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


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.


Projecting the A's postseason roster


Projecting the A's postseason roster

Bob Melvin and his staff will have some tough decisions to make if/when they have to narrow down Oakland's active roster from 40 to 25 for the postseason.

Playoff teams have to set their roster prior to each round and cannot make changes until the next series, except in the case of injury. The American League Wild Card Game does count as its own round, meaning the winner of that game can set a new roster for the American League Division Series.

With 11 games remaining in the regular season, the A's and Yankees appear to be headed toward a Wild Card showdown. With that in mind, we decided to take a stab at Oakland's projected roster and starting lineup.

Catchers: Jonathan Lucroy, Josh Phegley

Infielders: Matt Olson, Jed Lowrie, Marcus Semien, Matt Chapman

Outfielders: Stephen Piscotty, Ramón Laureano, Nick Martini, Dustin Fowler, Matt Joyce

DH: Khris Davis

Utility: Chad Pinder, Mark Canha

Pitchers: Mike Fiers, Blake Treinen, Lou Trivino, Jeurys Familia, Fernando Rodney, Shawn Kelley, Ryan Buchter, Cory Gearrin, Yusmeiro Petit, Daniel Mengden, Brett Anderson

Starting lineup (vs RHP)

1. Nick Martini - LF
2. Matt Chapman - 3B
3. Jed Lowrie - 2B
4. Khris Davis - DH
5. Matt Olson - 1B
6. Stephen Piscotty - RF
7. Marcus Semien - SS
8. Ramón Laureano - CF
9. Jonathan Lucroy - C
Mike Fiers - RHP

Starting lineup (vs LHP)

1. Ramón Laureano - CF
2. Matt Chapman - 3B
3. Jed Lowrie - 2B
4. Khris Davis - DH
5. Stephen Piscotty - RF
6. Matt Olson - 1B
7. Marcus Semien - SS
8. Mark Canha - LF
9. Jonathan Lucroy - C
Mike Fiers - RHP

You probably noticed Edwin Jackson and Trevor Cahill were left off this roster. Since it's only a one-game series, Mengden and Anderson could provide long relief if necessary. Jackson and Cahill would then be added to the ALDS roster, if the A's were to advance. Liam Hendriks would also likely join the ALDS roster so Melvin would have the option of “bullpenning.”

Jackson, Cahill, and Hendriks would probably replace Joyce, Fowler or Canha, and Mengden or Petit. Mengden would seem to be a better bet for the ALDS roster than Petit because of his success in “bullpenning” games. As for the outfielders, Melvin would have to decide what he values most -- Fowler would provide the best pinch-running option, but Canha has crushed left-handed pitching and could be a valuable pinch-hitter.

As we stated at the top, Melvin will have some difficult choices to make. But it's a nice problem to have.

A's notes: Canha, Fowler demonstrate Oakland's depth with clutch hits

A's notes: Canha, Fowler demonstrate Oakland's depth with clutch hits

OAKLAND — Despite Tuesday's loss to the Angels, a pair of somewhat forgotten A's outfielders had big nights. Left fielder Mark Canha made his first start in 10 days and came through with a big three-run double in the fourth inning. Rookie Dustin Fowler pinch-hit in the eighth and notched a two-run single, his first hit since July 26.

“It just felt good to contribute,” Canha said. “It was a big moment for me. ... When you're not playing all the time, it's nice to have some reassurance that what you're working on when you're not playing is the right thing.”

“Everybody is ready to play,” added A's manager Bob Melvin. “They know we're going to pinch-hit and try to get the best matchups. ... Guys know in our dugout when to be ready for certain situations and both those guys were.

Canha's bases clearing double gave him 50 RBI for the season. He has already tied a career high with 16 home runs.

--- Right-handed pitcher Daniel Mengden allowed just one run in four innings of work. In his last three “bullpenning” appearances, Mengden has allowed one run on three hits in 13 2/3 innings.

“I'm getting really acclimated to this new role now,” he said. “I feel like I have my feet under me now and have a grasp of what to do and how to handle it.”

“I thought he was good,” Melvin added. “He gave us what he needed to and left with a lead. Usually in that situation, we're able to close out games.”

--- Pitcher Liam Hendriks has thrown five straight scoreless innings as an “opener.” He lowered his ERA to 2.70 in his six starts this season.

--- Second baseman Jed Lowrie walked three times, tying his single-game high. He set a career high with his 74th walk of the season.

--- Reliever Shawn Kelley allowed his first runs as a member of the A's. He had thrown 12 1/3 scoreless innings in his previous 14 games.

--- Angels center fielder Mike Trout blasted his 15th home run at the Coliseum since 2010, the most of any visiting player during that time. This season in Oakland, Trout is batting .424 (14-for-33) with two homers and six RBI. 

--- The A's have lost three games in a row for the first time since July 27-29, when they were swept by the Rockies.

--- The A's fell to 6-8 against the Angels this season. Los Angeles has won the season series four straight years. 

--- Despite Tuesday's loss, the A's are 56-25 since June 16, the best record in Major League Baseball.