Heading for a sad ending: The pending departure of the Athletics in Oakland is a black mark for Major League Baseball


As current plans sit, the 2024 season will be the Oakland Athletics’ last in a market that they’ve called home for over 50 years – and the grand finale might be one of the saddest sights in sports.

Just over 13,500 tickets were sold for the home opener, but many fans were still angry at owner John Fisher and his plans to move the team in time for the 2028 season to Las Vegas, Nevada.

Hundreds of people protested outside and refused to give him any more of their money.

Since that game, the A’s home attendance has failed to crack 10,000 fans. It’s early in the season, but don’t expect things to change anytime soon, and who can blame the fans?

This is a team with the lowest payroll looking to do anything but win ballgames.

I drove to Oakland on Thursday to photograph the Block Party Boycott and to spend a few innings inside the Coliseum for what may be the last opener in Oakland A’s history before the team’s planned move to Las Vegas in 2028.

????: https://t.co/OG4v1fxBVk

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— David Calvert (@calvertphoto) April 1, 2024

This team deserves more empty home games with the sounds of crickets accompanying umpires calling balls and strikes with tumbleweeds rolling through the seats.

Oakland is a market that deserves far better than this sad ending.

A city that saw multiple World Series titles and legends such as Mark McGwire, Reggie Jackson, Rickey Henderson, Jason Giambi, Barry Zito, Catfish Hunter, and others call the city home during their careers is set to see yet another pro sports team leave the area in the past few years.

For years, fans have heard about relocation plans and watched as ideas to build a new home in the city failed – and had to listen to excuses as to why a new stadium couldn’t happen.

Now the end of the timeline in the market is upon us as this team looks to be on pace for another year in the basement of the American League West.

The Oakland A’s mustered just 13,522 fans on Thursday—one of the lowest Opening Day turnouts in franchise history.

But while the A’s were busy losing 8-0 in the stadium, thousands gathered outside to protest owner John Fisher and the impending move to Las Vegas.

The story

— Front Office Sports (@FOS) March 29, 2024

In 2023, Oakland finished with the worst mark in MLB at 50-112, their worst record in a 162-game season since they went 54-108 in 1979.

Oakland’s 10-45 start to the 2023 season tied them for the worst start over their first 55 games in MLB history with the 1899 Cleveland Spiders and the 1904 Washington Senators.

Not that long ago, the Athletics made the playoffs three years in a row from 2018-2020, and in 2020 were playing in the American League Divisional Series. It seems like it took place 25 years ago, with the current state of the franchise.

These are fans who have every right to express their thoughts on the matter in incredibly overt displays, such as protests or bringing in signs demanding that Fisher sell the team to local buyers.

This has attracted full attention and support from all around the baseball world.

Oakland A’s 2005 home opener: 44,815 attendance

Oakland A’s 2024 home opener: 13,522 attendance

2005 was the last home opener before John Fisher took over as majority owner of the club. pic.twitter.com/1PmmXBG9wF

— Danny Vietti (@DannyVietti) March 29, 2024

The current mess is not fair to the players or the fans, and to add to it, the status of the A’s when it comes to where they’ll play after 2024 is up in the air for the next three seasons.

While the plan to relocate has been approved by MLB owners from 2025 until the 2027 season, it has not been finalized as to where they’ll play.

Markets such as Salt Lake City, Utah have been floated as temporary homes until the move to Las Vegas, but the fact that this was allowed is embarrassing.

How does a league approve a move to another market with three years of giant question marks involved? Who actually wins in any of this but Fisher?

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s comments on the situation didn’t help things by suggesting that Athletics fans can cheer for the San Francisco Giants, something so insulting and comes across as if he has no idea how sports fandom works.

Oakland A’s legend Vida Blue in action! #MLB #Baseball #History pic.twitter.com/vG3t7tZBSP

— Baseball by BSmile (@BSmile) March 27, 2024

Why would they ever switch to cheering for the Giants simply because they’re not that far away when the A’s leave a Mets fan would never cheer for the Yankees, and a Cubs fan would never cheer for the White Sox so why should Oakland supporters cheer for a rival?

It lacks common sense and care for people who’ve stood by the Athletics for generations. You should be concerned these people might just outright stop watching baseball entirely, something that MLB can ill afford to have.

While Las Vegas is a fantastic sports market and deserves an MLB team, the manner in which they’ll end up getting one via the relocation hasn’t sat right with anyone.

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Las Vegas deserves an expansion team, not a team ripped away from a long-standing market in the worst way possible.

If there’s justice, the plans to move will find a way to fall apart, this blows up in the face of Fisher and he will sell to a group dedicated to staying in Oakland, but we sadly may have gone past the point of no return for that.

But I really hope I’m wrong on that.

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