On Monday night, I went with some buddies to the Oakland Coliseum to watch the Oakland Athletics take on the Boston Red Sox. This isn't the first time that I have seen the Red Sox come to Oakland, so I knew that there would be a good handful or Red Sox fans at the game.
However, this was the first time that I sat near the visiting dugout. I was surrounded by few A's fans and many people wearing Boston Red Sox gear. I don't want to call them fans, because well, I am not sure if they were fans.
Now, I don't want to say that all of them weren't fans. I believe that some of them are really fans of the Red Sox. But I got a feeling that some of them were just "fans" of the Red Sox because it was a popular thing to do since 2004. Were all these people really from Boston? I don't think they were.
As the game came towards the end, the people in Red Sox gear started to cheer much louder than the A's fans did all night. And it just bothered me to see all these people on the bandwagon. I don't remember this many fans when I went to see the Red Sox play prior to 2004.
It makes me think about the baseball experience for the Oakland A's. It has been well-documented that the attendance for the A's has been really bad recently. Part of that is due to the product on the field. The other part is the environment of the Coliseum. The stadium is in bad shape and the ownership has not done much to convince the fans to come to the games. I can imagine why fans wouldn't want to "jump on the A's bandwagon" or whatever.
These Red Sox bandwagon fans were just very full of themselves. They all kept cheering for the Red Sox at every opportunity. This one mother wearing California style clothing started bouncing up and down the aisles with her daughter wearing a Red Sox shirt right in front of me throughout the game. Just everywhere I looked, I just felt that I was surrounded by people that probably weren't baseball fans, but rather fans of being part of Red Sox Nation.
I don't even think Red Sox Nation exists. I think it's a collection of people who want to pretend to be sports fans and decided to choose an East Coast team with a rich history because ESPN's coverage of them makes them think they are popular.
I look at the Oakland Athletics and I actually feel bad for the team. Having fans from the opposition outnumber that of the home team's fan is pretty sad. And the experience was just hard to take. It's going to be just like that for the next two games.
It would be nice to have A's fans show up to the games and be loud for their team. But that's not going to happen. Until the team on the field plays with consistency and the team ownership decides to make major changes, the A's will still be at the bottom of the ladder.
There's a hope in me that in a couple years, the A's will be back to contention for the division title. Like the early part of this century, the A's were winning games and producing great crowds. Back then, the entire Coliseum was filled with mostly A's fans. The atmosphere was electric for every game. That's something I want back. It was truly unforgettable.
I've even signed up to be an extra in the new "Moneyball" movie because I want to relive the moments when baseball was important in Oakland. I miss the good times.
Until then, I think I will just have to wait until the Red Sox start struggling mightily and no longer be playoff contenders. The bandwagon fans will go away and maybe I can watch the game in peace. Then can I go see the Red Sox and be surrounded by more A's fans than Red Sox fans.
It's going to take a lot to see the Coliseum filled with A's fans again.