With every pitch thrown to start the fifth inning, the silence grew more and more deafening. Then, instantly, a symphony of “sell the team” flooded the Coliseum.
One last gasp from a fanbase that remained defiant despite enormous odds.

The reverse boycott, a plan to flood the Coliseum with Oakland A’s fans as a show of love for the team and city, was a special moment. In those 9 innings, the stadium acted as one—a symbiotic relationship between the arena and every fan within it.

Chants supporting Oakland and criticizing owner Jeff Fisher served as rallying cries for the fans. Every A’s hit or strike produced shouting that rang through the concourse. 

It felt that with every chant and A’s run, we could have kept the team in Oakland. By some grace, we would be reaching a greater power that would save us. The religious fervor that overcame every attendee pushed the players, with Ramon Laureano sacrificing his body to win, making him an icon.

Photo: Getty Images

Very few moments in sports can compare to this, one last desperate attempt to keep a beloved team in its home. Everyone who showed up to the game was there to make this wake a celebration of not only the A’s but Oakland.

So it became much more than supporting the team; it became a screw you to all those that look down on Oakland.

Despite the support A’s fans have received from celebrities, players, and politicians, MLB and its owners are determined to let the knife be pushed into professional sports in the East Bay. Fans have to be at the mercy of these billionaires who don’t even want to put money into their teams. Sports fandom is just an allegory of modern life with rising economic inequality and a malaise that nothing can be solved.

Since purchasing the A’s, the Fisher administration can be characterized as cheap and willing to dump talent in an effort to avoid any sort of luxury tax woes. It has been an effort to drive the team to the bottom and force a move elsewhere.

When the A’s lost to the Astros in 2020, this was the moment the plan to finally teardown the Oakland A’s began. The team had all-stars led by the great Bob Melvin and was truly an arm or two away from being actual contenders. With star players needing new contracts, real ownership determined on getting over the hump and win would have acted differently.

A teardown came almost as soon as the A’s season ended, with the jettison of Marcus Semien being the start. Over the next two seasons, a team on the verge of contention became the worst in MLB.

Fans started to pack the Coliseum less and less; why should fans be insulted by management like this and reward ownership?

This would give Fisher and all those within the MLB hierarchy the perfect excuse to push for a move to Las Vegas.

Photo: Antoine Tamagno

Very few cities have a more interesting relationship with sports than Vegas. It’s a city that rewards their own teams, like the Aces and Knights, with love while relocators receive a cold shoulder. Vegas should have its own MLB team, which is special and unique to Vegas and its fanbase.

Moving the A’s there is just another move by MLB to strip more copper piping out of a more and more decrepit house. No care is given to the community of Vegas, only to those that will benefit. 

Since the pandemic, all sports have begun to sell off any and all assets in an attempt to chase greater revenue. This has been seen in the shameless adoption of sponsorships wherever possible. The legalization of sports betting opened a Pandora’s box of terrible consequences.

Dave Kaval and Fisher may try to say otherwise, but a move to Vegas is part of this drive for short-term revenue. There are no promises that Vegas will be welcoming to the A’s other than the cash flow from state legislatures into their pockets. 

From Manfred’s pathetic comments, it’s not hard to see that no matter what, fans will be screwed over in the name of profit. Of course, this has always been the case, but the pandemic seemingly pushed this more out in the open.

With no other way of making their voices heard, a reverse boycott is the only way to force this issue in the open. To remind folks of the tradition and history embedded in Oakland. No matter the attempt to erase this city and its team from the annals of MLB, it’s here.

Despite the positive reception of this boycott, most fans felt deep down that there was no way to save their team. One last desperate cry to save a part of East Bay pride.

A plea to billionaires that couldn’t give fewer shits about anything other than a supposed new stream of revenue. Fans and cities will be at their mercy, and entire sets of city funds must be diverted their way to keep a form of entertainment around. Even if all their demands are met, they can still screw you over on a whim and be protected by their cadre.

Sports can often act as a vessel by which certain events or feelings can be manifested in a communal way. Be it a pride night where the community comes out to celebrate each other or this reverse boycott where a bond pushes fans together. 

Call this moment what you want, late-stage capitalism or a reconfiguration of power, but most people feel helpless. There is a pit in all our stomachs that we can’t often figure out what it means. We want to speak up about and find solace, but the hope of a better future has been pushed out.

Photo: Antoine Tamagno

Just as sports fans are at the mercy of teams’ owners, we are at the mercy of those above us, and any mercy has to be begged for. There is no reconciling with the fact that there is no recourse to make voices heard.

MLB and its leaders and owners do not care what the individual fan wants, like those that exert power over the means by which life is lived. This, naturally, just makes any attempt to change things feel useless. That there won’t be a possibility for things to get better.

As A’s fans showed, the only solace that can be found is in community, in each other. Standing arm and arm with one another, yelling at the top of your lungs, it’s a special feeling. A bond like this translates over many differences and makes you feel like one.

Feeling helpless in times like this can be paralyzing, but as corny as it sounds, knowing you’re not alone is powerful. While yes, these struggles may not go away, having people in your corner can help you keep pushing forward. 

So for one final moment, the Coliseum was filled with rapturous fans cheering their gladiators on. One last chance to keep a beloved icon in a city that has lost so much in the face of immense odds.
No matter what happens next, A’s fans did themselves and the city proud.


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