There’s trying, and then there’s trying

This Thanksgiving, we should all be thankful that, despite the often misplaced or ill-timed effort, many people have been trying to keep the A’s in the Bay Area. To illustrate this, I’ve put together a map showing pretty much all of the sites that have been considered for a ballpark over the last 15 years. Below the map is a brief history and the fate of each site.


Competing sites:

  • # – Victory Court. Emerged as the preferred ballpark location by the City of Oakland after the unveiling of four sites by Let’s Go Oakland in December 2009. EIR process has begun, initial comment period open. Public hearing on December 1 to elicit public comments.
  • * – Diridon (South). Preferred San Jose site picked after two year deliberation process. EIR completed in 2009, a 3+ year process.

HOK East Bay study sites:

  • A – Howard Terminal. Waterfront site immediately west of Jack London Square. Eventually was leased by Matson to consolidate shipping operations.
  • B – Oak to Ninth. Waterfront site east of Jack London Square. Has development plans for 3100 homes, parkland, and commercial uses.
  • C – Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Home of the current stadium, has had interest from different parties for a ballpark elsewhere within the complex. Both the Raiders and A’s have leases through 2013. The Coliseum Authority is working with the Raiders on a football-specific successor to the Coliseum immediately to the south of the existing stadium.
  • D – Laney College. Plans envisioned replacing the college’s athletic fields with a ballpark. Peralta Community College District was not interested in such a use.
  • E – Uptown. The preferred site from the study due to its downtown location and access to mass transit and parking infrastructure. Any chance of a ballpark was derailed when the A’s showed little interest and the site’s chief proponent was fired and a developer-friendly housing scheme was heavily promoted. An apartment complex is now on site.
  • F – Pleasanton. One of two southern Alameda County sites included in the study. Was undeveloped back then, is still undeveloped now.
  • G – Fremont. The other southern Alameda County choice, the site was north of the NUMMI (now Tesla Motors) site. The area would be reconsidered several years later for another shot at a ballpark, but NIMBY resistance helped kill it.

San Jose study sites:

  • I – FMC/Airport West. Old military vehicle plant was briefly considered thanks to central location within Santa Clara Valley. Was eliminated in favor of a more urban locale. Became the site of the future San Jose Earthquakes stadium.
  • II – Reed & Graham. An asphalt plant next to I-280. Eliminated early on due to infrastructure issues. Plant still in operation.
  • III – Del Monte Cannery. A single-owner site that was ready for redevelopment, just north of Reed & Graham. A developer showed interest in building condos on the site, which is eventually what happened.
  • IV – Berryessa Flea Market. Located on San Jose’s east side, its major advantages were its size, a single owner, and its location near a future BART station. Like the Del Monte Cannery, the site has plans for future residential development. Such work has not yet started and may not commence for several years.

A’s ownership promoted sites:

  • 1 – Coliseum South. Site pitched by Lew Wolff shortly after he was hired by Schott/Hofmann. Ownership agreed to pay 50% towards a study on the site, which included the HomeBase and Malibu lots. The Coliseum Authority balked. In 2010, the Authority bought the land with an eye towards a Raiders stadium and ancillary development plan.
  • 2 – Santa Clara. North of Great America, the site was also considered for a Santa Clara ballpark plan over a decade prior. In order to prevent a ballpark from being built, the City added a street through the property that gets very little vehicular use.
  • 3 – Coliseum North (High/66th). A broad redevelopment plan that would have bought 100 acres of industrial zoned land and changed the zoning to residential/commercial, with a ballpark as the centerpiece. Existing landowners balked at moving and Wolff/Fisher were not willing to pay much more than a nominal amount for the land, leading to the plan’s demise.
  • 4 – Pacific Commons. Took the Coliseum North redevelopment concept and moved it to Fremont, on Cisco/Catellus-owned light industrial (yet undeveloped) land. Plan died as the broader economy went into the tank in 2007.
  • 5 – Warm Springs. Rebirth of the original Fremont plan would’ve had the ballpark decoupled from the residential and commercial components. Area residents decried the location’s proximity to local homes and the lack of road infrastructure. The plan came and went quickly, which made the team look further south.

