Official: Victory Court is dead

And that’s how the drive for a downtown Oakland ballpark ends – with a whimper.


Yet another dream dies.

The Trib’s Angela Woodall reports that as a result of redevelopment cuts, the Victory Court ballpark site is now officially dead. We called it before the New Year, so it’s no surprise. But wait, weren’t there two sites near Jack London Square?


Left: JLS North. Right: Victory Court

JLS North was dropped quickly. Perhaps it was too expensive to acquire. Or maybe there weren’t enough business interests pushing for the site. Whatever the reasoning was, it wasn’t disclosed. Now Victory Court has also gone quietly into the night with little explanation by those who pushed for it.

Let’s step back through memory lane on Victory Court. Our time writing about it, your time reading about it, gone forever:

I guess it’s Coliseum City or bust. Or something.

72 thoughts on “Official: Victory Court is dead

  1. It’s Lew Wolff’s fault. He is really a time traveler who served as an unnamed advisor the the Coliseum Authority, Oakland City Council and three mayors. And another day until a decision from MLB.

  2. It’s San Jose or leaving California. Jean Quan fails again in Oakland. Let’s keep the A’s in the Bay Area

  3. think we all knew this was coming once this coliseum project that has no shot of happening was unveiled in late 2011 just over a year removed when victory court was thought to be the #1 site to build a park somewhere in oakland.

    good luck trying to get three teams to pay maybe close to 2 billion dollars in build three venues in one of the worst areas in the city. it is sj or bust.

  4. Not surprising, but this still sucks for Oakland. Anybody really still holding out hope for Coliseum City?

  5. Yes, let’s see how this is all blamed on Lew Wolff. VC would have been a nice site but did any of us really ever think it would happen?…

  6. If there’s anybody out there who thinks Coliseum City has a chance I’d really like to talk to them about a bridge I have for sale.

  7. If you admit there is no money for Victory Court, how can you even think about Coliseum City? With what money?

  8. Mike, that’s the point. Coliseum City is just another cock block, not a real plan. Oakland has never come up with a real plan to counter San Jose. But they’ve come up with plenty of vaportecture and of course are more than willing to get into bed with the Giants (who are giving them the reach around with regard to the Warriors at the same time).

    Enough is enough. Oakland is not a viable major league city. They proved it again tonight. Time to move on to greener pastures in San Jose (pun intended).

  9. I think Coliseum City could have been something about 10 years ago, but it seems like they are trying to throw this together over a relatively short period of time. AEG and city leaders in LA took years to build capacity to get Staples Center built, and then LA Live and now Farmer’s Field. It takes a ton of private support, a city willing to fight the fight in the legislature to fasttrack the EIR and beyond that, MONEY! Oakland doesn’t have that. Partially thats not Quan’s fault, thats been a city council/mayor/JPA issue. But hey, they haven’t taken much initiative. Chuck Reed has been going to the mattresses to get this done.

  10. I think you meant “going to the mat”, not mattresses.

  11. Still don’t get the reference. I can’t recall any scene in the Godfather about mattresses.

  12. Sonny says it to Tom Hagen before they hit Sollozzo.

  13. Well regardless, taking them to the mat, the mattresses, whatever. San Jose has been getting stuff done. Oakland has been taking steps backward. MLB really has no option left but to open San Jose up to the A’s now that all options that aren’t are realistic as the Easter Bunny have been exhausted in Oakland.

  14. Larry Baer will insist there are tons of place to build in the East Bay, even though no one can find any of them.

  15. To PVB100 — can’t blame this one on Mayor Quan. The ineptitude had paved the A’s road out of Oakland well before Quan became mayor. In fairness to her, she was left with a situation where the previous Pols had used disinformation and empty politics to create a fools paradise among the ‘Oakland Only’ crowd. Upon taking office, to tell the truth about the A’s situation would be to be her own executioner yet there was little Oakland could do at this point. Not to say she would have done anything better (probably not) but regarding the A’s situation, she was given the job of Captain of the Titanic after the iceberg had already struck..

    I can see Monte Poole furiously typing a column right now saying “The A’s stadium in Victory Court was a a utopian palace waiting to happen and only Lew Wolfe ruined it! I don’t like Lew Wolfe and that fact proves that everything was his fault!!”
    Ahhhh to be a sports writer. What a club to be part of!

