Oakland Supporters Now Touting Waterfront Site For New A's Ballpark
A 38,000-seat, $500M waterfront ballpark at the Port of Oakland is "being proposed" by a team led by Clorox Chair & CEO Don Knauss and former Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream CEO T. Gary Rogers -- with the blessing of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, according to Matier & Ross of the S.F. CHRONICLE. Quan on Friday said, "It's one of the two sites we promised Major League Baseball we would offer, and it will be available early next year." Quan said that the other was the "current Coliseum site." The effort "includes at least two other prominent figures" in Oakland Planning Commission Vice Chair Doug Boxer and Signature Development Group President Mike Ghielmetti, who "wants to turn Oakland's Brooklyn Basin into housing, retail shops and parks." The idea is to "entice" A's co-Owners John Fisher and Lew Wolff to "join the plan -- or, failing that, to get Major League Baseball to see Oakland as a viable spot for a new ballpark and kill the A's hopes of moving to San Jose once and for all." A source said that the ballpark backers "aren't 'looking to jockey for ownership' of the A's." However, sources said that if Fisher and Wolff "aren't interested in the ballpark idea ... leaders of the stadium effort will form a new ownership team that would be ready to step up to the plate." Matier & Ross note the group will "soon ask the Port of Oakland to give it control over the 50-acre Howard Terminal site." The group said that it has "raised enough money to start an environmental review and get the regulatory approval process going, and it's come up with drawings of what the stadium might look like." Wolff said building at the Howard Terminal site "would be as close to impossible as anything" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 12/16).
COURT REPORT: In San Jose, Howard Mintz noted the city's antitrust case against MLB over the "long-stalled plan" to move the A's is now "headed to a federal appeals court -- but delay on a final outcome will continue to be the name of the game." U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Whyte indicated that San Jose can "immediately appeal an earlier order dismissing the city's key federal antitrust arguments ... a move that elevates the legal stakes in a case that challenges MLB's cherished antitrust exemption." Whyte plans a "final decision later, but it came over the objections of MLB lawyers." At the same time, Whyte intends to "abandon his oversight of remaining legal claims made under state law, which argue that MLB has interfered with San Jose's interests by refusing to act for four years on the A's bid to move to Silicon Valley and the city's option agreement with the team to buy land for a ballpark" (MERCURYNEWS.com, 12/13).