Have a good Thanksgiving, everyone.

49 thoughts on “There’s trying, and then there’s trying

  1. If there’s any reason for MLB to make a decision in a few weeks, especially in favor of a for sure ballpark in SJ, IT’S THIS!
    Great work as always RM and Happy Thanksgiving to you to!

  2. How many times in the past three years has someone in the SJ camp predicted that an “an announcement is coming in the next few weeks” ? Too many to count.

  3. @Georob–I know, it’s quite comical. They have no idea how long it will take, like they have no idea what the decision will be. If SJ is such a slam dunk, they would of said so months ago.

  4. The map lied. It never tried.

  5. @georob and jk–its BS saying the decision is imminent not SJ boosters—
    jk–what I find comical is your unbridled cheerleading of oakland even though there is no site agreed upon by city leaders—if Bryan G is the god you told us all to respect I assume you will be at the 12/1 meeting advocating that city look at 980 in additoin to VC—as Bryan G…the god…advocates

  6. @jk,
    If Oakland was going to be the ultimate choice by MLB for the A’s, then there would have never been a year and a half of “BRC” study.
    Gobble Gobble!

  7. GoA’s–i will be there on 12/1, just like I was there in 2002 with the Uptown site meeting and A’s rally.
    Will you be there, going up to the mike saying how this plan stinks and SJ is the only way to go?
    I think not.
    I respect Bryan G’s work, his passion, his vision. I’d hope it would be a back-up site if VC falls through.
    I’m not an Oakland resident, so I don’t think I should speak at the meeting, but have e-mailed D. Boxer (LGO), Dellums’ office and MLB over his plan when I first saw it on here, and most recently e-mailed Jean Quan.
    What the hec have you done to make a difference, besides ripping me?

  8. @jk, show up on 12/1, You are an A’s fan. You have a right to be heard. This is not a parochial Oakland issue, it is an East Bay issue. How would we get to a game in San Jose? On 880? No BART. Forgetabout it.

    • If East Bay folks were so concerned about getting to San Jose, shouldn’t they have attended the sessions in San Jose to voice what would be a relevant issue there? To my recollection, not a single pro-Oakland person showed up at any of the numerous meetings.

  9. I am going on Wednesday. I’ll be one of many Davids …the one with A’s cap with the big ‘O’ on it. Feel free to approach me if you want.

  10. Mr. Grunwald,
    You could take Amtrak/CC from the East Bay straight to Diridon. In the future (which is what the ballpark study is all about) you will also be able to take BART from East Bay. If you prefer to drive, take 880, just like South Bay fans have been doing for years; the freeway flows in both directions you know.
    Come on Mr. Grunwald, you’re the “expert,” you should have known all of this.

  11. Jk,
    Its not that we feel that the VC plan “stinks.” With major improvements/investments in surrounding infrastructure, the site would work out great for a ballpark.
    Its just that (IMHO) its financially unrealistic, and no amount of “Oakland only” cheerleading changes this fact.

  12. @jk–BG does not support the VC site and states that is not economically viable—ironic that Newhouse and Zennie—Oakland’s 2 biggest public cheerleaders have come to the same conclusion—you need to heed your own advice—if BG is the expert that you have claimed and state on this blog that all of us should listen to him because he knows what he is talking about than shouldn’t you listen also? What have I done to make a difference? I am a season tix holder and will continue to do so regardless of where the new ballpark is… once again…don’t play holier than thou when in reality you fail to heed your own advice—

  13. Oaklanders have to give up the notion that San Jose losing means Oakland winning. More likely, San Jose losing means all Oakland A’s fans losing and the team leaves the Bay Area. Oakland has no site, no plan and no money. Not a good recipe for getting a ballpark done.

  14. Pretty good article in Today’s SJ Merc Sports regarding Bill Neukom. According to Mark Purdy, the most powerful sports person in the Bay Area. Check it out if you have time.

