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Giants rally in the eighth for epic win over A’s

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Oakland – The Bay Bridge series is always exciting.  This battle never gets old, and tonight was an epic performance.  Eight runs scored in one frame led to the Giants rally in the eighth.  It was something you just don’t see too often in baseball especially at the Coliseum.

The A’s have been consistent in their wins but tonight, the bullpen failed and former Oakland player, Stephen Vogt capped the night off with a three-run blast against his old team.  San Francisco’s 10-5 win over the A’s was a stellar comeback.  

“Felt like we did’t get out for an hour,” said manager Bob Melvin.

The eighth inning lasted so long, Oakland used four pitchers in one frame.  Vogt had four at-bats that didn’t get him on base.  But his fifth at-bat, capped off a phenomenal offensive outburst for the Giants in the eighth.    

After Vogt lined out, Melvin made a pitching change.  Back-to-back singles from Buster Posey, and Alex Dickerson.  Evan Longoria’s RBI single drove in Posey to make it a 4-3 game.  A.J. Puk replaced Yusmeiro Petit.  A wild pitch by Puk led to Dickerson scoring to tie the game 4-4.

Puk also walked Austin Slater.  Melvin made another change, Lou Trivino replaced Puk.  Kevin Pillar cleared the bases with a double driving in both Longoria and Slater to extend their lead to 6-4.  Then pinch-hitter Donovan Solano and Brandon Crawford hit back-to-back singles.

Melvin made his final switch in the frame with Ryan Butcher replacing Trivino.  After striking out Mike Yastrzemski, Vogt went yard with a three-run home run.  That gave San Francisco a good lead, making the A’s work hard to dig their way out of a hole too deep.

“I think we have to just move on from this one, we’ve been playing well up to this point,” Melvin said.  “We just basically had a bad inning today.”

“It’s just one game, it is what it is,” said Chris Bassitt.  “We can make this a huge deal but it’s just one game.  Lick your wounds, come in tomorrow and do your job.”

Oakland was in control early on, Mark Canha went deep in the second recording his 20th home run.  Josh Phegley’s RBI single in the second made it a 2-0 A’s lead.  Crawford went yard in the fifth to cut the lead in half.  But Oakland’s offense stayed hot.

By the sixth, Bassitt gave up a double to Dickerson and Longoria followed with a single scoring in Dickerson in to tie the game 2-2.  That knocked Bassitt out of the game, and the bullpen took over.  Profar Jurickson led off the frame bottom of the inning with a single.  Phegley’s sacrifice bunt advanced Jurickson to third.  Marcus Semien’s RBI single made it a 3-2 game.  And Matt Olson’s RBI singled drove in Semien to extend the A’s lead 4-2.

The Battle of the Bay Bridge series is always exciting.  Oakland opened up up Mount Davis to accommodate the 53,367 fans that showed up for the series.  With both teams making a push for the postseason, the Bay Bridge series focuses on the rivalry across the bridge.  Vogt a fan favorite in Oakland, had missed the entire 2018 season rehabbing from shoulder injury after he was released by the A’s.

“It was really special for me with the fans,” Vogt said.  I was very moved by them cheering.  The way that I was received the first time back, it really meant a  lot to me.  Obviously, this is a special place for me and for my family.  To come back and have the fans say ‘Thank you’ or ‘Hi’, it was a very neat moment.”

Notes – In Bruce Bochy’s final farewell tour, A’s manager Bob Melvin gifted him with a bottle of red wine from the team.  

Photo by Michael Urakami/MLB

“It’s always a lot of fun (Bay Bridge Series) especially with Mount Davis opened (upper level seating at the Coliseum),” said Melvin.  “As far as Bochy goes, I guess I’ll have a few more wins in my pocket once he retires.  He’s been so big for the Giants and what he’s accomplished.  

He’s been a friend of mine for a long time, we talk quite a bit.  Its hard not to like the opposing team whens he’s over there.  He’s one of the greatest of all time and will be headed to the Hall of Fame, deservingly so.  It’ll be kinda weird knowing this is that last time he’ll managing in Oakland.”

Photo by Michelle Minahen/Oakland Athletics

Athletics Director and head coach, John Beam threw out the first pitch for the A’s vs Giants game.  Beam led his Laney College football team to the State Championship and won in 2018.  He was recognized as leading the #1 team in the nation and as the California Community College Football Coach of the Year.

“I have been coaching football for 40 years,” said Beam.  “I stay in it because of the kids.  I get paid to have fun.”

Before Beam began his career at Laney, he was the head football coach at Skyline High school for 22 years.  The next chapter of his life began as Laney’s Running Backs coach in 2004, and in 2005 he was promoted to Offensive Coordinator where he led an explosive offense that won 3 conference championships and five straight bowl game appearances.  By 2012, Beam was named head coach.

