As the Oakland Athletics (A's) prepare for their anticipated departure to Las Vegas, a group of devoted East Bay fans have risen to fill the impending void. High school friends Paul Freedman and Bryan Carmel have spearheaded the creation of a new baseball team, the Oakland Ballers, also affectionately known as the B's. The formation of this team, set to join the independent Pioneer League, ensures that the local community continues to rally behind a beloved sport.
An Echo of Oakland's Baseball Heritage
The Oakland Ballers, donning the iconic green and gold colors traditionally associated with the Oakland A's, serve as a symbolic connection to the city's rich baseball heritage. This deliberate choice underlines the team's commitment to the city and its sporting legacy.
To bolster the team's credibility and professionalism, the founders have sought the expertise of Don Wakamatsu, a seasoned baseball figure and former manager of the Seattle Mariners. Wakamatsu, who has deep ties to the nearby area, will serve as the executive vice president of baseball operations. Micah Franklin, a former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder, has also been appointed as the team's manager.
Much More than a New Team
The creation of the Oakland Ballers is not merely the birth of a new sports team. Instead, it symbolizes a profound expression of local passion and unwavering commitment to baseball in the Oakland area. The decision to establish the Ballers, prompted by the impending departure of the A's, presents the community with a source of pride and unity and rejects the notion that Oakland is not a professional sports town.
The Ballers' strategic placement in the Pioneer League underscores the determination to keep professional baseball an integral part of the East Bay's identity. As the Oakland Athletics bid farewell, the emergence of the Ballers signifies the resilience of a community unwilling to be defined by the departure of its beloved team. The founding of the Ballers opens a new chapter in Oakland's baseball history, driven by the passion and dedication of its residents and poised to provide a source of pride and joy for years to come.