With Bill Neukom out as managing partner of the Giants, probably the biggest obstacle to the A's move to San Jose is out of the way. It's no secret that Neukom has been steadfast in resisting the A's move by invoking the Giants' territorial rights to San Jose. Everyone likes to blame Bud Selig for the delays with the MLB commission investigating stadium options for the A's. But the irony is that Selig clearly wants the A's to move to San Jose. Selig got his real estate developer friend Lew Wolf installed as A's owner solely for the purpose of using Wolf's development acumen to get a new park built. And why wouldn't Selig want a MLB team in the heart of Silicon Valley, with all the corporate wealth there? Fremont fell through because of the lack of financing, but once the Giants demands can be met and they relinquish rights, the A's ballpark in San Jose will be an MLB priority. Not to mention that the California legislature just passed a law fast-tracking environmental review for large projects in downtown areas (AB 900), which would benefit any new ballpark in San Jose.
The only question now for A's fans is: who will replace Neukom at the MLB bargaining table? And can that person be talked into a deal, or talked into trying to convince the Giants ownership to deal? By all accounts, Neukom was a tough cookie and shrewd negotiator. My guess is that his departure will weaken the Giants' position relative to MLB.
Meanwhile, for A's fans like me who want to keep the team in Oakland, losing Neukom will probably be a blow to the cause. He was the only Giants employee I ever liked.