Efforts to move the A's to San Jose are stalled, but will Commissioner Selig set his sights on a new landing spot?
It has been almost a year since I last checked in here on the Oakland A's long-running game of footsie with San Jose, where owner Lew Wolff has been dreaming of moving the franchise seemingly ever since he bought it in 2005. At the time, a three-man task force appointed by Bud Selig to decide the team's future was entering its 12th month of deliberations. Selig promised that their report "will be coming in the near future."
A's fans will be forgiven for wondering if Selig meant a near future in geologic time. The three men—former Arthur Anderson sports consultant Bob Starkey, ex-Giants vice-president Corey Busch, and MLB lawyer Irwin Raij--have now been at their task for 22 months, in which time they've produced absolutely zilch in the way of a resolution to the question of where the A's will be playing long-term.
Hard life in the big city, Judge Sonia saves the day, Bud can't believe he forced the whole thing, plus news and notes from around the game.
The most important question facing anyone hired as manager of the Yankees or Mets is if they can handle New York, and Jerry Manuel is doing just fine in his first full season as the Mets' manager after being promoted from bench coach last June to replace Willie Randolph. Manuel has won over the New York media with his easygoing demeanor, friendly nature, and quirky comments. The experience of having managed the White Sox in a large market for six season from 1998-2003 has certainly helped.
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I may be the only person in America cheering for a long, protracted labor battle that brings baseball to its knees.
I may be the only person in America cheering for a long, protracted labor battle that brings baseball to its knees. I think the best thing that could happen to baseball would be for it to face death, to look into the void and see the monster that the industry has become. There's no chance the owners are going to come to their senses and suddenly become honest, or open, or look towards meaningful long-term solutions that would benefit everyone.
Baseball is fat, hugely fat. Since the last strike, non-payroll expenses have risen at a higher rate than salaries have. Owners regularly extort stadiums out of their hosts. Many franchises are run by inept collections of morons who wouldn't be able to make a living standing on a street corner grinding an organ, with a uniformed monkey collecting change.
It's difficult enough to move any sports franchise. Fighting greedy owners trying to steal a local treasure is an easy political cause. It's not so hard to find sympathetic judges to grant restraining orders, to fight a long delaying battle to force a sale, and it's expensive for a team to buy its way out.
In Minnesota, there's been some concern expressed that even if a new stadium bill is passed, the team may still be obliterated. While Commissioner Bud Selig has made some typically wavering comments on the matter, something has become quite clear: while Selig and the owners have lied, evaded, cheated, and acted in a matter that appalls even record industry executives, if a stadium funding bill passes in Minnesota, the Twins will not be eliminated.
In every city that has a major-league baseball team, there's a deep and complicated relationship between the team and the powers
that be. A team offers the city visibility, and winning franchises offer reflected glory and a near-daily heartbeat during the
season unlike any other business. Owners are among the city's most prominent public figures, beloved for their ability to
bankroll local heroes, hated for their unwillingness to do so. Teams rely on local police for traffic direction and security;
often the police rely on the teams to pick up their lucrative overtime. Then there's the transit authority, the symbiotic
relationship with local press...all of these things make a baseball team's political leverage tremendous, and if you pay close
attention, you can see it bend things to the team's wills, from road construction to a DUI charge that disappears quietly.