The Oakland Athletics are well on their way towards clinching the division, leading by 6.5 games coming into Tuesday night over the Rangers. They can clinch the division as soon as this coming weekend.
But judging by the attendance in September, you would have no idea that this is a team in the midst of a pennant race. On Monday night, only 14,629 fans showed up to watch the A’s take on the rival Angels.
A’s owner Lew Wolff has certainly noticed the lack of attendance at the ballpark, and sounded off in an interview with Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports.
“There is something wrong here,” he said. “You would think that with our lead, people would want to come out, count down the magic numbers, and all that stuff.
“Even if you’re not a loyal fan, you would think this time of year, where the teams are in the standings, and where every game means something, people would come out.”
Another person who noticed the dwindling crowds was outfielder Josh Reddick, who tweeted this:
— Josh Reddick (@joshreddick16) September 17, 2013
To which local radio host and blogger Rich Lieberman responded:
— Rich Lieberman (@rlieberman2529) September 17, 2013
It is true that some of the blame should be levied on Wolff himself. The A’s owner has made it clear that he wants to move the team to San Jose, claiming that all options in Oakland for a new ballpark are “exhausted.” When this is happening, it is understandable why fans wouldn’t want to spend their hard-earned money to watch a team that has an uncertain future in a dilapidated ballpark.
It should be noted, however, that the A’s sold out playoff tickets for the Divisional Series in the lower levels, and are removing the tarps on the third deck due to “high demand.”
But until the postseason, the A’s will still have to play in front of small crowds at home.
“It’s depressing,” Wolff said. “I really expected the crowds to be huge this week. I had a player come up to me and say, ‘I feel sorry for you, Mr. Wolff.’
I told him, ‘Just keep pitching. And whatever you do, don’t look into the stands.’”