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Mac the Knife

Do they know the way to San Jose?

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The City of San Jose has filed suit against MLB concerning the Giants/A's territorial dispute. And Bud Selig somehow managed to avoid "being served" for three solid days.

http://blog.sfgate.com/ostler/2013/06/23/selig-tagged-out-in-rundown/

I've been following this for a few years now, and the situation has now reached a point of absurdity. If I owned the A's, I'd resolve this whole thing in three steps:

1. Buy the Brooklyn Cyclones and its stadium.

2. Hold a press conference, at which I'd remind everyone that the MLB Constitution expired on December 31, 2012, and that the territorial rights and limitations applicable under its provisions no longer apply, to the A's or any other team.

3. At the same press conference, announce that starting in 2014 the A's would be calling Brooklyn home. Or, if somehow MLB managed to get a court to block that move, that the team would relocate - to Tokyo... and area where no MLB or minor league team has, or has ever had, territorial rights.

Think that'd pave the way for the A's to San Jose?

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I don't think the Mets would sell the Cyclones to the Athletics, even if the Wilpons are still hurting for cash. :P

But yes, this is getting absurd. The thought of Bud Selig hiding from lawyers puts a smile on my face.

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Is there one good reason why the A's shouldn't move to San Jose?

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Good reason? No.

Technical reason? Because the Giants have the territorial rights.

Which the A's gave to them back when they were talking about moving. 20+ years ago.

For free.

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I didn't know the Mets owned the team... well, Tokyo it is then! LOL

Thank God they are called the A's and not the L's.

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Is there one good reason why the A's shouldn't move to San Jose?

No. Even the Giants "territorial rights" are BS. They were granted to the Giants in the 90's by the A's for the same reason the A's want them today. And that grant was provisional on the Giants moving to Santa Clara County. We all know they didn't and ended up building even farther from San Jose than Candlestick Park. The rights should have reverted back to joint control back then. But ultimately the fact the Bay Area itself is divided up the way it is with the Giants in control of 6 Bay Area counties and the A's with 2 (which hasn't stopped the Giants from advertising, opening stores, etc... in the A's 2 counties) while every other multi-team market is owned jointly by the Dodgers-Angels, Yankees-Mets, Cubs-White Sox, is just ridiculous and never should have been allowed.

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I've been following this issue for some time, and there always seems to be a TON of misinformation on the matter. It's not nearly as simple as many here are making it out to be, and the history of baseball in the Bay Area led to a lot of these issues. I've been reading a really informative article on this whole matter and why this has gotten so complicated. Here's a pretty good summary of the reason why the Giants won't give up the San Jose territory, and why, at least legally, they're in the right to do so.

The South Bay has emerged as an obvious choice for Oakland to build a new ballpark. Only ... the A's had in the mid-nighties graciously granted San Francisco the rights to San Jose. Rights they no longer needed thanks to their glorious new downtown ballpark. Morality would dictate that after the 1990 and 1992 South Bay Giants votes had failed to pass, the Giants would give the rights back to Oakland. But it was with Bob Lurie that Walter Haas had made the initial agreement. Then Lurie sold his product to Peter Magowan. And from a business perspective, Magowan has an ironclad argument. He bought a product that included territorial rights. It is not his fault those rights started as what could essentially be viewed as a gift from Oakland...

...Magowan has always taken the stance that territorial rights are a part of the value of the Giants as a franchise. And he's correct. Despite lowballing Lurie on the Giants buyout, as a business entity the value of franchise included territorial rights. Ownership has now changed hands from both sides. Lurie and Haas are long-gone. It is in the hands of Bill Neukom and Lew Wolff to sort this mess out. A mess for which there is no blame. It is simply an unfortunate reality of a deal forged during an incredibly unstable time in Major League Baseball history. Neither side is fully in the right. So cast your blame where you may.

People that feel this whole territorial rights issue is a slam funk in favor of the A's simply don't know the history of this whole matter enough to have a valid opinion. Sure, morally it would be nice of the Giants to give San Jose back, but legally it's theirs and it would be a terrible business move to do so considering that the original "gift" of territorial rights was transferred as a financial entity when the McGowan group bought the Giants. I'm sorry, but this whole situation is much more complicated than its being made out to be. Frankly, it's a giant (no pun intended) mess and to fully blame the Giants for all of this is wrong. The Giants, A's, and Major League Baseball need to shoulder at least part of the blame for why this thing has turned into such a debacle.

If you're interested in the history of this whole issue and really want to understand the justifications for why the Giants won't give up the South Bay easily, I highly recommend reading this article. It's not perfect, but it's one of the best summaries I've ever seen on the situation.

http://www.athletics...o-brief-history

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I still don't understand how the Bay Area is divided into respective territories, while New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago have territories that overlap completely: to wit, the Angels could move to any number of counties in Southern California, as could the Dodgers.

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Would they still then become the San Jose A's?

Yes, it's part of the land sales agreement to Lew Wolff by the city of San Jose. The team's name would be contractually required to change to the San Jose Athletics. That said, Wolff would have done it anyway. There's far more money in the SJ name than the Oakland name.

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What about the San Jose Giants, the San Francisco Giants' Class A-Advance ball club in San Jose?

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What about the San Jose Giants, the San Francisco Giants' Class A-Advance ball club in San Jose?

They could continue to play in San Jose or they could leave. Wolff has said he wouldn't force them out, but realistically fan interest in the minor league team would wan if there were an MLB team in town. The Giants actually use the SJ Giants presence in town as a reason the A's shouldn't be allowed to move despite the fact it's a red herring (the SF team only bought into the SJ Giants when the A's started expressing interest in the south bay a few years ago. Before that the SF Giants had no interest in the south bay despite their claims to the contrary).

