A’s call timeout

fremont athleticsThe Oakland A’s  are canceling their scheduled Feb. 24 presentation before the Fremont Chamber of Commerce and the City Council and putting a halt to an environmental study needed to move forward with a Fremont ballpark.

A’s co-owner Lew Wolff just told me he wants to take a week to think over his options, and he didn’t want to have MLB President Bob Dupuy fly in from New York for the meetings, as he was scheduled to do, and face a room full of stadium opponents.

“We didn’t want to run into a lot of people screaming and yelling at the president of Major League Baseball,” he said.

This is a clear sign that the A’s are reconsidering moving to Fremont after opponents to the new ballpark site, across the freeway from a wealthy residential neighborhood, staged two major anti-stadium rallies this month and threatened to hold up any stadium deal with lawsuits.

More to follow today and much more in tomorrow’s paper. Here are a few other things Wolff said:

What happens now?
Wolff: We’re looking at the whole process and taking to major league baseball … What we’re doing is trying to figure the best direction to go for ourselves and the community … I really want to have a little more time to think about our situation and discuss it with more people. There’s not much more I can say than that.

So does this mean the chances of the team moving to Fremont are diminished?
Wolff: I’m not a bookie, so I don’t quote odds.

Does this mean you’re looking for rights to San Jose?
Wolff: We can’t go anywhere. We’re contemplating our next move in Fremont.

Does this mean you’ve made progress at Pacific Commons (with the retailers)
Wolff: Nothing’s changed.

With this delay, what is the status of the Notice of Preparation (Key environmental impact study for stadium)?
Wolff: I guess it’s on hold.

Matt Artz