San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said Thursday that a decision by Major League Baseball on whether the Oakland A's will be allowed move to San Jose should be an easy one, given the economic differences between the two cities.
"The question is when," Reed said. "Because the economics are so powerful."
Commenting on reports today that the MLB commissioner's office has provided A's management with tentative guidelines for a possible relocation to his city, Reed said the A's are losing money and it makes sense for them to start over in a new stadium in San Jose.
Under MLB rules, the San Francisco Giants currently have the rights to the territory that includes San Jose, and the Giants oppose the move.
Reed said the league currently has to take millions in funds earned by other major league teams to subsidize the Oakland-based ball club, which he said would not happen in San Jose, Reed said "San Jose has one of the highest household incomes in the country, second only to Washington, D.C.," Reed said. "We have the Silicon Valley companies. It's a great location."
"Instead of being a net drag on Major League Baseball in revenue sharing, as they are now to about $30 million, they will be a net positive in revenue sharing," he said. Reed said he chats frequently with A's owner and managing partner Lew Wolff and last spoke with him about two weeks ago.
"He's still optimistic, and as long as Lew is optimistic, I'm optimistic," Reed said. Wolff, he said, tried for years to build a new stadium in Oakland and then in Fremont but was unable to do so. San Jose has a proposed downtown ballpark site ---partially owned by the city -- ready to go near the Diridon Caltrain station, Reed said.
"We have the site, the economics are compelling and eventually it will happen," the mayor said. He acknowledged that such a move would take a while, as Wolff has pledged to stay at O.co Coliseum in Oakland until when his lease expires in 2017. "We're years away from throwing out the first pitch," Reed said.
But he noted that construction of a ballpark in San Jose could start before the lease expires, Reed said. A spokesperson for the A's could not be reached for comment this morning.