A group of business leaders and prominent political figures is backing a new proposal to build a $500 million waterfront stadium for the Oakland A's, as Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross of the San Francisco Chronicle report.
The project is headed up by Clorox chairman and CEO Don Knauss, former Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream boss T. Gary Rogers and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. The mayor in particular is highly optimistic about the proposed site, as she explained to the Chronicle: “Trust me, Oakland is hot now, and a lot of developers would love that [waterfront] site if it doesn't become a baseball stadium.”
A preliminary rendering of the proposed stadium was released as well.
For now, though, the team's current ownership does not appear to be among that group of interested developers.
Co-owner Lew Wolff explained his stance on the Howard Terminal site to the Chronicle: "All I care about is getting a new home for the A's in the best possible circumstances—and under any circumstances, Howard Terminal would be as close to impossible as anything."
The waterfront stadium backers are hoping to eventually win over the support of the current owners, and as the Chronicle reports, the group isn't “looking to jockey for ownership.” However, the backers “will form a new ownership team” if the current regime remains uninterested in the project.
Based on the club's protracted struggle to secure a new home, that option appears increasingly likely. The issue has been lingering for years, but the situation escalated last June when the first flood struck the O.co Coliseum. After a game against the Seattle Mariners on June 16, the clubhouses flooded, which forced both teams to shower in the Oakland Raiders locker room, as per Susan Slusser of the Chronicle.
Just two days later, the city of San Jose sued MLB in an effort to bring the club to the South Bay. MLB commissioner Bud Selig set up a committee in 2009 to study a proposed move to San Jose, but the "committee has never made any recommendations," according to Jill Tucker and John Shea of the Chronicle.
The A's also endured a pair of flooding episodes in September. In the sixth inning of a game on Sept. 18, the dugout bathroom sprung a leak.
Just a few days later, heavy rains led to flooding in the coaches' locker room area. Reliever Ryan Cook used the phrase “volcano” when describing the scene to John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group.
Minnesota Twins closer Glen Perkins provided a look at the damage.
Ultimately, all the negative attention on Oakland's current home could help the club secure a new one. The lawsuit filed by San Jose back in June is currently working its way through the appeals process, per Henry K. Lee of the Chronicle. Subsequently, a potential move to San Jose is still on the table.
In addition to the Howard Terminal site, the city of Oakland is also working on a “Coliseum City” plan. That project would be built on the current site of the team's stadium, but it appears to be taking a back seat to the waterfront proposal.
As one booster put it to the Chronicle: “Not only is it the most viable site, but it's also a phenomenal site.”
Now, they just have to convince Wolff.
If you want to talk baseball find me on Twitter @KarlBuscheck.
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