Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Just What Does "Just" Mean? -- Giants Territorial Rights Press Release

The Giants fired back at the A's with their own press release today, explaining how and why they feel Santa Clara County is their territory. They make a historical argument and also insert a puzzling line:

Mr. Wolff and Mr. Fisher agreed to these territorial designations and were fully aware of our territorial rights when they purchased the A’s for just $172 million in 2005.

What in the world is the "just" doing in there? Now, in 1995 we know the Haas family made "concessions" to the Schott/Hoffman ownership group in the hopes of keeping the team in Oakland. However, no real indication has ever emerged that the Wolff/Fisher group was given a discount when purchasing the team in 2005. Could the Giants be asserting that approval of the transfer of A's ownership by the league's owners had strings attached -- such as leaving Santa Clara County alone?

The "just" is also interesting when you think about this story regarding Reggie Jackson's attempts to buy the team in 2005. If the article linked to above is to be believed, the proposed ownership group headed by Jackson was prepared to best any offer by $25 million. That is a lot of money to leave on the table. Further, consider these comments by Selig to Jackson after Jackson found out the team was being sold to Wolff/Fisher:

"Well, there's a lot going on," Selig said. "You don't understand. You need to know the whole story."

The official line from Schott was that an agreement with Wolff/Fisher was in place and that Jackson's bid was irrelevant as a contract was in place. (Mind you Jackson wanted to move the team to Las Vegas, hardly an ideal scenario for Bay Area A's fans.)

What is the whole story?

MLB and its owners meddle with potential ownership groups and frequently sets conditions -- see both the Padres and the Astros of late. Maybe Jackson's more lucrative bid was scuttled by the league in favor of a smaller Wolff/Fisher deal because they made promises not to move or meddle with territorial rights. Maybe they got the team over Jackson for "just" $172 million because they agreed to play nice with the Giants. No one one know, and the ever opaque MLB isn't likely to ever reveal.

Maybe "just" means nothing. However, it seems the Giants are indicating the A's got a deal. What deal no one knows.

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