Sports

The Palo Alto Oaks gain new baseball life for a second time

 

For the second time in two years, the Palo Alto Oaks, a baseball club in existence since 1950, has been resurrected by an interested party. Reports of the Oaks' demise were exaggerated.

Dan Palladino, a Carlmont High grad, class of 2008, took over the Oaks, now in its 66th year. It took a bit of hustle and bustle, but it paid off.

A year ago, Greg Fanara kept the team alive after the retirement of General Manager Steve Espinoza had threatened the Oaks would be an entity no longer.

Palladino, getting his master's degree at San Francisco State, has run the San Mateo Rounders the past four seasons.

"We used to play in the same league as the Oaks, but the league folded last season," Palladino said. "We are a similar team made up of college players. Greg had to give up the team for personal reasons, but told me he wanted to try to form another league next year."

Palladino, who already had a 26-game schedule set for the Rounders, quickly arranged a 14-game independent schedule for the Oaks, which includes six games against the Rounders. The teams play on Saturday at Baylands Athletic Center at 7 p.m.

"I got a hold of the Oaks roster and started calling people," said Palladino, who caught the first game for the Oaks. "We have, roughly, 15 players. I got a catcher and a pitcher from the Rounders because that's where we needed help."

Managing the Oaks is former Carlmont star Whaylan Price. A few locals play for the Oaks, including Gunn grad Graham Fisher, a pitcher/first baseman. Former Menlo-Atherton catcher Ty Finley is expected to play for the Oaks, 2-1 after three games.

Garrett Treadwell, who played at Carlmont, helped Cumberland University to an NAIA World Series title in 2014.

Despite his youthful age, Palladino, who also played for Canada College, knows very well the history of the Oaks.

"My dad played for the Oaks," Palladino said. "I have a lot of respect for their history. I didn't want it to die."

Palladino attacked the money issue head-on.

"The golf tournament they ran wasn't making the money the way it used to," Palladino said. "And donations were non-existent. I had to charge a $300 fee to each player. To my surprise, they were willing to pay."

The Oaks will live to play another day, again.

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