Pioneer League Announces New Expansion Team: The Oakland Ballers

November 28, 2023 - Pioneer League (PL) - Oakland Ballers News Release

The Pioneer Baseball League presented by TicketSmarter today announced that in 2024 it will be expanding to Oakland, CA with the launch of its first team, the "Oakland Ballers", in its newly planned "Pacific West Division".

"I am so excited to usher in the next chapter of the Pioneer League's future with our expansion to Oakland, California," said PBL President Mike Shapiro. "Launching our first club in Oakland underscores the PBL's spirit of innovation and commitment to providing the very best fan and player development experiences. The richly diverse Oakland community, with its historic baseball heritage, is a perfect first step for the PBL's expansion beyond its foundational roots in the Mountain West states."

The Oakland Ballers, and the club's Co-Founders, East Bay-natives Paul Freedman and Bryan Carmel, were introduced at a press conference attended by Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao, rapper Mistah F.A.B. and the Baller's named manager, former MLB player and coach, Micah Franklin.

"I strongly believe that the real value of a sports team is in its relationship to the community it serves. Baseball is a sport with deep roots in this country and a rich legacy in the East Bay. That's why with the Oakland B's we intend to build a team committed to honoring that legacy and our community. With the Oakland Bs, we are going to bring joy back to the game and give Oaklanders something to be proud of," said Paul Freedman, co-founder of the Oakland Ballers.

The Oakland Ballers have obtained $2 million in initial funding from nearly 50 investors linked to Oakland and the wider East Bay region.

The Ballers also announced a formidable coaching and operations team, including the appointment of Don Wakamatsu, serving as the EVP of Baseball Operations for the Ballers. Wakamatsu, a former professional baseball player, notably made history as the first Asian-American manager in MLB history during his tenure with the Seattle Mariners.

Franklin, a native of San Francisco, joins as the team's Manager, boasting 17 years of experience in professional baseball both as a player and scout. Additionally, Ray King, also with major league pitching and coaching experience, will assume the role of the Ballers' Pitching Coach.

"As a proud Bay Area native, it is a tremendous honor for me to step into the role of Manager for the Oakland Ballers. This opportunity is not just about baseball; it's about honoring the Bay Area baseball community and legacy. I am honored to be a part of a movement to prioritize fans, celebrate our unique culture, and build community. Together with the Oakland Ballers, I am dedicated to bringing a new era of championship baseball to The Town," said Franklin.

In addition to the Ballers, there will be another PBL team located in Northern California that will be announced in January.

About the Oakland Ballers: The Oakland Ballers (aka the B's) is a new professional baseball team launching in the Spring of 2024. The B's will join the Pioneer League, which was founded in 1939, as its first ever West Coast franchise. The B's are backed by almost 50 Bay Area sports fans, who believe that the true value of a sports team is its power to bring people together. The Oakland Ballers are dedicated to delivering a joyful, community focused experience for Oakland and the entire East Bay. We vow to never leave town. Built by Oakland, for Oakland, forever Oakland.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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