MLB

Oakland Athletics issue statement on territorial rights, Giants Dugout Stores

Think the Bill Madden story rankled the Oakland A’s, just a little? Today the Athletics released a statement on “sharing Bay Area territory,” with an noteworthy dig at the San Francisco Giants for slangin’ Panda Hats on their corner: the DUB-C.

OAKLAND ATHLETICS

Media Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 7, 2012

STATEMENT BY OAKLAND A’S OWNERSHIP

REGARDING A’S AND GIANTS SHARING BAY AREA TERRITORY:

“Recent articles claiming that Major League Baseball has decided that the A’s cannot share the two-team Bay Area market were denied by baseball Commissioner Bud Selig last weekend.

Currently the Giants and A’s share the two-team Bay Area market in terms of television, radio, sponsors and fans. Last year, the Giants opened a specialty store in the middle of the A’s market (Walnut Creek). At the time, Lew Wolff commented that he was ‘fine with the Giants store and wished there was an A’s store in San Francisco.’

Of the four two-team markets in MLB, only the Giants and A’s do not share the exact same geographic boundaries. MLB-recorded minutes clearly indicate that the Giants were granted Santa Clara, subject to relocating to the city of Santa Clara. The granting of Santa Clara to the Giants was by agreement with the A’s late owner Walter Haas, who approved the request without compensation. The Giants we unable to obtain a vote to move and the return of Santa Clara to its original status was not formally accomplished.

We are not seeking a move that seeks to alter or in any manner disturb MLB territorial rights. We simply seek an approval to create a new venue that our organization and MLB fully recognizes is needed to eliminate our dependence on revenue sharing, to offer our fans and players a modern ballpark, to move over 35 miles further away from the Giants’ great venue and to establish an exciting competition between the Giants and A’s.

We are hopeful that the Commissioner, the committee appointed by the Commissioner, and a vote of the MLB ownership, will enable us to join the fine array of modern and fun baseball parks that are now commonplace in Major League Baseball.”

As Ray Ratto tweeted this morning, “A’s certainly got torqued by one well-placed leak.”

A release like this isn’t exactly common, and that it came out today speaks to the Athletics’ frustration at Madden’s report. What’s inside the report speaks to the Athletics’ frustration with the Giants, and who can blame them? The Fightin’ Baers are free to put Giants Dugout Stores in downtown Oakland if they want, but the A’s can’t like hearing the Giants repeatedly send the same message (“You’ll get nothing — besides the East Bay — and like it”) when Walnut Creek has both a new Giants “specialty store” and a restaurant named after a Hall-of-Fame San Francisco first baseman.

Moving on to less trivial matters, the Athletics’ statement also makes it clear that the Giants actually don’t have rights to the city of San Jose, because “MLB-recorded minutes clearly indicate that the Giants were granted Santa Clara, subject to relocating to the city of Santa Clara.” Whether or not this argument has legs goes above my expertise (yeah, yeah, what expertise?), but it does throw another wrinkle into the mix. Whether the A’s have much of a chance of getting what they want (San Jose) remains to be seen, but contrary to Madden’s report (which made it seem as if this fight was drawing to a sad conclusion for Lew Wolff and Co.), it appears the A’s have only begun to fight. Or scramble, depending on whom you ask.

In other news, “the Oakland City Council unanimously approved spending $3.5 million on plans for a new stadium, hotels, conference center, shopping, entertainment and other amenities in the 750-acre area around the Coliseum and along Hegenberger Road toward the airport.”

For full coverage of the City Council discussion about “Coliseum City” — along with updates on the Victory Court and 980 Park proposals others are pushing for — check out the always informative new A’s ballpark, who attended last night’s meeting.

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