranger to the process. Shyam Das, get ready for Selig’s call on the batphone.