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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Oakland A fans hope ‘the team we love’ stays the same

OAKLAND — Carlos Soria and his friends who provide the steady drumbeat that serve as the backdrop for A’s home games were in their usual place on Tuesday — a perfect afternoon for baseball at the Coliseum stream in right-field bleachers in 149.

Soria was also aware of what happened elsewhere in Oakland – the city council approved the initial terms for a new $12 billion waterfront ballpark project, and A’s executive Dave Kaval said the new deal would be good for the team. doesn’t work.

“Each side has its own merits,” Soria said. “City council, they are taking care of their constituents. A’s guys, they’re looking for the team. Somewhere there is a happy middle. Must be here.”

Other fans attending Tuesday’s game – knowing how long the A’s and City have settled on a new ballpark – were less optimistic that something could be done.

The city council voted 6-1 in favor of a proposal that requires development to include affordable housing, environmental measures and other amenities. But it is not clear whether A – led by Kaval and owner John Fischer – wants to continue talks with the city or turn its full attention to the relocation.

“They seem so far apart that there doesn’t seem to be much middle ground,” said Steve Rodgers, 63, of Campbell’s. “I’m not an Oakland resident, but you definitely want to see the city break even if nothing else happens. I want it to be a win-win situation.”

Theresa Fernandez, 58, of San Ramon, said she would love to see Oakland build a new waterfront park in the Jack London Square area.

“I think it will be great for the city,” she said. “Look what Giants Stadium did for San Francisco. That area, you didn’t even want to go there. It wasn’t a nice neighborhood but look at it now. It’s amazing.”

Sports fans of the East Bay – still horrified at seeing two other professional sports franchises in what they thought were greener pastures – fear they may be seeing a third.

The Raiders vacated Oakland after the 2019 season, leaving millions in debt over the failed deal that brought the team back from Oakland in 1995. They are now in their stunning new digs, Elegant Stadium in Las Vegas.

OAKLAND, CA – JULY 20: Oakland Athletics fan Carlos Soria of Phoenix, Arizona, plays drums during the A’s game against the Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Coliseum on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 in Oakland, California. (Doug Duran/Bay Area Newsgroup)

The Warriors moved to the gleaming Chase Center in San Francisco, which may be the highest arena in the NBA, at the Oracle Arena.

“After the Warriors left, and then you had the Raiders, Oakland is just what’s left – I don’t want to say die – but the stadium is getting so old,” said 17-year-old Tyler Berggren of Concord. “As much as I love (the Coliseum), I feel like a new stadium in Oakland – the proposed one – would be the best option.”

Kaval has been to Las Vegas several times in recent months to meet with local government officials and other local influential figures. He is very visible and willing to speak with local reporters, leaving no doubt that the team has a valid option for a transfer.

“I think it’s a negotiating ploy,” said Max Pringle, 52, of Vallejo, of Caval’s Visibility in Las Vegas. Pringle said he thinks A has done its part to get a new stadium and hopes City can bridge the remaining gap.

A’s project includes a $1 billion privately funded 35,000-seat waterfront ballpark, 3,000 residential units, office and retail space, hotel rooms, and an indoor performance center.

The team’s lease at the Coliseum runs through 2024, and Caval and Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred do not consider building another stadium on the current site a viable option.

Still, Soria said Tuesday’s vote was “a step forward” for City and A’s fans.

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