Headline Sports podcast with Tony Renteria: Raiders’ Brown threatens to punch GM Mayock over fine; Kaval meets with the media at Jack London Square to share dreams; plus more

Photo credit sfgate.com: Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown shown in photo during his signing with the team during happier times threatened Raiders general manager Mike Mayock at practice on Thursday over his recent fines from the team.

On Headline Sports with Tony:

#1 Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown threatened Raiders general manager Mike Mayock after he was fined $53,000 for leaving camp twice. Don’t be surprised if Brown is cut. Brown also has not gotten his $30 million from his current contract and may not get it.

#2 The Oakland A’s held a presser last Tuesday afternoon at Jack London Square with team president David Kaval, who stood in front of a number of white cranes that help lift cargo shipments. Kaval said rather than remove them they would be part of the new stadium landscape kind of a conversation piece.

#3 It’s just simply a deal that has to get done. Kaval acknowledged that the environmental report which includes topic on toxic clean up, mass transportation, traffic conditions, and the railroads that circle the prized area where the A’s new ballpark is supposed to be built on.

#4 The New Orleans Pelicans’ Lonzo Ball said that his father Lavar’s brand sneakers The Big Baller ZO2 brand fell apart after each quarter “If you literally have those shoes from those games, they’re exploded,” Ball said. Not the ringing endorsement from the off spring of the founder.

#5 The Sacramento Kings owe Harrison Barnes $2.1 million. Barnes, who played for the Kings two different times, is owed the money after the Kings who originally signed him for $12 million and sent him to the New Orleans Pelicans with DeMarcus Cousins in 2016. After Barnes returned to Sacramento in 2018-19, he was paid but with $2.1 million left. Bottom line — how much will Barnes be missed in Sacramento?

#6 The Oakland Raiders kick off on Monday Night Football at the Oakland Coliseum to start Week 1 against the Denver Broncos. How do you see Raiders quarterback Derek Carr matching up against Broncos starter Joe Flacco in this one?

Tony does Headline Sports each Thursday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

 

Oakland A’s unlock doors to newly constructed headquarters in Jack London Square, discuss ballpark relocation

By: Alexandra Evans

OAKLAND—As of Monday, January 8, the Oakland A’s have unlocked their newly constructed, 40,000 square-foot headquarters in Jack London Square.

A day after its opening, the club invited members of the media to take a tour of the facilities, built by Devcon. Stocked with A’s memorabilia (such as the orange ball proposed by former owner Charles Finley, the team’s earliest jerseys and amateur scouting reports for iconic players, including Reggie Jackson), exclusive office space for all branches of the franchise, a refreshment corner, fitness center, personalized A’s-themed artwork, and even a batting cage, each community meeting will be accompanied by state-of-the-art amenities and, being located directly on the water, a clear view of Alameda and San Francisco.

“This location in Jack London has great bones,” said A’s president Dave Kaval. “It’s got a lot of great parts of the experience here like the water, people like congregating here.”

Kaval referred to the new headquarters as a “sampler,” a representation of having a collaborative work environment and embracing their past. Fans and other members of the community now have the opportunity to witness Oakland’s “vision” of their impending new ballpark.

The A’s have called the Oakland Coliseum their home for 50 years, though the club has decided to relocate the ballpark to a different spot in Oakland, such as the Peralta Community College District site–adjacent to Laney College–and the Howard Terminal. After a year of contemplation, they selected the Peralta site in September 2017.

Kaval explained that the club will relocate with the intent to provide all those affiliated with the franchise (executives, players, fans, media members, and the community) with a more modern, holistic experience in and out of the office, and on and off the field. Additionally, the relocation will not allow the A’s to produce the revenue required to compete “at the highest quartile with some of the bigger level teams,” Kaval described.

“[The relocation] fulfills our needs as an organization,” Kaval continued. “It allows us to have a better fan experience, win more world championships by having a bigger payroll, and fits the community’s needs in terms of what it needs to develop, be it affordable housing, a commercial center, or a ballpark village.

