Oakland is getting a new pro baseball team as the A's prepare to leave town

Oakland has a new professional baseball game. On Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023, the Oakland B's, or Ballers officially announced plans to play their first season at the Laney College starting Spring 2024.

Out of the dust of disappointment and heartbreak over the impending loss of the A’s, a band of die-hard Oakland baseball fans are bringing a new team to the city they love.

The minor league team will be called the Oakland B’s, short for Ballers, with aspirations to keep professional baseball alive in the city and help fill the void left by the Athletics. And they come with a promise to be "Forever Oakland."

Less than two weeks after Major League Baseball (MLB) team owners unanimously approved the A’s move to Las Vegas, the B’s co-founders Bryan Carmel and Paul Freedman officially announced the new franchise on Tuesday.

On X, the team didn’t shy away from the fact that the Ballers were born out of loss. "Our team was ripped away from us," the B’s posted. "Now we’re stealing baseball for the people of Oakland."

The B's will be the first West Coast team to join the Pioneer League, an independent baseball league that is separate from MLB. 

The Ballers planned to have their debut season next spring, with their home games at Laney College.

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Carmel and Freedman said they pushed through with plans to launch the team, moved and inspired by the impassioned efforts by those behind the "reverse boycott" campaign. 

Freedman told the Associated Press that following the June 13 game, when fans turned out in impressive fashion for the reverse boycott, he and Carmel knew they had to act, as they witnessed how Oakland fans were part of the heart of the city.   

"That was amazing. And the moment of silence in the fifth inning, I had goosebumps," Freedman told the AP. "It was like, ‘We cannot let this legacy of baseball end in Oakland. It’s too beautiful, it’s too intertwined with the city of Oakland. And regardless of what the A’s are going to do, we can’t let that legacy end, and we have to do something about it.’"

Carmel and Freedman have tapped former MLB player, manager, and coach Don Wakamatsu to head up the operation. 

"Nothing brings people together quite like sports, and that was why I was so inspired by the incredible Oakland baseball fans. As the MLB’s first Asian-American manager, I know how critical sports are to building bridges across diverse communities," Wakamatsu said in a press release issued by the Ballers on Tuesday. 

Bay Area native and former MLB player Micah Franklin has been picked as the team manager.  

The Oakland B's have city leaders and influential Bay Area figures in their corner.


OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 13: Oakland Athletics fans display signs during a reverse boycott game against the Tampa Bay Rays at RingCentral Coliseum on June 13, 2023 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brandon Vallance/Getty Images)

Oakland rapper, entrepreneur and community activist Mistah F.A.B applauded the addition of the new team to the fabric of Oakland, saying he's proud to support the Ballers as "they build something for our city that actually cares about the fans, and cares proving to the world that Oakland is a cultural shaper of the world." 

In a statement, City Council President Nikki Fortunado Bas said, "Oakland worked tirelessly to keep the A’s home. Unfortunately, the desires of fans was not the driving force in this decision. That’s why it’s important for Oakland to build something new, that will prioritize the people who make Oakland great." 

The council president also said a big next step for the team would be fundraising, with fans being offered a chance to own a piece of the franchise."The Oakland Ballers have secured $2 million in seed funding from a diverse group of almost 50 investors, setting the stage for a public fundraising campaign in the new year," Fortunado Bas said, noting, "Fans will have the opportunity to become part owners of the team through the soon-to-be-announced crowdfunding platform."

Team officials planned to join city leaders on Tuesday to officially introduce Oakland's newest team, billed as being, "Built by Oakland. For Oakland. Forever Oakland."

 The Associated Press contributed to this story.