Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Summer of Discontent?















It's been a hot one in Silicon Valley this week. And while the heat has a way of making some people feel listless or languid, it can make others agitated and distressed. Lately, waiting on a decision from MLB Commissioner Bud Selig inspires more of the latter. To illustrate this, NewBallpark.org, probably the definitive guide for the Athletics' stadium saga fiasco, has a daily counter of the number of days its been since "MLB started reviewing the A's stadium situation." At this writing, it's a depressing—and astonishing—828 days! Speaking of NewBallpark.org, Jeffrey August recently vented his own frustration with this painfully (and needlessly) slow process in a post entitled "The Cost of Indecision." Taking a uniquely Silicon Valley perspective on the issue, August wrote:

At Facebook, there are signs posted all around the place that say “Done is Better Than Perfect.” I think Bud needs to visit and catch a glimpse of how business is done these days. At Pandora, I am sure that copyright law policy and advertising sales campaigns and boosting subscription service account holders are all issues worked in unison. No, the “Dodgers and Mets have really screwed up… everything else is on hold” sort of dalliances don’t usually hold muster at companies that own the future.

Having a consensus builder at the helm isn’t exactly like having a visionary running the show. Having a man who can’t make a decision without the approval of those he “leads” is cutting into our fan base. And by our, I mean we. Me and you and all of us who should be preparing for a new yard instead of bickering about where that home should be.

Imagine if Selig had treated the A's with half of the urgency he's given the Dodgers. Instead, every day that passes without a decision, the Athletics are left to wither on the vine just a little bit more. Selig's impotence has put the team in a increasingly precarious position. Let's face it, soon more and more doors will be closing for the A's. Howard Bryant's excellent article on ESPN.com last week only further confirmed this impending sense of doom:

The ultimate decision of whether the A's will be allowed to move to San Jose belongs to Bud Selig alone, but pressure has created a four-way, high-stakes game of chicken between Selig and the A's, the A's and the Giants, Selig and San Jose and Wolff and Oakland. The one absolute to the convolution is that the Oakland A's are cornered -- to the south by Selig and in Oakland by the combination of Wolff's conviction that no workable site exists in the city and an expiring lease in a stadium that is unlikely to be renewed while Wolff intimates that he wants to leave town. 

But out of this gloomy scenario has sprung an interesting Facebook group, Hey Bud, PleA'se Stop the TeA'se. It's the brainchild of Athletics Nation's emperor nobody and borne out of frustration from Bud Selig's seeming lack of initiative, leadership, and care. The group is a sort of neutral zone for A's stadium boosters, advocating for neither San Jose or Oakland specifically, but simply for a decision from Bud Selig—one way or the other:  

We come to you today to ask you to set aside your nominal differences and your petty divisions as fans and embrace with us this program of building a movement to get Commissioner Selig to make a decision ... We also feel that as complex as all this is, the simple core of it is that Bud and Bud alone has the power to make it come unstuck, by whatever means he has at his disposal to do so in his role as head of MLB.  We are looking for him to exercise his office and do his job, and to do whatever it is going to take to show leadership in these circumstances so the A's can emerge out of their current wildernessitself a result in no small way of this pattern of neglect and diffidenceas a product, as a team, and as a proud and historic franchise.

So Commissioner Selig, it's getting hot. And we're getting restless. Make it official already. The San Jose A's are ready to go.

You're up to bat, San Jose!

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