  16. townsend and a few callers tonight mentioned dublin/pleasanton but that’s doubtful.

  17. Ron Dellums acknowledged Oakland’s chances of keeping the A’s were slim to none. Quan seems to want to force the A’s to stay: the Giants will sue you if you try to go to San Jose, so here’s the Coliseum parking lot for you to pay for your own stadium.

  18. Dublin: Where the mayor said no way no how not ever to the Raiders, and they’re going to accept a baseball stadium, with 10X as many dates filled? Don’t think so.

  19. Well sadly it seems among some of the Oakland only crowd at LGO the delusions continue despite the loss of VC. Some of them actually think the Coliseum parking lot plan has a chance… while acknowledging the teams would have to pay for it…

    I think the weed use in Oakland is starting to effect people…

  20. How long before we hear “John Fischer is worth $1 billion and he can STILL pay for Victory Court including the land and infrastructure!”

  21. Dan was that you on the LGO FB page? The guy you’re going back and forth with is in denial.

  22. Is there any way that the W’s moving to SF and the Raiders moving to Santa Clara/ LA can be blamed on Lew Wolff? There has to be a way…

  23. So is the “Waiting” calendar on the right now going to officially hold at 406 days? Speaking of FB message boards, the 95.7 board is pretty pro SJ, only a few bitter about Lew Wolff. It’s a bit odd to see the A’s fan radio begging people to go to games and please support the team. I wish that was the mantra a long time ago, instead of all this nonsense of boycotting and screw Lew. Very unfortunate for the good folks of Oakland, who will probably lose their team to San Jose, and bad for all of us if we lose the team out of the Bay.

  24. @pjk, that was a different mayor that said no to the Raiders 3 or 4 years ago.

  25. This should be viewed as bad news for all A’s fans. Whether Oakland or San Jose, VC was at least another option (however plausible) for keeping the team here in case other efforts fall through. The more sites possible the better.

  26. @ Oakland…/crickets keep chirping away….

  27. @Dan YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO KNOW THE GODFATHER! I keeed I keed. So whats the over under on a decision? Will MLB have one on time for a May Special Election or does this go into the Summer?

  28. eb, normally I’d agree. However I don’t think VC had much chance of happening once redevelopment died (heck it was going to be tough before redev died). And in effect VC gave MLB and out to not push the vote on San Jose and the stripping of the Giants territorial privileges. Now with VC dead and Oakland out of options that are at all realistic, MLB can push the issue and the opposition (the Giants) will have little to throw back at them. There is no location for the A’s in the east bay.

  29. Regardless of VC’s feasibility, SJ/Diridon isn’t a lock yet so it’s unfortunate A’s fans have one less option. Whether you’re all-in on SJ or not, it sucks for everyone that Oakland’s best/only plan is just plunking a new ballpark in the Coliseum parking lot.

  30. Yes, if Selig is too terrified to overturn the Giants territorial “rights,” then we’re looking at the A’s leaving the Bay Area.. But VC was such a long shot as to not really be a viable option in the first place. Same for the Coliseum parking lot idea.

  31. I remember Al Davis talking about how the Coliseum was the best site for a new place. BART and other existing installations already there. He was probably right even though it wasn’t most likely what people wanted to hear. Maybe x years ago with more serious leadership from the city it could have been a strong and real possibility. Now even if there is credibility and tangible reasoning behind advicating Coli City, it just comes off as disjointed, desperate and sad.
    Oh well, I guess we’ll just have to see how much longer this drags out.

  32. Not shocking, but still sad. I can see the silver lining, that this might push Selig on the TR issue. But IMO, that benefit is offset by the huge risk of something going wrong on the path to SJ and the A’s being left with nowhere to go. VC may have been a long shot, but it would have been a great alternative in a location worth trying for.
    BTW, where’s Bryan Grunwald been? There have been several bits of news that I thought he would have jumped on to promote his 980 plan — this included.

  33. Looking at the JLS & VC rendering mockup above, then at an actual picture of the Oakland skyline, it’s unfortunate Oakland can’t be a viable option for the A’s. The city itself is pretty and a new ballpark there would’ve been very eye pleasing. In a perfect world, Oakland could’ve been the Brooklyn of the Bay Area.

