After all sides finally signed off on all the paperwork associated with a new O.co Coliseum lease, Oakland Athletics managing owner Lew Wolff confirmed the team is talking with an architect about designing a new ballpark in Oakland.
The whole thing is hush-hush, but we can say the talks are not with 360 Architecture, which did work for the team while ownership was pursuing a Fremont ballpark. Talks have been going on for several weeks; certainly predating this year’s All-Star Game.
It’s been an interesting journey for owners John Fisher and Lew Wolff, who began their new-ballpark quest with talks with cities in the A’s territory before embarking on a battle to move the team to Giants territory in San Jose. MLB owners take territories very seriously — territorial rights are why we don’t have four teams in the New York City area and two teams apiece in Boston and Philadelphia — and there was never a groundswell of support in MLB front offices or the commissioner’s office to allow the team to move to San Jose without some sort of signoff from the Giants. And, interestingly, public perception of Oakland has changed since the A’s ownership began the hunt for a new ballpark: instead of being rundown and struggling, Oakland now has a reputation as a city on the rise, attracting investment and a solid middle class. So, even though it wasn’t the intent, delaying any new-ballpark moves and staying in Oakland now may end up being the best long-term move for the team. Wolff will get his new ballpark, and patient fans will be rewarded.
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