The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

Casey Pratt talks career, expert opinion of the Oakland Athletics departure

The ABC7 News Sports senior producer, editor and sports anchor shares his wisdom
Jonah Chambliss
A graphic featuring the Oakland A’s mascot with bags packed ready to leave Oakland. “Oakland Athletics Alternate Logo” by PMell2293 licensed under CC BY 2.0. Accessed via Openverse. (Jonah Chambliss / Golden Gate Xpress)

Casey Pratt has covered the A’s and other Bay Area teams for over 20 years with multiple television news stations.

Pratt is a California native who’s made a career from his connection to the Bay Area and its sports teams. He grew up in Danville, but his family has lived in the Bay Area for four generations. He reflected fondly upon memories of his grandfather’s house, just across the street from Lake Merritt in Oakland.

Pratt has become a go-to source of information for all Bay Area sports, especially the Oakland Athletics. Like many other journalists, he was simply a fan of sports to begin with.

Pratt lovingly reflects on the Bash Brothers — Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire — and the Joe Montana-led 49ers of his youth. He says he was spoiled with great teams during that time of his life.

“I went to community college at Mesa in San Diego,”  Pratt said. “I went for four years, which I’m actually proud of. I had a really great journalism professor there, and that sort of helped steer me in the direction I inevitably went, transferring to SF State.” 

Pratt says his journalistic career really began to blossom in San Francisco. His mother taught ABC anchorman Larry Beil’s daughter in grade school. The two connected and formed a mentor-mentee relationship, according to Pratt. 

While working toward his journalism degree at SFSU, Pratt worked his way up the ABC7 sports department’s ranks. He landed the weekend sports producer position and eventually began running the entire sports department.

“I was helping my peers get internships and telling all my instructors, ‘Hey, I already have my dream job in the industry. Do I really need to learn how to write obituaries?”’ Pratt said. 

Sports journalist Casey Pratt eats a hot dog at an Oakland Athletics game. (Courtesy of Casey Pratt)

Pratt’s career progressed. After Pratt left ABC7, he worked as the Oakland A’s insider for NBC Sports Bay Area before eventually returning to the ABC7 sports department. 

Through beat coverage, sports anchoring and his social media content, Pratt became one of the most reliable voices in Bay Area sports, covering the A’s, Giants, Raiders and 49ers. 

Pratt described countless stories, but one of his favorites was the Bernie Lean dance, which went viral in 2012. 

“It was just this funny thing where everybody was super happy to talk about it. It was just the dumbest story — basically wrote it as a joke. It went massively viral, so that was one of my favorite stories ever,” Pratt said. 

Sam Silveira was in sixth grade when the Bernie Lean became a popular celebration for the A’s. He grew up a fan and went on to work for the team and as a fan liaison during the 2018-21 seasons. 

“As a fan, I have so many great memories of the team growing up — the Bernie Lean is just one,” Silveira said. “I worked for the A’s for three years or so and can’t believe they’re moving. It’s a shame for fans and the MLB.

Silveira pays close attention to Pratt’s coverage and says he appreciates the light he’s shining on the situation. 

Pratt says his frustration with the A’s potential relocation drove him to keep reporting on the possible move. 

“I run our sports department with Larry,” Pratt said. “I produce our shows and I anchor sports sometimes. My job is not to cover this, it just became a thing. A lot of it was just I got frustrated or fed up with how things were going.” 

With the A’s move to Las Vegas looming, Pratt began posting to his X (previously Twitter) account and YouTube channel, breaking down every aspect of their move. 

“I felt like it was critically important,” Pratt said. “I just can’t let this happen without all the information being out there and people being held accountable.” 

Pratt says he followed the “borderline obsessively” situation and wanted to be as fair and accurate as possible. 

“If it wasn’t fair to people, then they wouldn’t talk to me,” Pratt said. “I just tried to put out the information as best I could. It’s a very confusing, difficult and boring topic sometimes with all the legal minutia and environmental impact reports and like, all this stuff, so I tried to just present it in a way that was easily digestible.” 

According to Pratt, the team is most likely going to move to Las Vegas. Negotiations with Oakland fell through in 2023, and they recently announced the 2024 season as their last in the city. His opinion is that it’s very likely the A’s will leave. 

