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Giants won't cede territorial rights
03/01/2004 10:44 PM ET
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Peter Magowan, the Giants president and managing general partner, said on Monday that he still isn't inclined to relinquish any of his territorial rights so a new ballpark can be built to house the Oakland A's in Santa Clara County just south of San Francisco.

"There are plenty of places to put (a new ballpark for the A's) that are not in the Giants territory," Magowan said. "Good places. That's where I'd like to see them concentrate, but I don't run the A's."

Magowan's comments came while he was seated in the Giants dugout at Scottsdale Stadium during his first session of the spring with reporters. The A's, who reside in the East Bay, have made motions before at trying to relocate to Santa Clara County, but were rebuffed by the Giants.

"Everybody knows what territorial rights you have when you buy a team," Magowan said. "We certainly knew in 1992 what rights we had. The A's knew what rights they had. We've stated very consistently that we will do everything within our power to enforce our rights because they have a lot of value. We might not have bought the franchise without those rights and the Commissioner has gone on the record as being fully supportive of us."

It took 20 years through two ownerships and four losing elections to finally give birth to San Francisco's SBC Park, which opened in 2000 and was built mostly on private funds, a great portion of it borrowed by the Giants. One of the losing elections was in Santa Clara County.

Before that election during the late 1980s, MLB granted the Giants the rights to the two counties south of San Francisco -- San Mateo and Santa Clara. Magowan and his investment group purchased the Giants from Bob Lurie after the 1992 season, saving the team from a move to St. Petersburg, Fla.

It is Magowan's contention that the A's can build a stadium in numerous adjacent towns and communities in the East Bay that would not infringe on the Giants' territory. The A's have played in Network Associates Coliseum just south of Oakland since they moved from Kansas City in 1968. Oakland's Triple-A team plays in downtown Sacramento, the capital city of California, 90 miles to the northeast.

Magowan said each team holds its territorial rights more by tradition than by contract.

"If three-quarters of the clubs vote to put another stadium in San Francisco, there's nothing that the Giants can do to stop it," Magowan said. "There's nothing the Yankees could do about locating a third team across the street from Yankee Stadium. That aside, all the clubs know that if they start violating one team's territorial rights, their own territorial rights become almost valueless because a precedent has been set.

"So I think there's a very strong feeling that territorial rights should be upheld, because if we don't uphold them for this guy over here they might not be upheld for me."

Magowan, whose 11 years as an owner gives him seniority in the National League West, was selected to MLB's eight-owner executive council along with Peter Angelos of the Baltimore Orioles this past January. The pair replaced Carl Pohlad of the Minnesota Twins and Bill Bartholomay of the Atlanta Braves.

The executive council is the sounding board for Commissioner Bud Selig on all baseball-related matters.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for This story is not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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