San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed today expressed frustration at the lack of a decision by Major League Baseball on whether to allow the Oakland A’s to move to his city.
Reed said four years have passed since Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig appointed a special committee to study a potential move from Oakland to San Jose, which A’s owner Lew Wolff has endorsed but the Giants oppose.
The mayor sent a letter to Selig on April 2 that started with the question, “When will the A’s be moving to San Jose?” In the letter, he requested a meeting about the move.
Selig sent a terse reply two days later urging the mayor to contact the members of the special committee.
Reed said of Selig’s response, “Of course I’m frustrated. I’ve learned to be patient. I’m going to ask for a meeting with the committee, if the committee has a role to play.”
Reed said he has already met with Selig’s committee members—including Corey Busch, a former Giants executive—many times to answer environmental, traffic and other logistical questions about San Jose’s proposed new stadium site.
However, Reed said, “they have not had any questions for a very long time. Months.”
To Reed, the main thing blocking the move is the Giants, who own the territorial rights to the San Jose area under MLB rules and object to the A’s moving south.
“They’d like the A’s out of the Bay Area so they can have the entire area to themselves,” Reed said.
“This is as if McDonald’s tried to drive Burger King out of the market,” he said. “Nobody can do that. It’s unfair. But that’s what the Giants are doing.”
Reed mentioned that the Giants don’t care where the A’s end up—“Las Vegas, Mexico City. It would not matter where they move, to them.”
Giants spokeswoman Staci Slaughter denied Reed’s claims.
“The mayor’s accusation of us trying to drive the A’s out of the marketplace is absolutely incorrect,” Slaughter said. “We have no intention of doing that.”
Wolff has been trying to leave Oakland for years. He attempted to move the team to Fremont and is now convinced that San Jose is the only viable place in the Bay Area to relocate, Reed said.
The only way for MLB to override the Giants’ objections to the proposed A’s move would be if three-quarters of baseball team owners favor it at a formal meeting, “but the commissioner sets the agenda for the owners, and he has declined,” Reed said.
A spokesman for Bud Selig was not immediately available for comment.
Jeff Burbank, Bay City News