It may be all over for the Oaks. Not just the season – the semipro baseball team was eliminated from the playoffs late last month – but for the organization as well.
Steve Espinoza, general manager of the Palo Alto Oaks, said he is stepping down after 11 years due to the challenges of securing field time and funds necessary to keep the Western Baseball Association team running.
“I hope someone will come through and take over the team,” the Los Altos High graduate said.
But so far, there have been no takers.
That means the Oaks, founded in 1950, may have played their last game.
“It has been hard over the years knowing that if I stepped away, the team may fold after 65 years,” said Espinoza, a Mountain View resident. “That has weighed heavily on me.”
If this is indeed the Oaks’ final season, at least it was a successful one. The team posted a 14-2 regular-season record, qualifying for the Stan Musial Western Regional Tournament it hosted the last weekend in July.
The Oaks opened the double-elimination tourney with a 4-2 loss to the San Fernando Cardinals July 25, but rebounded the next morning by beating the defending champion Los Angeles Easton Elite Dodgers 10-4. The Oaks were ousted from the regional that afternoon, falling 8-4 to league rival Fontanetti’s.
While Espinoza is proud of his team’s on-field success, the wins were not the reason he kept the team going year after year.
“I will miss the players the most, especially the veterans who played many years for me – (Greg) Matson, (Bryan) Beres, (Ricky) Navarro, (Dave) Campbell, (Danny) Ordonez and (Tyler) Finley, to name a few.”
For more information on the Oaks, visit paoaks.com.