Oakland Plans Boycott to Keep A’s From Las Vegas Move

Posted on: May 10, 2023, 01:48h. 

Last updated on: May 11, 2023, 01:47h.

Oakland A’s fans plan a “reverse boycott” during their home game Tuesday, June 13th against the Tampa Bay Rays. Instead of staying away from the game, they say they plan to pack as many A’s fans into Oakland Coliseum as possible to show the fan base is still there.

A's fans
A’s fans protest their team’s desertion of their hometown at the Oakland Coliseum. The “SELL” T-shirts have become a right-field fixture. (Image: nbcbayarea.com)

The A’s threw a curveball this week by switching their Las Vegas plans to build a new stadium at the Tropicana in preparation for the 2027 season. Previously, owner John Fisher planned to build a $1.5 billion new ballpark on the former Wild Wild West site owned by Red Rock Resorts.

Still, Las Vegas remains the Major League Baseball team’s focus, which is heartbreaking for many loyal residents of its hometown for the past 55 years. The A’s will be the third major sports team in four years to desert the city, following the NBA’s Golden State Warriors in 2019 and the NFL’s Raiders in 2020.

Shock of the Bay

“We want John Fisher to sell the team to a local businessperson who can afford to get (a new ballpark built) and keep the team in Oakland,” said Jorge Leon, a lifelong superfan, to KNTV/San Jose while wearing the “SELL” T-shirt popular in the right-field bleachers at A’s home games. Here, the most diehard fans chant, “Sell the team!,” “Stay in Oakland!,” and “Save their jobs!,” the last one referring to the stadium’s hundreds of ushers, guards, vendors, and other employees.

It’s tough,” A’s left-fielder Tony Kemp, currently in his fourth season in Oakland, told the New York Times. “You are in the dugout, and you just feel for them. You think about generationally, people raising their family here and wanting to take their kids to A’s games because they were brought to A’s games as kids. It’s very hard.”

Another superfan, Matt Ortega, told KVVU-TV/Las Vegas that Las Vegas is better off building a pro team from scratch, as it did with the NHL’s Golden Knights than repeating what it did with the NFL’s Raiders.

“I think if you look at those two teams, which one has been more successful in terms of fan loyalty, in terms of ticket sales, in terms of play on the field, I think on every level you would have to say the Golden Knights,” said Ortega, who created a website, nonevadamoney.com, to make it easy for Nevada residents to write their legislators protesting the use of public funds for a stadium.

Small Crowds

The A’s won the World Series in 1910, 1911, 1913, 1929, 1930, 1972, 1973, 1974 and 1989. Most recently, they made the playoffs for three straight seasons, from 2018 to 2020. This season, however, while basking in the national spotlight of their Vegas plans, the team is playing horrible baseball in front of horrible crowds.

The A’s are dead last in the American League West with eight wins and 29 losses. And they’re drawing the smallest crowds of any MLB team this season, averaging slightly more than 10K people in a stadium built to hold more than five times that amount.