OAKLAND — Amid the optimism swirling around the Oakland Athletics following the club’s selection of the Peralta site for its new ballpark, there’s a pesky little number — or more accurately date — that stands out.
That’s the year, per Wednesday morning’s press release, when the team plans to open its new home.
That’s a long time — an eternity for a team that’s hurtling toward a third consecutive last-place season. It’s a futility born out of an inability or unwillingness to pay to keep players around.
It’s a business model built on the fact that the A’s don’t have the ballpark revenue required to finance a competitive payroll.
Asked if the proposed 2023 opening means the A’s will be mired in this holding pattern, president Dave Kaval suggested otherwise.
“No, no. Not at all,” Kaval said. “Because I think the way we look at it, and it’s kind of what [the] Cleveland [Indians] did in the early 90s, is we need to create a nucleus of young players.”
The nucleus — especially when it comes to position players like Matt Chapman and Matt Olson — is already taking form.
“You see them out there,” Kaval said. “Olson. Chapman. [Kendall] Graveman.”
Patience, though, will still be required.
The team’s braintrust — from Kaval to baseball ops boss Billy Beane — is targeting 2021, when the team breaks ground. By that point, the club will be on the verge of the new stadium and will have the stability of knowing that ballpark revenue will soon be flowing into the coffers.
“It’s really about ramping up into [the stadium],” Kaval said. “And also establishing that young group that we feel is strong enough, and this is what Billy has said, to compete and be successful in the ramp into the new ballpark.”
All paid for
Unlike their Coliseum roommates, the Raiders, who are bolting to Las Vegas and a $750 million public check, the A’s will be privately financing their entire stadium project. As Kaval clarified, all the money will come from the current ownership group — no outside investors needed.
“Really, in California, that is the way you do these types of things,” Kaval said.
21 for Kaval’s Tribe
Kaval, a Cleveland native and noted fan of his hometown’s teams was at a loss regarding the Indians’ 21-game win streak, which bested the 2002 A’s (20 wins) for the longest such streak in American League history.
“Unbelieveable,” Kaval marveled. “Twenty-one. I mean, it’s hard to really fathom that. It’s like, that is such a hard streak. It’s kind of like when they had the [Joe] DiMaggio streak [of hitting safely in 56 games]. It’s like, how can these things ever be done?”