It’s been sixteen months since Bud Selig announced the formation of a committee to study the Athletics’ stadium situation. Despite the fact that a focused task force could probably thoroughly analyze the situation and publish a glossy report on the matter in the space of a week with time left over for a happy hour on Friday, there is still no report from Bud’s experts. And no hint of when one will come out.
This has irked San Jose mayor Chuck Reed, who has wanted to put a stadium proposal on the fall ballot. Major League Baseball has told him not to, however, probably for fear that it will destroy the delicate alchemy in which Bud’s committee is engaged. Break their vacuum tubes and slide rules and whatnot.
Last week Reed said “screw it,” and announced that this fall’s ballot will have the stadium measure. Yesterday Major League Baseball’s Bob DuPuy told Reed that baseball would pay for the campaign. To sum up:
- Bud Selig’s college roommate/A’s owner Lew Wolf has repeatedly slammed Oakland and has said he wants to go to San Jose; and
- San Jose’s mayor wants the A’s; and
- Major League Baseball is going to fund the campaign for the ballot measure that will make moving the A’s to San Jose possible; but
- Major League Baseball won’t simply say that the A’s are going to San Jose.
I imagine the reason for that last part is that baseball is afraid of the Giants’ territorial claim, but everything else they’re doing is consistent with baseball’s interest in disregarding it. Which they should do, because carving up the nation in arbitrary territories is stupid, anti-competitive and, in the long run, bad for business. We know it would be outrageously difficult for a third team to relocate to New York now, but if it had happened 20 years ago as the stadium and RSN boom was getting underway, they’d be swimming in it now.
Grow a pair, Bud. Call the Giants on their bluff. If it gets ugly, it gets ugly, but the most you have to lose is an archaic system that is going to prevent your successor from helping baseball propel itself into the 21st century.