The fate of the Oakland A’s still hangs in the balance – Ben’s sports blog – News Block

For the past 10 to 15 years, the Oakland Athletics’ attempts to build a new stadium have been thwarted by incompetent owners, local officials, and rival teams. Now they’ve reached their latest coup with the project along the Oakland waterfront (Howard Terminal), which represents the franchise’s last hope of staying in the city they’ve called home for more than 50 years.

Howard Terminal ballpark design: credit @mickakers twitter

Its current home, the Oakland Coliseum, is decrepit and full of possums and sewage leaks from decades of deferred maintenance. From the stadium’s opening in 1966 until 1995, spectators were able to see a view of the Oakland hills beyond the ballpark, and the team was very successful, most notably winning three straight championships between 1972 and 1974. However, for To accommodate the return of the Raiders to Oakland in 1995, city officials added a 20,000-seat section known as Mount Davis to the stadium, completely altering the Coliseum experience for baseball.

Just a few years ago, three professional sports teams played in Oakland. Now, the A’s are the only ones left after the Warriors move to the Chase Center in San Francisco and the Raiders now call Las Vegas home.

Like their former neighbors, the A’s have toyed with the idea of ​​relocation for the past decade. From 2012 to 2014, the team was interested in moving to San Jose, but the San Francisco Giants blocked the move because they believed they controlled land rights to that city. So that plan died. Since then, the team’s leadership has looked at potential locations in Las Vegas as a parallel road next to Howard Terminal. On June 29, 2022, Major League Baseball (MLB) made the possible move easier by announcing that the A’s would not have to pay a speculated relocation fee of up to $1 billion. However, despite all the research the A’s have done, it seems abundantly clear that Las Vegas is plan B at this point, as the team hasn’t even publicly revealed a chosen site.

Meanwhile, Howard Terminal continues to inching closer to becoming a reality. The A’s $12 billion proposal would radically transform and improve Oakland’s waterfront. In addition to the privately funded $1 billion, 35,000-seat ballpark main attraction, the development would create more commercial and retail space, hotel rooms and public waterfront access. The project received another key vote on June 30 when the San Francisco Bay Area Conservation and Development Commission (SFBCDC) voted by an overwhelming majority (23-2) that the A’s could build at Howard Terminal after determining that it is not necessary for no other purpose. .

While this is good news for the A’s organization, the divisive project still has hurdles to overcome. Among the biggest is the final city council vote, which is expected to happen in the fall. Councilors Noel Gallo and Carroll Fife have been especially outspoken in their opposition to Howard Terminal. Both voted against approving the project’s environmental impact report in February. Gallo held a rally before today’s vote calling for the A’s stadium project to be placed on the voters’ ballot in November to decide whether or not the city should commit public funds to this project. As of last year, the A’s were seeking $855 million in taxpayer money to support the infrastructure associated with this stadium.

Even if the Howard Terminal project goes ahead, it’s unclear if a gleaming new stadium will be enough to get fans back to games after the A’s’ horrible start to the season in this first year of yet another fault-spurred rebuild. of owner John Fisher’s willingness to invest and retain key players. The team enters today’s game with a 25-52 record, the worst in the major leagues. They’re on pace for the worst home record ever, and their anemic offense is putting up historically bad numbers. At least the A’s dwindling die-hard fan base can rest assured that the team’s Oakland stadium plan lives on for now.

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