Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Time and Place

The game of baseball will humble you. It especially humbles those who celebrate before a victory is, you know, actually in the books. Just ask Gene Mauch. Or the 2011 Red Sox. Or Dusty Baker and Russ Ortiz.

Given that, it's been strange to see Wolff's longtime cheerleaders do a victory dance this week based on very little information from very few sources other than Wolff's longtime cheerleaders.

Yes, FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal had an article Saturday saying that Commissioner Bud Selig recently met with the A's and plans to meet with Giants owners by the end of the month. What Wolff's cheerleaders -- some on the company payroll, some not -- aren't telling you is what Rosenthal also wrote in the same article:

One solution, if the Giants refuse to yield their territorial rights, would be for baseball to purchase the A’s from Wolff, secure a stadium deal in Oakland, then resell the club, sources say.

Oh, my ... well, that sounds quite different than a "done deal for Wolff," doesn't it?

Simply put, Wolff and Billy Beane -- surely on the advice of a high-priced paid media consultant -- are trying to pull the ol' Jedi Mind Trick; which is: 'If we say what we want to do as if we're actually doing it, and we say it with confidence enough times, then after a while people will just assume that that's what we're doing, regardless of the facts.'

In other words, fake it 'til you make it. The problem with that is when Wolff and Beane say their South Bay stadium plans are "shovel ready" they are lying. Let us count the ways:

1. The Giants aren't budging. Larry Baer has said many times that the territorial rights they own are non-negotiable. On Tuesday, Giants spokeswoman Staci Slaughter told the Mercury News about the Giants' stance on territorial rights:

"We have had that position from when Peter Magowan was the president and managing general partner, and it will remain the same with Larry as well."

2. AT&T still owns two large parcels at the site, including a big swath of land nearly right in the middle of what would be the stadium's field. What's to stop AT&T from delaying the project for at least two years by forcing Chuck Reed to eminent domain the site? Who's paying for those legal fees? Then again, at which stadium is AT&T the main corporate sponsor? Oh, right.

3. How can the Diridon site be ready when San Jose is legally required to have a public vote on the project? That's a vote they are not guaranteed to win and it's at least several months away. Also, MLB owners have to be wary of setting a precedent by removing the legally binding territorial rights, only to have South Bay residents vote it down. That's a lose-lose for all the owners.

4. Lastly, don't forget that San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera has threatened to sue Major League Baseball if they try to manhandle the Giants on this issue.

And that's the short list of concerns.

Don't get us wrong -- we're looking forward to a resolution to this issue, too, especially as fans who've been treated poorly by A's owners since 1995. But we're not going to count our chickens before they're hatched. Informed baseball fans know what this game does to you when you do that.

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