A’s fans have duty to keep showing up

Tigers star right-hander Justin Verlander has pitched big games in Yankee Stadium. He’s hurled against tough crowds in Fenway Park. He’s thrown in Busch Stadium during the World Series.

But the toughest atmosphere Verlander said he’s ever pitched in? Last Thursday at the O.co Coliseum.

That’s a strong statement about A’s fans, who should be praised for creating a tough environment for opponents to play in.

Now those same fans have a duty to show up next year. They have a duty to come out for home game No. 1 and home game No. 45. They shouldn’t be allowed to just show up for home game No. 81 and act like everything’s cool.

A’s fans, I don’t want to see crowds of 10,000 people anymore. I don’t expect you to sellout every game —  heck, the Giants don’t even do that, no matter what they try to tell you.

But if you truly love the A’s, there should at least 30,000 people in that stadium every night.

I know, I know, you don’t like the owner and you think by not showing up, you’re sticking it to him. Actually, it’s the other way around.

If you show up, it shows that Oakland does have a solid fan base and that Oakland can support a team. When 10,000 people show up every night, you’re making Lew Wolff’s point.

You want to keep the A’s in Oakland? Fill that stadium for all 81 home games next year. If 30,000+ fans show up every night, even Bud Selig would have a hard time allowing the team to relocate.

A’s closer Grant Balfour told Melissa Lockard of Oakland Clubhouse that he believes the team fed off the crowd during their playoff run:

“I hope to see crowds like that every game next year. You saw how we played when they come out like that. We do some special things.”

Tigers manager Jim Leyland felt the crowd presence during Game 5 of the ALDS and actually told one of his coaches they needed to take the crowd out of the game:

“I don’t know if you believe this, (but) I told one of my coaches on the bench, I said, ‘We need about a four spot to take this crowd out of this thing.”

After Sunday night’s ALCS game between the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees, Tigers outfielder Quintin Berry gave the ultimate criticism to the famed Yankee Stadium crowd and while doing so, spoke highly of the A’s crowds he played in front of last week:

“This (Yankee Stadium) is a very easy place to play now. Coming from Oakland, the fans there were so rowdy. It was easier to come here.”

So my message to A’s fans: You are a good, loyal fan base. I know you love your team. The players on the field realize that when you show up, it’s a great place for the home team to play in and a tough place for the opposing team to play in. So no more pathetic crowds. No more crowds so small that I can count the number of fans in each section.

Show up next year. Show up against Toronto. Show up against Houston. Show up against Kansas City. Just because the A’s aren’t playing the Yankees or the Giants doesn’t mean it’s not an important game. It doesn’t mean you don’t have to show up.

The A’s have finished 12th, 13th or last in attendance in the American League the last seven years, including 12th this year. It’s time for A’s fans to change that.