John Shea, the Chronicle's baseball writer, defended Oakland baseball fans against Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson's anti-A's-fan rant last week. Wilson made wisecracks about recent A's attendance.
But Shea wrote:
... there's no doubt he (Wilson) knows little about A's history and how they outdrew the Giants 17 times in their first 25 times in Oakland. Fast-forward to 2011, and it's not the fans' fault the A's are heading for a fifth non-winning season, or that Mount Davis sucked all the quaint out of the Coliseum, or that the upper deck is tarped, or that FanFest was canceled, etc.
Shea then equated the A's the with the Giants, echoing what Andy Dolich said in a recent Oakland Tribune article. Shea noted that not that long ago it was the A's who were the Bay Area darlings, winning a World Series in a nice ballpark, while the Giants were losing games and fans in a chilly, unpopular stadium. Shea wrote:
Once upon a time, the A's were close to drawing 3 million, and now they're struggling to get half of that. It's reminiscent of the old Candlestick days, when the Giants struggled at the gate but had a legendary core of fans that kept the team breathing.
And leave it to Oakland-born and Alameda-raised Jimmy Rollins, the Phillies All-Star shortstop, to say it best:
"When I was growing up, they (Giants fans) weren't always packing the house, but the people who showed up at Candlestick were loud and crazy. All that's changed is the number of people showing up to the games."
Shea concludes by noting that one other thing has changed: the venue. Namely, depressing Candlestick Park was traded for popular AT&T Park. He wrote:
Of course (more Rangers fans show up to games). It's a superior ballpark and houses a superior team ... But the venue doesn't make the fans. The venue simply helps bring 'em out.
And we can't wait until that new venue is a sparkling Oakland ballpark near Jack London Square.