Oakland Coliseum

A's players applaud ballpark announcement, but how many will get to play in it?

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AP

A's players applaud ballpark announcement, but how many will get to play in it?

BOSTON — The A’s announcement of a location to build their ballpark made Wednesday a potentially pivotal day in franchise history.

But with a five-year timeline, at minimum, before that stadium would open, the news wasn’t exactly the talk of the A’s clubhouse before Wednesday’s game against the Red Sox.

Shortstop Marcus Semien, a Bay Area native, expressed happiness for the A’s organization, their fans and the city of Oakland at the announced plan to build a venue near Lake Merritt, just down the street from Laney College.

But knowing how often the roster turns over, he wondered who on the A’s current team might still be wearing an Oakland uniform by the proposed grand opening, set for the start of the 2023 season.

“I don’t know when it’s gonna be finished, but hopefully some of us get to experience playing in it,” said the 26-year-old Semien, who is eligible for free agency after the 2020 season. “Maybe some of the guys in the minor leagues might be able to. It depends on who’s here and who’s not. But either way, (it’d be great) if we can play in it — for the A’s or for someone else.”

Outfielder Matt Joyce shared the same sentiment, saying he was happy for fans but admitting it was tough to get too pumped about a plan that’s so far down the road.

The A’s built in that five-year cushion to complete an expansive to-do list.

They’re aiming to buy a 13-acre plot of land that currently houses the Peralta Community College District headquarters. Before the first shovel hits dirt in 2021 at that location, team president Dave Kaval anticipates taking one year to continue meeting with Peralta officials as well as local residents and business owners, many of whom have expressed skepticism about building a ballpark in the area.

Another two years is expected to acquire all the needed permits, complete the necessary environmental reviews and finalize ballpark design.

The upshot is the A’s are looking at another five years playing at the Coliseum. And given that, it’s worth taking into consideration what changes and improvements the A’s might aim to make to their current home. They’ve already made attempts this year to improve the fan experience at the Coliseum, adding food trucks and opening Shibe Park Tavern inside the stadium.

It’s a solid bet they gradually look to improve things from a team and player perspective. Earlier this season, Kaval told NBC Sports California that after the Raiders leave for Las Vegas, he has designs on possibly taking over the Raiders’ locker room space and making it the A’s new clubhouse.

Manager Bob Melvin would be a big fan of that idea.

“That would be great,” he said Wednesday. “Look, I’m a Raider fan, and I don’t want to see them go. But the fact of the matter is they are gonna go, and there is more space at our ballpark for us to be able to take advantage of, whether it’s training room space, whether it’s weight room type space, whether it’s expanding the clubhouse. Those would be important things for us, and we would have the ability to do that once the Raiders leave.”

The Raiders’ lease runs through the 2018 season, but owner Mark Davis has mentioned a desire to possibly play at the Coliseum in 2019 before his team’s Vegas stadium is ready in 2020.

Manfred willing to wait on new stadium for Oakland Athletics

Manfred willing to wait on new stadium for Oakland Athletics

MIAMI — Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred is willing to wait — to a point — for the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics to get new ballparks.

Tampa Bay and Oakland are the only two major league teams currently seeking new stadiums. The Rays have a lease through 2027 at Tropicana Field, which opened in 1990 and has hosted the Rays since the team started play in 1998.

The A’s have been at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum since moving there from Kansas City for the 1968 season. The park opened in 1966.

“We right or wrongly have been extraordinarily committed to our existing markets and patient with those markets as a result,” Manfred told the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Tuesday. “I continue to believe that Tampa is a viable major league market. I also believe it may be better than the alternatives that we have out there, and I am hopeful that we get to a resolution. As I’ve said to you before, however, there does come a point in time where we have to accept the reality that the market for whatever set of reasons can’t get to the point that they have a major league quality facility, and I am not going to indefinitely leave a club in a market without a major league quality facility.”

The Rays have been considering sites on both the St. Petersburg and Tampa sides of the bay.

“It really depends on progress, right?” Manfred said. “At the point in time that it starts to grind to a halt and nothing’s happening — I don’t think we’re there, OK — but at that point in time where everybody’s kind of, you get this look of where are we going next, that’s when you’ve got to start thinking about what your alternatives are.”

The San Francisco Chronicle reported last month the A’s are focusing on three locations. The paper said the team is strongly interested in a 13-acre site near downtown that currently is headquarters of the Peralta Community College District. The Chronicle also said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf favors Howard Terminal, north of Jack London Square, and the team is considering constructing a new ballpark at its current location, the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

John Fisher was approved in November as the controlling owner of the Athletics.

