02 April 2006

Matier and Ross stir it up again

And now for the most speculative article yet:
At the same time, Wolff held out little hope of the team remaining in Oakland.

"It's a built-up area, and I can't ask them to do the impossible,'' Wolff said, adding that even "if they came up with a $400 million check, we still don't have a place to play.''
Then comes the obligatory Las Vegas reference:
Others, however, think the Fremont play is just another step toward the team leaving the area.

"He has to show he's tried to make a 'go' in Oakland. Then he makes an effort to make a 'go' in Fremont,'' said one Major League Baseball insider. "Then Wolff can go to the commissioner and say, 'OK -- now let me go.' ''

The inside betting is that Las Vegas is high on the A's list. But Wolff says his old fraternity brother, Commissioner Bud Selig, isn't keen on putting a team in a city that allows sports book betting.
No one can ever deny that Vegas will be a player as long as they don't have a team. It's also in Wolff's best interests to have as many open options as possible. That includes Vegas, which MLB supposedly has taken off the table for the Florida Marlins. Has Sin City been set aside specifically for the A's should it get to that point?

In January I wrote a treatise on Vegas and the challenges it faces. What do you think is more likely? That the gaming industry will accede to MLB's desire to take baseball out of the sports books? Or that MLB will let a team operate in Vegas with the sports books intact? Or that Fremont will be able to get an efficient mass transit solution for its site? Or that somehow San Jose will magically open up for the A's due to a MLB in-house negotiation?

That's why I can't handicap any city's chances. Those questions are hard enough to answer. They're even harder to quantify.