The Oakland Athletics are in the middle of everything these days, both on and off the baseball park.
The A's are coming off their sixth win in a row after defeating the visiting and MLB-best Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 on the series opener on Monday. The A's, also, are coming off another delayed session in Nevada's courts regarding the bill for the construction of a new stadium to host the A's in the Las Vegas Strip.
The ongoing, ever-delayed potential relocation of the Athletics to Las Vegas has ignited discussions among fans, lawmakers, and the media in equal parts.
Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo, a supporter of the Athletics ownership and the move of the franchise to Las Vegas, has reportedly been using his political influence to sway the decision in favor of the move.
Holding the bills hostage, Lombardo has the potential to tip the scales in the A's favor, creating a significant financial risk for Nevada and Las Vegas, one that inhabitants of the region are well aware of by the looks of it and the results of prior sessions (regular, or special).
Lombardo's actions have drawn heavy criticism from all corners, as they would reward an owner who is deemed incompetent by many within the sports industry and kill multiple other issues of larger importance currently affecting the state of Nevada, such as their education laws and budgets.
Amidst these controversies, fans have taken matters into their own hands. One notable event, the so-called "Reverse Boycott Night," organized by A's supporters, aims to defy ownership's attempt to suppress fan interest and is scheduled for Tuesday, June 13, coinciding with the second game of the home series against the Rays at the Oakland Coliseum.
This fan-led initiative calls on supporters to fill the stadium, showcasing that they've always been there, contrary to how the ownership of the franchise is trying to paint the picture of the A's.
The expectation is that the national media attention garnered from this event could further pressure baseball's commissioner and team owners to address the concerns raised about the team's ownership, forcing the selling of the club instead of its relocation away from the Bay Area.
The Oakland 68s, in collaboration with local clothing brand Oaklandish, have distributed thousands of green shirts bearing the word "SELL." These shirts will be handed out for free to fans attending the game after they were funded through donations from local and international fans.
Prior to game time, the festivities begin with a lively tailgate organized by independent fan groups, including the Oakland 68s and Last Dive Bar. The gathering will offer food from local favorites like Tacos El Ultimo Baile and drinks from Oakland's very own Old Kan Beer & Co.
As the Nevada lawmakers deliberate on the fate of the A's, there has been a notable delay in the state Senate's decision-making process. The initial session (held on Monday, June 5) indicated a lack of a secure majority vote for the proposal to subsidize construction costs, and special sessions have been called steadily and to no end including another (final?) one for Tuesday, June 13.
Despite the team's struggles and the looming possibility of relocation, the Athletics continue to hold a special place in the hearts of their fans and we can only hope the Reverse Boycott works wonders and swing the final decision in Oakland's favor.