Monday, September 19, 2011

Seriously, We'll Take ANY Decision Now...






















The latest Mercury News editorial about the never-ending A's-to-San Jose saga, pretty much says it all:

"Just Make a Decision, Selig—Any Decision" 
September 18, 2011

In a stalemate, any kind of change can turn into an opening for resolution. So with Pollyanna optimism, we hope the departure of Bill Neukom as the San Francisco Giants' managing general partner provides an opening for Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to finally decide whether or not the A's can move from Oakland to San Jose.

Approving the move, contingent on a financial settlement with the Giants, would be the right choice. It would turn the A's into moneymakers instead of a financial drain on other team owners, and it would directly benefit Major League Baseball: The other likely homes for the team would be far less profitable than San Jose, and Selig's mission is to act in the best interests of the game.

But at this point, any decision on the move is better than no decision. If Selig can't bring himself to say yes to San Jose over the Giants' objections, then he needs to say no. Period. The city, if not A's owner Lew Wolff, needs to move on.

This wearying saga began in 2009, when Wolff gave up on plans for a stadium in Fremont and turned to San Jose. City officials scrambled to assemble land, work the ballpark into its downtown plan and prepare to float a ballot measure, since voter approval would be required for the project.

But Major League Baseball first had to approve the move, since the Giants had been granted territorial rights to the South Bay when they explored building a stadium here in 1989. Selig clearly has been caught between, on one side, the Giants, who are rolling in dough since their World Series win last year and don't want South Bay competition; and on the other side, along with Wolff, some other team owners who are tired of subsidizing the low-attendance A's in their current, clunky baseball-football stadium in Oakland. 

So Selig named a task force to give him cover. Er, wait, we mean to carefully analyze the facts and make a well-grounded decision. Yeah, that's the ticket.

That was two and a half years ago. Either it's a task force of snails, or Selig lacks the courage to act on the facts.

South Bay political leaders, a community coalition and some captains of industry have been lobbying Selig to bring the A's here. But he is beholden only to his board, which is made up of team owners, including the Giants.

Neukom was a formidable board member, a dynamite litigator who seemed to relish the prospect of a legal fight. Team president Larry Baer, taking over for him, is as vocal an opponent of the San Jose A's, but some think he might be more open to a deal.

If not, and Selig can't approve the move, then he might as well just come out with it and say no.
Wolff most likely will sell the team, and a new owner will move it outside the Bay Area. And cash-strapped San Jose can make other plans for that downtown land.

It would be an unfortunate resolution, but it would be better than none.

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