Oakland, CA – The last time these two teams met was in the postseason. And for the second time in two years, the Detroit Tigers moved on while the A’s got better. Today it’s just another game on the schedule but for Oakland it’s so much more.
“There is some history there when facing this team,” said A’s manager Bob Melvin.
Oakland put on a home run clinic to shutout the Tigers 10-0 in the first of a four-game series. After returning home from a tough road trip, the A’s dominated Drew Smyly to take a early 5-0 lead through the first four innings. Smyly came in having only given up four home runs all season, and he allowed that many in less than three innings.
“Honestly, I felt like the ball was coming out of my hand pretty well,” Smyly said. “I was attacking hitters and putting myself into good counts. I don’t know how you give up four solo home runs in one game, but there it is. They hit my good pitches and they hit my bad pitches.”
Coco Crisp leadoff the first with a single, moved to third on a fielding error by shortstop Andrew Romine. Derek Norris was safe at first putting both runners in the corner with no outs. But Smyly retired the next three batters leaving runners stranded. No worries, Oakland made up for it in the second.
Brandon Moss hit a home run off Austin Jackson’s glove over the center field wall. After extending himself leaping over the wall Jackson caught the ball but lost it trying to bring it down. Kyle Blanks in his first at-bat blasted a solo home run to left field making it a 2-0 game. Blanks ended his 49-game homerless streak dating back to June 16, 2013 with the San Diego Padres.
“I don’t think you’re ever going to get in trouble for it,” said Blanks. “I think it’s more just the thought process of really not trying to do too much. Today was a great example of everybody contributing.”
The A’s home run parade continued in the third. Both Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes went back-to-back with solo home runs deep to left field. Donaldson shot a bullet just over the left field wall while Cespedes took Smyly’s ball high into the stands. Oakland’s 4-0 lead still kept Smyly in the game.
“It wasn’t a great outing for him,” Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. “At least he got deep enough in the game where the bullpen wasn’t completely torn apart.”
It didn’t get any better for Smyly in the fourth, he loaded the bases with no outs. Alberto Callaspo leadoff the frame with a single and Blanks followed with a single to left field. Craig Gentry walked and Crisp drove in the A’s fifth run with a sacrifice fly. Donaldson extended Oakland’s lead 6-0 with a RBI single.
Tommy Milone was two outs away from recording seven shutout innings but Jed Lowrie’s error ended his day on the mound. He exited to a standing ovation from the sellout crowd. Milone tossed 6 2/3 innings, yielding four hits, two walks, six strikeouts and no runs. His performance was outstanding, he stayed inside the corner all afternoon, mixing up his changeup and fastball which was a huge part of his success.
“Whenever you go out there and give up zero runs, it’s always a good day,” said Milone. “But I’ve got to give credit to the the defense and, obviously, the offense today because they backed me up.”
Milone worked around Miguel Cabrera’s leadoff double in the fourth to retire the next four batters. The Tigers remained scoreless with only three players getting hits. Bottom of the eighth, Phil Coke issued a free pass to Blanks, a catcher’s interference put Gentry on and an error by shortstop Romine loaded the bases with no outs.
Derek Norris hit grand slam that gave the A’s a 10-0 lead to seal their victory. What a way to cap off a special day to honor the men and women who fought for our country on Memorial Day. This was Norris’ first career grand slam and a season-high five home runs for Oakland. Norris stated that all he wanted to do was join in the fun of getting on base like his fellow teammates but he did much more.
“Homers can be rally killers,” Norris said. “But when you end up hitting four or five of them on the day, you can probably make a different statement.”
Notes – Kyle Blanks joined the A’s on the road in Cleveland. He was acquired from the San Diego Padres on May 15 for minor league outfielder Jake Goebbert and a player to be named later. Blanks appeared in five of Oakland’s nine games since then. He is now the first baseman and feels he’s adjusting well with his new team.
“I haven’t faced a lot of these teams so it’s a first time for me,” Blanks said. “It’s nice to be back at first base, I grew up playing this position except over the last couple of years. I’m starting to feel really comfortable again and just hoping to get better.”
“It takes awhile to adjust to a new team but he’s gotten some starts and made some athletic plays at first,” said manager Bob Melvin. “I’m sure he’s looking forward to scoring some balls up. He’s got a lot of power and he’s doing well.”
Planning Commission to Hold Public Hearing on Oakland A’s Real Estate Project
The Planning Commission will consider whether the Final EIR was completed in compliance with state law, represents the independent analysis of the city, and provides adequate information to decision-makers and the public on the potential adverse environmental effects of the proposed project, as well as ways in which those effects might be mitigated or avoided.
By Post Staff
The Oakland Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the Oakland A’s Stadium and Real Estate Development. It will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 19, at 3 p.m., according to a city media release.
