Earlier this week, the A's Internet world was up in arms over a Tweet done by A's pitcher Brad Ziegler's.
"Do people really think that boycotting baseball games in Arizona is going to eventually lead to removal of the new immigration law? All it's going to do is hurt the D-backs. It's not much fun to play in front of an empty stadium in your home park. We're going through that when A's fans boycott our games because ownership has threatened to move the team. The lack of fans gives them all the more reason to seek other alternatives for a new home city. And the players get punished, having to play in an empty stadium for something that we have nothing to do with. You can make your opinions known in lots of ways, but ultimately, boycotting games affects the players more than the owners. Just remember, to most owners, having a baseball team is a hobby on the side. They all made their money elsewhere before buying the team. Sorry for the political rant. Just wish true fans would seek alternative ways of protesting other than boycotting games. Don’t punish US …"
While I understand Ziegler's frustration, blaming fans for the problem is the wrong answer. No one is "boycotting" A's games. Despite our frustrations with current team management, we here at BaseballOakland actively encourage more people to come to the Coliseum and enjoy our Oakland A's.
Fans have been expressing their frustration in other ways while still attending A's games. Take the case of dedicated A's fan Jorge Leon. He has never boycotted an A's game and he attends 40+ games a year. However, that hasn't stopped Leon from expressing his frustration in other ways. Bringing signs and banners to the stadium to protest the A's actions has been his way of protesting, yet it has him running afoul of A's management. Fortunately, the word has gotten out to not only the East Bay Express, but also Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle, and even the sports page of The New York Daily News.
While we understand that the A's can set their own policies about what is hung, removing signs that protest ownership shows a remarkably thin skin by A's owners. Why is it that signs that have taunted David Justice, Derek Jeter, the Red Sox and others were allowed, yet signs criticizing Lew Wolff are not? Lew Wolff pulls no punches in blaming the city and fans for his problems. Why can't fans be allowed to express their own frustrations? Limiting signs only shows how much the message is trying to be controlled and distorted by ownership. You would think that a professional organization like the A's would have better things to worry about then fans' signs.