The A's and the City of San Jose are positioning their pieces the city has worked with the RDA and the sports facilities task force, and are coming up with a roadmap that will be finished by the end of the year on how to get it done. With hopefully negotions beginning in 2005 the A's lease i believe is up in 2007.
The A's owner Steve Schott is from San Jose, went to Santa Clara University and his main Real Estate company is in Santa clara. The President of the A's is from the Southbay. their a number of individuals in player development from the southbay. However most importantly the man in charge of venue development/ finding the A's a new stadium is lew Wolff who's development group owns the Fairmont Hotel Downtown and Park Center plaza office towers/complex. He has been a big fan of San Jose and especially its redevelopment agency and their work downtown. He was quoted saying in the early 90's when the Giants where trying to move to San Jose saying that " I would not spend five minutes looking at any other city." San Jose is a major league city and I would not look anywhere else.
Now he obviously politically could not say this anymore publicly however the fact and the statement remain true. Tom McEnery the former Mayor of San Jose and one of the people who worked with Lew Wolff to bring the Arena and the Sharks downtown is also high school classmates and good friends with Steve Schott and has recently held discussion with Bud Selig talking about how and why the Giants were granted rights to San Jose.
It also helps that Lew Wolff went to college with Bud Selig and they remain friends to this day. The A's will not get a new stadium in Oakland the city is politically to messed up and the is financially cash strapped in part from the stupid mess they got themselves into with the Raiders. It is going to be a long time before they are willing to publicly finance another stadium in that city.
This is the right time and San Jose is the right place!!They have a spot Downtown that would be perfect, hopefully everything falls into place and the A's will have a monster revenue machine like SBC Park in Downtown San Jose.
The A's moving to San Jose would be a great idea, and would be a huge success for the city and for the A's. San Jose is the 3rd Largest city in the state and soon to pass Detroit as the 10th in the nation. It has twice the population of Oakland and three times the discretionary income. The fact of the matter is you have to look at the long term future, and that future is not in Oakland, the city is too difficult to deal and they will never make enough money or get enough support in Oakland. Besides the #1 location they had for the Stadium Downtown located on the edge of Bay has been approved for a housing project and is a done deal. So the only way to keep the A's in the Bay Area is by moving them 38 miles down the freeway to San Jose/ Silicon Valley.
The City of San Jose does want the A's that is why they have created the Sports facilities task force. They have a location right in Downtown San Jose close to all of the free parking and bars, restaurants, hotels and cultural events. The Mayor and the city council have all expressed a strong interest in the proposal and have already explored financing mechanisms.
The Giants tried to move to San Jose in the early 90's thru entirely public money. When the economy was good it was approved and fell apart afterwards, when the economy was bad it failed by a small margin. Besides San Francisco deserves a baseball team and the Giants are a perfect fit. However Oakland does not and if the A's moved to San Jose they would go from alley cat to big dog overnight. Their team salary would double and their is much more opportunity for corporate sponsorship in the extremely lucrative Silicon Valley market. Just look at the Sharks many people thought that hockey would not survive now they are one of the most successful teams in the league with one the of the best fan bases. They Sold out every game for over a decade only now with the current economic conditions do they not sell out occasionally. The Sharks are thriving in San Jose and the A's would be equally successful.
As far as the issue of territorial rights the only reason the Giants were given the rights to San Jose is when they tried to move their in the early 90's. It created a special territory in Santa Clara County, because the Giants wanted to relocate their. However the Giants have secured their ballpark and it is a huge success they belong in San Francisco and SBC Park will continue to be a revenue machine for them, and in NO WAY WOULD be effected by the A's moving to San Jose. They would be farther away then the A's are now. Secondly San Jose/Silicon Valley is a very different Metro Region then San Francisco/Oakland. It has its own identity and it would intensify the A's vs. Giants rivalry games.
The A's belong in San Jose and Would be a long term success for all parties involved.
To answer your question, yes they can. San Jose officials even went so far as to prepare a feasibility study. But what's amazing to me is that the issue I address -- the Major League Agreement -- never came up in any discussions.
The Athletics officials also talked with them. But from the A's point of view, there's nothing to gain by telling San Jose officials that they can't move there. A huge bargaining chip would have been lost, with respect to their negotiations with Oakland politicians.
Moreover, press journalists in the Bay Area apparently weren't even aware of the Major League Agreement's restrictions on franchise movement.
I can see and moderately understand the red tape issues. But, speaking with my heart, could even the coldest of business folk move the OAKLAND A's to San Jose? Arhhggg at the thought.