“They’ve said they’re going to by the end of the year identify a site in Oakland that’s their preferred site,” Manfred said. “I think that given the change in the control situation in Oakland that it was prudent for Mr. Fisher to take a year and make a decision as to what site he thinks is the best. That decision is a uniquely local decision. I really don’t believe it is my job to have a preference for those sites. They know their market better.”

Manfred said at a Town Hall on Monday that MLB will delay any plans for expansion until after the A’s and Rays get new ballparks. He mentioned Montreal, Mexico City and Charlotte, North Carolina, as expansion candidates.

Does St. Louis' suit against NFL mean hope for the City of Oakland?

Does St. Louis' suit against NFL mean hope for the City of Oakland?

You thought you were done worrying about the Raiders. You thought the votes were in, the moving vans booked for three years down the road, and all gnashing and sharpening of teeth was over. You thought you were free.

Then those buttinsky-come-latelies from St. Louis decided to rear their litigious heads, and now you find yourselves slipping back into that desperate-hope world from which no one escapes.

It seems the city and its regional sports authority has decided to sue the National Football League and its 32 semi-independent duchies over the relocation of the Rams 15 months ago because, and you’ll like this one, the league allegedly did not follow its own relocation rules when it moved the team.

As you know, there is no such thing as a rule if everyone governed by the rule decided unanimously to ignore the rule. This doctrine falls under the general heading of, “We’re billionaires, try and stop us.”

But all lawsuits have a common denominator, and that is that there is money at the end of the rainbow. St. Louis is claiming it is going to miss out on approximately $100 million in net proceeds (read: cash) and has decided that the NFL and especially their good pal Stan Kroenke is going to have to pay for permission to do what they have already done -- specifically, leave.

Because the suit was filed in St. Louis, the benefits of home field advantage apply, and the league is likely to have to reinflate their lawyers for some exciting new billable hours.

As to whether it turns into a windfall for the jilted Missourians, well, as someone who has known lawyers, I would list them as prohibitive underdogs. But there is nuisance value here, which brings us to Oakland.

The city and county, as we know, did not put its best shoe forward in trying to lure the Raiders into staying or the other 31 owners into rejecting the team’s pleas for geographical relief. By that, we mean that the city and county did not fall all over itself to meet the league’s typically extortionate demands.

But they did play angry enough to start snipping about the 2019 part of the Raiders’ 3-More-Coliseum-Years plan, and they are threatening to sue over about $80K in unpaid parking fees, so filing their own breach-of-rules lawsuit might be a possibility.

Because, hey, what’s the point of sounding like a nuisance if you can’t actually become one?

By now, it is clear that everyone in SuitWorld got what it needed out of the Raiders’ move. The city and county could concentrate on guiding the A’s into activity on their own new stadium. The team could go where Mark Davis has been agitating for it to go for at least three years – somewhere else. The state of Nevada could find a place for that $750 million that was burning a hole in its casino vault. And the league went to a market that it, at first reluctantly and then enthusiastically, decided should be its own.

The fans? Oh, please. Who cares about them? To the NFL, and to all corporations in all walks of business, folks are just walking wallets.

But for some cash? Well, climb on board, suckers. The gravy train is pulling out on Track 3.

Nobody is fool enough to think the Raiders would be forced to return. Hell, even St. Louis isn’t asking for the Rams back. They just want to get paid for the money they probably banked on in the good old days before Stan Kroenke decided to head west.

And that would doubtless be Oakland’s stance as well if. Now the circumstances are slightly different, in that St. Louis worked harder to keep the Rams than Oakland did to keep the Raiders. St. Louis scared up $350 million toward new digs for the Rams, well short of what Kroenke would have accepted, while Oakland said it could get its hands on some infrastructure money and no more.

But Mayor Libby Schaaf complained in her relocation post mortem that the league didn’t follow its own guidelines (yay correlation as causation!), maybe with an eye toward throwing a few lawyers into the fire to see how long it would burn.

There is not yet any indication that the city and county are going that route (and the silence may simply mean that they are sick of the Raiders’ saga as everyone else seems to be), but if they do, well, don’t freak out that the team might be forced to return.

Except, of course, in that place where migraines start. Dragging this back up is a bit like the phantom pain amputees feel -- but hey, people will do a lot for a bit of court-ordered cash. Anyone who has ever watched Judge Judy will understand.