I feel for A's fans, honestly they are some of the most loyal fans of one of the more historic franchises in professional sports. Sure they haven't really be GREAT since the Mulder, Hudson, Zito, "Money Ball" days, and they grew a reputation for developing players and selling them off far too early. None the less, most fans, the true fan stuck around to support the team and had full faith in Billy Beane.
2012-2014 there were glimmers of hope, the fans were back, the team was playing good ball and back in the post season, only for management, to pinch pennies yet again, and slap the fans right in their faces.
Fast forward, new front office leadership, a promise to build not only the product on the field, but a new stadium for these fans and Oakland, while every other major team in Oakland, are packing their bags. (Raiders in 2019, Warriors in 2020). They are "Rooted in Oakland".
Jump ahead again to April 17, 2018, the 50 Year Anniversary Party.... FIFTY year celebration and what does the Organization do? Free game night, everyone gets in free. They hype it up, A's expect 65,000 (Michael Wood wrote about it here on our blog, http://www.sportstalk916.com/blog/full-house-in-oakland), they took the tarps off Mount Davis, it was time to party. Wellllll... about 46,000 showed up, which is a HUGE leap for the A's currently as they are AVERAGING 15k per game, and at one point had 6500 against the rival Angels.
Fans were happy, one of our listeners Patrick Kilkenny, posted about it on Instagram and facebook and was stoked. I asked him about his hashtag #BestFansinBaseball, and how he could be happy fans had to be bribed to be there for a celebration game. First it was met with defense as he thought I was talking smack, but in reality, I was curious. He said the loyal ones were there. Which I agreed but what about the other 30k that were there are freeloaders?
How Is this going to fix baseball in Oakland? They need support for a new Stadium, the City, the owners, investors are going to have a hard time looking at 15k fans on average and think this is going to get better as we have to raise prices. (A quick search of stub hub shows, you can attend an A's game for under $20 lower level). I won't give too much thought to that, as that is on them to figure out, and I hope they do.
However, what blows my mind, is the "Fan". They couldn't even get fans into a CELEBRATION of the history of the team game. Lets think about this for a moment. The Sacramento Kings, went on a frenzy of retiring jerseys before Sleep Train Arena was retired for the Golden 1 Center. Chris Webber, Vlade Divac and Peja Stojaković were all retired, after Mitch Richmond a few years earlier. Kings fans PACKED STA. The San Francisco Giants, right across the bay, held a few anniversary games in years past, including the 1997 and 1954 reunion teams. At&t park, as it always is, was sold out.
In both cases, fans were selling their tickets on 3rd party sites, for nearly DOUBLE face value, because that is a game you WANT to be at, Hell you almost feel you NEED to be at. The Giants are retiring Barry Bonds' #25 on August 11, 2018 and that place will be packed and those in attendance will be spending a PRETTY PENNY to be there, for the chance to say they witnessed a great moment.
The A's should have been able to sell tickets to this game, and without any issue. Look at their bobblehead games, (to which I give credit, they are one of the few that still do it and damn it they do it VERY well) they sell out damn near every time. This should have been no different.
I get a free game, I wish more teams could do it or would do it, but to bribe fans to be there on a special night is not only an odd choice but an embarrassing one, and A's fans, should be ashamed of themselves.
Support your team! You have done it for years, good and bad, and while they are about to be the only team NOT jumping from Oakland, you would think they deserve MORE support.
- Greg B