We’re less than two weeks into the MLB season and just like everyone predicted, the Oakland Athletics are tied for first place in their division...wait, what? Yeah, it’s early, but the A’s were supposed to be the cellar dwellers of the AL West. They spent a whopping $0 in free agency and traded away two of their best position players as well as one of their best starting pitchers this offseason. They did all that just one year after the team finished 86-76, just five games out of the playoffs, and two years removed from three straight playoff appearances.
They were a good team with a lot of potential and although they took a step back last season, there were still enough pieces in place to keep the A’s in contention for at least 2022. That wasn’t GM David Frost’s plan though. His plan was to blow everything up and acquire some prospects, as the plan always is. The Athletics seem to be in this perpetual state of rebuilding, and A’s fans have seemingly had enough. During last night’s game, which, keep in mind, was less than two weeks away from opening day, and THE SECOND GAME OF THEIR FIRST HOME SERIES OF 2022, attendance was 3,748.
The A’s’ home ballpark, RingCentral Coliseum, seats 63,132 (drops to 35,000 when the upper deck is covered), so at best, for the team’s second home game of the season, attendance was at 10.7 percent capacity. That’s not good, and if I’m being honest, it feels like it’s all part of team president Dave Kaval’s plan.
Yeah, I’m putting on my tin foil hat here. Is it really any wonder that less than a year after Kaval threatened the city of Oakland with a move to Las Vegas and demanded the city start planning a waterside ballpark if they wanted to keep the A’s in town, the team started trading away its best players and refused to spend money on players who would bring fans to the ballpark? That doesn’t seem suspicious at all. If anything, the lack of attendance is all the more reason for Kaval to move the team away from Oakland. “Clearly, the fans don’t want us here,” Kaval will say. “If they did, they’d show up to our games.” His mustache-twirling schemes are playing out perfectly it seems.
The sad truth is that Kaval is sort of right. If my favorite team started threatening to leave, trading away all of its best players while still in the playoff hunt, and spending absolutely no money on free agents at the same time, I wouldn’t want to go to games anymore either. The A’s have repeatedly slapped their fans in the face with their unwillingness to give a shit. No matter the situation, they seem intent on wallowing in perpetual mediocrity. They build up all these great homegrown prospects only to send them to the AL East as soon as the A’s get good enough to compete with them.
Obviously, the A’s can’t afford to keep those great players come contract time, but the front office isn’t even trying. They’ve just given into the idea that their fans will forever be unhappy with the team because they can’t afford to keep their big name guys. They’ve succumbed to the idea that they’ll never get a big-name free agent. They’re broken and the fans are sick of it. The city of Oakland deserves better than a team that claims to be “Rooted in Oakland” yet wants nothing more than to leave the town with two middle fingers and a cloud of dust.