SBD/December 19, 2013/Franchises

Dodgers Investor Guber Refutes Report That He Is Interested In Buying A's

Guber said he has not talked with MLB about buying the A's
Dodgers investor and Warriors co-Owner Peter Guber yesterday said that he has "no interest" in buying the A's, despite a report by the East Bay Express that he and Warriors co-Owner Joe Lacob were leading an "investment group exploring the possibility of buying the A's and building a ballpark in Oakland," according to Bill Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES. Guber said, "Absolutely not true. 100% not true." Guber declined comment about whether Lacob "might be interested but called it 'categorically incorrect' to say he might be." Guber: "I have not had any conversations with the league or any of the owners about buying the team. I love the Dodgers. I love the Warriors" (L.A. TIMES, 12/19). The initial report from the EAST BAY EXPRESS' Tavares & Gammon cited sources as saying that Guber and Lacob are "part of one of at least three potential investment groups who are interested in buying the A’s and building the new ballpark." Sources said that the investor group "behind the Howard Terminal ballpark proposal" is willing to "partner with" current A's ownership to build a new ballpark. But A's Owner Lew Wolff earlier this week said that he had "no interest in the Howard Terminal proposal." Sources said that the group "knew full well that Wolff might reject their proposal," and that they made "contingency plans and have been shopping around the Howard Terminal proposal for potential investors, identifying at least three groups who are interested in buying the A’s and building the Howard Terminal ballpark themselves" (EASTBAYEXPRESS.com, 12/18). 

SITTING ON THE DOCK: In San Jose, Tim Kawakami cited sources as saying that MLB "likes the waterfront area," and that Lacob "was VERY interested in the Howard Terminal site." But "you never know" with Lacob. Kawakami: "Who knew he could beat [Oracle CEO] Larry Ellison to the Warriors, so I don’t ever put limits on Lacob’s drive." Meanwhile, sources said that Guber is "tied to the Dodgers and not involved in any A's effort." But Kawakami noted that was "in July/August/September" (MERCURYNEWS.com, 12/18). Also in San Jose, Marcus Thompson writes keeping the A's in Oakland "is trendy again." The "question now is if these defibrillations are actually giving life to a new stadium or just the final twitches of a dead movement." On the "heels of colorful renderings of a ballpark on the Oakland waterfront, comes the jolt of possible Warriors involvement." But "in the end ... all that matters is how Oakland takes advantage" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 12/19).

COMMUNICATION BREAKDOWN: A S.F. CHRONICLE editorial states MLB Commissioner Bud Selig's "failure to provide a definitive answer on the A's status amounts to cruel and unusual punishment to their ownership, their suitors in San Jose, their loyal legion of fans who keep the outfield drums beating in Oakland -- and the image of professional baseball itself." No one involved "wants to see the A's stuck in an aging, hulking Coliseum with its infamous sewage spills and tarped-off sections." Wolff on Tuesday said that "all he is asking for is an up-or-down vote of baseball owners on the move to San Jose." Wolff and co-Owner John Fisher would be "foolish to sell before then, and their patience and resolve is beyond doubt by now." MLB "needs to choose: Plan A with Wolff and Fisher or Plan B, presumably without them." But until that "happens, all those news conferences with beautiful renderings of a second ballpark on San Francisco Bay are just another form of fantasy baseball" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 12/19).
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