The A’s drew 7,133 to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on June 15, 2023, the day after the Nevada Legislature approved $385 million in state funding for a ballpark on the Las Vegas Strip. Next season, the Oakland B’s will play in the Pioneer League while the A’s play what will likely be their final season in the Coliseum. (Photo: Leif Skodnick/World Baseball Network)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
The Oakland B’s, which is short for Ballers, will play in the Pioneer League in Oakland, California starting in the 2024 season.
The B’s will play their home games at Laney College in Oakland starting in July, after the college program’s season. The Pioneer League will begin its 2024 regular season in May.
There will be a 96-game schedule in the 2024 Pioneer League regular season, and the Ballers will play 48 home games at Laney College, which is about five miles north of the Oakland Coliseum.
According to Janie Mccauley of the Associated Press, ”plans are underway to upgrade the Laney ballpark to hold upwards of about 3,000 fans.”
Bryan Carmel and Paul Freedman are the Co-Founders and entrepreneurs that helped launch the Ballers franchise over the past few months. Former Major League Baseball manager and Bay Area native Don Wakamatsu will manage the Ballers in their first season in 2024.
Wakamatsu, 60, was born in Hood River, Oregon, grew up in the Bay Area, and was a three-sport athlete at Hayward High School before being drafted out of Arizona State University in the 1985 MLB Draft in the 11th round by the Cincinnati Reds.
According to the Associated Press, “the Ballers have raised $2 million in seed funding from dozens of diverse investors. Now, they will invite anyone to contribute to the early campaign through a crowd-funding platform for the chance at an ownership stake.”
The Oakland Athletics, who’s move to Las Vegas was unanimously approved votes by the other 29 owners in Major League Baseball, will play at the Oakland Coliseum in 2024, when their lease expires.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, “The Athletics won’t have a permanent home from 2025-27 with the move to Las Vegas happening in 2028 and will plan to play in the Triple-A Las Vegas Aviators Stadium and Oracle Park in San Francisco as an open possibly to be tenants for those three seasons before 2028”. San Jose and Sacramento could be used as possible options to house the organization in those two minor league stadiums for three seasons as well.”
The Pioneer League is now an MLB independent partnership league after being in affiliated Minor League Baseball from 1939 to 2019, when the minor leagues were reorganized with 40 fewer teams. The league has 10 franchises in operation, and the Ballers would be the 11th team at the start of the 2024 regular season. All of the other Pioneer League teams are based in Montana, Utah, Idaho, and Colorado.