SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan sees the A's likely leaving Oakland and heading to Las Vegas as a sad moment for the Bay Area, as well as an opportunity for his city.
Mayor Mahan and the previous for Mayors of San Jose wrote a letter to the MLB by calling for the league to allow San Jose a chance to have a franchise in the future.
"We believe that a future expansion team, or should a team decide to relocate from another market, San Jose should be high on their list and today, we'd be legally barred from even being considered," Mayor Mahan said.
That is due to MLB territorial rights that the San Francisco Giants own after the Athletics franchise gifted them Santa Clara County rights in 1990 when the Giants searched for a new ballpark.
Now, 33 years later, the past and present five San Jose Mayors, including Mayor Mahan, wrote a letter to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred asking him to abandon these territorial rights that Mahan says no other U.S. city has to deal with.
"We are the only city in any professional sport that faces this kind of restriction," Mayor Mahan said. "It just doesn't make any sense."
The letter details how San Jose is not only the most populous Bay Area city and offers financial opportunities due to Silicon Valley companies, but Mayor Mahan says his city is safer than our current MLB cities of Oakland and San Francisco.
Speaking of why his city would be ideal to bring in an expansion team, Mahan said, "Nobody going to a sporting event wants to worry about their car being broken into and in San Jose, they don't have to. We are the safest, big city in the Bay Area."
And the latest property crime numbers available to our ABC7 data team from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program back that up. In 2021, the property crime rate in Oakland and San Francisco was around double that of San Jose's when comparing property crime numbers per 100,000 residents.
Long-time Sports Columnist Mark Purdy has covered this saga for years and believes a MLB team would be successful in San Jose, especially when considering the success the San Francisco 49ers have seen when moving to Santa Clara County.
"The Giants must be convinced it would work," Purdy said. "Otherwise, they wouldn't be so scared of it maybe happening. I don't know any other market in America, right now, that Major League Baseball should be more interested in accessing."
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Purdy says there are many factors into approving a new sports franchise into a city, such as a willing ownership group, public support and league approval, among other things.
In the event that happened, Purdy says while baseball owners could disallow the territorial rights by a 3/4 vote, he thinks it's a long-shot with the current Giants ownership and MLB commissioner.
"I think when history's written, people will look back and see that Major League Baseball made a huge mistake in not allowing the A's to move to San Jose," Purdy said. "And I think they'd be making a huge mistake again not to consider San Jose as an expansion market now that the A's are gone."
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