So much for the idea that Oakland A’s owner Lew Wolff would force MLB’s hand on a San Jose move by threatening not to renew his Oakland lease when it expires after next year. The San Francisco Chronicle’s Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross report that the A’s and the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Authority are currently negotiating a five-year lease extension, with Wolff telling the columnists he’s “absolutely” interested in a new deal, saying, “Even if we were building a new ballpark, it wouldn’t be ready until then anyway.”
That’s a bit of a surprise, notes Newballpark.org, as previously Wolff had said that a new stadium could be ready by 2016. Maybe he’s been taking a peek at Bud Selig’s actuarial tables?
The Coliseum Authority, meanwhile, looks to be playing some hardball of its own, asking for a $50 million penalty if the team wants to break its lease early and depart for San Jose or elsewhere. That’ll almost certainly get bargained down in negotiations, but it’s nice to see a city realize that it has some leverage in stadium talks for once.