Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Another Bad Sign for Oakland?

By Robert Gammon
Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 10:19 AM

The news that Major League Baseball has appointed a task force to examine possible stadium sites in the East Bay for the Oakland A's is already being viewed by some as a positive development in the effort to keep the team from leaving. But after watching this stuff unfold for the past decade, I smell a snake in the grass. To me, it's more likely that Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is laying the groundwork to help his friend A's co-owner Lew Wolff make a case for moving the team to San Jose.

Selig has appointed the task force, and it apparently is going to go over ground that Wolff already has blazed. As a result, it's hard to see the task force striking a deal for another site in Oakland without Wolff's buy in, especially now that the team's co-owner has made it clear that the A's have no intention of staying. It would be a huge slap in the face to Wolff. It seems more likely that the task force will end up affirming that Wolff did all he could to stay in the East Bay, and that there are no viable spots for the team Alameda or Contra Costa counties.

If the task force does reach that conclusion, it will then help Wolff make his case that he should be allowed to move the team to San Jose, despite the fact that the San Francisco Giants own the territorial rights to the South Bay. Wolff will be able to tell other baseball team owners that they should vote to allow him to override the Giants' rights because the Major League Baseball's own blue-ribbon task force has confirmed that the team can't stay in the East Bay. It could very well be a convincing argument.

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