Facing the Chicago White Sox in game 2 of a 3 game series, the A’s are expecting a rarity. A sold out Oakland Coliseum. The estimated crowds have the Athletics even removing the tarps from the upper level for tonight’s game. More than 65,000 could be on hand to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their arrival in Oakland. The Athletics are offering free admission and parking and nearly 70,000 have sent RSVPs (including yours truly) indicating their intention to join the festivities. By comparison, Oakland has drawn just over 120,000 to its first eight home games.
It was earlier this season they drew less than 8,000 to the park for a game against the Texas Rangers in the first home stand of the season. The A’s recent past has been depressing, with three consecutive last place finishes, and the forecasts for this season not looking much better. Even more troubling for the fans has been the team’s partiality to trade away its stars just as they’re about to start getting expensive. The list of players who have said good bye to the green and gold includes MVP Josh Donaldson, home run derby winner, Yoenis Cespedes, World Series champion, Josh Reddick and the all-star pitcher Sonny Gray. The constant instability has worn tired on a fan base that has long been known for its devotion.
Since Dave Kaval’s arrival in late 2016, the A’s have taken steps to make the Coliseum more appealing, improving the food offerings at the concession stands, setting up an outdoor plaza with food trucks and establishing unique new sections such as the Treehouse as well as creative promotional events like tonight’s. The rare large turnout and the birthday bash in honor of the franchise’s rich history should make for a joyful atmosphere.