The Oakland A’s played a doubleheader in Oakland Tuesday. On the field, the A’s beat the Los Angeles Angels (presumably still of Anaheim) 6-0. Earlier in the day, the City of Oakland beat the A’s 6-1 by voting in favor of the city and not the team’s proposal sheet for a new ballpark. Although nothing is set in stone, the vote definitely sets the table for the A’s to become the third and final professional sports team to leave Oakland in the past few years, with the Raiders having relocated to Las Vegas — ironically, the city most often associated with potential landing places for the A’s — and the Warriors moving across the Bay to San Francisco.
The A’s ongoing saga to replace the badly aging and, ever since the construction of Mount Davis, utterly miserable Coliseum has been going on for well over a decade. Attempts to move the team down the road a bit to San Jose were shot down by the Giants, who were given territorial rights to the place back when they were fishing about for a new ballpark. As it turned out, the rights were unnecessary as the team was ultimately able to build a new facility in San Francisco, unlike the 49ers, who dropped their new stadium in Santa Clara, San Jose’s next-door neighbor. Talk of other cities in the eastern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area turned out to be just that — talk. The A’s current ownership is dead set against building a new park at the present Coliseum site because … well, apparently just because. Thus, the only remaining location in Oakland is a place called Howard Terminal, which is on the water in the general vicinity of Jack London Square. This is the closest thing Oakland has to a tourist area save a few spots in the western portion of town, where sideshows and the occasional shooting provide quality entertainment for the whole family.
The A’s and the city of Oakland are at loggerheads over — now here’s a surprise — tax issues. Under the A’s proposal, the team will pay for the stadium and a fair amount of transportation infrastructure, affordable housing (or at least the Bay Area’s equivalent thereof), and other stuff designed to make Oakland look better during stadium flyovers of nationally televised games. The city would contribute to the infrastructure, mostly transportation hub-related, costs. The city would like Alameda County, in which Oakland resides, to pitch in a bit. Arguments are flying faster and with more fury than a Vin Diesel movie about special tax zones. The city has waited until the last minute — why yes, this is a government entity listed in California, why do you ask? — to send the A’s their proposal regarding terms. The city’s terms demand the A’s pay for a whole lot of things they hadn’t planned on, but it’s okay as the city will pay the team back with the taxes raised. Um, sure. We believe you. No, really, we mean that.
Even though today’s vote was non-binding, the A’s went into it talking as though it was the bottom of the ninth. Which it wasn’t, unless the A’s decide to walk away from the negotiation table. Meanwhile, a fine fun time is being had by all except A’s fans, and yes we do exist in far greater numbers than is often expected, wondering if Tuesday will be the beginning of the end.