“When we talk about having a world-class fan experience, that includes the ingress and egress, getting to and from. You don’t want to be sitting in a parking lot for 45 minutes… it’s very important that wherever we go, we have a plan for that which is very well thought-out.

“We’re focused on those guiding principles of creating a ballpark privately financed, a key part of what we are doing here,” said Kaval, also adding that the confidential financing matters are unusual in the development of venues in Oakland.

The ballpark relocation is one of the biggest projects in the history of Oakland, and it is going to take more than construction workers and team executives to ensure success.

“We need our fans, we need the community, we need the civic leaders, we need everyone together to make it happen, and it will have so many positive externalities if it is done the right way,” Kaval contended.

This is the place the Athletics have chosen for their new $500-mil ballpark

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A mock-up of what a new Athletics ballpark could look like on the proposed site from Newballpark.org

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The day that all Oakland Athletics fans have been waiting for has finally come. On Wednesday, the Athletics announced that they have selected a site for their new $500-million privately financed baseball only ballpark. That site will be will be known as the Peralta Ballpark Plan.

The location is between Lake Merritt and I-880 and is currently occupied by commercial warehouses, parking lots and the administrative offices for the Peralta Community College District.

Plans call for more than a ballpark on the site

This plan calls for a complete makeover of the area that will include more than the Athletics new facility. It will include:

  • New housing
  • There will be emphasis on affordable housing
  • Small business space will be available
  • Restaurant and retail space that will serve the locals and fans
  • Parks will be a part of the overall development
  • Commercial real estate will also have a place in the plan
  • If this sounds a lot like what happened in China Basin when AT&T Park was built, that is exactly the hopes and plans for this development.

What is the proposed schedule for the project?

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An aerial shot of the proposal ballpark site
  • Year one: Community Process – the residents, businesses and city government of Oakland have buy into the project in order to make it work.
  • Year two: Permitting (this is California), environmental approval and final ballpark design
  • 2021: Groundbreaking ceremony
  • 2023: Play ball!

What about financing?

  • The ballpark will be privately financed by the Oakland Athletics similar to how the Giants and the Warriors have built or are building their own facilities. Details to follow.
  • What about financing for the remainder of the project? Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has made his fortune in commercial real estate. He is exactly the type of person who can pull together developers who will want to invest in this type of project, and because Oakland has been an economically challenged city, they are positioned nicely to receive federal and state money to help make a project like this successful.
  • The other factor this project has going for it is the overcrowding in the Bay Area. Oakland is really the last place where commercial office and work space can be developed. It may be last place in the Bay Area where “Transit Oriented Development” that includes work space, affordable housing, shopping and entertainment without needing a car can be made a reality. Would tech companies rather have employees and offices in Iowa or Oakland? It is an easy choice.

What about access to the ballpark?

The Coliseum offers some of the easiest in and out access of any sports complex in America. The new site would offer:

  • BART
  • Access to several freeways
  • The ability to walk and bike from downtown Oakland and surrounding communities
  • AT&T proved you do not have to have a 25,000 car parking lot to make a stadium work in California
Coliseum before Mt. Davis
The Coliseum with its beautiful views before the blight of Mt. Davis

What about the view?

How about a view of Lake Merritt, the Oakland skyline and the Oakland Hills? It might remind you of the great views from the Coliseum before “Mt. Davis” was built.

What would happen to the Coliseum site?

  • The A’s would work with the City of Oakland and the County of Alameda on a plan to develop what is undoubtedly a very valuable piece of land. Remember John Fisher is a major developer of real estate and knows how to bring people together for big projects.
  • The site is ideal for housing, hotel, retail and office development. Remember “Transit Oriented Development”? BART and Air BART are already at that location. That airport is one mile away. The land sits on I-880. It is prime real estate in an area that is running out of room.
  • The other part of the plan for that site is really exciting. The Athletics plan to build a multi-use sports complex and an Urban Youth Academy for baseball and soccer (remember John Fisher also owns the San Jose Earthquakes). This where Major League Baseball can really get involved as part of their initiative to reach out to urban youth.

