There is so much to be up in arms about in life - just watch the news for 15 minutes if you want to torture yourself - but there are also times you gotta just let loose and let the good times roll, even when work is in-progress.
Dave Kaval and the Oakland A’s announcing the 3rd deck tarps are coming off for the rest of the season - with some of the funds going to a great Oakland charity, no less - may not be a symbol of imminent greatness, but it sure as heck is another quality brick in a road to what hopefully will become the best party in town.
As A’s fans, we have had a roller coaster existence. Lots of torture, interspersed with a lot of wins (and even championships!), interspersed with more than our fair share of heart break. As Oakland/East Bay fans, the heart ache has been extended a bit with the Warriors planning to move across the bridge to SF. As Oakland/Bay Area/Norcal fans, the heart ache has been extended further by the Raiders plan to move to the desert.
I know, I know, some of you don’t care about either of those teams, or may even dislike them. But many of you do share in this native Oaklander and resident 510er’s multi-franchise pain. Oakland sports fandom over the past decade has been in some ways akin to taking a regular punch in the gut.
We’re not here to talk about those gut punches though. We’re here to focus on the dim light that has been shining gradually brighter since one Mr. Kaval has come on board. That light is the A’s business operations working to make Oakland A’s baseball into a party again.
For too long, being an A’s fan has meant rolling with a sort of prideful suffering. You stick with ‘em for the on-field ups, despite the regular downs - players you love going elsewhere, the stadium being not the most cozy, festive environment, other fanbases openly disparaging your franchise and/or its city, even ownership acting like they don’t really care if you care. While the A’s have always been the gritty dogs who regularly get after it every handful of years for exciting runs, the party in the stadium has only emerged when the play on the field has overcome the moroseness off it.
The tarps in the Coliseum - erected in the third deck and Mt. Davis by prior A’s managing partner Lew Wolff, and in Mt. Davis by the namesake’s Raiders-owning son Mark Davis - are and have been a symbol of morose and ultimately poor leadership. Mr. Kaval ripping them off, literally by hand, is another symbol that, “Hey, baseball is GREAT and being at the ballpark is awesome and should be a PARTY!” He’s essentially saying (and I’m speaking for him here folks), “Come on out to the park, fans, bring your families and/or friends and check out the vibe we’re trying to build here.” “Come roll around Shibe Park Tavern and Championship Plaza, dance when Khrush hits a homer, boogie when Kendall digs another batter’s grave, go nuts when Barreto swings a bat half his size for his first Big League homer.”
Dave Kaval is saying “Tarps Off, Party’s On!”
It may not work every day. Some days in baseball, you don’t win and you go home without that prized memory. But the message of leadership - and the encouragement to come on out and ENJOY! is meaningful, especially after so many years of that not being the message. And when you have that great moment, whether it be in row 1 or the last row of the 3rd deck, you have a memory for life. For me, I remember sitting up in the 3rd deck in the 2003 playoffs with my brothers and watching Ramon Hernandez get a walk off bunt! It was a party, a celebration, a lasting memory that I enjoy through today. If the tarps were up then, I wouldn’t have been there.
The A’s new operations are - FINALLY - saying to A’s fans, come on out. We want to be here and we want to make this thing a party. It might be a chill party now, but we want this thing to be an outright festival over time. A celebration of Oakland, the A’s, the history, the future, and the amazing people who have made this franchise great. That includes YOU the fans. So come on out and let’s be the ones who let some good times roll even when there is plenty to be stressed about. Let’s enjoy Oakland and these A’s. Party on.