Athletics Las Vegas Relocation

A's, Giants players offer preview of Sacramento's Sutter Health Park

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A mix of Athletics and San Francisco Giants players have experience playing at Sutter Health Park in West Sacramento.

While acknowledging the odd, heart-aching circumstances that will leave the Oakland Coliseum without an MLB team, members of both franchises know baseball will be played in California’s capital city.

However, that’s not to say there isn’t much uncertainty regarding the condition of Sutter Health Park and its ability to host a major-league team.

“They definitely need a lot of upgrades to the clubhouse and cages, and all that stuff,” A’s second baseman Zack Gelof told CBS Sacramento’s Jake Gadon on Friday. “I’d say it was a below-average Triple-A [ballpark], and I’m sure they’ll take care of it, I guess, by next year.”

Gelof, when visiting as a member of the A’s Triple-A team, the Las Vegas Aviators, wasn’t impressed by Sutter Health Park. 

His concerns are illustrated by the stadium’s design. Sutter Health Park offers smaller dimensions and holds only 14,000 compared to the Coiseum’s capacity of 63,000. 

While Oakland’s historic venue might have its caveats, it meets the standards of an MLB ballpark.

Gelof’s points were backed across the Bay by Giants infielders Tyler Fitzgerald and Patrick Bailey, who both know what it’s like to call Sutter Health Park home, as they have played for the RiverCats – San Francisco’s Triple-A affiliate stationed at Sacramento’s ballpark.

“Last year we had one [batting] cage for home and away, and I think this year they have two cages,” Fitzgerald told The Mercury News’ Joseph Dycus in an exclusive interview on Friday. “With a big-league club coming in, visiting teams are gonna need their own.”

“The renovations they did make it much more presentable,” Bailey added. “You know, I don’t think any situation like this is ideal, but you know, hopefully they make the best of it.”

Giants players only can preview the Sacramento baseball experience so much, as only time will tell how the A’s and MLB settle into Sutter Health Park.

But Oakland slugger Brent Rooker, the A’s lone AL All-Star during the 2023 MLB season, trusts the MLBPA to handle the conversion of Sutter Health Park into a stadium suitable for the show.

“No, I don’t think so,” Rooker answered Gadon when asked about issues with playing in Sacramento. “We trust our [Players Association] to make sure the right adjustments and amenities are met to make sure it’s a major league stadium by the time we get there.”

While the A’s new ballpark potentially can be adjusted to fit MLB standards, Sacramento’s weather is uncontrollable. 

However, Giants pitcher Tristan Beck, who had stints with the River Cats across 2022 and 2023, believes the park is worthy of MLB competition, and concerns about Sacramento’s Central Valley weather aren’t deep.

“I liked my time in Sacramento, and I know historically it’s been an unbelievable fanbase,” Beck explained to Dycus. “Sutter Park is an unbelievable ballpark, and I’ve heard the renovations they did this year are unbelievable. So it should be interesting. 

“I never really had a problem with the heat last year in Sacramento. I felt like other places we go to like Texas were way hotter.”

The A’s will play at Sutter Health Park during the 2025, 2026 and 2027 MLB seasons. 

While the relocation process has had many twists and turns, Sacramento appears to be a real destination for the A's -- temporarily. However, Sutter Health Park’s offerings for players and fans will be heavily monitored as next season grows closer.

Regardless, the Coliseum will be missed by baseball fans everywhere, like A's third baseman J.D. Davis.

"Being a Northern California kid growing up, seeing the A’s, seeing the Giants," Davis recalled with Gadon. "Going to see them and playing at the Coliseum in high school, it’s going to be a downer for baseball, especially as you see the retired numbers up there ...

“I’m kind of mixed as a baseball fan. It being the Oakland Coliseum, it’s very much a historical place... leaving apart a little bit of history."

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