In March 2009, Bud Selig did what he usually did when he faced an intractable problem which he could not solve by muscling a supermajority of owners: he formed a committee.
This committee was designed to investigate the Oakland Athletics potential move to San Jose. Of course there wasn’t much to investigate. It was all pretty clear, really. The A’s wanted to move to San Jose. San Jose wanted the A’s. The Giants didn’t want that at all and because they own the territorial rights to San Jose, there wasn’t much baseball could do about it without sparking a civil war among owners and, in all likelihood, causing a bunch of lawsuits to be filed. So: give it to a committee and let them sit on it until some sort of solution just . . . happened.
As far as Selig-era committees went, this one was pretty successful. It stopped all of the bad things from happening. Well, one lawsuit was filed, but it’s not a very good one and baseball is winning it pretty easily. More importantly, the Giants are happy. The owners who would be sympathetic to the Giants (i.e. teams worried that their own territories are large enough to support a new team and do NOT want that to happen) are happy. The underlying problem the committee was ostensibly convened to solve — getting a viable place for the A’s to play baseball — is unchanged, but hey, they’re batting .500 here, and that’s really, really good in baseball!
Sadly, though, the committee has disbanded. From John Shea’s story in the Chronicle:
The A’s are nowhere closer to a new stadium than they were in March 2009, when Selig formed a three-man committee to study possible options. In fact, Selig said the committee “pretty much disbanded,” noting Chairman Bob Starkey is Manfred’s new chief financial officer. “The committee was very useful, very constructive. But I would think they’d maybe do a different mechanism.”
So, RIP Oakland A’s-to-San Jose Committee. You were a high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die. Etc.
UPDATE: While this is the first I heard of the committee disbanding, Bill Shaikin and others reported this late last summer.
(thanks to Wendy Thurm for the heads up)