Oakland Athletics owner Lew Wolff announced today that the team has reached a 10-year lease extension with the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority to stay at the Oakland Coliseum. It still has to be approved by the city and the county. There are a lot of politics to all of that, but one has to assume that a team actually wanting to stay in that building is a gift horse into whose mouth they don’t want to too closely look.
The Coliseum is obviously a wreck, of course — the sewage problems are well-documented and two weeks ago the lights literally went out during a game — but this lease is likely the first step in Wolff’s grand Plan B, given that San Jose seems to be a pipe dream that neither Major League Baseball nor the San Francisco Giants want to see happen. If it doesn’t, Oakland it is, because there really aren’t a ton of other places that make a lot of sense.
The battle now is where in Oakland. There have been competing proposals for a new home for the A’s, all either unlikely to come to fruition or still in their nascent stages. There was one that would have the A’s build on the waterfront, but Wolff’s re-upping at the Coliseum and his plans to do something at the existing site, be it a Coliseum renovation or a new ballpark, seem to be way more likely. They certainly have the blessing of Major League Baseball. Bud Selig released this statement today:
“I commend the Oakland Athletics and the JPA for their efforts in reaching an extension for a lease at O.co Coliseum. The agreement on this extension is a crucial first step towards keeping Major League Baseball in Oakland.
“I continue to believe that the Athletics need a new facility and am fully supportive of the club’s view that the best site in Oakland is the Coliseum site. 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.”
In other news, that committee of his has actually studied something. People study and get PhDs in the time it took to choose between a couple of ballpark sites — and they still have released their “dissertation” about that choice — but good for them for working!
My gut says that if they’re not going to leave town altogether, staying where they are would be a good plan given the public transportation that goes right to the Coliseum’s front door. But of course my gut is pretty ill-informed about all of the local issues at play here as I have only visited the area a handful of times and have little more to go on than the stuff my Bay Area-dwelling friends have said on the matter. For that reason, go check out Newballpark.org for continuing coverage of this stuff. Those guys are on it all the damn time.
In a show of good sportsmanship, the Cleveland Cavaliers have moved their championship ring ceremony start time back to 7 PM EDT to avoid conflicting with the start of the World Series opener on Tuesday. The Indians are set to host Game 1 at Progressive Field on October 25, while the Cavs will open the 2016-17 NBA season against the New York Knicks at the nearby Quicken Loans Arena, preceded by a ceremony recognizing their first franchise title.
In the event that the Indians clinch a World Series title, it’ll be the first time Cleveland has seen two championships in the same calendar year since 1948, when the Indians’ last Series title came on the back of the Cleveland Browns’ All-American Football Conference championship against the Buffalo Bills. The same was true for the Dodgers in 1988, when their World Series win against the Athletics coincided with the Los Angeles Lakers’ 11th championship, while Chicago has yet to see a multi-title year among their NBA, NHL, NFL, and MLB franchises.
Regardless of the Series’ outcome, Cleveland fans will get the chance to revel in one long-awaited championship win on Tuesday before watching the beginning of a nail-biting conclusion to another long-awaited playoff run. The Cavaliers are scheduled for 7 PM EDT on October 25, while the Indians will take the field at 8 PM EDT.
If any team can turn a six-day rest period into an advantage, it’s the Indians. The club polished off their pennant race with another injured starter and an overtaxed bullpen, as Trevor Bauer exited in Game 3 of the ALCS with a laceration on his right pinky finger, leaving the bullpen to shoulder 16 innings through the last three games of the series. On Friday, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reported that injured starter Danny Salazar could rejoin the rotation in the World Series, though he’ll need at least one more simulated game before Terry Francona determines whether or not he’s fit to return for the team’s last postseason push.
Bauer, who has been under the close watch of hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham, told the press that he feels confident that he’ll be ready for a World Series start when the final showdown commences on Tuesday. Keeping the wound bandaged is not an option during games, and Bauer said that Dr. Graham decided against additional stitches to keep the laceration from re-opening. Instead, they’re banking on extra days of rest to heal the cut naturally. Should Francona pencil the right-hander into the lineup for Game 3 or 4, he’ll have had 10-11 days to rest his finger between starts — just a hair under the seven games Bauer said he was prepared to pitch.
Salazar, too, has been preparing for a World Series showdown. He’s scheduled to pitch three innings of a simulated game this weekend, and if it goes well, it could land him a spot in the starting rotation alongside Bauer, Corey Kluber, Josh Tomlin, and newcomer Ryan Merritt. Salazar has been sidelined since September 9 with a right forearm strain, and even after undergoing a rigorous throwing program over the last several weeks, any kind of comeback is expected to be curbed by a strict innings limit. Francona has been understandably tight-lipped about his World Series roster, but he hasn’t yet nixed the idea of utilizing Salazar out of the rotation, provided the right-hander remains healthy for another week or so.
The Indians have had to remain flexible throughout their seven-game playoff run after weathering injuries to Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer, pushing their rotation through several games on short rest and relying heavily on Andrew Miller and Cody Allen‘s one-two punch in the ‘pen to clinch more than a few postseason victories. While history doesn’t always favor the first team to secure their league’s pennant race, an extra week of rest should only benefit Cleveland’s beleaguered pitching staff.