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Fremont Looming

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I meant to leave the interview with Billy Owens on the front page for most of the day today, but this news seems to be pointing at the Fremont A's coming soon to an East Bay suburb near you.

It was in the daily link dump, but I wanted to call attention to it. Of course the negotiations with Cisco aren't complete and there are a few hurdles left, but all signs are pointing to the Southeast Bay right now.

As usual, the excellent New Ballpark Blog weighs in on what is being perceived as the major drawback right now...and that's access to public transportation.

As for the theory that the A's are just using Fremont in an Al Davis-Irwindale-like swindle, Lewis Wolff talks about that among many of the other rumors swirling about in this piece by Chris De Benedetti.

He addresses this in particular here:

Whatever the reason, some question whether Lew Wolff and billionaire co-owner John Fisher are using talks with Fremont merely to leverage a better deal in another city, be it Oakland, the team's home since 1968; tourist mecca Las Vegas; or even San Jose -- providing a deal is worked out with the Giants regarding territorial rights.

Wolff has strongly denied this on several occasions.

"We don't have any hidden agenda," Wolff told The Daily Review last week. "Anyone who's a sports fan thinks everyone has a hidden agenda. Even if I wanted to go, I couldn't go."

Both Wolff and baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, a longtime friend and former college fraternity brother of Wolff's, also have said they have no intention of challenging the Giants' territorial rights in Santa Clara County. But supporters of bringing the A's to the South Bay point out that Wolff has several real estate holdings in San Jose.

Having talked with Wolff several times, I concur with this quote:

"I don't think in any way are the A's playing us against another community," said Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, who represents Fremont and grew up there. "The Wolffs are genuine people. They're the most sincere people I have ever met."

I honestly believe that Wolff is doing what he can to make it work for everyone while getting the A's the new stadium they've needed for years. I know that doesn't sit well with a lot of people (I saw the sign in the bleachers that said, "If You Build It In Fremont, We Will Not Come"), but you have to work with the hand you're dealt. Oakland rightfully has a lot more pressing issues than where the A's end up. I know you can't convince everyone of someone's intentions, but Wolff has basically done what he's said all along.

It will be interesting to see where this ends up. Right now, Fremont looks like the new home for our Athletics.