OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – We’re closer than we’ve ever been to knowing the fate of the A’s.
Tuesday, July 20th, is the big day that the Oakland City Council will determine whether the Oakland Athletics will remain in the city.
The A’s have stayed loyal to the Coliseum since 1968 and their lease expires after the 2024 season.
The Coliseum is the 5th oldest MLB stadium, following behind Fenway Park and Wrigley Field.
Throughout the A’s history, they have won nine World Series championships.
In November 2018, the team announced they had found a waterfront location for their new ballpark that would cost more than $1 billion, with picturesque views toward San Francisco, the Bay Bridge and Port of Oakland.
The A’s managing partner John Fisher and president David Kavak proposed the new ballpark in the Howard Terminal area of Oakland.
The goal had been to open in 2023, but now, even if approved by Oakland’s City Council this summer it would not be ready until 2027.
The city of Oakland, the A’s, and MLB all have differing opinions about what should happen.
The disagreements revolve around affordable housing, how to pay for offsite infrastructure, and sources for the Community Fund, which would set aside money for things like workforce development.
We break down how we got here.
Dave Kaval, president of the Oakland A’s, has said that the waterfront complex is the team’s “last option.”
“The city is actually gonna receive an incredible amount of benefits. In terms of community benefits. In terms of affordable housing, workforce development,” Kaval said in an exclusive interview with KRON4.
Kaval points to the numbers, the private funds, billions to the city’s general fund, – the hotel, the entertainment complex, the jobs.
City of Oakland
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is on board with the new stadium, but she’s not okay with the team relocating out of Oakland.
“Oaklanders know we need to take these kinds of threats seriously. But I say ‘hell no, we won’t let them go,’” Schaaf said. “This is our moment to rally together to make this work,” Schaff said in an exclusive interview with KRON4.
Some City Council members are pushing to keep the team at the coliseum.
An East Oakland stadium alliance is also fighting to keep the team from moving.
“It isn’t clear to us right now, from the city staff reports, what infrastructure is actually being financed,” said member Mark Jacobs.
Howard Terminal is near the West Oakland neighborhood and not far from Chinatown, a thriving area for residents and not just tourists.
Mike Lok of the Oakland Chinatown Coalition was shocked the environmental impact report commissioned for the project did not analyze the impact the ballpark would have on Chinatown.
MLB announced on May 11 that it had instructed the A’s to explore relocation options.
In a statement released via the A’s Twitter account, MLB said it was “concerned with the rate of progress on the A’s new ballpark efforts with local officials and other stakeholders in Oakland.”
MLB said that the current Coliseum site is “not a viable option for the future vision of baseball.”
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said if the stadium project is not approved, the team would move forward with either a move to Las Vegas or a wider relocation search.
Other possible cities for franchises Manfred has mentioned in the past include Charlotte, North Carolina; Montreal; Nashville, Tennessee; Portland, Oregon; and Vancouver, British Columbia.
Oakland A’s Fans
We took to our social media to ask A’s fans how they feel about MLB rejecting the Howard Terminal proposal.
Some fans believe the city of Oakland wants to gentrify the area.
“I am a die hard A’s fan and as hard as it is to say… I’d rather let them go than let them contribute to the gentrification of Oakland.”
Another fan asked, “What are ya’ll doing to the Bay?”
“The ppl of Oakland have just their lives impacted by the loss of the Raiders and the Warriors. Shameful and so unfair for the working class ppl.”
If one thing is clear it’s that the city of Oakland and A’s fans all around care about Oakland’s future.