If you're like me, you may take a "wake-me-when-it's over" stance toward all the wrangling about moving the Oakland A's to San Jose. Sometimes it reminds me of endless innings of scoreless ball without the suspense.
But Lew Wolff's latest idea of trying to find a temporary home for his A's is worth analysis: It may open a sliver of opportunity for San Jose, though it raises as many questions as answers.
First, you have to ask why Wolff is floating the idea at all. The answer has everything to do with Oakland. Wolff wants a longer-term lease on the Oakland Coliseum, probably five years -- enough time to figure out what comes next.
The Oakland authorities have been resisting an extension beyond 2015. Under one scenario, they hope to coax the A's into building at the Howard Terminal site, near Jack London Square, a site Wolff dislikes.
In the simplest take, Wolff is trying to create leverage to get a longer lease at his current site. The most likely outcome is Oakland will fold and give Wolff what he wants.
A complicating factor here is the Raiders, who are now negotiating with the Oakland Joint Powers Authority (JPA), and would like a football-only stadium on the site.
But there have been whispers lately that the negotiations are not going well. Let us assume that keeps the door open for the A's.
Meanwhile, the question arises: If Wolff were to move the team to a temporary location, where might it be?
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed says that one location might be San Jose Muni Stadium. But even the mayor says Muni may be too small. And the city just signed a five-year lease with the San Jose Giants.
A better location, in terms of access and parking, might be the 50 acres the city owns next to Wolff's soccer stadium on the old FMC site, a stadium scheduled to open next year. But why construct a temporary park if you have no assurance of where you will end up?
"How long are you going to be there?" asked Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone, a dedicated baseball booster. "And where are you going to go? You don't know anything more about the future than you do today."
Any temporary ballpark has to be approved by Major League Baseball, which is now facing an antitrust lawsuit from San Jose. Typically, MLB has allowed temporary sites only when the club has a permanent location in mind (think Seals Stadium in San Francisco in the late 1950s).
Stone, for one, thinks that the most logical site would be Candlestick Park, which is set to be demolished later this year. Although it was modified for the 49ers, it has the advantage of originally being a baseball park. It's unclear whether the San Francisco Giants would resist this plan.
Remember one last thing: Wolff said he would consider a site accessible to his television and radio market -- and that might include Sacramento's Raley Field, the home of the River Cats, the A's triple-A affiliate.
That field, built in 2000, has a little more than 11,000 permanent seats, and grass berms that take capacity to 14,000. The A's could conceivably expand the park by adding bleachers in the outfield.
On second thought, I was right the first time. Wake me when it's over.