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Oakland A’s fans react to move: Anger, frustration, and disgust

Geoffrey Morgan, 43, sits at the bar at George and Walt’s in Oakland on Thursday. | Jason Henry for The Standard

Anger, frustration, sadness, disgust and apathy.

It’s hard to characterize all of the emotions Oakland and East Bay residents feel less than 24 hours after the team announced its plans to move to Las Vegas, but most fit under one of those five categories.

“It’s absolutely despicable carelessness from the ownership,” said 35-year-old Juraj Cech. “I feel dragged along.”

Cech grew up in Virginia but moved to Oakland after college and embraced the A’s during their improbable 94-win 2012 season, when they won the American League West on the final day of the season.

“I have friends who are East Bay natives who are lifelong A’s fans,” he added. “It’s devastating.”

Pedestrians pass a mural featuring the Oakland Athletics mascot, Stomper, in Oakland on Thursday. | Jason Henry for The Standard

John Kirby isn’t a lifelong A’s fan. The 76-year-old was born when the team was still in Philadelphia, and grew up as a Boston Red Sox fan in Massachusetts. He’s still loyal to New England teams, but has a soft spot for Bay Area teams.

Or at least, in the A’s case, he did before the team thumbed their noses at the area.

“They need to go. They want the fans to want them to go,” Kirby said while watching the Sevilla-Manchester United soccer game at The Athletic Club in Oakland on Thursday afternoon. “They’ve worked Oakland for all the money they can get. It’s regrettable.”

Shortly after the purchase was announced, Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao explained that she plans to end negotiations with the team over the Howard Terminal site.

“If they leave, there’s no reason to have any sort of alliance with them,” said 43-year-old Geoffrey Morgan at Rockridge sports bar George & Walt’s. “I’ll miss taking BART to the game and barely watching while getting drunk with my friends. I’m gonna be a (San Francisco) Giants fan now, like everybody else.”

A sticker reads "STAY" with the Oakland Athletics colors and logo at Oakandish on Broadway in Oakland on Thursday. | Jason Henry for The Standard

The Giants stand to benefit financially from becoming the lone Major League Baseball team in the Bay Area. They previously blocked a potential A’s ballpark in San Jose, citing territorial rights that the A’s had ceded to them in the 1980s.

“I think it’s for real this time,” 60-year-old Mary Fairwell said of the move. “I don’t think it’s the mayor or the city. They tried, but the money just isn’t there.”

Disgust with ownership is the most common refrain across the Bay Area. On Thursday morning, the Oakland 68s, the organized fan group in the right field bleachers, tweeted that they would no longer drum at games to support the team. Drums in the bleachers have been a staple at the Coliseum for decades, and were even included in the artificial crowd noise that filled the stadium in the 2020 season. Even on nights where attendance dipped south of 3,000, the drums were there.

A pedestrian walks past the Oaklandish store, which Oakland Athletics merchandise in the window, on Thursday. | Jason Henry for The Standard

Now, they may never come back. Not unless someone like Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob, who wanted to buy the team nearly two decades ago, comes in at the last moment. If someone like Lacob comes in, like Peter Magowan did for the Giants or Vivek Ranadivé did for the Sacramento Kings, they’d have to do so with an offer that convinces John Fisher to sell the team, and he doesn’t seem to have any plans of selling.

“To have the audacity to blame the city or the fans is disgusting,” Cech said. “These last couple years have been brutal, but they’ve been brutal by design by this ownership.”