The elephant of Oakland Athletics fandom will roar Tuesday night, as an A’s-Rays game will see a “reverse boycott” intended to show Major League Baseball that Oakland has better fans than Las Vegas ever will.
It is a very normal thing for a Major League Baseball team to print up 7,000 t-shirts to hand out to fans for free at some sort of theme night game. But it is a very unusual thing for a group of fans to pay for these 7,000 t-shirts out of their own pockets, and then hand the shirts out for free, shirts which are emblazoned with the message “SELL” because the fans so thoroughly despise the team’s current owner.
@MLB’s first ever fan funded giveaway! Provided to the first 7K fans in attendance at the #ReverseBoycott @Athletics game June 13th. Thank you to @Oaklandish and the most wonderful fan base in the world! #OAKtogether pic.twitter.com/gSjsHj9yjC— Oakland 68s (@Oakland68s) June 10, 2023
Yet that is exactly what is happening for Tuesday night’s contest between the Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays, as KPIX reports A’s fans are planning a “reverse boycott” at Tuesday night's game. They hope to pack the Oakland Coliseum with a visibly enthusiastic crowd, to protest the team’s proposed move to Las Vegas, to show the viability of Oakland as a Major League Baseball town, and to demonstrate that the team’s financial and attendance woes are the fault of A’s owner John Fisher and team president Dave Kaval.
It’s time to PARTY!!! Our June 13th Reverse Boycott is tomorrow! This is our time to show that WE ARE HERE!— (Un)Rooted In Oakland - Sell The A’s ☔️ (@OaklandRooted) June 12, 2023
Bring signs, be loud, and most importantly make it a party!
While a billionaire is trying to tear us apart, we won’t let that happen. It’s time to continue our fight. https://t.co/rSsZog547g pic.twitter.com/WaxPs3obTz
"We hope to make a statement to not only ownership but to MLB and the whole world that this isn't our fault, that we are here,” lifelong A’s fan Gabriel Hernandez told KPIX. “Stop blaming us as fans for someone who is basically telling me to stop coming by trading our players, raising prices, taking away season ticket benefits like 50% concessions, 25% (merchandise), $10 parking. We aren't going down without a fight."
Is this going to work? Advance ticket sales numbers are not publicly available, but StubHub has some clues. Tuesday night’s A’s-Rays game is the only A’s game listed with the red text addition “This event is selling fast for Oakland Athletics." SFist checked prices for tonight’s game in Oakland featuring the exact same two teams, and the lowest ticket price is currently $9 apiece. The lowest-priced tickets for Tuesday night’s “reverse boycott” game are currently $28 apiece. Ticket resale prices can obviously vary wildly, but it does appear that fan demand has moved the needle here.
So many reported the Las Vegas A's as if it was a done deal.— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) June 6, 2023
Not only did the funding not come through here, but there's considerable opposition among MLB's haves to put them in Sin City. https://t.co/UvwZba5iZI
And meanwhile in Las Vegas, we reported at the end of last week that the A’s proposed Las Vegas stadium deal does not have the votes in the Nevada legislature to get the $380 million in taxpayer money the team wants for that proposed stadium. And NBC Sports Bay Area reported Monday morning that Nevada state senators are proposing “at least” one amendment to the A’s preferred proposal, so the momentum for the A’s move could be going against the move rather than for it.
Image: Joe Kukura, SFist