Oakland Trying To Keep Pro Teams By Approving Spending To Overhaul Coliseum Area
The city of Oakland "took an ambitious step" last night toward "overhauling the Coliseum area, in hopes of enticing the A's, Raiders and Warriors to stay," according to Carolyn Jones of the S.F. CHRONICLE. The City Council "unanimously approved spending $3.5 million on plans for a new stadium, hotels, conference center, shopping, entertainment and other amenities in the 750-acre area around the Coliseum." The money is "among the last of the city's redevelopment funds and will not come from the general fund." The project itself would be "privately financed." But the plans, which are due for completion in 16 to 18 months, "might be too late to keep the A's and Raiders, both of which see their Coliseum leases expire next year." Both teams have "complained for years they don't like sharing the Coliseum and have said they want their own, brand-new stadiums, in Oakland or elsewhere." The A's are "awaiting a ruling from Major League Baseball on whether they can move to San Jose, which is in Giants territory." The Warriors "appeared a little more swayed by Oakland's development plans." But Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Board Chair Ignacio De La Fuente said that "no matter which teams stay in Oakland, they'll have to help pay for a new stadium if they still want one" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/7). In Oakland, Matt Artz notes with funds "unavailable to acquire land for a waterfront baseball stadium near Jack London Square, Oakland is hoping to draw private investors interested in transforming" the Coliseum site into a "modern sports and entertainment complex" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 3/7).
STILL UNDECIDED: An MLB official said Sunday that "no decision has been reached on the A's efforts to build a ballpark in San Jose." The source said, "Nothing's changed. The committee has been meeting. We were very surprised by (the New York Daily News story). No determinations have been made at all regarding the A's situation" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 3/5). In S.F., Henry Schulman wrote, "I’ve just been told by someone in the commissioner’s office that contrary to what a New York newspaper suggested yesterday, the A’s proposed move to San Jose is not on life support. And, it is not true that Commissioner Bud Selig and baseball owners have all but decided to uphold the Giants’ territorial rights to San Jose, which would preclude the A’s from going there" (SFGATE.com, 3/4). In N.Y., Bill Madden wrote the A's are "looking at another long, dreary season in Oakland" as Owner Lew Wolff "grows increasingly impatient" with Selig's "interminable delay in ruling on the Giants’ territorial rights to San Jose." Madden wrote there are two reasons "why Selig hasn’t ruled." The first is that the Giants' territorial rights to San Jose are "part of the MLB constitution" as a result of former A’s owner Wally Haas agreeing to cede them to the Giants in '89. The second is that even if Selig did "invoke his 'best interests of baseball' powers and allowed the A’s to move to San Jose, he probably doesn’t have the votes" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/4).