New professional baseball team starts in Oakland as A’s set to leave town

The new team, the B’s, will play in an independent league associated with Major League Baseball.

Once the Oakland A’s move to Las Vegas, fans will still have an opportunity to watch professional baseball in the East Bay. 

It just won’t be a Major League club, or even a Minor League affiliate. 


Driving the news: A group of Oakland-area fans are starting the Oakland Ballers, a new professional team that will play in the independent Pioneer League, according to a report from ESPN. 

  • The Ballers – also called the B’s – were founded by Paul Freedman and Bryan Carmel. They hired former Seattle Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu as executive president of baseball operations. 
  • Former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Micah Franklin will be the B’s manager. 
  • The B’s ownership group has raised $2 million to start the team, which will play at Laney College in Oakland. 

The backstory: The inception of the Oakland B’s came after the A’s announced their move to Las Vegas, earlier this year. 

  • The A’s will play in the Oakland Coliseum – their home since 1968 – through at least 2024, but the new Las Vegas ballpark will not be ready until 2028, meaning the A’s could play in a variety of stadiums in the meantime. 
  • Major League Baseball’s decision to reorganize minor league baseball in 2021 resulted in a similar situation fans in Oakland are dealing with, as 43 teams were cut from the minor leagues. 
  • The Pioneer League had been a minor league since 1939, but with the 2021 reorganization it became an independent league. 
  • Current Pioneer League teams are located in Idaho, Montana, Utah and Colorado. 

What they’re saying: “We just felt like our hearts had been ripped from our chests, like all East Bay sports fans,” Carmel told ESPN. “Oakland is a city that has seen the Raiders leave town, the Warriors move across town. There was a lot of chatter that maybe Oakland isn’t a pro sports town. We reject that completely.”

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