With the Oakland ballpark situation highlighted in the American League playoffs, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig pledged a solution before he leaves office in 2015.
No one sees O.Co Coliseum as the future of pro sports in Oakland — the NFL’s Raiders are seeking a new facility as well — but the issue is the location of a new ballpark. Oakland officials say they can assist the team in finding a site there, but owner Lew Wolff has worked hard for a downtown San Jose location. The problem: the south Silicon Valley territory is controlled by the San Francisco Giants, who have refused permission for a new downtown A’s ballpark.
It looks like, after over four years, we may finally see some resolution to the stalemate. First, there’s the issue of Selig finally setting an end date to his reign as commissioner: January 2015. He’s pledged to work out a ballpark plan with his old University of Wisconsin fraternity brother Lew Wolff, but after four-years-plus the blue-chip committee charged with breaking the impasse between the A’s and Giants has still not formulated a solution. Still, both Wolff and Selig sounded positive about reaching a solution and surprisingly sanguine about the prospects, per ESPN:
“I don’t say this lightly. We know that the present stadium they play in is outdated and has all kinds of problems,” Selig said. “Nobody is more aware of that than I am. I’ve had a committee studying it, and I know it’s taken a long time. It’s tried a lot of people’s patience, but it’s a very difficult situation, with very complex issues. But we’ll work our way through this because we need to find a solution.”
“Bud is, to put it mildly, deliberative,” Wolff said. “They [the committee members] have spent four-and-a-half years seeing if I missed anything in Oakland or Fremont, and they have come up with nothing.
“We’re following a process that may seem excruciating, but it’s fair. This is what the commissioner of baseball does. He’s made baseball better. He’s leaving it a lot better than he found it. And he’s leaving us a lot better than we found it.”
One upcoming event that could spur Selig into action: a federal judge is expected to rule before the end of the month whether San Jose has standing to sue MLB over the lack of action on a downtown ballpark. If San Jose prevails — and that’s far from a sure thing — it’s not likely MLB will choose to go through a prolonged battle over the issue, giving Selig the excuse needed to make a decision on the issue sure to anger one side or the other.
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