The Oakland A’s are Moving to Fremont
Story by Linsay Rousseau Burnett —
Efforts to relocate the Oakland A’s baseball team to the city of Fremont by 2012 are underway. Employees at the Pacific Commons shopping center have mixed opinions about the A’s moving in next door.
According to the Fremont Baseball Village website, the Baseball Village will “create thousands of jobs” and bring much needed revenue to the area known as the “Gateway to Silicon Valley.” The Village will be built directly across from the Pacific Commons shopping center.
Located on the outskirts of the city on the Auto Mall Parkway, Pacific Commons includes more than 50 stores and restaurants. With only one main entrance, the area is a maze of parking lots and dead ends.
With the addition of the stadium, one of the primary concerns for Gale Robertson, 54, an employee at Lowes, is the increase in traffic. “There’s no BART station and it’s not practical to walk anywhere. So unless they figure out a good way to get people in and out it’s going to be a big mess,” she says. According the Village’s website, a new Warm Springs BART station, scheduled to open in 2014, will be built along with a Pacific Commons train station.
Traffic is not the only concern for employees. Suzie Nunez, 22, an employee at GameStop and Fremont native, says planners did not choose the best location for the Village. “The landfill is right down the road. When it gets hot out you can smell it here,” she says, “It’s going to be embarrassing to have people come here and smell that.”
Nunez is also concerned about the size of the stadium. With only 32,000 seats, it will be the smallest stadium in Major League Baseball. Increased competition for tickets and a longer commute for fans living in Oakland and the East Bay will “discourage people from going,” says Nunez, “Plus, they’ll be embarrassed that they have the smallest stadium.”
Lowes’ employee Dwayne Jackson, 24, does not believe the move discourage fans. By moving to Fremont, the stadium will be closer to the cities of San Jose and Santa Clara. “I think they’ll have higher ticket sales because it seems like more of the fan base lives out here,” he says.
Despite the negatives, some employees are also excited about the team coming. Jackson is “ecstatic about the move. I think it’s a good transition.” He says the relocation will be good for Pacific Commons’ businesses, “More people means more money.”
Sebastian de la Cruz, 21, says the stadium will improve business at GameStop, where he works. “Right now not many people come in here because of our location,” he says, “The new stadium will be better for business.”
Aside from the economics and logistics, the excitement of baseball is a factor. Robertson, a longtime A’s fan, is “thrilled they’re coming. I’m all for it.” Jackson, also an A’s fan, “can’t wait to see a game.”
The Pacific Commons’ employees have a front row seat to this development and Nunez says, the next few years “should be interesting.”
For more information of the proposed A’s ballpark visit: www.thefremontbaseballvillage.com
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