Team shares plans for ball park, area developments in Jack London

By Ryan Barba, Associate Editor

Home is where the heart is — and although the new home base for the A’s has yet to be determined, A’s fans packed the annual FanFest to show their support for their favorite team. In a line longer than Stomper’s tail, thousands of A’s fans gathered in Oakland’s Jack London Square for the team’s annual FanFest, Sat. Jan 25. A day centered on fan appreciation, the free event held a wide range of activities — autograph signings, photo opportunities, a diverse range of ethnic foods, Q&A sessions, information on the planned ballpark and variety of booths for both adults and children to choose from. Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Billy Beane and President of the Oakland A’s Dave Kaval were the first to field questions from fans. Both expressed their love for the city, the organization and possible improvements to the team for the 2020 season. “I’ve always felt that I was a part of a special organization,” Beane said of his time with the A’s. “The idea of not being here, I have never been able to imagine it.”


Kaval gestures at his slide presentation as he presents fans updates, such as the Howard Terminal site plan for the planned Oakland Ballpark in the Jack London Square neighborhood. Photo by Ryan Barba

Dave Kaval also shared new information about the team’s planned ballpark near Howard Terminal. He told the crowd that 2020 would see the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Report, which will come out Valentine’s Day, and the city council’s vote on the new stadium, which is projected to occur in June or July. Kaval shared upcoming features of the new stadium such as a two-sided video board and waterfront tailgating. He also said developments in the area surrounding the ballpark will include the creation of a new neighborhood, affordable housing, retail, a hotel, and a 3500-seat performing arts center. Among those in attendance, baseball fan Evan Logan was impressed by the planned updates. “I think that the new ballpark is going to be fantastic for the community and for the ball club,” Logan said. “The amenities should be awesome, the view, the location looks great, and it should really be a game changer for the Oakland A’s.”

Members of the crowd stroll under arches of yellow and green balloons, exploring the many festivities at A’s FanFest. Photo by Ryan Barba

An employee by the A’s organization that goes by the name Joe, said that the line for autographs in his section almost reached the railroad tracks near the Jack London train station. He saw third baseman Matt Chapman and shortstop Marcus Semien receiving loud cheers from fans waiting in line during his work shift. “It’s been an excellent experience,” Joe said. “The fans seem really enthusiastic and excited for the new year.” Danny Wu said this was his first FanFest and that he had recently become an A’s fan. “What really got me into the team was watching their defensive plays. The teamwork that they display in the infield and outfield really impresses me,” Wu said. “My goal for this season is to watch my first series.”