Monday, March 30, 2009
Updated: March 31, 6:02 PM ET
Committee to study stadium situation
ESPN.com news services
NEW YORK -- Frustrated at the Oakland Athletics' inability to get a new ballpark, baseball commissioner Bud Selig has appointed a committee to analyze the team's hopes of obtaining a stadium in its current territory.
Selig met Saturday with Oakland's management at spring training in Phoenix. His announcement Monday follows the team's decision Feb. 24 to scrap plans for a ballpark in Fremont.
The team's lease at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum expires after the 2010 season and contains three one-year club options.
"Lew Wolff and the Oakland ownership group and management have worked very hard to obtain a facility that will allow them to compete into the 21st century," Selig said. "To date they, like the two ownership groups in Oakland before them, have been unsuccessful in those efforts, despite having the significant support of their corporate partner Cisco. The time has come for a thorough analysis of why a stadium deal has not been reached. The A's cannot and will not continue indefinitely in their current situation."
On Tuesday, Sen. Barbara Boxer of California sent Selig a letter urging him to do "everything possible to keep the team in Oakland."
"As you may know, Oakland has recently gone through some difficult times and families there deserve some good news," said the letter, which was released by her office. "As someone who splits her time between Washington, D.C., Southern California and Oakland's Jack London Square neighborhood, I have seen first hand that Oakland is teeming with new young families and major developments that present endless possibilities. My children learned to love baseball through the Oakland A's and our family was so fortunate to develop that common bond. We must give a new generation of families that same chance."
The committee will be chaired by Bob Starkey, a former Arthur Andersen accountant who has done extensive work for Selig and the Minnesota Twins. Corey Busch, a former San Francisco Giants executive vice president under Bob Lurie who helped negotiate Frank McCourt's acquisition of the Los Angeles Dodgers, will also serve on the committee.
They will be joined by Irwin Raij, a lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP who worked on ballparks for the Washington Nationals and Florida Marlins, and baseball chief operating officer Bob DuPuy.
Boxer is ready to do her part as well, lobbying Selig and offering to facilitate meetings.
"Through their rich history and shared experiences, the identities of the City of Oakland and the Athletics are forever linked," he letter continued. "For more than 40 years, the people of Oakland have backed the Athletics during good times and bad. In the 1970s, Oakland celebrated the Athletics' glorious run of three consecutive World Series victories. And, together, the city of Oakland and the Athletics mourned the devastation caused by the Loma Prieta earthquake that took place during the team's 1989 championship run.
"Now that the team has ended its consideration of Fremont as a possible home, the time is right to renew the focus on keeping the Athletics in Oakland.
"It is critical that Major League Baseball and the A's ownership do everything possible to keep the A's in Oakland and I stand ready to help in any way possible, including attending and setting up meetings for you and the Committee."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.