Last January, the A’s hosted FanFest at Jack London Square for the first time in many years.
What an experiment it was.
As fans mingled with players and stood in line for autographs that day, drones flew overhead capturing images of traffic flow on the streets and foot traffic all around Jack London Square.
It served as a testing ground should the A’s have decided to build a ballpark at nearby Howard Terminal, which, 12 months ago, seemed like a strong possibility.
Just a little has happened since then.
The A’s chose the Peralta site, near Laney College and downtown, where they wanted to build in Oakland. Not Howard Terminal or the Coliseum site itself. They made the Peralta announcement in September, complete with a timeline for construction and a date for the grand opening.
You know how that went. The Peralta Community College District governing board pulled the plug on the A’s ballpark plans, citing concerns for Laney students as well as the surrounding community. The A’s were left fuming.
So it’s back to the drawing board for them. And here we are, a year later, and FanFest 2018 approaches. Once again, it will be held at Jack London Square, a free event set for Jan. 27 that will include a majority of A’s players and coaches in attendance.
The A’s hunt for a ballpark location, a Bay Area storyline for more than a decade now, couldn’t be any murkier. Do they re-visit the Coliseum as a potential spot? Could talks eventually be revived with the Peralta folks? Does FanFest once again give the A’s a reason to re-consider Howard Terminal? Could it be they look outside Oakland, or might owner John Fisher sell to a group that does?
The A’s have been silent on stadium talk since the Peralta plans fell through in early December. On Tuesday, they’ll host a media tour of their new office headquarters — which happen to be located at Jack London Square. (Don’t read too much into this in regard to the A’s ballpark intentions moving forward. They planned this location for their offices even when they thought their ballpark would be at Peralta).
Perhaps A’s president Dave Kaval will take Tuesday as an opportunity to provide an update on the team’s thinking in regard to a new venue.
But it’s amazing to think how this saga has played out over the past calendar year. And how, when it comes down to it, absolutely nothing has changed.