SAN FRANCISCO -- Bob Lurie, owner of the San Francisco Giants, Wednesday delivered an early Christmas present to local baseball fans when he announced that he would no longer consider stadium offers from out-of-area cities.
The announcement came 10 days before a deadline Lurie had set earlier this year. He warned that if a viable Bay Area stadium proposal were not put forth during 1988, he would entertain offers from other cities, such as Denver.
The wealthy developer, who stepped in at the last minute in 1976 to buy the team and prevent it from moving to Toronto, issued the statement the morning after Santa Clara city officials gave a county stadium task force the authority to submit a proposal for a 40,000-seat baseball stadium on city land.
Also, San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos, who opposed previous plans to erect a new downtown stadium for the Giants, recently began reviving the stadium issue.
'I'm very pleased by the progress and commitment made both by the Santa Clara stadium task force and the San Francisco task force,' Lurie said. 'The actions taken in Santa Clara and San Francisco in support of building a fan's baseball stadium are very encouraging and I have decided that we will not, at this time, consider proposals from cities outside the Bay Area.'
Lurie was out of town and issued the statement through Corey Busch, the Giants' executive vice president.
The Giants currently play at 28-year-old Candlestick Park, considered inadequate by many baseball purists and notorious for gusty winds and access and parking problems.
The term 'fan's stadium' refers to the type of new stadium Lurie and most other interested parties would like to see -- an intimate, baseball-only park modeled after Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Lurie, unhappy with conditions at Candlestick, has been threatening to move the Giants for several years, and a number of cities including Denver have actively lobbied for the franchise.
The team's lease at Candlestick expires after the 1994 season, and Lurie said his final decision on whether to leave San Francisco for the suburbs would be based on which ballpark could be completed in time for the 1995 season.
Santa Clara would appear to have the edge at this time. The city council voted 6-1 Tuesday night to let the county task force handle the stadium discussions.
Lurie had balked at dealing with a task force that did not have the clear support of the city government, which would have the final say over whether city land could be used for the project.
'The council has sent a clear signal of the interest in a stadium,' Elliot Lepler, a spokesman for the task force, said.
Lurie said preliminary studies on the Santa Clara proposal indicate 'a number of positive aspects for that site.'