  34. Well, I’m overdue with this regular rant of mine: THE GIANTS AREN’T IN CONTROL HERE! Never were! Selig has never been or never will be “terrified” of the Giants. I know most (if not all) of us here are on the same page re the A’s and SJ, but this Giants notion has always bugged the heck out of me. Yes, its been over three years waiting for a “decision,” but I strongly believe other factors have contributed to the delay, ie Wolff securing financing, SJ acquiring ALL the land at Diridon (which still hasn’t happened by the way), uncertainty over a possible referendum, etc. Not the Giants! By the way, saw a photo the other day of Quan standing over a toppled, broken replica model of Oakland City Hall (brought to you by Occupy folks) …kind of sums everything up now does it.

  35. VC being officially “dead” is just one less distraction on the way to Cisco Field.
    Really, the only real possibility left if Cisco in SJ. Coliseum City is an 11th hour politician face saving attempt at providing something that looks intriguing but is only vapor. Dublin/Pleasanton have long since been dismissed by MLB because MLB doesn’t want distant suburban ballparks (and locals would go all NIMBY and fight it vigorously).
    So, it’s SJ or new ownership and out of the Bay Area.
    I agree with Tony. SJ/Cisco is what Selig wants, and has wanted all along. The 3 years has been all about getting all the pieces together, and building consensus, and delaying so as to provide minimal gnats compensation.
    It’s going to happen. It’s not a matter of “if”, but “when”.

  36. jeff – I just can’t be that cavalier about the vote if it comes to pass. I like to think it will succeed easily, but so much can happen in an election. Everything becomes sound bites and FUD.

  37. @crister “I remember Al Davis talking about how the Coliseum was the best site for a new place. BART and other existing installations already there. He was probably right even though it wasn’t most likely what people wanted to hear.”
    NFL football and MLB baseball are very different, with very different venue needs. Al Davis, obviously, was speaking in reference to football. The Coli is a great site for football, lousy site for baseball.
    @all Dublin/Pleasanton is a complete non-starter for an MLB park. It has all the drawbacks of Fremont (suburban, bland), is relatively inconvenient to the rest of the Bay Area, is bottled up behind miserable traffic corridors, and has even less access to corporate base than Oakland. Plus, the residents there show every sign of being less interested in hosting professional sports than the residents of Fremont.
    Coliseum City is a pipe dream, but Dublin/Pleasanton would have to be an order of magnitude more probably to even qualify as a pipe dream/

  38. @bartleby: Regarding Fremont being a bland suburb, lets not kid ourselves. San Jose is a giant suburb even in its densest areas. I’m all-in on Diridon, but only because it’s the best current option for the A’s. It’s not all the traffic and blandness issues as most sites around the Bay Area.

  39. It’s got all the traffic and blandness issues as most sites around the Bay Area.

  40. Your characterization of San Jose as one giants suburb couldn’t be further from the truth. It has a downtown that while not as big as San Francisco’s is every bit as big as many other large cities in the country. Remember people in the bay area have a skewed view of what a “city” is due to SF being the second densest city in the US after New York.

  41. After growing up 40 minutes from New York city, Frisco just doesn’t impress me as a big city. Some nice touristy things, but it’s one-tenth the size of New York. Even San Jose is bigger. Frisco thinks it’s a big city but it’s not even in the Top 10 for the US….

  42. All of this is besides the point. Diridon is an adequate site, but as several other articles have mentioned, it isn’t without its issues regarding traffic, population desity and public transit options, which is part is due to San Jose being sprawl, even in its downtown area. Is this really debatable? Let’s be real.

  43. Sure San Jose has a lot of sprawl. It’s much like Los Angeles in that regard.

  44. North San Jose sure looks a lot like Fremont, but downtown? That’s LGO material…

  45. Not much else to day with regard to VC beyond it’s dead and with it any hope Oakland realistically had of keeping the team. Let’s Go San Jose A’s!

  46. wonder what happens to jls? with lawrence lab not picking the oak to ninth site and at this time i don’t think the recent construction of the market to the south of jls not taking off from what i’m seeing as i drive by from time to time the past few months. i have serious doubts any waterfront park would happen with the a’s. seems like that area which has seen a lot of businesss close up in recent years isn’t getting any better anytime soon unlike what’s happening around uptown.

