Lew Wolff

Giants answer Athletics’ statement with dig of their own

You didn’t think the Giants would let the A’s release their statement in the top of the first without taking their hacks in the bottom of the inning, did you? The Giants came out swinging with a release of their own (formatted as close to the original as possible):

Statement from the San Francisco Giants Regarding Territorial Rights
March 7, 2012

The Commissioner has asked us to refrain from discussing the territorial rights issue publicly. Out of respect for his request, we will limit our response to setting the record straight on the history of territorial rights.

The Giants territorial rights were not granted “subject to” moving to Santa Clara County. Indeed, the A’s fail to mention that MLB’s 1990 territorial rights designation has been explicitly re-affirmed by Major League Baseball on four separate occasions. Most significantly in 1994, Major League Baseball conducted a comprehensive review and re-definition of each club’s territories. These designations explicitly provide that the Giants territory include Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo, Monterey, Santa Cruz and Marin Counties and the A’s territory included Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. The MLB owners unanimously approved those designated territories and memorialized them in the MLB Constitution. Since then, the MLB Constitution has been re-affirmed by the MLB owners – including by the A’s – on three different occasions (2000, 2005 and 2008), long after the Giants won approval to build AT&T Park. Mr. Wolff and Mr. Fisher agreed to these territorial designations and were fully aware of our territorial rights when they purchased the A’s for just $172 million in 2005.

The population of Santa Clara County alone represents 43% of our territory. Upon purchasing the team 20 years ago, our plan to revive the franchise relied heavily on targeting and solidifying our fan base in the largest and fastest growing county within our territory. Based on these Constitutionally-recognized territorial rights, the Giants invested hundreds of millions of dollars to save and stabilize the team for the Bay Area, built AT&T Park privately and has operated the franchise so that it can compete at the highest levels.

# # #

“Just $172 million in 2005.” 

The Giants effectively told the A’s to stop whining about how the used Jaguar they bought off Craigslist for $5K under blue book is in the shop all the time.

The Giants literally told the A’s that $172 million for a Major League Baseball franchise only buys two counties and one side of the Bay.

It’s a brilliant bit of marketing, really. Most Bay Area fans are uninterested in the minutiae behind “territorial rights.” A lot of people who go to the trouble of finding and reading regional sports blogs probably care about baseball’s Constitution, but the average fan who heads to a few games a year just wants to know if the A’s are going to San Jose or not.

Simply put, in this release the Giants painted themselves as expensive, the A’s as cheap. The Giants: entrepreneurs. The A’s: welfare recipients. It’s MLB class warfare, and it’ll be interesting to see if/how the Athletics fire back.

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