December 13, 2011 > Oakland still trying to keep the A's from moving
Oakland still trying to keep the A's from moving
By Janie McCauley, AP Baseball Writer
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP), Dec 09 - Oakland leaders are making a last-ditch effort to keep the Athletics from leaving the East Bay - apparently fearing the NBA's Golden State Warriors and NFL's Oakland Raiders could follow without suitable venues.
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said Friday a letter is being sent to baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to let him know the city wants to keep the A's. Selig appointed a committee in March 2009 to evaluate the issue facing the Bay Area's two baseball teams, yet he has provided no timetable for when he might announce a decision. A's owner Lew Wolff, determined to move his club south to San Jose so it can survive, and general manager Billy Beane have said they expect to hear something from Major League Baseball by next month.
``We wanted to tell you that we're sending a letter to Commissioner Selig to make it clear that Oakland wants the A's, that we have to viable sites for the A's that can be delivered by 2014,'' Quan said Friday. ``We want them to stay.''
She insists her city still has a legitimate site near the rundown Oakland Coliseum, which is shared by the A's and Raiders, to build a new ballpark and basketball arena, as well as a waterfront spot in the trendy Jack London Square neighborhood that could work only for a ballpark. Environmental impact reports have yet to be completed.
New Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber are considering moving their team across the bay to San Francisco, while the Raiders are dealing with a similar problem to that of the A's since they play at the same stadium.
In December 2009, the City of Oakland unveiled three potential spots to build a new ballpark for the A's. Wolff has his sights on San Jose and technology-rich Silicon Valley and has repeatedly said his franchise has exhausted its options in Oakland after years of trying.
The problem is the San Francisco Giants hold the territorial rights to San Jose.
Last week, a Giants-supported group called ``Stand for San Jose'' sued the city of San Jose claiming the city failed to perform a proper environmental review of land committed to the A's at a drastically discounted price. The 28-page suit also claims the city violated citizens' rights by not putting to a public vote the contractual agreement it made with the A's to sell the discounted downtown property.
``Oakland has two sites that have political support, are financially viable and have strong sponsorship,'' Quan said. ``We think we're the only city that can open a new (baseball) stadium by 2016.''
The A's had planned to build a state-of-the-art stadium in nearby Fremont that they thought would eventually transform the small-budget club into a big spender.
But that plan, which would have been in partnership with Cisco Systems Inc., fell through because of a variety of complications - including public transportation issues. Those same issues could arise with the Jack London Square spot.