Was A’s co-owner Lew Wolff being positively flippant today about a downtown ballpark for the team in Oakland or is the recent spate of trash talk against the aging Coliseum a new strategy to pressure Oakland and Alameda County officials to help fund a new venue potentially near Jack London Square?

Wolff’s comments to reporters today is the first time the disliked owner has hinted at being amendable to staying in Oakland over a clear intent to move the team to San Jose. According to the San Jose Mercury News, Wolff said a downtown ballpark in either Oakland or San Jose, “is the key to unlocking the fan base.”

While speaking to reporters before Wednesday afternoon’s game in Oakland, Wolff added, “Look at a beautiful day like today,” he said. “Downtowns are where the transportation hubs are. People can walk over.”

“If we were in a downtown, like most stadiums are now, there’s a chance that people would be around and come out. I doubt very much that a lawyer in downtown Oakland is going to go down the elevator (from his office), get his car and drive to the park.”

Later, according to a tweet by San Francisco Chronicle reporter John Shea, Wolff told the paper he has no intention of revisiting a plan to build a ballpark in downtown Oakland.

The comments, though, represent a major thawing of Wolff’s consistent claims no suitable location exists for a new ballpark in Oakland. In recent months, the city of San Jose sued Major League Baseball in an effort to force the commissioner’s office to allow the team to move to the South Bay. Most observers view San Jose’s legal action as an ill-fated, last-ditch effort by city officials to lure the A’s. Meanwhile, a waterfront home for the team in Oakland adjacent to Jack London Square at Howard Terminal has emerged as an attractive potential site.

In addition, Wolff’s recent comments over low attendance despite the team being on the cusp of another division title and the decrepit state of the Coliseum may not be a signal of his desire to move to San Jose, but instead an admission the team’s relocation is no longer an option.

A former Alameda County officials told The Citizen Tuesday, an alternate theory is Wolff’s current posturing is a new strategy to instead begin the process of pressuring Oakland and Alameda County officials to help build a new ballpark in Oakland. On that front, the A’s would join the Raiders, who are also actively working with local officials for a replacement of the Coliseum at its current location.

Cross posted from East Bay Citizen

6 Responses

  1. desertA

    But I’d love for the A’s to stay in Oakland.

    I’ve been a lifelong fan of the OAKLAND A’s

    Reply
  2. R.H.

    I’m cutting the comcrap cable cord. I am no longer going to bankroll billionaire boys and their toys with ever growing cable Tv rates up the wazoo. I’ll watch the games for free on the internet.

    Reply
  3. Marsalis Jackson

    Both Howard terminal and the coliseum city site would be perfect locations for the Athletics. I prefer the coliseum city site, just because the infrastructure is already in place. Amtrak is there as well as AC transit, Bart, AirBart, the 880 freeway and all that parking. The key to unlocking Oakland’s fan base is not to just simply relocate to a downtown location. The key to unlocking the fan base is to not publicly tell the fans of Oakland that your goal is to build a state of the art venue anywhere except Oakland and that there is something wrong with all of us. Oakland is a growing hub for technology companies that for some reason people believe only exist in the San Jose Silicon Valley. The proof of this exists right at the coliseum city site. Oracle is one of the largest computer soft were companies in the world and Overstock.com or O.co is on the rise. McAfee held the naming rights for the coliseum longer than any other. If the coliseum city plan actually gets pulled off, the technology companies will folk to set up shop around the venues and support the teams. Fisher and Wolff need to sell the team if they are not willing to spend their money on a new ballpark in Oakland to somebody who happily will and the Oakland Athletics ballpark issue will be solved, instead of the franchises all being held hostage in a void. The Raiders are ready for a new Stadium too.

    Reply

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