Chris Bassitt will enter the Oakland Coliseum as an opponent for the first time on Friday, when he faces a tanking team with an uncertain future in a city uncertain to continue housing the team.
The Oakland Athletics, for whom Bassitt pitched from 2015-21, are last in the majors in attendance, averaging fewer than 10,000 fans per home game, while ownership has threatened to move as leverage for trying to get a new ballpark in the city.
Until the next steps are taken, A’s players play their home games in a park that has fallen into disrepair.
Bassitt will “show [Mets teammates] some fun things” at the Coliseum, the Mets starter said Wednesday. “There’s not many, but show them some fun things.”
Bassitt pointed at the huge section of seats at the top of the park, originally constructed as additional seating room for the Oakland Raiders.
“You can go on top of Mount Davis, that’s cool. Maybe go see Oracle — old Oracle,” Bassitt said of the now-named Oakland Arena, which used to host the Golden State Warriors.
Bassitt downplayed the emotions he would be feeling at his former home. Asked his favorite memory, the righty answered: “Just the people. The teams we had were very special, very special to me still — the people that were there.”
Bassitt was traded from the White Sox to the A’s after appearing in his first six major league games in 2014. He established himself as a major leaguer, pitched in the postseason in 2020, then rose up to an All-Star last season.
The A’s — who, according to Spotrac, have the third-lowest payroll in MLB this season — then sold off most of their pieces, including Bassitt. The Mets sent righty prospects J.T. Ginn and Adam Oller for Bassitt, who carries a 3.32 ERA as an invaluable No. 3 starter.
Former teammates such as Matt Olson, Matt Chapman and now-Met Mark Canha have exited, too. There are not a ton of players still around whom Bassitt played with, but he likely will share scouting reports on hitters such as Tony Kemp and Sean Murphy.
“Once we get to Oakland, I’ll tell them,” Bassitt said before a series in which he, Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer are expected to start. “The guys I do know — I might know half their guys — the guys I do know, I’ll definitely tell [the Mets staff] what I think.”
— Additional reporting by Mike Puma