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The hunt for the green A’s truck: Two Oakland fans’ bizarre quest for a lost team relic

Two men in hats and vests take a selfie in front of a green truck with yellow text.
Oakland A’s fans Gabe Hernandez, right, and Robb Roberts take a selfie in front of a box truck formerly used by the Oakland A’s on Sunday, April 14, in Alamo. | Source: Noah Berger for The Standard

Spirits were high as the two diehard fans of the soon-to-be former Oakland Athletics headed out on a quixotic quest.

Members of the “Last Dive Bar” fan group, Gabe Hernandez and Robb Roberts met up at the parking lot of the Black Bear Diner in Pleasanton on the afternoon of April 14. There, they outfitted themselves in canvas safari vests and hats fresh from Amazon and matching green Last Dive Bar hoodies.

A few days earlier, the duo had set out to solve a mystery eating into the psyches of obsessive, heartsick worshippers of the Green and Gold: Where in the world was the “Rooted in Oakland” box truck?

The truck—which holds a special significance for A’s fans as a symbol of hometown pride and misspent hope—had gone missing. 

Then, two weeks ago, pictures of the vehicle, painted in A’s colors and emblazoned with Oakland’s signature oak tree, popped up on social media. The shots depicted the vehicle in what appeared to be a marsh-like area, tucked next to a storage container.

According to Roberts and Hernandez, the Last Dive Bar group was hoping to buy the truck for the independent Oakland Ballers team—soon to be the only quasi-professional baseball squad left in Oakland. They hoped to use it to sell merchandise and food during the Ballers’ upcoming inaugural season at Raimondi Field in West Oakland.

“It’s like taking back something that’s ours,” Hernandez said. “One man’s trash is another fan’s treasure.”

He recalled how the truck was originally rolled out by the A's franchise. This was in the midst of the 2019 unanimous vote by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to sell its part-ownership of the 155-acre Coliseum complex to the team for $85 million. That unleashed a series of events that would bring us to the current moment—with despised owner John Fisher planning to uproot the team temporarily to Sacramento in 2025, followed by a permanent move to Las Vegas sometime later.

“They went around using that truck for promotional purposes,” Hernandez remembered, “and for them to blatantly lie to all of us about staying is very disheartening. This means something to us.”

Roberts, a commercial real estate appraiser, lives in the Lodi area but has been a fan of the A's since the days of Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco’s Bash Brothers. Hernandez, an Alameda native and content creator, grew up following the team during the early part of the 2010s as a high school student who was infatuated by the team's fan culture.

A man in a beige hat and green jacket looks up, touching the brim of his hat, with pine branches above.
Oakland A’s fan Robb Roberts gears up with a hat purchased for his “expedition” to recover a box truck formerly used by the Oakland A’s. | Source: Noah Berger for The Standard

They, like so many other forlorn A’s fans, believe that the culture of the team is as intrinsically tied to its wacky avatars—the elephant mascot Stomper, the drummers in the outfield, Hal the Hot Dog Guy and, yes, the box truck—as it is to legendary players like Reggie Jackson, Rickie Henderson and Jason Giambi. 

Roberts and Hernandez had to do their part to restore at least one part of that bank of memories to its rightful place. 

“The minute we saw it,” he said of the social media pictures of the lost box truck, “it was like a knee-jerk reaction to go get it back.”

A truck lost and found 

After receiving a tip from a friend about the truck’s whereabouts and doing some private sleuthing, Roberts and Hernandez, now clad head to toe in safari gear, set out north on Interstate 680, eventually entering the affluent enclave of Alamo in Contra Costa County.

It didn’t take long to find the truck. It was right there in plain sight, parked in front of a house near a private road. 

As they approached in Roberts’ big white GMC truck, a man—who later identified himself as the property owner and an A’s construction contractor—walked up to the Rooted in Oakland truck holding four cans of kelly green spray paint.

“You guys put a picture of my property online, and now you’re bringing people to my house. It’s not cool, man,” said the man, who recounted the conversation to The Standard and asked not to be identified. “We’re just trying to do something nice for the kids. It’s not for sale.”

A green delivery truck with "Roasted" written on it is parked beside some vegetation.
A box truck formerly used by the Oakland A’s sits parked in a residential yard in Alamo. | Source: Noah Berger for The Standard

The kids? Roberts and Hernandez scratched their heads. Yes, said the property owner, the A’s had given him the box truck with the task of getting it working again so it could be donated to the Make-a-Wish foundation.

But then, he said, these Last Dive Bar guys had gone crazy on the internet, turning the truck into a cause celebre and giving him a headache. According to the man, the A’s vice president of stadium operations, David Rinetti, had called ahead to let him know that a group was heading his way to “take the truck.”

“Now, we were going to have people come here and start tearing the house apart,” the man told The Standard, recounting his thoughts. “We thought this was going to be a malicious thing; that’s why we are freaking out.”

A spokesperson for the A’s confirmed the property owner’s claims, adding that while the truck had been sitting idle at the Coliseum over the last season and a half, the catalytic converter had disappeared, as had other parts of the engine.

Once Roberts and Hernandez heard the man’s explanation—that he was repairing the truck to give it away to Make-a-Wish—they felt like they had no choice but to back down. After a few minutes of chatting, the two men asked the property owner if they could take some selfies in front of the truck.

“Better hurry,” he advised them as he began painting over the yellow “Rooted” letters on the truck. “By the way, I like the matching outfits.”

As Hernandez and Roberts drove back to Pleasanton, visibly bummed, they wondered aloud why the A’s didn’t announce that the truck was going to be donated to charity, especially since the team was clearly aware of the social media posts. And given all that, why would they portray the box truck safari adventure as malicious to the man in Alamo?

“All of the negative press [they get], you would think they would say, ‘We are going to give this truck for charity,’” Roberts said.

It was just another mystifying decision by a franchise that had made so many of them over the last several years. Hernandez and Roberts and tens of thousands of A’s fans had given decades of loyalty and love to the team, and what did they get in return? 

A couple of selfies. A bunch of memories. And a painted-over truck. 

“It sucks we weren’t able to get it,” Roberts said. But if it was indeed going to Make-a-Wish, he and his friend could accept that. 

They’d learned to live with disappointment. They’re A’s fans.