  47. @ Briggs “All of this is besides the point. Diridon is an adequate site, but as several other articles have mentioned, it isn’t without its issues regarding traffic, population desity and public transit options, which is part is due to San Jose being sprawl, even in its downtown area. Is this really debatable? Let’s be real.”
    I have no idea what you’re talking about. Have you actually been to downtown SJ?
    Traffic is light for a city it’s size, especially on 280 where you can cruise in even during rush hour with no problem. Traffic is far better in downtown SJ than either SF or Oakland.
    Downtown certainly does not “sprawl.” At less than a square mile, it is admirably compact and walkable, with dozens of restaurants, bars and nightclubs and many diverse entertainment venues. It has comparable numbers of people within the all-important 20 mile radius as the Coli site, and it’s density is consistently increasing as more high rise condo towers are built.
    Downtown SJ is currently served by four major rail systems (Caltrain, light rail, Amtrak and ACE), with BART and HSR possibly in the future. It’s also hub for an extensive network of buses.
    Simply put, there is no comparison between downtown SJ and either Fremont or Dublin/Pleasanton.

  48. As a Pleasanton resident, I’d love to have the A’s in town. It won’t ever happen, but I’d be down with it:)

  49. “The first thing that the redevelopment agency going away means for the ballpark in Oakland is that it will not be at Victory Court. ”

    …presumptuous that there will be ANY ballpark in Oakland. There’s no site left but the already-rejected Coliseum site and no money whatsoever to pay for it.

  50. That’s just an Oakland-only “current rundown.”

  51. “What I did hear yesterday was that the city has been in contact with MLB — I think that means they’ve communicated that Victory Court’s not going to happen — but that they have not communicated with the A’s.”

    …once again, Oakland doesn’t bother to contact the people absolutely the most-affected by VC cancellation – the A’s owners. Think the A’s owners might want to know what the city is doing about their franchise?

  52. Uhhh… Coliseum City gets an “A” for effort… But it ain’t ever happening. I feel sorry for the folks that think it is realistic… Angela Woodall needs to learn how to be a journalist. It isn’t her job to hold Oakland’s water. It is her job to report the truth.

  53. talked about a’s issue again on chron live tue. didn’t catch all of it, probably caught the last half but kozimor was the host with thompkins and shea on.

    thompson said a’s fans deserve better, even though the fans who do show up to the coliseum aren’t many they’re great fans and it showed even at fanfest with how much the fans have been kicked in the gut with the recent trades yet again of their star players, they still showed up and showed up big with the supposed 10k who attended the event. thompkins also said it’s unfair what mlb is doing to the a’s fans and org by keeping this team in limbo for essentially the past three years not knowing where their long term home could be by not ruling whether the a’s can move to sj or not.

    mentioned how wolff talked individually with some fans about the whole situation regarding the a’s possibly moving and they thought it was more pr than anything. still they don’t get why wolff is vilified for wanting to move the team just 30 miles south compared to what happened with the sfg back after 92 when lurie who was the majority owner unlike wolff who is the front man as fisher owns 90% of the time and is skating by without being criticized, but lurie unlike wolff wasn’t bashed by the fans or media here locally when he wanted to move the team as far as you could from the bay area when he had a deal with st. petersburg. although i don’t know if that would’ve been the case had there been all the social networking and message board/blogs back 17 or 18 years ago.

    kozimor did ask at the end of the discussion that if you were a businessman wouldn’t you want to move to sj and the panel basically said yes.

  54. @Bartleby

    SJ has no traffic? Please sell me whatever it is you have been smoking. Thank you.

  55. @Cat daddy- San Jose from the East Bay has very little traffic down 680 south. 880 south has some traffic but a 4th lane has been approved to be added from 237 to 101 and will be done before the A’s move to San Jose.

    Victory Court was the biggest pipe dream ever and now that Oakland has thrown in the towel officially it sets up San Jose very nicely.

    Rumor has it from my buddy who works in media is that MLB is going to make a decision the first 2 weeks of February.

    Oakland has been out of the running for a while and San Jose is the only way to save the A’s in this market and MLB knows this.

    Judgement Day is coming soon!

