MLB could force A's to call AT&T Park home

Athletics to play home games at AT&T Park?

MLB could force A's to call AT&T Park home
November 3, 2013, 9:00 pm
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If Coliseum officials refuse to give A's a short-term lease extension, MLB will force the team to play at AT&T Park in 2014. (AP)

If Phil Matier and Andy Ross, the two vicious little glopstirrers at the Chronicle are right (and why wouldn’t they be?), Major League Baseball has finally gotten off the dime in the epochal A’s-Giants impasse by squeezing the one entity it doesn’t actually control.

The Coliseum.

How perfectly baseball.

According to the two debonair rakers of muck, MLB has told the Coliseum’s biggest shots that if they don’t do a new short-term lease with the A’s, MLB will take the A’s and wedge them into AT&T ATM and make them the Giants’ tenants as a short-term solution to getting a new stadium somewhere.

The Coliseum, of course, will cave, so we don’t really need to sweat that too much. Their reps wanted a five-to eight-year deal, which the A’s apparently don’t want as they continue to hope that something will be done on their behalf by MLB after Bud Selig finally achieves his long-awaited sell-by date.

Selig has never really wanted to adjudicate this mess because the owners for whom he works have never cared about the problem enough to ask him to, so the blue ribbon panel has celebrated 55 months of mythical existence without a single Office Depot receipt to indicate that they even need printer ink.

So barring the owners forcing the Giants to either capitulate or the A’s to shut up, the other owners have decided to put the boot into the Coliseum – which frankly is ingenious when you think about it.

It allows the A’s time to get used to the fact that San Jose is a growing longshot, while allowing them the flexibility to either line up buyers or a different site – although the different site part seems more problematic than probable.

It forces the Giants to grit their teeth and accept rent money, which is always better than, say, a swift kick in the throat.

And it sends a message to the Tone Deaf Brigade in the East Bay led by Oakland mayor Jean Quan that something more concrete than another statement of essential nothingitude is required soon.

Now San Jose is still in play, though the lawsuit Mayor Chuck Reed threw at the owners will have to be dismissed with humblest apologies for the inconvenience before anything moves that way. That way, baseball wins in court without having to go to court, which is another thing better than a swift kick in the throat.

But this is mostly a holding action by 28 owners who want to do nothing at least for the next year and change, so that Selig can go into retirement bequeathing this little bucket of phlegm to his successor. Selig will want 2014 to be one of those put-your-feet-up-and-rake-in-the-tributes years – if he really is quitting this time, that is – and having the A’s and Giants and their annoying little petulances silenced for another year.

And this gets that. What it gets after that remains a very open question, but as a time-buying device, it’s hard to beat.

In the meantime, the A’s and their delightful little baseball team will operate as before. And flush lightly, children. If the Coliseum only has two more years of service granted it, repairs may be a little harder to find.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for

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