“My assistants are unbelievable, many are Skyline graduates,” Beam explained.  “Friendships that started off as student-teacher developed over time and that’s what I like about this job because I can see those transformations.  People say its a new generation but the kids still want to learn and be taught how to play the game, and we enjoy that.”  

The A’s have been a huge contributor to Oakland schools and community colleges.  They donated $100,000 to the Peralta Community College District after their offer to build a ballpark next door to Laney was shutdown.  Another commitment from the A’s is to support the Peralta College Workforce Development Program.  Which will honor four scholarships annually for student studying business, digital media, communications and technology.

“The A’s have been phenomenal partners with us (Laney College) and with Oakland,” Beam said.  “Our championship rings, the A’s helped pay for them.”  I appreciate the A’s bringing me here to throw out the first pitch.  I wish I would’ve done better with that pitch but [Marcus] Jensen (A’s Bullpen Coach) did good by catching my grounder.”

Activism

OP-ED: Just Say No to the A’s at Howard Terminal

The voters said they wanted the right to weigh in on whether to spend public funds on the Howard Terminal project. The Council refused to place a measure on the ballot, saying no public funds would be spent and they preferred a financial review before such a vote could be scheduled. But the City never did the financial review. 

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Paul Cobb, publisher, Post News Group
Paul Cobb, Publisher, Post News Group

By Paul Cobb

What an absolute mess!  The City of Oakland promotes a baseball stadium and luxury real estate development at Howard Terminal for the Oakland A’s, but it has not completed a financial analysis of risk and benefits associated with the project. It does not know what the project will cost, how it will be paid for, how many public dollars will be spent, and how much the City is at risk for anticipated cost overruns that are likely because of changing economic conditions due to inflation.

This situation is worse than the Raiders debacle at the Oakland Coliseum. You would think that once burned, the City would make sure that would not happen again.

But here we are.

Public funds from the city, county, state, and federal government will exceed $1 billion.  Worse, because of changing economic conditions, the City now admits for the first time that anticipated cost overruns could pose a risk to the city of Oakland. The City Administrator won’t say how much is at stake, because he doesn’t want to “throw numbers around.” But a source close to the A’s said some estimates have pegged the cost to the city to be more than $300 million.

Before we go further, let’s be reminded how we got here. Last spring, the voters of Oakland asked the City Council to place an advisory vote on the November ballot on whether any public funds should be spent on billionaire John Fisher’s baseball and luxury real-estate deal at Howard Terminal. That request was denied.

On April 28, 2022, Councilmember Noel Gallo convinced the City Council to unanimously vote to have an independent analysis done on the risks and benefits of the project.  The analysis was scheduled to be presented to the public on Sept. 20. When the date came around for the report, the City had not done the analysis even though five months had passed since it was approved.

On Sept. 20, after the meeting started, staff sent out an e-mail with an attached 18-page report that was chock full of new data and a dire warning that “significant increases in costs are anticipated and there are not yet sufficient funds currently in-hand to cover the estimated costs of the off-site infrastructure (on the project). As a result, under the current structure, there is a risk that the City would be required to fund the remaining costs as well as any cost overruns, each of which may prove significant.”

Councilmembers were stunned. They had been assured that the City would have no risks, but the report included an admission that the City could be at risk and the amounts may prove significant. Councilmember Carroll Fife asked how much was at stake. The City Administrator refused to give an estimate.

So, again, here we are.

The voters said they wanted the right to weigh in on whether to spend public funds on the Howard Terminal project. The Council refused to place a measure on the ballot, saying no public funds would be spent and they preferred a financial review before such a vote could be scheduled. But the City never did the financial review.

This process has been a disaster. Promises made have been reneged on. Assurances that no public funds would be used, and that the City would not have risks turned out to be false. Oakland voters demanded the right to be heard on whether public finds should be spent, but they were turned down.

This is the same kind of incompetence and lack of transparency displayed during the Raiders deal. But the amounts at risk on this deal make the money spent on the Raiders look like chump change.

The Oakland City Council needs to put this on pause and figure out all the details before anything moves forward. Now, more than ever, City Council must insist on an independent financial analysis on the costs and risks of the project. Since public funds are clearly being spent, and the administration now admits Oakland has financial risks, City Council needs to revisit the question of letting the voters weigh in. As Councilmember Dan Kalb said previously, if that requires a special election, so be it.

Is the Council woke yet? They have been bullied, misled, and disrespected in this entire process. Transparency be damned! Will they finally say “enough,” or will they continue to move forward with their eyes wide shut?

It is time to Just Say No!

