In a childish display of threatening to take his ball and go home, Oakland Athletics owner Lew Wolff, in negotiations over a lease, is now bullying Oakland Coliseum officials that he will seek a temporary stadium as the A’s home once his Coliseum lease expires at the end of the 2015 season.
The A’s have been searching for a new home since Wolff bought the team. During his reign as owner Wolff signed an agreement with San Jose city officials to build a new stadium there, but Commissioner Bud Selig informed Wolff last season that MLB turned down the team’s proposal. MLB considers San Jose to be the San Francisco Giants “territory” and won’t let the A’s move there without the Giants’ agreement.
The City of San Jose followed up with a lawsuit. A judge later tossed the lawsuit and San Jose is now appealing the decision.
The A’s have been complaining that the Oakland Coliseum is dilapidated and not conducive to baseball. The stadium remains the only venue in the country that hosts a Major League Baseball team and a National Football League team – the Oakland Raiders.
No arguments here. Fans will agree the Coliseum, in comparison to all other MLB venues, would be ranked at or near last in appearance, playing surface, and fan convenience. The facility is the fourth oldest, built in 1966, in an era where 21 other teams have stadiums less than 20 years old, 16 of which were opened after 2000.
But Wolff’s logic doesn’t make sense and will continue to alienate paying fans who have come out for years to support the team. Sites reportedly under consideration include San Jose Municipal Stadium (built in 1942) and San Francisco’s Candlestick Park (built in 1960 and likely to be torn down by 2015).
San Jose Muni with its 4200 capacity is a joke to be considered for any MLB games DESPITE any modifications. And if you think attendance is down now, try playing at Candlestick with its windy conditions, damp air and dew from fog, and chilly temperatures. There’s a reason the Giants moved from there
Wolff has even asked San Francisco’s 360 Architecture to explore construction of a “temporary stadium” in the area. (If he’s not willing to invest in player salaries, does anyone think he’ll sink tens of millions in a temporary stadium?)
Not getting the hint that San Jose – as well as across the bay – is Giants territory, Wolff’s considerations of ANY “temporary” venues or stadiums there STILL crosses the line.
Last month, Giants president Larry Baer stated the Giants were open to temporarily sharing AT&T Park in San Francisco with the Athletics if they build a new stadium. The catch being that the officer was dependent on the A’s not building that new stadium in San Jose.
As said before, Wolff has two viable options: Sell the team to local interest who’s willing to invest in the team or work with the city and Alameda County to find and build a baseball stadium here.