After the Raiders and Warriors announced their plans to move, the A’s seized the opportunity to announce they’re Rooted in Oakland.
The Athletics seemed primed to have The Town all to themselves.
Finally, A’s fans thought, their favorite frugal franchise would have a stadium that would generate revenue. Meaning they could maybe keep their homegrown talent in the East Bay.
However, a bombshell hit Tuesday morning when the governing board of the Peralta Community College District — which owns the land around Laney College where the A’s wanted to build a ballpark by Lake Merritt — held a closed-door meeting and subsequently halted talks with the team.
Back on Sept. 12, A’s president Dave Kaval was geeked up. He said, “Finally, we’ve got our site.” He joined Greg Papa and me on 95.7 The Game the next day and exhibited more enthusiasm about the prospects of nailing down a site for a stadium in downtown Oakland.
In 2023, A’s fans were supposed to be walking into a new yard introducing a new chapter for the franchise.
Welp, that won’t be the case, and after the latest stadium snafu, it must be asked: Do the Athletics have a future in Oakland?
It hurts my heart to ask that question because fans of the green and gold have been through this before.
Remember their fight with the San Francisco Giants for territorial rights to San Jose to try to build a stadium. Great idea, but the Giants weren’t going to relinquish their South Bay rights. Ask the 49ers about that Silicon Valley money. It runs long.
Then there was 2010 when the city of Fremont proposed a 36,000-seat stadium with retail, offices and restaurants at the old Nummi auto plant location.
I feel for A’s fans, I really do. Watching a baseball game at the Coliseum is one of the worst experiences out there. Sure, it’s fun and festive, but the park sucks.
So, what’s next? Owner John Fisher is as cheap as they come, so I wouldn’t expect him to pony up the consider amount of cash it’s going to take to rebuild at their current site.
Major League Baseball is planning on cutting revenue sharing starting in 2021, which means they won’t be getting that $30-million annual check anymore.
It’s reasonable to believe the A’s will be put up for sale, and cities like Portland and Montreal are looking to bring a team into their respective cities.
At the end of the day, it’s Oakland fans that deserve sympathy. They constantly get mocked by the Giants and beautiful AT&T Park. Remember, the Giants were barely drawing 10,000 a night at Candlestick Park before moving into their sweet new digs. So trust me, longtime San Franciscans know what A’s fans are going through.
It sucks that this franchise with a rich tradition in Oakland may one day bolt the Bay Area. Or, they’ll be stuck at the Coliseum, unable to generate the revenue to hold onto their players. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which would be worse.
Bonta Hill of 95.7 The Game can be heard from 12-3 on the Greg Papa Show. Born and bred in San Francisco, he is a sports junkie who loves to sit in the lab (home), eats breakfast food for dinner, and has a newfound love for tequila. Follow at your own risk on Twitter @BontaHill.