Scott Herhold of the Merc lives near one of the possible landing pads for the A’s in San Jose, and while he’s a fan of the prospect, his neighbors aren’t:
You see, I live in the Hanchett Park neighborhood of San Jose, about a mile as a City Hall falcon flies, from the potential site of an A’s ballpark next to the main Caltrain station.
And my neighborhood message group, usually sprinkled with tips on handymen or warnings of car break-ins, has buzzed about the potential downside of a stadium — traffic, lights, noise and the need for double-pane windows.
The whole debate is probably premature. The A’s lack permission from Major League Baseball to invade the assumed territory of the Giants. Last week, A’s managing partner Lew Wolff suggested everyone chill until he decides his next move.
Since it’s my neighborhood, I’m still intrigued by the passionate difference between the brave few who welcome a ballpark — I counted three on my message group — and the majority who think it’s the worst idea since Donald Rumsfeld.
One poster suggested the gulf was shaped by the like or dislike of baseball. I think it’s a more classic NIMBY battle: The neighbors might like baseball in the abstract. Just not here. Not now. Not with their money.
In truth, the NIMBY people have raised searching questions. How does a baseball stadium fit with plans for high-speed rail at the same site? What about the lights and noise? What about the inadequate parking or the choked freeways?
Leaving the question of finances aside — you all know where I stand on that — I am struck by the initial responses, even if they’re the mere anecdotal ramblings of a columnist’s neighbors. I’m curious: is there a Major League ballpark anywhere that brings with it the kinds of negatives described by Herhold’s neighbors?
I’m not asking this rhetorically. I really don’t know. Are there any ballparks, particularly new-builds, that truly antagonize their immediate neighbors? The only example I can think of at the moment is Wrigley Field, which seems to kick up problems in connection with night games and traffic issues and stuff. Of course Wrigley is a special case in that (a) it’s literally smack dab in the middle of a residential area; and (b) it probably does more to enhance the lives of its neighbors than detract. At any rate, unless you’re 95, it was there first, so complainers don’t get a lot of sympathy from me.
Anyone have any real life horror stories of living near the ballpark?