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Photos: Huge crowd packs Oakland Ballers’ stadium for opening game

The image shows excited fans, including children and adults, cheering with their hands in the air. They are wearing matching team hats and appear to be at a sporting event.
Steve Tuck and kids, Andrew, left, and Teddy cheer on the Oakland Ballers during the team’s home opener in West Oakland on Tuesday night. | Source: Paul Kuroda for The Standard

Vibes were bittersweet but optimistic at the opening home game of the Oakland Ballers at Raimondi Park on Tuesday night.

The game against the Yolo High Wheelers nearly sold out, with 4,120 ticket holders cramming into the 4,200-seat stadium, which was built up in record time at the recently-renovated West Oakland park.

“It’s bittersweet,” said sixth-generation Oakland native Nate Carroll-Browne, who called the A’s departure “a stab in the back”. “I know part of this is because our other team is leaving.”

The Oakland Ballers is an independent professional baseball team formed in 2024 amid the looming departure of the Oakland Athletics. The Major League Baseball team is leaving for Sacramento at the end of the season before eventually settling in Las Vegas.

“This was a response to the A’s ditching Oakland, to be honest,” Mayor Sheng Thao told The Standard. “This shows Oakland has a fanbase. The notion Oakland doesn’t come out for baseball, it’s BS.”

The image shows a baseball field lit up for a night game, surrounded by a cityscape, with a sunset over a water body and distant bridge and city skyline.
The Ballers' home opener at Raimondi Park nearly sold out with 4,120 ticket holders cramming into the 4,200-seat stadium in West Oakland. | Source: Paul Kuroda for The Standard
A man balances on a log while holding a drink. He is wearing an Oakland jersey and cap. People walk on the sidewalk next to parked cars in a sunny residential area.
Michael McDonald strikes a pose before the Ballers' home opener at Raimondi Park. | Source: Paul Kuroda for The Standard

Mistah F.A.B., a local rap artist who has been promoting the new team, called the opening game “historic.”

“It’s hard to make up for the loss of the A’s, but eras end and new ones begin,” he said.

Indeed, people came out in droves to support the Ballers—with the green-painted plywood stands shaking with footsteps of boisterous fans and cheers of “Let’s go Oakland.”

A man stands in front of a backdrop with the text "Oakland B's" while holding a sign and posing for a woman taking his photo with a phone.
Rahsan Armstrong poses for a picture in front of the Oakland Ballers team logo. | Source: Paul Kuroda for The Standard
A person stands behind a green flag that reads "SELL," casting a shadow. Only their legs and shoes are visible from beneath the flag.
Oakland A's fans who have been calling on owner John Fisher to sell the team tailgate at the Ballers' home opener. | Source: Paul Kuroda for The Standard

At 6:35 p.m., just minutes after the star spangled banner was sung, 20th Street was packed with hundreds of fans still filing into the ballpark. More than 100 people waited in line for $12 pints of Almanac “Baller Love” Hazy IPA, while a couple dozen lined up for Ballers merch, locally printed and embroidered by Oaklandish.

Waiting in line to buy Ballers hats for her husband and her coworker, East Oakland native Colleen Dumas, 54, said she’s done mourning the loss of the A’s and is all in supporting the Ballers as her local baseball team.

“The Raiders already got me once,” Dumas said. “I’m not going to Vegas to watch my team play.”

A person in casual clothes holds a beer bottle, standing by a car with baseball gloves, balls, and more bottles on the car's hood, under a clear blue sky.
A tailgater parties ahead of the Ballers' home opener at Raimondi Park on Tuesday. | Source: Paul Kuroda for The Standard
A group of people, most wearing Oakland-themed sports jerseys and sunglasses, are walking up a ramp in an urban outdoor setting on a sunny day.
Fans make their way into the bleachers for the Oakland Ballers' home opener. | Source: Paul Kuroda for The Standard

While Dumas only came from across town, independent hot dog vendor Hal Gordon said he flew out all the way from Washington D.C. to sell dogs to hungry fans.

Frantically taking orders while speaking with The Standard, Gordon said he sold hot dogs at A’s games from 2017 to 2022. He moved to D.C. two months ago, in part due to the A’s leaving Oakland.

”It’s horrible,” Gordon said.

“This is our community. Community organizations shouldn’t be moved away just because some billionaire can make money somewhere else,” Gordon added, referring to owner John Fisher.

Gordon was known as the Oakland Coliseum’s most well-known food vendor and beloved by fans, known for antics such as shouting “let’s ketchup” during late innings when the A’s were losing.

A person in a yellow cap and distressed jeans is swinging a bat at a baseball on a field, with the ball in mid-air and spectators visible in the background.
The inaugural "first hit" at the Oakland Ballers home opener in West Oakland. | Source: Paul Kuroda for The Standard
People are gathered around a table, examining green and black shirts with "Oakland Ballers" logos. One person has a tattoo on their arm. Other individuals are wearing printed shirts.
Fans show off Oakland Ballers merch designed by local brand Oaklandish. | Source: Paul Kuroda for The Standard

“[The Ballers] won’t be a replacement for the As, but it’ll be something new for Oakland,” Gordon said.

Those who want to catch the Ballers in action this week can see games at Raimondi at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and at 1:05 p.m. this weekend. Tickets for “bargain bleacher” seats cost $15 and seats in the section closest to home plate go for $32.

Gordon will be here for all the remaining home games as well, but if you want a hot dog you’ll have to get it early—he had to leave during Tuesday’s game to retrieve more dogs, which he sells for $9 each, after running out in just an hour.

The Ballers ultimately lost the game 9-3, but fans weren’t bothered much by the end result.

“We lost, but Oakland won,” Gordon said. “Everyone got to see each other, and there were a lot of happy faces.”

Garrett Leahy can be reached at