Are the A's done with Oakland ?
First off, the A's organization is eliminating upper deck seating for 2006. This means forcing season ticket holders to fill up more seats in the second and first levels, reducing capacity in order to force more "sellout" games and also gambling to increase revenue as fans who normally would have sat in the third level will pony up for higher price tickets. This also gives Lewis Wolff his chance to test his plans for a new ballpark which would have similar capacity and also would only have 2 levels of seating.
Next, the city of San Jose is not giving up their plans to entice the A's to leave Oakland by acquiring land to the tune of $5 million plus spending money for an environmental impact statement. It's a win-win for San Jose, if no baseball park materializes, they can always use the land for something equally beneficial.
Fremont has been in the game as well, with the city approving a study for a possible ballpark back in October. (big hat tip to new A's ballpark for all the links and info)
There is a fantastic article outlining the big picture for the new A's ballpark at Yahoo and Scout.com written by the author of the new A's ballpark blog. It is a great primer for those who want to learn more about the A's ballpark woes.
Personally, I think the A's days in Oakland are almost over. The new ballpark proposal Lewis Wolff gave to the city of Oakland will be difficult for the city to make happen. Whether Wolff did this on purpose in order to make it easier to move the team to "better" locations in the future is a matter of opinion. I think Oakland has more important things to worry about than a new baseball park, as sad as I am to admit that. They also remember all too well how Al Davis screwed everybody when bringing back the Raiders, and that bitter taste is hard to forget, so the city will be extra cautious when looking at possible baseball park plans for the A's.
The best option would be for the A's to find a home somewhere in Alameda County, if Oakland no longer becomes a feasible option, which I think is certain. While MLB has said that the Giants own the territorial rights to San Jose, it certainly hasn't stopped them from actively pursuing the A's. Ideally, the A's will find a home somewhere between here and there, and preferably close to a BART station and still within Alameda County.