So many of the recent design decisions at Oakland-Alameda County Stadium have been made to please the NFL’s Oakland Raiders. But if the Raiders do move, can the facility be turned into an adequate baseball-only stadium?So many of the design decisions at Oakland-Alameda County Stadium have been made to please the NFL’s Oakland Raiders. But if the Raiders do move, can the facility be turned into an adequate baseball-only stadium?
That’s the question many in Oakland are asking right now. Although it’s highly speculative to think of the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders sharing a new stadium — if it happens, it won’t happen during Raiders owner Al Davis’s lifetime — the possibility exists. And since we’re speculating, we might as well speculate on what would happen to the Oakland A’s should the Coliseum be available on a fulltime basis.
There’s a lot to like about the Coliseum site: it’s well-situated, near the freeway and a BART station. It’s a fairly scenic site, potentially more so if you tear down Mount Davis in centerfield and restore that gorgeous view from behind home plate.
And, perhaps more importantly, it could be rebuilt for far less than a new ballpark. The rebuilding of then-Anaheim Stadium is seen as a blueprint for a sensitive renovation of an older facility: Robert A.M. Stern and Populous managed to give a tired old facility a new look for $88 million in 1998. While that price tag would be higher now, keep in mind it would be hard to build a new ballpark for less than than $400 million. And the A’s could continue playing at the ballpark while renovations occur.
Still, this is all speculative, and we’re not even sure it could be adequately renovated. Circular shapes like the Coliseum design mean there will be some odd angles within, and we’re guessing the Athletics would need to dramatically change the seating configuration to eliminate the huge foul areas. And the economy is still in a recession, though A’s co-owner Lew Wolff was talking about a privately financed new ballpark.
So file this away under interesting and intriguing speculation. Given how things are going in the ballpark world, you never know.
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