Monday, May 3, 2010

Busy Weekend for Baseball, Fun in Oakland

Quite a few people, I'd estimate more than 75, managed to get up bright and early on a Saturday to make the A's ballpark meeting Saturday that was hosted by Jane Brunner and Doug Boxer. The fan presence was awesome. Later that day, the Oakland Museum of California celebrated its grand re-opening, which once again showed the potential a new Oakland ballpark holds and why the A's should stay in Oakland.

At the A's meeting earlier in the day at Peralta Elementary School in north Oakland, there was standing room only as Boxer, Brunner and Deputy Director of CEDA Eric Angstadt discussed Oakland's recently released economic report in detail. They communicated effectively with the people. With out trying to re-hash too many details that have already been covered, some of the key points included the fact that the Victory Court site is a "donut hole" surrounded by a sea of new development that is ongoing or will occur, regardless of the stadium. However, if a stadium is builit, it would be key in tying all the various developments together. For instance, we all know about Jack London Square, but to the east of Victory Court is the Oak-to-9th development, not to mention Lake Merritt channel parkland improvements; as well as the Lake Merritt BART station general plan. In addition, infrastructure developments are planned to make these various redevelopment ideas work. This only makes the argument for a new ballpark stronger.

Boxer, Brunner and Angstadt also noted that Oakland's and the East Bay's corporate base is much stronger than people think. Boxer brought up the fact that Oracle is not an East Bay company, yet its name graces the Oakland arena. Oakland's central location makes it easy for corporate dollars to come to the park and spend their money here. According to Boxer, Let's Go Oakland has contacted many corporations, which have responded favorably to the idea by putting money into an escrow account with a promise to buy seats, luxury boxes and sponsorships for a new A's stadium near Jack London Square. Oakland is no corporate dead zone and companies will come to a ballpark in Oakland if it were to happen.

As for the Oakland Museum of California re-opening celebration after months of renovation, it was a spectacular part. Admission was free and open to the public for 31 straight hours, including being open all Saturday night. BaseballOakland and friends attended it at different times, and good times were had by all. What does it mean for us as A's fans? Well, look at the huge crowds that flocked to the museum. They were ethnically diverse, had a mix of families, college kids hipsters, "yuppies," hippies -- it was basically an all-around-Oakland style crowd. This can happen 81 times a year here in Oakland at a new A's ballpark. The Oakland Museum of California is just a 10-minute walk from the Victory Court site. The crowd this weekend had money and was looking for good times. If A's owners only tried tapping into this market, then we could build something spectacular here and it will be great for all parties involved.

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