The Oakland A’s had hoped to open their new stadium for the 2023 season. That timeline will likely need to be pushed back.
Not much has gone right for the Oakland A’s over the past few days. The organization has come under fire for their refusal to pay their minor leagues beginning on June 1, despite the wealth of owner John Fisher. His letter of explanation may have only made the situation worse, as the words rang hollow, particularly in light of last year’s Rooted In Oakland motto.
The latest bad news involves the A’s quest for a new ballpark. They had been making progress towards constructing that new home at Howard Terminal prior to the pandemic, but that progress has since been halted. New hurdles, and a court ruling, could push that date further out into the future.
On Tuesday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the City of Oakland could not ban coal being shipped through the city. The city had enacted the ban based on coal dust, which they said caused even more air pollution. Those shipments are fewer than two miles away from Howard Terminal, and could potentially cause more hurdles in regards to environmental protections in order to construct the ballpark.
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Likewise, as the pandemic continues, there will be ongoing political and logistical hurdles. Traffic issues, as well as those potential problems from the coal transports, could have a major impact upon the viability of the A’s hopes to build at Howard Terminal, especially if they want to open the new stadium for the 2023 season.
Another possible option would be to build closer to the Coliseum. That decision would save the A’s money, and would be logistically easier. Considering that the A’s have cited finances as their reason for refusing to pay their minor league players, it would make sense to find a cheaper location to build their new ballpark.
There is no question that the A’s need a new ballpark. The Coliseum is antiquated, with a myriad of issues that seemingly get worse as time goes on. Theoretically, that new ballpark would open up other avenues of revenue as well, allowing the team to spend more on their roster and potentially keep players that will be close to free agency by that time, such as Matt Chapman and Matt Olson.
But it is a matter of where the ballpark can be built. For as much as ownership has their hearts set on Howard Terminal, that just may not be in the cards any longer. Building near the Coliseum could work, but does ownership consider that a viable alternative?
The Oakland A’s have had a lot of bad news over the past few days. They may have more when it comes to their hopes for Howard Terminal.