Baseball commissioner Fay Vincent tossed his support behind a plan to take the San Francisco Giants south, calling a move to Silicon Valley the best solution to the "dire" situation created by San Francisco voters.
Vincent, who announced his support on Monday, said the "Santa Clara Giants" had a certain ring to it and would provide a "ready-made franchise" for the Silicon Valley, about 40 miles south of San Francisco."It has a certain cadence," Vincent said of the name that makes skin crawl in San Francisco, where the Giants have played for 33 years. "If you get the vote, it will be a big-league name. I guarantee it."
During comments in San Jose, Vincent said the move was the best option left when San Francisco voters last fall narrowly defeated a measure to build a new ballpark in the city.
Next month, voters in Santa Clara County will decide whether to build a new $153 million stadium in Santa Clara. A "yes" vote on three ballot measures in the county and various cities would guarantee that the Giants move from Candlestick Park to a new stadium.
Team owner Bob Lurie wants out of Candlestick, an aging ballpark where foggy gusts of wind chill fans and swirl garbage around the stands. Lurie has cited surveys showing that fans don't support the team enough because they don't like Candlestick.
Vincent said he hates to see teams move, but noted the Santa Clara proposal was the only decent option. The alternatives are keeping the team at its "outdated" ballpark or moving out of the San Francisco Bay area, Vincent said.
"I don't think there are many communities in the United States who get a chance at a team and turn it down. San Francisco seems to be the exception," Vincent said.
Last October's earthquake, he said, took attention away from a ballot measure that would have funded a new stadium in San Francisco's China Basin area, and the measure failed. Lurie said before the election he would move the team if voters rejected a downtown ballpark.