Oakland Ballers to call Raimondi Park home with $1.6 million revitalization investment

ByRyan Curry KGO logo
Friday, February 16, 2024
Oakland Ballers to call Raimondi Park home, invest $1.6 million
Minor league baseball team The Oakland Ballers announced that the historic Raimondi Park will be the home field for the team's inaugural season as they invest $1.6 million into the park.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Oakland's new baseball team will play homes at Raimondi Park in West Oakland. The Ballers have entered into an agreement with the city to play their spring games at that park.

"I think it is just going to be about showing your love of Oakland and your love of community," said Bryan Carmel, one of co-founders of the team.

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The Ballers are a minor league built on the foundation of celebrating baseball in the Oakland. Carmel and his partner, Paul Freedman, started the idea last summer while the Oakland A's were exploring a new stadium in Las Vegas.

"The whole vibe of this is we want to show the world what Oaklanders can do when we come together," Freedman said. "We definitely think this is one of the best baseball communities in the world, but one of the best communities in the world."

Raimondi Park is also historic. The city recognized it as a park in 1896. In the 1940s, a group of shipyard workers, the A-26 Boilermakers, called it home. In the '50s, '60s and '70s, future MLB stars played there. Frank Robinson, Vada Pinson and Curt Flood all crossed that diamond.

"Because of the incredible rich history of west Oakland, it just absolutely makes sense to build upon it and create something dynamic and special," said Curt Flood Jr.

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Freedman and Carmel are chipping in to revitalize the park. They plan to invest $1.6 million to turn it into a place that can hold a minor league team. However, it wont stop there. They want it to be a space the entire community can enjoy.

"We want this to kind of feel like a festival around a baseball field," Freedman said. "We are going to throw 48 festivals around the baseball field next year and we are going to provide a canvas for the Oakland fans to paint on and we are going to win, and everyone wants to see winning baseball."

They plan on holding block parties, moving nights and other events for the community to enjoy. This park is right next to a former homeless encampment. The City of Oakland is building housing on that land, and now with this park restoration, they want to turn this place into thriving center for West Oakland.

"This needs to just feel like it belongs to everybody," Carmel said. "It needs to feel 'hella Oakland.' That is part of our ethos and also embracing the space."

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