Pratt sees alternatives to keeping the team in Oakland, but none of them involve the current owner, John Fisher. 

“I think that the only way that happens is if John Fisher sells the team,” Pratt said. “I think that there’s a lot of people out here that would love to buy the team and build it in Oakland, either at Howard Terminal or the Coliseum.”

Pratt is not the only person who thinks Fisher should sell the team. 

There are fan groups such as the Last Dive Bar and Oakland 68’s that have organized boycotts and sold merchandise that simply says the word “sell.” 

Baseball historian and SFSU Professor Mark Sigmon grew up in Alameda and has been an A’s fan since he was a kid. Sigmon says baseball must correct its path with the A’s. 

“As I’ve studied the game and as I see changes in the game, I get the sense that baseball is like this mighty river that is moving more and more towards perfection,” Sigmon said. 

Sigmon sees Fisher as an obstacle in the river, and that is baseball. The more water that pushes up against this obstacle, the more likely it is to break. 

“You get some clown, like John Fisher, who is not interested in the best interests in baseball, not interested in what’s best for the game, he’s just interested in making as much money as he can,” Sigmon said. “I am hoping that the mighty river of baseball is going to sweep him away, and other owners that have that attitude.” 

Sigmon said he will not attend or watch any Oakland Athletics games for the first time since the late 1970s. 

His attitude matches that of many people and is exactly what Pratt thinks will happen to most A’s fans.

“I think most days fans will just not watch Major League Baseball anymore,” Sigmon said.

According to Sigmon and Pratt, there’s no reason to support the team. The A’s decision to leave is costing Major League Baseball money and fans, according to both experts. 

“It’s sad, I think there is a viable market here,” Pratt said. “It’s just about having an owner or a team that invests back in the fan base. Then you’ll yield those returns. The A’s have been famously disinvested since back in the ‘80s.”

Many people wonder what will be left for baseball in Oakland with the move imminent. 

Pratt says the Oakland Ballers are the new team for A’s fans to turn their support to. 

“I really love everything they’re doing,” Pratt said. “The point is to uplift youth baseball, the community and provide for all these little leagues that are kind of being ignored or left behind by the A’s. Providing a space for them to play, donating to little leagues for uniforms and being able to hold clinics and stuff for the Oakland youth. 

BJ Boyd doesn’t work for the Ballers, but he is close friends with many of the staff and helps with their coaching and youth engagement programs when he can. Boyd grew up in Petaluma, not far from Oakland. The A’s drafted him in the sixth round of the 2012 MLB Draft. 

Boyd thinks the A’s leaving will most hurt local youth learning the game of baseball. Since retiring from his playing career, he’s worked to make the sport more accessible to low-income communities. 

“I think it’s incredible to see these kids, teachers and coaches,” Boyd said. “They are reaching out and giving back to the community to make it a better place and have the games stay alive.” 

With the A’s leaving, Boyd sees a chance for the Ballers to step up and make a change while providing fans with baseball. 

Pratt says his life won’t change much with the A’s leaving. Besides taking his family to the game, he won’t miss much. He says he’ll be busy covering the teams loyal to the Bay Area.

“Most of what I do on the A’s is stuff I do in my free time. Frankly, I’ll just have more free time,” Pratt said. “In fact, I’ll probably be better at covering all the other teams because I wouldn’t be so busy with this other nonsense.” 

He’s one more fan the Oakland Athletics will never get back.

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About the Contributor
Jonah Chambliss
Jonah Chambliss, Staff Reporter
Jonah Chambliss (he/him) is a reporter for Golden Gate Xpress. He is majoring in journalism and minoring in sociology. He was born and raised in Oakland, California. He lives in San Francisco, California, while working full-time and attending San Francisco State University. He previously contributed to The Cabrillo Voice, the student newspaper of Cabrillo Community College in Aptos, California. He served as a staff reporter for Golden GateXpress last semester, covering arts and entertainment, and will cover student life and club events this spring. During his free time, Jonah is an avid cyclist, motorcycle rider, and mechanic. Jonah is also a huge fan of Bay Area sports, specifically the Oakland Athletics and Golden State Warriors.

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