SBD/Issue 134/Facilities & Venues

MLB Appoints Committee To Examine A's Ballpark Situation

Selig's (r) Announcement May Indicate His
Intent To Keep A's In Oakland
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has appointed a committee to analyze the A's ballpark situation. The A's lease with Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum expires in '10, followed by three one-year options for the club to renew. The committee will be chaired by MLB financial consultant Bob Starkey and will consist of former Giants exec Corey Busch, attorney Irwin Raij and MLB President & COO Bob DuPuy (MLB). In San Jose, Denis Theriault in a front-page piece reports some city officials "expressed hope Monday that the panel's appointment would help cement the city as the front-runner," but Selig's announcement "also appears to inject new life into Oakland's hopes to retain the team." A "major component of the group's discussions" will surround the Giants' territorial claims to Santa Clara County, "which so far have kept the A's from moving to the South Bay despite years of mutual interest." MLB's territorial rights can be removed if at least 75% of the 30 MLB team owners agree, and the decision "could be easier" if the panel finds "no other options or determines that a move to the South Bay would make the most money for baseball's owners." The Giants yesterday argued that Selig's statement "indicates his intent to keep" the A's in Oakland (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 3/31).

TERRITORY WAR: In San Jose, John Ryan writes, "In an ocean of insignificant moves, this one stands out for its significance." MLB, for the first time, publicly acknowledged that the "Giants' territorial rights are up for discussion" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 3/31). But Giants Managing General Partner Bill Neukom yesterday said the formation of the committee shows MLB wants to help the A's "find a home in their territory -- Alameda and Contra Costa counties." Neukom: "They have territorial rights. We have territorial rights. They need a better home. That's fine. We agree with that. We support them with that and the Commissioner is saying, 'Let's find them a home in their territory'" (MLB.com, 3/30). David Chai, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums' Chief of Staff, said, "It's a positive step moving forward. It's in the city's overall best interest to keep the A's." Chai said that he "hoped Cisco and Comcast's commitment to help finance the construction of a new stadium in Fremont would also extend to Oakland, buoying the city's hopes of keeping the team" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/31).

Is Selig Truly Looking Out For A's And
Baseball's Best Interests?
BEST INTEREST AT HEART? In Oakland, Cam Inman writes Selig's increased involvement in the A's ballpark issue "just doesn't seem sanitary." Selig and A's Owner Lew Wolff were fraternity brothers at the Univ. of Wisconsin, and Inman wonders, "Is Selig truly looking out for the best interests of baseball or is he giving his buddy the secret handshake?" Selig yesterday said the A's "cannot and will not continue indefinitely in their current situation." Inman writes Selig's comment "seems like it came straight from the desk of Wolff's lawyers" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 3/31). The S.F. EXAMINER's Glenn Dickey writes it appears as if Wolff is "trying to propagandize his way to San Jose, ignoring the A's history in Oakland." With his recent comments, Wolff "seems determined to drive down the attendance for his team, to prove the A's can't make it in Oakland" (S.F. EXAMINER, 3/31).

BATTLE BY THE BAY: In S.F., Susan Slusser notes DirecTV and CSN California, the A's new TV home, have yet to agree on a proposal to put A's games on a "basic-level tier level in the Bay Area, as Giants games are." Because CSN California is "increasing its programming, including the number of games, HD telecasts and pre- and postgame shows," CSN "assesses all affiliates a prorated fee increase for the extra production costs, which is standard." However, there are "rumblings that DirecTV, unhappy about the fee increase, might black out A's games in the Bay Area, though that could be construed as a breach of contract." CSN California officials believe that distribution agreements "will be reached before Opening Night" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/31).

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