The game is in the bottom of the ninth. The city of Oakland is trailing. Quan is at the plate. She has fouled off two fastballs. Down to her last strike. She still has life.

The A's and the JPA are no longer issuing caustic emails about each other. That's progress.

"The tone of negotiations can be every bit as important as the dollars and cents of the proposal," said Kaplan, Oakland councilperson and member of the JPA, and an Oakland mayoral candidate in the fall. "In terms of what was happening a few weeks ago and the progress we're making now, the fact that we are now talking directly is really important. When completing a deal it isn't always just the haggling over the price. It could also be, 'Are people speaking to each other respectfully?'"

The negotiations with the Raiders always have been more respectful. Still — and this is the paradox — Oakland stands a better chance of keeping the A's than the Raiders. The A's have nowhere to go. They are eager to sign a 10-year lease to stay right where they are.

The Raiders are giving Colony Capital a short window to show palpable progress toward Coliseum City, a project with a high degree of difficulty. If that does not work out, no one knows what the Raiders will do.

Quan hopes her vision of keeping both teams is feasible, although her vision, Wolff's vision and Davis' vision are not always the same.

Quan digs into the batter's box. The pitcher winds up. He throws. She strides forward. She swings.

(For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at