One of the biggest memories most fans will have of the ALDS will be the raucous crowds that packed the O.co Coliseum. Seemingly those crowds not only left a lasting impression on baseball fans everywhere, but on members of the Detroit Tigers themselves. Outfielder Quintin Berry told Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan that Yankee Stadium “is a very easy place to play now.” He added “Coming from Oakland, the fans there were so rowdy. It was easier to come here.”
I bet you didn’t ever expect to hear someone say that. The outright chaotic scene that took place in Oakland during the playoffs, coupled with an apathetic, grumpy fan base at Yankee Stadium has turned the Bronx from a place that was once feared by opposing players to a place where opposing players feel they can relax when they play. Meanwhile the O.co Coliseum, commonly known as the final multi use stadium in baseball, the place that tarps off its upper deck, has proved to be quite the opposite of what Yankee Stadium has become.
While the crowds that come to see the A’s play has dwindled drastically over the years since their last playoff appearance prior to this season in 2006, the passion of those who did attend never waned. Perhaps what took place over the last week of the regular season, and the ALDS was that the passion of the few inspired the many.
Fans of the Oakland Athletics haven’t had much to feel proud of over the last few years, and this season not only did the team’s play on the field give the fans something to to take pride in, their undying support for the team was amazing as well. It may be cold comfort to know that the A’s participation in the 2012 playoffs resonated beyond just their presence in the opening series, but this could be the building block for this fan base that brings this team back from the bottom of the barrel in the eyes of casual fans.
As winter comes and goes, and the 2013 season begins to draw nearer the Oakland Athletics and their fans will be on a mission, to prove that what took place in Oakland over the final weeks of the season was not a fluke, not a mirage. In 2013 the Athletics fans can make a statement that they embrace their team and turn the O.co Coliseum into a place that every opposing team circles on their schedules as a challenging place to play. On the flip side, the men donning the green and gold notice that passion as well, and they clearly feed off it. They want to feel that passion from the fans. So while our team continues to hang in stadium limbo as Bud Selig and his blue ribbon committee continue to stall making a decision about the A’s future. The A’s fans can state their own case for making the Athletics prominent team once again, people notice, our players notice, and the opponents notice as well.