The Nevada Senate cleared a hurdle Tuesday for a new A’s stadium in Las Vegas, just hours before fans in Oakland engaged in a “reverse boycott” to urge majority owner John Fisher to sell the franchise.
The boycott prompted a season-high 27,759 fans to show up at the 46,847-seat Oakland Coliseum, where they watched the A’s score a 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays and repeatedly rained down chants of “sell the team.”
The win was a remarkable seventh straight for the worst team in baseball, including two straight over a Rays team with MLB’s best record. Hogan Harris recorded the win after allowing the single earned run and four hits in seven innings on the mound. Pinch-hitting catcher Carlos Pérez knocked in the game-winning run on an RBI groundout in the seventh inning.
After the win, fans threw trash on the field from the stands as Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration” blared over the stadium’s loudspeakers.
A’s 1 step closer to Las Vegas
Earlier Tuesday, Nevada senators voted 13-8 to approve $380 million in taxpayer funds toward a proposed baseball stadium on the Las Vegas Strip at the site of the Tropicana hotel and casino. Fisher, estimated by Forbes to have a net worth of $2.2 billion, seeks to move the team to Las Vegas after years of failed talks to raise public funds for a new Bay Area home for the A’s, who are playing in the 57-year-old Oakland Coliseum.
The Las Vegas Journal-Review reports that Tuesday’s Senate vote was bipartisan with Democrats and Republicans voting both for and against the bill.
The A’s initially reached an agreement with Bally’s Corp. in May to build the proposed 30,000-seat stadium that’s expected to cost $1.5 billion. The issue will now go to the 42-member state Assembly after Tuesday’s Senate approval.
If passed by a majority in the Assembly, the bill would then go to the desk of Gov. Joe Lombardo, who supports baseball in Las Vegas and called the special session for Tuesday’s Senate vote. At that point, the A’s move to Las Vegas would require approval by 75% of MLB owners.
‘Reverse Boycott’ prompts largest A’s crowd of season
Fans showed up up early to Tuesday’s game to voice their displeasure. A’s fan and organizer Stu Clary previously urged fans on social media to attend Tuesday’s game to “pack the Coli on a random weeknight” and show MLB “that us fans are not the problem.”
Oakland Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan issued support of reverse boycott in a statement to the Associated Press Monday.
“I want to thank and appreciate the fans who organized the incredible reverse boycott for Tuesday, and encourage people to attend the A’s game tomorrow,” her statement read.
The reverse boycott arrived amid declining attendance at A’s games. Prior to Tuesday’s game, the A’s averaged 8,555 fans per home game, the lowest attendance in MLB for a second consecutive season. Their previous season-high for attendance was 26,805 on opening day. The A’s entered Tuesday with baseball’s worst record at 18-50 as Fisher has declined to invest in a winning roster. Per Spotrac, the A’s have the lowest payroll in MLB.
Fans show up early
Fans started arriving to the parking lot in the hours prior to first pitch. Some who showed up early started a “Stay in Oakland” chant in the parking lot.
Fans sported green shirts emblazoned with the word “sell” in a message to Fisher that’s been repeated at home games throughout the 2023 season.
Those without “sell” shirts had the opportunity to pick one up on site.
There was also a painting station for fans to create signs.
Once the game started, fans carried the “sell the team” and “stay in Oakland” messages inside the stadium.
Fans also made clear their feelings about Fisher.
The A’s responded to the reverse boycott by pledging to donate all gate revenue from Tuesday’s game to the Alameda County Community Food Bank and the Oakland Public Education Fund. The revenue added up to $811,107.
The A’s have two games remaining in their homestand against the Rays.