Baseball stadiums carry a mythical allure that other arenas of sport simply don’t possess. Probably due to the insufferable nostalgia that some people insist on tacking onto the (great) game of baseball. But no Major League Baseball stadium suffers more from structural ennui than the Oakland Coliseum, one of the league’s oldest ballparks.
And all of that might all change.
San Francisco Chronicle’s Matier and Ross report that team co-owner Jack Fisher will take a "hush-hush" tour of the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal as a possible site for a new ballpark.
This is surprising news given the fact that Fisher, a majority owner, is infamous for barely showing an interest the team, not listening to fans, rarely granting interviews/making public statements. One can only assume he has finally seen dollar signs in the air.
While the waterfront site would be picturesque for a new A’s stadium, there are problems. Specifically:
For starters, Howard Terminal is a mile from the closest BART station, at 12th Street and Broadway downtown. That’s actually less than the distance from BART’s Embarcadero Station to AT&T Park, but the trek through Oakland’s warehouse district is a lot less attractive—and less safe—than a stroll along San Francisco’s postcard-perfect waterfront.
With ferry and bus service also limited, many fans would drive. Building a large parking garage near the ballpark is an option, but planners would still need to find a way to get pedestrians over the main railroad line that separates Howard Terminal from downtown. We’re told that as many as three pedestrian bridges could be needed, along with an overpass for cars.
Officials have estimated that the city would probably have to come up with at least $90 million for such infrastructure improvements.
What’s more, according to Matier and Ross, "Fisher recently signed up Strada Investment Group’s Jesse Blout and Michael Cohen to help come up with an Oakland ballpark plan."
The two have also been key in helping develop the Warriors’ new San Francisco home in Mission Bay.
But for many fans, a few simple tweaks to the current stadium would suffice. Tearing down Mount Davis and getting better food would be a good start. (Please don’t get rid of Ballpark Poppers!)
It’s important to note that this isn’t the first time the A’s have tried to switch things up. It’s an ongoing thing.
Back in 2005, A's co-owner and spokesperson Lew Wolff tried to jumpstart an Oakland A’s facility, which would have been built on the site of the Coliseum Flea Market north of the stadium, a 90-acre baseball village boasting a small, 35,000-seat stadium.
- A’s owner taking a look at waterfront site for new ballpark [SF Chronicle]
- Ballpark of a Future Past [SF Weekly]