Fans hopeful that ownership shift will pay dividends


By Efrain Valdez, Social Media Editor

For baseball fans in the East Bay, Lew Wolff stepping down as owner of the Oakland A’s warms the hearts of long-suffering fans in the community.

Wolff bought the team alongside John Fisher in 2005, in what was supposed to be a positive move for the organization. However, since the acquisition the A’s are devoid of success on or off of the field.

Fisher now has majority ownership and recently has made a few executive changes like hiring San Jose Earthquakes President Dave Kaval as Oakland’s team president.

Kaval, a Stanford graduate, was a key player in getting the Earthquakes’ new stadium built without public funding.

Ever since the announcement of Kaval as A’s president, he has been committed to Oakland and getting a stadium built in the city.

The new president has implemented an outreach program to connect with the local community. He holds open door conferences every Tuesday with fans where they can give suggestions on what can be improved.

One of the first suggestions he received was to have the annual A’s Fanfest at Jack London Square in downtown Oakland. Kaval has proved himself to be a man of his word by holding the fan friendly event at Jack London Square — with free admission to A’s supporters.

Improving amenities at the Coliseum has also been on Kaval’s to-do list. He plans to add menu items inside the stadium and bring gourmet food trucks to the stadium for games. Although most of the outreach has been in Oakland, cities like Dublin and Walnut Creek have received attention from the organization.

Although the community outreach is done in good faith, it cannot end there.

The communities visited are mostly white and are economically privileged. The A’s can’t forget about communities like Richmond. They should include all lower income neighborhoods because it would show that the organization is trying to be an agent of change in the East Bay.

Including the K-12 schools is vital in building a loyal fan base if the organization can leave a good impression on the younger generation.

Also, having more promotions for local college students will increase the turnouts at games. College students have enough funds to attend games at the Coliseum because the tickets are inexpensive.

All Kaval has to do is promote his team correctly by including everyone in the East Bay and that will bring out the best of the fan base he desires. The A’s used to have a great fan base, but that has been depleted by the lack of on field production.

That was only made worse by the rise of the San Francisco Giants dynasty.

With Kaval’s leadership the A’s are back on track but need to continue making strides toward community inclusion to take the team far again.

Efrain Valdez is the social media editor of The Advocate. Contact him at [email protected].