Looking for spring training sunshine? Don’t expect much from A’s or SF Giants fans

Looking for spring training sunshine? Don’t expect much from A’s or SF Giants fans

If you grew up in a family like mine, then the moment the clock hits 0:00 during the Super Bowl marks the unofficial start to baseball season.

Now, a few days later, pitchers and catchers are beginning to report all across the MLB today, with the A’s reporting Wednesday and the Giants holding their first workout on Thursday.

Usually, this kickoff to spring training carries with it some joy and optimism for a successful season — after all, the cliche is “hope springs eternal” for a reason.

But for both of the Bay Area’s teams, it’s hard to feel all that hopeful about the 2023 season.

In fact, it’s fair to wonder which fanbase feels more frustrated entering spring training.

First, A’s fans have been dealing with their seemingly endless search for a new stadium — it’s been so long that, if the search were a person, it’d be old enough to drink now.

And while the A’s leadership continues to gauge interest in moving to Las Vegas, including visiting locations in Sin City at the start of this month, there has continued to be steady — albeit slow — progress at Howard Terminal.

That progress has been slow enough that the core from the 2018-2020 playoff runs — the one that A’s ownership was hoping to carry into a brand-new ballpark and then, potentially, retain — has been broken up via trades.

After ownership expressed a desire that the team on the field would be a core funded by a new ballpark, that core has once again been broken up, traded off to other ballclubs where the players can be paid more than the A’s were willing to offer.

Now, the only A’s players left who have been in Oakland since 2019 are pitcher Paul Blackburn and outfielders Ramón Laureano and Seth Brown — and they may not still be here for much longer, either.

For the A’s fans who have remained strong after all these years, trading away known and familiar faces like Matt Olson and Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea and Sean Murphy, Chris Bassitt and Frankie Montas might have been the last straw.

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – JULY 05: Toronto Blue Jays’ Matt Chapman #26 is congratulated by Cavan Biggio #8 after hitting a two-run home run off Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Adrian Martinez #55 in the second inning of their MLB game at the Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, July 5, 2022. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

Last season’s 60-win A’s team drew 787,902 fans for a full season — meaning nearly a million fewer people came out to the Coliseum than the last non-pandemic-impacted season in baseball (1.67 million in 2019).

And the average attendance of 9,973 fans per game was the first time an MLB team averaged fewer than 10,000 fans per game since the 2004 Expos — their final season in Montreal.


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