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Renovation turning Oakland Ballers’ home at Raimondi Park into field of dreams


The Oakland Ballers have put in a lot of work to make their home field at Raimondi Park suitable for professional baseball when the team’s first game is played there in just under a month.  

“You know, the hardest thing that we had to do when we started this about a month ago was getting the field done,” explained Paul Freedman, co-founder of the Oakland Ballers. “You can see the field is almost done now. We’ve got some time to let it seed.”

From the outfield grass to the infield dirt, baseball is taking root in West Oakland again.

“So many little parts to a ballpark,” Freedman laughed. “Right now, this is the guard rail for the dugout.”

For Freedman, seeing the vision become reality has to happen quickly. Final approval for the buildout came just last week, so almost everything on site has been done in a matter of days.

“The folks that we are partnered with for the bleachers have done this before,” he said. “This company is called InProduction. They are the company that turns all of Las Vegas into an F-1 race, so putting together a 4,100-seat ballpark in a month, they feel like they’ve got plenty of time.”

For the Ballers, however, the task is an enormous one, with just over four weeks to pull everything together.

“We don’t have a lot of extra time for unforeseen things to come up,” Freedman admitted. “We’ve gotta keep chopping away.”

In Freedman’s words, it is warp speed on every level, and he’s not just talking about the ballpark. The city of Oakland has committed to resurfacing nearby roadways, some of which have been infamous for their condition in recent years.

“This project proves that Oakland can get stuff done and can get stuff done faster than anybody expected,” Freedman added.

“Raimondi Park has a lot of history,” said neighbor Rodell Harrison. “The Raimondi Brothers. Some of the greats that played down here; Lee Lacey, Frank Robinson. Jessie Gunder.”

Harrison was born and raised nearby. He said the Ballers’ arrival is great news for an area that has faced tremendous challenges. 

On one end of the park is Wood Street, which just two years ago was home to one of the largest homeless encampments on the West Coast. Now, affordable housing is being built on that site, just as the park is redeveloped for the Ballers. 

“This is a good, positive step,” Harrison said. “Especially for this community that has been neglected. Hopefully, the Oakland Ballers can be a real success here in West Oakland.”

“This is a historic community,” Freedman said. “This is a historic park. It’s a park that has seen some tough times recently, but we think that the best times for this part of the community are in front of us.”

So the transformation reaches beyond the park, and beyond baseball, but it has to happen fast. For Freedman, that means staying focused on every detail and trying not to think about that first pitch.

“I can’t let myself start to think about baseball happening, because I get a little bit emotional,” Freedman said, standing on the field. “I start to get a little bit excited. But I will tell you that that first home opening day, when the first ‘Let’s go Oakland!’ chant starts to break out. I don’t know how I am going to stop from crying. It’s going to be a very emotional event, I think it’s gonna be very energetic, and I think people are gonna want to be here.” 

Earlier Tuesday, the team announced an exclusive partnership with KPIX/CBS Bay Area that will see all nine of the Ballers’ Friday night home games getting televised live on KPIX+ 44 Cable 12, KPIX’s sister station in San Francisco, starting on June 7. The Ballers’ complete 2024 schedule can be found at www.oaklandballers.com



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