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The American League supports the decision of the A's not to play their opening games at the Oakland Coliseum. The league reports "alternative arrangements" will be determined as early as possible (AL). Las Vegas remains the likely choice, according to Bay Area reports today. The $100M stadium renovation -- as part of the Raiders' return to Oakland -- included assurances the A's season would not be interrupted. But team and league officials who toured the site "deemed the Coliseum not sufficiently complete," according to A's GM Sandy Alderson. The decision "shocked" city, county and stadium officials, "all of whom have a significant financial stake in assuring that the deal runs smoothly" (Fimrite & Ketterman, S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/19). Coliseum construction manager Don Webb said the project remains on schedule and that the A's have known it would be a "work in progress" throughout the summer. Coliseum CEO Bob Quintella: "It is misleading to suggest now that the decision to go elsewhere was based on the renovation being incomplete, unacceptable or unsafe." A's Exec VP Ed Alvarez: "We expected them to be ahead of schedule from where they are now." A key complaint was 1,000 fewer parking spaces (Robert Salladay, OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 3/19). BATTLE OF THE BAY: Columnist Glenn Dickey explains the simple reason why the A's won't use the Giants' 3Com Park for their early games: "Because the top people in the two organizations hate each other" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/19).
Despite the Brewers' recent troubles completing their share of financing for a new stadium, Milwaukee County residents continue to have faith the project will be completed, according to a new MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL poll. While respondents "overwhelmingly favor" building on current stadium grounds rather than a downtown site, 71% believe the new facility will get built. The plan is to build on the current site, but many business and political leaders still prefer downtown. Brewers President Bud Selig "adamantly opposes" that idea. On financing, Brewers VP Laurel Prieb said the team continues to work toward lining up a $50M loan before a noon Friday stadium board deadline (Kenneth Lamke, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 3/19).
San Francisco voters go to the polls a week from today to consider a proposal to build a $255M ballpark in the city's China Basin region. With polls showing the measure being backed by a "large margin," Giants officials and other backers are "brimming with confidence," according to this morning's SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. Michael Dorgan writes, "What makes the ballot measure a likely winner is private financing" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 3/19).
The two stadium referenda on ballots today in Detroit and Cincinnati are gaining national attention. In a front-page piece in the WALL STREET JOURNAL, John Helyar examines the sales tax proposal before voters in OH, writing, "The volatile mixture of sports, taxes and municipal self-image may make this vote as close as any game the Reds or Bengals ever played" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/19). In Philadelphia, Ed Moran covers both Detroit and Cincinnati, noting that they are not alone: "The battle is being waged in cities around the country" (PHILA. DAILY NEWS, 3/19). DETROIT: Stadium backers have spent $600,000 promoting their message that a new Tiger Stadium would bring "jobs, economic development, and money for more police and neighborhood projects." The test today is whether that message got through (Suzette Hackney, DETROIT NEWS, 3/19). CINCINNATI: A poll conducted last week showed 59% in favor of a one-half of one-percent sales tax hike to help fund new stadiums for both the Bengals and Reds (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 3/16). Yesterday, OH Gov. George Voinovich called the vote a "defining moment" for Cincinnati. He also said the state would not help the Bengals move to Cleveland should the tax fail (AP/CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 3/19). CORRECTIONS: Stories in the March 7 and March 13 issues of THE DAILY incorrectly reported developments in the Detroit campaign. The TV ads featuring Mayor Dennis Archer were put on by stadium supporters, and the lawsuit filed by the anti-stadium group, the Tiger Stadium Fan Club, concerns the use of money from the quasi-public Michigan Strategic Fund, not the city of Detroit. We regret any confusion.