Oakland A’s owner Lew Wolff recently scoffed at the proposed $500 million waterfront ballpark that would be located at the Port of Oakland's Howard Terminal. That came as no surprise to developers behind the project, since it‘s obvious Wolff has no interest in spending his own money to upgrade his team’s stadium. That’s also part of the reason why he continues to seek options outside of Oakland, because he knows the city doesn’t have the funds available to pick up all or a significant portion of the tab.
Still, despite the expected response from Wolff and a potential long, uphill battle to get what they want, the developers behind the waterfront ballpark are still moving forward with their plans and are currently seeking out potential investors that will get behind their proposal.
According to an East Bay Express report on Wednesday, there are three known groups who have expressed interest in buying the A's and building a new ballpark at Howard Terminal. The most intriguing of which includes Golden State Warriros owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber.
Yet despite being spurned by Wolff, the Rogers-Ghielmetti-Knauss-Boxer team is not willing to give up on the waterfront plan. In fact, sources tell us the group knew full well that Wolff might reject their proposal. As such, they made contingency plans and have been shopping around the Howard Terminal proposal for potential investors, identifying at least three groups who are interested in buying the A’s and building the Howard Terminal ballpark themselves, sources say. And one of these groups, sources say, is led by Warriors’ owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber — two wealthy men who had tried to buy the A’s previously.
Gruber and Lacob were reportedly a part of separate groups interested in buying the team back in 2002, so their desire to own the A’s isn't a new development. Of course, the problem for them and the others looking to get behind the proposal is the team isn't even for sale at this time. There’s no word that Wolff is looking to sell the team any time soon, either, but it sounds like pressure to do so is mounting.
In an interview, Mayor Jean Quan declined to comment on Lacob and Guber’s interest in the A’s. But following a fundraiser for the Save Oakland Sports group last Friday, she reiterated that a decision needs to be made by A’s current owners soon. “The Giants are not going to let them go to San Jose,” said Quan. “Major League Baseball is going to have to make a decision. They have to basically say, ‘Hey A’s, you need some place to play. You’re not moving out of Oakland and you’ve got these people with real money willing to build a stadium, you need to be a part of that.’ Lew Wolff has said there is nothing in Oakland. Well, now, not only have we proved not only site control, we have the money to do it.”
There's no reason to believe Wolff will budge, but he can no longer say an option in Oakland doesn't exist. That changes the game to some degree, but it's becoming increasingly clear the A's best chance for a new, up-to-standard ballpark will come with new ownership that's willing to put money back in the team.
Looking for more baseball chatter?
- - - - - - -