Negotiations aimed at freeing the Oakland A's to move to Denver collapsed yesterday when the San Francisco Giants retracted their offer to play some games at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum as a replacement for the A's.
The development appears to assure that the A's will remain in Oakland this season, continuing their fiscally destructive tug-of-war with the Giants.
Giant co-owner Bob Lurie said last night he decided to withdraw the offer when it became clear no compromise on the proposal was possible between San Francisco and Oakland officials.
"After an hour or so, it was obvious there was no way to compromise," Laurie said. "So I called the ballpark and told them to get the (1978) shedules printed and the tickets ready. We're going to be playing every day at Candlestick."
Yesterday's session was the latest of several in the past month involving Lurie, San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, National League President Charles (Chub) Feeney and Robert Nahas, general manager of the Coliseum.
Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn and American League President Lee MacPhail also have tried, in vain, to help hammer out a compromise that would and the financial chaos caused by the proximity of the NL Giants and AL A's. The head-to-head competition for fans has meant millions of dollars in losses to both clubs.
Oakland owner Charles O. Finley agreed in December to sell the A's to Denver oilman Marvin Davis for $12.5 million. The deal was applauded by many in baseball because it would solve the "Bay Area problem" by moving one club out and end Finley's association with baseball.
The Denver deal was contingent on Finley's ability to free the A's from the 10 years remaining on their contract with the Coliseum. In a spirit of cooperation, the Giants offered to play some games in Oakland if it would help Finley break the lease.
Coliseum officials balked and filed suit to block the sale. After the proposal of a financial settlement that would have covered the loss of rent and other baseball-related revenues, Coliseum officials relented slightly.
They said they would compromise if the Giants would play at least 50 percent of their home games in Oakland and change their name to something reflecting the common territory of the two cities - such as the Bay Area Giants.
Moscone rejected the proposals outright. Even if the San Francisco mayor had agreed, there was little possibility that the city's board of supervisors would have cleared the plan.
The approval or the mayor and the supervisors was necessary to permit the Giants to renegotiate their contract with city-owned Candlestick Park. The contract expires in 1994.
Finley was not immediately available for comment.
"I'm not going to worry about Charlie," Lurie said. "Unless something dramatic happens to (the A's), they'll probably be playing in Oakland. I don't know how well they can do.
"We have a team with a lot of potential and we are going to be contenders this season. I hope that it will sink in that we're for real now. I'm hopeful we'll draw 1!2 million (people) and at least break even.
"The games in April and May are going to be even more crucial now, in getting people accustomed to coming out and seeing us. Every game this year might be like the seventh game of the World Series"