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Field of dreams?

My first baseball memories are of growing up in Alameda during the A’s heyday of the 1970s (Vida Blue’s son was on my tee-ball team). I had season tix during the Bash Brother glory days of the 1980s (to this day, I’ve never seen anybody, not even Barry Bonds, dominate a full season the way Jose Canseco did in 1988). I was there for Rickey’s record-breaker in 1991. I covered The Streak in 2002.

In other words, I go back a long way with this team. And I bring this up, because Lew Wolff left me with the sad feeling that there may not be many more seasons for the A’s in Oakland.

Wolff and I discussed the A’s attendance situations, and I turned the subject to that of Cisco Field, and what he said wasn’t encouraging. And if Cisco Field isn’t built, that would leave the A’s without much choice other than to move. I discussed that option with Wolff, too, but that part of our conversation was off the record, so I’m not privileged to share it.  What I can tell you is that without a new stadium, the options become these: The A’s move. Wolff sells. Or both.

Personally, I think Wolff is in a tough spot. He got annoyed when I suggested that it would be impossible to ask fans to help with a stadium, especially with the current economy, and he insisted the A’s have never asked for a dime. He didn’t say that they don’t intend to do so. That, and the bureacracy is takes to get projects completed stacks the odds against Wolff succeeding in this vision, and if he doesn’t succeed, nobody else will, either.

Perhaps the best solution for the A’s would be for the Raiders to high-tail it out of here. Then they could pour money into renovating the place, the way the Angels did with their home. Nobody remembers that the Big A was as much of an eye-sore and revenue-sucker as the Coliseum now is.

I can also tell you this. As long as the A’s stay in their current home, don’t get too attached to any ne player. But then, you probably knew that already.

rhurd

  • I tried to name my son vida

    Rick, down get so down — it doesn’t become an A’s fan with your experience. As you know, we’ve always lived with this cloud hanging over our heads, since Finley brought the team here as a nutty cheapskate.

    Just because a bigshot like Wolff is being humbled by the realities of a crap economy and a post-Raiders ripoff sense of proportion about putting public monies into professional sports doesn’t mean the A’s are gone. The same realities exist:

    1. It is hard to move a team. How many MLB teams have moved in the past 45 years?

    2. Where are the markets that will better support the A’s? And don’t say Vegas, I’m not buying it.

  • greenmachine

    Rick,

    Thanks for the ballpark update.

    I can understand Wolff’s frustration, but a lot of that stems from the fact that he is just passing through Oakland. He has not been a lifelong Oakland A’s fan. He is not willing to make the investment of time and resources that might be required to get the right stadium, not necessarily the quickest stadium, for the A’s.

    I’m glad you mentioned the possibility of re-doing the Coliseum. I think a lot of people have forgotten how nice it was before the 1995 remodel. Excellent transportation, too (BART, freeway, and Amtrak). Like you say, it isn’t out of the question that the Raiders will move when their lease expires shortly. If Al Davis is still alive and kicking, he will try to screw Oakland again.

    I still think a downtown Oakland ballpark can be pulled off with the patience and commitment of A’s ownership. The stadium plans Wolff has offered to date (in Oakland and Fremont) each involved a burdensome mixed-use village. This insisted-upon village has become a parasite to the ballpark. Why not just build a ballpark where there is already a village and excellent transportation, downtown Oakland? The stadium could still be called Cisco Field, and Oakland could give Wolff a portion of the Army Base site to develop as a hedge against the financial risk he thinks he is taking by building a ballpark for the A’s. With the earth moving under City Hall (Oaklanders are fed up with celebrity mayors, and downtown ballpark enthusiast Robert Bobb is back in town), now might be the time to pull it off.

  • oakland4ever

    There’s no hpe of the A’s staying as long as Wolff runs the team. Bud Selig believes the A’s moving to Oakland was a “mistake”, because it hurt the Giants. Being Bud Selig’s frat buddy, where is there reason for hope? My hope is he sells to someone committed to Oakland & a ballpark is built (as greenmachine noted) on free land from the city in West Oakland.
    I’ve been a diehard A’s fan since my childhood in the early 70′s, so I feel the pain too, Oakland A’s fans