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Oakland A's

Another walk-off, Matt Olson homers in 10th for the win

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Oakland – It’s becoming common to end games in this fashion.  The A’s have found their niche when it comes to extra innings.  Matt Olson hit a walk-off home run on the first pitch to lift Oakland over the Milwaukee Brewers 3-2.

Olson was hot at the plate, two hits and two RBIs was all that was needed in taming Milwaukee.  Now the A’s remain in the race for the postseason.  They recorded their eighth walk-off win of the season. 

“We definitely have the talent in here to be a playoff team, and compete with some of the best teams out there,” said Olson.  “We might not get the same attention, but we’re all good with it.  That’s a good team over there that we just beat, on a night we didn’t swing great.” 

Olson drove in Jurickson Profar with a double in the third and capped the night off with a solo shot in the tenth.  Khris Davis hit his 17th home run of the season in the eighth for the 2-1 lead.  The drought is over, Davis homered on a fly ball to left field.  

Photo by Eric Taylor

He ended his longest skid at 29 this season.  Davis had not homered in the month of July, until tonight.  Once the ball took the flight the fans rose to their feet and Davis teammates greeted him with handshakes and hugs in the dugout.

“It was a big load off everybody’s back,” Bob Melvin said.  “Against [Davis] old team, maybe a little extra inspiration.  We’ve been waiting for this.  His at-bats were better and his swing was looking healthy.  It was a matter of time before hit hit one, and it came in a big spot.”

Chris Bassitt tossed six scoreless frames, allowed three hits, walked one and struck out six.  He got out of a jam in the sixth.  Two on with two outs, Bassitt struck out Christian Yelich to end the threat.  A much better start than his last outing, that was against the Houston Astros last Wednesday when he was the losing pitcher.

Milwaukee tried stay close, Yasmani Grandal’s RBI single tied the game 1-1 in the eighth.  Eric Thames hit a solo shot in the ninth to tie the game again 2-2 and send it to extras innings.  

The Brewers desperate for a win remain in second behind both the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals who are tied for first in the National League.

Arts and Culture

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City Seeks to Work With A’s, Major League Baseball To Keep Team in Oakland

City Council leaders said it’s incorrect “that the City Council is delaying or refusing to consider the A’s project proposal,” at Howard Terminal.

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Leaders of the Oakland City Council told the head of Major League Baseball in a May 14 letter that they are willing to work with the As baseball team to keep it from moving out of the city.

    Oakland recently lost both its National Football League franchise the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas and the Golden State Warriors to San Francisco.

    The letter comes just days after MLB told the Oakland As to look for another city to play while pursuing a waterfront park in Oakland.  

    “The Oakland City Council is committed to negotiating in good  faith for a strong future for the A’s in Oakland, and we invite the As and MLB to do the same by agreeing not to seek relocation while the As complete the (stadium at the Charles P. Howard Terminal) project  process, the letter begins.

    But officials in Las Vegas revealed on May 12 on Twitter through Mayor Carolyn Goodman that they have been talking with the As since 2019 and they are excited.

    City Council leaders said it’s incorrect that the City Council is delaying or refusing to consider the A’s project proposal, at Howard Terminal.

    Rather, many, such as city staff have been working to bring the proposal to the council for potential approval.

   But the As have been working on the project for nearly five years, As president Dave Kaval said in February. Opposition, too, has mounted against the Howard Terminal site and in favor of a new stadium at the current Oakland Coliseum site.

    The City Council’s letter says that MLB has concluded without sufficient support that the Coliseum site is not viable.City Council leaders asked in the letter for the materials MLB reviewed to draw that conclusion.

    The councils letter is signed by council President Nikki Fortunato Bas, Vice Mayor and Councilmember At-Large Rebecca Kaplan and Councilmember Carroll Fife, who represents downtown and West Oakland.

    The Howard Terminal site is near both downtown and West Oakland.

    City Council leaders are willing to meet with MLB officials and the As ownership, the letter says, to thoughtfully move forward.

    Council leaders said the As leadership recently changed their requests.

    “Rather than send forward full completed deal terms for consideration, the As demanded that the council vote on summary deal terms.  

    “Council leadership expressed willingness to explore this request, and met with the As staff and other stakeholders to seek how best to move forward, according to the letter.  

    Council leaders were in the process of scheduling a vote on the summary deal terms before their summer recess when MLB told the As to seek a new home while it pursues a waterfront ballpark in Oakland.

