A's Reaction

A's block new Oakland minor league team from playing at Coliseum

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The Athletics likely won't be playing baseball at the Oakland Coliseum for much longer, and apparently, they don't want any other teams to either.

Oakland's new minor league team, the B's (short for Ballers), planned to play a game at the Coliseum in June, but the A's blocked them from doing so as exclusive rights holders to the building for professional baseball.

“We began negotiations to play at the Coliseum in July, and by December we had signed our lease and paid our deposit," B's co-founder Paul Freedman told The Associated Press's Janie McCauley on Wednesday. “A few days after Christmas, we were informed that the A’s would be enforcing a clause in their contract with the stadium that prevents other professional baseball teams from playing at the Coliseum.

“We are disappointed in this development as we believe this would have been a great event for Oakland. Regardless of this setback, nothing will stop us from turning the page on a new chapter for baseball in the Town.”

Freedman said he exchanged dozens of emails to lock in one special night at a venue that is meaningful to him and many others, stating he and co-founder Bryan Carmel had a signed contract that was ready to go and deposit paid through communication with ASM Global, the venue management company leasing the ballpark to the A's until December 2024.

Even though the A's got the green light from MLB owners to relocate from Oakland to Las Vegas with plans to move into a new stadium on the Las Vegas Strip in 2028, the A's have exclusive rights to play at the Coliseum based on their license agreement with the Coliseum Authority.

“We are happy to work with the JPA [joint powers agency] on other ways to celebrate and promote professional baseball in Oakland,” A’s longtime Vice President of Stadium Operations David Rinetti wrote in an email to ASM Global that was shared with The Associated Press on Wednesday by the team.

The B's were primed to begin ticket sales Thursday for the June 29 game against the Colorado Owlz in what they hoped would be "a celebration of Oakland's baseball legacy and the Coliseum" and "a joyful farewell and celebration," but they'll have to find a new place to host the contest.

Freedman said he and Carmel were moved by the "reverse boycott" last season organized by heartbroken and angry A's fans in one of the final efforts to get A's owner John Fisher to sell the team.

“We were inspired by the energy of the reverse boycott night," Freedman told McCauley. "That game was a protest against the concept that baseball might be leaving Oakland. It was an important and emotionally healing event for the Oakland community.

"Our goal with this game is to celebrate that baseball will stay in Oakland for as long as the community wants it to be here.”

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