In the latest development in the city of Oakland’s efforts to find a ballpark site for the A’s, a settlement was reached Thursday in a lawsuit between SSA Terminals and the Oakland Port Authority. The settlement gives SSA the right to opt out of their lease four years early and move to a different site, which in turn will allow the city to continue to research and prepare Howard Terminal for a new ballpark.
The suit stemmed from a deal between the port and SSA’s main competitor, Ports America. SSA argued that Ports America was given a better deal on their lease, thus violating federal shipping laws.
The settlement still needs to be finalized by the Board of Port Commissioners, and even then, we could see more legal action from Ports America and the longshoremen’s union, which is opposed to the ruling on the grounds that they’ll be losing valuable jobs if SSA leaves Howard Terminal.
Still, this is a significant step forward by the city in coming up with a realistic plan to keep the A’s in Oakland. If the ruling holds up, they’ll be able to move forward with an environmental impact report and an estimate of cost based upon infrastructure improvements and site preparation.
There’s no guarantee that the A’s will take advantage of the site even if all of this does happen, as Lew Wolff is going to wait patiently to find out what happens in the lawsuit filed by the city of San Jose against Major League Baseball. Furthermore, he’s made it clear the A’s won’t be stepping up to fund the construction of an Oakland stadium, at least not while he’s the owner, so there’s still work to be done to find a way to pay for this whole operation.
But if you’re rooting for the A’s to stay in Oakland, you can revel in this tiny bit of good news, and hold out hope that the Green and Gold could be playing games in a waterfront stadium someday.