San Jose punts the A’s for another year

Given the territorial rights issue, the A’s moving to San Jose stands to be a tough sell to begin with, but it’s growing even tougher:

San Jose officials have decided not to seek voter approval of a new A’s baseball stadium in November, after the team’s co-owner said he’d rather wait for baseball officials to indicate whether the A’s would be allowed to move to the South Bay.

Given the uncertainty over when that decision might come, Mayor Chuck Reed now says he would ask voters to weigh in no sooner than March 2010 — which is also when neighboring Santa Clara could be voting on a San Francisco 49ers stadium deal.

So, apart from the lack of a financing plan, the lack of the OK from baseball, and the lack of political will on the part of the people and the public officials of San Jose to get moving on this, the freight train that is the A’s-to-San Jose idea is just roaring down the tracks!

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  1. Jim Casey said...

    Vegas baby! That’s where the majors’ most itinerant (tied with the Braves) franchise should next call home.

  2. Sim said...

    A’s to San Jose is never going to happen.

    MLB has absolutely no reason to even consider carving SJ out of the Giants’ territory unless the City of San Jose makes an offer MLB can’t refuse.  If San Jose wants to wait for MLB to move first, it will have to wait forever.

    A few facts to keep in mind while too many commentators think about this issue in terms of irrelevant “fairness” considerations:

    - Changing the territorial rights would require a very significant financial compensation package for the Giants.  When the Nats moved to DC, the Orioles received a massive compensation deal, including ownership of an RSN with exclusive TV rights for the Nats and a huge MLB guarantee of the future sale price of the Orioles.  And that case didn’t even involve any territorial rights infringement. 

    —All or nearly all of the money to compensate the Giants is going to have to come from the San Jose taxpayer.  The Orioles’ package was effectively subsidized by DC’s 100% financing of Nationals Park. In San Jose, they are talking about providing land for the A’s to build their own park.  That will never cut it with Selig and DuPuy.

    —San Jose taxpayers are highly unlikely to support any public funding of an A’s ballpark. 

    Thus, SJ can table the issue for now as a face-saving measure.  But the hard truth is that MLB has implicitly encouraged SJ’s efforts to create leverage against Oakland (or non-Bay Area cities) willing to build the A’s a park.  If SJ ever steps up an offers a DC-type deal for the A’s, then MLB may actually revisit the territorial rights issue and let the deal happen.  Short of that, A’s-to-San Jose is just idle chatter for columnists and politicians.

  3. Will said...

    Vegas ain’t happening. It’s too hot to play outdoors, and I doubt the city will want to pay for a covered ballpark. And the casinos aren’t going to support anything that drags people away from the slot machines for 3 hours a day for 80 days of the prime tourist season.

  4. Jim Casey said...

    Vegas will happen because it is the biggest market without a team that is capable of supporting one. The casinos will support it because they are trying to sell Vegas as a family destination. They will set up programs where the kids will be taken to the game so the parents can gamble and drink. Sure it’s hot, no hotter than Arlington Texas, or Miami.

  5. Sim said...

    Will is right: Vegas is also a non-starter for MLB.  The gambling association is only a side-issue.  The real problem with Vegas is that it’s extremely small to begin with and located in the middle of nowhere, so that it would have no ancillary markets to draw from.

    And the Vegas economy is based on tourism, which is extremely vulnerable to recession and unlikely to produce a stable fanbase for a Vegas franchise even in a good economy.

    Economically, Vegas makes no sense.

  6. Sim said...

    Considering nothing but the market strength, MLB would be far better off adding third teams to New York and Southern California than going to any of the small open markets, none of which are really ready or suitable for major league baseball.

    That will never happen though because of, um, Territorial Rights. 

    Thus, the A’s are likely to stay in limbo for 5-10 years or more.

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