In the 2011 film Moneyball, there’s a scene where Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt) is describing the A’s payroll situation. As he so candidly describes, “There are rich teams and there are poor teams. Then there’s 50 feet of crap, and then there’s us.”
The 2023 Oakland Athletics reflect that evaluation in more ways than one. Try pitching, offense, possums – more on that later – and attendance, to name a few areas of concern. It’s all the worst parts of a franchise in freefall, smashed into a 26-man roster and rolled onto the field as if no one would notice.
Why The Oakland A’s Are So Bad
Through 30 games, Oakland is dead last in baseball with a 6-24 record, putting them on pace for 32 wins this year, below the modern-era record of 36-117 set by the Philadelphia Athletics in 1916. The 2023 A’s are also 30th in run differential (-118) and have allowed more runs (232) than the Rangers and Astros combined (221).
Let’s start with this abominable group. In fact, let’s differ to a list of all their terrible achievements.
And that’s just the cherrypicked version of eye-gouging stats. The carousel of pain goes round and round and round. There’s no doubt the rotation is the primary reason Oakland has cratered in the standings, but there are other scapegoats in the organization.
In baseball, it’s hard to win if you don’t spend money (back to our 50 feet of crap analogy). And, boy, A’s ownership keeps its wallet as tight as a gnat’s arse. According to Spotrac, Oakland has committed $58.95 million in payroll this season. For comparison, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, the Mets’ top two pitchers, are making over $86 million.
It’s pretty much impossible to craft a winning season when Jace Peterson ($4.5 million) is your highest-paid player. And, no, if you’re wondering, Peterson is not a good player.
The Curse Of The Possum?
I promised possum discourse, so here it is. Earlier in the year, the Mets’ broadcast team revealed it was banned from using the visiting TV booth because a possum had set up camp inside of it. This mysterious marsupial has reportedly been living in the press box since last season. He’s been elusive, too, as efforts to evict him have failed.
Hey little buddy! Can you pitch?
writing my story, look up and pic.twitter.com/zzB1S5xFkn— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) May 16, 2022
Strangely enough, this isn't the first animal infestation at the Oakland Coliseum. The coronavirus pandemic set up a "boom" in the city's feral cat population, and, at one point last year, an estimated 30 to 40 felines were living in the stadium. The A's are one more species (raccoon, perhaps?) from the best urban petting zoo in baseball.
Oakland A's Betting: Fade With All Your Might
|Bet||Record||Profit ($100 Bets)|
Through 30 games, the betting data reflects the obvious: it’s very profitable to fade the A’s. There’s a lot of chalk in the moneyline strategy, but it’s more reliable than runline – give Oakland some credit for keeping games close.
Oakland A’s Relocation Bid
Unsurprisingly, it appears MLB and the A’s owners have decided Oakland is no longer a viable market for a pro baseball club. Like the Raiders in the NFL, the A’s appear set to move to Las Vegas. Construction on a new stadium in Sin City is imminent, and the club could begin playing there in 2027.
Here’s why the A’s are relocating.
Attendance Is Down
The A’s have averaged less than 9,960 fans per game this year, by far the lowest in baseball (Marlins average 13,200). If this measly audience continues, that'll be two consecutive seasons with the worst attendance.
Attendance for baseball games on April 4, 2023 👀— Sporting News MLB (@sn_mlb) April 5, 2023
AAA game: 9548
AAA game: 9229
AAA game: 8305
AAA game: 8222
AAA game: 6950
AAA game: 6915
AAA game: 6639
AAA game: 6382
AAA game: 5953
AAA game: 5172
AAA game: 3835
Oakland A's: 3407
AAA game: 3200
AAA game: 2453
h/t @jjcoop36 pic.twitter.com/f2o7tesXa5
In a gargantuan home stadium, the absence of crowd members is very noticeable. And the most passionate A’s fans – they do exist, apparently – have begun wearing bags on their heads, encouraging ownership to sell the team rather than relocate.
The Oakland Coliseum Sucks
Not only does the Coliseum suck the life out of offenses, but it also drains the existence of any “ballpark” ambiance. With a maximum capacity of 63,000 and more foul ground than any other stadium, the A’s home park is very clearly better geared for football or soccer.
This towering concrete structure isn’t helping the A’s at all. It’s time to say goodbye.
Why Vegas Is The Right Choice
Geographically, Vegas is a great call. The Dodgers and Giants would siphon some of the fanbase away, but there’s an easy route to the Sin City Athletics becoming a beloved new West Coast club.
And as far as entertainment, there’s no better spot. Sports gambling – especially on baseball – is growing, and we’ve also seen how successful the Golden Knights, for example, have been in creating an electric home atmosphere.
MLB will expand soon, too. Nashville is on the horizon – and a complementary team in Vegas would go a lot for getting more eyeballs on the sport. In every way imaginable, a Vegas club is better than this rinky-dink situation in Oakland.