Inside of what could be the Athletics’ final Opening Day in Oakland

Mar 28, 2024, 9:15 PM | Updated: 9:18 pm

(The Oakland Athletics take batting practice before facing the Cleveland Guardians on Opening Day 2...

(Sactown Sports)

(Sactown Sports)

Opening Day is typically a special day for baseball fans.

Game 1 of 162 brings fans of most 30 Major League Baseball teams a renewed sense of optimism, but there was a different sense around Oakland Coliseum on Thursday afternoon.

On the heels of a 2023 season that saw the Oakland Athletics report an average attendance of 10,275–a number that many outlets are skeptical of its accuracy–nearly ten thousand fans poured into the Coliseum parking lot for the A’s Opening Day matchup against the Cleveland Guardians.

Fans in attendance didn’t show up to cheer on their beloved team as a new MLB season began. Thousands of A’s fans traveled to the ballpark to remind Oakland owner John Fisher and the baseball world that the low attendance numbers don’t reflect the passion that this fanbase feels towards its city’s now-lone sports franchise.

After calling the Coliseum home for 56 years, the Athletics may have played their final Opening Day on Thursday night.

“It’s hard to fathom,” former A’s catcher and first-year Guardians manager Stephen Vogt said of his former team’s potential exit from the Bay Area. “I hope the situation gets rectified soon.”

Fisher and team president Dave Kaval have placed the franchise on what they hope will be a fast track to Las Vegas, Nevada–one that has driven lifelong fans away from a team that they used to hold close to their hearts, one that they used to hang onto every strike, every out, every run. For some, the Oakland Athletics were a way of life–now, Fisher has made it clear they will soon be a memory of what once was.

During the 2023 season, A’s fan groups like the Oakland 68’s and The Last Dive Bar organized “reverse boycotts,” which were showcases by the fanbase that relayed their disdain for Fisher, Kaval, and others within the organization that they felt were pushing the organization out of the Bay Area.

On June 13, 2023, nearly 30,000 fans filled the Coliseum for the A’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays, with most fans wearing green “SELL” shirts. Placards with chant instructions were handed out in the parking lot, and fans united for chants of “Sell the team” and more before standing in silence during the top of the fifth inning.

Fans took a different angle for Thursday’s Opening Night, filling the parking lot with a tail-gate style protest that included games, music, food, and last but not least, signs of unity in the form of chants, “SELL” shirts, and more.

While the A’s attempted to push back the opening of the parking lot gates to 5 PM–just two hours before first-pitch–fans showed up in numbers, forcing the gates to be opened 45 minutes early.

Upon entry, fans set up tents, booths, barbecues and more, while The Last Dive Bar handed out commemorative “I was not there” fliers to those that wanted to remember the Opening Day they spent right outside of the Coliseum doors.

As the game got underway, it was eerily quiet inside of the Coliseum–so quiet that you could hear and feel the bass from speakers that were playing music in the parking lot.

Like last year’s reverse boycotts, the message from Athletics fans on Thursday night was direct: “We’re still here.”

Low attendance numbers over the past few seasons aren’t because fans have turned their backs on this franchise—they’re turning their backs on Fisher and those driving the team out of Oakland.

With the Coliseum lease set to expire after the 2024 season, it looks like the A’s will play in a different location in 2025 and beyond. Sacramento is reportedly the favorite to land the Athletics from 2025-27 while a new planned ballpark is built in Las Vegas, but the situation is fluid as the city of Oakland continues to negotiate a lease extension with the club.

If this was the final Opening Day in Oakland for the Athletics, thousands of fans gave their latest reminder that the team might be leaving, but the lack of attendance isn’t because they have stopped caring.

The fans are here, and they will continue to showcase their disdain for what has happened to their beloved team until the door has closed for good on baseball in Oakland.

That door isn’t closed–not yet–and Thursday was a resounding message that nobody has turned their backs on the Oakland A’s. As for John Fisher, that’s a much different story.

(Sactown Sports)

Oakland Athletics to Sacramento on the horizon?

On Tuesday’s edition of The Carmichael Dave Show with Jason Ross, Carmichael Dave said from the whispers he’s heard, the Athletics would prefer Sacramento over the other two locations.

“The problem, from what I have understood, or at least the tipping point here on the A’s to Sacramento, has been Comcast,” Dave said. “Comcast currently has a deal with the A’s, a TV deal that is for a lot of money. Sacramento is not the market that Oakland is. So naturally, if the A’s were to relocate for three years to Sacramento, Comcast would want to adjust that number down and renegotiate that deal.”

“The wait, as I understand it, has been Comcast making an offer, a counter offer, if you will, on adjusting that rate down so that the A’s know what they’re dealing with,” Dave said.

“Sources say there was movement on that yesterday, and whether it was verbal or written, I don’t know. It sounds like there are politics now involved going all the way up to the governor, who very much wants the A’s to stay in California as long as possible, preferably in Oakland, perhaps, but certainly in California.

“If I were a betting man, I would put incredibly heavy odds on the on the A’s coming to Sacramento and an announcement sometime in the next week or two.”

The player’s association would need to approve any temporary locations—whether that be in Sacramento, Salt Lake City, or Oakland.

How did the A’s get here?

Last November, Major League Baseball unanimously approved the Athletics relocation from Oakland to Las Vegas. The team plans to build a $1.5 billion, nine-acre stadium where the Tropicana Hotel currently stands.

The ballpark, which was granted $380 in public funding for construction in the summer of 2023, could open as early as 2028 if everything goes according to plan.

Oakland Athletics regular season schedule

  • Thursday, March 28th-Sunday, March 31st – vs. Cleveland Guardians
  • Monday, April 1st-Wednesday, April 3rd – vs. Boston Red Sox
  • Friday, April 5th-Sunday, April 7th – @ Detroit Tigers
  • Tuesday, April 9th-Thursday, April 11th – @ Texas Rangers
  • Friday, April 12-Sunday, April 14th – vs. Washington Nationals

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