It’s up to the fans

Trib reporter Angela Woodall’s writeup of the Keep the A’s in Oakland tailgate ends with the following quote by Let’s Go Oakland’s Doug Boxer:

“Now it’s up to the fans.”

He’s absolutely right. It is up to the fans. It has always been up to the fans. If the A’s had 34,000 – heck, 30,000 – filled seats every night, there would be no question as to whether or not the A’s could and should stay in Oakland. It’s really that simple. 30,000 a night would show that there were enough season tickets, walkup sales, suite and club buys to make it work. That is the challenge. That is why the question exists.

We can go on all day and night about ownership, or marketing, or the stadium, or a roster without huge stars. What about the fact that the team we love is the Oakland Athletics? Our team. Our passion, which for me has been for 30 years, for the guy sitting next to me tonight at least a decade more. If – and this is a big if – MLB’s process is legitimate, there’s a very simple way to prove that the fanbase here is that rabid.

I’ll gladly trade a little elbow room for some butts in seats. After all, there’s no passion in an empty chair.

82 Responses to It’s up to the fans

  1. pjk says:

    ..get the A’s to San Jose, I mean…

  2. Gojohn10 says:

    This thread is as ugly the A’s defense vs Seattle

  3. jeffrey says:

    Yikes… So, the same thing happens every year happened again. Opening night is huge, next night is below average attendance from the previous season. This isn’t exactly new or out of the ordinary or anything.
    .
    What’s the big deal? It si what it is. No need for the pissing contests,
    .
    And I understand what is meant above by the “Oakland” love in the stadium. There was plenty of it. Perhaps my favorite part of the night was when a dude walked by witha “stAy” banner and yelled at my section”We need a new stadium and we need it HERE! Not in FREEEEMMMMMOOOOOONNTTTTTT.” He sounded kind of like Mean Gene Okerlund.
    .
    Good stuff.
    .
    Oh wait, my favorite part was when Josh Willigham hit a freakin’ frozen rope on top of the Left Field Scoreboard. I turned to my 11 year old daughter and we did our secret handshake while everyone went nuts. San Jose, Oakland and Anywhere in Bay Area people alike.

  4. gojohn10 says:

    My favorite shirt was the one with Barack Obama wearing an A’s hat. Girl wearing it said she got it on Telegraph.

  5. bartleby says:

    @jk “Okay, so 30k is the magic number for the A’s to draw in an average year, which is also the average of all the other teams for the 2010. They’ve averaged 17,400 each of the last 2 years for so-so teams. How much did tarping the 3rd deck cost them? I’d say about 2k a game, That brings it to 19,400. How much did the ghastly Mt. Davis structure in the out field cost them , where fans can’t stomach it’s ugliness and will never return to see a game? I’d say 4200 a game. That brings us now to 23,600. And now the biggie. Lew Wolff’s ownership– the one foot out the door, this place sucks, San Jose is the only way to go BS every day? At least 6500 a game. You now got 30,100. Get rid of LW/JF, take the tarps off and you still got a respectable 25,900. Add winning and you can get back to 30k. A new park at VC, you got 35k for the first 3 years for sure.”
    You do realize your numbers are absolutely, completely made up, right? And they defy common sense. Walter Haas did not get 30K average attendance in 11 out of 15 years he owned the team. Most of those years, he didn’t even come close. So let’s knock off the “Lew Wolff is costing the team 6500 fans per game” crap. There’s no evidence whatsoever that that is the case, and common sense says it isn’t.
    Attendance over the past five years is generally consistent with the entire history of the A’s in Oakland.

  6. Nathan says:

    @jeffrey, when “the same thing that happens every year” is used as rhetoric by the Oakland-only crowd it’s worth pointing out the next part of “the same thing that happens every year.”

  7. Nam Turk says:

    “My favorite shirt was the one with Barack Obama wearing an A’s hat. Girl wearing it said she got it on Telegraph.”

    Wow, they’ve really built a cult around that sound bite.

  8. pjk says:

    …We already know Oakland’s poor history of fan support. It’s like the owner of the NJ Devils once said about his own team’s fans: “We love our fans. We just don’t have enough of them.” So let’s move the A’s to San Jose (a whole 40 minutes’ drive from the Coliseum), keep the existing fans (the few, the proud) and build a new fan base in the South Bay and – presto! – a big fan base for the A’s, they won’t be scaring away free agents anymore and they’ll have the money to spend. Everybody wins. Why the fixation on keeping the A’s in Oakland when what’s been tried for decades hasn’t worked, it doesn’t make much sense.

