Groundhog Day: Baseball Version

Matier & Ross have squashed the runaway speculation that surrounded some vague comments made by Commissioner Bud Selig at last week’s owners meeting. Here’s what the S. F. Chronicle columnists wrote Monday:

Despite all the huffing and puffing, no decision was reached about a possible A’s move to San Jose at the just-ended baseball owners meeting in Arizona. “It remains at loggerheads, with problems at every turn,” said one source close to the talks.

… the Giants remain adamant that the South Bay is their territory. While the committee looking into the move met at the owners’ confab – as it has repeatedly for more than two years – there was no discussion about any deal to try to get the Giants to change their minds.

Let’s review. After a full week of Wolff telling local and national reporters that he expects a decision “soon,” now Matier & Ross (and their sources) are saying, not so fast.

There are two key parts in that M&R blurb:
1) The “blue ribbon” committee regularly has been giving a report to MLB owners at these meetings for “more than two years.” So, any importance placed on the presence of committee members at the meeting were false or grossly exaggerated.
2) “There was no discussion about any deal to try to get the Giants to change their minds” regarding territorial rights. The Giants aren’t budging and, equally important, MLB didn’t even try to budge them at the meeting last week.

In other words, we’re still at square one. So, what was all that squawking about last week when sportswriters were Tweeting and writing entire articles that an announcement was coming “soon?”

Hey, we’re as in the dark as anyone — including Wolff — about what exactly is going on. But isn’t the “a decision is coming soon” card all played out by Wolff? Just in the last three months, we’ve had several national sportswriters who are typically chummy with team owners say a decision was going to happen “two months from now” or “very soon.” In October, they were saying a decision would come at the MLB owners meeting in November. But come November? Silence. Then they said the decision would come at the owners meeting in Arizona in January (the one last week). But, Ken Rosenthal wrote Dec. 23 that the A’s weren’t on the January meeting agenda. The very next day, USA Today baseball reporter Bob Nightengale tweeted there was yet another new future announcement date … (wait for it) … in February. Uh-huh, sure, Bob. Seems to us that Wolff and Beane merely are whispering in the ears of a lot of national sportswriters with the hopes of creating some self-made momentum to put pressure on Selig. This latest series of announced non-announcements come on the heels, of course, of repeatedly failed predictions made about the A’s in the past three years.

It’s baseball’s version of the movie, Groundhog Day — only this time it’s not exactly a comedy.


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