Nothing against the fine folks of Fremont, but if you're a Major League Baseball team and they don't want you, it may be time to reconsider hanging around the San Francisco Bay Area.
On Tuesday A's owner Lew Wolff officially squelched a proposed 32,000-seat, $500 million ballpark plan in Fremont, which is about 20 miles south of Oakland, in part because of the warm and welcoming folks in the photo here. Will the A's end up playing in a trailer park outside of Reno? Suddenly they're vagabonds: They don't want to stay in Oakland because of the antiquated facilities and fickle fan base, and their plan to move to Fremont has met with enough resistance (residents there don't want the stadium expense or the traffic) for the A's to say forget it.
Next up: San Jose, that jewel of Northern California that is home to the Sharks, AFL SaberCats and estimable San Jose State (which gave us Jeff Garcia and Dick Vermeil!). But there's trouble with that plan as well. Although San Jose would like nothing better than to welcome the Athletics, Santa Clara County — where a new stadium would be built — is considered San Francisco Giants territory. The A's would need permission from Major League Baseball to move in and compete for South Bay fans. It's a range war!
Baseball has solved territorial disputes before to allow teams to move. In 2005, when Montreal moved to Washington, D.C., and became the Nationals, the team struck a deal with the Baltimore Orioles, using television revenue to compensate the Orioles for the team's loss of territorial exclusivity. It is unclear whether a similar plan could work in the Bay Area.
It would take a bold decision on Bud Selig's part to make that happen ... ha ha ha, never mind. Forget I wrote that.
So the next alternatives for the A's would be Sacramento, Las Vegas and, of all places, Portland. My proposal is to make them a barnstorming team like the 19th-century Cincinnati Red Stockings; then you won't need a home base. Also, I hear that Shelbyville may be interested. If your town would like to get in the mix, give them a call.
Purdy: Come On Major League Baseball, Find The Way To San Jose [San Jose Mercury]
San Jose Could Be On Deck Next For The A's [San Jose Mercury]