Mayor Reed pulls ballpark proposal from ballot

July 28, 2010 6:46:09 PM PDT
San Jose's push to get the A's to move south involves a powerful combination of politics and sports. Mayor Chuck Reed was the latest at bat and it may depend on who you are rooting for, whether you think he blinked or hit a home run.

Wednesday afternoon Reed pulled his proposal to take the downtown ballpark measure to voters in November. He announced the plan for a November ballot initiative last week, saying he was tired of waiting for Major League Baseball's special committee to come to some conclusion about the Giants' territorial rights prohibiting a move by the A's to San Jose. MLB Commission Bud Selig asked Reed to wait and the mayor agreed.

Reed said he talked to A's owner Lew Wolff Wednesday morning and said, "I think everyone has agreed the right course of action is to honor the commissioner's request. Let him finish his process which we all hope will be done quickly, but it is the commissioner's process and we'll let that play out before we go to the ballot."

What San Jose got in return is that MLB is offering to help pay for the cost of a special election next spring, presumably in March, to ask San Jose voters if they would support a major league ballpark in San Jose.

Larry Stone who is a long time A's to San Jose advocate called the mayor's push to get MLB attention a "brilliant move that used the right amount of pressure."

Oakland is fighting to keep the A's there, but the bigger obstacle is that the Giants have territorial rights to Santa Clara County. The Giants organization issued a statement Wednesday that reads in part, "For more than 50 years, Santa Clara County has been part of the Giants' territory. The health and competitiveness of our team depends on it."

It will be up to MLB to decide if the Giants must give up those rights, and if so, how they would be compensated for any economic losses from South Bay baseball fans switching from buying Giants tickets to supporting a major league team in San Jose.

On Tuesday, August 3, the San Jose City Council will vote on the negotiating principals it would like to see in any agreement that would give the A's 14 acres of land to build a ballpark near Downtown San Jose. The A's have promised to provide the estimated $460-490 million in financing needed to build a new Major League Baseball stadium.


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