Column in OAKLAND'S URBANVIEW (Vol. 4, No. 6)
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| By tufe on Thursday, April 25, 2002 - 02:44 pm:|
Proposed, A Trade
By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Coming out of the hills the other night you could see the glow of the Coliseum lights through the misting rain, and I thought how it sucked to be a member of the Coliseum grounds crew and have to work out in that cold and nasty wet weather to get ready for the next day's game.
When I got home I turned on Channel 2 and found that it wasn't the grounds crew but Terrence Long who was pacing around in the A's centerfield, in front of a handful of folks in the stands huddled under programs and umbrellas.
Though we don't like to talk about it, that's always been the real problem with Bay Area baseball. Not the apathy of the fans. Not the proximity of the teams in a small market. Not the idiocy of building on Candle-stick Point or the equal idiocy of the building of Mount Davis. It's the fact that it gets t'urrible cold 'round here at night, spring and fall alike, and while you can put up with freezing at a football game, baseball is just too slow to keep your blood warm.
For the fans' sake, for the region's sake, for the game's sake, we should have built the Coliseum in Pleasanton or Walnut Creek, beyond the hills where the wind don't blow off the bay. But Oakland wanted to be major league and so it seems like we're going to follow this thing out to the bitter end, like explorers watching their toes fall off crossing the South Pole ice pack, insisting that if we find just the right downtown location, or turn home plate to face in just the right direction, or get just the right set of owners, then we could make this experiment work.
Meanwhile, the City Manager is convinced that building a new baseball stadium in downtown Oakland will not only revive baseball attendance in Oakland, it will revive downtown Oakland as well. Although one should never denigrate the expertise of Mr. Bobb ... after all, he does this for a living ... I'm not sure he appreciates the complexity of the problem. The problems of Oakland are not quite like the problems of Baltimore and Denver, and so I'm not certain how much this ongoing Grand Tour of America's Stadiums is going to help. This calls for a more creative solution. Therefore, in the tradition of baseball general managers everywhere, I propose a trade.
Let's give up, say, ten blocks of downtown Oakland for a stadium site on the other side of the hills.
Talk to people in the Bay Area, and the big problem with getting shoppers to come into downtown Oakland is fear. It must be an irrational fear, because these non-Oaklanders will shop in an area that has as rough a history as Oakland, with a serious drug and pros-titution problem and where even gambling is legal. That community is called Emeryville, and it's entirely surrounded by Oakland. In fact, you can't really tell where Oakland ends and Emeryville begins. But folks just don't seem to want to shop in Oakland.
So why not Concord?
Concord doesn't have a bad name. And Concord has certain- ly shown that it knows how to put together a successful business district. So give Concord that whole uptown Fox Oakland tract. Call it West Concord or something, just so folks don't think it's Oakland. Oakland's gain will be the enhancement of development in the area surrounding, the same way we said it would work with a downtown ballpark.
We'd keep the A's, Oakland name and all, and get a ballpark in an area where folks won't freeze. Having an Oakland-owned ballpark out in Concord would make us more like San Francisco, which owns an airport near San Mateo and a waterfall in Yosemite.
If there ain't enough room in Concord for a stadium, make it a three-way deal with, say, Pittsburg. That ought to keep'em confused come intraleague time. And if Concord says we're not giving them enough, then we could throw in an extra, such as, maybe, a light-hitting mayor, well-traveled, hardly ever used, guaranteed to guarantee to put them on the map.
Makes about as much sense as all these other proposals we've been hearing.
J. Douglas Allen-Taylor is an author, a journalist, and a graduate of Castlemont High School. He can be reached at email@example.com. His homepage is www.safero.org
| By jenmed on Thursday, April 25, 2002 - 04:27 pm:|
Gee, great idea. Have the Coliseum in Walnut Creek or Pleasanton so we can all die from heatstroke during every day game from May to September.
Yes, it's cold at the Coliseum during night games in April. Sometimes a little bit into May. And naturally he focuses on one of the very few times we have rain. But otherwise the weather is excellent at the Coliseum for baseball.
And I love the idea that we should just give up on downtown Oakland because people think it's unsafe. Gee, isn't the whole point changing people's perception for the good of the city?
Am I missing something here or is this guy a total doofus?
| By jeffreyb on Thursday, April 25, 2002 - 06:30 pm:|
those "beyond the tunnel" folks are...different! :-) ...if only for their love of the heat out there. me, i can't stand it.
| By eyleenn on Thursday, April 25, 2002 - 10:28 pm:|
Jeff, you and I are creatures of the shade -- under the overhang for us! I hate the heat and too much sun causes wrinkles and skin cancer!
| By jeffreyb on Thursday, April 25, 2002 - 11:10 pm:|
warm, not hot, day games in the shade. that's the ticket!
| By oaktownfan on Friday, April 26, 2002 - 03:01 am:|
I've lived in Oakland all my life and never had any trouble while I was in downtown Oakland. I've shopped at the Civic Center across from City Hall many times and never felt threatened. This is just another attempt by the media downgrading Oakland and making it look bad when comparing it to other cities. Sure Oakland doesn't have all the glamour and glitz of San Francisco but at the same time, Oakland doesn't have homeless issues and many others in their city like Frisco does. Yet, it seems like San Francisco is the greatest city in the world when talking to the media and San Franciscans.
