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.