Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has taken the option of a San Jose ballpark off the menu, the future of the Oakland Athletics facility needs still remains unclear — a situation that probably won’t change until next year.
The biggest issue: there’s still no path toward a new Oakland ballpark or a renovated Coliseum, and there probably won’t be for several months. While there’s still lots of chatter in Oakland political circles about the desire to keep the A’s, the bigger issue is one that probably won’t be addressed until January at the earliest: the future of the Oakland Raiders. As you can see in this Football Stadium Digest article, there are tons of politics surrounding the Los Angeles NFL situation, and it’s unlikely any decision about the future of the Raiders — or the San Diego Chargers or the St. Louis Rams — will be made until January 2016.
That will give Oakland and Alameda County officials time to get their stuff together about a new NFL stadium, as officials with both say there’s room for the A’s and the Raiders at the Coliseum site. (Indeed, with over 800 acres of land and easy BART and freeway access, you’d think there would be room for, oh, 3o or so acres of sports facilities, another 100 acres for an entertainment district and hundreds of acres left for parking.) There may be, and a two-stadium solution with some sort of entertainment district between may be feasible. But neither the Raiders nor the A’s seem to want to step forward with any sort of plan: the A’s certainly want to control their own destiny on the development side, as does the Raiders ownership. So who presents a plan first?
Judging by the Athletics’ terse press statement yesterday after the U.S. Supreme Court formally announced it would not consider an appeal of a lower court decision to keep MLB’s antitrust exemption intact, we don’t expect to see anything soon from the team ownership:
“Today, the United States Supreme Court formally declined to consider the City of San Jose’s challenge to Major League Baseball’s longstanding antitrust exemption. The Court’s decision, while significant, has no impact on our intense and unwavering focus on solving our ballpark issue and providing A’s fans the first class experience they deserve.”
Take a close look at the statement: there’s no declaration that the team will be working on an Oakland ballpark plan. Solving the ballpark issue could mean a move to Montreal or another city. (Unlikely, but you never know.) In the end, the Supreme Court decision really didn’t change anything — the NFL is the fulcrum.
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