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Oakland is getting a new minor league team — the Oakland B’s

by Michael Nguyen
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Oakland B's baseball

Oakland is set to welcome a new addition to its sports landscape with the introduction of the Oakland B’s, a minor league baseball team affectionately referred to as the “Ballers.” This development aims to maintain the city’s green-and-gold color scheme while charting its own course distinct from the Athletics (A’s), who are in the process of relocating to Las Vegas, leaving behind devoted and heartbroken fans.

One standout commitment of the Oakland B’s is their pledge to remain rooted in the Oakland community, ensuring that baseball continues to thrive in the city for the foreseeable future. The expansion independent club recently unveiled its plans to commence play in the Pioneer League in May 2024, with their inaugural home games scheduled for July at Laney College.

This initiative comes in the wake of Major League Baseball team owners unanimously approving the A’s move to Las Vegas, a decision that could see them depart as early as 2025. In response, the Ballers, under the leadership of entrepreneurs and co-founders Bryan Carmel and Paul Freedman, have tapped into the expertise of former big league manager Don Wakamatsu, a figure deeply connected to Northern California.

Wakamatsu’s passion for Oakland baseball, combined with his vision of establishing an independent franchise in the city, has been a driving force behind this endeavor. His personal history with the game, which traces back to attending his first game at the Coliseum in 1972, has profoundly influenced his career trajectory in baseball.

As of now, Wakamatsu has already signed nine players, and a complete roster of 35 is in the works for the commencement of spring training in May. He has also assembled a managerial team, with San Francisco native and former player Micah Franklin taking the helm, supported by retired left-hander Ray King as the pitching coach.

The Ballers have taken inspiration from the strong fan base demonstrated during a spirited “reverse boycott” event at the Coliseum on June 13, which drew a season-best crowd of 27,759 attendees. This outpouring of support prompted Carmel and Freedman to solidify their commitment to preserving the legacy of baseball in Oakland.

With $2 million in seed funding from a diverse group of investors, the Ballers are embarking on a crowdfunding campaign to allow anyone interested to have a stake in the team’s ownership. Their mission is clear: to offer an alternative and a new team for the community to rally behind, preventing the loss of baseball fans who may feel disheartened by the A’s departure.

The Oakland B’s will adopt a familiar look with a “B” logo, reminiscent of the Athletics’ iconic “A.” They are poised to become the first Pioneer League franchise in California, playing 48 home games at Laney College, which is situated a short distance from the Coliseum. Plans are already in motion to enhance the Laney ballpark to accommodate approximately 3,000 fans, ensuring a comfortable and engaging experience.

Carmel and Freedman firmly reject the notion that Oakland cannot sustain professional sports after the departures of the Raiders and the Golden State Warriors. They believe that sports franchises belong to communities, and they see the Oakland B’s as an opportunity to build something from scratch, strengthening the bond between the team and the city.

In summary, the Oakland B’s, or the Ballers, are on a mission to provide Oakland with a fresh baseball experience, keeping the spirit of the sport alive in the city as they forge their own path in the Pioneer League. With a commitment to the community and a vision for the future, they aim to create a lasting legacy in Oakland’s sports history.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Oakland B’s baseball

What is the Oakland B’s?

The Oakland B’s are a newly established minor league baseball team in Oakland, California, also affectionately known as the “Ballers.”

When will the Oakland B’s start playing?

The Oakland B’s are set to begin play in the Pioneer League in May of 2024, with their first home games scheduled for July at Laney College.

How does the Oakland B’s relate to the Oakland Athletics (A’s)?

While both teams share the city of Oakland and its green-and-gold color scheme, the Oakland B’s are distinct from the A’s. They aim to support Oakland’s baseball community, especially with the A’s planning to relocate to Las Vegas.

Who leads the Oakland B’s?

The Oakland B’s are under the leadership of entrepreneurs and co-founders Bryan Carmel and Paul Freedman. Former big league manager Don Wakamatsu is the executive vice president of baseball operations.

What is the significance of Don Wakamatsu’s involvement?

Don Wakamatsu has deep ties to Northern California and a strong history in the Bay Area with players. His passion for Oakland baseball and his experience make him a key figure in building the team.

How can I get involved with the Oakland B’s?

The Ballers have raised $2 million in seed funding from diverse investors and plan to launch a crowdfunding campaign. This campaign will allow anyone interested to have a stake in the team’s ownership and support their mission.

Where will the Oakland B’s play their home games?

The Oakland B’s will play their home games at Laney College, which is approximately five miles north of the Oakland Coliseum. Plans are underway to enhance the stadium’s capacity to accommodate around 3,000 fans.

What is the long-term goal of the Oakland B’s?

The Oakland B’s aim to create a lasting legacy of baseball in Oakland and ensure that the community continues to have a team to support, even with the A’s departure. Their mission is to build something from the ground up and strengthen the bond between the team and the city.

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