  9. jk-usa says:

    @TonyD- 2015? They’ll still be at the Coliseum, pal. VC will be a year or two later–I can wait till then. They’re 2 years behind SJ, which will still have the Sharks (another great year, another playoffs choke), Earthquakes (new stadium in a few years, check it out), Sabercats( The cheerleaders are the only draw in this dreadful sport) and little Giants, where all the fans will see them become big Giants.

  10. GoA's says:

    @ML–what is the significance to the April 28th San Jose City Council Session–noticed you listed it on the calendar–

  11. Gojohn10 says:

    @bartleby This pic is for you. Taken a few minutes ago.

  12. letsgoas says:

    just over 22k for sunday’s game.

  13. tony d. says:

    7-1…just awesome! You know what else will be awesome…Opening Day 2015 at Cisco Field/SJ! At least we know that yard will be paid for.
    The phantom one at VC?….

  14. bartleby says:

    @gojohn I am curious, but can’t seem to open the link. Any tips?

  15. pjk says:

    re: VC will be a year or two later–I can wait till then.

    …Any information on who will pay for the Victory Court park? I’d like to shake their hands and thank them. Got some names?…Mayor Quan says she’s been in contact with MLB (I’m sure Chuck Reed has been, too.) Wonder what answer she gave when MLB asked how the ballpark would be paid for and what Oakland’s public contribution would be.

  16. baycommuter says:

    Vic Torre Court, the love child of Margaret Smith Court and Joe Torre, will build it–he wants something named after himself… I was at the park today, nice vibe with warm sunshine and all the Ichiro and Matsui fans contributing to earthquake relief.

  17. gojohn10 says:

    Tried to create the link from my iphone and it didn’t work out to well. Picture of four empty premium suites.
    http://i597.photobucket.com/albums/tt60/gojohn10/0dd803b3.jpg

  18. pjk says:

    re: empty premium seats. That and the vast acreage of empty seats says it all. Oakland can whine all it wants about how much it wants and deserves the A’s but the bottom line is few bottoms in the seats.

  19. bartleby says:

    @ gojohn It’s a shame, particularly considering how reasonably the A’s price them. At $1K or so for a 12 seat suite, it’s actually within the reach of regular people for a game or two, assuming you had 11 like minded friends.
    I also find it very telling that the A’s don’t even try to market seats as club seats, even though they have a club and could easily do so if they felt there was a market.

  20. bartleby says:

    Yet another thing I think too many A’s fans do not sufficiently appreciate: How many teams have a club that’s open to anyone with a ticket, including Wednesday $2 bargain hunters?

  21. pjk says:

    …the Sharks club section is open to club seat holders, only. Let’s see: $2 Wednesdays, free parking Tuesdays, all-access club, $38 for a seat three rows behind the A’s dugout. Yet some people actually believe Wolff is “suppressing attendance.”

  22. ST says:

    GJ – That looks like my company’s old club suite…..we bailed out when the economy tanked (yet kept our HP Pavilion Sharks suite) and probably won’t renew anytime soon unfortunately. :(

  23. Sid says:

    Jeffrey already showed not to long ago that the A’s attendance always falls off the 2nd game of the season. This has happened almost without fail over the years…Even when the A’s were coming off WS appearances.

    The only way VC gets built is with MLB subsidizing the park big time. If Selig is really that cowardly ( I don’t doubt it) he will have the rest of the league pitch in $$ to get an Oakland ballpark done. In that scenario the A’s would still remain on revenue sharing and the others owners would end up not only paying upfront for the VC ballpark but would also still be propping the A’s up via revenue sharing payments…..How does that make sense to anyone?

    This is of course unless Oakland themselves subsidizes the ballpark itself on top of infrastructure, business relocations, and transportation around the site…..I ask considering the issues Oakland is facing, why would they put in dime for the ballpark itself?

    The only choice in reality is San Jose because of the private sector (SVLG) backing the new stadium. It is either San Jose or contraction.

    Rumor has it MLB is going to “try” to contract the A’s and Rays after the current CBA expires this year then have their owners get the Dodgers and Mets in return…both of whom have major ownership issues (McCourt and Wilpon)

    Lew Wolff/John Fisher would go “buck” and be very happy with the Dodgers. For the Rays owners to get to the Mets would be a coup in its own right.

    I say the players fight tooth and nail to stop it….Therefore San Jose is the only real choice at this point. Reality bites….

