Athletics

Re-examining Howard Terminal, Coliseum as potential A's ballpark sites

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AP

Re-examining Howard Terminal, Coliseum as potential A's ballpark sites

Just when the A’s finally seemed to have a direction mapped out for a new ballpark, they find themselves right back at the drawing board.

With the Peralta Community College District board halting negotiations for the A’s to build near Laney College, it figures to bring other previously considered locations around Oakland back into play. Specifically, the A’s were interested in Howard Terminal and the Coliseum site itself as potential spots to build a ballpark before settling on Peralta.

For those who need a refresher on the pros and cons of those two sites, here’s a recap:

Howard Terminal:
This site has been knocked around as a possibility for many years and always created the most buzz of any spot in Oakland. It’s located right on the waterfront at the Port of Oakland, and many see it having similar potential to what the Giants have with AT&T Park. It’s the preferred site of Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf and it’s very close to the attractions of Jack London Square. Former A’s managing partner Lew Wolff flat-out discarded Howard Terminal as a consideration, citing the extensive environmental cleanup efforts and infrastructure improvements needed. But Wolff is out of the picture now, and A’s majority owner John Fisher was known to be much more keen on the site.

The drawbacks? There are plenty. The nearest BART station is a full mile away, requiring a 20-25 minute walk to where a ballpark would be. There’s thought that a new BART station would need to be built for that reason. Pedestrian bridges would likely need to be built to get fans across railroad tracks. The environmental issue is a major one. And that area along the water is protected by California tidelands trust regulations, meaning the A’s would need to seek state approval to build at Howard Terminal.

“You have to weigh, is it worth the time, effort, political opposition that might come up to pursue that type of effort?” A’s president Dave Kaval said on the A’s Insider Podcast in February. “The site is so iconic that we’ve been keeping it in the mix because, wow, it could just be something that is a game changer.”

Oakland Coliseum:
It’s the most convenient site on which to build, it would take the shortest amount of time and there is much less red tape to clear away before putting a shovel in the ground. But the Coliseum site also is the one that A’s officials seem least fired up about. It’s far away from downtown, meaning the “ballpark village” and urban vibrancy that Kaval talks about would have to be built up from scratch. But the Warriors are moving to San Francisco and the Raiders plan to bolt for Las Vegas, so in a few years the A’s could have the Coliseum complex to themselves.

One of the site’s best drawing cards is its accessibility. There’s a BART station right there, the freeway is right there and there’s tons of parking space for the tailgating that so many fans hold sacred. However, the Raiders are sticking around for at least two more football seasons, possibly three if their Las Vegas stadium isn’t ready for 2020. That makes things a bit complicated, but a likely plan would have the A’s building a new ballpark next door while both teams could continue playing in the old venue.

“I think the Coliseum is probably the hardest (location) to create kind of an urban village,” Kaval said in February. “But I think it’s possible.”

Many reasons why Bob Melvin was right choice for AL Manager of the Year

Many reasons why Bob Melvin was right choice for AL Manager of the Year

Bob Melvin is Manager of the Year in the American League. Not only recognized by The Sporting News a few weeks back, but now, on the grandest stage by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Melvin clearly deserves this honor on his own merits, but it’s even more impressive that he won what could have been a popularity contest. Considering Alex Cora and the season had by his Boston Red Sox. Or Aaron Boone with the Yankees, who wasn’t even named as a finalist. Both of those first-year skippers run huge payroll teams in huge media markets, and obviously lived up to some expectations.

But for Melvin, he took an emerging 2017 A’s group and raised the bar by 22 wins. That was despite enduring a completely broken-down starting rotation and a franchise that began Opening Day with the lowest payroll in all of baseball.

For reference: No team in the last 30 years of Major League Baseball has started the first game with the lowest payroll and gone on to the playoffs. Until the A's did in 2018.

Knowing some of the inner workings of this team without giving too much away, I can tell you that Melvin has a tremendous grasp on his club, both when they are surging and when they are struggling.

After Melvin won this award, analysts will try to point to tangible things such as in-game decision-making when it comes to quantifying how he managed his group so well. And yes, the A's did lead all of baseball in one-run wins.  

But for me, it’s all that you can’t see that makes Melvin the runaway winner for Manager of the Year.

For example, he facilitated the transition of one-time left fielder Khris Davis into an everyday designated hitter, and saw him hit more homers than ever.

Melvin guided Jed Lowrie through a career season where trade talks and the potential of a young prospect taking over at any minute could not have been higher.

Melvin established a back-end of the bullpen that fashioned Lou Trevino and Blake Trienen into one of the best setup/closer tandems in the game.

And last but not least, Melvin helped evolve players like Matt Olson and Matt Chapman during their first full MLB seasons into bonafide leaders on and off the field.

In short, the A’s are lucky to have Bob Melvin in the dugout. And even luckier that his recent contract extension will keep the Bay Area native at the helm for multiple years past the 2019 season.

A's Bob Melvin stays humble after winning AL Manager of the Year Award

A's Bob Melvin stays humble after winning AL Manager of the Year Award

Winning Manager of the Year honors isn't something Bob Melvin is a stranger to -- he's done it three times.

On Tuesday, the BBWAA announced the 57-year-old would take home the American League award after the Oakland A's finished a 2018 campaign that boasted a 97-65 record with an appearance in the AL Wild Card Game.

Despite being accustomed to the congratulatory wishes, Bo Mel remained humble.

"I said earlier -- it just means I've been around for a while, and I'm getting older to be able to be in a position to get it a third time, but it always feels good," Melvin said on NBC Sports Bay Area's "The Happy Hour," with a smile. "It's always a group effort -- our team this year was incredible."

The A's improved by 22 games from last season, and Melvin made sure credit was served to everyone, from the front office to coaches and, of course, the players.

"We are starting to see the fruits of some of these great trades that were made over the years," Melvin said.

And as far as the low payroll the A's are synonymous with -- don't worry. He addressed that as well.

"To be able to succeed with as low as a payroll as we had just means you have young players who are going to play really well -- and we did," Melvin said with a laugh.

He's not wrong.

Second baseman Jed Lowrie and closer Blake Treinen earned All-Star selections in 2018, and first baseman Matt Olson took home a Gold Glove Award and Matt Chapman earned a Platinum Glove Award for his defensive capabilities on the hot corner.

"To be able to do what they did and look at the Khris Davises and Marcus Semiens and Jed Lowries -- everyone on our team contributed," Melvin said.

Melvin earned 18 first-place votes from the BBWAA, beating out World Series champion manager Alex Cora, who came in second, by 11.