‘A’s’ venue plans delay get MLB boss’s goat


Oakland A’s stadium update December 2022 Image: Oakland Athletics & MLB

At the recent Winter Meetings, the Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Rob Manfred hit the bully pulpit and scolded the City of Oakland in California, US, for its laggardly approach to finding hundreds of millions of dollars to fund the necessary infrastructural improvements for a massive new development at Howard Terminal that will be suitable for a new Oakland ‘A’s’ (MLB team) ballpark stadium. He also made it clear that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher should be given everything he wants and needs for his proposed ballpark village at Howard Terminal.

‘athleticsnation.com’ stated that Manfred went so far as to issue a deadline for the City to come to terms with the ‘A’s’. Get it done by January 15th, 2024, or else … it is not likely that Manfred was clear on Fisher’s contingency plans.

The Oakland Athletics are an American professional baseball team based in Oakland, California, US. The Athletics compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League West division. The team plays its home games at the Oakland Coliseum.

The 63,132-capacity Oakland Coliseum, currently branded as RingCentral Coliseum, is a stadium in Oakland, California, US. It is part of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Complex, with the adjacent Oakland Arena, near Interstate 880. The Coliseum is the home ballpark of the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball.

The ‘A’s’ new venue plans include creating mixed-use development with up to 3,000 residential units, up to 1.5 million square feet of offices and up to 270,000 square feet of retail uses. The proposed development at the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal includes plans for a $12 billion mixed-use project built around a $1 billion, 30,000-seat waterfront ballpark.

‘athleticsnation.com’ further stated that presumably, the threat looming large is that the ‘A’s’ will pack up and move to Las Vegas, US. But there’s no solid evidence that conditions are promising to carry out such a move, nor that ‘Sin City’ is prepared to roll out the red carpet to make it as cheap and easy as possible.

The resources the ‘A’s’ continue to expend towards advancing the Howard Terminal project may well be evidence that Fisher knows staying in Oakland is still Plan A. Vegas could prove a bluff just as Manfred is all bluster if he thinks he can command the City of Oakland to pull $300 million out of a magician’s hat without playing any tricks on its taxpayers down the line.

Manfred “hit wrong notes” in characterizing the City as being solely at fault for the impasse over a new ‘A’s’ ballpark. Hopefully, Manfred will shut up now and allow both sides to work together towards a deal that is good for the City and the team alike.

So it’s all on Oakland. Poor John Fisher has done all he can. Imagine his frustration in dealing with these vision-challenged bumpkins. What was once a complicated negotiation over a massive business deal has, in Manfred’s world, turned into a situation where King Fisher waits on his throne for the Oakland folks to meet all his demands?

What Manfred literally said was, “If Oakland wants to keep the ‘A’s’, they need to figure out a way to get a deal in front of the ‘A’s’ that’s acceptable to (team owner) John Fisher.” Now, doesn’t that sound a little condescending?

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