OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — The recent move by the Oakland A’s to make more upper level seats available at low prices was aimed at pleasing fans, but it also had a political component.
The team released a video showing A’s President David Kaval taking the tarp off of the long-covered upper deck seats at the Oakland Coliseum.
In addition to giving fans a bargain, half of the money from the $15 seats will go to local charities.
The first in line to receive funds is Oakland Promises, the pet charity of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. Her goal is to triple the number of college graduates from the city’s schools in the next 10 years. The team will need the mayor’s support to build its new ballpark.
When asked about picking the Mayor’s favorite charity as the first benefactor, Kaval replied, “Well, that’s one that means a lot to the city, and you can’t beat education.”
Kaval was quick to praise Schaaf and her work on the teams behalf.
“Well, Libby has done a great job for the A’s,” said Kaval. “She has supported us from the beginning and we have a great relationship.”
Kaval is also setting up meetings with community groups all across the city, in part to get their input for a new ball park.
“The A’s are reaching out to the community and want to get more involved,” said Bishop Bob Jackson of the Acts Full Gospel Church.
It’s a sharp reversal from just a few years ago they were trying so hard to leave.
“Seems like night and day from the previous administration,” said Chris Dobbins with the Coliseum Authority.
When asked about the political aspect of making such a high-profile donation to the mayor’s charity, Dobbins said, “Well, you know it’s helping kids. If that’s what it takes. They are staying in Oakland and that’s what we are excited about.”
The team is focused on a stadium project that will help both the A’s and Oakland.
“We make sure that we build a ball park that can be a community asset,” said Kaval.
Another aspect of his outreach to the community: every Tuesday, Kaval opens up his office to anyone who wants make an appointment to come in and talk about anything.
“I’ve had people try and sell me insurance, people looking for jobs; I’ve had people tell me who to play at third base,” said Kaval.
When asked what his goal was, Kaval replied, “Creating a ground swell of support and building a stadium.”