SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Team owners and Major League Baseball have been tight-lipped about guidelines reportedly offered to the Oakland Athletics that would make it possible for the A’s to move to San Jose.
The guidelines reported by the Los Angeles Times do not guarantee the A’s will leave the East Bay, but at least one prominent sports booster saw the move as a positive development.
“Obviously the proof is in the details, what are the extent of the guidelines,” said Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone. “It gives the A’s a roadmap and conditions that they have to meet.”
KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said that a decision by Major League Baseball on whether the Oakland A’s will be allowed move to San Jose should be an easy one, given the economic differences between the two cities.
“The question is when,” Reed said. “Because the economics are so powerful.”
Reed said the A’s are losing money and it makes sense for them to start over in a new stadium in San Jose.
“Instead of being a net drag on Major League Baseball in revenue sharing, as they are now to about $30 million, they will be a net positive in revenue sharing,” he said.
Even if the A’s meet whatever conditions the League has proposed, club owners could still vote to block the move if the Giants, who hold territorial rights in the South Bay, can line up seven teams to oppose the change. Or the Giants could sue.
Giants president Larry Baer and A’s managing partner Lew Wolff have refused to comment on the rumored guidelines.
Baer has said repeatedly that the Giants would not give up their territorial rights to the South Bay, a position that Andrew Zimbalist, a sports economist at Smith College, viewed “as a posture that the Giants have assumed to maximize the amount of compensation or indemnity that they get.”
If the other League owners force the Giants to negotiate, Zimbalist said it’s not clear how the League would assign a dollar value to the team’s loss.
Reed said he chats frequently with Wolff and last spoke with him about two weeks ago.
“He’s still optimistic, and as long as Lew is optimistic, I’m optimistic,” Reed said.
A terse written statement by MLB spokesman Pat Courtney said only that a committee established by Commissioner Bug Selig to study the move “continues to work hard on this very complex, complicated situation.”
Wolff has sought permission from the Oakland Coliseum to remain through 2017, making any move before 2018 unlikely.
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