Friday, June 24, 2005

New A's Ballpark: The Plot Thickens

The Oakland Athletics of Fremont, California?

I'll take it.

Although I would like the A's to stay in Oakland, Fremont is a very viable alternative. And I swear that I'm not biased because it's my hometown. I think many A's fans agree, Fremont is still East Bay.

The City of Fremont officially joined the fray today when Fremont Mayor Bob Wasserman (voted for him) and County Supervisor Scott Haggerty (also voted for him) wrote a letter urging A's owner Lew Wolff to relocate the A's to Fremont if their options in Oakland don't work out.

The Argus broke the story today and is the cause celebre of the A's blogosphere today. Well, just AN and New A's ballpark.

The site in question is a big parcel of empty land owned by NUMMI (to see picture, click here), an auto plant jointy owned by Toyota and GM where Toyota Tacomas (that's my truck) are assembled, the only auto plant in California, to be exact. The land is perfect for a ballpark, it's close to two freeways (I-880 and I-680) and close to the proposed BART extension. However there are some obstacles because NUMMI want to expand their facilities, I hear. Check out New A's ballpark, this guy has his ear very close to the ground when it comes to this.

There's a second, less transit friendly plan to build the ballpark across 880 from the NUMMI plant at Pacific Commons, a new shopping center of big box retailers. Either way, it seems that the political leadership is willing to be firmly behind ballpark plans in Fremont, unlike in Oakland where half committals seem to fall through, as in the hype for the estuary plan.

Now why would Fremont want the A's? I believe it's a move to get more things to do in Fremont. Fremont is two things, a bedroom community and the northern end of Silicon Valley. It has no vibrant city center where people dine out, or hip trendy entertainment districts where young people go out to on a Friday night. I know, I live there. A big issue at each mayoral election is how the candidates try to keep the money of Fremontians in Fremont.

A good example is me. The money I make I usually spend in localities outside of Fremont, such as; San Francisco (drinking, the opera, the symphony, plays, etc.), Oakland (the A's), Berkeley (drinking and Cal Football), Alameda (drinking; mostly at Lucky 13 and McGee's), Hayward (drinking and school), Newark (where I buy most of my clothes; NewPark Mall), Pleasanton (the other place where I buy my clothes; Stoneridge Mall), Union City (movies) and Dublin (movies). What money I spend in Fremont is usually on groceries and gas.

I am pretty sure that Fremont officials envision a ballpark could be the spark in which an entertainment district filled with bars and restaurants could built, thus keeping the hard earned cash of Fremontians in Fremont, and hopefully some cash of some out-of-towners. Also it might bring some prestige to the city.

Yeah, this is a symbolic move but what a symbol for Fremont the A's would be is they moved here.

If the move occures, they're probably going to remain the Oakland A's, since there's a preceedent on naming conventions. The old PCL Oakland Oaks actually played in Emeryville where Pixar Studios now stand. The other options would probably be; The Fremont Athletics, The California Athletics (stealing a page from the Angels) or The Oakland Athletics of Fremont (really stealing a page from the Angels).


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