A's to tour possible site for new park Thursday

OAKLAND -- Members of the A's organization, including co-owner John Fisher, will tour the Port of Oakland's Howard Terminal site Thursday -- a prospective location for a new ballpark -- the team confirmed Wednesday.

The story was first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.

"We are looking at that location and other sites in Oakland, including the Coliseum," said A's director of corporate communications Catherine Aker.

According to the report, Port officials will be on hand for the tour of the waterfront site, which is located west of Oakland's Jack London Square, to answer questions from team officials. The Howard Terminal site has been rumored as a possible destination for several years, as A's ownership continues to mull its future ballpark options.

One supporter of the potential move is Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who appeared on KTVU TV in Oakland on Wednesday morning and was asked about the tour.

"It's right next to the Ferry Landing in Jack London Square," Schaaf said. "It is a site that I've been advocating for. I'm very excited.

"This is very early stages. I don't want people to get too excited. This is a technical tour. I'm not going on it -- these are engineers. But that is a testament to the seriousness the A's are paying right now to really deeply analyzing multiple sites. This is not the only one that we're looking at. They've gotten very serious. They're only looking [in] Oakland."

In June, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred told the Baseball Writers' Association of America that the league is committed to keeping the A's in Oakland as they search for a new ballpark -- a search he said is largely directed by ownership.

"I am committed to Oakland as a Major League site," Manfred said. "I think that if we were to leave Oakland, I think 10 years from now, we would be more likely than not looking backwards saying we made a mistake."

According to the report, the Howard Terminal site is a feasible future option, but it doesn't come without obstacles, including public transportation challenges and a slew of "regulatory hurdles" the team would face.

Mark Chiarelli is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.