Oakland Athletics

Athletics considering using an aerial tram to get people to their hypothetical new ballpark

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One of the sites the Oakland Athletics are considering for their new ballpark that, I imagine anyway, will one day be built, is the Howard Terminal site near Jack London Square. It’s a site the city has been pushing, though the current Coliseum site is also in the mix.

As those most familiar with the ballpark situation in Oakland have noted, the biggest problem with the Howard Terminal site is access. The nearest BART station is not super close — it’s like a mile away — and there is a freeway and train tracks in between. To wit:

 

One possible solution is building a new BART station, but that’s totally not happening because of the expense. Another solution is far more . . . novel. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

The Oakland A’s are exploring using a gondola ski lift to transport fans from downtown to the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal, where the team is thinking of building a new ballpark . . . an overhead lift that would sail over I-880 and the Southern Pacific railroad tracks that separate downtown from the port.

Teams are always looking for uniqueness when it comes to a new ballpark, and say what you want about a gondola, but it’d certainly be unique.

The article talks about the pros and cons of such a beast and gives examples of other places where gondolas like that are used, though none are pro sports facilities. The article says 4,000-5,000 people could make the trip to the park each hour. If you’re expecting 30,000 people to go to an A’s game and if gates open a couple of hours before the game that’s gonna make things tight. I presume, though, that there will be some parking closer to the park, albeit expensive and/or a bit tricky to get to, and probably some shuttles and the like. As with all parking and transportation systems, we’re talking about “ands” not “ors.”

Still, it’s a bit out there. Certainly a change for A’s fans who, at present, are used to being able to take BART right to game, alighting at the station on the stadium’s premises. Which remains the current top selling point for the Coliseum.

Yasmani Grandal played himself out of NLCS Game 4

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Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal has not had a good postseason. Entering Monday night’s NLCS Game 3, he was batting .111/.238/.278 in 21 trips to the plate across the NLDS and the first two games of the NLCS.

Defense has also been an issue for Grandal. In Game 1 of the NLCS, Grandal was on the hook for two passed balls. In the sixth inning of Game 3 Monday night, he couldn’t corral a curve in the dirt, which allowed Travis Shaw to score the Brewers’ second run of the night. Starter Walker Buehler was charged with a wild pitch. In the eighth, with Ryan Braun on first base and Shaw at the plate, Grandal again couldn’t corral a pitch in the dirt, allowing Braun to move to second base. Fortunately for the Dodgers, Alex Wood was able to escape the inning with no damage.

Manager Dave Roberts said that Austin Barnes, not Grandal, will start behind the plate for Game 4 on Tuesday night, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. That comes as no surprise at all. When Grandal struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Dodger fans regaled him with boos.

Barnes will be an upgrade defensively, but he’s lacking with the bat. He had an 0-for-3 performance in Game 2, though with an RBI, bringing his career slash line in the playoffs to .200/.281/.300 across 57 plate appearances. During the regular season, his career 100 adjusted OPS is a fair bit behind Grandal’s 115. Roberts is trading offense for defense in Game 4. Rich Hill will get the start opposite the Brewers’ Gio González.