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What about the San Jose Giants, the San Francisco Giants' Class A-Advance ball club in San Jose?

They could continue to play in San Jose or they could leave. Wolff has said he wouldn't force them out, but realistically fan interest in the minor league team would wan if there were an MLB team in town. The Giants actually use the SJ Giants presence in town as a reason the A's shouldn't be allowed to move despite the fact it's a red herring (the SF team only bought into the SJ Giants when the A's started expressing interest in the south bay a few years ago. Before that the SF Giants had no interest in the south bay despite their claims to the contrary).

Odds are the SJ Giants would make a move elsewhere in Cali League territory. Im not too familiar, but are there any viable markets on NorCal? Maybe Sonoma or Chico?

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Hell, why not Oakland?

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The Giants actually use the SJ Giants presence in town as a reason the A's shouldn't be allowed to move despite the fact it's a red herring (the SF team only bought into the SJ Giants when the A's started expressing interest in the south bay a few years ago. Before that the SF Giants had no interest in the south bay despite their claims to the contrary).

Even if that's true (which it isn't), it's also totally irrelevant.

When and why the Giants acquired a financial interest in San Jose is immaterial. Only the fact that they do have a financial interest now.

BucFan's link is a good one, and well worth reading.

Yes, it's a shame that the A's ceded rights to the South Bay to the Giants. But those rights do belong to the club, and subsequent owners have paid what they paid for the team based on the tot assets, including those rights. The owners of the Giants deserve to be properly compensated if you want them to simply hand the asset over.

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The Giants actually use the SJ Giants presence in town as a reason the A's shouldn't be allowed to move despite the fact it's a red herring (the SF team only bought into the SJ Giants when the A's started expressing interest in the south bay a few years ago. Before that the SF Giants had no interest in the south bay despite their claims to the contrary).

Even if that's true (which it isn't), it's also totally irrelevant.

When and why the Giants acquired a financial interest in San Jose is immaterial. Only the fact that they do have a financial interest now.

BucFan's link is a good one, and well worth reading.

Yes, it's a shame that the A's ceded rights to the South Bay to the Giants. But those rights do belong to the club, and subsequent owners have paid what they paid for the team based on the tot assets, including those rights. The owners of the Giants deserve to be properly compensated if you want them to simply hand the asset over.

Actually the owners of those rights are not the Giants but MLB. The Giants were granted them by MLB, but what MLB gives, MLB can take away by a 3/4 vote of the owners. And that's why SJ sued. Ultimately MLB is going to have to decide what's a bigger detriment to itself as a business, the long drawn out discovery process which will air all manner of the Giants, A's and others dirty laundry, as well as putting MLB's beloved Anti-Trust exemption at risk under both state and federal law. Or do they defend the Giants territory from "invasion" by a team that's already been in their territory for over 47 years (remember while the physical territories are defined as 6 counties belonging to the Giants and 2 to the A's in the Bay Area the reality is both teams have a presence in each others territories and have done so for the last half century).

Both teams TV and radio contracts cover all 10 counties (the 8 individually owned as well as the two north bay counties that are shared like Santa Clara County was until 1992), both teams have or had team stores in each others territories, both have tried building ballparks in each others territories at one point or another, both have fans and large numbers of season ticket holders in each others territories, both have sponsors from each others territories, both advertise in each others territories, etc... etc... The reality is what the Giants claim they legally own in Santa Clara Co., they don't own exclusively functionally anyway.

And to say the Giants acquired a financial interest in SC County is incorrect, they already had said interest in SC County before 1992 and if the rights reverted to being shared (which they should have with the Giants failure to move to the south bay according to the original grant) like they were pre-1992 the Giants would still have a financial interest in SC County that according to the Silicon Valley Leadership Group wouldn't be harmed in the slightest.

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There's a loophole of sorts, though, guys: the MLB Constitution, which outlines the various clubs and their territorial rights, technically expired at the end of 2012 (unless it somehow has been renewed and no one in the media knows it). So in effect, Major League Baseball has been operating without a governing document for the past 7 months, with each club adhering to its provisions out of tradition and camaraderie (perhaps) than legal obligation.

To their credit, the A's are trying to do the right thing. But technically speaking, as far as MLB is concerned they could pack up and move tomorrow and there's not a damned thing anyone could do about it, except fight a futile case in court.

Personally though, I really would like Wolff & Co. to announce that they're beginning to seek other markets as possibilities. Even a threat that they could move to somewhere outside the Bay Area would get the needle moving toward a resolution.

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There's a loophole of sorts, though, guys: the MLB Constitution, which outlines the various clubs and their territorial rights, technically expired at the end of 2012 (unless it somehow has been renewed and no one in the media knows it). So in effect, Major League Baseball has been operating without a governing document for the past 7 months, with each club adhering to its provisions out of tradition and camaraderie (perhaps) than legal obligation.

To their credit, the A's are trying to do the right thing. But technically speaking, as far as MLB is concerned they could pack up and move tomorrow and there's not a damned thing anyone could do about it, except fight a futile case in court.

Personally though, I really would like Wolff & Co. to announce that they're beginning to seek other markets as possibilities. Even a threat that they could move to somewhere outside the Bay Area would get the needle moving toward a resolution.

To Wolff's credit that's been the one thing so far he's been unwilling to do, threaten to leave the market. Of course the unspoken threat is always there to anyone who has paid attention to how any new stadium/ballpark negotiation has gone over the last 2 decades.

That said, if San Jose somehow falls through I can see the out of market threats beginning.

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