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Activism

IN MEMORIAM: Oakland’s Own Bill Russell, 88, Greatest Athlete/Civil Rights Activist Ever (Part 1)

NNPA NEWSWIRE — William Felton Russell was born on Feb. 12, 1934, in Monroe, La., and his family moved to West Oakland in 1942 when he was 8. His father found work on the waterfront and in the Bay Area shipyards in the middle of World War II. They instilled in him a history of racial and family pride that helped him survive in a racially discriminatory Boston environment while playing for the Boston Celtics.

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As the first-ranked and highest respected Black sportsman, Bill Russell used his status to lead the nation’s leading Black athletes which included Jim Brown, Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul Jabbar) and many others to support Muhammad Ali’s stance against the Vietnam War.
As the first-ranked and highest respected Black sportsman, Bill Russell used his status to lead the nation’s leading Black athletes which included Jim Brown, Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul Jabbar) and many others to support Muhammad Ali’s stance against the Vietnam War.

By Paul Cobb, Post News Group Publisher

Bill Russell, the center of attention in professional basketball, died at 88 after becoming the most decorated athlete in all of the team sports in the United States.

The star of the Boston Celtics from 1956-1969, he changed the way basketball was played by applying his rare combination of basketball and track and field athleticism to fashion a defense-centered dominance. In a sport where one’s ability to score points was prized, he reversed the focus by making defensive thinking to prevent others from scoring.

He died on July 31, after more than 70 years of basketball and civil rights activism.

William Felton Russell was born on Feb. 12, 1934, in Monroe, La., and his family moved to West Oakland in 1942 when he was 8. His father found work on the waterfront and in the Bay Area shipyards in the middle of World War II. They instilled in him a history of racial and family pride that helped him survive in a racially discriminatory Boston environment while playing for the Boston Celtics.

In his early years his home was only three blocks east from Ron Dellums, Oakland’s first Black congressman, and just three blocks west from Frank Robinson, Oakland’s first Black Major League Baseball coach.

While living near Ninth and Center streets, he learned early on that one must fight for honor, dignity, and respect by never backing down from any challenge whether through fisticuffs or verbal slights.

He was mentored at Defremery Park and Recreation Center by the late Dorothy Seale Pitts and George Scotlan along with Bill Patterson, who now serves as an EBMUD Director, to stay centered on what mattered.

Even though he pioneered greatness as an athlete and as a scholar/athlete/civil rights activist who fought to achieve dignity and respect for African Americans, his path to recognition and honor was not easy because was not considered good enough to crack the starting five basketball Warriors lineup at McClymonds High School in West Oakland.

He never stopped trying and practicing with his teammates who were better shooters and scorers. But, at 6-foot 10 inches, he was taller and could jump higher and played defense above the rim. He even became the Warriors’ mascot who created a stunning nimble artistic dance routine as the team’s mascot.

(His achievements attracted many who sought to follow in his footsteps with stylized dance routines that were featured during halftime breaks.)

His mother died when he was 12, never seeing Bill win two state prep titles and two national college crowns at the University of San Francisco after being ignored by many colleges because he was Black.

He was a five-time NBA Most Valuable Player and captain of the 1956 U.S. Gold Medal team at the Melbourne Olympics. He drastically altered defensive play by excelling in rebounding, shot-blocking, and passing to ignite a fast-paced style of play.

He won eight consecutive NBA titles from 1959-1966. As a player-coach in his final three seasons, Russell was the first Black coach in North American sports and the first to win a title, doing so in 1968 and again in his 1969 farewell campaign.

He was the first Black player inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975 and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011 by Barack Obama, America’s first Black president, for his civil rights and basketball achievements.

Russell was first among Oakland’s and the country’s athletic achievers. His USF team was the first major college to start three Black players. His Celtics team was the first to start five Black players. He was the first to become a player-coach. And he was the first player-coach to win an NBA title. He was first to be invited by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to speak at the 1963 March on Washington. He was the first athlete to utilize his celebrity by traveling to Mississippi to use sports to bring racial healing after the KKK killed NAACP leader Medgar Evers.

As the first-ranked and highest respected Black sportsman, he used his status to lead the nation’s leading Black athletes which included Jim Brown, Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul Jabbar) and many others to support Muhammad Ali’s stance against the Vietnam War.

He always remembered his friends and mentors here in Oakland. Whenever he traveled to Oakland, he would often check in with Maxine Willis Ussery and reminisce about the days when his family would visit her family’s cleaning establishment.

She said he was protective of her and wanted to meet and give his approval to any of her dates and he insisted that he go to dinner with her and fiance Wilfred Ussery to give his approval. Maxine is now the office manager at the Post News Group (Oakland Post).

He paid one of his highest compliments to Bill Patterson for guiding and counseling him since his high school days. He said Patterson helped him understand that he must never allow himself to be a victim. He was proud of Coach Ben Tapscott, the McClymonds’ basketball coach, who not only continued to maintain the school’s tradition as the winningest high school in the country with an emphasis on academic achievements.

