A report Monday that the Oakland Athletics are interested in buying the Coliseum complex, but the letter sent by Athletics management to city and county officials more notably hints the team views the long-standing stadium issues as the Coliseum or bust.
The Laney College site is long gone after the team seriously fumbled the negotiation process with the Peralta Community College District Board of Trustees, and according to the letter from A’s team president Dave Kaval, so too, if you read between the line, is Howard Terminal, near Jack London Square. The clincher pointing to the A’s complete exasperation is this line, near the end of the one-page letter: “This is a critical moment for the A’s the community. The venue process has taken too long.” Emphasis on the word “too,” as in, toooo long.
➤A noticeable section of the letter references to safety and transportation concerns at Howard Terminal. We can also surmise the argument in recent months over the viability of the existing Coliseum site offered in public by Oakland Councilmembers Larry Reid and Rebecca Kaplan, among others, has resonated with A’s management. In the past, Oakland city officials and elected officials have said public infrastructure money for a pedestrian bridge over the train tracks and a shuttle service to a proposed waterfront stadium could be solutions. But this new take from the A’s does not shut the door on Howard Terminal, but it’s a clear admission the site is looking more like a potential headache like the Peralta site proved to be. 
➤If the Coliseum site is back on the table, then the cost of the land appears to be a potential problem in the making. The A’s simply paying $135 million and making the city and county whole is a good starting point for negotiations, but likely too low an offer to satiate Oakland residents who are move rabidly interested in greater funding for schools, for instance, than making deals with sports franchises. For context, a low ball offer for the entire Coliseum land is more likely around the appraised value of $167 million. 
➤Credit the often lustily criticized Oakland and Alameda County public officials for making a political chess move that actually works in the taxpayers’ favor. The sense that the Coliseum property could be up-for-grabs among potential developers obviously got the A’s attention and has forced them to be proactive. The letter clearly states today’s move is a bid for “control” of the Coliseum site. In the past, control only meant the usually slow-moving city and county, now with the Raiders and Warriors almost out of town, control means a private developer with no sense of obligation to a sports franchise as opposed to its ability to make big money at a centrally-located property with a direct connection to an existing transportation hub.
➤Most A’s fans are not picky about where a new stadium is built, just as long as it is in Oakland. But the way A’s management has handled this process continues to be a letdown. A’s fans once had a romantic notion of a ballpark on the water with the Port’s iconic cranes hovering near the right field porch. Then an intimate downtown ballpark with a retro feel was put in the minds of A’s fans. When this was thwarted, some reverted back to the waterfront for a ballpark that rivaled AT&T Park across the bay. Now A’s fans are back at the Coliseum. It will suit the fan base to finally have a sense of stability, but it’s not exactly the new era of A’s baseball initially promised.