Wolff refutes report regarding A's ballpark

Wolff refutes report regarding A's ballpark

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- A report from Ballpark Digest on Wednesday suggested that Major League Baseball's blue-ribbon committee is prepared to recommend that Oakland move forward with its waterfront ballpark and that the city of San Jose is not an option for the A's.

However, A's co-owner and managing partner Lew Wolff, when informed of the report, immediately shot down the notion, reiterating what he's told media for months.

"We have exhausted every option in Oakland," Wolff said when contacted by phone. "I have not heard anything of this nature."

In a statement addressing the matter, Major League Baseball issued the following on Wednesday evening: "Despite reports or speculation to the contrary, Major League Baseball has not completed its study of the Oakland A's stadium matter nor has the Commissioner's Special Committee recommended any sites or territories for the development of a new ballpark for the A's. No date has been determined for the committee to issue its findings."

Wolff mentioned that he has not heard "hardly anything" from the City of Oakland in two years. He has been awaiting a report from the three-panel committee which Commissioner Bud Selig appointed in March 2009 to study the A's stadium options, particularly one involving San Jose that potentially broaches territorial rights.

The City of San Jose is considering asking for voter approval to build a ballpark for the A's there, but the San Francisco Giants have publicly stated that they would oppose the move due to encroachment on their territorial rights to Santa Clara County, where they have a Class A team.

Ballpark Digest proposed the idea that the condition of Oakland's redevelopment agency finances, along with the city's commitment to keeping the A's from leaving the city, resulted in a decision that Wolff said he's heard nothing of. Furthermore, Wolff noted that "Major League Baseball can tell us where we can't go, but they cannot tell us where to go."

Thus, the A's -- even if granted territorial rights to San Jose -- are under no obligation to move to a site recommended by the MLB committee, which has been silent since it was formed. A new ballpark would be privately funded, so the A's could choose to then spend no money and instead continue playing at the Coliseum, or Wolff and Co. could sell the team.

Though there is still no timetable on when an official announcement from Major League Baseball will be made regarding the issue, several people close to the situation feel it is coming soon, perhaps before Spring Training. Come April, the A's will be entering their 43rd season at the Coliseum, which stands in an outdated and rundown condition -- factors that have affected general manager Billy Beane's efforts to bring free agents to Oakland.

"The facility's a hurdle," Beane said earlier this week. "It's a fact."

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.