The East Bay Express has an interesting scoop on an odd conflict between the A's and a teenager who claims the club stole a design of his and used it on a t-shirt it sold for $14.97 on its official online store.
The young man's name is Ryan Frigo, and he claims that his "StOAKed" design was poached by the A's before they released their package of 2014 postseason apparel.
He has an impressive track record of creating Oakland-centric clothing — think Oaklandish but created by an Oakland Tech freshman. Per EBX:
Since 2012, he has been selling stOAKed T-shirts online and has since expanded the business to include, hoodies, beanies, snapbacks, crop tops, and more - with the overall goal, he said, of combating some of the negative perceptions of Oakland.
He has Instagram posts with the "Stoaked" branding dating back 21 months, so his claims are at least somewhat legitimate — it's just a matter of whether the A's copied the design intentionally or inadvertently, and whether intentionality even matters.
Frigo said in a blog post on his website that as of today, the A's have pulled the product from their online store.
Again per EBX:
Even if the A's inadvertently created a very similar design to his, he said the team was negligent in doing its research to determine if the concept already existed. "If they thought of it on their own, the next step would be to see if someone else is using it," he said. Frigo said he suspects it's more likely that the A's were aware of his clothing company and figured they wouldn't get into trouble if they copied the design.
This could be an innocent mix-up. "Stoked" is common slang, and inserting the extra 'A' happens to work well. Then again, as stated above, it may not matter if the A's simply didn't bother to look up whether the term was already in use. But for a team that has, throughout recent memory, struggled with the perception of its ownership, stealing and profiting from a 15-year-old's design wouldn't be a good look.
The A's, for their part, said only this to NBC Bay Area:
In an email to NBC Bay Area on Tuesday afternoon, Ken Pries, vice president of communications at the A's said "We are looking into this matter and have placed a call into Major League Baseball. We will get back to you tomorrow."
Here's a link to his website. There's not much up there now in the way of apparel, but there are some cool hats if you're into that sort of thing.