05 July 2009

Purdy pleads with Selig

The Merc's Mark Purdy, who happens to be the only Bay Area sports columnist truly in favor of a move to San Jose, just made Sunday's paper a little more interesting. Purdy implores Bud Selig to wrap up the three-person commission (the term "blue ribbon" was coined by the media and not by MLB) and decide once and for all whether the A's should be allowed to officially head to San Jose.

Before offering his solution, he gives the most up-to-date take on the panel's work:
  • One day last month, the "Blue Ribbon Panel" met for two hours with Selig at his office in Milwaukee.
  • During the meeting, panel members discussed information they had gathered from East Bay figures and A's executives over the past three months about why things had gone so sour in Oakland and Fremont. The Blue Ribbonites also offered analysis about whether any other possibilities existed for an A's ballpark in Alameda or Contra Costa counties.
  • Selig has been digesting the information and contemplating his next step. But he has not yet asked the panel members to speak with anyone in San Jose. Selig also has not set a time frame for when he would like the Blue Ribbonites to file a written report on their findings.Selig has been digesting the for when he would like the Blue Ribbonites to file a written report on their findings.
Purdy's getting a bit ahead of himself here. The commission's only charge is to evaluate the East Bay situation. If Selig wanted them to open up discussions with San Jose, he'd have given them the green light immediately. This process, whether it's legitimate or a dog-and-pony show, is designed to go through one excruciating step at a time. That goes for rules changes, economics, PED's, you name it. Rare is the swift action or recourse, which is natural for a consensus builder like Selig. The only pressure to which Selig seems to bow is the congressional kind, and even that only goes so far.

The columnist also alleges some dirty pool in the matter:
My further concern: The longer Selig dithers, the more likely it is that the Giants' misleading lobbying effort to trash San Jose will gain traction. Recently, Wolff received an e-mail from a fellow owner. This owner was unsure whether to support a possible A's ballpark in San Jose because he questioned whether the team should "be able to move right next door" to the Giants.

Wolff quickly returned the owner's message and set him straight about the geography: San Jose is definitely not "next door" to San Francisco. In fact, San Jose's proposed downtown ballpark site is 48 miles from AT&T Park, where the Giants play. By comparison, Angel Stadium in Anaheim is 30 miles from Dodger Stadium.

Obviously, this mistaken owner had been caught in the spin control of Giants owner Bill Neukom, who has almost comically stated that San Jose is located "in the heart of Giants territory." What a crock.

It'd be interesting to be a fly on the wall at the midseason owners meetings to hear these arguments get hashed out. I'm a bit skeptical as to the effectiveness of the Giants' lobbying efforts. It shouldn't take much effort to dispel any notions of Santa Clara County being next door to San Francisco. It's a much more complicated sales pitch to convince the owners that changing T-rights is in their best interest.

For some reason, Purdy stops short of exposing the real issue here. Assuming that the commission rules against further exploration of the East Bay, the A's future in the Bay Area comes down to two possibilities: San Jose or bust. As stated earlier in the week, San Jose and A's ownership are already on the same page regarding this. If the panel rules out the East Bay due to economics and the South Bay due to rules, there really isn't anywhere else left to build, is there? MLB won't indefinitely lame duck the A's in Oakland, they'll use the panel's judgment to justify a move out of state, as awful as that sounds. And with that, a certain "Montrealization" conspiracy theory set will have been proven right.

Then again, how realistic is that? San Jose has basically been given the rules of engagement since the Baseball San Jose group was put together. The relative inactivity in 2007-08 didn't change this, and the City has continued its process in spite of the odds during that period. That's not to say that San Jose deserves a shot more because of adherence to protocol. It's just that it's lot of work by several parties and at least one of them (you can guess who) has probably been keeping Selig abreast of everything. If Selig wanted it to stop, he would've given an unequivocal cease-and-desist to all involved years ago. In the end, what makes more sense: to leave a potentially lucrative opportunity open, or to use the opportunity as a ruse to vacate for a lesser opportunity elsewhere (a completely unnecessary move BTW)? Given the economic climate, the choice is quite obvious, no matter how conspiratorial your mindset is. Speaking of which, does one sound like a significantly greater conspiracy than the other?

All we know for certain is that the committee's report should be out soon, along with the City's dual EIR's. A vote can't happen until March at the earliest, next June at the latest. If there's some serious urgency to make a decision, it's not borne out of the schedule. The funny thing is that Purdy may get exactly what he's proposing to Selig in short order. It won't happen because certain SJ denizens are getting anxious.


Jesse said...

I dont like the 18 month window idea for SC county. if you fail you're done. Maybe 60 months. There are plenty of areas to consider in that county for a park. EIR's take 18 months.

