Below is a guest post from Xoot with his 2 cents on the various wranglings behind the San Jose saga…
When the owners’ group forced Bill Neukom out while the Giants were still in the division race last season, I began to worry a bit about what was going on in the board room. A few recent events cause me further concern.
Last Friday, 12/2/11, a front group calling itself Stand for San Jose filed a lawsuit in Santa Clara County Superior Court to block San Jose from selling a real estate option to one company Lew Wolff has formed as part of his effort to build a new stadium. AP ran a story on the lawsuit on Saturday; since then, some short follow-on stories have appeared, but I’ve seen nothing new in the Chronicle or on sfgate. Everyone seems to agree that the San Jose Giants are funding the lawsuit. Actually, however, it looks like the majority owner of the San Jose Giants is funding it. That majority owner is the San Francisco Giants. (See the last paragraph on this page)
Although the “respondents” (essentially, the defendants) in the lawsuit are the City of San Jose, et al., the “real party in interest” named in the lawsuit is the Oakland A’s. The SF Giants, in effect, have found a way to sue the A’s without violating the MLB Constitution, which, as I read it, in “Article VI,” prohibits lawsuits between franchises. ( Instead, all such disputes are subject to arbitration, before the Commissioner. Who knows, maybe the A’s will respond to the lawsuit with a motion to compel arbitration.) But there’s more.
Yesterday, as part of a press conference convened to announce Oakland’s intent to keep the A’s, Mayor Jean Quan in Oakland unveiled a plan for “Coliseum City,” a three-stadium project, that could be built at the current Coliseum site. The artist’s “rendering” of the project prominently portrayed a football stadium in the foreground, less prominently included an Oracle-Arena-like building next door, and then, way off in the right-hand corner, depicted just the slightest hint of a baseball stadium, behind a big hotel. You might as well call it Perfunctory Park.
I followed Mayor Quan’s press conference on a KQED twitter feed. The KQED reporter said, at one point, that Mayor Quan described talks she’d had the SF Giants, in which the Giants told her they intended to keep the A’s move to San Jose tied up in court for ten years. I can’t find any other news report about the remark. Last night on the Drumbeat, however, Vlae Kershner repeated it. First, referring to the A’s trading Cahill to the DBacks, he posted:
vk 9:10 PM on December 9, 2011
Look what the A’s are doing. Every move, every word, says “We’re trading everything and won’t try to contend until we get to San Jose. We don’t care if we draw less people in Oakland than the old Montreal Expos.” . . .They’ve burned all bridges with Oakland. They’ve built up a sense of inevitability to get the votes to crush the Giants’ opposition to them moving to San Jose. Hell, they’re even giving pieces to the team the Giants has to fear the most. I wouldn’t be surprised if they make another deal with Arizona in July (like Ziggy in 2011), the hatred between the two Bay Area clubs is so strong.
I responded (I’ve omitted the colorful stuff):
sharpdrestman 9:31 PM on December 9, 2011
That’s either ridiculous, or you know behind the scenes details we don’t. Why the hate? Giants fans don’t care about the A’s at all. Who hates whom?
Vlae Kershner responded:
vk 9:42 PM on December 9, 2011
When the Giants told the mayor of Oakland, “don’t worry, we can tie them up in court for 10 years,” that’s a declaration of war to the A’s owners (who have more money than the Giants owners). This is going to be really nasty.
I didn’t see Vlae Kershner’s response until this morning. I put up a post objecting to the “tie them up in court” comment as uncorroborated. (I want to hear the Giants side of the story.)
The out-sized outrage that A’s fans are developing toward the Giants is fairly understandable. I know, I know—they’ve been frustrated at every turn, and the territorial dispute is just a new chapter in A’s dysfunctionality. But I don’t much like the way the Giants are fighting over the San Jose territory, and my dislike there dove-tails with my concern about Neukom’s bizarre departure. What’s going on in that board room? I do not want to see the hostility between Giants fans and A’s fans turn ugly. I sort of like the way the Angels are taking on the Dodgers in L.A. Forget the lawsuits. Compete on the field.