Dave Kaval was chosen as the next Oakland A’s president primarily for his knowledge on stadium development. In fact, he recently facilitated the construction of a new $100 million San Jose Earthquakes soccer stadium in just six years.
Though this is impressive, as an A’s fan, I am more impressed by his willingness to open his door to fans and hear their ideas. Based upon his actions thus far, I believe he is truly listening during his conversations with the community. Though he cannot take action on each and every suggestion, merely being heard is enough to encourage a fan base that has felt forgotten in recent years.
After meeting with Dave during his weekly office hours, I feel excited about the future, and feel I can trust Dave to help move this franchise in the right direction without abandoning that spirit that makes Oakland so great. I now present to you the top ten reasons I believe in Dave Kaval (any chance we hear that chant in the bleachers this year?).
Top Ten Reasons I believe in Dave Kaval
10. He has respect for the history of the Oakland A’s and aims to showcase it both at the current stadium and the future stadium.
Part of what makes the A’s so great is their colorful history – the Charlie Finley era, the 1989 World Series, Moneyball, and more. Sadly, many people don’t know about how much impact the Oakland A’s have had on the game of baseball. Did you know that the Philadelphia/Oakland A’s have won the third most World Series, after the Yankees and the Cardinals? Dave would like to display memorabilia from the Philadelphia A’s in the new stadium. Also, the West Side Club is currently undergoing renovations to become Shibe Park Tavern, a nod to the ballpark that the A’s inhabited in Philadelphia (1909-1954)
9. He spearheaded the effort to build Avaya Stadium – and succeeded!
This speaks for itself. Dave knows the ins and outs of building a new stadium, from finding a location to the grand opening.
8. He knows the history of the Coliseum.
Prior to my meeting with Dave, I was concerned that he might be unfamiliar with the feel of the Coliseum, or perhaps that he hadn’t even attended a game there. I was relieved to learn that Dave is a Stanford grad who attended many A’s games with his college buddies from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s. He had a chance to take in games prior to the monstrosity that is Mt. Davis, so he understands what a beautiful view of the hills can do for a stadium in Oakland. He also attended many $2 Wednesdays, and would love to bring back the dollar hot dogs!
7. He knows the key players in A’s history and is working to reconnect with them.
Dave is reaching out to players from previous years and is attempting to reconnect them with the team. This includes players from the 1970s Swingin’ A’s (Reggie Jackson) all the way up to players from the 2002 Amazin’ A’s (think Miguel Tejada, Eric Chavez, and the 20-game streak).
6. He came across as a kind, genuine human being.
I say Dave is kind because one of the first things he did was thank me for my (27) years of going to games. And one of the last things he did was say he might come down and watch a few innings with me at a game. He was genuine when he gave me his honest opinion on some of the trades that have gone down in recent years. He didn’t give me a canned speech or noncommittal answers.
5. He is completely open to suggestions.
Dave has entertained fans with outlandish suggestions, from a floating ballpark to a 14-man soccer team. Yet he continues to hold office hours and listen patiently, filling up notebooks full of fan ideas.
I asked Dave Kaval about his office hours w/ Earthquakes. He says a Bulgarian gentleman came regularly to suggest using 14 players on field.
4. He is making renovations to the current ballpark.
Dave’s renovation of the West Side Club and his addition of a food truck alley on the concourse serve as tangible evidence that he is listening to fans and taking action. He is not making empty promises. He is improving the fan experience as we wait for the new stadium, hopefully drawing more fans and increasing revenue that can be used for player acquisition and retention.
3. He is not interested in building a Levi’s Stadium-esque experience.
I had planned on sharing that I was against recreating Levi’s Stadium, as I don’t believe A’s fans want or need an exclusive VIP club, a Michael Mina tailgate, or vegetables growing on the roof. Before I could even say it, Dave assured me that he would not be modeling the stadium after Levi Stadium. He is interested in keeping an Oakland vibe in the stadium, and he knows that Oakland is a blue collar (or green collar) town. He shared with me that he is a native of Cleveland, which is home to a similar population of people.
2. He has been to all 30 MLB Stadiums.
When I heard about Dave, I wondered what a soccer guy would know about baseball stadiums. It turns out Dave is a total baseball guy! While in college, he visited all 30 stadiums in one summer, and even wrote a book about his experience. His favorites were Fenway and Wrigley, which is great news for fans who prefer a retro feel.
1. He wants to keep the A’s in Oakland.
What could be more important than that?
I’m ready to proclaim “I believe in Dave Kaval!” If you’re still not convinced, check out his office hours. At the very least, you’ll leave with a free hat.