05 September 2009

Developers wooing A's away from Phoenix

That's Phoenix, as in Municipal Stadium, not Oakland. In January I wrote about the A's discussing renovations to Muni with City officials. Apparently the officials couldn't wrap their brains around the radical concept - team pays for it up front, gets reimbursed or compensated later - so that went nowhere.

Hopefully this time Phoenix and Mayor Phil Gordon are more open to the idea now that local developers want to lure the A's from Muni/Papago Park to a newly built complex on the Salt River Reservation. The reservation is only a few miles to the east, sandwiched between Scottsdale and Mesa. It's a well-integrated part of the community despite its sovereign status, as Scottsdale Community College sits on reservation land. The two Tucson-based teams, the Diamondbacks and Rockies, are already set to move to the reservation following the 2011 season.
"The Oakland A's aren't moving," Gordon said. "Mr. Wolff is a man of his word, and he isn't going to be playing city against city or nation against city."
Mayor Gordon touts his good relationship with Lew Wolff, and I have no reason to doubt that. Still, interest from a private party may have been just the ticket to get Phoenix to the table. Not only would it be a shame if the A's left Phoenix, it would suck if there were no spring training games played at Muni, which remains a venerable yet casual baseball-only institution in the Valley of the Sun.