Commissioner Bud Selig, center, sitting with former San Francisco Giants President Peter Magowan, left, and Oakland Athletics owner Lew Wolff in 2007. Could he have been trying to broker a deal back then?
The Oakland A's plan to relocate its "Moneyball" franchise to a cozy new ballpark in Fremont fell apart this week after growing opposition from residents and politicians, who were concerned with traffic, costs and the environmental impact of a stadium.
Now San Jose is stepping up to the plate and making a pitch for the once proud franchise. On Thursday, three San Jose council members asked that the city council discuss a strategy for negotiating with the A's and Major League Baseball about building a stadium in San Jose.
The members asked the commission to conduct "a poll to determine citywide public support for the project" and to report back to the council within 45 days.
Even if San Jose wanted to make a pitch for the Athletics there are several hurdles they would have to clear. Oakland still wants the team to stay put and currently Santa Clara County is designated San Francisco Giants territory by Major League Baseball. But baseball Commissioner Bud Selig has recently suggested that the league is willing to soften its stance on the territorial rights.
The memo also points out that Selig sent a letter to his former frat buddy, Lew Wolff, the owner and operator of the A's, giving him permission to talk with "other communities" if Fremont was taken off the table.
"Bringing the A's to San Jose is a great opportunity to market San Jose and the downtown core," the memo reads.
The memo goes on to identify one location in downtown San Jose as a potential stadium site.
"The Redevelopment Agency owns most of the 14-acre project site next to downtown Diridon Station and the EIR has been completed," it reads. "The development of a stadium would pump $500 million into San Jose and create several hundred construction jobs. A stadium would act as a catalyst for the development of a larger, transit-oriented community adjacent to the future portal to BART, Caltrain and High-Speed Rail."
The public transportation pitch may partly be in response to concerns over traffic and the lack of public transportation available in the Fremont proposal.
Wolff, who also owns the Major League Soccer franchise the San Jose Earthquakes, is no stranger to South Bay stadiums. He is also looking for a South Bay stadium for his soccer team. Wolff has identified several sites for a potential stadium for his soccer team, including a site located at 1125 Coleman Ave. in San Jose that totals 74.8 acres. Several experts have deemed that site too small for a baseball stadium.