Wednesday, December 22, 2010

All for Show?

On Tuesday night, Oakland's city council voted 6 - 2 to spend $750,000 on a study for a 39,000 seat ballpark south of Jack London Square to house the Athletics (Click here for the article). But is Oakland really serious about their plans or, as Baseball San Jose Co-Chair Michael Mulcahy said yesterday on 1590 KLIV, is this just “political posturing?”

It has been over five years since the Athletics were purchased by a group led by Lew Wolff. They spent 2 ½ years looking for sites in Oakland before realizing they had exhausted all their options. After which they pursued options in Fremont, to no avail (read Athletics Nation's recent interview with Lew Wolff here).

So, now its nearly 2011 and San Jose is clearly the most viable option; a solid plan is in place—including financing—and it enjoys broad community, political, and business support. The final obstacle, of course, is the Giants' claim to Santa Clara County's territorial rights (which, when granted in the 1990s, came with no objections from the A's). Yet, only now does Oakland begin to take the A's seriously. Despite their sudden interest, Oakland city council president Jane Brunner was quoted in an article by CBS 5 as saying:

…if the environmental study is approved, the city will spend the money for it only gradually and will halt the study if the A’s and Major League Baseball announce that a new stadium will be built in another city.

That's not exactly a wholehearted endorsement of keeping the A’s in Oakland.

In San Jose, we've wasted no time in pushing forward with efforts to review the economic viability of a downtown baseball stadium and, as a result, have already approved our Environmental Impact Report (EIR). And unlike Oakland, San Jose’s council has consistently voted unanimously to support all stadium issues.

Some residents in Oakland have been very passionate about keeping the A’s, (as much as we in San Jose have been about a move here), so it really shouldn’t be any surprise that their elected officials would finally wake up. But again, unlike Oakland, our elected leaders have been proactive rather than reactive. Don’t be confused by what’s going on in Oakland, it really is nothing more than “smoke and mirrors” intended to appease anxious residents who are desperate to see their leadership take action.

The fact remains that there are very few options available to the Athletics other than San Jose, and if it doesn’t happen here, for fans across the Bay Area this could mean not just a move out of Oakland, but California.

So, enough with the posturing Oakland. Get out of the way, so San Jose can finish the job.

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