May 29, 2013. My first ever baseball game. It was the Oakland Athletics squaring off against the San Francisco Giants in what then was known as AT&T Park. I was sitting in the nosebleeds when the Giants dropped the game 6-9.
It was the first of many Giants games, as well as A’s games, that I would attend in my life.
I never really liked the A’s, and especially their stadium. From the rat infestations to the broken seats, the Coliseum always felt like a dump to me. Maybe I’m just spoiled as a Giants fan to have a stadium such as Oracle Park. With views of the city, a huge Coca-Cola bottle sliding out in left field and seagulls pooping on you during late innings, it doesn’t get better than that.
I always looked at the Giants as the superior team in the Bay. To be honest, I didn’t care at all for the A’s. They never excited me, never enticed me and I never rooted for them — unless it was against the Dodgers.
As a baseball fan, though, I wanted better for the A’s fans whose favorite team was struggling. I wished for the team to move out of the Oakland Coliseum. When rumors circulated about the franchise moving to Las Vegas, I was stoked. This meant a new stadium and a new era of Athletics baseball.
But what I didn’t realize was that for some fans, this meant a piece of their childhood was abandoning their home.
For the Giants, San Francisco has been home for 65 years. Though rumors circulated in 1992 of the team moving to Tampa Bay, they remained in SF because they were taken in by owners who wanted to keep the franchise in the city. For the A’s, a team that claims to be “Rooted in Oakland” seems to have owners who completely disregard this saying, and look at money opportunities such as Vegas over their fans.
You would think that the most noise in a stadium would come from winning a championship. But a team being threatened to relocate after more than 50 years of rich history brings fans together as a community to deliver a strong, clear message: “Sell the team! Sell the team! Sell the team!”
It’s truly incredible how this movement has spread throughout not just the baseball world, but national media. It all started with a plan for a reverse boycott, in which A’s fans would fill the Coliseum during a random weeknight, demonstrating their presence and existence. This would lead to even more boycotts and a period known as the “Summer of Sell.”
Their dedication to spreading the message is unmatched — you will see members of the Oakland 68’s in the outfield bleacher seats putting small “Unite the Bay” cheer cards in cupholders, going from section to section across each row. Prior to their disgust with the ownership, you would hear them out in the bleachers every day banging their drums. Now, instead of seeing posters and banners hung in the outfield with their support of their team, it’s all posters and banners with resentment towards the owners.
The message has been popularized so much that they’ve even caused Major League Baseball to blur anything “sell” related.
Looking back at some memorable moments at the Coliseum really makes you wonder where all the time went when fans packed it out — when they clinched the division in game 162 back in 2012 or when Coco Crisp walked off the Detroit Tigers in game four of the 2012 ALDs to keep their postseason alive or back in 2019 when they set a wild card game attendance record of 54,005.
Even going further back in time, remembering when Scott Hatteberg sent a walk-off homerun to right field to extend the “Moneyball” A’s winning streak to 20 games or when Rickey Henderson swiped his 939th career stolen base to set the all-time record makes you wonder the same.
I’ve never really liked the A’s my whole life. But their fans, who have lived through so much history at Oakland Coliseum, deserve so much better.
John Fisher — sell the team.
Sincerely, a Giants fan.