Bud Selig has finally said something about the Oakland Athletics‘ drawn-out quest for a new stadium.
In a statement released by the MLB Public Relations account on Twitter, the commissioner dubbed the new 10-year lease at the O.co Coliseum between the club and the Coliseum Joint Powers Authority as a “first step towards keeping Major League Baseball in Oakland.”
Selig also threw his support behind Athletics minority owner Lew Wolff, who has repeatedly stated that he prefers the team’s current site to others within the city limits.
“I continue to believe that the Athletics need a new facility and am fully supportive of the club’s view that the best site in Oakland is the Coliseum site,” Selig stated.
Notably, Selig called the Coliseum the “best site in Oakland” and not necessarily the best site overall.
In his statement, Selig also alluded to the recommendation of the “blue ribbon committee,” a group formed by Selig to explore alternate locations in the Bay Area for a new Athletics ballpark.
“Contrary to what some have suggested, the committee that has studied this issue did not determine that the Howard Terminal site was the best location for a new facility in Oakland,” the commissioner noted.
The reference to Howard Terminal, a 50-acre waterfront site in Oakland, appears to also be a direct response to a “guest commentary” that was published in the Oakland Tribune on Tuesday. Don Knauss and T. Gary Rogers of the Oakland Waterfront Ballpark LLC touted the Howard Terminal site as the ideal spot for the team’s new home, using some unexpected logic.
Knauss and Rogers wrote, “No large city in the Bay Area is closer to San Francisco, the region’s center of economic activity, than Oakland.”
Essentially, it sounds as though Knauss, who is the CEO of Clorox, and Rogers, who is the chairman of the board of Safeway, want to build in Oakland because they can’t build in San Francisco.
Either way, Selig’s statement has all but killed off the idea of a waterfront stadium on the eastern shores of the San Francisco Bay. Ultimately, there isn’t much more clarity on just where exactly the American League West leaders will end up.
However, it is clear that Oakland must focus all its attention and resources on developing a compelling plan for the Coliseum site if it wants to hold on to its team.
If you want to talk baseball, find me on Twitter @KarlBuscheck.
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