    “This relocation announcement came without giving the council an opportunity to receive and vote on a proposal and did not even wait for the time requested for the vote, the letter says.

    “Since the request was for a vote by August, why would you announce permission to explore relocation, prior to the date of the requested vote, if the request had been a sincere one? the letter said.

    Council leaders asked MLB to confirm its intentions.

    “Can you confirm definitively, that if the council were to take such a vote for a term sheet regarding the As, that you would prohibit any action to seek or pursue relocation during those next steps?

    Kaplans staff confirmed late on the afternoon of May 14 that a vote on the summary deal terms will be scheduled for before the August recess.

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Bay Area

City Reacts as A’s Threaten to Leave

The A’s said on Tuesday said they will start looking into relocating with the backing of Major League Baseball.

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Mount Davis Oakland with Fans/Wikimedia

The Oakland Athletics made a public threat this week to leave Oakland if  the City Council does not accept their latest proposal by the end of June to build a baseball stadium and huge real estate complex at the Howard Terminal at the Port of Oakland.

The A’s said on Tuesday said they will start looking into relocating with the backing of Major League Baseball.

 A’s owner John Fisher said in a statement,  “The future success of the A’s depends on a new ballpark. Oakland is a great baseball town, and we will continue to pursue our waterfront ballpark project. We will also follow MLB’s direction to explore other markets.”

 A’s President Dave Kaval told the Associated Press on Tuesday, “I think it’s something that is kind of a once-a-generational opportunity to reimagine the waterfront. We’re going to continue to pursue that, and we’re still hopeful that that could get approved, but we have to be realistic about where we are with the timelines.”

Many residents are angry at the A’s aggressive stance, especially since the team’s new proposal is vague on details and puts the city and its residents on the hook for nearly one billion dollars in infrastructure improvements plus over $400 million in community benefits the A’s have pledged but instead would be handed off to taxpayers. 

Reflecting the reaction of some residents, Tim Kawakami, editor-in-chief of the SF Bay Area edition of The Athletic,  tweeted, “I just don’t see the municipal validation in kowtowing to a billionaire who won’t spend much of his own money to build a new stadium that will make him many more billions.”

Mayor Libby Schaaf says she is open to the A’s proposal, and Council members  want more details on its financial impact  on the city and its taxpayers, 

Councilmember Loren Taylor told the Oakland Post in an interview: “We know they are looking for alternative locations. It is something that has to be factored in. Our commitment is to  work to keep the A’s in Oakland but to do it in way that protects the interests of the city  and is  the best deal for the people of Oakland.”

Said Councilmember Treva Reid:

“My commitment will always be to the residents of East Oakland and ensuring strong community benefits and economic development.  I appreciate the contribution of the Athletics … However, the Council must have an adequate amount of time to thoroughly evaluate their proposed offer to ensure Oakland residents receive a fair, transparent  and equitable deal.” 

In her statement, Mayor Schaaf, who has long been a backer of the A’s real estate development near Jack London Square,  said, “We share MLB’s sense of urgency and their continued preference for Oakland. Today’s statement makes clear that the only viable path to keeping the A’s rooted in Oakland is a ballpark on the waterfront.

“Now, with the recent start of financial discussions with the A’s, we call on our entire community — regional and local partners included — to rally together and support a new, financially viable, fiscally responsible, world class waterfront neighborhood that enhances our city and region and keeps the A’s in Oakland where they belong.”

Major media outlets,  often  boosters  of super- expensive urban developments, are unenthusiastic about the A’s proposal and the team’s pressure on the city to go along with its demands.  

In an article, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Scott Ostler wrote, “Get the message, Oakland? Vote to approve the A’s plan and commit to kicking in $855 million for infrastructure for the A’s new ballpark and surrounding village around Howard Terminal or kiss your lovable little baseball team goodbye.

“It’s called power politics, folks.”

In an editorial, the Mercury News and the East Bay Times wrote,” The team has thrown down a greedy and opaque demand that the city of Oakland approve a $12 billion residential and commercial waterfront development project that happens to include a new ballpark — and requires a massive taxpayer subsidy.

“If that’s the best the A’s can offer, the city should let them go.”

Ray Bobbitt of the African American Sports and Entertainment Group told the Oakland Post, “These are bully tactics. You either give me the money or I’m leaving. I don’t think that’s the way to work with the community.

“Do it in a way that’s respectful of the people. If you want to play hardball, I don’t think it’s a tactic that works these days.”

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