Oakland Athletics Fans Reverse Boycott

Reverse Boycott 06132023
(Photo by Brandon Vallance/Getty Images)

June 13, 2023, a random Tuesday night to most. But, to Oakland Athletics fans, it was possibly the most important night in the franchise’s history. The all-too-common narrative around the country is that A’s fans don’t exist. A sentiment that hits the hearts of many in Oakland and east Bay Area personally. The Reverse Boycott was a message sent from the fans directly to Major League Baseball, commissioner Rob Manfred, Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher, and the state of Nevada. 27,759 fans came out to the Oakland Coliseum to support their team and remind everyone that they exist, and under proper ownership, would flourish.

To many, the A’s are more than a baseball team. They are a tradition passed down from generation to generation. A part of the family who you staunchly support and defend. Through thick and thin, ups and downs, what ever life throws at you. The Athletics, Coliseum, and the family of fans who attend games are always there for you. No matter what happened to you, when you get off the BART train at the Coliseum stop, none of it mattered. It didn’t matter who you were, where you came from, age, political beliefs, socio-economic status. When you were at the Coliseum, you were part of the A’s family, supporting the same cause and rooting for a shared goal.

Unfortunately, corporate greed and the mighty dollar all too commonly come before the interests of the fans. The allure and appeal of Nevadans’ hard-earned tax dollars is too strong to John Fisher. In the process, leaving behind the people who have helped support his own family for two decades. So, the fans came together and planned a grassroots reverse boycott to fill the Coliseum one last time. To show everyone “We are here”.

Reverse Boycott Tailgate

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The night began at 3:30 with the Oakland 68’s tailgate. The Oakland 68’s are “LF/RF bleacher diehards, “fAnily” who love and support our A’s and Roots as much as do our city they play in, OAKLAND!”. And independent support group of the Oakland Athletics who you will know from being the drummers in the stadium. This is where fans came together before the game to celebrate and party. Oakland is famous for the tailgates in the Coliseum parking lots before A’s and Raiders games.

At the tailgate there was of course a party going on, but also protests being made, media outlets interviewing fans, a live band, food trucks, and a station to make a sign for the game. Most importantly, this is where you got your “Sell” shirt. The first-ever fully fan-funded shirt giveaway put together by  Last Dive Bar and baseball fans from around the world. The original plan was to collect $25,000 in donations and make 5,000 shirts. In all, Last Dive Bar received over $35,000 in donations and were able to print 7,500 shirts to hand out to fans.

The shirts come as a response to MLB and the Oakland Athletics broadcasts, which have been censoring signs that fans hang on the outfield bleachers. A’s fans are notorious for the signs they hang in the left field and right field bleachers. Many of the fun or comical signs normally adoring the bleachers were switched out with signs criticizing owner since it was announced the team is attempting to move to Las Vegas. You can’t possibly censor the message when nearly every fan has a kelly green sign attached to them.

In Game Protest

During the game, there were protests and chants at the start of every half inning. When the Tampa Bay Rays would come up to bat in the top half of an inning, the fans would chant “Sell the team”. When the A’s came up to bat, the fans chanted “Stay in Oakland”. The drums, which have become synonymous with Oakland A’s games over the years, returned to provide the score for the production. They too had stopped playing in protest of the prospective move.

The bit of protest that garnered the most attention came in the top of the fifth inning. For the first batter of the top of the fifth, Jose Siri, the entire stadium fell into complete silence. This was to honor the 55 years the Athletics have called Oakland home. Once Siri’s at bat finished, the entire stadium erupted in a “Sell the team” chant. This chant was so loud that Athletics pitcher Hogan Harris had to call time out because he thought his telecommunications device had broken. A truly incredible moment, so silent that it was heard around the country. Undoubtedly one of the most special moments to ever happen at the Coliseum and something the fans who were there will never forget.

Where Things Stand Now

The Reverse Boycott might not save the teams future in Oakland. But, it was a clear message to the baseball world, that with competent ownership, Oakland is a baseball city. The stadium bill passed its first hurdle Tuesday when it passed through the Nevada State Senate by a vote of 13-8. The next hurdle is for the bill to be heard by the state Assembly and be put to a vote. If it passes the Assembly it would then go to Governor Joe Lombardo’s desk to be sign into law. Finally, 75% of owners from around the MLB would also need to vote to accept the relocation to Las Vegas. There are a lot of steps, but commissioner Rob Manfred thinks they could be done by the end of the month.

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