A's Considering Temporary Home in San Jose if Lease Expires

Oakland A's owner Lew Wolff is considering moving the team to a temporary location if he can't extend a two-year lease with the Oakland Coliseum.

The San Jose Mercury News reported Sunday that Wolff is considering an existing venue or constructing a temporary stadium somewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area to house the A's if he can't extend the lease.

The lease expires after the 2015 season. Wolff said he hopes to extend the lease, but he needs to make plans in case that doesn't happen.

Wolff co-owns Major League Soccer's San Jose Earthquakes. A new 18,000-seat stadium is being built in San Jose for the soccer team. Wolff said he asked the architect of that project to look into temporary housing for the A's.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said Wolff has on several occasions told him of a desire to find a temporary home for the A's and that Wolff has looked at several venues in the area.

Wolff said he is also looking at Municipal Stadium where the San Jose Giants minor league team plays. If he cannot extend a two-year lease with the O.co Coliseum, this is one possibility where the the A's could play in 2016.

But there are limitations. This stadium only seats 4,200 people.

Baseball fans have mixed feelings about the A's making San Jose a temporary home.

"I wish the Oakland management would come to an agreement and give them a new stadium because they really need a new stadium and stay in Oakland and have both Bay Area teams," Jen Cardinalli of Antioch said.

"I'm from Sacramento," Jeff Law said. "I go watch the SF Giants. I'm willing to drive to SF so this is just a 2 hour, 15 minute drive. So i don't think it'll be bad--if it's just temporary."

Councilman Sam Liccardo, who is running for mayor, said he hopes any temporary home will lead to a permanent one down the road.

"We're always happy to have the camel's nose inside the tent even if the tent is going to be pretty small on a temporary basis," he said. "We'll have time to build a larger tent."

The A's have been searching for a new home for five years, complaining that the Oakland Coliseum is dilapidated and not conducive to baseball.

The stadium remains the only venue in the country that hosts a Major League Baseball team and a National Football League team, the Raiders. The government officials who manage the coliseum are planning renovations and are working to keep the A's in Oakland.

Wolff signed an agreement with San Jose city officials to build a new stadium there. But Commissioner Bud Selig informed Wolff this summer that MLB had turned down the team's proposal. MLB considers San Jose to be the San Francisco Giants ``territory'' and won't let the A's move there without the Giants' agreement.

A judge tossed out the city of San Jose's lawsuit claiming MLB violated antitrust laws in blocking the A's move south.

MLB and San Francisco Giants officials didn't return calls.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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