SBD/17/Franchises

DID DOLICH/PICCININI GROUP NOT HAVE ENOUGH CAPITAL FOR A'S?

          A day after MLB "essentially killed a sale that would
     have kept the A's in Oakland, team officials tried to
     relieve fears they will relocate the team," according to
     Holbrook & Brewer of the CONTRA COSTA TIMES.  A's President
     Mike Crowley: "We don't have any intention of going anywhere
     right now.  First of all, there's nowhere to go" (CONTRA
     COSTA TIMES, 9/17).  Meanwhile, A's co-Owner Steve Schott
     said the team is unlikely to extend its September 20 sale
     deadline to the group led by Andy Dolich and Save Mart Chair
     Robert Piccinini.  Schott: "If [MLB] didn't want to make a
     decision, this thing could go on until next year. I don't
     know what the incentive is to continue this."  In San Jose,
     Howard Bryant writes that it "isn't clear" why MLB "refused
     to vote" on Piccinini's $122.4M bid.  AL sources "had long
     suggested that the Piccinini group had lacked the financial
     necessities and management structure required for approval." 
     While some felt that MLB wants only the Giants in the Bay
     Area, both Schott and Dolich did not feel the Giants "were a
     factor in killing the deal."  Schott: "I'm not sure I buy
     that."  Crowley: "There was clearly, something within their
     presentation that the owners didn't like, or something that
     made them uncomfortable."  Dolich: "Our group is having a
     difficult time understanding the rationale and logic of this
     decision" (MERCURY NEWS, 9/17).  Oakland City Council
     President Ignacio De La Fuente said that local officials
     "are looking at whether they have legal grounds" against
     Schott and co-Owner Ken Hofmann for not making "a good faith
     effort" to close the sale (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/17).  In S.F.,
     C.W. Nevius reports sources who said that Piccinini's group
     had the A's payroll "going down, not up," and MLB owners
     "apparently felt that they were being played for suckers"
     (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/17).  Matier & Ross report that in the
     "eyes" of MLB, the investment group "were financial
     lightweights."  A source said Commissioner Bud Selig
     "basically told the other owners" that the group "didn't
     have the money to do this" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/17).

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