Oakland Athletics President David Kaval said on Twitter, “A great day for Oakland and the #rootedinoakland”.

This is a day many thought would never come, but it is just the beginning. There is a great deal of hard work to do between now and April 2023.

It really is Springtime in Oakland for the Athletics in 2017

by Charlie O. Mallonee

A's logo

OAKLAND–This is not just your usual end of spring training lets get ready for the regular season story. This year is really a new beginning for the Oakland Athletics and their fans for multiple, positive reasons.

Change of ownership and new upper management

John Fisher was always the majority owner of the Oakland Athletics for the past 11 years but no one really knew that fact. Mr. Fisher – who resides in San Francisco – preferred to stay in the background. Lew Wolff – a minority owner – was the managing partner.

During the Wolff era, the main emphasis was building a new stadium for the A’s that would allow them to better compete for the Bay Sports dollars with the Giants and their AT&T complex. There were several attempts and failures:

  • First came the plan to build a baseball park, shopping complex and residential area in Fremont on the west-side of I-880. That plan died a quiet death.
  • Then came the plan to move to San Jose. City officials were behind  the plan and had the land ready across from the SAP Arena. The Giants jumped in and said “over out dead bodies – San Jose is our territory!” In its typical avoid confrontation at any cost fashion, MLB asked the A’s to back off. The City of San Jose filed a law suit but lost in court.
  • The City of Oakland then tried to get Wolff excited about building a waterfront ballpark in the Howard Terminal area near Jack London Square. Wolff never seemed too excited about that location.
  • Finally, Wolff put together a plan to build a new ballpark, business center, shopping and residential complex on the current Coliseum site. That idea never caught traction as Oakland was still trying court the Raiders and Warriors to stay in the East Bay.

It became evident that Mr. Wolff was not going to get the job done. That combined with his age which he said was causing him to slow down made it apparent a change was coming. Many feared it meant a sale and move of the team to another market.

Mr. Fisher bought out Wolff’s stake in the team and them began to remake the front office. Michael Crowley – who had been president of the team for 20 years – moved into a consultants role. Dave Kaval – president of Fisher’s San Jose Earthquakes – assumed the team’s top spot in addition to his job with the soccer team.

kaval

Kaval has been through the stadium building process as he oversaw the construction of Avaya Stadium for the Earthquakes. The $100-million complex was completely privately funded.

avaya

Kaval has brought a new sense of enthusiasm to the organization. He is accessible to the fans, press and government officials. He has an openness to new ideas and what seems to be “can do” attitude. For the first in a long time, people are believing the Oakland Athletics are going to get a new place to play.

The A’s are now the only game in town (or soon will be)

Now that the NFL has told Oakland Raiders “to go pound sand” for the second time in 25 years by giving their OK to the team to move to Las Vegas, the A’s are or will soon be the lone occupants of the Coliseum.

coliseum-raiders_750xx640-359-0-11

As I sit in the press box and look out at “Mt. Davis” – the ugly monster third deck that was built to entice the Raiders back from Los Angeles – I want to vomit. That view out to center field used to be of the beautiful East Bay hills and BART trains zipping by every few minutes. The stadium felt open and spacious. Now, it feels closed in and crowded by too much concrete.

coliseum before

By the way, the Raiders do not use “Mt. Davis” because they cannot sell enough tickets to fill the seats. It is covered with large tarps baring Raiders logos. When the Raiders move to “Sin City”, the people of the City of Oakland will still be paying off the bonds for that ill-fated stadium alteration. Las Vegas – you might want to keep that in the back of your mind.

The Warriors are headed to San Francisco and a new home just south of the Giants’ AT&T Park.

Guess who that leaves in Oakland? “Holy Toledo!” (that’s for you Mr. King) its the A’s.

