Oakland City Council fires back at A's relocation threat

The Oakland City Council wants the A's and Major League Baseball to forgo exploring relocation possibilities and instead focus on its project proposal for the Howard Terminal ballpark.

The city council said local leaders offered several times to meet with A's leadership regarding how to move the project forward.

Councilmembers said the statement released by the MLB on Tuesday paints a false narrative that the city was delaying or refusing to consider the team's project proposal.

The Oakland City Council said in a statement Friday, "Recently, the A’s leadership decided to change requests, and rather than send forward full completed deal terms for consideration, the A’s announced  in the press that instead they were demanding that the Council take a vote on a summary ‘term sheet’ without full details."

The city maintains that is committed to keeping the team in Oakland as they were under the impression that was always the plan. 

Oakland council leaders are asking for "good faith" negotiations concerning the new waterfront ballpark.

"We felt there is false information being spread. And that they have said the city leadership isn’t willing to work fairly with the Athletics," said Oakland Vice-Mayor Rebecca Kaplan.

The issue of relocation reared its head after the MLB gave the green light to explore moving. The team has been pushing for the Howard Terminal ballpark for years.

"Hopefully people will understand, it really is Howard Terminal or bust," A’s team president Dave Kaval said Tuesday.

The league is disgruntled with the city’s pace of progress towards getting a deal done. Executives say the current Coliseum site is not viable for the future of baseball. The threat of losing the team hit a raw nerve with Kaplan.

"Do they wanna play sports here? Or is this just a game to them?", asked Kaplan. "For them to say if you don’t take action we will let them relocate raises the question about whether major league baseball is serious."

Diehard fans said if all sides can’t complete a deal, the city could lose its third professional sports franchise. And the community could lose another source of pride.

"Oakland has a lot of history (that’s) tarnished through people trying to figure out how to separate all the good parts of it," said Oakland resident Anthony Blanca. "Without having those things there, it seems, Oakland might lay dormant."

The league has not commented on the letter from the Oakland City Council.