Athletics

Kaval puts Coliseum, Howard Terminal back in play for A's new ballpark

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JOE STIGLICH

Kaval puts Coliseum, Howard Terminal back in play for A's new ballpark

OAKLAND — The A’s moved into some plush new office space this week at Jack London Square, with hallways wide enough to ride a skateboard through, as one team executive already discovered.

That ever-elusive search for a new ballpark site?

Still TBA.

After guiding reporters through a tour of his team’s 40,000-square foot new office Tuesday, A’s president Dave Kaval made his first public comments on the ballpark topic since the Peralta Community College District pulled the plug on his plans to build a stadium near Laney College.

“I just want to re-emphasize we’re 100 percent committed to Oakland and a location for a privately financed ballpark here,” Kaval said.

“We’ve identified three final locations. We had a preferred location, a lot of thought went into that. We just want to make sure before we make another announcement that we’re very thoughtful about how we approach it.”

Those three locations were Peralta, which seems off the table unless Laney College leaders have a change of heart and the sides re-negotiate; the A’s current home at the Coliseum complex; and Howard Terminal, which is in clear view from the team’s new second-floor office windows at 55 Harrison St.

The A’s chose this site for their offices while originally planning their ballpark at Peralta, so the proximity to Howard Terminal is not an indication that the A’s are now leaning toward that site.

But Howard Terminal and the Coliseum are back in play, Kaval confirmed, though the fact the A’s bypassed both during the original search demonstrates that they feel each has serious drawbacks. Howard Terminal is the preferred site of Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf, but includes headaches having to do with infrastructure needs and environmental clean-ups. The Coliseum would provide the quickest route to completion, but the A’s reportedly have questions about whether the site can generate enough revenue to build a new venue privately.

Whatever direction the search takes, Kaval believes the A’s new executive offices are an important step in the process. The team spent between $4 and $5 million, and the massive space includes an entryway that showcases the nine World Series championship trophies in franchise history, a full gym and a batting cage for employees to enjoy.

There’s also memorabilia from throughout A’s history at every corner, including the white cleats first introduced by Charlie Finley in 1967 and the team’s original scouting report on Reggie Jackson.

Kaval compared the new-age office to those found in Silicon Valley, because he says the A’s will compete with Silicon Valley to recruit the Bay Area’s top business minds. He’s hopeful the new space also helps woo potential sponsors.

“It shows the type of environment we want to create with a new ballpark,” Kaval said, “celebrating our past, having a collaborative work environment. When people see this, they can see the vision we have for a new ballpark. It’s almost like a sampler.”

A’s chief operating officer Chris Giles rode a skateboard Monday down a long hall that connects different departments. Troy Smith, the A’s vice president of marketing, said the new office “really changes the way you view your job. It’s almost like having a brand new job.”

Though the A’s are dedicating plenty of resources to build a new office culture, they’re not as likely to spend aggressively from a baseball standpoint, at least not this season.

Factoring in guaranteed contracts, estimated salaries for arbitration players via mlbtradeumors.com, and estimated salaries for pre-arbitration players via Cot’s Baseball Contracts, the A’s current 2018 payroll sits at roughly $56.75 million.

It’s likely that the Opening Day payroll won’t crack $70 million, which would be well below the roughly $81 million of 2017. But perhaps that’s not a shock. The A’s are still likely a season away, at least, from being a true contender, and they’re building around a core of young players who are making near the major league minimum.

The good news for fans is that Kaval says he doesn’t envision the failed Peralta ballpark plan interrupting the A’s grand vision from a roster standpoint. That would suggest Oakland still plans to sign some of those young core players to long-term extensions, which front office officials have stated as a goal.

A's overcome multiple five-run deficits, walk off on White Sox in 14-inning marathon

A's overcome multiple five-run deficits, walk off on White Sox in 14-inning marathon

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- Tired as he was, Matt Olson had enough left to get the ball past the outfielders and end the third-longest game by time in Oakland Athletics history.

Olson singled over left fielder Nicky Delmonico to drive in Marcus Semien with two outs in the 14th and the A's beat the Chicago White Sox 12-11 in a wild game that lasted nearly six hours Wednesday.

"That was awesome to be in that long of a game, kind of back and forth," Olson said. "It was just like a heavyweight fight. We kept trading blows the whole game and then finally at the end we were able to get that one."

The teams combined for 555 pitches, 33 hits and 18 walks -12 by Chicago pitchers - in a game that lasted 5 hours and 48 minutes. The White Sox fell to 4-11, matching their worst start since 1997.

The A's trailed 6-1, 9-4 and 10-8, then gave up a tying run in the ninth before scoring the winning run off James Shields(1-1) five innings later.

"You really want it to end and guys have a tendency to want to be that guy to hit a home run," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "Sometimes that's why those games go a little bit longer is you don't have your typical approach. But we did in the last inning."

