The A’s showed up. How about you?
Here the green-and-gold heroes sit, winners of 9 of the last 10, only 1/2 game from the last playoff spot in the American League. It’s all very impressive for any number of reasons: young pitching, young sluggers becoming professional hitters, nearly every move made by the A’s front office paying off so far. Despite this, there’s a little hesitance going into this week’s six-game homestand, with two games against the West-leading Rangers and four against the East-frontrunning Yankees.
The Yankees series is always good for near-sellouts every game, and the Rangers bandwagon has been filling the Coliseum pretty well lately. But who cares about the other team’s fans? We should be filling up the stadium. Tuesday night’s game is, as usual, a free parking night. The A’s deserve a heroes’ welcome. The pitching is excellent even with Brandon McCarthy out. Numerous guys are hitting homers like it’s batting practice. The team has budding stars who are all young and under control, and the team is flat out fun to watch with no big money egos to ruin a fan’s enjoyment. We should have 20,000 fans showing up on Tuesday. I fear we won’t come close.
There will be people who cite their dislike of Lew Wolff, John Fisher, Billy Beane, or whatever’s convenient to not go. They’ll claim they were the biggest A’s fans during the Moneyball years, the Haas era, during BillyBall, or all the way back to Charlie Finley. Stop with the excuses, put your differences with ownership aside, and go to the games. The tickets are inexpensive. There’s no better weather to watch baseball than at the Coliseum in July/August. The team is pretty damned entertaining. Most importantly, this scrappy group of A’s consistently of mostly young guys and a mix of veterans notices when we show up. En masse. They don’t play in a vacuum, and as much as they appreciate the small-but-loyal crowd that shows up currently, they appreciate it even more when the place is packed. With A’s fans. All of the experts and columnists had this team buried in March. Personally, my expectations were low. This team deserves for us to buy tickets, supporting them, cheering them on with full voices, all of our energy, every breath. Whether the A’s are buyers or sellers or both doesn’t matter. We have a core to build on for years, and they’re not going anywhere for a while. That’s what matters. So enjoy it.
The A’s showed up this year. How about you?
Off the soapbox. The maximum possible attendance for this week is a little over 210,000. It would be unrealistic to predict that they’ll hit that target. But they could pull healthy crowds for the entire week. If the A’s average 22,000 for Texas and 32,000 for the Yankees, the total attendance for the homestand will be 172,000. Should they hit that mark, the team’s attendance in Oakland (not counting the Japan games) will surpass 1 million fans in 48 home dates. That’s five games ahead of last year’s pace and seven better than 2010. Can we hit that figure? I think we can. I’ll be there for the first three games of the homestand, before going on a weekend camping trip. Let’s do this.