Friday, November 5, 2010
What does Giants' title mean for A's?
How, if at all, does the Giants' championship affect the Athletics' proposed move to San Jose? From the Mercury News:
The Giants have insisted South Bay fans and corporate sponsors are crucial to their bottom line. Many San Jose boosters say those fears would be offset by the number of East Bay fans who would likely drive a shorter distance across the Bay Bridge to attend Giants games instead of hiking south.
At Sunday's game, Selig told a Bay Area News Group columnist that a decision on the A's would be coming "hopefully in the near future."
At least one expert Monday said the claim that an A's move to San Jose would hurt the Giants' bottom line might be difficult to prove after the San Francisco team's handsome postseason profits -- as well as the prospect of an even larger boost from ticket sales and sponsorships next year.
"To the extent that the commissioner's office would be concerned about the Giants' financial well-being if the A's were allowed to move to San Jose," said Andrew Zimbalist, a Smith College economist and baseball expert, "that concern would by allayed given the success the Giants have had."
To which Craig responds:
Setting aside the fact that Zimbalist has been disqualified as an expert in ballpark development cases because, to put it delicately, he’s often full of crap, on what planet does this make any sense?
The Giants just won a World Series and made a bunch of money with no other team in their territory. Wouldn’t it be more logical to say that a team cutting into their territory and thus their profits would hamper the kind of success they just experienced while their territory rights remained inviolate? Or even if that wasn’t the case, why wouldn’t the response be that, no matter how successful the team is, they’d always be more successful if they had San Jose to themselves?
Craig's underlying analysis is probably correct, but I think he's being a bit rough on Zimbalist. Essentially, the paragraph before Zimbalist's quote sets him up as saying something -- a team in San Jose wouldn't hurt the Giants' bottom line -- that he doesn't actually say.
What he says is that the Giants' success takes some financial pressure off the organization, which I think is undoubtedly true. Their championship is going to pay immediate dividends, and additional dividends for some years. He also says that the Giants' success may allay some concerns about the franchise's financial future, should the A's relocate to San Jose.
But this is worth mentioning only if anyone (who matters) actually has such concerns. Before the World Series, were the Giants concerned about going out of business? Hardly. Were any of the owners concerned about the Giants' bottom line? Har-dy-har-har.
According to Craig, "this is ultimately a business dispute. The kind that no amount of baseball success is going to resolve on its own."
Yes, but it's also a political dispute. To alter the Giants' "territory," Major League Baseball needs two things: some confidence that the Giants won't sue MLB for $200 million and win; and enough votes from the owners of the 29 other teams. You know how the A's are voting. And I can guarantee that the other 28 teams aren't going to give a second's thought to the welfare of the A's or the Giants. They'll be thinking about themselves.
And if you can figure out which way those 28 teams will go, you're probably the smartest man in the room.