City of Oakland not on board with Athletics lease extension deal

Laura Anthony Image
ByLaura Anthony KGO logo
Saturday, July 5, 2014
Members of the grounds crew work on the infield at Coliseum before a baseball game.
Members of the grounds crew work on the infield at Coliseum before a baseball game.
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu-AP

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Just when the Oakland A's thought the deal extending their lease at Coliseum was done, it wasn't. The deal has been approved by the board that runs the coliseum, but the city of Oakland still isn't on board.

A's fans attending Friday's game found little joy in the latest developments coming out of the team's effort to extend its lease in Oakland.

"Who cares about politicians? We are going to have a good time," A's fan Diana Lepe said. "We are fans. We're not leaving no matter what."

"We're just tired of the on and off with Wolff and the city. We need something new," A's fan Alberto Berber said.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and Council President Pat Kernighan signaled they want something more from owner Lew Wolff and the A's before signing on to the deal approved by the Joint Powers Authority Board Thursday.

The city wants the team committed to stay until the end of 2019, not just 2017. Oakland wants the A's to pay $21 million over 10 years, not the $15.5 million in the current deal.

San Jose resident Sam Rhode is an A's fan who thinks Oakland's reluctance could be his city's gain. "Whatever it is that we can do to get the A's out of Oakland and down to San Jose," Rhode said. "Let's get them down to San Jose where they can make money for everybody. It's a win, win, win."

JPA board member Chris Dobbins worries Wolff may follow through with his threat to pull the A's out of Oakland immediately if the lease deal falls through.

"There's people out there saying the A's couldn't go anywhere tomorrow, they couldn't do anything else, but by not going forward with this deal, by saying, you know, 'Major League Baseball, we think we're better than you,' I think there's bigger forces out there that could make it happen," Dobbins said.

The JPA approval of the deal is just the first step. The contract must also be ratified by the Alameda County supervisors and the Oakland City Council.