Oakland A’s Wednesday report: It is decision time for the A’s regarding the future of the team and the new stadium

July 12, 2017

MLB, Oakland Athletics

AP File Photo: Will the Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Sonny Gray be traded before the end of this month? Here Gray throws to the Chicago White Sox during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, July 5, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

by Jerry Feitelberg

OAKLAND–The A’s resume play this Friday. There are lots of questions and rumors swirling around the Coliseum regarding the trade deadline of July 31st. Will the A’s be sellers? They were buyers three years ago when they mad the trade with Boston for Jon Lester. In that deal, Yoenis Cespedes went to Beantown and the A’s, who had the best record in the AL at the time of the trade, went straight downhill. They barely made the playoffs in 2014 and were eliminated by the Kansas City Royals. Since that time the A’s have been cellar dwellers, and it looks like that is where they will finish again this year.

They have decided to rebuild the team and have brought in several young players in the hope of getting back to the playoffs. There is hope for the future, but many are wondering about if several key players will remain with the team. Will Sonny Gray who is probably their best pitcher, be part of the nucleus? Will Yonder Alonso be traded? The word on the street is that the A’s are actively shopping Alonso. Yonder is having a breakout season. He made the All-Star team and proved himself with two hits and a stolen base in the game. Yes, Alonso is making 4 million per year, and he will be a free agent. However, keeping him would signal to the fans that the A’s are serious about getting better. Alonso is also a solid defensive player and defense is not currently the A’s strong suit. These are just two examples of players that should stay with the team but probably will be gone.

The A’s, believe it or not, have a solid fan base. They may be small in numbers, but they show their support and enthusiasm for the team at every home game. They are frustrated as the A’s continue to trade away players because of salary. The A’s used to receive about 35 million dollars a year from the luxury tax money paid by the teams that exceeded the salary limits.

That subsidy was cut by 25% this year and will be gone in another three years. The A’s know they have to put a better product on the field as this major source of revenue will be gone. The best way to make up the loss of the money will be a new stadium. A’s president Dave Kaval has repeatedly said that the A’s will announce the location of the stadium by the end of the season.

They are considering three sites, and all three have drawbacks. They are looking at Howard Terminal, Laney College, and the current location in Oakland. Howard Terminal is on the Estuary, and reports have said that conditions there at night are similar to Candlestick Park as it could be cold and windy. Public transportation to the location does not exist, and people are not going to walk there from the 12th Street BART station.

AC Transit or some other kind of shuttle service probably will be needed. Laney College is a possibility but getting there from the Lake Merritt Bart station is also problematical. There is good transportation at the Coliseum but would the existing stadium have to be demolished first? What about the Raider problem? The Raiders are leaving in two or three years. Will the A’s have to wait until they leave before they can start construction? Is it possible to start construction on a new stadium without destroying the current facility? All these questions have to be answered. Hopefully, the A’s will have the resolve to sort all this out and send a message to the fans that the team will be more competitive and that they will be playing baseball in a new state-of-the-art facility. There is a lot of competition for the public’s entertainment dollar, and the fans of the Oakland A’s have paid their dues and deserve a better team and a better facility.

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About rxslugger

Retired pharmacist who now has a career as a sports writer and broadcaster

View all posts by rxslugger

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