SBD/October 26, 2012/Facilities

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig Has No Timetable For Resolution To A's Stadium Issues

Selig said he feels no pressure to make a decision on the A's
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig prior to World Series Game 2 fielded by far the largest amount of media questions regarding the ongoing search for a new A's stadium and the club's desire to move to San Jose. But Selig said the issue is not on the formal agenda for next month's owners meetings in Chicago, and study by his working group continues well into its fourth year without a set timetable for a resolution. "It's a very complex situation," Selig said, insisting the issue was still on the league's "front burner." "People say, 'Oh, it's easy. You ought to be able to make a decision.' But it's not if you really understand all the issues, and I think all the parties do understand." Selig added he feels no pressure to make a ruling and hasten the development of a new facility due to the age of 76-year-old A's Owner Lew Wolff, saying he was motivated only by "the best interests of baseball." "The only thing that will guide me -- on every issue, including this one -- is what I think is the best interest of baseball," Selig said. "That's the only pressure I'll ever feel" (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). The AP's Janie McCauley noted the city of Oakland "still believes it has several suitable locations to build a new ballpark for the A's." Yet, Wolff has "his sights on San Jose and has repeatedly said his franchise has exhausted its options in Oakland after years of trying." Selig said that he "still has no timetable for making a decision on whether the A's can move." He "wouldn't even respond when asked whether it would get done during his tenure as commissioner." Selig said, "I don't think there's any question that they need a new ballpark. That would not be a shocking front-page story I don't think. I don't feel any pressure" (AP, 10/25).

DO YOU KNOW THE WAY?: In San Jose, John Woolfolk notes San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and Santa Clara County supervisors "have been meeting over the last week to ensure that no ballpark land disputes impede their efforts to draw the Oakland Athletics to San Jose." Many expect MLB officials "some time after the World Series to consider whether to allow an A's move to San Jose despite San Francisco Giants territorial objections and Oakland's efforts to keep the team." San Jose last year "transferred land bought with redevelopment money for a future A's ballpark to a newly created agency and sold the A's an option to buy it at below-market prices if baseball officials clear the team's move." But that deal has been "thrown into question by the state's move last year to kill redevelopment agencies." California state officials are "threatening to invalidate the San Jose land transfer and force a market-rate sale to fund local governments and schools" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 10/26).

RAYS OF HOPE: Prior to Game 2 Selig, as he has been in the past, was downbeat on the Rays' home attendance at Tropicana Field, which ranked last among MLB teams despite a fifth consecutive winning season. "I'll let you draw your own conclusion," a visibly upset Selig said when asked if he was troubled by the club's difficulty drawing fans. "I think it's a conclusion that's pretty obvious" (Fisher). Selig said that he planned to "talk soon with principal owner Stuart Sternberg for an update on the stadium situation." In Tampa, Marc Topkin notes St. Petersburg officials are expected to respond Friday to "the team's request to amend its lease to allow talks with Pinellas and Hillsborough entities" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 10/26).
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