Oakland Athletics: Why the Stadium Issues Need to Be Resolved Now
The A's play at O.co Coliseum, an outdated multi-sport stadium that rarely sells out baseball games. The A's share it with the Oakland Raiders. The team has had so much trouble trying to draw fans that huge tarps with A's logos and retired numbers are put over the upper decks of the stadium, lowering the attendance numbers to 35,067.
Athletics owner Lew Wolff would like to move the team to a more profitable venue and wants to make San Jose the new home of the A's. A move to San Jose would infringe on the territory of the San Francisco Giants, ironically an area that the A's gave up to the Giants in the early 1990s when the Giants almost moved to San Jose.
Another option, the preferred one from the fans' standpoint, is in Victory Court, an area just north of Jack London Square in downtown Oakland. This ballpark would keep the A's in Oakland and help revitalize both the team and the area.
Wolff has spent much of his real estate career developing San Jose and already owns the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer—it's fairly clear that he wants to move the A's to San Jose. He and Selig were fraternity brothers at the University of Wisconsin. That friendship beyond just baseball could mean that Selig is more likely to help his friend out and grant him the move to San Jose.
But whether the A's move or not, the league needs to figure it out quickly so that Oakland can sort out the future of the club's current roster.
If the A's stay in Oakland, they will likely stand pat with most of the current roster and try to build around the great pitching already in place. But if the Athletics will be heading to San Jose in the near future, general manager Billy Beane will take apart the roster to start anew and have fresh young faces ready to play in San Jose.
If San Jose becomes a reality, left-hander Gio Gonzalez and right-handers Trevor Cahill and Andrew Bailey will be the first players to go as they are all great young pitchers under team control for multiple years. Anyone besides second baseman Jemile Weeks is available.
Because Selig has still yet to come to a decision about the A's, Beane is left in a state of limbo, not knowing how seriously he should listen to trade offers or not. The longer the A's must wait, the bigger the disadvantage is for the A's in this 2012 offseason.
This is a pivotal point in the history of the A's, who are already in their third city in the franchise's storied lifetime. Whether they stay in Oakland or leave to San Jose, the A's can't start their offseason for the future until a decision is made.
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