The Oakland Athletics and their host city are engaged in a war of words that doesn’t bode well for the franchise’s future in the Bay Area.
On Friday, the City of Oakland produced a fierce response to Major League Baseball’s recent statement on progress — or lack thereof — on a waterfront stadium project in the Howard Terminal area of “The Town.” In the statement, the league directed the A’s to start looking at potential relocation.
Here’s the entire response letter from Oakland to MLB, courtesy of The Athletic’s Alex Coffey. There’s a lot in the letter about alleged bad-faith negotiations, but one part of the letter that caught my eye is the last paragraph of the first page. It pushes back on a weird statement from the league, claiming that the Oakland Coliseum site is “not viable.”
“Your current statement includes the unsupported conclusion that the Coliseum site is not viable. Please send to us any and all materials that you used or reviewed in making such a determination.” — City of Oakland, in a letter to MLBAlex Coffey/The Athletic
This entire situation is a mess, with the city set to vote on the Howard Terminal proposal and still arguing over whether the Oakland Coliseum site is viable. The league wants a ballpark in an urban core area, with the waterfront property in the A’s ballpark plan being an added bonus.
But the Howard Terminal plan is perhaps too ambitious, (the project has a price tag of $12 billion) and I don’t see it happening in Oakland. Building on the Oakland Coliseum site could potentially be much more efficient than building at Howard Terminal, especially now that the Raiders and Warriors have left the site, but neither the league nor the A’s appear interested in a new stadium there.
As a result, the league directed the A’s to look for new city before Oakland could vote on the Howard Terminal project, as detailed in the above letter. It looks as though team owner John Fisher could be working his way out of Oakland, but time will tell. With such a large gap between the league and the city, however, the situation appears grim for Bay Area A’s fans.
(Photo credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)