“During the hearing, the Planning Commission will consider whether the Final EIR was completed in compliance with state law, represents the independent analysis of the city, and provides adequate information to decision-makers and the public on the potential adverse environmental effects of the proposed project, as well as ways in which those effects might be mitigated or avoided” according to the media release.
The 3,500-page report was released the week before Christmas 2021, leaving little time for community advocates to read and critique the report.
After the commission makes a recommendation, the Oakland City Council will consider certification of the Final EIR, likely in February. A “yes” vote by the council does not mean the project is approved but is a major first step toward approval.
Community advocates are asking the commission to postpone the meeting, so that the community has time to read and analyze the 3,500-page report in time to provide public comment. You can contact the commission at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
The following are Planning Commission members:
• Clark Manus, Chair
• Jonathan Fearn, Vice-Chair
• Sahar Shiraz
• Tom Limon
• Vince Sugrue
• Jennifer Renk
• Leopold A Ray-Lynch
To read the Final EIR, go to: https://bit.ly/32KZ3pT
Environmental Advocate Margaret Gordon Turns Against Oakland A’s Development
“We, as a community, should hold everybody to task around the issue of equity,” West Oakland community leader and environmental advocate Margaret Gordon said. “The A’s started off talking about equity and ended up putting [all the costs] back on the city. That’s not equity. Unmitigated environmental issues — that’s not equity. I don’t believe they are going to [build affordable] housing — that’s not equity.”
The former Port Commissioner says, ‘The A’s should adopt fair and equitable benefits to Oakland or stop lying and saying (they’re) doing community benefits.’
By Ken Epstein
Until recently, West Oakland community leader and environmental advocate Margaret Gordon had been on board with billionaire John Fisher’s massive real estate and stadium development project at Howard Terminal, which is public land at the Port of Oakland.
She has now withdrawn her support and is actively opposed to the development. In an interview with the Oakland Post this week, she said she was involved since the beginning several years ago, working with others to produce a community benefits agreement with the A’s, which the A’s were expected to pay for.
But the A’s have gone back on their promises, she said.
“We, as a community, should hold everybody to task around the issue of equity,” Gordon said. “The A’s started off talking about equity and ended up putting [all the costs] back on the city. That’s not equity. Unmitigated environmental issues — that’s not equity. I don’t believe they are going to [build affordable] housing — that’s not equity.”
Gordon, co-founder of the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project (WOEIP), has served on the Port Commission and has struggled for decades to reduce the impact of industrial pollutants that cause respiratory illnesses and improve the overall air quality in her community.
She said her goal in working with the A’s development was to design social justice and environmental justice projects to support West Oakland, Chinatown, Jack London Square area and Old Oakland, four areas that would be most impacted by the massive project.
“We agreed with the City to sit down and do a community benefits agreement, which included education, environmental improvements, housing, jobs, business development,” she said. “We met for almost two years trying to develop our own agreement with the City and the A’s. We finalized our draft, telling them that this is what we want.”
But then the A’s shifted their position. “All of sudden, the A’s stopped the process. We wanted more conversations as part of negotiations. But there never were negotiations to finalize the community benefits agreement,” she said.
“There were no sit-downs with the A’s or city staff. Never.”
Gordon said she was not encouraged by the role of the mayor and city staff in the process. “I don’t see who is going to hold the A’s feet to the fire to enforce community benefits,” not the mayor, the city administrator nor city staff, she said.
She said city leaders are “so hungry for money and development, as long as it’s not in [their] neighborhood, [they] don’t care,” she said, adding that the A’s and the City should adopt benefits to Oakland that are “fair and equitable, or stop lying and saying you’re doing community benefits.”
She said poor people, African Americans, Latinos and others are not going to benefit from this project. “I don’t see them building affordable housing next to the million-dollar townhouses. I just don’t see it.”
People took tours of the Howard Terminal area in December, and it dawned on them that the plans were to create a “whole new city within Oakland,” an exclusive gated new city for rich people
“They decided to release the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) during the holidays, minimizing public input,” she said. “The staff, the City of Oakland, they obviously don’t care [about community benefits], otherwise they wouldn’t have written the EIR the way they did,” said Gordon.
“They keep talking about equity, but they’re not practicing equity. This [Environmental Impact Report] is evidence of that. This is all problematic.”
Many of the needed mitigations have not been addressed, Gordon continued. The stadium would be built where thousands of huge semi-trucks are parked now at Howard Terminal, but the City and the A’s still haven’t said where said where the truck parking will be moved, meaning they may be going back onto city streets, polluting residential neighborhoods.
Nor have the officials offered solutions to the large traffic jams that will be produced by the development.
