SAN FRANCISCO — The Oakland A's years-long quest for a new home is really a tale of three cities.
Oakland is desperately trying to keep the team from moving out of a city already struggling with crime, financial woes and blow after blow to its public image. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has made retention of the A's a focal point of her re-election campaign.
To the south in the heart of booming Silicon Valley, San Jose is seeking to bolster its profile and treasury with an aggressive campaign to win the A's, including a legal challenge to Major League Baseball's sacrosanct antitrust exemption that the mayor vows to take to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
Standing in the way are San Francisco's Giants, who claim the lucrative Silicon Valley commercial market as their exclusive territory. And so far, the Giants are winning.
On Nov. 25, the A's announced the signing of a two-year lease to play in O.co Coliseum through the 2015 season. And court documents recently filed revealed that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig informed the A's this summer that the league had rejected the team's proposed move to San Jose.
In court on Dec. 13, U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Whyte in San Jose asked MLB lawyer John Keker if the letter was an "unequivocal" denial.
"What the A's asked the commissioner to approve was unequivocally denied," Keker replied.
Selig's letter itself wasn't included in the court filing and no reason was disclosed for the rejection — though San Jose strongly suspects the league is acquiescing to the Giants commercial interests.
The commissioner's letter does not preclude the A's ownership from resubmitting a new application for a move to San Jose. And the A's still want to move from the Coliseum because of its state of disrepair and the fact that it shares the stadium — and revenues — with the Oakland Raiders of the NFL.