When Will MLB Finally Allow the A’s to Move to San Jose?

Nearly a year ago, I wrote a post in which, as an aside, I complained about what a turd Bud Selig is for not having worked out a deal to allow the now Oakland A’s to move to a new stadium in downtown San Jose.  Ten months later, there has been no reported progress whatsoever.

In fact, when commissioner Bud “Turd” Selig was asked about the status of a possible A’s move about a week ago, he responded with profanity.

How utterly disgusting!

[For purposes of full disclosure, I have lived in Berkeley, just north of Oakland, since 1997, but I grew up in San Francisco, and I root for the Giants.]

The A’s proposed move to San Jose makes too much sense not to happen eventually.  San Jose is the largest city in the Bay Area at nearly a million residents, is far more willing than any other locality in the San Francisco Bay Area to provide public money for a major league baseball stadium (San Jose wants desperately to get out from underneath San Francisco’s shadow), San Jose has idea summer baseball weather (warm and dry — far better than either San Francisco or Oakland) and has great opportunities for corporate sponsorship/luxury boxes purchases since it’s in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Yes, San Jose is the Giants’ “territory,” but there simply isn’t any good reason why some kind of deal could not be reached to pay the Giants off with cold hard cash (some now, some later) to surrender a location 45 miles away from where the Giants currently play and will continue to play for the foreseeable future.  In fact, a new stadium in San Jose will be much further away than the Oakland Coliseum is from AT&T Park (nearly three times as far, in fact).

The upshot is that for every South Bay fan the Giants lose, they will surely pick up an East Bay or North Bay fan to take his or her place.  The BART trains from Alameda and Contra Costa counties are already full of Giants fans every time the Giants play at home, simply because the Giants have been the better Bay Area team in recent years.

Frankly, there would no good reason for Oakland fans to abandon their team, simply for moving 35 miles south to a location where the A’s could be much more successful.  It’s certainly much better than other possible outcomes, such as the A’s moving to another market, such as Sacramento, Portland or San Antonio.  Nevertheless, if a move to San Jose happens, some fans would likely feel abandoned, and many of those fans would switch their allegiance to the Giants.

The greater (nine county) San Francisco Bay Area is now the fourth largest metropolitan area in the United States, and it is unmistakeably a two-team market, at least if the A’s can move to a new stadium where the paying customers are.  While the Giants may not see it this way, having two teams in the Bay Area is good for both teams and good for MLB as a whole, because it keeps fan interest here high.  Two teams means twice as many opportunities to field a contender.

The fact that Commissioner Selig hasn’t been able to work out a deal to get the A’s out of a cold and lousy stadium where they are consistently one of the lowest revenue teams in baseball into what is obviously a perfect fit in San Jose is pathetic and shows that Selig couldn’t care less about the “best interests of the game.”  Instead, he is merely a shill for the most powerful franchises, which hold on to their territorial rights like grim death.

Specifically, I think MLB’s failure act on the A’s move to San Jose is about a lot more than just the Giants’ resistance. Some of the wealthiest clubs in MLB, namely the New York Yankees and Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels, are opposed to any weakening of the Giants’ territorial rights whatsoever, for fear that if the A’s were allowed to move to San Jose, there may one day be additional teams located in Northern New Jersey and the Inland Empire, two obvious places for future MLB expansion/re-location based on the demographics.

In the meantime, if MLB continues to refuse to take action, the A’s should turn up the pressure by seeing what opportunities exist in other markets, such as the afore-mentioned Sacramento, Portland and San Antonio.  To the extent that the A’s haven’t done this so far, it’s only because moving to San Jose is clearly the best possible option.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Anaheim Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Oakland A's, San Francisco Giants

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