Manfred says he hopes for A’s stadium site plan soon; Laney College fields could be option

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said a bunch of stuff yesterday about the Oakland A’s stadium plans, none of it earth-shaking, but here you go:

  • “I hope the first piece of news will be a decision as to which site will be the focus of their effort to get their plan and finances together.” That sounds like A’s owner Lew Wolff is going to pick a site first and then figure out how to pay for a stadium, which is kind of what’s been assumed all along. But anyway, now we know Manfred assumes it, too.
  • “The Mayor in Oakland has made it clear to me that baseball is her first priority. She would like to keep both teams, but baseball is her first priority. And I think that’s a good spot for baseball to be in.” This could mean that Mayor Libby Schaaf is in “don’t let the door hit you on the way out” mode with the Raiders (which would make sense, as Raiders owner Mark Davis is so far the one asking for a lot more public money for a stadium that would be in use about 12% as often), or it could mean that she tells all the sports team owners that they’re her favorite.
  • “I do believe that John Fisher and Lew Wolff are committed to the idea that they need to get something done in Oakland. I’ve told them. They understand that it is my strong preference that the team stay in Oakland.” Fisher and Wolff have said for years that they want to stay in the Bay Area (though they would include San Jose, which isn’t an option given the territorial rights squabble with the Giants), and sports league commissioners always say that they’d rather see teams stay put, even if only as a veiled threat. But it can be a true sentiment and a threat all at once — that’s the beauty of the move-threat game.

Meanwhile, the San Jose Mercury News (citing “a source close to the A’s”) says that a previously unreported site could be in play for the A’s: a parcel near Laney College off Lake Merritt, which I’m guessing refers to this:


(The Merc News report says that “one plan at Laney would call for the college to tear down some of their relatively new athletics facilities.”)

That would be a tight squeeze — here’s an overhead view of the current Oakland Coliseum site at the same scale:

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-8-35-19-amBut, hey, I’m an avowed fan of baseball stadiums in constrained spaces, since it can require designers to come up with interesting solutions and not just create a giant shopping mall with a ballfield in the middle. Laney College is owned by the local public community college district, so there would certainly be concerns about Fisher and Wolff paying fair market value for the site, but … you know, let’s cross this bridge when we come to it.

Fun fact: The Laney College site is also the where the Raiders played in the mid-’60s while the Coliseum was being built, at a temporary facility called Frank Youell Field. (Okay, fun if you’re into American Football League trivia. Are you saying you’re not? I thought so.)

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12 comments on “Manfred says he hopes for A’s stadium site plan soon; Laney College fields could be option

  1. I think that you’re right that that’s the proposed location, which I think would be a shame — the city is finally finishing up the channel improvement project to create a pedestrian/bike path & improve the park along the channel from Lake Merritt to the bay, and from what I’ve seen as I’ve gone by it’s going to be really nice. I imagine squeezing a professional stadium into that space would really destroy the effect.

    Not sure though that this is a previously unreported site. I think this is the same as the “the current site of Laney College’s stadium and playing fields” from last December ( and has been as explored as least as long ago as 2004:

    “Children’s Hospital Oakland has submitted plans for a complex on what are now the athletic fields of Laney College near downtown Oakland. The Oakland Athletics have also studied the site as a possible location for a new ballpark.” (

    1. Not only destroy the affect but the access too. At Levi’s Stadium, the adjacent bike path is shut down during game days. They move the security perimeter beyond the path into the parking lot on the other side of a canal.

  2. Laney College would be a sound choice. Lake Merritt BART is literally on campus with good freeway access and it is very close to downtown. Heck, you may even get the Tribune Tower as part of the scenery if the stadium is constructed accordingly.

    1. No southbound exit except at 6th Street & Castro or 16th Ave & Embarcadero. Northbound has 5th Ave exit & Oak Street. Congested neighborhoods competing with Alameda’s main commute direction through the tubes, traffic and parking tied up for Laney students and new residents of Brooklyn Basin.

      1. Brooklyn Basin would be on the other side of the 880. I am assuming, though, that infrastructure improvements would be part of the build. There is very little activity in that section of Oakland save the weekend flea market. I suppose the truck drivers going to and from the Port could be inconvenienced…

  3. The A’s would have long ago moved to San Jose had MLB not caved into the Giants’ territorial demands.

  4. Laney College site, bad idea. Total congestion from all sides, that would include the new residences along Brooklyn Basin. I thought the best location was the former White Front property (I’m old) on Hegenberger Road. It is currently used as employee parking for Raider games. Across the road is the defunct Pak n Save parcel. Better freeway access, BART, and a chance to revive the business district without impacting neighborhoods.

  5. If Google Maps is anything to go by, the Youell Field site is close by, now used for parking. The current ball fields are nearby but not on the same site

  6. Lew Wolff is a greedy old punk. According to ESPN ultimate standings the A’s ownership is dead last among ALL major pro sports

    Why? He and John Fisher are the 3rd richest ownership group in MLB but refuse to build a stadium in Oakland.

    Mark Davis, to his credit (sigh) proposes a two-stadium solution at the Coliseum. He proposes both teams leave for 3 years, (A’s go to ATT Park, and Raiders to Levi’s Stadium), build two new stadiums and come back. The Raiders would get the current site after it is torn down because their stadium is twice as expensive (reasonable), while the A’s would build next door.

    What is wrong with this solution? Especially if MLB guarantees on the back end revenue sharing so the A’s turn a profit no matter what? This makes no sense to me.

    Wolff is old and greedy, he wants the entire site for development….Hey Lewie! Your old and how much money can you and Fisher stuff under the mattress before you guys croak?

    Rich old people kill me, Wolff is the worst of them all. I used to be an apologist for him not being able to come to San Jose. But Oakland is booming now in 2016, he has no excuses but greed and utter selfishness.

    1. MLB has to guarantee revenue sharing for life even with a new Oakland stadium. The T-rights issue makes it a necessity.

      The Giants have offered to let the A’s play at ATT Park if they build in Oakland. Wolff makes me want to hang myself. SMH

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