New A’s president steps in as face of Oakland stadium search

OAKLAND — The hallmark of Dave Kaval’s tenure as the president of the San Jose Earthquakes has been his omnipresence. From emceeing pregame events to interacting with fans on Twitter to hosting weekly office hours, Kaval has been anywhere and everywhere during his time running the club.

Now that he’s been promoted to the same post with the Oakland Athletics — the more famous John Fisher-owned franchise — Kaval plans to follow the same approach. That includes continuing to hold his weekly office hours, beginning in December.

“Three to five — every Tuesday,” Kaval said during a press conference at the Coliseum on Thursday afternoon. “Anyone can come in off the street and talk to me about any issue. They can sell me insurance. They can try to get a job. They can do whatever they want to.”

Earlier in the day, the club announced a significant shakeup in the organization’s ownership and management structures.

Fisher, who was already the team’s majority owner, replaced Lew Wolff as the managing partner. With Wolff becoming the chairman emeritus of the team, Kaval takes over as president for Michael Crowley who transitions to a role as a senior adviser to the ownership group.

Kaval couldn’t be more different than Crowley — the outgoing president — who cut such a low profile that season-ticket holders wouldn’t even recognize him if he was standing in line behind them at a concession stand.

While Kaval replaces Crowley in title, he also steps in for Wolff as the new point man for the organization’s protracted search for a new home. In his first day in charge, the self-styled “ballpark guru” already articulated a clearer vision for the project than Wolff ever did during his decade on the job.

“The A’s have almost a 50-year history in Oakland. We need to celebrate that,” said Kaval, who co-authored a book about visiting all 30 MLB stadiums during the summer of 1998.

“We need to build that [history] into the stadium. The great players — Rickey Henderson, Reggie Jackson — [we need to] showcase them at the venue [with] statues.”

Kaval declined to offer a timeline for when the A’s will announce the site for their new park or even say exactly how many sites they’re looking at, but he hinted that their new home could end up in a downtown location.

“We want to have a stadium that has an ambiance around it,” Kaval said. “You go around to the great ballparks of America, they have a great ballpark feel or a village around them — bars, restaurants, maybe even people living [nearby]. Those are the stadiums that transform cities and that’s something that we want to do here.”

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