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Oakland A’s Fans Held A Raucous Wake For Their Team

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 13: Oakland Athletics fans display signs during a reverse boycott game against the Tampa Bay Rays at RingCentral Coliseum on June 13, 2023 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brandon Vallance/Getty Images)
Brandon Vallance/Getty Images

Oakland Athletics fans poured into the Coliseum on Tuesday in numbers not seen in the East Bay for years, united in a single purpose: to berate the rotten owner John Fisher and his quest to relocate the team. The planned "reverse boycott" drew an announced crowd of 27,759, which is more than three times the average announced crowd this season and realistically more like eight times the number of fans that actually show up to watch diarrheal A's baseball.

Despite cutting team payroll to the bone, the A's organization raised ticket prices this year, in an obvious attempt to keep the ballpark empty and help sell the narrative that fans in Oakland don't care about the team and wouldn't be sad to see them go. Fan organizers picked a Tuesday game against the Rays for their show of force as a way of driving home the point that even on the least appealing of nights, people would still show up if there was something worth showing up for.

"Not showing up plays into John Fisher’s hands, it’s part of his plan,” Stu Clary, who helped organize the protest, told SFGate. “He saw the movie Major League, he took copious notes and he’s acting on it. Only now, it’s not a Hollywood comedy, it’s an Oakland tragedy.”

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao attended in a Matt Chapman jersey, and thousands donned green shirts with the word "SELL" on them. The game outdrew every other Tuesday night home game combined, even though the Nevada senate approved $380 million in public funding for a new Las Vegas stadium hours earlier. If it was to be a wake, at least it was a raucous one.

Fans chanting and jeering Fisher all night, but the night's most memorable moment was one of silence. At the top of the fifth inning, fans stood and stayed silent for the duration of the first at-bat, commemorating the team's 55 years in Oakland. Once Jose Siri safely reached second base after slapping one down the left field line, the crowd rose and chanted, as loud as it had all night, "Sell the team!" Fans were so loud that Hogan Harris was unable to hear his PitchCom, forcing Shea Langeliers to jog out to the mound with a smirk on his face.

The A's won 2-1, their seventh victory in a row, giving fans what may be one final reason to celebrate. The Nevada legislature is scheduled to meet on Wednesday to vote on Senate Bill 1, and if they approve it, it will move to Governor Joe Lombardo's desk to be signed into law. If Nevada forks over $380 million, the way is clear for the A's to leave town and go play in their big stupid stadium in front of the thousands of deeply hypothetical fans. Those who reverse-boycotted the A's knew they would not be able to save their team simply by showing up and yelling, but they showed up all the same.

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