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San Jose Giants discussing new ballpark

San Jose GiantsThe San Jose Giants (High Class A; California League) are discussing a new ballpark at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, replacing Municipal Stadium as the team’s home.

The discussions are in preliminary stages. Currently the fairgrounds site is used for the annual County Fair and off-track betting, but most of the land is vacant. The proposal has the Giants building a new ballpark and then running an associated youth-baseball complex. From the San Jose Mercury News:

“We’re in the phase of gathering input, in the research phase,” said Daniel Orum, the San Jose Giants’ president and CEO. “It’s unusual that you can find 150 acres of mostly undeveloped property like the fairgrounds. We’re mostly intrigued by it as a possibility of a youth sports complex, something that could serve the fans and families of the South Bay. We know there’s a lack of playing fields here.”…

Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez confirmed that she and county officials are eager to hear what the Giants have in mind.

“I’m excited that the Giants are thinking about this,” Chavez said. “I think that’s fantastic. But they aren’t the only ones interested in doing something that may involve the fairgrounds property.”

There is, of course, the usual danger of the San Jose Giants — and the team’s majority owner, the San Francisco Giants — doing extended business in San Jose: a routine Municipal Stadium lease extension was fraught with controversy when the city balked in the wake of Giants ownership opposing a move of the Oakland A’s to San Jose. And while that political danger still exists, it certainly has lessened after the city lost two court cases challenging MLB’s right to prevent an A’s move.

But the city doesn’t have a say on what happens on the Fairgrounds site: Santa Clara County controls the land and presumably would move forward with a financing plan that doesn’t include the city. Still, that shouldn’t prevent some rather robust discussions from city officials should the project proceed.

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