After meeting with ownership and management of the Oakland Athletics in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday, Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced today that he has appointed a committee to thoroughly analyze all of the ballpark proposals that have been made to date, the current situation in Oakland, and the prospects of obtaining a ballpark in any of the communities located in Oakland’s territory.
Oakland’s current lease expires in 2010 with three one-year club options beyond that date.
The committee will be chaired by Bob Starkey, a stadium expert and financial consultant for Major League Baseball. It also will consist of Corey Busch, a former baseball executive, and Irwin Raij, a lawyer with Foley and Lardner who worked extensively on both the Washington and Miami ballpark proposals. They will work with MLB President & Chief Operating Officer Bob DuPuy and will provide a written report to the Commissioner at the conclusion of their analysis.
“Lew Wolff and the Oakland ownership group and management have worked very hard to obtain a facility that will allow them to compete into the 21st Century,” Commissioner Selig said. “To date they, like the two ownership groups in Oakland before them, have been unsuccessful in those efforts, despite having the significant support of their corporate partner Cisco. The time has come for a thorough analysis of why a stadium deal has not been reached. The A’s cannot and will not continue indefinitely in their current situation.”
A key comment in the statement by Selig pertains to the committee looking at options in the Athletic's home territory. That territory includes Alameda and Contra Costa counties in California and would not include Santa Clara Co. where San Jose resides. That location has been of keen interest to the A's, as well as general partner, Lewis Wolff who has been involved in commercial real estate ventures in the city, and is looking to develop a soccer-specific stadium for the MLS Earthquakes, of which Wolff is owner, as well.
Lesser known is whether areas, such as Sacramento, might be explored. Sacramento Co. is not considered within the MLB Constitution, but the the city hosts the Triple-A Rivercats, an Athletics affiliate and minor league baseball's most successful franchise.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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