Ziggy throws sliders and truth

GoJohn10 picked this up from A’s reliever Brad Ziegler’s Twitter feed:

Do people really think that boycotting baseball games in Arizona is going to eventually lead to removal of the new immigration law? All it’s going to do is hurt the D-backs. It’s not much fun to play in front of an empty stadium in your home park. We’re going through that when A’s fans boycott our games bc ownership has threatened to move the team. The lack of fans gives them all the more reason to seek other alternatives for a new home city. And the players get punished, having to play in an empty stadium for something that we have nothing to do with. You an make your opinions known in lots of ways, but ultimately, boycotting games affects the players more than the owners. Just remember, to most owners, having a baseball team is a hobby on the side. They all made their money elsewhere before buying the team.  Sorry for the political rant. Just wish true fans would seek alternative ways of protesting other than boycotting games. Don’t punish US…

Ziggy’s from the Midwest, whereas I’m a California boy through and through. But whether you went to Missouri State or UC Santa Cruz, you’ll find out via at least one class as I did: the simple truth that boycotts in general do not work. They can work on a massive scale, but at that point they’re more embargoes than boycotts. In the A’s case, there really aren’t enough fans to make a significant impact. Let’s do some simple math. If the A’s only pulled in 1 million fans this year regardless of record, attendance would’ve dropped by a third.

  • 500,000 fans x ($20/seat + $10/additional) = $15 million stadium revenue

That’ll show ‘em, right? Well, no. They’ll just get an even larger revenue sharing check next season, perhaps as much as $40 million. In the end, a few hundred thousand fans not coming isn’t going to kill the A’s. It will only make the argument for moving stronger. And if you really love the team, really really love them despite the ownership warts, because they wear green and gold and they represent Oakland, they’re worth supporting just so that the players can know that they have more than 10,000+ behind them. It is a privilege, not a right to have a MLB team grace your hometown. With every person that boycotts or is disaffected enough not to go, a little bit of that privilege ebbs away.

36 thoughts on “Ziggy throws sliders and truth

  1. It’s nice to hear this coming from a player. Too bad this probably won’t go mainstream where the regular folk can read it.

  2. From the loox of it, A’s fans are already boycotting A’s games in Oakland this year. How many fans are we talking about who would boycott spring training in Arizona over the immigration issue? 10 or 15? Far be it from the news media to take a few disgruntled people and give them far more weight than they actually warrant.

  3. Ziggy is dead on. Be it an organized boycott or just individuals choosing to boycott the A’s, neither will work to keep the team in Oakland. All it does is give the A’s more ammo to leave town. And similarly a boycott of Arizona will do nothing to affect change.

  4. I can agree with the philosophic thought, but to be honest, I don’t think a boycott is the reason for less than 10,000 fans showing up to the field. I think the Drumbeat article related to this topic is closer to the real reason for a dearth of fans attending the games. Giants are popular, nice park, signature players that fans can remember year to year, and more wealth in SF than the East Bay.

  5. Yes I agree. Checking out some of the reader comments is very interesting to say the least. I for one agree with most of the comments written about the article.

  6. It has to be easier on the psyche for an A’s player to think the lack of fan support is due to a boycott. The alternative, isn’t too rosy for a player hoping to make a career of major league baseball.

  7. More from Ziegler:

    Here’s the deal: I’m not gonna pretend to know all the details about the AZ Immigration Law or what the history is with the potential move of the team in Oakland. All I know is, as a player, it flat-out stinks to play in empty stadiums, especially in your home park.

    And my personal favortite (in response to a fan question)

    If fans don’t support the team, why would an owner make a commitment to fans? It’s a revolving, never-ending circle…

  8. Son of a bitch, I saw the formatting error right after I clicked submit.

    More from Ziegler:

    Here’s the deal: I’m not gonna pretend to know all the details about the AZ Immigration Law or what the history is with the potential move of the team in Oakland. All I know is, as a player, it flat-out stinks to play in empty stadiums, especially in your home park.

    And my personal favortite (in response to a fan question)

    If fans don’t support the team, why would an owner make a commitment to fans? It’s a revolving, never-ending circle…

  9. somewhat ironic in kclouis’s twitter (the guy Ziggy was responding to).

    @StephanieMarcus I am very pissed at the A’s front office I did not renew my season tickets and I don’t give a damn about SJ/OAK

    Shit is going down in east #Oakland counted 7 cop cars OPD/Sherrifs/EB park pd zooming down San Leandro st

  10. That’s silly. People go to baseball games to watch winners. If you want to know why nobody’s showing up, Ziggy, look around your clubhouse.

  11. @Jeeps… winners… like a team in first place you mean?

  12. Yeah, for all of 20 games before school lets out. If they keep doing it, you can bet people will show up. They have before.

  13. @jeepers… you are right. Historically it seems that winning in Oakland results in a boost the year after (except 2007)

  14. Interesting to see that the perception amongst the players is that the fans are boycotting and why they believe the fans are boycotting. I wonder if other owners around the league share that perception or if MLB shares that perception? Could work against the A’s attempts to leave Oakland. Because someone would ask, what are you doing about this perception Lew?

  15. Isn’t the only demographic that still lists baseball as its favorite sport men over age 55? I drive by baseball fields near my local Target every weekend and more often than not, a bunch of guys are playing cricket on them.

    Baseball can’t be picking up new fans with all the steroids stories and players making $25 mill a year, like Run-across-the-mound PayRod. There’s been resentment building for decades, now.

