A’s fans share their anger over the team’s departure and unite in their love for Oakland


A’s fans share their anger over the team’s departure and unite in their love for Oakland

California politics, homepage news

Hannah Wiley

November 24, 2023

For years, everyone could recognize Daniel Real on the road by the large white Oakland Athletics sticker he had on his truck.

Real said his family roots in Oakland go back about 150 years, so growing up a “die-hard” fan of the baseball team came naturally.

“I’ve been there so much. That place means a lot to me,” Real said, speaking from the Oakland Coliseum, where the A’s play, as they poured drinks from behind the counter of George & Walt’s, a bar on College Avenue. where the TV is usually tuned to baseball during the season.

But the hometown team Real grew up with is a shadow of its former self

. T

his selection, ever top,


hardly now


of the same caliber as decades ago. The attendance of the raucous fan base has dwindled.

Soon the team will disappear from Oakland completely.

In a decision that has been under consideration for years, Major League Baseball owners unanimously approved last week the move of the A’s last professional sports franchise from Oakland to Las Vegas.

The Seals, an NHL team, left in 1976.

The NBA’s Golden State Warriors


San Francisco their home in 2019 and the NFL’s Raiders


to Sin City three years ago.

Viva Las Vegas: MLB owners unanimously approve A’s move from Oakland

Many A fans see the decision as a callous and greedy play by the team’s majority owner, billionaire John Fisher. The grieving A’s supporters claim Fisher sabotaged the team by trading away good players, raising ticket prices and half-heartedly cooperating with city officials to keep the A’s in Oakland, all while planning to move the team.

“Fisher is a billionaire. He doesn’t have to do this,” Real said. ‘I’m just bitter about the whole thing. Maybe I don’t even watch baseball that much anymore.’

For loyal fans who have watched team after team leave Oakland for financially greener pastures, this latest move feels personal, like it’s an insult to the city itself.

But even in their resentment and grief over the loss of their beloved A’s, fans are united in their love for Oakland


The team’s blue-collar fans have remained loyal as the city desperately tries to maintain its rock-solid character despite the technological wealth spilling over from across the bay, displacing longtime residents and diluting the renovated house’s character one million dollars at a time .

“We were basically always the bastard son of San Francisco,” Real said. “That was something we could be proud of: Oakland. We had the Raiders. We had the A’s. It was the Golden State Warriors, but they played here. And so that was just part of Oakland.”

Column: Here’s how the billionaire owner of the Oakland A’s plans to rip off two cities at once

Jorge Leon, founder of the nonprofit Oakland ’68s, a fan club whose name refers to the year the A’s moved to Oakland from Kansas City, grew up near the Coliseum and spent many days at the ballpark with his father. He continued to go to games while going to school, sneaking into the stadium long after his father left the family when Leon was a preteen.

“You have lawyers, you have garbage collectors, from all walks of life, everywhere,” he said. “And we all hang out together. We’re all friends, and we’re all family when we’re at those games.”

Leon has fought for decades to keep the team in Oakland, ever since rumors of his departure to other cities began circulating in the 1990s. Leon said he once wrote a high

school essay arguing that Oakland is the rightful home city for the A’s


Leon traveled in a small group to Arlington, Texas


ahead of the MLB relocation vote on November 16, in a last-ditch effort to convince owners to reject the team’s move. The coalition chartered a plane to fly over the area with a banner reading “AS BELONG IN OAKLAND,” hoping the owners would take the message to heart.

The decision to move the team

is about more than baseball, Leon said.

“Oakland gets a bad rap,” he explained. “It’s just like any other great American city. It has its problems. It has its beauty. It has its culture. It’s one of the most diverse cities in America. And I think that’s what keeps me fighting, because I think green and gold are synonymous with the city.”

The Vegas move plan has sparked outrage, even among those in the Bay Area who don’t consider themselves passionate A-fans.

“[Fisher is] “A lot of people betrayed, a lot of hard-working people who live and die for the A’s,” said Daniel Hennessey, a self-described Giants fan and bartender at the Kingfish Pub & Café in North Oakland.

Maybe not many people who are millionaires or billionaires, but people who work hard, work for a living and care about their team


When the A left, Hennessey said, “It just feels like maybe something that was part of the heart of Oakland is being ripped away.”

At a match in June, fans flocked to the Coliseum in what was called a “reverse boycott,” an attempt to fill the stadium and show that the team still has supporters. Many fans wore shirts that read “SELL,” a clear message urging Fisher to find a buyer who would keep the team in Oakland. Now, with the impending transfer, fans are trying to decide how to proceed.

The team has at least one year left on its lease on the Coliseum, meaning it will remain in the Bay until the end of 2024. The new stadium for which Nevada has legally approved funding won’t be ready until 2028.

Echt removed his A-sticker sticker from his truck last week, saying it had become too difficult to maintain his support. He’s still keeping the door open for future Vegas trips to watch the team play.

“What am I going to do with the stuff from this A that I’ve collected all my life?” he said.

As he spoke, a man next to him raised his head, occasionally recalling his own Oakland A’s memories.

Derrick Blue said his father was former All-A pitcher Vida Blue, a key member of the clubs that won three consecutive World Series championships in the 1970s. Vida Blue died in May, but his legacy extends through the East Bay to San Francisco, where he also played for the Giants.

Derrick Blue said that, even though he didn’t


agrees with the A’s transfer to Las Vegas, he knows that baseball is a business issue that is different than when his father was in the game.

“It’s bittersweet for me because I know I’ll still be a part of the organization in some way,” Blue said. “But it’s definitely hard because my friends and the fans definitely got hurt.”

Leon said he won’t let his team leave so easily. His group is considering more protests against Fisher and the club, including encouraging fans not to show up on the opening day of the season. He wants “Hit their wallets” on the way out, he said.

But he also wants to use his advocacy to show other fans across the country what’s at stake. He sees the MLB vote as a warning that other cities could lose their beloved teams and leave grieving fans behind


He said it’s important for other fan bases to mobilize and organize.

“Regardless of whether the A’s are here or not, I think the people of Oakland are pretty resilient,” he said. “I somehow knew we weren’t going to let the MLB dictate the end of professional baseball in Oakland.”


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