csnbayarea.com photo: Oakland A’s team president David Kaval
By Amaury Pi Gonzalez
OAKLAND– As a veteran working in baseball I have seen plenty. From the late mid to late 1970’s when Mr Charlie O Finley told me “Yes Amaury you can broadcast in Mexican”, until now. Obviously Charlie forgot it was Spanish. Mexican is not a language, is a nationality. Plus, even if Mexican was a language I would not understand it, since I was born in Cuba. But that is how I’ve got my start and I have been fortunate to see this franchise through the good and the bad years.It is called history.
A new era for Oakland Athletics baseball was launched when Mr Dave Kaval was introduced as new President of the Oakland Athletics. His primary mission is to build a new ballpark for the Athletics inside the Oakland city limits. He has admitted that is his main focus. The Athletics need a new park and a new look. Since he took the job as President, he has named the Oakland Coliseum Rickey Henderson Field, has renovated areas inside the Coliseum, make it much more fan-friendly, and then we have heard some of the great players of the A’s during the glory years of the team in the 1980’s like Dave Stewart, Jose Canseco getting involved, Dennis Eckersley is now a special assistant to Mr Kaval.
Why not retire Dagoberto(Campy)Campaneris #19? he was a great shortstop during the three-consecutive World Championship titles in 1972 to 1974. And when you have great and popular players like Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Donaldson(a few years back) you must keep them. It is part of the business of baseball, keeping your star players, and the fans involved with their local heroes.
“Rooted in Oakland”is a good way to start. Since they moved from Kansas City in 1968 they won four World Championships here, for those that are counting that is one more than the San Francisco Giants. Plus while in Philadelphia (where the A’s were born back in 1901) they won five more championships for a total of nine World Series titles, Yankees 27, Cardinals 11, Athletics 9. The New York Yankees have won 40 American League titles, the most in the league’s history, followed by the Philadelphia/Kansas City/Oakland Athletics(15) and the Boston Red Sox 13.
The history of this franchise is great.In the early years, the A’s established themselves as one of the dominant teams in the new league, winning the A.L. pennant six times (1902, 1905, 1910, 1911, 1913 and 1914), and winning the World Series in 1910, 1911 and 1913. They moved from Kansas City to Oakland in 1968 and four years later they started a dynasty, winning three consecutive World Series. Then came the Haas(Levi Strauss)ownership in the 1980’s, and they were one of the most dominant teams.
It seems to me that Mr Dave Kaval is the right man at the right time in history for this Athletics franchise. His approach as a populist (I might say)mingling with the fans and taking suggestions an affable executive with a vision for this franchise. And that is all good. Baseball is a game to be enjoyed by the fans, yes television and radio rights, merchandise and marketing are all good and part of the business, but no player like to play in an empty stadium.
There are four (4) locations the new President is looking at for the construction of a new stadium. Howard terminal, Lake Merritt, Jack London Square and the current Oakland Coliseum. When I first met and spoke with Mr Kaval was during the Oakland Athletics Fanfest(which by the way returned to Jack London Square this year)and my simple suggestion –this was many weeks before the Raiders announced their move to Las Vegas, was the Oakland Coliseum.
There are few baseball facilities in the country more accessible that the Oakland Coliseum., We have one of the Bay Area main arteries, Highway 880 to the West and BART to the East. The main problem is that there is not much of a village there, they need restaurants, theaters, more entertainment build around there. Why not blow the Coliseum and build a new park right there? 41.000 seats right there in the heart of the Bay Area. I am not opposed to the other three locations, but I believe the current location might be the best. Of course, during the construction there(at the Coliseum site) the A’s would have to play someplace else for a couple of seasons. That, as I see it is the biggest negative. While in the other locations they could begin building as the A’s still would play at the Coliseum, until is time to move to the new park.
Plus, I believe that if you build it right there at the Coliseum, there will be less opposition from environmentalist and other groups that will always opposed a sports facility.
All I have seen from the new Oakland Athletics President is positive and headed in the right direction. This franchise needed this and now I believe they are in good hands with Mr Dave Kaval. It won’t be easy to build a new ballpark, we who lived in the Bay Area most of our lives now that, this is not Kansas City or Cincinnati, but I trust that Mr Kaval will reach his objective.