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A’s fans paint mural urging team to stay in Oakland, get support from Rickey Henderson

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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(Field of Teams)

While all Oakland A's fans wait for the next shoe to drop in their team's highly publicized and well-documented search for a new ballpark, one small but creative group of fans are expressing their hopes for the team’s future in Oakland through their favorite collective talent — their artwork.

The group is known as TDK Collective. Their specialty is painting murals on the walls of businesses in and around Oakland. And the message behind their latest piece of work is simple and straight forward: They want the A’s to STAY in Oakland.

According to Casey Pratt of Field of Teams, the new Athletics-themed mural is painted on a wall owned by Kimball’s Carnival, which is located at the intersection of 3rd and Washington Street near Jack London Square in Oakland.

The man behind the project is 29-year-old high school art teacher Francisco Sanchez, who not surprisingly has spent his entire life rooting for the A's. For him, it was a perfect opportunity to put two of his biggest passions in life together to send a message and give A's fans a rallying point as the uncertainty continues to mount surrounding their long-term future.

“There’s also a lot of people that want them to stay, so we wanted to make that message visual,” Sanchez said. “I wanted to bring back memories to loyal fans that have been out here for generations.”

Sanchez chose to represent A’s fans of the past by painting Hall of Fame outfielder Rickey Henderson. To represent a future generation of A’s fans, he painted an image of his five-year-old niece. The word “STAY” is painted between the two life-like images.

I think we can all agree those are great choices as bookend figures to help get the message across.

As you can see in both the photo and video, the finished product is an incredible piece of work. So impressive, in fact, Rickey Henderson himself had to come check it out once he started hearing all of the buzz.

“A car stops by and somebody says, ‘Does that mean I’m still alive?” Sanchez recalled. “He said it again and he got out of the car. I kind of turned around and it was Rickey. That was really cool.”

Henderson is just one of many people that have stopped by to watch Sanchez paint. Upon seeing the mural, people stop in their tracks, pause to take pictures, chat with Sanchez, and offer their encouragement. It gives Sanchez and the artists of TDK Collective a great opportunity to educate people about aerosol art. Almost everyone that lays eyes on the project is in disbelief that it is done without paintbrushes.

It's not easy getting Rickey's approval, but perhaps most impressive is the fact that Sanchez's group has gained universal approval in the community. Even vandals in the area leave their work alone.

It's an all-around terrific story that you can (and should) read a whole lot more about over at Field of Teams.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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