Oakland Athletics: If you build it, they will stay

Let’s face it, Howard Terminal won’t work for the Oakland Athletics needs.

Without getting into the discussion of the political tug-of-war that has stalemated building a new Oakland Athletics ballpark and caused countless delays like the traffic on the Nimitz Freeway, it is time to face reality. The proposed Howard Terminal ballpark is never going to get built.

The renderings are stunning, but just not feasible. It is in the best interest of the A’s, MLB, the city of Oakland, outlying areas, and the fans in general to build a new stadium right where they are at 7000 Coliseum Way. Stay at the Coliseum site and start building now.

Oakland is not a sexy city. Never has been.

Oh sure, there are more desirable areas than the East Oakland flatlands where I grew up. But you are simply not going to build a park at Jack London Square, Lake Merritt, downtown or in the Oakland Hills. There is too much opposition and red tape.

The Coliseum site offers tremendous transportation options with BART, wide feeder streets, and highway access. And let’s not forget about the staple that is part of the culture of games at the Coliseum: the tailgate. There would be no cookouts at Howard Terminal.

I went to Shea Stadium in Queens a number of times while impressive Citi Field was being built right next door for the Mets. No one remembers the inconvenience now.

Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons said, when the Coliseum built Mount Davis in center field for the return of the Raiders, “they have just ruined the best ballpark in baseball.” While that is a bit of a stretch, especially from a man that resides in the shadows of Boston’s Fenway Park, he did point out a particular asset.

The view of the Oakland Hills over the outfield bleachers is beautiful. Anyone that has experienced a warm day of baseball at the Coliseum marvels at the picture-perfect weather, aided by a “high sky” which wreaks havoc on the infielders and outfields trying to locate a ball in the air. Denver, “the Mile-High City,” should be known for a “high sky,” but that reputation goes to Oakland at 43 feet above sea level.

Despite urban planners spouting statistics to the contrary, new parks in Baltimore, Pittsburgh, San Diego, and even San Francisco brought life and economic impact to an area in need of renewal. East Oakland sits in a forgotten part of town, riddled with crime and blight. It needs the type of spark that a new ballpark can bring to begin the road to recovery.

People want jobs. Start building the Coliseum and there will be jobs aplenty, with opportunities for minority contractors. Otherwise, the Oakland Athletics could leave like the Warriors and Raiders (twice) did before them.

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Sorry fans, but there will never be an announcer call of “Welcome to A’s baseball. Live from the container cargo facility at the Port of Oakland …” Deal with it, and finally get a deal done.

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