THE OAKLAND Athletics will not be playing baseball in Fremont afterall because co-owner Lew Wolff and his partners failed to anticipate roadblocks, and residents and businesses were in no mood for a major change to the city’s landscape during bad economic times.

The A’s wanted a $1.8 billion stadium/commercial/housing project south of Auto Mall Parkway; the A’s were so sure the deal would fly, they purchased 200 acres from Cisco Systems.

But when the area’s big retailers protested, the team suddenly changed direction toward the city’s Warm Springs project with hopes that a BART station would be built and ready by completion of the stadium.

That met with resistance from Fremont’s biggest employer, NUMMI, and threats of lawsuits from residents. Wolff was stuck and eventually gave up. He was so frustrated that he is willing to part with $24 million that can’t be recovered from the land deal.

Wolff is not the only loser. Fremont loses revenue for community businesses and the prestige of hosting a major professional sports franchise.

For NIMBY Fremont residents to tie the A’s and the Coliseum with the crime rate in Oakland, fearing the same would happen in Fremont, is absurd. Oakland’s crime rate and the A’s have very little in common. They also claimed traffic would get out of hand. Here’s a news flash: Expect more traffic anyway because odds are Wolff will use the land he purchased for residential or other development.

Now Wolff and the A’s return to the drawing board. They view the Coliseum as outdated and inadequate for baseball. Other Northern California options have problems. A move to San Jose would likely will be blocked by the Giants’ territorial rights. Dublin’s name has been dropped, but it was resistant to a potential move by the Raiders. Sacramento has the land, but it’s a smaller market. And past discussions have shown concerns about corporate sponsorships.

Oakland has a chance to step to the plate with a variety of options; hammer out a workable arrangement with the Raiders to improve the Coliseum, or begin plans for a new baseball stadium at either the same location or, dare we say, downtown. The latter notion worked in San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Baltimore.

We want the A’s to stay in the Bay Area. Somehow, we must find a solution that works for all.