We have belabored the point about how the Oakland Athletics desperately need a new stadium to the point that readers’ eyes roll back in their heads whenever a headline contains the words “stadium” or “territorial rights”. You and I and the world are all tired of hearing about it. So, with that said, I’m going to talk more about it.
The onus for discussing this situation once again was the news that came out this morning that the Atlanta Braves intend to build a mostly publicly funded stadium in suburban Cobb County in 2017 according to a team announcement. Ordinarily an announcement such as this is exciting, but somewhat routine as a team’s current home ages and becomes out of date. It’s really not that big of a deal, normally. But their current residence, Turner Field is only 17 years old, and while it may not match the luxury of some of the newest ballparks in MLB, it’s still a fine facility.
The Braves are taking advantage of an opportunity that has presented itself that they simply could not refuse. For that, I don’t blame them. But for a team like the Oakland Athletics to continue languish in the grossly dilapidated O.co Coliseum while the Braves enjoy the luxury of two more than adequate ballparks at their disposal is sickening. Many will lampoon MLB for approving this move in such swift fashion, but this case isn’t anything like the one we all are enduring in Oakland.
Calls for Lew Wolff to sell the A’s, and find an owner who will keep the A’s in Oakland are likely in vain. Wolff won’t sell the team unless he wants to, plain and simple. His intentions for San Jose have always been for a privately financed stadium, with residential and retail spaces surrounding it. This is all a real estate deal for Wolff, the stadium is just a part of the project. Even if the city of Oakland managed to scrounge up enough cash to offer Wolff a deal for a publicly funded stadium, I doubt he would bite, because it simply isn’t all about the stadium for him.
A’s fans, and fans of the Tampa Bay Rays will have to suffer more as the rest of the league enjoys their lives of luxury. It’s a harsh reality, and unfortunately one we will have to continue to live with. One of these days I will be able to say the end is near, sadly this is not one of those days.