Oakland and Alameda County are or aren't, have or might not have completed negotiations with the A's to extend their lease at O.Co Coliseum for the next 10 years. But the only construction project that seems to be on the fast track in Oakland is the Tower of Babel relating to the future of the A's and Raiders.
For the past seven years, the ownership of the Oakland A's has been focused on leaving the city that has been their home since 1968. First to Fremont (didn't happen) and then San Jose (hasn't yet happened and most likely never will).
The Raiders, through owner Mark Davis, have expressed their strong desire to remain in Oakland and build a new football stadium on the exact site of the current stadium. The time needed for the demolishment and all-in construction cost of a new stadium is uncertain. Davis has said the Raiders have $400 million already earmarked for the project.
The Golden State Warriors after two-plus years pursuing a new arena on the San Francisco Embarcadero at Piers 30-32 abandoned that location in favor of a less complicated and more affordable hoop palace in Mission Bay.
The Warriors will soon be renamed, relocated, re-logoed and it won't be with a script Oakland emblazoned on their spiffy new uniforms. Oakland had two years to present a viable alternative while the Warriors were wrangling with San Francisco and couldn't get it done.
The ironclad parameters of the A's 10-year lease extension will be written in flubber with clauses that lawyers for the Bermuda Triangle would have a difficult time explaining.
The Raiders can leave but they have no place to go other than Levi's Stadium and that option is much less enticing than it was several years ago when the 49ers and Raiders were talking about a joint tenancy similar to that of the Jets and Giants. It has turned into a cash register in New Jersey.
"Coliseum City" remains as viable as the chance of the Lost City of the Incas or Shangri-La building a new ballpark and football stadium. Striped bass and steelhead will be swimming in Damon Slough when Coliseum City is completed.
Then there is Howard Terminal. MLB commissioner Bud Selig: "Contrary to what some have suggested, the committee that has studied this issue did not determine that the Howard Terminal site was the best location for a new facility in Oakland."
One of the key levels of maturity missing in the ongoing Oakland turmoil with its sports teams is teamwork. How would you grade the city, county and JPA? How would you grade the elected officials who make up those bodies? How would you grade the A's and Raiders in working together as a team to get to a viable solution? How would you grade the NFL and Major league Baseball in getting this sticky situation resolved?
Here is a possible plan that can be instituted to save two of Oakland's three professional sports teams, but it only works if the concepts of rationality, teamwork, logic and timeliness are put into play.
1. Have the JPA and the A's sign a lease extension.
2. Convince the Raiders to retrofit the O.Co. For $400 million it can be transformed into a quality football-only stadium. The cost of the Raiders demolishing and rebuilding on the exact same site will cost at least $1 billion. Where is that money coming from? The Raiders say they must build on the current site. There is an aquifer under the O.co. Is it filled with gold bullion or black gold? They should move to the south of the Coliseum footprint. While it is being renovated the A's and Raiders might be able to play their games there. If not, they have temporary home possibilities in Levi's and AT&T.
3. Work with the A's to select a location on the Coliseum site and build a new baseball-only park.
Since the A's are going to be hosting the World Series this October, it would be a worthwhile target date to get a resolution to this ongoing sports soap opera.
Andy Dolich is managing director/head of U.S Sport Practice for Odgers Berndtson, director of career development at University of San Francisco's Collegiate Athletics MBA program and executive of the A's from 1981-1994.