Spander: A’s fans are clearly fed up 

Perhaps the A’s should rethink the policy against banners at the Coliseum negative to management, permitting display on the condition that signs must be accompanied by paying customers.

While understandably no one wishes to be trashed in his own house, and figuratively that’s what the Coliseum is for the A’s, better to have the seats filled, if even by those who proclaim disdain for Lew Wolff. 

A month ago, Jorge Leon was ejected from the Coliseum for refusing to remove a sign that read “Wolff Lied. He Never Tried,” a reference to the owner’s determination to move the club to San Jose, contending he was unable to negotiate with the city of Oakland.

Whether Leon showed up Monday night when the A’s opened a homestand with a series against the Texas Rangers is unknown, but very few others did.

The announced crowd of 8,874 was the A’s smallest in seven years and the smallest in the majors this year.

Once, in a darker era — April 17, 1979 — the A’s drew only 653 paid spectators, a ridiculous total, but that was the last year of the regime of Charles Oscar Finley, a man even more disliked than Wolff. And it also was a notably chilly night.

Finley desperately sold the club to the late Walter Haas, who in a wise series of moves, including the acquisition of Bill King as play-by-play announcer and Sandy Alderson as GM, made the A’s relevant. They won a championship. They made the turnstiles click.

We have returned to the bad, old days, a time when the ballyard was so depressing it was nicknamed the “Oakland Mausoleum.” Now, the upper deck is covered by tarps, the two lower decks buried in gloom.

“It’s not much fun to play in front of an empty stadium in your home park,” A’s reliever Brad Ziegler wrote recently on his Twitter page. “We’re going through that when A’s fans boycott our games because ownership has threatened to move the team.”

While the word “boycott” may be somewhat of an overstatement, Ziegler’s disenchantment is appreciated. So too is the disenchantment of A’s fans, presuming they do exist, with Wolff.

If they attend a game, they enrich Wolff’s coffers. If they do not attend, they enrich his desires. Ah yes, San Jose and those Silicon Valley capitalists.

Monday night, three signs hung on the right-field railing in front of mostly empty stands, one reading, “Keep Our A’s in Oakland,” another, “Don’t Take Our A’s,” and the third, “A’s Fans Say: No San Jose.”

A’s fans? We’re back to the conundrum: If a ballgame is played in front of 45,000 empty seats, even if some of them are hidden under camouflage, did it really take place?

Gary Radnich, the TV and radio anchor and host, used to say when the Giants still were at Candlestick Park that a Monday night game against Montreal was the standard against which tiny crowds should be judged. That was the bottom.

This Monday night between the A’s and Rangers was right down with the worst of them.

Hey, Lew, do something. And that doesn’t mean gleefully shifting your team down to San Jose. Here they might have no attendance. There they still have no ballpark.

Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on and E-mail him at

About The Author

Art Spander

Art Spander

Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on and Email him at
Pin It

Speaking of...

Latest in Other Sports

© 2018 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation