What a roller coaster this new Oakland A's ballpark saga has become.
The latest news out of Oakland is that mayor Jean Quan, whose recall petition is making the rounds as we speak, will be sending MLB Commissioner Bud Selig a formal letter stating that the City of Oakland would like to keep the A's. She also mentioned that the plan of a new ballpark and basketball arena are in the works as well. The location has several possibilities in Oakland, but Quan's mentioned plan consisted of a spot near Jack London Square bordered by water, much like AT&T Park.
Up until now, San Jose has been the overwhelming front-runner for the wounded team in Oakland playing at a much more wounded venue at O.co Coliseum.
The City of San Jose has taken large measures to woo the A's to their location. They purchased the land needed to build a state-of-the-art baseball stadium near the current HP Pavilion for more than $25 million and have cleared most of the space needed, waiting for the OK from the MLB, A's owner Lew Wolff and the residents of San Jose.
The big fuss is that San Jose has offered the land to the A's for nearly $7 million, much less than half of what the city bought it for. This has caused an outrage among San Jose residents and organizations alike.
The City of San Jose's thought pattern?
Take the loss now for a gigantic gain in the future.
However, many steps have needed to be passed over the years in order for the A's to get this close to a stadium in San Jose. The latest step cleared was the San Jose City Council's decision in early November 2011 to extend a two-year land purchase option to the Oakland A's.
But there are two major steps that need even further clearing before actual physical process can be made on the potential Cisco Field in downtown San Jose.
#1 - The San Francisco Giants currently own territorial rights to the entire Santa Clara County that includes San Jose. This is because the team had the potential of moving there over a decade ago. Also, they have a minor league team playing just up the road from where the A's would be located.
Either the Giants can turn over the rights to Santa Clara County to the A's (not likely at all), or the decision lands in the hands of Selig, who will have a vote of all MLB teams as to whether or not the A's can start building in San Jose. There must be the approval of 23 of the MLB's 30 teams in order for the Giants to give up their territorial rights.
The MLB's decision is expected by the end of January.
#2 - Expecting Selig accepts the A's bid at a stadium in San Jose, the stadium project still must go through a vote of the residents of San Jose.
The hard part.
There are several organizations that are vehemently against the A's ballpark, and especially against the City of San Jose's offer of $7 million to the team after the land purchase of over $25 million. It will be those kinds of groups that will play into whether or not the vote goes through.
Judging by the community of San Jose's response to a professional team in the area (San Jose Sharks), we can expect the majority of residents to be on board with the stadium project, as the Sharks have received incredible support from the area. The team sells out the HP Pavilion on a nightly basis.
Because of the endless supply of technology and financial support from the South Bay, we can also expect Selig to not pass up the opportunity to move one of his teams into such a potential hotbed.
By the end of January 2012, we should see Selig approve the A's move to San Jose, overriding the Giants' territorial rights. Also, a city vote in San Jose can be expected in early summer 2012. What happens between those two dates is a mystery, as many groups will be clashing during that time, fighting to sway the voters either way on this major issue in the City of San Jose.
I predict the vote to be in favor of the A's ballpark being built and the Oakland A's locating to San Jose and Cisco Field by 2016.
If you like this article, check out my Bay Area Sports Talk blog