  24. pjk says:

    Players and agents are already aware of the great solution for the A’s in San Jose. If MLB cowardly selects contraction instead, the union and the agents can hammer away at the owners’ rejection of all that Silicon Valley money and stubborn idiotic sticking to “territorial rights.” Players won’t stand for premium, starting jobs being lost even if the owners expand the rosters so there is no actual lost number of jobs. But contraction still serves to suppress salaries by cutting premium starting jobs and replacing them with third-string jobs. 27 guys per team instead of 24 just means three extra guys sitting on the bench, not playing and earning minimum pay while players have fewer starting jobs to pursue and thus the low bidder will get those jobs. Unless the owners plan to add a 10th player to the starting lineup. Maybe a mid fielder or something. I wouldn’t put it past the same commissioner who tied the All Star Game, has home advantage in the World Series determined by the All Star Game and wrecked 100 years of tradition by instituting interleague play.

  25. jeffrey says:

    How bout them Gold alts?
    .
    Not exactly the same as I wished for, but awesome nonetheless.

  26. Briggs says:

    @Jeffrey: The gold tops are lookin’ great. I was wondering if Gio would pick them for any of his starts. On a somewhat related note, does it bug anyone that the A’s employ two versions of the “A’s” logo? If you look closely, you’ll sometimes see the 70′s/80′s “fat A’s” logo compared with the thinner one (’92 onwards) you see on the caps and gold top jerseys.

  27. Brian says:

    For those that didn’t see it on Saturday, Bruce Jenkins’s sewage article:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/04/02/SPH91IOKUR.DTL#ixzz1IZyDqcDO

  28. Briggs says:

    I think an important thing to remember in the low attendance discussion is that the loyalty of hardcore fans isn’t being disputed. It’s the casual fan that the A’s are failing to reach. Attendance is a two-way street, so it’s definitely discouraging how ambivalent the average Bay Area baseball go-er is towards the A’s. Some can blame it on the ownership or whatever but from my own dealings, I’ve found that people just aren’t interested in the A’s—which I think is a worse problem than fans actively not liking the A’s.

  29. pjk says:

    It used to be the Giants that were on their way out. The Giants played in a windswept prison yard of a ballpark and the A’s had a nice “sunny” ballpark with flowers beyond the outfield and a view of the Oakland hills. Then, the Giants signed Bonds and got a new ballpark while the A’s hard their park ruined by their landlords. Apathy toward the A’s can be fixed just like the Giants fixed theirs. Two ways to do it: Winning a lot (tough to do on a limited budget) and/or getting a new ballpark. While I personally don’t care if the park is in Oakland or San Jose, Oakland has shown a long history of poor support of the A’s and there is money to be had in San Jose to get the ballpark built.

  30. Briggs says:

    Even though I mostly appreciate Lew Wolff as an owner, I am by no means a Wolff apologist. General public perception of the A’s can (and should) be addressed with or without a new ballpark. That’s really something that needs to be handled from the top level on down. My hope is that Moneyball will generate a little more interest in the team. On that note, I wonder how/if the A’s were compensated from Sony/Columbia. Early reviews are promising, though I’ve yet to see anything regarding my wonderful performance as the super studdly fan sitting next to Jonah Hill.

  31. bartleby says:

    Blaming attendance on the ownership fails logically on two counts. Hardcore fans may hate the owners but go to games anyway, because they have so much emotionally invested in the team. Casual fans are largely unaware of the issues that the hardcore fans gripe about, and don’t care anyway. They just care about things like: is the team any good, is the ballpark pleasant, how long will it take me to get there, how’s the weather today, who’s pitching, etc.

  32. kevin says:

    One need to look no farther back than 2002(well b4 the diabolical Wolff and Tarps). 20 win season, MVP, and one of the best teams in the league. Check out the attendance from the opening PLAYOFF series.

    What’s the excuse. Oh yeah, day games, we don’t get prime time Friday night games like the Yankees, blah blah blah. MLB does not want excuses when it comes to attendance. Especially not in the PLAYOFFS! This would have been a nice time to ATTEND!

    We had a nice place to play, and We(Oakland/Alameda County) ruined it by letting a team that scourned us 10 years earlier, come back and decimate our baseball facility. Remember sending the A’s to Vegas to start the season in 96? I do, and you better believe the A’s do to eveytime they look out to center field and don’t see the hills. Where was loyalty and tradition back then. The team was just a few years removed from a great 5 year run, and we pushed them out of the home where they had earned 4 more Championships Than the team across the bay.

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