The hottest team in baseball right now? The Oakland Athletics, of course. The Athletics are riding a six-game winning streak, the longest active winning streak in baseball, .
"It's huge," A's rookie first baseman Ryan Noda told the Associated Press about the winning streak over the weekend. "We've still got to keep doing the little things. We've still got to keep picking each other up."
The A's have baseball's longest active winning streak. They also have baseball's worst record (18-50) and worst run differential (minus-193), and even with the six-game winning streak, the 2023 Athletics were the first team to lose 50 of their first 67 games since the Detroit Tigers also started 17-50 in 2003. That 2003 Tigers team ultimately went 43-119.
This is all by design, of course., and owner John Fisher and president Dave Kaval are currently trying to shake down Nevada lawmakers for hundreds of millions in taxpayer-funded handouts to build a new stadium on the Las Vegas Strip. They are likely to succeed, .
Fisher and Kaval have been at best indifferent and at worse outright hostile towards A's fans during this process. They've gutted the roster and traded away just about every notable player (MLB worst 8,675 fans per game, and the poor attendance is being used as part of the justification for relocation.) while also raising ticket prices. As a result, Oakland is averaging an
"You look at their attendance. You can say chicken or the egg, but their attendance has never been outstanding, let me put it that way,". "... We have shown an unbelievable commitment to the fans in Oakland by exhausting every opportunity to try to get something done in Oakland, and unfortunately the government doesn't seem to have the will to get it done."
Frustrated and angry, Athletics fans will swarm RingCentral Coliseum on Tuesday night for a "reverse boycott." The message is simple: "We're still here." The few fans who have attended A's home games this season have often done so with signs imploring Fisher to sell the team. On Tuesday, there will be thousands more. Here's what you need to know about the reverse boycott.
1. A lot more tickets than usual have been sold
The reverse boycott likely will not be a sell out or even particularly close to it. The Mercury News passes along word that an estimated 14,700 tickets have been sold for Tuesday's game. That is comfortably below the 27,180 per game MLB average this season, though it would also be Oakland's fifth-best attended home game of 2023. The current top five:
- Thursday, March 30 vs. Los Angeles Angels: 26,805 (Opening Day)
- Sunday, April 30 vs. Cincinnati Reds: 18,271
- Sunday, April 16 vs. New York Mets: 17,645
- Saturday, April 1 vs. Los Angeles Angels: 15,757 (second game of the season and first weekend game)
- Sunday, April 2 vs. Los Angeles Angels: 14,638 (third game of the season and second weekend game)
The Athletics have drawn 10,000 fans just once in their last 13 home games. Fifteen times in 31 home games this season the A's drew fewer than 7,000 fans, and four times they drew fewer than 2,000. The estimated 14,700 fans Tuesday will be 70% more than the average Athletics home game this season.
2. June 13 was selected for a reason
There is nothing especially notable about June 13, and that's the point. The A's will play the second game of a four-game home series against the MLB-best Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday, and good as they are, the Rays aren't a big draw. They rank 27th in baseball with a 17,187 per game home attendance. June 13 is a random Tuesday against an opponent that won't pack the seats, and A's fans want to show they're willing to support the team on nights like that.
Here's what Stu Clary, who has spearheaded the reverse boycott effort, wrote back in April:
The idea is to pack the Coli on a random weeknight, showing @mlb and the country that us fans are not the problem— Stu Clary (@hecanfoos) April 14, 2023
Hope to see you there. Please share @LockedOnAs @89wastolongago @linusalf @OaklandRooted @OakStadiumWatch @RealRyanMesick @As_Fan_Radio @dipskp @AsHotDog pic.twitter.com/Rwq0LpPuAD
The A's have averaged 3,913 fans per game during their five Tuesday home games this season. Their largest Tuesday crowd was 5,196 to see the Chicago Cubs on April 18. The Cubs are a historic franchise and have a large fan base that always shows up on the road. The A's last drew 10,000 fans on a Tuesday on Aug. 3, 2021, when 11,985 people showed up with the San Diego Padres in town.
3. Fans made their own giveaway
As part of the reverse boycott, a group of fans calling themselves the Oakland 68s organized a giveaway: kelly green t-shirts that say "SELL" across the chest. The group initially paid out of their own pocket, though $27,000 in donations eventually rolled in. The shirts will given free of charge to anyone who shows up prior to the game.
"We were like, if we get $1,000, we're killing it," Oakland 68s organizer Anson Casanares told the Mercury News recently. "Now it's spread and people are fired up. It feels like it's their last chance to actually do something as opposed to say something on Twitter."
4. There will be a pregame tailgate
A's fans will be doing much more than showing up and wearing matching t-shirts. There will be a big pregame tailgate in the RingCentral Coliseum parking lot with cookouts, live music, and games.
Simply put, the goal of the reverse boycott is to make Athletics fans as noticeable as possible, both before and during the game. It will be one of the team's largest crowds of the season, fans will be wearing t-shirts that make their message loud and clear, and they will make their presence known hours before first pitch.
"I think people are really, really motivated to be able to voice their opinion in any way that they're able to at this point," A's fan Jeremy Goodrich told The Athletic. "I think the environment's just going to be really good no matter how many tickets are sold."
5. The A's will donate the ticket revenue
To Fisher's credit, the A's owner will not simply pocket the additional ticket revenue from the reverse boycott. The Athletics will donate the night's ticket revenue to the Alameda County Community Food Bank and the Oakland Public Education Fund, the team announced Tuesday. Here are the details:
For more than 35 years, the Alameda County Community Food Bank (ACCFB) has stood by their unwavering belief that food is a basic human right. ACCFB distributes millions of healthy meals every year and is on the forefront of new approaches to ending hunger and poverty. ACCFB distributes enough food to serve 60,000 people a day. ACCFB's hunger-relief efforts include innovative food programs; CalFresh (food stamps) outreach and assistance; policy and advocacy; healthcare and nutrition initiatives; and child and student wellness.
The Oakland Public Education Fund leads the development and investment of community resources in Oakland public schools so that all students can learn, grow, and thrive. The Ed Fund is the only organization raising money for all Oakland public schools. Since 2003, the Ed Fund has helped raise more than $200 million for schools and programs.