Semien singled with two outs in the 14th and stole second. After Shields walked Jed Lowrie and Khris Davis, Olson lined an 0-1 pitch deep to left, and Delmonico watched it go over his head.

"The longer the game went on the better I felt at the plate," Olson said of his first career game-ending hit. "It's one of those where you just need to find a way to push one across."

Lou Trivino (1-0) pitched three innings for his first major league win. He made his big league debut in a 10-2 win over Chicago on Tuesday.

Both bullpens got depleted. Shields was scheduled to start against Houston on Friday but instead became the 10th pitcher used by White Sox manager Rick Renteria.

The A's were down to their last reliever and even had outfielder Jake Smolinski warming up to pitch at one point.

"This game was the sign of a true fight," Renteria said. "It's a relentless effort to continually try and win every inning. Ultimately we go with James at the end."

Olson finished with four hits and three RBIs, Lowrie also drove in three and Mark Canha homered to help the A's complete the three-game sweep of the White Sox. Stephen Piscotty added two hits to extend his hitting streak to eight games.

"To keep battling through those extra innings, knowing it's approaching five hours, approaching six hours, shows a lot about the character of the guys on this team," Piscotty said.

Chicago lost its fourth straight despite a big day by leadoff hitter Yoan Moncada. Moncada hit his first career grand slam, scored three times and matched his career high of four RBIs.

BRUTAL START:
Neither starter made it out of the second inning. Oakland's Andrew Triggs retired four batters and allowed six runs on five hits with a hit batter. The right-hander had yielded five runs total in his first three starts. Carson Fulmer of the White Sox allowed a run in the first then gave up Canha's leadoff home run in the second followed by a single and two walks before getting pulled.

"We were both pretty lousy and the results showed it," Triggs said.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
White Sox: Kevan Smith (sprained left ankle) went 2 for 5 with two RBIs as part of his rehab stint with Triple-A Charlotte.

UP NEXT:
White Sox: Shields was scheduled to pitch against Houston on Friday in Chicago but that could change. Renteria said a decision has not been made yet.

Athletics: RHP Kendall Graveman (0-3, 9.87 ERA) pitches the opener of a three-game series against Boston on Friday at the Coliseum. Graveman has allowed four runs or more in each of his four starts this season.

Trevor Cahill turns back the clock in one-sided A's win on 50th anniversary night

Trevor Cahill turns back the clock in one-sided A's win on 50th anniversary night

BOX SCORE 

OAKLAND -- Jed Lowrie marked his 34th birthday with a go-ahead home run in a five-run first inning, Trevor Cahill pitched seven scoreless innings in his season debut and the Oakland Athletics beat the Chicago White Sox 10-2 Tuesday night on the 50th anniversary of the A's first game at the Coliseum.

Stephen Piscotty and Jonathan Lucroy drove in three runs apiece, and Mark Canha added three hits and two RBIs. Oakland extended its winning streak to three with its first series win this season.

The game was played exactly 50 years after the A's debut at the Coliseum following their move from Kansas City, and it attracted a crowd of 46,028. Admission and parking were free, and players from both teams wore 1968 replica uniforms. The atmosphere was markedly different from a night earlier, when the announced attendance was 7,479 and the actual crowd appeared to be half that.

Cahill (1-0) signed in mid-March, made a pair of starts in the minor leagues and was brought up Tuesday for his first big league start since Aug. 9. He gave up five hits, struck out eight and walked two.

Now 30, the right-hander was a second-round draft pick of the A's in 2006 and spent his first three big league seasons in Oakland. He split time with Kansas City and San Diego last year and ended the season as a Royals reliever.

Yoan Moncada homered for Chicago, which has lost seven of eight.

Lowrie hit a two-out solo homer off Miguel Gonzalez (0-3), Lowrie's first home run in Oakland this season. He is batting .351 and leads the AL with 26 hits and 18 RBIs.

Canha hit a bases-loaded, two-run bloop single and Piscotty had a two-run double.

Lucroy added a two-run single in the fourth and an RBI single in the seventh.

Gonzalez gave up eight runs and eight hits in three innings, raising his ERA to 12.41.

TRAINER'S ROOM

White Sox: OF Ryan Cordell, acquired from Milwaukee last season for RHP Anthony Swarzak, fractured his right clavicle during a minor league game and will miss at least eight weeks.

Athletics: RHP Yusmeiro Petit was placed on the family medical emergency list. OF Trayce Thompson was designated for assignment, and RHP Lou Trivino was recalled from Triple-A Nashville.

UP NEXT

RHP Carson Fulmer (0-1, 4.66 ERA) is to take the mound for the White Sox in his first start at the Coliseum in the finale of this three-game series Wednesday. RHP Andrew Triggs (1-0, 2.87) goes for the A's.