Not only will Oakland residents not get community benefits, they will also end up footing the bill for a lot of the project, Gordon continued.
“We the public are going to end up paying for the infrastructure,” she said. “This is going to use public money.” Over $800 million in public funds will be used on the project.
“The A’s should be paying for this. The rich people who are going to be moving over there should be paying for this,” said Gordon.
“I am not surprised to hear that the A’s have reneged on promises made to the community,“ said Paul Cobb, publisher of the Oakland Post. “The A’s want hundreds of millions of taxpayer money, but they don’t want to pay for community benefits like every other developer does.
“They renege on affordable housing and then turn around and bully our elected leaders by saying if they don’t get what they want, they will leave. Our elected leaders should end this drama now. They need to focus on jobs, homelessness, public safety and real issues affecting Oakland residents, not the ongoing give-and-take sham game played by the A’s.”
Final Environmental Impact Report Released for Possible New A’s Stadium Ballpark
“Releasing the final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) is a major milestone on our path to build a new waterfront ballpark district that will create up to 18 acres of beautiful public parks, more affordable housing, and good jobs for Oaklanders,” Mayor Schaaf said in a statement. “The 3,500-page document is thorough and exhaustive, and it ensures that the project is environmentally safe and sustainable,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.
Draft Report not amended to address community concerns, short timeline means minimal public input
By Keith Burbank, Bay City News and the Post News Group staff
Oakland officials have released a final environmental impact report for the A’s proposed new stadium and development at Howard Terminal, a process with a short timeline over the holidays allowing only for minimal public comment.
The report is required by the California Environmental Quality Act and analyzes potential effects of the project on the surrounding environment.
The timing of the release of the port was of concern to many. It was released on Friday, a week before Christmas, and goes to the Planning Commission mid-January, a small window of time during a busy time of year for the public to read and comment on the report.
Further, the final report does not include any significant changes to the draft version, which means it was not amended to consider more than 400 comments made on the draft version. However, city staff did respond to each comment.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, a strong supporter of Oakland A’s owner John Fisher’s stadium deal, was enthusiastic about the report.
“Releasing the final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) is a major milestone on our path to build a new waterfront ballpark district that will create up to 18 acres of beautiful public parks, more affordable housing, and good jobs for Oaklanders,” Mayor Schaaf said in a statement. “The 3,500-page document is thorough and exhaustive, and it ensures that the project is environmentally safe and sustainable,” Schaaf said.
The mayor said the report’s timing keeps the city on track to bring about the final vote to the city council in 2022, bringing the city “one step close to keeping our beloved A’s rooted in Oakland.”
Others were less enthusiastic. The East Oakland Stadium Alliance and port business leaders are raising concerns and urging caution.
“During the Draft EIR (Environmental Impact Report) phase, our coalition and others submitted detailed comments regarding the need for the city to revise and recirculate the Draft EIR, which was inadequate on numerous fronts, but it appears the city has chosen to ignore these requests and refused to re-circulate,” Mike Jacob, Vice President and General Counsel of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association in a press release from the East Oakland Stadium Alliance.
Jacob also said that the timing of the report, released just before the holidays, reads like the city playing “hard-ball” with the community. “Port stakeholders are working around the clock to keep goods moving during an unprecedented supply chain crisis and community advocates are focusing on issues like feeding and housing those in need,” he said.
Jacobs also decried the city’s lack of progress on Seaport Compatibility Measures or a Community Benefits Agreement, despite the challenges he says the project presents for the maritime and West Oakland communities. “Until these items are presented to the public for review, in addition to a thoroughly vetted financial plan, the City and County cannot in good faith make judgments about whether this project is worth the numerous costs to our taxpayers and community,” he said.
“We ultimately anticipate the FEIR will confirm what we already know: the A’s and the City are simply not interested in funding the significant investments necessary to prevent this project’s disruption to the Port of Oakland’s supply chain or address its significant negative impacts to West Oakland and the environment.”
A’s president Dave Kaval also called the release of the report a milestone, one that is three years in the making. But the team needs a decision from the elected officials in Oakland as soon as possible, he said.
Keeping the pressure on Oakland, the A’s are also still considering moving the team to Las Vegas, paving paths for the team in both cities. He said there is momentum on both paths.
Kaval said the A’s are in the final stages of selecting a potential site in Las Vegas, which he thinks will be announced in the next month or so.
City officials will recommend to the Oakland Planning Commission that it certify the report and send it to the city council for approval.
City officials and the A’s are now negotiating the final agreements. The Planning Commission will take up the city’s recommendation on Jan. 19, and the city council may vote on the report in February, which, if approved, would complete the environmental review process.
This article is by Keith Burbank, Bay City News, and the Post News Group staff.
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