Oakland Coliseum

Athletics extend protective netting to far ends of dugouts

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USATSI

Athletics extend protective netting to far ends of dugouts

OAKLAND — The Oakland Athletics will expand protective netting between the stands and the playing field to the far ends of both dugouts ahead of the 2018 season.

The netting will be a similar green color as the grass on the field to reduce the visual distraction to fans in attendance and those watching on television, the team said Tuesday. The A's will also expand the netting at the team's spring training ballpark in Mesa, Arizona.

Team President Dave Kaval said the extra safety measures are consistent with recommendations from Major League Baseball.

"We are committed to delivering a great experience while also ensuring the safety of our fans,” Kaval said. “The additional netting coverage is in line with the safety recommendations by Major League Baseball.”

Boston, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Colorado, Detroit, the New York Yankees, Milwaukee, Minnesota, San Diego, Seattle and Toronto are among teams to announce expanded netting this year.

By the end of last season, Atlanta, Houston, Kansas City, Minnesota, the New York Mets, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Texas and Washington had netting that reached the far ends of the dugouts.

A's ballpark plans left in limbo after Peralta site falls through

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AP

A's ballpark plans left in limbo after Peralta site falls through

The A’s expressed shock Wednesday morning after their plans to build a new ballpark near downtown Oakland were dashed.

The governing board of the Peralta Community College District, which owns the land near Laney College where the A’s wanted to build, voted in a closed-session meeting Tuesday to stop talks with the team.

“We are shocked by Peralta’s decision to not move forward,” a team press statement said. “All we wanted to do was enter into a conversation about how to make this work for all of Oakland, Laney, and the Peralta Community College District. We are disappointed that we will not have that opportunity.”

The development leaves the long-term future of the franchise up in the air, with the A’s seemingly left to search out other locations to build in Oakland if they go that route at all. They are currently on a 10-year lease to play at the Coliseum which runs through the 2025 season.

On Sept. 12, they announced the Peralta site as their choice on which to build their new ballpark, news that was more than a decade in the making as the A’s were forced to scrap plans for a stadium in both Fremont and San Jose over the years. Just two weeks ago, the A’s announced the hiring of a design team for the ballpark and the surrounding “ballpark village” they planned to build. Their plan was to begin building in 2021 with the idea of moving into the new stadium for the start of the 2023 season.

They chose the Peralta site — located across the street from Laney and just off of Interstate 880 — over two others in Oakland, Howard Terminal and the current Coliseum site. But from the get-go, their decision faced steep opposition.

Faculty and student groups at Laney raised concerns about how the ballpark, and the traffic it would bring to the area, would affect the student population. Community groups were worried about the possible displacement of local businesses and residents, including the nearby Chinatown district. Environmental groups raised concerns about how construction of a ballpark would impact wildlife in the nearby estuary.

Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf openly preferred the Howard Terminal location, a waterfront site at the Port of Oakland, though that site presented its own well-documented road blocks to completing a ballpark project.

Schaaf issued the following statement Wednesday: "Oakland remains fiercely determined to keep the A's in Oakland. It is unfortunate the discussion with Peralta ended so abruptly, yet we are committed, more than ever, to working with the A's and our community to find the right spot in Oakland for a privately-financed ballpark."

What’s the A’s next step? That’s the big question. The logical speculation is whether they revisit as an option the Coliseum site, which they have called home since moving to Oakland in 1968. It always has represented the easiest, and some would argue, the best location on which to build anywhere in the city. Environmental impact reports already have been completed at the Coliseum, and there’s terrific BART and freeway access.

The downside, in the A’s point of view, is that the Coliseum doesn’t offer the vibrancy of an urban area that team president Dave Kaval craves for a location to build.

 

Air quality concerns leave NFL considering alternate sites for Raiders game

Air quality concerns leave NFL considering alternate sites for Raiders game

ALAMEDA – Air quality around the Bay Area hasn’t been good.

Smoke and particulates emanating from the wildfires raging through Napa and Sonoma Counties has created what the Enviornmental Protection Agency considers “unhealthy’ conditions in several parts of the region south of the fire sites.

While these air-quality issues don’t in any way compare to fires affecting residents in the North Bay – at least 29 people have died, with hundreds more missing -- they could impact Sunday afternoon’s football game between the Raiders and Chargers at Oakland Coliseum.

The game game remains set to play as scheduled. For now, at least.

“We continue to monitor air quality conditions in the Bay Area and are in close communication with both the NFL and Chargers, as well as local authorities,” the Raiders said in a statement. “At this point, the game remains scheduled for Sunday in Oakland.”

The NFL echoed that sentiment earlier in the day, though they are exploring alternate sites.

The Raiders don't want to change the date or the site. They'd prefer to stay put, especially considering they've already lost a home game to Mexico City. They play the New England Patriots there in Week 9. 

Enviornmental factors, however, may force the Raiders hand. 

They have a few options, none of them ideal.

The 49ers are on the road this week, leaving Levi’s Stadium  open as an alternative. A league source NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco that the NFL has reached out about the prospect of using the Santa Clara venue That would avoid travel stresses accompanied by leaving the market. The problem: that stadium is 33 miles south of Oakland Coliseum, and the air quality there hasn’t been much better than near the Raiders home field.

The Los Angeles Rams are on the road, leaving L.A. Coliseum available as well. San Diego mayor Kevin Falcouner offered to host the game at the venue formerly known as Qualcomm Stadium. The NFL might want to avoid putting the Raiders in their old haunts – the played at the L.A. Coliseum from 1982-94 – or bring the Chargers back to a still-angry San Diego market they left a few months ago.

The Raiders and Chargers can’t swap home games, as the StubHub! Center’s primary tenant, the L.A. Galaxy soccer team, as a game set for Sunday.

Moving the game date to a Monday night in Oakland is also complicating, considering the Raiders host Kansas City the following Thursday night.

The Seattle Seahawks are on a bye, and the game could be moved to CenturyLink Field in a pinch.

The EPA considered Oakland and Alameda air quality “unhealthy” on Wednesday and Thursday, recommending even healthy adults limit heavy exertion. Playing football outdoors would fall into that category, and caused the Raiders to pare their practice schedule on the aforementioned dates.

Michael Crabtree, Jalen Richard and receiver Isaac Whitney wore surgical masks during Thursday’s practice to prevent inhaling contaminants. The situation is not ideal for sport, at least not right now.

It’s difficult to forecast air quality, given unpredictable wind changes and fire patterns. The Raiders and the league should have to make a decision Friday to allow the Raiders and Chargers to change/create travel plans and for site plans to be finalized.

There is precedent for moving an NFL game late. A 2003 Chargers-Dolphins game was moved to Monday might in Arizona just 24 hours before kickoff due to wildfires in the San Diego region. Tickets in Arizona were free, with donations directed toward fire relief, and refunds were given to those who bought tickets for the game as originally scheduled.