The boys of summer start in the winter but stadium problems are a four season problem.
The boys of summer get back to the work this week with pitchers and catchers reporting to baseball spring training facilities. The business of baseball looks to be in great shape. But there are two stadium problems that have yet to be solved in Oakland and in the Tampa Bay market. Major League Baseball officials may still be wondering what is going on in Montreal, a market that Commissioner Rob Manfred mentions from time to time as a potential landing spot for an expansion franchise. There has been no change in Montreal’s need for a new stadium since the Expos franchise was moved to Washington following the 2004 season.
Meanwhile the Oakland A’s ownership is still looking around the city for a spot for a new ballpark. The A’s management thought it had a deal to get some land near Laney College until Laney College personnel said the land was not available for a stadium. A’s ownership has not given up on the Laney College property but ownership is still kicking the tires at the Howard Terminal site and possibly building a ballpark adjacent to the team’s present Oakland Coliseum home. Because of the 1922 Supreme Court of the United States decision allowing Major League Baseball to act as a monopoly and a recent court decision backing up the 96-year-old decision the A’s franchise cannot move into San Jose which is San Francisco Giants territory. Oakland is closer to San Francisco than San Jose and previous Giants owners could not get a San Jose stadium built after voters said no in two referendums in Santa Clara and San Jose in 1990 and 1992. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay ownership would like to get a new ballpark in the market, with Tampa probably the preferred site. Rays ownership has 10 seasons left on the St. Petersburg lease. Montreal, Oakland and Tampa Bay stadiums remain a baseball problem.
No stadium, no team in Montreal