Photo credit: eastbaytimes.com
By Amaury Pi-González
OAKLAND–A’s fans have been on this rollercoaster ride of the new ballpark for long enough that it is now almost running as long as one of Telemundo novelas. This last episode was a good one. This week, over 80 Oakland and surrounding area business leaders announced the formation of “Town Business” — an initiative by company executives in support of keeping the A’s in Oakland for the long-term. They hand-delivered copies of the letter addressed to the Mayor of Oakland, Libby Schaaf, urging the City to drop its lawsuit against Alameda County.
There should be no doubt that the Schaaf should be happy with this support. Schaaf’s legacy could the first mayor of a big city in the country to lose three professional sports franchises. The NBA’s Warriors are already gone and playing in San Francisco and the NFL’s Raiders have one leg already in Las Vegas and are currently playing in their last season at the Oakland Coliseum. There are millions and millions of dollars behind these executives running companies here in the East Bay — large, small and new businesses. The famous author, Stephen King, known as “the master of horror stories” once said: “Money talks and bullshit walks”. By the way, King is a huge Boston Red Sox fan.
A new ballpark would usher a new era of prosperity for the franchise. Since the A’s been playing in Oakland in 1968, other major league teams have built multiple stadiums (i.e. the Texas Rangers and the Atlanta Braves) and many others who have at least one. Only a handful of teams remain that have played at the same place such as the Red Sox (Fenway Park), Chicago Cubs (Wrigley Field), Los Angeles Dodgers (Dodger Stadium). For some of us who have made the Bay Area our long-term home, we witnessed what happened with the San Francisco Giants, who lost election after election in order to build a new park until they finally found private investors to build what is today Oracle Park, which debuted in 2000.
The A’s plan is to begin construction of this privately financed new facility at Howard Terminal, just north of Jack London Square by 2021 and hope for a first pitch in 2023. It would be a beautiful 35,000 seat park. It would be a fan and environmentally friendly park that addresses the rising sea level. Today, the sea levels is not a main concern. But, up north in Portland, they are talking about building a new major league park for what they hope will be their first MLB franchise…and I think Las Vegas is taking odds in all of this.
Can’t wait for the next episode!