Is the Oakland A's Future in San Jose or Las Vegas?

Jay WarnerContributor IMarch 17, 2009

I think that it is no secret that Oakland A's owner Lew Wolff wants a new stadium and strongly prefers to stay in the Bay Area. But after the planned development in Fremont fell through, Wolff is pursuing San Jose as part of a plan for long-term A's viability in the Bay Area. Nearly all signs are pointing to the fact that it is either San Jose for the A's, or they will move away from the Bay Area for good.

Before I discuss the alternate plans, I would like to see Commissioner Bud Selig's official stance on this situation. Selig and Wolff have been associated with each other since their days as frat brothers at the University of Wisconsin. One would think that Selig would pull a few teeth to help out his friend.

But after Selig assured the Giants front office that San Jose would remain part of their market, it is as though the Giants would go as far as suing the A's for territorial infringement.

This is where the Giants front office is not making sense. On a radius map, AT&T Park and McAfee Coliseum are only seven miles apart. The HP Pavilion in San Jose (prospective new ballpark vicinity) is approximately 48 miles from AT&T Park.

Now, go ahead and tell me that territorial infringement would not fly in court, because if that were the case, the A's wouldn't have moved to Oakland in 1968.

With the Bay Area being the fourth largest media market in the U.S., combine it with Sacramento and it'll come up as a market that is big enough to support two MLB teams, just like Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. Thus, I still do not see how the Giants can be threatened over this.

It's not like the Dodgers or any other NL team is moving there. It is an American League team that has little, if anything, to do with the Giants aside from an interleague rivalry.

Given all the facts, the Giants front office should just mind their own business in regards to San Jose. If the Giants swear up and down that they are better than the A's, then they should prove it and let the free market decide. The very decision on the A's future in San Jose (and the Bay Area) should only be on San Jose, especially after the floor fell through on Fremont.


The Alternative

In the Mar. 16, 2009 edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, columnist Norm Clarke reported the following:

The Oakland A's are reportedly looking at Las Vegas as a bargaining chip.

There was buzz Sunday that baseball commissioner Bud Selig was meeting with Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman and A's executives.

City spokesman Jace Radke said he was not aware of any meetings Sunday.

The A's made it clear on Friday they are finished in Oakland.

They have been working toward moving to nearby Fremont, but that has unraveled in recent weeks.

Team owner Lew Wolff said in a news release issued to the San Jose Mercury News on Friday: "We have fully exhausted our time and resources over the years with the city of Oakland, dating back to previous A's ownership...We recognize conditions have not changed.

"Letters to Major League Baseball offer nothing new or of any real substance. Outside stimulation to have us continue to play in an aging and shared facility may generate press and 'sound-bite' opportunities, but do not provide any tangible alterations in the circumstances we face.

"Our goal and desire for the organization is to determine a way to keep the team in Northern California.

"That goal has not changed. We have no interest in covering old ground again, as we need to move forward in finding a future home for our team."



I've always favored Las Vegas having an MLB team, since there are already six teams that prove that Vegas is a lucrative market by inclusion in their blackout territory. For those who don't know, Las Vegas is in the Padres, Diamondbacks, Angels, Dodgers, A's, and the Giants' TV territory. Have fun with subscribing to "Extra Innings" or MLB.TV out here.

One would know for a fact that all those blackouts would be nullified if Vegas had its own team.

But with that aside, likely after next year's census, Las Vegas would be the largest city without a professional sports team. Baseball also needs more representation out west. Thus, I believe Vegas will likely get a franchise in the future pending economic turnaround. I would not be happier should that become reality.

I would most certainly welcome the A's since I follow the American League, and the A's would find themselves in a better scenario and treated better in Vegas by leaps and bounds. But in reality, I do not want it to come about due to a metaphorical divorce. The Bay Area has a respectable baseball franchise in the A's; it would be beyond a shame if they are compelled to move away altogether.