The search for a new home continues during the offseason for the Oakland A’s. In 2013, the Athletics suffered sewer and flooding problems at the O.co Coliseum and with their lease up at the end of this year, it seems like the perfect time to pick up and move to a new home. But with a desire to move to San Jose in limbo, and with no vacant stadiums to stay at in the meantime, the idea of moving away from Oakland is shrinking fast.
However, the O.co Coliseum complex might not want the Athletics. Recently, the Coliseum authorities have been playing hardball with the Oakland A’s when it comes to signing a short-term contract with the baseball club. There have been disagreements over how to split the revenue from food and beverage sales as well as signage space. Because of these disagreements and the lack of a resolution, the officials of the Major League Baseball have stepped in.
AT&T Park – Home of the San Francisco Giants
This past week, the MLB suggested the idea of having the Oakland Athletics move across the bay and play their 2014 season at AT&T Park – the home of the San Francisco Giants. These two rivals would have to share a stadium for not one, but two seasons while the A’s find a more long-term solution. Both Athletics and Giants fans were appalled by this idea.
Not only do fans dislike this idea, but it will also become a stressful situation for the MLB. Besides having rivals share a stadium, there is also the issue of overlapping home games. For the 2014 season, there are 9 home games that would overlap. It would definitely put some pressure on the MLB to figure out how to work around this issue.
But this suggestion is not too far fetched since it has happened before. The New York Yankees and New York Mets both played at Shea Stadium in the 1970s while Yankee Stadium was being renovated. Additionally, the Los Angeles Angels and the Los Angeles Dodgers shared a ballpark in the 60’s while a new stadium was being built in Anaheim for the Angels.
I doubt that this will actually happen since it sounds like more of a threat directed toward the Coliseum officials, but the lack of response from the Giants front office suggests that they might be open to the idea. Additionally, even though A’s owner Lew Wolff says that they intend to extend their lease at the Coliseum, the key word there is “intend” since no deal has actually been reached yet. If the A’s and the Coliseum authorities do not come to an agreement, the A’s could find themselves playing somewhere else in 2014.
There is a fear that the Athletics will be moved out of the Bay Area completely. This happened the Montreal Expos in 2004 when the MLB actually bought the team and moved them down the Washington D.C. They were then named the Washington Nationals and the rest is history.
Even though there is a small chance that the O.co Coliseum authories will not accept a short-term lease, this contraversy foreshadows a larger issue to come if the MLB does not allow the Oakland A’s to move to San Jose. The Athletics are not looking to stay at the Coliseum much longer because of its current rugged condition so the search for a new home continues whether it be in the Bay or somewhere else.