Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig today commended the Oakland A’s and Oakland and Alameda County officials for reaching an agreement to extend the team’s lease at the O.co Coliseum but city and county officials said no agreement has been reached yet.
In his statement, Selig said, “I commend the Oakland Athletics and the JPA (the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority) for their efforts in reaching an extension for a lease at O.co Coliseum. The agreement on this extension is a crucial first step towards keeping Major League Baseball in Oakland.”
But Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley both said negotiations are continuing and nothing has been approved at this point.
Quan said in a statement, “We are still negotiating, so were surprised by the announcement of an agreement.”
Miley, who chairs the JPA, which oversees the sports facilities at the Coliseum site, said in a separate statement, “We are still fine-tuning the details of the license agreement between the authority and the A’s.”
Miley said, “It is our hope that the details will be finalized shortly and will then be voted upon the by the JPA on Friday. Once approved, the agreement will then be voted upon by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and the Oakland City Council in the weeks ahead.”
The A’s and the JPA agreed last November to extend the A’s lease for two years, through the end of 2015, and have been working this year on extending the lease for an additional 10 years.
Quan said, “We are all working to make sure the A’s stay here at home in Oakland” but noted that as recently as Tuesday night the JPA received a new counteroffer from the A’s which it hasn’t yet an opportunity to review in depth.
She said, “We plan to meet tomorrow (Thursday), continue negotiations and hope there will be an agreement soon.”
However, A’s spokesman Bob Rose claimed that there already is an agreement between the baseball team and the JPA, pending a vote by the City Council and the Board of Supervisors.
Rose said in an email that Selig’s statement “is not news” and that Major League Baseball “just wanted to make it clear that they support our view that the Howard Terminal site (for a new stadium) is a non-issue.”
The Howard Terminal site, which is just north of Jack London Square, is now vacant and Port of Oakland commissioners voted in March to enter into exclusive negotiations with a group of Oakland business leaders who are proposing to build a waterfront stadium there. Some Oakland officials also support that location.
However, A’s owner Lew Wolff has said he isn’t interested in building a stadium at the Howard Terminal site and if the team stays in Oakland he would prefer that a new stadium be built on the Coliseum site.
Selig said, “I continue to believe that the Athletics need a new facility and am fully supportive of the club’s view that the best site in Oakland is the Coliseum site.”
Selig said, “Contrary to what some have suggested, the committee that has studied this issue did not determine that the Howard Terminal site was the best location for a new facility in Oakland.”
Rose said, “Mr. Wolff has studied that site (the Howard Terminal location) to exhaustion and it’s clear that both the cost and time needed for clean up makes it absolutely unviable.”
Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News