Staying in Oakland 'out of the question' for Athletics

The co-owner of the Oakland Athletics says the team has ruled out remaining in Oakland as it pursues a new ballpark in Fremont, Calif., about 30 miles away.

"We don't want to move. We don't want to start pitting cities against each other, but it's out of the question we'll stay in Oakland," Lew Wolff said Monday after giving an address and answering questions at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco.

The team can no longer share McAfee Coliseum with the NFL's Oakland Raiders and has not found a suitable site elsewhere in Oakland, Wolff said.

The Athletics have envisioned a 32,000-seat ballpark in Fremont on a 200-acre complex that would include a shopping mall, a hotel and 3,000 housing units. The team has yet to formally submit a development application to the Fremont City Council. But Wolff said an application will be filed in the next two weeks, starting the environmental review process.

The team announced its intentions about a year ago and purchased 168 acres for the project in May. Fremont is about 27 miles from Oakland and 18 miles from San Jose.

Some Athletics fans in attendance at the Commonwealth Club, the nation's oldest public affairs forum, questioned Wolff on the proposed move, raising concerns about traffic, ticket prices and fewer seats at the new site. Wolff said those problems will be solved in time for the new stadium's projected 2012 opening, adding that fans should be happy the team is staying in the area.

"We're still here, folks," Wolff said. "We're not moving to Timbuktu. We're just moving down the street."