  15. @tony d.–AMTRAK runs 7 trains a day from Oakland to San Jose, and there won’t be anymore because the UP doesn’t want to give up any trackage rights. BART will not be to San Jose for a decade or more. Moreover, it will require a huge subsidy. Add part of this subsidy to the public’s cost for the Diridon Ballpark. It is already going to be over $200M in public subsidy. Oakland 980 Park would cost $175M less than Diridon or VC and has two BART Stations, AMTRAK, Regional Bus, Rapid Bus, parking all within walking distance–why not amortize the public investment made to date.

  16. I saw that photo and wanted to barf. WIll quickly put today’s Mercury News sports on the recycling pile. Neukom thinks he alone should be able to deny San Jose major league baseball and we’ve seen no indication from the brave Bud Selig that this is not actually the case…

  17. Bryan… BART to San Jose is not part of the public’s outlay for a ballpark. The two are completely different projects. BART will happen without a ballpark, just like the Autumn extension. I appreciate your passion, but it’d be good if you stuck to the truth.

  18. Mr. Grunwald,
    I could reply (again) to your untruth about Diridon and completely blown out of proportion greatness of the 980 site. But then we would basically be going around in circles with no end in site. So with that, no more comments from me on the 980 “Floating Mountains” ballpark plan (or Victory Court for that matter). Good day Mr. Grunwald, and have a great time at the 12/1 Oakland Planning Commission meeting!
    OT: Mr. Purdy did an entire interview with Bill Neukom and yet, not one quote/question/answer regarding the A’s, San Jose, the “BRC,” or territorial rights. Now that’s very, very interesting!

  19. Jeffrey is correct on the BART and Autumn extension being built regardless of the A’s. Add the purchase of the rest of the land and the HSR as those will be done regardless of the A’s.

    The City of San Jose already denied ATT the right to redevelop land they own adjacent to the current ballpark site because the City has other “ideas” for the land. One being adjacent development for a new ballpark.

    I hate Bill Neukom despite being a Giants fan for 20 years. He is anti-trust lawyer and knows full well him denying the A’s San Jose is against all anti-trust law. He clings to the exemption that was wrongfully granted to MLB back in the stone age. Ask the NBA, NHL, and NFL how they have done lately trying to get the same exemption?

    He threatens lawsuits and hell if San Jose is allowed to get a team. When in fact he knows full well he will lose a lawsuit and MLB would lose its beloved exemption if this went to court. (Clippers vs. NBA and Raiders vs. NFL years ago proves this)

    He is “bluffing” so hard that if Bud Selig had any kind of balls he would see it and call him out on it.
    In reality the other owners are not dumb and will vote with the A’s to explore San Jose as it is far more lucrative than Oakland. Anyone with any intelligence can see this.

    San Jose has the most disposable income amongst cities over 500k and has a huge corporate base on top of a City Council that has a plan.

    I am sorry it has taken this long but BS had his reasons and if Oakland had a shot at this it would have been made public. Before Neukom get his “panties in a bunch” BS is making sure on all details.

    Should be very soon guys! December is right around the corner.

    San Jose A’s in 2015!

    • In reality the other owners are not dumb and will vote with the A’s to explore San Jose as it is far more lucrative than Oakland. Anyone with any intelligence can see this.San Jose has the most disposable income amongst cities over 500k and has a huge corporate base on top of a City Council that has a plan.

      Maybe the owners are that dumb. How come we never hear from any of the other MLB owners about the A’s exploration of San Jose?

      Also, I agree with Georob’s first comment on the perpetual “imminent” decision by MLB. We have been talking about an imminent decision on the t-rights for years now. Will the day ever happen?

  20. @Sid-with all this disposable income SJ and the SB have, they sure don’t spend it on sports like you think they should. Stanford having a great year and has 10k+ empty seats a game. San Jose St. can’t draw flies. Failed woman’s basketball and soccer teams. Soccer is doing okay, but can they fill Lew’s new stadium in the long run? Mini Giants doing okay at 60-70% capacity, but it is Giant’s country. Sharks do very well at the gate, but they’re in the playoffs 13 of 16 years since the Arena was built. Warriors draw almost as good as Sharks in same period with only one playoff appearance during that time.

