Thus, and with the greatest of apology to all of those who have expended time and energy on behalf of the A’s, and the same apology to those who have expended time and energy in a sincere and polite expression of disagreement with our desire to relocate in the City of Fremont, I have concluded that further consideration of the A’s relocating to Fremont must cease.
And with that statement in a letter to Fremont city officials, Oakland A’s owner Lew Wolff officially stuck a fork in the two-year-plus saga of his team’s attempted move to the small city of Fremont, which had foundered on opposition by local landholders and protests by the local citizenry. As of Saturday, Wolff was still holding out hope for a site near the planned Warm Springs BART station, but given that he didn’t have land or funding identified there, it was no surprise when he declared today that the Fremont move was deader than the U.S. auto industry.
As was probably inevitable, the letter — and an accompanying statement by Wolff that he remains focused on “Northern California” — set off a round of speculation about where the A’s stadium hunt might turn next, with San Jose, Sacramento, and some lady in Morgan Hill all throwing their hats in the ring. Each has problems, however, which is how Wolff got focused on Fremont in the first place: Sacramento is relatively small and isolated from much of the Bay Area, while San Jose has a long tradition of opposing public stadium funding and would almost certainly require a substantial payoff to the Giants for their territorial rights.
The likeliest scenario seems that the A’s stay put in Oakland for the time being — and perhaps beyond. It’s centrally located, there are no territorial snags, and several sites in Oakland are available that would be less likely to prompt community outrage than in Fremont (though funding would still be a contentious issue); for that matter, if the Raiders end up moving out of town in the next few years, a Kauffmanesque renovation of the Coliseum could be a possibility. It’s no doubt not Wolff’s #1 choice — he still salivates over getting closer to the South Bay and its silicon riches — but it could end up being the best choice he has left.