With the Port of Oakland approving a deal that clears a major hurdle in the pursuit of a new A’s stadium next to Jack London Square, it is time for A’s fans to demand that ownership finally gives a fair look at building the A’s future in Oakland. For years A’s fans have heard that their team is as good as gone to the South Bay. Various reasons have been given by A’s ownership for why building a stadium is "impossible" in Oakland, but one heard often is that there has been no viable site. 50 acres of prime waterfront land just became available, and Oakland officials have gone on record as being ready to take the necessary steps to pursue a stadium for the A’s there. So what is the excuse now?
Lew Wolff has consistently said that Howard Terminal has been studied and is not financially feasible given environmental remediation and infrastructural costs. However, as Clorox CEO and Oakland A’s booster Don Knauss stated recently during a radio interview, that conclusion is based on information that is at least five years old and many things have changed since then. With this latest development, there is absolutely no reason why Lew Wolff should not reopen a dialog with Oakland officials. If he continues to refuse even opening a discussion, it only becomes more apparent that he likely has never had interest in keeping the A’s in Oakland regardless of the circumstances, and never will.
Things got more interesting this past week when the San Jose Mercury News' Tim Kawakami took to Twitter with some vague but provocative tweets on Howard Terminal (see below). Kawakami didn't go into specifics, but it indicates there may be much more going on behind the scenes regarding a stadium site in Oakland for the A's than what we've heard about yet publicly.
With Major League Baseball and the City of San Jose set to battle it out in the courtroom, the path of least resistance is now back at home. What is on the line is a continued tradition with a fanbase that is as passionate as any in professional sports. Leaving Oakland will alienate those fans that have stayed loyal to the team despite both an outdated stadium and an ownership group that appears more interested in the corporate support of Silicon Valley.
Options for pursuing a new stadium for the A’s in Oakland involve no lawsuits or territorial rights conflicts with MLB. Through our initiative, www.OaklandFanPledge.com , many fans have told us that the attachment and pride they feel towards being an A’s fan is deeply rooted in the team being in Oakland. If A’s ownership could look at what they have in front of them in Oakland, rather than 40 miles south, the decision becomes obvious. Keep the A’s where they belong.
John Jackson and John Hansen are co-founders of Oakland Fan Pledge