New Heights of Mediocrity

I was at the Oakland A’s game Monday night. Not very many people can say that – there were just 12,464 of us, or about a third of McAfee Coliseum. The crowd was so abysmal that stadium operators didn’t even bother putting “Guess the Attendance” on the scoreboard. It would be one thing if the deserted Coliseum hosted a well-played game between two top teams that Arctic night (thank you, bay area fog bank), but the contest Monday was between the A’s and Royals. Oy.

Oakland hitters combined for 12 strikeouts and two runs, while starter Dallas Braden gave up two homers from Kansas City’s Jose Guillen and Alex Gordon. Times are, indeed, tough for A’s baseball. To give you an idea of how throughly uninspiring the game was, I took my seat before the start of the game, and only stood up three times: once for the national anthem, once for “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and once to leave.

This, Lew Wolf says, is why he has to move the team to Fremont – because people don’t show up to the games. But the A’s trade away all the fan favorites and talent (such as Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson, Rich Harden, Jason Kendall, Eric Byrnes… I can go on) for prospects nobody has heard of. How many Oakland A’s on the team yesterday were there in 2003? Two: the injured (perhaps permanently) Eric Chavez and Mark Ellis, who never sold tickets as it was. Fans won’t flock to a stadium to see players who will be good in three years – if they wanted that, they’d go see the Sacramento Rivercats – and they especially won’t go to watch a team where hitting over .250 makes you a superstar. Monday’s game showcased everything wrong with the organization: nobody came to the game, nobody knew who the players were, and (oh by the way) the team sucked. I suppose a good sports analyst would give advice to fix that, but this is the view from the stands: do something, at least make A’s baseball interesting again.

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