OAKLAND – Stephen Vogt is one of a handful of players on the A’s roster to know what the Coliseum is like when it’s packed to the brim with fans.
Vogt played a starring role in one of the A’s most dramatic playoff victories at the Coliseum this century, as his ninth-inning walk-off single in Game 2 of the 2013 American League Division Series against the Detroit Tigers gave Oakland a 1-0 win, sending the crowd of 48,292 into a complete frenzy.
A crowd of about half that size showed up to the Coliseum on Monday night to see the A’s beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-1 and to watch the holiday fireworks show afterward.
But the announced attendance of 24,403 still represented a season-high for the A’s at home this season, and Vogt and his teammates said the people in attendance made a huge difference.
“There were a lot of memories of the good times,” said Vogt, who homered in the win. “A packed crowd at the Coliseum — there’s no better place to play Major League Baseball than the Coliseum packed with fans. Clearly, we fed off it tonight.”
Dismayed by A’s ownership’s decision to slash payroll by trading or not re-signing certain veterans, while also jacking up average ticket prices and threatening to relocate to Las Vegas, fans of the team have stayed away from the Coliseum this season in droves.
Entering Monday, the A’s had a combined attendance of 300,912 for 36 home games, a per-game average of 8,358 – easily the smallest figure in MLB. The 29th place team in home attendance, the Miami Marlins, averaged 11,487 through 35 home games.
The A’s averaged 8,767 fans per game last season, although the team wasn’t allowed to open to full capacity until late June. The season’s biggest crowd was 40,133 against the San Francisco Giants on Aug. 20.
This season’s biggest home crowd for the A’s was 17,852 on June 3 against the Boston Red Sox.
There have been 11 home games where the announced attendance was less than 5,000. Perhaps not by coincidence, the A’s are 3-8 in those games and are now 9-28 at home this season.
Monday’s atmosphere was entirely different.
“Loved it,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. “It feels good to play in front of 20,000 or more here at this stadium and to come home successful. It’s always a reward to get a W but to get a W in front of one of our largest crowds of the year, you know, definitely feels good.”
A’s starting pitcher Cole Irvin had his best outing of the season Monday, allowing one run and four hits in eight innings.
“That’s all I can do is just ride the energy of the fans,” Irvin said. “The fans tonight, I’ve got to mention them, they were absolutely dealing. An electric environment, they were there with every pitch and a lot of these young guys got to experience what this place is like when it’s filled out.
“I was riding off the fans a lot today too, so that really helps. I appreciate everyone coming out on the Fourth of July. It’s a lot of fun.”
“The fans were great and like I said, it was good memories and just a lot of a lot of fun tonight to see A’s fans packing out the Coliseum,” Vogt said. “It was loud and just such a fun night.”
Source: Paradise Post