The ideal for me at this point would be for the blue ribbon panel to come back with Go for San Jose because the EIR is done. Say to Oakland you're viable keep building towards your plan in case San Jose fails because you're plan is still several years out.

That way we dont have a situation where Oakland is DOA in any stadium talks in the future if necessary and the A's have rights to SJ.

Tony D. said...

I've said this before and I'll say it again: it's all on San Jose ("onus") to get this thing done. Present a viable stadium plan and the TRights are gone.

Also, Wolff not only has seniority over Neukom as an owner, he's also good pals with Selig (we all knew that) and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who's the head of MLB's relocation committee. Neukom's "scare tactics" with the other owners are dead on arrival!

Lastly, as reported previously, 87% of Silicon Valley company's (polled by SVLG) DON'T do any business with the Giants. And 70% of the remaining 13% stated that they would do business WITH BOTH the A's and Giants. MLB isn't going to make the Bay Area a one-team market knowing those facts; especially after making the Balt/DC area a two-team market (roughly the same population as the Bay Area). There's more than enough pie to go around for both the Giants and A's.

Lastly, Ballpark EIR for San Jose already completed Jesse; just needs updating, which will be completed soon.

Jesse said...

Tony, I'm aware of the EIR status, I was just thinking if Diridon doesnt work out, it might be 18 months to get another site worked out in Santa Clara County. The Giants tried more than once down there too.

Anonymous said...

ML wrote - due to economics and the South Bay due to rules, there really isn't anywhere else left to build, is there?

sure there are, there is the dublin pleasanton livermore area, and out past antioch. both of which have open land.

in downtow san jose i am wondering if there would be any airplane noise over the proposed ballpark. im not sure if there have been any studies on that. but i dont like noisy airplanes flying over televised events. it is too hard to listen then.

Dan said...

9:37 AM, unfortunately Antioch is too far out from the majority of the Bay Area to be viable. And Dublin/Pleasanton has shown no interest in hosting a major sports team, nor has Livermore. To say nothing of Livermore being a transit nightmare since there IS no transit out there and 580 is already a parking lot.

Paul said...

re: SJ ballpark and airplanes. I'd have to say, yes, the planes would be right overhead. Same as with the 49ers Santa Clara stadium but the airplane problem hasn't stopped that effort from proceeding.

Look out the left-side window of any plane approaching SJC and you can look down at SJ Arena. Planes flew over Shea Stadim and, since it's right next door to where Shea, planes probably still fly over the new stadium there.

As far as a ballpark in Dublin/Livermore area, the mayor of Dublin was approached by the Raiders about building a football stadium there. She said something to the effect of thank you but absolutely no way would Dublin be interested.

bbison said...

Antioch is perfect! Haven't you heard that Bob Fitzgerald commercial where he says "The Antioch Auto Mall is within a 30 minute drive of most of the Bay Area!"

I'm still waiting for Fitz to explain what sort of car they sell at said mall that can cover the 94 miles from my house (in Santa Clara County) to the mall in 30 minutes. Maybe it has a flux capacitor or something.

Marine Layer said...

The site is 1/3 mile west of the main approach. Many of the downtown office towers on the other side of 87 are directly underneath the approach. Both the Santa Clara and San Jose stadium sites are within the FAA designated 65 dB noise contour.

Marine Layer said...

Also anon 9:37, you didn't clip the beginning of the sentence, "If the panel rules out the East Bay due to economics..." which renders any discussion of anywhere in the East Bay, including Tri Valley and Contra Costa County, moot. That would be a judgment made by the panel, not the A's.

Steve said...

Mr. Purdy forgot to point out one very significant absurdity in the Giant’s apparent propaganda that an A’s move to San Jose would place the franchises “right next door.” As they stand today the two ball clubs are less than 17 miles apart. If San Jose is next door to San Francisco then Oakland is in San Francisco’s back yard. I can't understand why this fact is always neglected. Unlike other controversial team relocations, such as the National's move into Oriole's territory, a move by the A's to San Jose will only serve to further the distance between the two teams.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:34--your being too logical--remember that Bud (BS) is involved--the man who can't make a decision and when he does it is usually wrong---look how he handled the whole steroid scandal--never did anything to contain it---what was the Giants penalty for knowingly allowing it in the clubhouse...nothing!! How about the infamous "tie" all-star game---my guess is that he will be too afraid to do anything--LW will be sent back to Oakland or told to try again in Fremont...and LW will say uncle---sell the team to the highest bidder who will move them who knows where---and yes--I realize that the SJ market is one of the most attractive from an economic perspective---but lots of deep pockets out there that want to be a community hero--like Clay Bennett---A's will land somewhere else---and the Giants will not only have gotten away with their steriod scandal but also forced a single team market on the bay area--logic says that the commish won't allow this to happen---but then again--it is BS we are dealing with here