Apr 14, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics outfielderCoco Crisp
(4) signs authographs for fans before the game against the at O.co Coliseum. Tigers won 10-1. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports
The Oakland Athletics are in first place. A’s fans could not ask for anything more at this point in the season. Yet, when a fan looks around the coliseum during a weekday game, the fan will notice there are not many more fans than usual. And yes, I do know the attendance has been significantly better over the past 16 games, but it should be even better than that.
I am not calling out A’s fans, so I hope nobody takes it that way. What I am trying to point out is that many people don’t understant why the A’s don’t draw bigger crowds. So, let me explain.
Being a fan to a team is very similar to a marriage. Thats right, I said it, a marriage.
Fans love their team; fans honor their team; fans will defend their team. And rightfully so, fans expect the same in return from their team.
When I go to an A’s game I see the players interacting with the fans and giving back the love that the fans give them. The players make themselves accessible to the fans and are very genuine about it. Many times I have witnessed the A’s players conversing back-and-forth with the fans, taking pictures, and signing autographs for them. They don’t just go through the motions of everything, they soak up the experience and enjoy it — similar to how the fans do. This runs up to the front office as well. They make all of the decisions that give the fans the good experiences and they make themselves available to the media to give the fans information about their favorite team. But A’s fans dont’t feel love from everyone in the Athletics organization. Lew Wolff, the co-owner of the A’s, is actually hated by many A’s fans (I have never met an A’s fan that likes him).
A’s fans honor their team in many ways. They wear A’s gear; they go to games; they watch games on tv and they listen to games on the radio. All of these ways benefit both the team and the fan.
The big one for A’s fans is when they defend their team. This is something A’s fans have to do quite often. The topics that make them defend their team most often have to do with the team not being able to keep their best players when they become free agents, and also the the amount of fans at home games. I believe that the A’s ownership has always been at fault for both of these. They don’t put out the money to keep their players and they also don’t give fans reasons to invest in their team by going to games.
Sep 11, 2012; Anaheim, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics owner Lew Wolff attends the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports
Since 1995 A’s fans have always been threatened by ownership that the team was going to be moved out of Oakland. Currently, Lew Wolff is trying to move the OAKLAND Athletics to San Jose.
Imagine you are married and you are completely in love with your spouse, but your spouse always threatens to leave you. The relationship is going to be difficult to endure. Some people will be able to always be there and give their full support, while others may have to be supportive from a distance. It would be hard to invest your time, love, feelings, money, or anything else to that person because they don’t love, honor or defend you like they should.
This is why the A’s don’t have as many fans going to their games. Lew Wolff needs to dedicate the team to the city of Oakland and show that he truly cares about the fans. If he committed to the fans of Oakland then the fans would do the same. Instead, many fans hold back so that their heart doesn’t get broken.
As a fan who continues to be there, all I can say is that we must stay true to our vows as a fan and hope for the best.