(A: That depends. What time can you get here?)
“Never fear, lovers of elbow room and A’s games: The Coliseum will return to its spacious self soon enough,” writes the San Francisco Chronicle’s David White, whom having observed a packed stadium for Oakland’s weekend sweep of Boston, warns “the A’s will go back to being one of the hottest unwatched shows in the big leagues – at least until the Yankees come, June 10-12.”
The A’s rank 26th in attendance, the same spot they finished the past two seasons. They have averaged 20,803 fans through 27 home games for a 561,696 total.
Almost 90,000 came at two “home” games in Tokyo. Another 97,592 came for last weekend’s Red Sox series, and it only seemed like half of the fans swore allegiance to the defending world champions.
In 14 of the 22 games in between, unused seats outnumbered seat-sitters 2-to-1. Only two of those games broke 30,000 at the Coliseum, where capacity is listed at 34,077 with most of the upper deck tarped off.
Don’t point fingers at the players. The A’s are 28-23. They sit second in the AL West, two games behind the Angels. The A’s have spent almost half the season either tied for the division lead or in sole possession of first.
Only the upstart Rays have played better ball (31-20) before fewer home fans (18,686 per game). Somehow, that’s of little comfort to a franchise with a vastly superior history.
“That’s one of the first things I noticed when I came over here,” said A’s outfielder Rajai Davis, who started the season with the Giants before riding the waiver line across the bay. His first game with the then-first place A’s was April 24 against the visiting Twins. The crowd count was 12,593.
“When I was over in San Fran, I know we were in dead last but they were committed fans and they came out,” Davis said. “Over here, even when we were in first place, the crowds weren’t like what you’d think.”
I hate to take issue with Rajai’s attempts to contrast the, er, level of commitment amongst Northern California’s baseball fans, but the Giants are currently averaging 33,708 patrons per game. That’s a pretty significant decrease from 2007’s average attendance of nearly 40K per game.
Of course, only a cynic would suggest the ’07 Giants drew such robust crowns mostly on the back of The Sultan Of Surly’s assault on the record books. Or, if you prefer, someone actually paying attention.