Doubleheader…Catching Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval, Part Two: The Nightcap
In our with A’s President Dave Kaval, we discussed some of the fan enhancements inside the Oakland Coliseum during the 2018 season as well some exciting news as the A’s continue their pursuit for their new yard, the goal remaining 2023.
In our nightcap, during the A’s September 1st match against their division rival Seattle Mariners, we discuss this year’s 2018 team and some fun stuff beyond the field as the A’s continue their chase for October baseball…
Stadium Journey- Tonight, Sandlot themed fireworks celebrating Sandlot’s 25th anniversary. Sandlot character you most resemble?
Dave Kaval- (Laughs) I can’t comment on that. It’s only going to get me into trouble. You’ll have to ask my wife that.
SJ-One of the things you’ve done to reach out to the fans during your first season as President last year was Office Hours, where on Tuesdays during a two hour period fans could schedule an appointment and discuss their concerns and suggestions. Have you actually used any one fan’s suggestion in regards to stadium or even team improvements?
Dave-Yes, tons of suggestions. Everything from Ricky Henderson Field, renaming the field was the fans suggestion, making sure we established a Hall of Fame which we did this year. We’ve done a variety of things that fans have come up with like the food trucks, all these different elements. That’s been really important to make sure that not only are we listening but we’re doing and moving forward with a lot of the suggestions and implementing them here at The Coliseum or with every ballpark.
SJ-Let’s go away from the diamond for a moment. September 19, the A’s will be hosting Cal vs. Stanford Night. Usually when teams host a college night each school has their own individual evening but the A’s will have a section for both schools. Now, with the college football season underway, Cal or Stanford?
Dave- Go Cardinal! (MBA Stanford University Graduate School of Business, 2003, BA, International Relations, 1998)
SJ- In the Pac-12 north the University of Washington and University of Oregon are expected to be your biggest challengers…
Dave- I have no fear of U-Dub. David Shaw has done an amazing job as the head coach. I think we’re going to have a great season with Bryce Love coming back and I’m really excited to see them represent the Pac-12 North.
SJ- Back to this year’s team, the A’s have been one of baseball’s biggest surprise this season. What has been the key to this year’s turnaround?
Dave- I think we have a great group of young players. I think Bob Melvin has done an amazing job managing the team. David Forst and Billy Beane have assembled an amazing group of talented players and they’re gelling together in a really positive way. It’s a joy to watch as a fan. The community has really been behind the team. We had our largest attended game in A’s history with over 55,000 fans here at The Coliseum to cheer us on and beat the Giants. There’s been so many great moments this season and we’re building on that as we move toward the post-season stretch.
SJ- Today, September 1st is the first day teams are allowed to expand the roster up to 40 players. Any prospects we can expect to see with significant playing time down the stretch?
Dave- I think you’re going to see a lot. We brought in another seven or eight players today. We need to see how they can contribute to the ballclub both now and in the future and this is a great opportunity with the September callups for them to actually have the ability to be in the big show.
SJ- The seven or eight players, the one’s you brought up today. They’re being thrust into the stretch drive. Is there any added pressure for those players having just arrived and finished their season in Triple A ball and now all of a sudden being put in a position where the parent club is competing for a possible division championship?
Dave- I think it’s important to keep in mind that if we don’t think a player is capable of performing at the Major League level both physically or emotionally or mentally, it’s not good to rush them. So it’s really important to make sure they’re prepared. Many of the players like Franklin Barreto have been up before so I think that’s a critical component to the success, to make sure that when players come up and play in the big leagues, they’re prepared with the right coaching and training so they can be successful.
SJ-What has been your favorite moment during the 2018 season?
Dave- I think my favorite moment was the free game as a gift to the community, 50 years to the day of our first game ever in Oakland. We hosted everyone for free. We had cake and we had an amazing time. It was a great celebration and we won the game big. So I think that was my favorite moment. There’s a really special, almost an electricity in the building because everyone who was there appreciated the last 50 years of A’s baseball so I think that was the most special moment for me.
SJ- I’m going to put you on the spot.
Dave- Let’s do it!
SJ- You’re the commissioner. There’s a strong possibility that two teams with a possible combined 200 wins will be playing a one-game winner take all Wild Card for the right to face, as of this moment, Boston, possibly setting up a best of 5 American League Division Series matchup between arguably the league’s 2 best teams prior to the LCS. You are the commissioner for the day. Would you be in favor of a Best of 3 WC and other playoff reformats?
Dave- Well the playoff format has obviously been debated numerous times. At one point, it was just the best American League and National League teams that met in the World Series. There we’re teams with 110 wins who didn’t make the post-season. So I think we’re trying to find the right balance as an organization, as an industry between the excitement of the rounds of the playoffs but also rewarding the regular season winners. I think it is important to reward the division winners and make sure they don’t have to play a one-game play-in. I understand the intention of that, there’s a lot of positives to that. I think we need to keep listening to our fans and the community and our industry to come up with the best solution.
SJ- With this year’s team battling for not only a playoff spot but a division championship as well, it’s very possible the A’s could be playing beyond the one-game WC. Yes, we’re thinking ahead but has already been opened on a couple of occasions this season. Any possibility you open Mt. Davis for the LDS and, perhaps the LCS?
Dave- It’s obviously a possibility, it was great obviously the energy it brought to have so many fans here so I think the number one thing is responding to our fans, making sure we have an amazing atmosphere here to make our players play at the highest possible level. So it’s certainly a very high likelihood that something like that could happen, absolutely.
SJ- Close us out Dave. You’re the closer for one night. 9th inning, you’re trotting in from the left field bullpen. What’s your entrance song?
Dave- Wow. You got to go really hardcore with that like a Metallica song, Enter Sandman.
The 2018 season been an exciting season filled with many magical moments for the A’s, celebrating their 50th anniversary in the East Bay. With the Raiders soon leaving for Sin City and the Warriors ready to move across the bay to San Francisco, the A’s will soon be the one major professional sports team in Oak-Town as the A’s continue to remain, Rooted In Oakland.
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