Athletics fans are ready to move on from the bad break-ups of seasons past onto the fresher, younger version of their team.
And although feeling confident with the new members of the squad, A’s fans expressed optimism, excitement and skepticism of what the new season holds during opening week.
Avid A’s fan Taylor Fernandez, 23, expressed her feelings on this year’s team:
“I felt as though I wanted to give up on the 2015 season right then and there (after the off-season moves). I was a little worried, just because it’s basically a different team with a bunch of players nobody has heard of. I don’t know that they’ll be as good as they have been these past few years, but I’m hoping they’ll prove me wrong.”
The first A’s team inherited by manager Bob Melvin lost in the first round of the playoffs. In the final game.
That same team did it again the next year. To the same opponent, the Detroit Tigers. Both game five losses took place at the Oakland coliseum. And with Justin Verlander as the opposing starter.
A’s fans want to get over the hump. They feel they deserve better, especially after the team they grew to love was sent packing for younger, fresher players.
Fernandez shared some optimism:
“I think as the season goes on, it’ll be a roller coaster in the best way possible.”
The A’s best player over the last three seasons, Josh Donaldson, was one of them. Contributing to offensive success is Mark Canha, who has put up one homer on the season already, with six RBI’s and eight hits in four games.
He also wears Donaldson’s old number.
That makes it a little easier for fans to seek assistance from a local tailor, and get back some of the $150 spent on a jersey that is no longer current.
Or just improvise with some duct tape.
Donaldson Who? pic.twitter.com/JSYkM2I6XE
— Manny (@MannyByNature) April 11, 2015
At least A’s fans know how to keep a sense of humor. And, for the most part, they are used to the roster changes that seem inevitable when a player has reached the climax of his career.
An A’s fan who identified himself only as Brian said:
“I don’t feel jaded as a fan. I just know that the historic apathy of ownership has led Beane to continue his revolving door. But it’s hard to build up the fan base with increased attendance when players are constantly cycled out. It’s a mix of the challenges of revenue from the coliseum and ownership pinching pennies to the extreme. It’s not one or the other in my opinion. So I think it does created jaded fans. Particularly from the die-hards who really follow closely.”
“The Donaldson thing bothers me in that he took the well known “criticisms” of his employer out into social media. No matter how right or justified his responses were. No employer, baseball or otherwise, would let an employee openly criticize them without any reprimand. Add the rumors of Donaldson’s friction with Beane, and the whole thing just makes me frustrated. With Reddick, despite his off-field antics and his choice of locker room photography, he’s been a good soldier in terms of towing the company line. He has been a little critical but has shown tremendous loyalty in the front office. I don’t think the Donaldson thing was handled well and am still down on that trade as well as Cespedes.”
Another fan, Jesse Kingdon, 25, said:
“I’m over the off season moves. We lost some fan favorites, but I have confidence in Beane. We haven’t won less than 74 games since he came to Oakland. Only the Yankees and Cardinals can say that since Beane came, and they obviously have much larger payrolls.”
The A’s are 26th in payroll, the Cardinals are 13th, and Yankees are 2nd behind only the Dodgers.
Of 12 people interviewed at the Coliseum on opening night, every fan expressed optimism. One fan felt jaded. They all said that spring training encouraged them. And they all were excited about the new year.
*All payroll information courtesy of Spotrac.com