December 7, 2011
(Sung to the tune of "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?") As the winter baseball meetings get underway, one of the biggest questions is whether the Oakland Athletics will be allowed to relocate to San Jose, which is in the territory of the San Francisco Giants. According to Ken Rosenthal (hat tip to Mike Zurawski), the decision time frame is being accelerated; see foxsports.com. Hopes are rising once again, but until a decision on that is made, the A's general manager Billy Beane will be biding his time, hearing trade offers from other teams, but not seeking out experienced players. See sfgate.com and MLB.com.
The city of Oakland deserves one last chance, but there just doesn't seem to be much political will or fan support to keep the A's there. After four full decades in Oakland, and four World Series championships, that's a real shame. More than likely, they will become the San Jose Athletics within the next few years. But unless an announcement is made soon, it would hurt the A's ability to sign top-quality players. Competitive balance would be adversely affected. As of 2013, the American League Western Division will expand from four to five teams, adding the Houston Astros. It's time for Commissioner Bud Selig to use what clout he has one last time before he steps down. Clearing the way for relocation of the A's would be another nice feather in his cap.
For a look at a possible San Jose stadium design, see sanjose.com; hat tip to Bruce Orser. It would be squeezed in by surrounding streets, with several unique design features.
"After further review," I made a few more changes to the Oakland Coliseum diagrams. Almost all of the tweaks were in the "Mount Davis" grandstand, built in 1996. In addition, I added a new football version, with the gridiron aligned from home plate to center field. That's how the Raiders do it in practice games in August, and perhaps on a few rare occasions in September.
Speaking of football, the Washington Redskins made a major change to FedEx Field before this season began, tearing out large sections of the upper deck behind each end zone. That has reduced capacity from 91,704 to about 85,000, which is still pretty big. The new Cowboys Stadium in Dallas has about 80,000 seats, but can be expanded to over 100,000 -- or so they say. At last year's Super Bowl, they had to close several temporary seating sections for safety reasons. See the Washington Post.