The Oakland A's had their largest attendance of the 2023 season Tuesday when 27,759 fans showed up, many of whom were engaging in a reverse boycott of the team's potential move to Las Vegas.
The A's have had the worst attendance in Major League Baseball, along with the league's worst record. But none of that seemed to matter Tuesday when the A's won their seventh game in a row, defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1.
Attendance at A's games has crumbled as the team's ownership has worked on a deal to move the team to Las Vegas. Thirteen of the team's 14 previous games drew below 10,000 fans. Through Tuesday, Oakland averaged 9,137 fans per game, which is nearly 2,400 fewer than second-to-last Miami.
Thousands of fans were given free T-shirts and chants of "sell the team" could be heard throughout the game. Hundreds of miles away in Nevada, the state's Senate approved a bill to earmark $380 million in public funds for a new A's ballpark on the Las Vegas Strip.
The bill goes to the Nevada Assembly for a vote next week.
If the A's move, it would result in Oakland losing all three of its professional sports teams in just a few years. The Oakland Raiders moved to Las Vegas in 2020. The Golden State Warriors moved to San Francisco in 2019.
The protests have gotten the attention of federal lawmakers. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-California, sent MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred a letter questioning MLB's antitrust exemptions. Lee said that MLB needed the exemption to prevent teams from moving to other cities.
"MLB's continued active encouragement of the A's abandonment of Oakland and the East Bay runs counter the rationale supporting MLB's century's old exemption from federal anti-trust law," Lee wrote. "I ask you to reconsider efforts to subsidize or otherwise encourage the relocation of the Oakland A's out of the East Bay.”
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