OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Just 6,423 fans showed up for the Athletics’ first home game since announcing a deal for land to build a ballpark in Las Vegas, many chanting “Sell the team!” and “Stay in Oakland!” during an 11-7 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night.
“Obviously, they have every right to do what they want and wear whatever T-shirts they want, say what they want, because they paid for their ticket,” A’s second baseman Tony Kemp said. “So yeah, it’s unfortunate that it’s come to this situation.”
Unable to make progress on a new ballpark in the Bay Area and wanting to make plans as the expiration of their Oakland Coliseum lease approaches at the end of the 2024 season, the team announced April 19 that it had signed a binding agreement to purchase land for a new retractable roof ballpark in Las Vegas.
The A’s, led by owner John Fisher, intend to work with Nevada and Clark County on a public-private partnership to fund the stadium. They hope to break ground by next year and move to their new home by 2027.
Fans in the right-field stands brought multiple banners of “Sell” and “Fisher Out.” Those same fans also wore Kelly green shirts with “Sell” written on them and began to walk around the stadium chanting “Sell the team!” throughout.
“The players are in a tough spot just because we feel the support of the fans, but there’s nothing that we can do but go out there and play our best every day,” Kemp said.
The crowd was the team’s sixth under 10,000 in 13 home games. Oakland entered the homestand averaging a major league-low 11,027.
“It was good to see a crowd tonight that was enthusiastic, supportive of us all night,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said.
Nick Senzel had three RBIs and Jake Fraley hit a two-run homer for the Reds, who have won four in a row for the first time since last July 30 to Aug. 2.
Luis Cessa (1-3) gave up three runs and eight hits in five-plus innings, winning for the first time in five starts this year.
Drew Rucinski (0-1) was activated from the injured list and made his Oakland debut. He gave up five runs — three earned — and 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings.
The 34-year-old left-hander made his first big league appearance since 2018 after spending four seasons with South Korea’s NC Dinos. Rucinski signed with Oakland for a $3 million, one-year contract, then strained his left hamstring late in spring training
Shea Langeliers had three RBIs for Oakland, including a run-scoring single in the first.
Senzel’s RBI single and Jose Barrero’s two-run double built a 3-1 lead in the third, and Fraley hit a two-run homer in the fourth.
Oakland’s Brent Rooker had three hits, and Ryan Noda hit his third home run.
“I think the fans have the right to come out and voice their opinions,” Kotsay said. “For us as players, in-game, that’s not really a distraction.”
Reds: Selected the contract of INF Matt Reynolds from Triple-A Louisville and transferred RHP Tony Santillan (right knee strain) to the 60-day IL.
Athletics: RHP Chad Smith was optioned to Triple-A in a corresponding move for Rucinski.
RHP Hunter Greene (0-1) starts Saturday for the Reds against Oakland LHP Kyle Muller (0-2).
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