He invited Tapscott to share the glory with him when he was inducted and honored by the University of San Francisco.

In an interview with Russell and former WNBA Coach Nancy Lieberman, just months before his passing, he was making plans to donate a jointly signed basketball to salute the achievement of Oakland’s African American Sports and Entertainment Group for purchasing the Oakland Coliseum.

Bill Patterson, Geoffrey Pete, Ben Tapscott, Joe Ellis, Jumoke Hinton, Rev. Gerald Agee, Ray Bobbitt, Arif Khatib, Virtual Murrell, Gary Reeves, Nancy Lieberman, Jonathan Jones, Al Attles, Jr. and many others have asked The Post to put them on the task force to gather the list and honor the Bay Area’s historic cavalcade of Athlete/Activists who also became “firsts” in their respective sports. For those who want to volunteer to be included, please contact Maxine Ussery @510-287-8200 or mussery@postnewsgroup.com.

“We must find a way to honor our highest achievers,” said Bill Patterson and Ben Tapscott

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Activism

COMMENTARY: Having Our Say on Howard Terminal

Why are most of our city council elected representatives afraid to hear from those whom they represent on this “once in a generation project”? Is it because most Oaklanders have a different set of priorities? Is it because residents are more interested in making improvements in our pothole ridden streets, investing in more public safety interventions and other elements that make up our city’s economic and social infrastructure? Is it because many believe that the Oakland Coliseum and arena provide an ideal opportunity for redeveloping a critical part of East Oakland while keeping a major sports franchise in Oakland?

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Greg Hodge is a long-time West Oakland resident and a candidate for Mayor. Photo by Jonathan “Fitness” Jones.
Greg Hodge is a long-time West Oakland resident and a candidate for Mayor. Photo by Jonathan “Fitness” Jones.

By Greg Hodge

Voters in a democracy should always get the final say. A recent poll indicates that 76% of those asked believed that the voters should have been allowed to weigh in on whether public dollars should be spent on the Howard Terminal project that would create a new home for the Oakland A’s. Twelve thousand people signed a petition to encourage our City Council to put the question to the voters as to whether any public monies — local, state or federal — should be used to build the stadium, affordable housing or to finance infrastructure in an around the Howard Terminal site. The City Council rejected this reasonable request, and it makes us wonder, “Why?”

Why would the Mayor and the City Council be reluctant to hear from the voters, even if it was a “non-binding” vote? A representative democracy requires that we listen to the will of the people.

Lots of measures have been approved by the Council for voter approval over the years — a set aside for youth services, a progressive business tax, publicly financed elections, bond measures to finance improvements at Lake Merritt — just to name a few examples.

Some argued that it would be confusing for voters. Some argued that the extra time required would delay the project to the point that it might not happen.

When the San Francisco Giants franchise wanted to build what became AT&T park, the question was put to San Francisco voters.

During the fall of 1996, an initiative was on the ballot introducing a new stadium to be located in the China Basin/South Beach part of the city. Voters in San Francisco, Santa Clara and San Jose all rejected measures to help finance the construction of a new stadium, likely recalling the controversy surrounding Candlestick Park. The new owner bought the team with the hope of keeping the team in SF; eventually finding a way to finance construction privately.

As part of the financing of the new stadium, the Giants received a $10 million tax abatement, and $80 million worth of infrastructures upgrades were installed by the city to serve the new stadium. This included the 280N ramp that landed adjacent to the stadium, as well as extending MUNI train lines to the front door of the stadium.

The point is that voters were asked, and elected officials were compelled to listen.

Why are most of our city council elected representatives afraid to hear from those whom they represent on this “once in a generation project”? Is it because most Oaklanders have a different set of priorities? Is it because residents are more interested in making improvements in our pothole ridden streets, investing in more public safety interventions and other elements that make up our city’s economic and social infrastructure? Is it because many believe that the Oakland Coliseum and arena provide an ideal opportunity for redeveloping a critical part of East Oakland while keeping a major sports franchise in Oakland?

Lots of questions remain about the proposed project. How many units of desperately needed affordable housing will be built and who pays for them? What sustained economic benefits will go to the residents of Oakland while MLB owners make their profits? What jobs and small business opportunities, beyond the initial construction, will remain once the project is built? What will happen with the Oakland Coliseum and will the investment group there receive the same enthusiastic support that the A’s owners have enjoyed from some of our elected officials and baseball fans?

There are some who are afraid to hear the will of the voters. The voters will get the final say at the ballot box in November on who they believe represents their best interests. There is one thing we know for sure — the voters of Oakland are not in a mood to get played.

Greg Hodge is a long-time West Oakland resident and a candidate for Mayor. www.hodgeforoakland.com

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