THE VIEW WESTfrom the roof ofa Kohl’sdepartmentstore shows thefield for theproposed newA’s ballpark nearPacificCommons inFremont.
THE VIEW WEST from the roof of a Kohl's department store shows the field for the proposed new A's ballpark near Pacific Commons in Fremont. (BEA AHBECK - Staff)
FREMONT — The Oakland A's could become the Fremont A's, or maybe even the San Jose A's, as team co-owner Lewis Wolff plans to announce next week with Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig that the team is moving to Fremont.

A source close to the negotiations said Selig will visit the area a week from today for a news conference with Wolff and executives at Cisco Systems Inc., a company that controls a 143-acre plot of land targeted for a new stadium.

The news conference could take place at Cisco's San Jose headquarters, the source said.

Wolff, a longtime friend and former college fraternity brother of Selig, would not comment Monday on the news conference or relocation plans.

Reached on his cell phone, Wolff said he was too busy to talk and referred questions to team officials. Asked whether he is moving to Fremont, Wolff said, "I gotta go."

Meanwhile, Fremont officials and Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, before word about it spread Monday, said they knew nothing about Selig's planned appearance.

"We were not kept in the loop about it," a spokeswoman for Haggerty said. More details likely will be discussed Wednesday when Wolff is scheduled to meet individually with Fremont City Manager Fred Diaz, Mayor Bob Wasserman and other City Council members.

Wolff set up the City Hall meetings about two weeks ago, Councilmember Bob Wieckowski said.


"I assume (the meeting) is a precursor to what might happen next week," Fremont Vice Mayor Steve Cho said.

The Fremont land near the Pacific Commons shopping center is the team's No.1 site for a new ballpark, A's spokesman Jim Young said Monday, repeating what Wolff announced in March.

Still, Young declined to comment on the negotiations between the A's and Cisco. "That's information that will all be forthcoming at a later date," he added.

Cisco spokeswoman Abby Smith also declined to comment Monday, saying it is the company's policy not to say whether internal meetings have taken place.

The 143-acre Fremont property — owned by ProLogis and controlled by Cisco in a leaseholder agreement — is adjacent to both Interstate 880 and the Pacific Commons shopping center. Wolff has asked city staff members about housing and land-use issues this year, Fremont officials said. But they will not negotiate the terms of a deal with the A's until the team files a development application with the city.

"The city doesn't have a project yet," Councilmember Anu Natarajan said. "There cannot be one because we don't have an application yet."

Once that happens, city leaders can debate terms of the city's contribution to Wolff's "ballpark village." Cho said he is open-minded to the idea, but cautioned that Fremont taxpayers should not have to foot the cost of any part of it.

"It sounds like something that should work out for the city," the vice mayor added. "But the devil is in the details."

Meanwhile, a longtime South Bay booster said Wolff told him three weeks ago that a deal to buy the Cisco land was just about complete.

"He was in my office here and told me it was pretty much a done deal," said Larry Stone, the Santa Clara County assessor and member of Baseball San Jose. "He was very, very confident that the deal could be done with Cisco."

Less certain is the team's possible new name.

Although Wolff is forbidden from building a ballpark in Santa Clara County because of Major League Baseball's territorial rights rules, those rules do not prevent him from taking the name San Jose or Silicon Valley.

"There are no rules on the books (regarding names)," said Richard Levin, spokesman for Major League Baseball. "It is something the commissioner would have to deal with." Wolff has said in the past that he wants to attract more companies to purchase luxury boxes and in-stadium advertising. Changing the team's name to San Jose or Silicon Valley could help accomplish that goal, South Bay boosters claim.

"The reason he is moving down here is to get closer to where the financial capacity is," Stone said. "Look, they are going to be 25 miles from Oakland and four miles from San Jose."

Oakland officials said they have no information about a potential move, but argued they did all they could to keep the team in town.

City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente said the city had put together several locations for Wolff at which his plan for a baseball village could have worked.

But at each site, De La Fuente said, Wolff asked for more and more.

"We don't have the resources, we have some other major problems," he said. "When (Wolff) gets down to business, cash is cash. Whatever you talk about: Redevelopment money, liabilities, land rights. It is all money."

Some city officials said they never thought Wolff wanted to be in Oakland.

"To be candid, a lot of my colleagues saw this from the beginning," De La Fuente said. "Many thought (Wolff) was just saying (he wanted to stay in Oakland) to get a better deal somewhere else."

That somewhere now appears to be Fremont.