  21. You’re one funny guy JK,
    You mention Stanford (located between SF and SJ) and failed woman’s basketball and soccer teams (the leagues folded you @#%&!), YET you then mention how well the Sharks do at the gate. So what is it; SJ can or can’t support its teams? If you’re going to ignorantly blast SJ, at least get your argument straight!

    I think it speaks volumes that not one word was mentioned in the Purdy interview regarding San Jose, the A’s, the commission or T-Rights. San Jose’s biggest “cheerleader” interviewing the man supposedly hell-bent on keeping the A’s out of San Jose…yet not one word? I don’t know if anyone else here has noticed, but the parties have been pretty silent about the issue over the past couple of months; at least give Selig his due for enforcing a gag order. The silence sure is deafening!

  22. @TonyD–please don’t call me @#%&!)! names. I don’t call you guys names.
    Didn’t FC Pride soccer just win a title and folded right after, but the league’s still there?
    I know the Lasers basketball team folded along with the league, but how come there’s no WNBA team in the SB. They added many teams after the ABL folded in 1998.

  23. Um, there’s no WNBA team in Oakland, either.

  24. Um, FC Pride soccer plays its games at Cal State East Bay (Hayward).

  25. I will attend A’s games in Oakland, Fremont, or San Jose. San Jose seems the most easily completed option at this time. Bring on the San Jose Oakland A’s. Keep green and gold and the history. I’d even like to play a few games each year in the Coliseum, if the new stadium is built, but that probably won’t happen.

  26. @Coachman–I’m sure Wolff and Mayor Reed will make sure they’re not called San Jose Oakland A’s if SJ gets the green light to steal the team from MLB. As soon as Wolff sees the Oakland city limits sign when driving up north to see games, he goes into panic mode, breaking out in a cold sweat and gets hives. He’s obviously not too crazy about the town from his comments over the years. Has he said anything positive about anything in Oakland? Why buy the team in the first place? We all know why.

  27. Steal the team. OK. Tell me – when did Lew Wolff build Mount Davis (thereby wrecking the existing ballpark), when did Lew Wolff fire the city manager for trying to accommodate a downtown ballpark and when did Wolff direct Oakland to do nothing about the North of the Coliseum proposal? Poor poor poor Oakland. Such a victim here (not).

  28. @pjk–Schotmann didn’t show any interest in Uptown. I admit Jerry B. didn’t help things either, but new mayor Dellums wanted to work with Wolff when Fremont fell through, but Wolff didn’t want him to break his pick on that one. Hey, this town needs a damn break for once. 43 years of A’s baseball, 4 championships, decent support most years if properly promoted, and to pack up and leave is just not right.

    • @jk-usa – The “don’t break your pick” comment was made at least a year before the Fremont plan bit the dust. Oakland could’ve prepared something just in case, but thy didn’t.

  29. @ML–you’re right. I stand corrected. The time-line gets confusing, but I just researched it. The comment was made right after Wolff abandoned Oakland for Fremont. Wolff warned Dellums not to try to counter the Fremont plan ” You have other priorities…don’t break your pick on this one.”
    And SJ doesn’t have other priorities? For a supposedly wealthy town, they have serious financial problems, juts like Oak SF and every other city in the US. Oakland needs this new park more than SJ does. Jobs, status, pride, tradition, Some good news is due for this town for a change.

  30. A decision can’t come soon enough

  31. Oaklanders should be gathering an investment group willing to spend $1 billion on the team, land and ballpark, with no public or corporate support. If Oakland is such a great place for major league baseball, Oaklanders should have no problem at all putting together an investment group under these circumstances.

  32. @pjk–if a group is found with the resources to make it happen in Oakland, you still wouldn’t be satisfied, thinking SJ is the only place on earth that will work in the long run.
    I’m still pissed off at the group who were denied the A’s back in 1999. I guess good, quality people with integrity aren’t allowed in “the lodge.” Instead BS’s frat buddy gets the team 6 years later, and it’s been downhill ever since.

