Does Northern California Want the A's?
It's a legitimate question, particularly in the wake of this story from MLB.com, in which the mayor of San Jose, Chuck Reed, all but insists that the team would have to pay for its own ball park if it moved to the city.
Of course, that being said, that doesn't mean the Giants won't move to San Jose, one of the country's 20 largest cities. Reed specifically didn't rule out the city providing land and or infrastructure around any potential new ball park, investment that could make a move a lot more attractive for A's owner Lew Wolff, who admitted a personal preference for moving the team to San Jose during spring training.
The San Jose issue is a divisive one for Northern Californians, with the city firmly in the Giants' territory (as per MLB demographics) but still large enough to support the 32,000-seat, $500 million park that Wolff and the A's envision. If the city council supports allocating adjunct resources (land, infrastructure, etc.) and a subsequent referendum for building a park passes, San Jose could rapidly put itself in line to be the Athletics' new home.
The bigger question, of course, is where the A's would end up if San Jose doesn't work. The team's much ballyhooed move to Fremont fell apart earlier this year, and the team refuses to discuss other potential sites at the risk of alienating suitors or undermining bids.
That's what the team's future in Northern California almost feels like San Jose or bust, at least to me. We know that Las Vegas would do almost anything to land a professional sports team (including banning bets on the team's affiliated sports league in the city's casino sports book). We know that the A's have at least flirted with the idea of moving there in the past. We know that the Giants would probably be thrilled if they got as far away from Northern California as possible. Nevada works for that.
Naturally, none of those reasons mean that Oakland will be playing in Las Vegas anytime soon. For all we know, they could easily play out the final year of their lease at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum next year and then enact each of the three one-year options the club holds on the venue after that. Maybe by that time they'll even have a future spot in Oakland lined up.
It just doesn't feel like they will, does it?
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