The past season in sports brought a lot of victories to the East Bay. The Warriors broke the NBA regular season wins record and the Raiders made the playoffs for the first time since 2002. But it is the Oakland Athletics, coming off a last place 69-93 season that have the East Bay’s hearts.
“I do not know if the A’s will be any good this year, but I will definitely be going to more games to show my support this summer,” said NDNU Senior Michael Marques.
Within the last six months, the Warriors and the Raiders announced their intentions to leave the city of Oakland for more lucrative stadiumdeals. The Warriors are only moving to the other side of the Bay in San Francisco. But the Raiders’ Owner Mark Davis is taking his team to Las Vegas. The Athletics will likely be the only professional team in Oakland by 2020.
During a time that Oakland and East Bay residents are feeling rejected, the Athletics are committing to their fans more than ever. Their social media hashtag #RootedInOakland has been a symbol of their commitment to their city and the franchise has been active in building fan support.
The first step came when new team president Dave Kaval announced his commitment to keeping the A’s in Oakland and that a new ballpark is his highest priority.
“It’s realistic to think that by this time next year, the A’s would at least be able to set down a timeline for how and when they would build in Oakland,” Kavel said.
Being able to build a new ballpark in Oakland is huge for the fans and the franchise, but the A’s will not have a new stadium built for at least several more years. In the meantime, they are doing everything they can to generate interest from their fans.
Jeremy Koo of athleticsnation.com has already bought in on what Dave Kaval is trying to sell.
“For the first time in many years, the A’s have in Dave Kaval a credible leader who can rally this triumvirate together to bring a new stadium and a better fan experience to the Oakland Athletics,” Koo said.
Dave Kaval holds office hours every Tuesday from 3-5 p.m. that is open to the fans. This is a 180-degree turnaround for a franchise that seemed to have not been listening to its fans for the better part of two decades.
The meetings have already created change for the A’s. One suggestion by a fan was to name the playing field after a former A’s player. On Opening Day, The A’s had a pregame ceremony and named their field “Rickey Henderson Field.”
Another complaint has been the massive tarps that have covered the upper deck stands. The tarps have been there since 2006 and were put up because the A’s had not been drawing big enough crowds for their Coliseum that holds 46,000+. Even though the crowds were not as big, the tarps were a constant reminder of an ownership group that had no faith in its fans. The tarps were a symbol of an ownership group that was complacent with not building more fan support.
“The best fans in baseball deserve the opportunity to experience the whole stadium so we have decided to take off the tarps on the upper deck,” Kaval said.
While it is unkown how well the product on the field will be this year from the A’s players, fans will be able to enjoy the product and optimism that Dave Kaval has brought to Oakland.