Athletics

Past year takes A's ballpark search right back where it started

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AP

Past year takes A's ballpark search right back where it started

Last January, the A’s hosted FanFest at Jack London Square for the first time in many years.

What an experiment it was.

As fans mingled with players and stood in line for autographs that day, drones flew overhead capturing images of traffic flow on the streets and foot traffic all around Jack London Square.

It served as a testing ground should the A’s have decided to build a ballpark at nearby Howard Terminal, which, 12 months ago, seemed like a strong possibility.

Just a little has happened since then.

The A’s chose the Peralta site, near Laney College and downtown, where they wanted to build in Oakland. Not Howard Terminal or the Coliseum site itself. They made the Peralta announcement in September, complete with a timeline for construction and a date for the grand opening.

You know how that went. The Peralta Community College District governing board pulled the plug on the A’s ballpark plans, citing concerns for Laney students as well as the surrounding community. The A’s were left fuming.

So it’s back to the drawing board for them. And here we are, a year later, and FanFest 2018 approaches. Once again, it will be held at Jack London Square, a free event set for Jan. 27 that will include a majority of A’s players and coaches in attendance.

The A’s hunt for a ballpark location, a Bay Area storyline for more than a decade now, couldn’t be any murkier. Do they re-visit the Coliseum as a potential spot? Could talks eventually be revived with the Peralta folks? Does FanFest once again give the A’s a reason to re-consider Howard Terminal? Could it be they look outside Oakland, or might owner John Fisher sell to a group that does?

The A’s have been silent on stadium talk since the Peralta plans fell through in early December. On Tuesday, they’ll host a media tour of their new office headquarters — which happen to be located at Jack London Square. (Don’t read too much into this in regard to the A’s ballpark intentions moving forward. They planned this location for their offices even when they thought their ballpark would be at Peralta).

Perhaps A’s president Dave Kaval will take Tuesday as an opportunity to provide an update on the team’s thinking in regard to a new venue.

But it’s amazing to think how this saga has played out over the past calendar year. And how, when it comes down to it, absolutely nothing has changed.

Watch Ramon Laureano, Laz Diaz argue after questionable strike three

Watch Ramon Laureano, Laz Diaz argue after questionable strike three

Umpire Laz Diaz just wanted to go home.

At least that's what we're going to assume after what transpired at the end of the A's-Blue Jays game on Friday night at the Coliseum.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth and Toronto leading 5-1, Diaz rung up A's center fielder Ramon Laureano on a high strike three call to end the game.

As you can see from the graphic on the screen during the NBC Sports California broadcast, Diaz got the call wrong.

Diaz walked away and started to head for the clubhouse. When Laureano started yelling at him, Diaz got demonstrative and yelled back. He wasn't about to back down.

A's first base coach Al Pedrique and outfielder Chad Pinder had to hold Laureano back.

"I don't remember what he said, to be honest," Laureano told the media in Oakland after the game.

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Diaz was wrong on multiple instances here. The pitch was a ball, and he should have just walked away from Laureano.

"In those moments, I'm pretty heated," Laureano said. "I know that. But it's in the past already. I feel good. Tomorrow's gonna be a good day."

Nobody is tuning in for the #UmpShow, bro.

Former A's player asked Dave Kaval about player amenities for future A's home

Former A's player asked Dave Kaval about player amenities for future A's home

When the A's announced the team made plans to move to Howard Terminal near Jack London Square, fans were excited, but many questions remained.

One, in particular, was how the players felt about it. One would assume it would be a positive reaction and the new, beautiful, waterfront location in Oakland could be a great way to recruit players to play for the Green and Gold.

Former A's player, Anthony Recker, made sure to ask Dave Kaval a few questions about this upcoming project during A's Pregame on NBC Sports California before the team faced the Blue Jays on Friday night.

"Have they talked about the players and what the accommodations are going to be like? I'd like to learn a little bit more about that," Recker, who is now part of NBC Sports California's broadcast, asked Kaval.

Kaval said it would be "top tier" in regard to taking care of the players. He has a plan to gather a group of players to inform them of the decision-making process on the design of the clubhouse and all of the amenities to "make sure it's world class."

Recker knows what it likes to spend most of his time at a stadium and in a clubhouse -- he played in the bigs for seven seasons. It's the players' second home, he explained.

"I eat there, I shower there -- I haven't slept there, but I practically do," Recker said. 

Kaval also brought up the importance of making sure this future home of the A's was a place the organization could recruit good talent to.

He also gave an update saying on Tuesday there will be a vote from the county for approval for the A's to purchase the Coliseum site from them and there will be a vote in May from the board commission, as well.

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It appears that everything is on track -- and if not, Kaval has certainly thought everything through. 

You can watch the interview in its entirety atop this page.