  56. @Cat Daddy: Of course there is SOME traffic, it’s a city with a million people. But they do have 6 freeways and is typically a little bit less of a nightmare for traffic. Most importantly, I’ve been to a few Sharks games, and while that would be about half of the crowd of a sold out Cisco Field baseball game, getting there and leaving seems like it was pretty easy compared to waiting to leave say, a W’s game which would have about the same crowd. You just sit there and wait for your turn to head 880 south in Oakland for what seems like forever at times. But there are a lot of ways out of DT SJ- and if you want to just wait out the little traffic that IS there, there are actually a lot of places to go after the hockey game, which is another bonus for a downtown ballpark.

  57. @Cat Daddy “SJ has no traffic? Please sell me whatever it is you have been smoking. Thank you.”
    That’s not even close to what I wrote. I wrote, specifically in reference to the downtown area, “Traffic is light for a city it’s size, especially on 280 where you can cruise in even during rush hour with no problem. Traffic is far better in downtown SJ than either SF or Oakland.”
    All completely factual statements. I don’t think you need me to sell you anything; based on the reading comprehension evidenced by your post, I think you’re doing OK with your current supply.

  58. @ML @Jeffrey why is Woodall bringing up the Anti-trust exemption again on twitter? Sen. Boxer wrote that letter back in ’09 about keeping A’s in Oakland once Fremont imploded. But she didn’t explicitly or implicitly mention going after the anti-trust exemption. So why would a journalist bring it up? Likewise, what journalist wouldn’t do due diligence and ask what would entail a Congressional action to end the Anti-Trust exemption? The exemption exists by supreme court precedent. Which means you could try to pass a bill in the House and Senate to remove the exemption, but given that this is a general election year, hardly any legislating is going to happen. Also, this was tried by Symington in 60’s to stop the Kansas City move and in the 1990s, and both of those efforts failed. In the current Senate, you can’t move anything without 60 votes, and I highly doubt there are 60 votes for anything close to this in the Senate, let alone passing something through unanimous consent which would prevent amendment.

    I can understand LGO folks bringing this up because they know zilch about Senate procedure, but why would a journalist bring it up?

    • @Nicosan – Woodall’s beat is Oakland. Guess where much of her info comes from? The City of Oakland and its supporters. It quite literally comes with the territory. Take the antitrust threat with a grain of salt. She didn’t follow up that Sen. Boxer hasn’t done anything since she sent the letter to MLB. In addition, Woodall also reported that Alameda County is upset with Oakland officials for not involving them in the Coliseum City project.

  59. So government pressure is gong to do what? Force MLB to operate the A’s as a money-loser in the Coliseum forever? Remember Diane Feinstein’s adamant insistence that the 49ers need to stay in Frisco? How’s that working out for her?…I believe that with 1 million residents, San Jose should have a few legislators of its own…

  60. @ML it would seem that these threats would need to be taken with entire Morton’s Salt factory. But if the beat was Oakland you could call Barbara Lee’s district office and ask what anti-trust bill would entail and whether the effort would be undertaken. Or Boxer’s SF office. In my view, there isn’t a chance in this hell or any other that such a bill would actually get to the floor of either chamber, one because I doubt Boehner has any interest on the House side and two because I don’t see there being the votes to get such a bill even out of committee on the Senate side. It just seems like one of those wild 11th hour options. Ratto was on point, a wing and prayer won’t work if aren’t serious.

    The nugget about Alameda County being mad at city for not including them in planning for Coliseum City would suggest that the whole idea was slapped together over a day or two and a presser was organized without real planning to cover several leader’s behinds, no?

  61. @Nicosan – I wouldn’t get worked up about the antitrust threat. It’s not even a paper tiger. It’s a ghost.

    Re: AC/Oak – Yeah, that’s how things seem to work these days.

  62. What’s really funny is that the ONLY funding source LGO and the city seem to be able to point to right now for their vaportecture Coliseum City plan is… wait for it… the Coliseum Authority which is jointly owned with the county. Sounds like a winner of a plan to me.

  63. @Bartleby
    “where you can cruise in even during rush hour with no problem.”

    Yeah, no. Lay off the drugs, kid.

  64. @Cat Daddy
    I go to downtown SJ during rush hour on a regular basis; traffic on 280 flows freely. Further, traffic out of downtown after Sharks games and other HP Pavilion events is a cake walk. Clearly you have no idea what you’re talking about.

  65. so happy VC is dead. its a terrible place for the A’s at this point. the athletics would never be succesful there so its good to see that pipe dream finally sleep off

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