The Oakland Athletics will be allowed to relocated to San Jose, according to a tweet from USA Today’s national baseball reporter, Bob Nightengale. “All signs and top MLB sources say that the Athletics will be granted permission by Feb to move to San Jose,” said Nightengale. He added later, “The Athletics have received private assurances from MLB [but] can't speak about it publicly.”
According to the San Jose Mercury,”[Billy] Beane said he was unaware of any such news when reached by phone Saturday and didn't want to comment further. A's co-owner Lew Wolff could not be reached for comment, and team spokesman Bob Rose said the team continues to wait for Major League Baseball's report on the A's stadium situation and would have no further comment until then.”
The larger question is, what will the San Francisco Giants receive as compensation?
As we wrote in 2004:
The Giants control most of the Bay Area. Their territory includes San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Monterey and Marin Counties, plus Santa Clara County with respect to another major league team. By comparison, the Athletics' territory includes only Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.
When Bob Lurie was looking to get out of Candlestick Park in the late 80’s, baseball expanded the Giants territory to include Santa Clara County where there were efforts to pass funding to build a new ballpark in San Jose. The voters in Santa Clara County rejected tax hikes to fund the stadium in both 1990 and 1992, yet baseball reaffirmed those rights when Peter Magowan purchased the team in 1995 and built PacBell Park.
From an indemnification issue, the Giants will likely receive something, but what “something” is unknown. It’s possible – however extremely unlikely – that through the league appointed committee that was formed in March of 2009, the league could simply push the relocation through based on the A’s controlling the market prior.
That may spark outrage, but based upon the MLB constitution, clubs are forbidden to sue league, but rather resolve disputes through arbitration. Watch the news, as it seems more likely that some sort of payoff to the Giants would be in play.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).
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