An article this week by the Tribune's Angela Woodall has seemingly whipped the keep-the-A's-in-Oakland crowd into a frenzy. In her November 16th piece, Woodall reports on what's been known for some time, that the city of Oakland has finally decided on a single ballpark site, the so-called Victory Court. The site, overlooking the estuary, is one of the many locations (Jack London Square, 980, etc.) bandied about by Oakland supporters over the past year. Finally, the city is ready to move forward, so it's not surprising that Oaklanders are excited.
As Woodall reports:
Once the [environmental impact] report is completed, Oakland will be neck-and-neck with San Jose, where A's owners Lew Wolff and John Fisher want to relocate the team. A completed report would deprive San Jose of one of its arguments for putting the A's in Santa Clara County. Their battle to move the A's to San Jose is further complicated by the fact that the San Francisco Giants have territorial rights in the South Bay.
Sounds fantastic, right?
- Woodall fails to mention that an environmental impact report (EIR) typically takes about two years to complete. Oakland, therefore, is looking at 2012, even 2013, to have its report finished. And that's if the process goes smoothly. Those familiar with how Oakland city officials operate know that it is often anything but smooth. And where is San Jose on its own Diridon Station EIR? Well, its long been completed, amended even, and has been available for some time at the SJRDA's ballpark site.
- The article also fails to mention that sources inside MLB have increasingly indicated that a final decision is imminent—possibly within weeks—and that it will favor San Jose. Just how a not-yet-started, two-year long, report positions Oakland so that it is "neck-and-neck" with San Jose is unclear. Is this ultimately an effort by Oakland leaders to save face when the team eventually moves?
- That "a completed report would deprive San Jose of one of its arguments for putting the A's in Santa Clara County" is untrue. If anything, San Jose boosters welcome the city of Oakland finally committing to a single site. It's one thing to highlight a few sections of a map, it's quite another to commit city resources to formulating a plan. San Jose has done that; Cisco Field has been out there, free for anyone to scrutinize, for months.
- It is true that the San Francisco Giants hold the territorial rights to Santa Clara County. However, territorial rights are the purview of Commissioner Bud Selig and MLB's team owners, 3/4 of whom must vote in favor of a change in territories.
Better late than never, no?
You're up to bat, San Jose!