That’s Amaury News and Commentary podcast: Will Billy Beane’s new role in ownership save A’s from moving from Oakland?

Oakland A’s former executive vice president and new senior advisor to managing partner Billy Beane (left) and David Forst general manager (right) stand in front of the Oakland A’s dugout before the game against the New York Yankees on Aug 28, 2022. (AP News photo)

On That’s Amaury News and Commentary podcast:

#1 Amaury, Oakland A’s executive Billy Beane will no longer run the day to day operations for the A’s but moves up to the number two position in the organization as senior advisor.

#2 Will part of being a senior advisor include having a say in where the A’s go in the event that the new mayor and new city council in Oakland vote against a Howard Terminal project in downtown Oakland?

#3 Beane said he was appreciative of A’s owner John Fisher and the working relationship that the developed over the years since Fisher became team owner. Beane also said that he has confidence in team general manager David Forst leading the club to being competitive and being one of the best executives in baseball.

#4 Beane had said that he had great hopes for the future of the A’s but were those hopes in Las Vegas or in Oakland. There is also a possibility that the new governor of Nevada Joe Lombardo might not fund a new A’s ballpark with public money and the City of Oakland may not vote for a new Howard Terminal ballpark.

#5 Worst case scenario for the A’s if both Vegas and Oakland projects go down the only choice left for the A’s are to stay at the Coliseum something that A’s president David Kaval and Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said is not even a consideration but never say never.

Join Amaury for News and Commentary podcasts Tuesdays at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury News and Commentary: A’s following Raiders to Las Vegas

Oakland A’s owner John Fisher (left) is prepared to move his team to Las Vegas and build on the strip as an Oakland downtown stadium looks about dead (San Francisco Chronicle file photo)

A’s following Raiders to Las Vegas

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

Bob Nightengale’s Twitter: Commissioner Rob Manfred tells @MadDogUnleashed that he’s no longer optimistic the #A’s will remain in Oakland (‘It just doesn’t look like it’s going to happen’) and likely will move to Las Vegas….”

The Oakland Raiders announced they were relocating to Las Vegas on January 22, 2020. Less than two years since then, the Oakland Athletics are poised to follow the Raiders and settle their new home in the desert.

Today, during an interview on Sirius XM, Rob Manfred, Commissioner of Baseball said he is no longer optimistic the A’s will remain in Oakland, and a move to Las Vegas is likely. On May 2, only 2,488 people came to see the A’s take on the Tampa Bay Rays, whom Manfred says thinks will remain in St. Petersburg.

The Oakland A’s and City of Oakland officials had been in discussions regarding a new stadium in Oakland, as part of the Howard Terminal project, but recently deadlines passed without any progress. Negotiations have been pushed for next year, but that will not work, since A’s President Dave Kaval already said (many times) that “all but doom our efforts to stay in Oakland”.

In just over a week there will be an election in Oakland. The biggest supporter for the new Howard Terminal project has been the Mayor of Oakland Libby Schaaf, however her term as Mayor is running out and soon will be done with that job. The uncertainty under a new Mayor of Oakland that will be elected in a few days and a new administration with newly elected officials is the nail in the coffin to Howard Terminal.

The new administration at Oakland City Hall will be taking over a bevy of problems like: affordable housing, homeless crisis, and spike in crime, shortage of police force and others that would override the importance of a new park for the A’s.

The Oakland A’s lost 102 games this season, finishing in last place and for the second time since 1968 playing in Oakland lost over 100 games and averaged under 10,000 people per game. The team average 9,973 per game which was last (No.30) all of teams in the major leagues.

The future of the A’s has been in limbo for a few years. There were plans to move the team from the Oakland Coliseum to other places in Oakland, as well as southern Alameda County, in Fremont, about 25 miles south of Oakland, with a population of 230,000, the fourth most populated city in the Bay Area. Even the City of Sacramento was a place years ago; there was talk they could relocate.

I have written and spoken in my Podcast how important was this off-season for the future of the Oakland organization. There were many disagreements about the new stadium situation, but one that everybody seemed to agree was that by this 2022 season’s end, the team was ready to make an official announcement.

While the team has not made an announcement, at the time of this article, prior to the second game of the World Series, the Commissioner of Baseball made news on Sirius XM. The commissioner has ran out of patience, since has previously said in more than one occasion, he was “not very confident” that Oakland and the A’s could come to an agreement.

