By Matt Snyder
Earlier this week, some talk surfaced that the A's would not be able to move to San Jose due to a territorial rights issue. The reports were summed up quite nicely by my new colleague Dayn Perry in this blog entry.
Wednesday, the Oakland Athletics released the following statement:
“Recent articles claiming that Major League Baseball has decided that the A’s cannot share the two-team Bay Area market were denied by baseball Commissioner Bud Selig last weekend.Without coming out and specifically mentioning San Jose, the A's seem to have come out guns blazing here. They even bolded the part where they talk about moving more than 35 miles further away from the Giants, compared to where they now play. It's the lawyer way of saying, "you seriously won't let me move further away from a team because of their territorial rights?"
Currently the Giants and A's share the two-team Bay Area market in terms of television, radio, sponsors and fans. Last year, the Giants opened a specialty store in the middle of the A's market (Walnut Creek). At the time, Lew Wolff commented that he was ‘fine with the Giants store and wished there was an A's store in San Francisco.’
Of the four two-team markets in MLB, only the Giants and A's do not share the exact same geographic boundaries. MLB-recorded minutes clearly indicate that the Giants were granted Santa Clara, subject to relocating to the city of Santa Clara. The granting of Santa Clara to the Giants was by agreement with the A’s late owner Walter Haas, who approved the request without compensation. The Giants were unable to obtain a vote to move and the return of Santa Clara to its original status was not formally accomplished.
We are not seeking a move that seeks to alter or in any manner disturb MLB territorial rights. We simply seek an approval to create a new venue that our organization and MLB fully recognizes is needed to eliminate our dependence on revenue sharing, to offer our fans and players a modern ballpark, to move over 35 miles further away from the Giants’ great venue and to establish an exciting competition between the Giants and A's.
We are hopeful that the Commissioner, the committee appointed by the Commissioner, and a vote of the MLB ownership, will enable us to join the fine array of modern and fun baseball parks that are now commonplace in Major League Baseball.”
The A's also make great points on some of the concessions they've granted the Giants over the years. The entire release seems to be an impassioned plea to let the club move to San Jose, without coming out and saying it specifically.
It will be interesting to see how this develops, because in matters like these, we can never be sure common sense will prevail.
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