  16. Quoting myself from AN 2 weeks ago:

    On the ballpark blog, Jeffro’s done a study of attendance since Day 1, while I’ve done a separate one of the post-Bash Brothers era. I’ve come to two conclusions: a) there aren’t enough hardcore fans that regularly go to games (season ticket holders), and b) casual fans are notoriously poor at supporting the up-and-coming teams.

    But the real problem is that there is a third class of fans who go semi-regularly, perhaps 10-20 times a season. These are the fans who don’t just go for fireworks or Double Play Wednesdays. They also don’t get season ticket plans. They may have more than just a passing interest in the team. These fans are noticeably missing, at least in the consistent enough numbers to denote serious support. There’s a litany of reasons as to why they don’t show up: no-name rosters, ownership, lack of scene or existing demand, location, family situations, etc. They can’t make the full or half-time commitment, yet if enough of them show up in en masse they can significantly boost attendance. They are the hardest to get out to the ballpark and get repeat visits, since they are often noncommittal to begin with. There’s another word for them: bandwagoners.

    When the A’s have done well at the gate, they’ve always relied on large numbers of bandwagon fans to fill the seats. Take “The Streak” in 2002. The crazy climax game had a reported 55,528 (it seemed more like 50k, but w/e). After that game, the A’s had 10 home dates. The A’s averaged 32,953 for that 10-game stretch, with no crowd less than 22,000. In most other years, the low tide mark is usually 10-12,000. Since the A’s don’t have enough season ticket sales to stabilize annual attendance, they are more dependent on the bandwagon than most other teams. And if the A’s don’t have enough stars or sustained success, they don’t show.

    I’d love to be proven wrong.

  17. The low attendance is unfortunate esspecially considering that the A’s are off to such a strong start. It’s difficult to capture the imagination of the masses. The Giants have done a great job at it despite $38 bleacher tickets and 6+ seasons without reaching the playoffs.
    Aside from AT&T Park, they probably spend millions promoting their team history and pride. The A’s overall presentation (TV, branding, PR) could use an overhaul. Cheap gimmicks around the Coliseum might help too.
    The best thing the Giants ever did for themselves was attract the yuppies post-2000. I’d hate to see it with the A’s, but they probably have to do something similar. Personally, sometimes I like being one of only 10k in attendance. I feel like I have the place to myself. But sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

  18. I’m just curious, how many games do you guys usally go to? If you are not going to games you are part of the problem, not the solution.

  19. @A’sObserver – 22-game plan, plus an additional 10 games this season. I’ve been to 5 games so far. I usually do 30-40 annually.

  20. I’ve averaged about 30-40 games a season for the past 10 years, although I’ll admit that this year that number looks like it will be decreasing. I can’t say for sure by how much since it’s still early, but I’ve only gone to about 6 games so far this year. That number is due to several different reasons from the recession and being financially tight this year, to team ownership, to overall fan experience, more HD games to watch on TV and my usual group of “A’s friends” are no longer able to attend for whatever reasons which makes it harder for me to go alone. I used to have no problems with going to a game by myself, but over the past few seasons I’ll admit that I’ve become less and less motivated to do so and would rather just watch at home on my couch in HD. Especially now that DVR has been around so I can watch any game I miss later on.

  21. re: Aside from AT&T Park, they probably spend millions promoting their team history and pride

    …this is what I don’t get about the Giants and their fans. Such swagger from a team that hasn’t won the World Series in 56 years and has never won it in Frisco. The Giants generally play the role of the Washington Generals to the Dodgers’ Harlem Globetrotters. What’s to be proud of?

    “The Giants – only half a century with no World Series. Not like the Cubs!”

  22. Unless more and more fans are starting to just watch the A’s in HD in the comfort of their own home rather than sitting at the Coliseum. Or at least until we get a new ballpark wherever that may be? I’m not saying I’ve ever had any problems with the Coliseum myself, but I do see a pattern forming here to some degree.

  23. @OAKLANDathletics, I don’t know if the A’s stay in 1st place thats going to make people want to go even more, because it is good advertisement for upcoming promotions and stuff they celebrate before the game like Rickey day.

    Question for ML, what happened to the Estuary site at Tidewater that Wolff was interested in, why is that not being considered?

  24. A ballplayer whining about being “hurt” by fans? Please Brad, don’t make me hurl.

  25. @A’sObserver – We have the Grand Slam ticket plan, but we only go to around 8 games a year. There are 4 of us, so anymore gets to be a little too expensive for us.

    @TPS – Regardless of how you feel about it, the reality is that no body, ballplayers included, wants to play in an empty ballpark. I don’t care how much you pay me, after a while it sucks to be playing “good ball” and only have 10K turn out to watch.

  26. ML,

    How do I do a paragraph break? Do I type in “”?

  27. Hmmm, still doing something wrong. I’m typing “test” ENTER “br” with the angle brackets, ENTER, then “br” with the angle brackets again, ENTER, then “test”

  28. FC, using a period works pretty good and is very simple.
    .
    See…

  29. The tag looks like this:

  30. I wouldn’t call someone that goes 10-20 times a season a bandwagon fan… now the people in your last paragraph that only showed up during the streak… those are bandwagon fans.

  31. Tampa Bay has the best record in baseball and drew 10,825 last night. Boycott?

  32. Baltimore has drawn crowds of 9,129, 10,248, and 13,731 this year. Do they need a new stadium?

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