When dealing with one of the best unions in the country, you want leverage. You need leverage. Threatening to disband an entire franchise and thus eliminating 25 jobs can do the trick -if you can make the other side believe it’s a legitimate possibility.
The Tampa Bay Rays are a fine example of a wasted experiment for Major League owners, but a failed experiment in an apathetic baseball state isn’t the only recipe for possible contraction.
Sometimes the best-case scenario is right in front of you but you can’t quite reach it. For the Oakland A’s, that’s a move to San Jose. The A’s have been eying a San Jose ballpark for years while they play in an outdated Oakland Coliseum they’re forced to share with the Raiders. Owner Lew Wolff has stated numerous times that he has zero interest in selling the A’s or leaving the Bay Area, so a move to San Jose makes the most sense.
Except the San Francisco Giants own the territorial rights to Santa Clara County, home of San Jose. And the Giants have no interest in allowing the A’s to move in -even with a
small huge payment thrown their way.
Commissioner Bud Selig has chimed in with a sense of murkiness that only Bud Selig can manage, leaving you wondering what exactly he was trying to say.
“It depends where’d they’d be,” Selig told the Sporting News in May when asked about the A’s relocating. “They could be all over the world, for that matter.”
Selig has offered little to no help in the negotiations between the A’s and Giants and talks between the clubs have gone nowhere, turning the possibility of a move to San Jose into an afterthought with each day.
Contrary to popular belief, big market teams support small market teams more often than not. Teams like Oakland and Tampa Bay do a better job of collecting checks than pulling their own weight. Television numbers support this as well, as Major League Baseball relies on big market teams more than any other sport. The Yankees payed $130 million in luxury tax and revenue sharing in 2010 -with teams like the Red Sox, Mets, Cubs, and Angels not far behind- while the Rays and A’s receive checks from those teams each year, around $20-30 million.
And for what?
Both clubs are in stadium disputes with no solution in sight, no legitimate possibilities for relocation and play in front of 15,000 fans a night while big market franchises foot a large portion of their bills and the commissioner sits in the corner and shrugs his shoulders.
Sometimes the C word doesn’t seem so far fetched.