  33. Jk,
    Didn’t the A’s go to the ALCS in 06? Downhill you say under Wolff?

  34. If group found the resources to make it happen in Oakland, I’ll buy tickets to the first game; But I don’t live in a fantasy world. Hasn’t the lack of financial backing of the ’99 group already been well-covered in here.

  35. I’ll buy tickets to the first game at a new ballpark in Oakland, unlike JK, who has pledged to abandon the team altogether if they move 26 miles away.

  36. I can’t wait until MLB makes their call so that JK can give it a rest. I’ve posted here less frequently in recent weeks but whenever I do, it’s the same old thing from JK.


    JK: Give it a rest. Nothing you post here is constructive. As soon as you realize that, you’ll be much more useful to the movement attempting to keep the A’s in Oakland. Otherwise, good luck– honestly.

  37. @pjk–buy tix for the first game if they get a new park in Oakland ? Wow–you da man! I’m getting a package of games for the wife and I if VC is picked. I work crazy shifts(swing and graveyard) now at my job and can’t do the 40-50 games like I use to, but would see as many as possible if they stay. If SJ is chosen, I’m done. No more A’s in my life from that point on. It will NEVER be the same in SJ. I’d follow them more if they went back to Philly over SJ.
    @Briggs–I will give it a permanent rest if SJ is picked. I’ll be done with the A’s, this site and all of you guys, so then you’ll be happy. If Oakland is picked, the SJ cheerleaders are gonna be miserable on here, ripping Oakland every turn of the way.

  38. But how is Oakland going to be picked if it has no site, no plan and no money? And a long record of poor support of the A’s?

  39. re: It will NEVER be the same in SJ.

    Let’s hope not. If the Sharks attendance is any indication, a San Jose ballpark will be filled to the brim even for a team playing poorly. Unlike Oakland, which leaves acres and acres of empty seats even when the team is playing well….

  40. “No more A’s in my life from that point on. It will NEVER be the same in SJ. I’d follow them more if they went back to Philly over SJ.” By this statement, you have a direct issue with SJ and its residence which many people on this site are. You made a trivial decision (staying in Bay Area, generating additional revenue for a more competitive team, increasing the fanbase, etc.) into a personal vendetta between Oakland (which you don’t reside in) and SJ. Why? Did someone in SJ run over your grandmother or something?

  41. It’s looking more like the A’s have struck out in signing that Japanese phenom pitcher. One school of thought is that he was asking for Zito money because he doesn’t want to play in Oakland. He wouldn’t be the first. Think downtown San Jose might be more attractive?

  42. I’m new to the movement to keep the A’s in Oakland?

    Is there a group to join?

    Are there important meetings or rallies to attend?

    There is an Oakland Planning Commission meeting tonight — is this a good forum to express public support?

    Any helpful input is appreciated.

  43. @d510–welcome aboard. I’m a huge pro-Oakland A’s fan too that wants the A’s to stay in Oak. Join LGO on FB, you’ll feel very welcomed there. This site, run very well by Marine Layer, has great info on the whole ballpark situation, but be forewarned on the 95% of the posters on here. They are a bunch of frustrated, angry, cranky dudes who don’t like the pro-Oakland crowd. They take cheap shots, think were crazy and think SJ is the only way to go, even though we know that not to be true.
    Come to the meeting tonight at City Hall. Should be interesting.

  44. welcome d510 – Marine Layer does do a great job here. I like to bounce things off of people who aren’t already in agreement with me. LGO and the Facebook site are cool, i joined both, but its just a lot of patting on each others’ backs over there.

  45. Thanks all, much appreciated!

    I’m a long time A’s fan, as well as a believer in the potential of Oakland, just returning from school in LA (whew!) and really looking forward to getting engaged in this effort.

    (Joined the FB group, and definitely props to Marine Layer on the site. I’ve been an AN fan for awhile, but this is all new to me and glad to find like minded motivated ppl.)

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