Baseball Insider

Giants still intend to enforce their territorial rights in San Jose and block an A's move

NEW YORK -- The Giants reaffirmed their intention to enforce their territorial rights and block a proposed move by the crosstown rival Oakland A's to San Jose at the major league owners meeting here, sources say, leaving commissioner Bud Selig with what a high-ranking baseball person called "a real problem on his hands."

The Giants owners have shown no willingness to this point to sell at any price their territorial right to the Silicon Valley area, which includes San Jose, as they worry that ceding that region would cut their fan base and could also be deeply detrimental to their franchise value. The Giants owners have told folks that the commissioner reaffirmed in writing their territory when they bought the franchise two decades ago, though their territory seems clear, anyway. The Giants ownership group, led by managing partner Larry Baer, contend they built their picturesque AT&T Park with their own money, and say they shouldn't have to risk losing a large number of fans with the construction of a proposed A's Stadium in San Jose. Some estimates say upward of a third of the Giants' paying fans come from the Silicon Valley, which contains San Jose.

The A's' proposal at the ownership meetings here reminded the other owners that a move to San Jose would be so helpful to the A's it should remove them as major recipients in luxury-tax money. But the two-team setup and territorial rights have created a particularly dicey situation.

The A's stadium situation is at least at the forefront of MLB's concerns now after serious situations with the Dodgers and Mets ownerships have been resolved in recent months. Some progress is seen in that a significant amount of discussion is being dedicated to the A's to the point where the talk has moved from committees to baseball's Executive Council.

Selig said at his press conference that both the A's and Giants made proposals regarding the proposed stadium and called the situation "complex." Selig also said there is "no timetable" for a decision.

Selig wouldn't entertain questions about the possibility of the A's moving out of the Bay Area, answering a question about whether a potential move from Oakland by saying "it depends where they move." MLB has strongly discouraged franchise moves under Selig's stewardship, and the only team to move was the then-MLB-run Montreal Expos, which moved to Washington D.C. and became the Nationals.

The current A's owners were approved in part because of their intention to keep the team in the Bay Area. One group that was interested in buying the A's and fronted by former A's star Reggie Jackson was rebuffed partly because MLB didn't want to risk that group's seeming interest in moving the team to Las Vegas.

One solution to the current situation would be if the city of Oakland would consent to building the A's a new stadium, but it isn't known what the chances of that are.
 
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