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Friday, February 23, 2024
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A’s To B’s: See Ya. Plans for Independent Baseball Game at Oakland Coliseum Nixed

  • MLB club squashes plan for independent franchise to play at the ballpark.
  • A’s faces their own uncertainty, both in Oakland and in Las Vegas.
Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland A’s are on their way out of town, having received MLB’s approval in November for their planned relocation to Las Vegas. But the club is still calling many of the shots at the publicly owned Oakland Coliseum. 

The Oakland Ballers, an independent Pioneer League team that will begin play this year in an effort to fill the local pro baseball void, have been denied by the A’s in their bid to participate in a special commemorative game at the Coliseum. The planned June 29 event was designed as a “celebration of Oakland’s baseball legacy,” adding to the Ballers’ primary schedule calling for games at Oakland’s Laney College.

The Ballers signed a license agreement with the Coliseum Authority and ASM Global, which operates the facility for the City of Oakland and Alameda County, to stage the game. But the A’s, who will be on the road in Arizona on the date in question, exercised their exclusive rights to play pro baseball at the Coliseum and squashed the Ballers’ plan. 

“Our lease was signed, deposit paid, and the below promo video was ready to go,” the Ballers posted on X. “Unfortunately, we’ve been informed that the A’s won’t let us play. We won’t give up and are working to find an alternative.”

The A’s said in a letter to ASM Global that “we are happy to work with the [Coliseum Authority] on other ways to celebrate and promote professional baseball in Oakland.”

Contract Uncertainty

The Ballers-A’s dispute arrives as the A’s continue to face their own uncertain future at the Coliseum. The club’s current lease agreement runs through the 2024 season, but questions have lingered for months about where the A’s will play during the 2025-27 seasons while the planned Las Vegas ballpark is built. Those questions have been heightened by an increasingly toxic relationship between the A’s and Oakland officials. 

Meanwhile, the A’s are also facing rising scrutiny about the status of newly created renderings for the Las Vegas ballpark. After an original set of drawings was acknowledged by the team to be garbage, a Dec. 4 event was planned to reveal the new renderings. That event was postponed following the death of two Nevada state troopers in the line of duty, but a month later it has not been rescheduled. 

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