Friday, January 26, 2007

A New A's Ballpark

The Oakland A's are proposing a new ballpark, called Cisco Field after the main sponsor, in the Bay Area suburb of Fremont. Fremont is located in the East Bay, almost midway between Oakland and San Jose. The artist's renderings look really cool. The proposal is for more than a ballpark, it includes a baseball "village." There are hotel rooms and condos that overlook the field. Not from a distance, either. These are part of the overall structure. [Edit 1-26-07. A closer look reveals that these are across the street on both outfield sides, but the left field stands cantilever up and over the street to meet the building over the opposite sidewalk.] Retail and other types of businesses will be built in as well. This might well be the vision for baseball future.

This move from the A's ownership has several interesting aspects. The move south toward San Jose almost guarantees big money sponsorship from Silicon Valley corporations. Since Fremont is much closer to Silicon Valley than San Francisco is, the A's stand to steal business away from the Giants. Fremont (Alameda County) is the southernmost city within exclusive A's territorial rights. The proposed site is in the southernmost part of Fremont. They can move there without permission from the Giants. The Giants have already indicated in the past that any move to the South Bay including San Jose or Santa Clara would be vetoed.

This is a bold and smart move from the A's. For me, it represents a further drive, as the new park wouldn't be at a BART station. But build it and I will come. Maybe not a whole lot, but enough for a while. Traffic on I-880 at 5pm is the worst in the universe, so maybe I'll go to any 2am games.

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