To really screw up it takes a . . . .

Death. Taxes. Bud Selig putting a committee together to solve a sticky problem he doesn’t want to deal with:

After meeting with ownership and management of the Oakland Athletics in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday, Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced today that he has appointed a committee to thoroughly analyze all of the ballpark proposals that have been made to date, the current situation in Oakland, and the prospects for obtaining a ballpark in any of the communities located in Oakland’s territory . . .

. . . The committee will be chaired by Bob Starkey, a stadium expert and financial consultant for Major League Baseball. It also will consist of Corey Busch, a former baseball executive, and Irwin Raij, a lawyer with Foley and Lardner who worked extensively on both the Washington and Miami ballpark proposals. They will work with MLB President & Chief Operating Officer Bob DuPuy and will provide a written report to the Commissioner at the conclusion of their analysis.

Of course limiting of the analysis to the “communities located in Oakland’s territory,” by definition leaves out San Jose which, while not really having a plan either, has at least some rumblings of one and an argument for viability. Otherwise there’s nothing. If Bud’s track record means anything, it means that this committee will come up with a report that forecasts the doom of the Athletics franchise, most likely alluding to their potential contraction if a stadium isn’t built. More importnatly, the report will serve as a bludgeon for any pro-ballpark group to weild as they make their case to give Lew Wolff a new home. “It’s not Wolff asking for a handout,” they’ll say. “This is about the very viability of the A’s! It’s right here in this independent report!” This is what he did with the famous “Blue Ribbon Panel on Baseball Economics

Which is well and good. It’s Bud’s league and he can appoint whatever commission he wants to appoint. Everyone should remember, however, that the product of this committee will not be some objective, scientific report. It will be an advocacy document, and it should be treated like one.

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  1. obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

    Remember, Selig and Wolff are old college buddies and Wolff has headed a number of group that were seeking to bring major league franchises to the South Bay area, in Santa Clara County.

    So this report will establish that the A’s cannot find a viable locale in their territory, and then they will start looking for a new one outside their territory.

    And what do you know, San Jose is a pretty viable locale, there is a large base of A’s fans down there already, and they have supported the Sharks well in sunny California where hockey has no built in audience, here’s their proposal…

    It will take some concessions on the part of the A’s to pay off the Giants, like the Nats had to do to get the Orioles OK (though I think the Nats were forced down the Orioles throat with some pricey concessions).  Perhaps something related to the Giants loan and/or revenue level, if the Giants have good lawyers (Neukom was just leader of American Bar Association, so he should know some good lawyers).

  2. APBA Guy said...

    Now I’m really depressed. Can a Bud Selig Fantasy Draft Commission be far behind?

    I’ve been on a month long campaign to convince my girlfriend to go to the Mausoleum to se some A’s games this year. It’s something I have to do every Spring, since all she seems to remember is how crummy the stadium is. Some talking points:

    - gameday weather is always beautiful
    – the actual field is beautiful
    – players hustle and play hard
    – plenty of parking
    – easy walk-up ticket purchase
    – can sit close to the field
    – crowd is friendly and there aren’t too many of them

    I also take her to an April Giants game so she can freeze along with 40,000 of her closest friends in the splendor of the third deck, where the ant like creatures on the playing surface cannot be judged to hustle or not.

    Then I remind her how warm and wind-free it will be in Oakland, and how good the lemonade will taste.

    Eventually, I’ll get my Ichiro fix. And this year I’ve got my eye on the Rangers and their Bomb Squad.

    I was making progress on this campaign of persuasion, too. Then I read the blurb about Bud’s Stadium Commission and my will to sell just vanished. Maybe I’ll read an Angel’s injury update to get re-motivated.

  3. Chris Magyar said...

    San Leandro has a dead mall waiting to be razed right next to the freeway, and it’s only a few exits south of the current stadium. The city is desperately trying to boost its economic base to support all the geezers living there. I wonder what politics are preventing conversations between the A’s and San Leandro.

  4. Carl said...

    Baseball is about to get hit with a terrible reality: 

    There is a recession.  The new parks in NY are running into trouble selling out OPENING DAY, cause the seats are too expensive (the best seats cost more than a luxury car)

    Cities can’t spend on a stadium, not when they are cutting cops.  Particularly if the economic value of such a stadium is small, if anything (it’s just a way to move around entertainment dollars)

    I don’t see how the A’s will go anywhere.

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