WEAVER: The A’s: Bay Area’s other team

Sports Editor, Josh Weaver

The Giants and A’s have split the interleague season series thus
far, each team sweeping the other in its respective home parks.
Sprawled out on the living room floor at a family gathering on a lazy and sweltering Sunday afternoon, the Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants weekend series was coming to an end.

Watching the game on my uncle’s T.V., surrounded by everyone from my parents to my great-grandmother, it became apparent that I was the black sheep for those three-plus hours.

Why? Because I was rooting for the A’s.

I couldn’t even find favor with my great-grandma Nonie, a Giants fan.

The Giants and A’s have split the interleague season series thus far, each team sweeping the other in its respective home parks. As is often the case, the games have been well contested and exciting. The rivalry stays fairly respectable, with fans on both sides usually holding a mutual respect for one another. It hasn’t risen to the intensity a New York Mets-New York Yankees level – which is good.

My dad raised my brother, sister and I as A’s fans. I’m not really sure why, but that’s the Bay Area team we followed mostly.

The reaction of my family Sunday, on a much smaller scale, resembles the Bay Area’s feeling toward the Athletics. It’s the area’s “other team”.

Attendance numbers are the easiest example to validate the point. A weeknight game AT&T Park generates somewhere in the 20,000s. At the Oakland Coliseum – good luck getting 10,000. (Numbers not researched, just based on watching games on a regular basis.

It’s sad really.

It’s an old-fashioned rivalry that always conjures up memories to the 1989 Bay Bridge World Series – a period of time where I think the A’s were the more popular team.

But in 1993, along came Barry Bonds. Then, eight years later, a new stadium. During that same span, the Athletics dropped to the depths of the American League … perennial bottom dwellers.

Oh, and the “upgrade” the Oakland Coliseum received was the monstrous 10,000-seat Mount Davis in 1996, completely ruining the authentic look of the ballpark.

The early 2000s saw resurgence by the A’s, but the excitement has again withered away and the crowds once more have stopped coming out. The Giants, the perfect example of mediocrity over the last seven years, still manage to fill the seats.

So how can the A’s regain respect from the Bay Area?

A new baseball-only stadium, not in Oakland would help, and would draw a much larger crowd on a more consistent basis.

Stadium takes have been mouthed for the last handful of years, but have yet to materialize into legitimacy.

There is some quality baseball being played in Oakland, and with a 32-33 record – four games out of first place in the American League West – the A’s are exceeding expectations thus far. But not much kudos from Bay Area radio talk shows and the like are tossed the A’s way.

Because no one goes, there are plenty of good seats at an A’s game. Just something to consider if you are on the fence about which team to pledge your allegiance.

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