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The Reverse Boycott Game - Athletics 2, Rays 1

28,000 A’s fans flooded the ballpark with demands for the owner to sell the team.

Tampa Bay Rays v Oakland Athletics Photo by Brandon Vallance/Getty Images

The story of tonight’s game is all about the passionate, faithful fans that support the Oakland Athletics. And if you’re skeptical of that opening statement, given the A’s typical attendance below that of some minor league ballparks, consider what happened tonight.

Following the news that the A’s would be moving on from Oakland and pursuing a new ballpark in Las Vegas, multiple fan groups worked together to co-opt Bark at the Park night to become a “Reverse Boycott” with the stated goal of filling the stadium with thirty thousand angry fans.

When the Rays were hitting, throughout the game, the Oakland crowd chanted SELL-THE-TEAM and even had a vuvuzela or two helping the crowd along the way. The chant was loud and consistent throughout the night, save a coordinated moment of silence in the fifth to emphasize the crowd’s impact for everyone watching.

It was moving, and although it sure seems like these fans are about to lose their club to Las Vegas, the 27,759 fans in attendance tonight would go home with a consolation prize of a 2-1 victory over baseball’s best team.

The Game

Both teams had an opener and bulk guy this game, and for the Rays that meant 8 outs from Jalen Beeks, whose change up was great this evening, and the plus splitter of Yonny Chirinos. With one out in the sixth, the A’s were greeted by old friend Jake Deikmann.

The Rays took the first lead of the game on batted balls to left field, with Jose Siri making it to second easily on a shot up the line, and Manuel Margot batting him home on a liner hammered to left. 1-0 Rays

Mejia had an interesting night, as he was charged with an error with one out in the fifth when the swing of the speedy Ruiz caught the edge of Mejia’s mitt, but two pitches later gunned down the runner attempting to steal second base. Oakland attempt to challenge, as the call was quite close with Walls’s tag going under the outstretched arm, but the call was declared stands.

Per the broadcast, Mejia’s poptime on that throw was 1.95 seconds...

Later, in the seventh, Diekman was lifted for Robert Stephenson for the seventh inning. He walked the first batter, coaxed a strikeout and fly out, but then allowed an RBI double that made the audience erupt. 1-1 ballgame.

In the bottom of the eight, the Rays brought in Colin Poche who allowed a single to start his night against right fielder Ramón Laureano. He was bunted over to second and stole third (a play that was reviewed and stands as safe, despite Paredes effectively and legally blocking the bag).

The next batter, Isaac Paredes mad a great dive at a bounding hard grounder that popped the ball over to Franco, resulting in a fielder’s choice and allowing the Rays to get out of the inning on the next batter, a fly out. Of course, Laureano had already scored on the fielder’s choice, though. 2-1 Athletics.

This set up a high leverage opportunity for Trevor May, a closer with two saves and a 7.04 ERA over 15.1 IP, facing 3-4-5 in the Rays order. After a soft flyout, Randy Arozarena had an easy four-pitch walk to get the first baserunner for the Rays, and he immediately took the free pass as an opportunity to steal second.

The call was out, but the crew chief opted to review the play, revealing that the tag hit dirt between Randy’s outstretched arms. Nevertheless, for the third time this evening, the replay review resulted in a stands call.

Isaac Paredes worked a tight zone, 2-out walk, but Jose Siri followed with a strikeout to end the game and give the A’s their seventh consecutive win.

Game Notes

  • Prior to the first pitch, it was announced by the A’s that all proceeds to tonight’s game would be donated to two charities in the Oakland area:
  • Hours before the game started, the Nevada Senate approved a bill for Athletics stadium funding for a floor vote. If passed, it would then need to be approved by the Nevada House and the Governor. Tough timing.
  • The A’s bulk guy was lefty Hogan Harris, who did some fine pitching, throwing 7 IP with very few mistakes. His performance was so strong, it might be easy to miss that by the time his night was done the Rays were essentially out of time, having faced a 100 mph reliever to start the game in Shintaro Fujinami. So, in other words, this is how frustrating it is to face an Opener...
  • You would have no idea Yandy Diaz wasn’t a lifelong 1B with his quality stretches for baseballs this season.
  • Despite a seven game win streak against quality teams, the Rays still have fewer wins (19) than the Rays have losses (22) this season.
  • I’ve shared a few meals with Andy Freed over the years, but never have I ever seen an atrocity like this.

  • Kudos to the fans who printed thousands of Kelly Green SELL shirts for fans throughout the ballpark.
  • When the game ended, many of the fans stayed behind in the stands as security took to the field to make sure those in attendance stayed in their seats, resulting in a bit of a standoff.