Now the A’s have two potential stadium sites. The Howard Terminal/Jack London Square site with the waterfront appeal is still available. The current Coliseum site with its great transportation infrastructure and unlimited development possibilities is now back in play.

Wow! The Oakland Athletics have choices for stadium sites. Who would have predicted that last Fall?

Finally – there is the beginning of a new season and the hope it brings

The MLB season gets underway on Sunday with three games including the Giants at Arizona. (That just chaps my hide. Baseball is supposed to begin of Monday with one day game in Cincinnati – the first professional baseball team – then the rest of baseball begins play on Tuesday).

The Athletics open the regular season on Monday at home with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. It will be a four-game series that concludes with a day game on Thursday.

RHP Kendall Graveman (10-11, 4.11 in 2016) gets the call for the A’s and RHP Ricky Nolasco (8-14, 4.42 in 2016) taking the hill for LAA.

The A’s still have some personnel decisions to make. They still have 36 players on the roster as of Saturday. Five of those players (Bassitt, Gray, Mengden, Smolinski and Wendle) are expected to start the season on the Disabled List. So, that means six players remain who have to be sent to the minors or released. These are never easy hours for front office personnel and coaches as they have to decide the fates of players.

Eight relievers in the “pen” to start the season

A’s manager Bob Melvin announced on Saturday the team will start the season with eight pitchers in the bullpen. Melvin said that will be the case until of the starting pitchers have made at least two starts. The “skipper” is anticipating shorter outings until his starters have a little more game experience under their belt.

Another reason for the expanded relief corps is the performance of RHP Frankie Montas. Montas came to the A’s from the Dodgers last season in the Reddick/Hill trade. He was on DL recovering from rib surgery last year. The 100-mph throwing pitcher is on a limited pitch count so the “pen” is a great spot for him right now.

When Sonny Gray returns, Montas is expected to go Nashville and return to working as a starting pitcher. A starting pitcher that throws 100-mph – whew.

Giants win the final Spring Training game 6-3 over the A’s in Oakland

The Giants used the long ball to beat the A’s on Saturday. Nick Hundley crushed a grand slam home run in the 4th inning off A’s starter Andrew Triggs. Hundley ended up with four RBIs in the game to improve his total to 12 for the spring.

Justin Ruggiano hit a two-run homer in the top of seventh inning with Raul Alcantara on the hill for the A’s. All of the San Francisco runs came via the long ball.

Giants RHP Tyler Beede (2-0, 2.03) started the game and picked up the win. He pitched 4.0-innings giving up two runs on five hits. Both runs were earned. He struck out five and walked none. Ironically, Beede did not make the Giants major league roster.

RHP Andrew Triggs (1-3, 8.10) took the loss for the Athletics. Triggs allowed four runs (all earned) on six hits including the Hundley grand slam. He struck four and walked one. Triggs will be on the A’s roster on Monday night when they open the season with the Angels.

 

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: A’s Annual Fan Fest is held at Jack London Square, a good time was had by all

Oakland Athletics catcher Stephen Vogt, right, and pitcher John Axford, far right, sign autographs for fans during the annual Oakland A’s FanFest at Jack London Square in Oakland, Calif., on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group

By Jerry Feitelberg and Amaury Pi Gonzalez

OAKLAND- The A’s held their annual fan fest at Jack London Square in Oakland for the first time since 1999. The A’s, with new team president, Dave Kaval, made the fans in attendance hoping that they would see a turnaround similar to the one that took place in 2011 when Joe Lacob and Peter Guber took control over the Warriors.

Attendance at the event was about 15,00, and the A’s did not charge anything to be there. There were food trucks, and the fans were able to stuff their faces for free. There was, without any doubt, a lot of goodwill toward the fans. The fans are hoping that the front office won’t trade away the best players for prospects and that the team will be playoff contenders again. General Manager David Forst told the throng that he wants to have ace pitcher, Sonny Gray, be with the team for the next 10 years. The fans are holding their collective breaths on that statement.

