How did Oakland Ballers renovate rundown Raimondi Park in record time?

In the days leading up to the new Oakland Ballers' inaugural sold-out home opener at Raimondi Park on Tuesday, it's been an all-hands on deck effort, with construction crews working "around the clock," volunteers pitching in, and even the team's co-founder moving in furniture.

More than 4,000 seats will be filled when the Ballers' first pitch is thrown at Raimondi, as the team faces the Yolo High Wheelers from Davis on Tuesday night.  

The minor league team, also known as the B's, announced it will play at the historic West Oakland public field less than four months ago. 

Since then, it has been a true grassroots effort to renovate the rundown, widely considered, inoperable and neglected site, team co-founder Bryan Carmel said.  

KTVU spoke with Carmel on Monday as he was shuttling to and from the field to move IKEA furniture to the site and take care of other finishing touches. 

"Our theme for the season is ‘Built By Oakland,’ and it really has been a built by Oakland effort," Carmel said. "We're taking a public park, and we’re reactivating it and turning it into a professional baseball facility."

The Oakland Ballers are getting ready for their home opener on Tuesday, June 4, 2024. 

SEE ALSO: Oakland Ballers sell out home opener

The team said the massive effort has been made possible through collaboration and teamwork from the city of Oakland as well as community members who have stepped up. 

Among the volunteers was Deputy Mayor Dr. Kimberly Mayfield who was picking up trash in time for the sold out game, according to a photo posted by the Ballers on X.

Harold Shields, a staff member who volunteered to work extra days, was setting up the concessions. 

"This team and this organization is incredibly important to the city of Oakland, so it’s all hands on deck," he said with a smile. 

Carmel noted volunteers like those from "Friends of Raimondi Park" have been working on site beautification, clean-up, painting, and clearing out trash.

Over the weekend, some 60 volunteers showed up to help with the final touches to have the park ready to go for game day. 

Josiah Bragdon, friend of Ballers chief of staff hanging mirrors as part of the final touches ahead of the team's home opener in Oakland, Calif. on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.

They came ready to work, as they helped hang mirrors, construct office furniture, and assist in building a locker room. 

Many signed up through a volunteer invite portal on the Ballers’ website, asking folks to help "with the final touches to make sure Raimondi is ready for opening day." For the help, the team promised two tickets to a home game. 

The push to give Oakland a new pro team came in response to the Oakland A’s impending move to Las Vegas.

"When the other team that plays in Oakland decided it had no future here, we said there had to be baseball in Oakland, and this fan base is the greatest fan base in sports. Oakland needs to have pro sports. It needs to have baseball," the B’s co-founder said. 

The team has also been pushing to have a piece of Oakland Coliseum history at Raimondi.

The Ballers have formally asked the Coliseum Joint Powers Authority for the right to buy currently unused bleacher seats that were used when the Raiders played at the Coliseum and have been sitting unused in the parking lot of the stadium since the football team moved to Las Vegas. 

Carmel told KTVU the Ballers were still in negotiations to acquire those seats.

And while the field renovation was to give the Ballers a home field, the team’s owners said it will serve as an extension of their mission to be rooted in Oakland and exist as part of the community from the ground up. 

"A big part of our mission is to support local sports and youth sports," Carmel said.

When the Ballers aren’t using the facility, the plan is for the field to be available for the community to sign up to use.

"We have it for 48 home games in a 96 game season in the Pioneer League," Carmel explained. "So the other days of the year it's available for the community."

On Monday, there continued to be a flurry of activity as part of the final push before the big day. Work crews were installing the stadium video board and putting together the press box.

Asked if the team was ready for the opener, Carmel definitely stated, "We will be ready. There’s going to baseball. There’s going to be a stadium. And there’s going to be hot dogs."

Before the renovations at Raimondi Park in Oakland, Calif.  (KTVU FOX 2)

Crews paint Raimondi Park in Oakland ahead of Ballers home opener. June 2, 204