A’s president on stadium: Oakland is down to its last at-bats

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OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – It looks like the Oakland Athletics may be looking into relocating out of the East Bay.

Right now the A’s are exploring the possibility of relocating elsewhere with the green light from Major League Baseball if the city rejects its proposal for the waterfront stadium at Howard Terminal.

In November 2018, the A’s 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 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.

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.”

“The Oakland Coliseum site is not a viable option for the future vision of baseball,” the MLB said.

The A’s have been playing in Oakland since 1968.

In an interview with KRONon, A’s president Dave Kaval said “Oakland’s down to its last at bats.”

Kaval also said the A’s are immediately working on exploring other markets. Early this year, Kaval asked the City Council to make a decision via a vote before it breaks for the summer on a $12 billion privately funded ballpark project and major community development plan featuring $450 million in community benefits, but the team has been given no indication anything is imminent.

In response, the following statement was released on behalf of the office of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf:

“We share MLB’s sense of urgency and their continued preference for Oakland. Today’s statement makes clear that the only viable path to keeping the A’s rooted in Oakland is a ballpark on the waterfront. We have made great strides with the Governor’s certification and release of the EIR. Now, with the recent start of financial discussions with the A’s, we call on our entire community – regional and local partners included — to rally together and support a new, financially viable, fiscally responsible, world class waterfront neighborhood that enhances our city and region, and keeps the A’s in Oakland where they belong.”

Justin Berton, Spokesperson for mayor schaaf

The team has already moved forward its proposal for the Howard Terminal proposal, which would offer public access to the waterfront, green space and parks, housing for Oaklanders, and union jobs just outside the ballpark.

The development is the latest in an ongoing battle between the A’s and their attempts to make a new home ballpark away from the Coliseum.

The A’s are the last major professional sports team in Oakland after the Golden State Warriors moved to San Francisco and the Oakland Raiders moved to Las Vegas.

“The Oakland Coliseum site is not a viable option for the future vision of baseball. We have instructed the Athletics to begin to explore other markets while they continue to pursue a waterfront ballpark in Oakland. The Athletics need a new ballpark to remain competitive, so it is now in our best interest to also consider other markets,” the league’s statement added.

“The time is here for a decision on our future, and it is unclear to us and MLB whether there is a path to success for the A’s in Oakland,” Kaval said.

A’s owner John Fisher said in a statement Tuesday he will honor MLB’s instructions but remains committed to continuing to pursue the waterfront ballpark proposed for construction in the city’s Howard Terminal location, close to the popular Jack London Square neighborhood.

“The future success of the A’s depends on a new ballpark,” Fisher said. “Oakland is a great baseball town, and we will continue to pursue our waterfront ballpark project. We will also follow MLB’s direction to explore other markets.”

The A’s, who previously proposed and withdrew plans for ballparks in Fremont and San Jose, are hopeful MLB’s pressure might help push that process with the city.

“We share MLB’s sense of urgency and their continued preference for Oakland. Today’s statement makes clear that the only viable path to keeping the A’s rooted in Oakland is a ballpark on the waterfront,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said.

“We have made great strides with the Governor’s certification and release of the EIR. Now, with the recent start of financial discussions with the A’s, we call on our entire community – regional and local partners included – to rally together and support a new, financially viable, fiscally responsible, world class waterfront neighborhood that enhances our city and region, and keeps the A’s in Oakland where they belong.”

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