Last Dive Bar and the Oakland 68's are hosting the second consecutive "Fans Fest", an event hosted by Athletics' fans, for Athletics' fans. Most major league franchises have similar events during the winter, but in those cases the events are hosted by the team.
But not the Athletics. For the second year in a row, the team has failed to schedule a fan-oriented event, and LDB and the 68's have once again stepped in to fill the void. The groups have already announced a number of high-profile attendees, including former Athletics' Khris Davis, Ben Grieve, Billy North, and Mike Norris.
On Monday, they announced that the Stockton Ports, the A's Low-A affiliate, would be sponsoring the event on February 24th. It's incredible that while the A's are hiding away, scoping out new office buildings in Las Vegas, their minor league affiliates are openly more supportive of the Oakland community than the big league club is.
According to Last Dive Bar's twitter account, the Ports will be sponsoring the event, as well as donating several unique items for the silent auction taking place that day.
It's unclear what the reaction from the Athletics' executive office will be. They clearly don't have any issue taking the bad press from not hosting an event of their own, and they have no say on whether former players can or can't attend or support the event.
But the Ports are an A's affiliate. There's no expectation that the team's minor league affiliates will change if they do end up relocating to Las Vegas, so it's possible that by participating in the event, they'll cause some friction in their relationship with the A's.
The Ports are owned by 7th Inning Stretch LLC, a Stockton-based collective who also own the Everett Aqua Sox and the Delmarva Shorebirds, who are Mariners and Orioles affiliates, respectively. There's likely no immediate risk to them losing their affiliation but it's something that might linger and if the A's decide to make a switch down the line, this could be perceived as a reason why.
Maybe that's a bit too conspiracy-brained, but it's not hard to imagine John Fisher and Dave Kaval holding a grudge against one of their minor league affiliates who chose to support the Oakland community at a time when the A's were busy trying to get out of the city.
Regardless of what happens down the line, the Ports' inclusion in the event should make it that much more entertaining for fans in attendance. It should be an outstanding event and if you're in the area, consider stopping by and showing your support.