OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)Billy Beane still firmly believes the Athletics will secure a new ballpark in Oakland, and he plans to stick around to see it through.
Beane, the club’s longtime executive vice president of baseball operations, said Monday he plans to be with the A’s for as long as they want him. The Boston Red Sox and New York Mets have expressed interest in Beane over recent years but he has committed himself to the small-budget A’s despite the challenges of financial restraints and an inability to keep star players once they’re due big pay raises.
”Listen, at some point we will have a new stadium, that’s what makes me feel good. I hope it’s within my tenure,” Beane said, chuckling. ”But we will, and I think the organization and the city deserve it. It’ll happen.”
Oakland owner John Fisher and team President Dave Kaval are working on a ballpark project on the Oakland waterfront near the city’s Jack London Square district.
”The one thing I do know about our pursuit is that since it started with Dave and John Fisher, look they’ve been obsessed with trying to secure a venue here, and it’s not easy,” Beane said. ”I can tell you having seen both sides of it. The frustration from a team standpoint is, yeah, it would be nice to be at that point where we can have some continuity. We don’t, and until we have a new venue we’re not going to. … I can tell you it’s not through lack of trying. And I say that from both sides, too, it’s not an easy issue. There’s no, `Hey, whose fault is it? It’s this person or this city.’ It’s not at all. This is a challenging project for everybody on both sides.”
The 102-loss A’s finished 29-51 at home this season and drew 787,902 fans – down from 1,662,211 in 2019, the last pre-COVID season.
In May 2021, Major League Baseball instructed Oakland’s brass to explore relocation options if no ballpark agreement could be reached and Kaval has said the club was working on plans along ”parallel paths” in Oakland and Las Vegas.
The A’s are the last professional franchise remaining in Oakland after the NBA’s Golden State Warriors relocated to San Francisco and the NFL’s Raiders to Las Vegas.
The team’s plan in Oakland calls for a $1 billion privately financed 35,000-seat waterfront ballpark, 3,000 residential units, office and retail space, hotel rooms and an indoor performance center.
A lease for the A’s at the aging Coliseum runs through 2024 and MLB has said rebuilding at the current location is not a viable option.
”I know the effort is going into making it happen here,” Beane said, ”I’ve seen it first hand.”
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