Athletics ballpark vote: What Oakland's 'yes' decision means

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What Oakland's 'yes' vote means for A's ballpark, future originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Six months ago, the prospect of any “yes” vote on a Howard Terminal ballpark proposal would have seemed like a best-case scenario for Athletics fans.

But after today’s Oakland City Council decision, the 6-1-1 approval doesn’t exactly mean what one might expect.

Here are three takeaways from a most unique afternoon.

Quick turnaround

The Oakland City Council proposed their own term sheet last Friday, July 16, didn’t overhaul it much over the weekend, and voted on it by Tuesday. While that pace was necessary to meet the July 20th deadline requested by the A’s, the actual document was far from complete.

That should suggest room for further progress, discussion, and evolution. For example, there’s still $352 million unaccounted for in infrastructure costs alone.

In retrospect, it begs the question: Would it have been less complicated and more productive to negotiate against the A’s original term sheet (from April 23) instead of producing an entirely different one? It was made clear since last week that the A’s wouldn’t move forward on the City-produced document.

Making a statement

While today’s council’s vote doesn’t necessarily get us any closer to a shovel in the ground, their six “aye” votes certainly makes a statement: They see something tangible in the overall project. There was a distinct possibility of more abstinent votes, or “no” votes. Punting on this issue would have put the project in a far worse spot than it is today.

From a higher vantage point, it’s important to remember that even three months ago, the prospect of this discussion in front of the County Supervisors or City Council seemed remote. Real progress has been made to arrive here.

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Need progress soon

Mayor Libby Schaaf has said the conversation doesn’t end here, and that from the City’s perspective, they will “always be available to talk through the differences."

Meanwhile, the A’s have remained radio silent and will move forward with their fourth planned visit to Las Vegas on Wednesday. Like any disagreement between two parties, there’s an understandable period of distance in gathering thoughts, composure, and strategies.

But should that disconnect and silence persist for an extended period of time, it would not appear to benefit the potential of progress on this project. The more we hear about effort and communication from both sides in the near future, the better.