A’s team president Dave Kaval had previously referred to the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission’s Thursday vote would be an “elimination game” in his team’s quest to build a new ballpark on the Oakland waterfront. It didn't happen.
Well, the A’s have survived and advanced. In a vote that was anything but a foregone conclusion, the Commission elected to effectively remove Howard Terminal — the site the A’s want to build their new ballpark upon — from the Port of Oakland. The tally was 23-2 in support. Oakland’s last major professional sports team relocating was stalled by Thursday’s vote in a process that began in 2018. A vote against removing the “port priority use designation” from Howard Terminal would have ended the A’s tenure in Oakland, guaranteeing the team’s move to Las Vegas, where Kaval, with Major League Baseball’s support, has been scouting sites to build a ballpark. There’s now some serious momentum behind the A’s effort and a good number of key steps remaining will be made alongside advocates with the city of Oakland and Alameda County. Instead, the A’s now appear more likely than not to build their new ballpark on the shores of the Oakland Estuary. Still, the A’s received more than the two-thirds vote needed for the resolution to pass. That’s no small feat.
So, right or wrong, the situation is binary: The A’s build at Howard Terminal or they’re moving to Nevada. It took some serious effort, but the A’s threats — as uncouth as they might be — are working.
But there’s another truth: The A’s don’t really want to leave. They will if they cannot build at Howard Terminal, but leaving is not Plan A. Thursday’s vote keeps the A’s in the Bay at least a bit longer. And, for the moment, it’s not ridiculous to imagine that stay will be extended for decades to come.