City of Oakland offers 3 possible ballpark sites
The City of Oakland unveiled three waterfront sites Thursday as
potential spots to build a new ballpark for the Oakland Athletics
and ultimately keep the team from leaving town.
As the small-budget A’s have seen before, there are still plenty
of hurdles ahead. In the past they haven’t been able to find a
suitable spot to build and were set to leave Oakland and move to
nearby Fremont until that plan fell through.
More recently, owner Lew Wolff has been determined to move the
team to San Jose – though the San Francisco Giants hold the rights
to that territory. Wolff felt the A’s had exhausted their options
in Oakland after several years of trying.
Oakland mayor Ron Dellums said Thursday the project also would
be about bolstering the blue-collar city’s economic future by
creating jobs and helping turn Oakland into a destination spot. The
three sites would be within easy access of public transit, parking
and would offer other options for entertainment and food.
“This city’s leadership has a clear, concise and unified
message for Major League Baseball: Keep the A’s in Oakland,”
Dellums said. “This project is not solely about a baseball
stadium. This is about continuing our efforts to bolster Oakland’s
Two of the spots hadn’t been previously studied, including one
in the popular Jack London Square area that would be easy to get to
off the heavily traveled 880 interstate.
In March, Dellums and the city council wrote to commissioner Bud
Selig to tell him the city would do everything in its power to keep
the A’s in town. Selig – who has repeatedly said the A’s can’t
survive playing in the run-down Oakland Coliseum they share with
the NFL’s Raiders – then formed a task force to analyze the
The nonprofit group “Let’s Go Oakland!” has generated tens of
thousands of supporters and petitioned to Major League Baseball to
keep the team in Oakland.
“The stadium situation is in the hands of the commissioner and
the committee and we won’t be commenting on the stadium situation
until they make a decision,” said Ken Pries, A’s vice president of
broadcasting and communications.
Wolff, a Los Angeles real estate developer, has worked hard to
find a better venue for his team.
The A’s had planned to build a state-of-the-art stadium in
nearby Fremont that they thought would eventually transform the
small-market club into a big spender.
But that plan, which would have been in partnership with Cisco
Systems, Inc., fell through because of a variety of complications –
including public transportation issues.
The team had agreed to purchase 143 acres of land from Cisco in
suburban Fremont, about 20 miles south of the Coliseum. The plan
had called for the ballpark to open in time for the 2011
That stadium – with a price tag of around $500 million that was
to primarily come from private funds – was to seat between 30,000
and 34,000 fans, an intimate venue with an impressive range of
technological capabilities and surrounding features outside the
Wolff certainly would be interested in a similar type of
ballpark, especially considering Oakland has struggled mightily to
fill the stands in recent seasons.