Good morning, Athletics Nation!
The coronavirus pandemic has interfered with the Oakland A’s hopes of World Series contention in 2020, as its recent resurgence has caused the closure of all MLB spring training sites and threatens the chance of holding any length of season. Even if the owners and players manage to come to a financial agreement amid their bitter labor dispute, it might not matter if it’s not safe to play.
The pandemic has also potentially gotten in the way of the A’s long-term plan of building a new ballpark in Oakland, or at least slowed down the process. However, the team got some good news on that front at the end of last week, overcoming a long-standing obstacle.
The Oakland City Council voted near-unanimously on Thursday to begin negotiations with the A’s on selling the city’s half of the Coliseum complex to the team, reports Phil Matier of the S.F. Chronicle. The team already has a deal to buy the other half of the jointly owned property from Alameda County, reached in December for $85 million, and the city would get a similar amount for its share.
This represents a reversal in course by the city, which had previously stood in the way of the A’s attempts to purchase the Coliseum site. In October the council filed a lawsuit blocking the team’s pursuit of the county’s half, though they dropped the suit six weeks later. Matier notes that various council members had other preferences regarding what to do with that piece of land, but that the economic effects of the months-long pandemic shutdown have forced their hand.
“After the coronavirus shutdown, we are looking at a very,very serious budget deficit, and they are saying it could cost us $6 million just to maintain the site,” [Councilman Noel] Gallo said. “We don’t have that kind of money. This way we can get some badly needed help.”
The A’s hope to build a new privately financed waterfront ballpark at Howard Terminal, but part of the plan involves buying and redeveloping (and generating revenue from) the Coliseum complex. Owning the 155-acre site would also theoretically give the team a backup plan on where to build, in case the Howard Terminal project doesn’t pan out.
- Matier: With finances shaky because of pandemic, Oakland now looking to sell Coliseum site ($)
- Hickey: City of Oakland Decides to Sell its Half of Coliseum Site to Athletics
- Hickey: OTD in 1989, Rickey Henderson Returned to the Athletics in Time to Fuel a World Series Run
- Portside Pod: Guest is Melissa Lockard
- Coffey: Backyard product: A’s top pick Tyler Soderstrom boosted his MLB stock in Turlock ($$$)
- Hall: Round 3: Best jersey design in Oakland A’s history
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MLB News, & Interest:
- Nightengale: Positive coronavirus tests create urgency in MLB’s 2020 negotiations
- Swinton: Report: 40 MLB Players, Staff Tested Positive for COVID-19 in Past Week, ‘Sense of Urgency’ in Negotiations
- Hall: MLB shuts down spring training sites with coronavirus back on the rise
- Nico: MLB/MLBPA: Lack Of Basic Understanding Goes From Bad To Worse
- Baggarly, et al: Control people: A look at MLB’s 30 owners and power brokers ($$$)
- Shea: The man who helped end MLB players’ last strike says lockout ‘lurking’ in 2022 ($)
- Poole: How Joe Morgan’s brush with leukemia gave Father’s Day a new meaning
- Hickey: Remembering Curt Flood’s Supreme Court Loss OTD in 1972, a Defeat that Forever Altered MLB
- Hickey: Even After Getting Fired as a Manager, Frank Robinson Always Kept his Head Up
- Kelly: Speed limit? Baseball’s slowest pitches
- Langs: What does a true .500 team look like? (including one A’s team!)
- Langs: Dad gets HBP, then revenge with monster homer
- MLB Trivia: Name the missing MVP/Cy Young winner
- Today in Baseball History
Best of Twitter:
Labor battle update: Two-parter from Passan
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred sent a letter to MLBPA executive director Tony Clark today offering to cancel expanded playoffs and universal DH for 2021 if a full season isn’t played in 2020, sources tell ESPN. Players are concerned about giving up leverage of playoffs for naught.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 21, 2020
The proposed 2021 olive branch may be the last and best chance MLB and MLBPA have to strike a deal. Players had planned on voting today whether to accept a 60-game season or allow Manfred to impose a season of his desired length, sources tell me and @JesseRogersESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 21, 2020
A senior MLB official tells me the virus is a “much bigger threat” to the season than the labor battle. They’re carrying on with the plan to have teams in their home ballparks, but recognize it could all fall apart quickly.— T.J. Quinn (@TJQuinnESPN) June 20, 2020
A former Athletic in Japan
Opening Day in Japan: Former major leaguer Zach Neal pitched six shutout innings and allowed only one hit to lead the Seibu Lions to a 3-0 victory over the Nippon-Ham Fighters. First foreign pitcher to start OD for Seibu in 25 years. Went 12-1 with a 2.87 in Japan last year.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 19, 2020
New signing! (Story coming later today)
Can report A's have signed OF Jake Suddleson @JakeSuddleson15 from Harvard as undrafted amateur free agent. Slashed .309/.378/.538 w/20 HR in 405 AB in 4 yrs at Harvard. May be last signing for A's. Earlier signed Cs Will Simoneit & Cooper Uhl & RHPs Grant Judkins & Garrett Acton pic.twitter.com/B1UzbbatHN— Athletics Farm (@AthleticsFarm) June 19, 2020