I’m not exactly an expert on anything other than maybe pizza or running shoes (weird combination, I know), but I’m especially deficient in the areas of city politics, environmental impact reports, why the A’s owners are interested in moving to San Jose (something about real estate millions), or the legal wrangling that’s taking place between MLB and the city of San Jose.
I don’t have a vested interest in keeping the A’s out of San Jose for the sake of the Giants, who’ll do just fine regardless of what happens with the A’s. The following is written from a completely selfish point of view, and none of the points I’m about to make will or should be taken seriously by Oakland or any other party involved with finding a new home for the Athletics.
— Will Kane (@WillKane) December 16, 2013
We’ve seen an extraordinary number of ballpark/stadium/arena renderings over the past few years, and that one is easily the most attractive. Here’s another (photo from SFGate, via MANICA Architecture):
One has to wonder if the Giants would ever rethink their unyielding opposition to the A’s moving to San Jose if the alternative was a shiny new ballpark across the bay that would lure party boats away from McCovey Cove. Probably not, since there’s so much corporate money in the South Bay, but this isn’t about the Giants.
The location is right next to Jack London Square, which could be an incredible hangout spot if there was a draw other than restaurants and the occasional event. This proposed ballpark would also be about as close to the BART stations in downtown Oakland as AT&T Park is to the stations on Market. It’d be “within blocks of Interstates 880 and 980,” too.
If a new stadium is ever going to get built in Oakland, this would be the optimal place … if aesthetics and overall experience rule the day. “Coliseum City” is right off the freeway and has a BART stop, but that’s it. Besides the In-N-Out Burger I like to frequent before Warriors games, there’s nowhere near that area to go before or after a game. Jack London Square, on the other hand, has obvious potential.
This is where I’m probably going to upset some of you, but I’m a proud member of Team Oakland if San Jose is the other option. If San Jose is the only option, clearly that’s better than the A’s moving somewhere like Las Vegas (which would never happen) or Montreal (great city, but it would cost $1.25 billion to make that happen). But as a San Francisco resident who’d rather not see Oakland lose every one of its professional franchises over the next decade, this option seems to make so much sense. Well, besides the money involved and the A’s owners’ lack of interest.
That’s the problem — this is just a pair of pretty pictures and civic enthusiasm dressed as a real plan. As pointed out on NewBallpark.org (an actual expert on such things), “Ballpark proponents seem to be willing to play the long game here, with site readiness not coming for perhaps several years.” Since no option sounds very feasible in the next several years, it’s nice that Oakland is at least talking big after so many years of quiet thumb-twiddling. However, a project that will take a crystal clear focus and hundreds of millions of dollars isn’t going to happen unless the team’s owners are willing to kill themselves to get it done. Unless the city is willing to gift Jack London Square to Fisher (ha!), that’s the definition of a pipe dream.
I’ve never practiced law or attended law school, which makes me relatively rare among those in the blogosphere. I’m just a person who loves sports and attending sporting events that take place within 45 minutes of walking and BARTing from my apartment. Misinformed? Sure. Short-sighted, unrealistic and self-serving? Absolutely. But that’s how I feel. And like most people, I’m tired of hearing how Wolff and Fisher feel about the whole thing.
And with that, now is the time when the South Bay readers respond with angry comments about how little they care about how I feel.