When is a non-answer really an answer?
When you're the Oakland A's and the non-answer comes from baseball commissioner Bud Selig.
About a century ago, Selig appointed a three-person committee to study the rhubarb between the A's and Giants about whether the A's could move to San Jose and build a state-of-the-art ballpark and attract millions of fans and millions of dollars from Silicon Valley and create luxurious luxury suites and put together a killer ballclub and become the Yankees of the West and live happily ever after.
So far, no dice, not a single shovel in the ground, no nothing.
Just the other day, Selig addressed the issue yet again. As part of All-Star week, he met with the Baseball Writers Association of America to go over the state of baseball. Asked about the A's ongoing kvetch regarding San Jose, he answered as he always answers — in riddles and puzzles and conundrums.
"The main hang-up is, we don't have the answers," he elucidated.
If you're the Giants, this is a great non-answer. It offers delay. When it comes to this sticky point, the Giants are all about delay, lack of resolution and maintaining the status quo, as in, "We have a great ballpark and you don't, and you'll get one in San Jose over our dead bodies."
If you're the A's, this non-answer is cause for heartburn or, perhaps, a nervous breakdown. It means, after all this time, after all this whining and complaining, the A's have made no progress in their dream quest.
Please permit me a moment of extreme impertinence. When the commissioner says he doesn't have an answer, I believe he is giving an answer. According to the way I understand talking — or in this case double-talking — the commissioner is saying, "I am in no hurry whatsoever to resolve this issue, to change things one iota or to tick off the Giants, a successful and powerful organization. I simply am in no hurry for you to squat on their perceived turf. So, do what you have to do, but don't look to me for help to solve your problem or make your lot in life rosy."
That's the real answer, isn't it?
Selig has been no help to the A's, and he will continue to be no help in the foreseeable future. Lew Wolff and Mike Crowley and Billy Beane are highly intelligent people. They ought to understand the deep meaning of this non-answer.
Selig is not saying the Giants are morally correct in their stance. He's not thinking at that level. He is saying the Giants claim the Peninsula and South Bay as their sphere of influence, and he's not about to mess with them.
The A's need to hear that. Really hear it.
Wolff has said he absolutely will not move out of the Bay Area. OK, that's a starting point. If the A's are staying in the Bay Area, but if they are not going to San Jose — they most definitely are not — they need to make appropriate plans. A college professor of mine used to talk about "dealing with the available reality." The availability reality for the A's is Oakland. Got that? Oakland.
They can find a new ballyard in Oakland. Or they can live with the one they have, the one they sell out for the Yankees and Giants, and almost sell out for the Red Sox, and would sell out for other teams if they cared to work that angle. They need to stop complaining about the Coliseum, saying what a bummer the place is, because that drives fans away. Do the A's want to drive fans away?