The Uptown Site is the best site to build a new ballpark for the A's. It's just a few blocks from the Civic Center and many other stores like the GAP and Men's Warehouse. When a ballpark gets built there, buinesses will flock to that area of Oakland and the area will prosper just like the areas where Pac Bell, Camden, and others did.
This is a chance for Oakland to revive itself, especially in the downtown area. It's been decades since any major excitement has happened in that area of the city. I'm an Oaklander and I want the city where I was born and grew up in for my entire life to get off their ass and bring life back to the city. It's columnists like this and other people around the Bay Area who thinks Oakland will never see the light of day and keeps the city from reaching its potential.
To use a phrase, "The biggest risk is not taking one." The A's, the city of Oakland, and Oakland residents needs this stadium to be built.
| By dorrit on Friday, April 26, 2002 - 07:49 am:|
I love the Oakland weather-I live in Walnut Creek, and in the summer, it's miserable. My family goes to many A's games, and I love the cooler weather. Besides, if you're a cheering fan like we are, you get heated up!
| By jenmed on Friday, April 26, 2002 - 08:40 am:|
Oaktownfan - your post was one of the best summations I've seen of the case for a ballpark. Kudos! If you haven't already, you should share this with every elected official you can.
| By tufe on Friday, April 26, 2002 - 09:21 am:|
...when I moved to Oakland in 1980 and lived in the area across from where the new baseball facility will someday stand...the area was in the midsts of major violent disagreements between two criminal factions and there was the wild idea that a several-story mall would be built on the site...THAT IS NO MORE...
...having worked in downtown Oakland region through most of the Eighties and early Nineties I have witnessed business stagnation & flight AND its budding growth...and have great pride for what city leadership has achieved thus far...
...OAKTOWNFAN is right...no one should be fearful about coming to downtown Oakland...unless they're the kind of person(s) living life according to the brow-beaten opinions of uninformed nabobs...
...BUILD THE BALLPARK...and watch the good times grow...
| By me_94501 on Friday, April 26, 2002 - 02:54 pm:|
Pre-Jacobs Field Cleveland was no urban paridise either. I've never had problems with being in downtown Oakland either. No panhandlers; no druggies (unlike Telegraph Ave. up in Berkeley–another story altogether), no nothing in the line of major troubles in Downtwn. All it needs is a proverbial kick in the pants economiocally. A new park would be that kick in the pants.
Ironically, the police reports state the Bart stations downtown Oakland are safer than the Corcord Bart Station. So the writer of that column didn't quite do his homework either.
| By ramjet on Friday, April 26, 2002 - 07:20 pm:|
One of us can just as easily write a witty and charming article to be published in the Urbanview expressing the benefits of a ballpark Uptown, any takers.
| By eyleenn on Friday, April 26, 2002 - 08:48 pm:|
I doubt that Mr. J. Douglas Allen-Taylor is a journalist of any sort -- just a member of the public spouting his opinion.
Maybe someone of us SHOULD write a piece for Urbanview. What kind of publication is it? I never heard of it.
| By tekgraf on Saturday, April 27, 2002 - 12:21 am:|
Outrageous! Downtown Oakland is not a dangerous place at all. Unlike S.F. where you bump into homeless, panhandlers, druggies and crime. Yes, crime. I can't understand how S.F. does it? There is more crime, except for murders, than Oakland. My car was broken into in a "secured" lot near the Moscone center. I have had friends mugged on Market street and around Union Sq. I refuse to work late and walk on 8th street and civic center. So why does Oakland get the bumb rap!? I think everyone will benefit from a ball park on 20th street, most of all we the fans and of course the A's. Build the park and let show the media that downtown Oakland is safer than most of S.F. from the civic center to SOMA.
| By ramjet on Saturday, April 27, 2002 - 07:48 pm:|
From the copy I picked up here is the following information regarding the urbanview.
Urbanview welcomes letters to the editor. Email
firstname.lastname@example.org or fax 645.1331 or mail to 315 Broadway, Oakland CA 94607 or submit a article directly to the managing editor Leigh Saffold at the above address or email at email@example.com.
I suggest we prepare an article explaining who we are and our position and submit some photos etc.
Its all about communication.
| By chris_d on Monday, April 29, 2002 - 11:25 am:|
Sounds good. After this JPA meeting tomorrow (Tuesday), I'll have some time this week to focus on that. E-mail me or call me and let's talk more about this.