New team President, Dave Kaval said the team will make an announcement regarding a stadium within the next year. The three options under consideration are the Oakland Coliseum if and when the Raiders decide to go to Las Vegas. The second option is at Laney College, and the number three is Howard Terminal. Kaval stated that the A’s are evaluating transportation options at ll three sites. Oakland Mayor, Libby Schaaf, is a huge proponent of the Howard Terminal location.

Jerry Feitelberg is the Oakland A’s beat writer for http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Oakland A’s Spanish radio voice, the vice president of the MLB Hispanic Heritage Museum, and does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Oakland A’s breaking news: Wolff out – Fisher in as managing partner

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Lew Wolff and John Fisher Photo: USA Today Sports

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Major leadership transition announced

The Oakland Athletics announced on Thursday a major leadership change will be taking place within the organization. Managing partner Lew Wolff will become Chairman Emeritus and majority owner John Fisher will become the managing partner. This management/ownership change was approved by the MLB owners in Chicago today. Wolff will sell most of his shares of the team to the remaining owners with the exception of a small stake.

“It has been an honor serving as Managing Partner and I thank our fans, staff, and players for the opportunity I’ve had to lead this great organization,” said Wolff. “John and I have talked in great length about the future of this club and I am ready to pass the reins to him.”

“I want to thank Lew for his leadership over the last 11 years,” said Fisher. “His initiative and love of the game of baseball brought my family to the A’s, and we would not be involved without him. Lew has given the organization all of his energy and experience for the last 11 years and I look forward to a new chapter in our working relationship and friendship. It is a privilege for me to steward the A’s at this important moment for the franchise.”

There will also be a new club president

A’s president Michael Crowley will also be stepping down from his position and to become a senior advisor to the ownership group. Crowley has been the club president since 1998.

Dave Kaval will replace Crowley as president of the Athletics. Kaval is currently the president of the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer. The Earthquakes built the $100-million privately financed Avaya Stadium which opened in March of 2015.

Kaval also has a baseball background. He was the founder of the independent Golden Baseball League in 2003.

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Dave Kaval new president of the Oakland Athletics

What does this mean for the A’s

The first major change is the managing partner will be based in the Bay Area and not in Southern California where Wolff bases his business efforts. Fisher is San Francisco based and Bay Area connected. He is also 25-years younger than Wolff, so there may also be a higher energy level.

Since the A’s are in desperate need of a new stadium and that effort is still at square one, a new, younger ownership voice with Bay Area ties may be helpful in moving the project forward. Fisher is also involved in the financial world and may be able to attract local, private investment in a stadium project.

Kaval’s experience in seeing the Avaya Stadium project through to completion has to bring a fresh perspective to Athletics’ stadium push. With Kaval in the president’s office, there may well be some other changes particularly on the business side of the organization.

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Jack London Square Water-front Stadium drawing

* some of the information used in this report was supplied by the Oakland Athletics 

 

Oakland A’s Analysis and commentary: Wolff retires, big changes coming to A’s front office Crowley out and Kaval named new team president

by Jerry Feitelberg

OAKLAND–The Oakland A’s announced that Lew Wolff, the general managing partner, was stepping down from his post. Also, Lew will be selling most, but not all, of his A’s stock. John Fisher, who owns 80% of the stock, will assume the position of Managing General Partner and Wolff will become known as the Chairman Emeritus.

Also, Mike Crowley, who had been club president for almost twenty years, is also stepping down. Crowley will serve as an advisor to the A’s ownership group. Dave Kaval will become the President of the club. Kaval is also the President of the San Jose Earthquakes.

It is not known at this time if there will be any changes the way the club is run. Will they continue the model of selling players that become too expensive for prospects? Will they lose the 30 Million dollars they receive annually from the wealthier clubs? Will they seek out free agents to improve the team?  Time will tell. The fans will have to be patient and hope that these changes can reverse the fortunes of the last two seasons.

Jerry Feitelberg is an Oakland A’s beat writer for http://www.sportsradioservice.com