False hope over baseball coliseum leaves fans bewildered


By Efrain Valdez, Social Media Editor

The Oakland Athletics front office is once again tainted by its broken promises as the team continues to search for a location in the East Bay for a new baseball-only ballpark.

When A’s President Dave Kaval announced last year that Peralta Community College District land near Laney College would be the site of the new ballpark, the organization felt reborn.

It was like the fan base that has been overwhelmed with letdowns, thanks to ownership for the last 20 years, was finally getting what it deserves.

That quickly ended as the Peralta Governing Board voted down the stadium plans. A’s fans didn’t get what they deserved. They got what has been an Oakland sports tradition — mediocrity.

Even though this failure shouldn’t be blamed on Kaval, he still broke the promise he made during the 2017 fan fest, an annual preseason gathering of A’s fans at Jack London Square.

He told fans the organization would have a ballpark location by the end of 2017, and yet here we are.

In recent weeks, Kaval sent a letter to Oakland and Alameda County officials proposing that the franchise pay off the $137 million debt owed by the two public entities for the renovations done on the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum when the Raiders moved back to the East Bay in the 1990s.

The A’s are offering to take over the debt owed by city and county in exchange for ownership of the Oracle Arena and the surrounding land where they could build their own stadium.

Even though the A’s proposal to pay off the Coliseum debt has had less push back than previous locations (Howard Terminal and Laney College) and would be helping the city by taking over a large public debt, should we even care? This could be another fizzled proposition in the works.

Yes, it’s understood that Oakland politicians have historically sucked, but Kaval should not continue to arouse false hope in A’s fans with suggestions of a new proposed stadium location. Until the deal is done everyone should tune out these PR stunts. Kaval keeps teasing this tortured fan base — sorry, Giants fans, you haven’t been tortured with outlandish proposals that have gone nowhere.

Kaval and the restructured A’s front office do deserve credit for embracing Oakland’s roots and showing appreciation to the city’s residents. However, only filling half of the 47,000 seats available for baseball games at the Coliseum for the opening series of the season against the Los Angeles Angels is depressing.

Then in the second home series the A’s drew fewer than 10,000 fans for each of the three games, which should scare fans about the possibility of the team leaving Oakland.

With a core of talented young players, the A’s have a chance to open a new ballpark with exciting prospects who are entering their primes.

By desperately wanting to get a stadium deal done, Kaval has been too quick when announcing proposed stadium sites and that has discouraged many fans. The longer it takes to get a revenue-generating stadium deal done, the more likely it is that A’s General Manager David Forst will resort to selling off or trading the team’s talented, young prospects.

It is starting to look like the beginning of the end of A’s stay in the beautiful East Bay. It’s sad to think the region might be left without a baseball team simply because of a complacent front office.