Say goodbye to this grand design for the A's in
Fremont, as the club officially ceased relocation
efforts from Oakland to the market today.
(CLICK TO SEE IN LARGER VIEW)
The grand plans for a $1.8 billion ballpark village for Lewis Wolff and the Oakland Athletics in Fremont is officially dead. Today, Wolff released the following statement:
"After much consideration, today we informed Mayor Wasserman and City Council members that the Oakland Athletics will cease efforts to relocate our franchise to the City of Fremont.
"I expressed my regrets and gratitude, especially to those people who shared our vision and spent endless hours in support of our proposal. However, it became increasingly clear that our ballpark project faced significant delays ahead and I could not, in good conscience, continue to lead our team down this path.
"My focus now is on baseball with Spring Training and the opening of the 2009 season. I am extremely excited about the team's prospects this year.
"My goal and desire for the organization is to determine a way to keep the team in Northern California. This goal has not changed."
The question now is, where in Northern California will Wolff focus his efforts? There has been speculation that the A’s, through MLB, will look to negotiate with the San Francisco Giants to regain control of Santa Clara Co. as part of their league-defined territory. San Jose, where Wolff has been involved in several development projects, including the return of MLS to the city. As part of the agreement with MLS, plans for a soccer-specific stadium in San Jose are currently being negotiated.
As mentioned, the A’s once had control of Santa Clara Co.
When Giants owner Bob Lurie was looking to get out of Candlestick Park in the late 80’s, baseball expanded the Giants territory to include Santa Clara County where there were efforts to pass funding to build a new ballpark in San Jose. The voters in Santa Clara County rejected tax hikes to fund the stadium in both 1990 and 1992, yet baseball reaffirmed those rights when Peter Magowan purchased the team in 1995 and built PacBell Park.
Another possible relocation market might be Sacramento where the A’s triple-A affiliate plays. The River Cats have led the minors in attendance, including last season.
There is, of course, Oakland to consider. Wolff may once again look to the location where they currently play as an option for a new baseball-only stadium.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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