Hold onto your hats, A's fans -- San Jose City Council is serious about luring the Athletics.
At the exact same time Tuesday night that the Oakland A's were earning a split against the Los Angeles Angels, San Jose managed a clean sweep in their attempt to acquire those very Oakland A's. By a whopping score of 9-0, San Jose City Council voted to go forward with their pursuit of bringing the Oakland A's permanently to San Jose.
The meeting strongly indicated a night-and-day difference between the desire of San Jose to acquire this ballclub compared to that of Fremont. Not one elected official voiced opposition to the plan. Two former San Jose mayors spoke up to express full-throated, unambiguous support for the idea. The county Tax Assessor took the dais and swore up and down this would not negatively affect anyone's property values. The only opposition present was a scattered band of senior citizens with adorably misspelled and poorly constructed signs.
For the record, Vice Mayor Judy Chirco was not present to vote because of an illness. Another voter, Councilman Sam Liccardo, abstained from voting because, well, he's got a little predicament going with San Jose professional sports tickets
The plan on which the councilpersons agreed to pursue was an endorsement of San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed's plan -- building a 32,000-seat baseball-only stadium adjacent to the Diridon CalTrain station. They have an environmental impact report in place, and they will focus their efforts on calming residents' concerns on parking, traffic, and noise. They're preparing the populace for a general vote, but if public funding is not required then a vote may never even have to happen.
Mayor Reed went deep with the baseball analogies in last night's remarks. "Last couple of years we've been in the stands, watching the game," he said, in video available on KTVU. "But what we are going to do now is get the uniform out of the closet, put on the cleats, get out the glove, get out the bat and be ready. Now we're still sitting in the stands, but we're going get ready to play at a moment's notice."
The only baseball term Mayor Reed seemingly didn't use was the word "steal". Which would have been the most appropriate pun of all, right?
But it's the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors who are really "playing hardball". Geez, now I'm starting to sound like Mayor Chuck Reed.
The Santa Clara supes have devised the most devastating argument yet to challenge the Giants' South Bay territorial rights, expressed in a letter approved yesterday to be sent to MLB Comissioner Bud Selig.
A copy of the letter obtained by KPIX asserts, "When the Giants obtained its territorial rights to San Jose in 1992, it was based upon the assumption that the Giants were going to move from one wealthy enclave to another; namely from San Francisco County to Santa Clara County." The letter further asserts that the Oakland A's went along with these territorial rights only because they saw San Francisco market share opening up, with the Giants bolting south.
Take that, Giants fans! These territorial rights of yours were established only to help your own beloved Giants move to San Jose themselves!
It's actually a matter of inference and opinion whether the Giants had put dibs on the South Bay in 1992 in order to move there themselves. But it's a matter of fact that the Giants did want to move in 1992. That wanderlust may be coming back to haunt them, if South Bay politicos have anything to say about it.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who'd be happy to take those Sharks tickets, if San Jose City Councilman Sam Liccardo isn't going to use them.