Pioneer Baseball League (PBL)

Pioneer League's Oakland Ballers: What to Know

Pioneer League's Oakland Ballers: What to Know

The Oakland Ballers will play their first season in the independent leagues this year as a part of the Pioneer Baseball League.

Apr 16, 2024 by Briar Napier

This season, a new era in Oakland baseball is beginning.

The Oakland Ballers, formed partly in response to the much-publicized, incoming departure of the city’s Major League Baseball club, will play their first season in the independent leagues this year — and after 2024, will be Oakland’s most notable professional baseball team left standing in the city.

In the meantime, the Pioneer Baseball League (which will be home to the Ballers in their inaugural season) will see some history made from Oakland’s formation, too, as a league primarily based in the Mountain West dating back to its days in the minors will expand to the West Coast for the first time.

It’s a significant year for baseball in Oakland, and as one team moves out shortly, the Ballers will be hoping that their arrival will help keep the spirit of baseball alive in the city for years to come.

Here’s a breakdown of what to know about the Oakland Ballers — including how they were formed, where they will play and who has signed for the team — ahead of the 2024 Pioneer League season, which will be streamed live and exclusively on FloBaseball all summer long:

What Year Were the Oakland Ballers Founded?

One of two new expansion teams in the Pioneer League for this upcoming season, the Ballers were founded in late November of last year and will be (along with the also-debuting Yolo High Wheelers) the Pioneer League’s first Californian ballclub in its history. Per the organization’s announcement news release, the team’s founding was inspired by the success of the Oakland Roots soccer club in the second-tier USL Championship as they are “committed to staying in Oakland forever” — undoubtedly referencing the MLB’s Oakland Athletics, who are controversially moving to Sacramento next season in preparation for a planned future relocation to Las Vegas. 

Who Owns the Oakland Ballers?

The Ballers are owned by Oakland natives Paul Freedman and Bryan Carmel, and per the team’s announcement release, it has secured $2 million in seed funding from over 50 investors in preparation for its first season of play. The release additionally noted that the club plans to begin a public crowdfunding campaign sometime this year in which fans will have the chance to become part-owners of the Ballers. 

What is the History of the Oakland Ballers Team Name and Mascot?

To perhaps soothe the burn that the many fans in the Bay Area are feeling in regards to the news that the Athletics are leaving Oakland next season, the Ballers have taken plenty of inspiration from the major-league team in their branding. The club’s green and gold colors are strikingly similar to the Athletics — with the Ballers’ colors being a bit darker in shade — and like the Athletics (often called the A’s), the Ballers have a shortened form of their nickname in the B’s listed in a script font on the team’s logo. A mascot has not been announced by the team as of this writing.

Have the Oakland Ballers Ever Won a Pioneer League Championship?

No, the Ballers have never won a Pioneer League championship, due to the fact that 2024 will be the club’s first season of existence.

Where Do the Oakland Ballers Play?

The Ballers will play at Oakland’s Raimondi Park, with the team’s inaugural home game taking place June 4 against the Yolo High Wheelers. The park, which has been around in some form since the late 1800s and has gone through various renovations and changes throughout its history in West Oakland, will receive a $1.6 million upgrade from the Ballers through private investments (per a team news release). The announcement in February was a change from the Ballers’ originally planned home field at Laney College.

Oakland Ballers Notable Alumni

Obviously, there are no “alumni” in the Ballers’ history at this time as the team is still yet to play a professional game. Still, that doesn’t mean that the club hasn’t signed some notable players in advance of its first season. 

Oakland’s highest-profile signing thus far is undoubtedly right-handed pitcher Kelsie Whitmore, a California native who made history as the first woman to start a game in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball when she pulled off the feat as a member of the Staten Island FerryHaws in May 2022. If she is to play for the Ballers, Whitmore will be the first woman ever to suit up in a Pioneer League game. 

Other top signings for Oakland thus far include outfielders Dondrei Hubbard, the Pioneer League’s batting champion from a season ago, and Trevor Halsema, a .310 hitter with the Idaho Falls Chukars last year, among others.

How to Watch the Oakland Ballers

Atlantic, Frontier, Pioneer, and the Coastal Summer Plain League, as well as the Florida Collegiate Summer League, all are streaming on FloBaseball and the FloSports app. 

Replays, highlights, and more news can be found on the site.

Join The Baseball Conversation On Social