Oakland Athletics’ $12 Billion Waterfront Ballpark Project Cleared By San Francisco Development Commission

by Patrick Norton

A once forgone conclusion that the Oakland Athletics would move on and out of California hit another roadblock yesterday – a $12 billion roadblock of an outrageous proposal to build the Athletics a new home in Oakland.

Often considered the worst stadium in sports, the Oakland Coliseum no longer claims the NFL‘s Raiders as a tenant. It appeared likely MLB‘s Athletics could follow its football counterpart eastward to Las Vegas. It’s still a possibility, but it’s far from a guarantee.

A ruling from the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission reclassifies 56 acres on the Port of Oakland as a “mixed-use area” capable of housing a new stadium. This ruling is only a single step toward actually building something for the baseball team. But it’s a positive step for the city that has lost two professional sports teams in as many years.

With the Raiders bolting for Vegas and the Golden State Warriors maintaining the same level of success across the bay in San Francisco, the Athletics represent a final shot for the city on the brink of sports elimination.

The ruling also puts less emphasis in the short-term on determining relocation cities. And the release of mounting tension between the city and ball club excites team president Dave Kaval. Following the commission’s ruling, Kaval took to Twitter, proclaiming the vote a “huge win”.

For Oakland Athletics, Wins in 2022 Few, Far Between

Moneyball – a 2011 movie starring Brad Pitt as general manager Billy Beane – portrays the Athletics organization as a penny-pinching franchise. But the movie isn’t fiction. The shortcomings of the franchise point directly toward money spent. An infamous scene in the film depicts David Justice befuddled by a vending machine in the clubhouse that actually requires payment.

Oakland’s never been the New York Yankees, nor should there be an expectation that joining that tier is ever in the cards. However, a $12 billion project that includes a state-of-the-art facility catapults the image of the impoverished franchise.

But Kaval calling the reclassification a “huge win” is almost a slap in the face to Athletics fans. While happy the franchise might stay – but lacking any sort of guarantee – the organization still possesses baseball’s worst record. At 25-53 entering July, the slightest bit of stadium news doesn’t serve as a victory; rather it’s a sign of improper priorities as the on-field product falls further and further behind.