OAKLAND -- The Oakland Coliseum has a new hangout spot down the first-base line, and David Kaval is proud to show it off.The A's named Kaval the new president in November, and he's been busy as the new face of the franchise since -- touting the team's roots in Oakland
OAKLAND -- The Oakland Coliseum has a new hangout spot down the first-base line, and David Kaval is proud to show it off.
The A's named Kaval the new president in November, and he's been busy as the new face of the franchise since -- touting the team's roots in Oakland since 1968. On Thursday, he met with the media in the newly renovated Shibe Park Tavern, an old-school sports bar named after the franchise's home stadium in Philadelphia from 1909-54.
While he might have been surrounded by photos and memorabilia from the Philly A's days of yesteryear, the energetic Kaval is focused on the future of keeping baseball in Oakland.
"It's a super exciting opportunity," Kaval said. "We're jumping in head-first. I think it's ushering in a new era for the A's. Obviously, our commitment to Oakland, building a ballpark here and announcing this season where that's going to be, is a huge step for this franchise."
The A's are set to host the Angels on Monday for Opening Night, when the franchise will dedicate the field to Oakland native and Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson while also recognizing late longtime radio broadcaster Bill King, who was named the 2017 Ford C. Frick Award winner.
"We see Oakland as a strength," Kaval said. "In the past, maybe we hadn't seen it that way. Those roots, that connection is really special. This fan base is as rabid and as excitable and as passionate as any in world sports. I think it's one of our great assets."
A few of the team's new bobbleheads for 2017, such as Bob Melvin, Khris Davis and the Big Three -- featuring former pitchers Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito -- were also on display, along with other promotions. One also couldn't help but notice a trash can full of Giants hats, as the team has recently given away hundreds of A's caps to Bay Area fans looking to shed some orange and black for green and gold.
"We want to drain the swamp, and we want to own Alameda County," Kaval said. "I think over the last 10 years, the Giants have had more fans and more interest in this area, and we want to turn that back."
Kaval also mentioned that the A's have nine championships in franchise history and four in Oakland.
"We want people to understand that we're proud of that," Kaval said. "And that we're going to do everything we can to represent this city."
That wasn't all the A's had featured at Shibe Park Tavern on Thursday. The media also got a taste of this year's revamped food options for fans, including the team's new signature sidewinder garlic fries, loaded tater tots, chicken and waffle sandwiches and more.
"We've made over $4 million in renovations to enhance the fan experience," Kaval said. "Everything from the food to Shibe Park Tavern -- it's a really a brand-new set of amenities that we're excited about."
Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the A's on Thursday.