Is it true that the A’s may have to stay in Oakland due to a clause in their lease with the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum? The clause could stall a move to San Jose or out of the Bay Area.
According to the Bay Citizen the following clause is stated:
“Licensee [A's] shall not permit or cause to occur any event that may result in the transfer of its Franchise or any of its Home Games to any other city or location or do or fail to do anything which will cause its right to play major league professional baseball in the Stadium to be lost, impaired or transferred to any other city or location.”
This clause may sound very familiar to some Giants fans because back in 1992, they were in the very same scenario that the A’s are now facing. The Giants were in losing contention of keeping their beloved team in San Francisco due to a number of willing investor in Florida who were ready to buy the team, thus moving them down to the Sunshine State. However, quiet dealings were made by the then S.F. District Attorney Louise Renne to challenge the move with the same clause. Ultimately, we all know what transpired and I am sure Giants fans could not of been happier.
The Bay Citizen spoke to Oakland City Attorney John Russo and he stated that he has gone over the A’s lease with a “fine-toothed comb,” and if the A’s violate the agreement, “my office will consult with the decision makers and take whatever action is necessary.” But he said that because Oakland is working with Major League Baseball on the whole issue, “it’s premature for us to look at things like legal action against the A’s.”
When asked if he had a complaint drafted and sitting on a desk somewhere, Russo’s tone became more ominous: “The A’s pattern of behavior has been apparent for many years now, and were we forced to act, we are ready to act very quickly.”
It has been no secret that A’s owner, Lew Wolff, wants the team to move down to the South Bay and was even ready to make the move down the street to Fremont. However, this clause is to extend through the 2011 season, so nothing will be decided in the near future.
Plus, there was news in the last couple of days that Ca. Governor Jerry Brown is going to ask for the elimination of 425 Redevelopment agencies, San Jose included, to close the gap in state spending. Wolff was relying on them to somewhat help him with the building of a new stadium. However in a strange twist of irony, Oakland is on that same chopping block list and they could be in dire straits for getting a new stadium built near Jack London Square as well.
According to BallparkDigest.com though, there are other ways for a city to acquire land for a ballpark than using a redevelopment agency. And in this case neither ballpark venture seems absolutely dependent on a redevelopment agency.
The news of both the lease clause and the agency cuts could be a damper on those plans for relocation. Now, your probably wondering what does Wolff have to say about this latest news? Nothing. The A’s organization has stated they have no comment on the clause but continues to say that the team is waiting for the blue-ribbon committee study. A study/decision that may not come anytime soon.