ORLANDO, Fla. – The Raiders knew the Oakland Coliseum was a multipurpose facility when they moved back to it. Playing on infield dirt was a necessary evil after coming north from Los Angeles. The exercise has worn thin.
That inconvenience is nothing compared to Athletics owner Lew Wolff’s latest idea gone public. He suggested the A’s re-negotiate their Oakland Coliseum lease with a proposed 10-year extension. That would complicate matters for the Raiders, who prefer to build a new facility on the existing site.
“It’s not the A’s fault, but there is a problem between the two of us because, if in fact they were to sign a 10-year extension, then we would be in a position where we couldn’t tear down the stadium and build a new one,” Raiders owner Mark Davis said in an interview at the NFL owners meetings. “If in fact we tear down the stadium and build a new one, where are the A’s going to play? It’s a very complicated thing.”
There’s the rub. The Raiders and Athletics both want a new, sport-specific stadium, but aren’t in lockstep in achieving that end.
The two could live peacefully in the vast, imaginative and inherently complex Coliseum City proposal that could provide new digs for one to three East Bay teams. Davis is intrigued by the possibility. The Athletics, publicly at least, haven’t given much credence to that concept, focusing on extending the Coliseum lease. They would like to move to San Jose, but that possibility seems increasingly fleeting.
Baseball stadium plans have been discussed at the Port of Oakland and the Coliseum site, but the latter remains Wolff’s focus as his San Jose plans remain in legal limbo.
The currently shared space between the Raiders and Athletics has created an awkward relationship between teams who have different ideas on how to use the same land.
“There was a baseball field when we moved back,” Davis said. “We knew that there was a baseball field there. We’ve played on it there for 18 years. This will be our 19th year on the baseball field after coming back. We don’t like it, but at the same time we were the ones who made the decision to come back and play on it. Now we’ve determined that’s not the best for the Raiders or the NFL.”