Amaury PI Gonzalez does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury News and Commentary podcast: A’s could get close to getting ballpark but affordable housing a huge issue; plus much more news

Artists rendition of inside of an Oakland A’s Howard Terminal ballpark. The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission votes on the park on Thu Jun 30, 2022

On That’s Amaury News and Commentary podcast:

#1 Amaury top story is the vote with the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission on June 30 a huge vote that will help decide to keep the A’s in Oakland.

#2 One of the points that you raised a big hurdle for the A’s to get this one is that they need to address the affordable housing project issue with the city of Oakland. The city is asking for 450 apartment for affordable housing out of 3,000 units. Will owner John Fisher and the A’s bend to the City’s will?

#3 Amaury, turning to the NBA Finals it was back and forth for awhile but the Golden State Warriors as expected with the home floor put away game 5 and moved ahead of the Boston Celtics at the Chase Center on Monday night.

#4 Amaury talk about Warrior forward Draymond Green a little pushing and shoving underneath the basket with the Celtics which drew a crowd but punches thrown at 4:40 remaining in the game. Frustrations for the Celtics and Green doing some trash talking towards the end of the game later Green fouled out of the game.

#5 The Oakland A’s open a three game series at Fenway Park tonight. The Boston Red Sox are hot they’ve won eight of their last ten the A’s are not they’ve lost nine of their last ten games. A’s starting Jared Koenig (0-1, ERA 9.00) the Sox will be going with Nick Pivetta (5-5, ERA 3.78) a 4:10 pm PDT first pitch.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the vice president of the Major League Baseball Hispanic Heritage Hall of Fame Museum and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Oakland A’s report: Build it and they will come

By Jerry Feitelberg

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred tries to laugh off being booed after being introduced at the MLB 2021 baseball draft on Sun Jul 11, 2021 in Denver (AP News photo) 

OAKLAND–On Tuesday, MLB’s commissioner, Rob Manfred, announced that time has run out for the City of Oakland to make a final decision to support the A’s very ambitious project at the Howard Terminal.

The City Council meets on July 20th to announce their decision. Failure to join in with the A’s to build the stadium means the A’s probably will be looking elsewhere to build their new stadium. Possible sites include Portland, Oregon, Las Vegas, Nevada, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Montreal, Canada.

The A’s, without question, need a new ballpark. The Oakland Coliseum was built to be the home of two sports: baseball and football. The current configuration for baseball has the fans sitting too far away from the infield.

The Coliseum does not have the intimacy of a ballpark, such as Oracle Park in San Francisco, Camden Yards in Baltimore or Boston’s Fenway Park. Before Mt. Davis was built in 1995, the fans sitting in the bleachers could talk to the A’s outfielders. The outfield fence is much higher, and the fans’ view from the seats is much different now.

When Lew Wolfe was running the team, he wanted to move the team to several sites in the Bay Area. He looked at sites in Fremont and San Jose. The San Francisco Giants, who own territorial rights to San Jose, objected.

The Giants gained those rights when they were on the verge of moving the franchise to Toronto or Tampa Bay. The Giants built their new stadium in San Francisco but were not willing to relinquish their rights.

The A’s new president, Dave Kaval, thought he had a deal to build a stadium on the grounds of Laney College in Oakland. He had egg on his face with that highly-touted deal fell through. Undaunted, the A’s came up with a new plan to build at Howard Terminal, a few blocks north of Jack London Square in Oakland.

The original plan, or so though Oakland’s city council, was to build a baseball-only ballpark to be privately financed. The park would seat about 35,000 people.

They were blindsided when the A’s came to them will a 12 billion dollar project that would include not only the stadium but 3000 units of housing, over a million square feet of office buildings, and 200,000 square feet of retail space.

They informed the city that Oakland would have to invest over 855 million dollars to build the project. The A’s tried to show the council that those costs would be recouped by the new tax revenues generated by the project. They felt the additional jobs, homes, and businesses would greatly benefit the city’s economy.

The A’s and Oakland have to resolve several issues. Who will be paying for infrastructure costs? Access to the park and parking issues will have to be settled. Oakland wants the A’s to stay in town for the next 45 years.

The A’s will commit to 20. If the plan is to be approved by Oakland, it has to be a win-win situation. Both sides have to realize there is more to gain than lose.

The fans will be crushed to lose their team. Life will go on if the A’s leave town, but it will leave a big hole in the hearts of the people that have supported this team since their arrival here in 1968.

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

new-ballpark.png
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?

LaneyCollegeGoogleEarth-4ae5397a
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.

 

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

wolff-fisher
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.

kaval_2016kickoff
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.

oakland-as-waterfront-ballpark
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