A grass-roots group looking to keep the A's in Oakland yesterday delivered a letter to team ownership "demanding the club remove the upper-deck tarps" for today's ALDS Game 4 against the Tigers, according to Susan Slusser of the S.F. CHRONICLE. However, the team said that it "could not oblige, due to a lack of ticket demand and logistical concerns." The group, which calls itself "Let's Go Oakland," said 10,102 A's fans are "being denied the right to attend the ALDS because there are no more seats available." A's Owner Lew Wolff said, "Playoff strips have been on sale since the end of August. People have had more than a month to purchase seats. If there was the level of fan interest to take off the tarps, it would have been evident." Wolff added the team "did not sell out Game 4 until" Monday. A's VP/Stadium Operations David Rinetti said that it "takes two days to arrange for a specialized crew to remove the tarps and for them to carry out the work." Wolff said that the team is considering removing the tarp for the ALCS "should ticket sales justify it" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/10). In N.Y., Jason Turbow writes the tarps have been in place "under the theory that sparse crowds look better when compressed into smaller areas." An unintended bonus "has been the increased opportunity for fans and players to interact." But now the A's are "finally managing to sell out the yard, which happened only six times during the regular season, three games of which were populated largely by Giants fans for an interleague matchup." A's CF Coco Crisp said, "In Oakland, you see the same faces every day. There's a familiarity that's good for the fans and good for us players" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/10).
THESE GO TO ELEVEN: In San Jose, Mark Purdy writes fans at O.co Coliseum for Tigers-A's ALDS Game 3 yesterday "simply decided to turn up the volume knob to 11." A's players "deserve credit" for building the atmosphere, but "all of them gave at least some credit to the 37,090 fans who showed up and kept the Coliseum rocking all night long." A's P Sean Doolittle said, "We get a kick of how into the game they are. The way they play off what we're doing is awesome." Purdy writes when Crisp "climbed the outfield wall for a ridiculous home run take-away catch" and LF Yoenis Céspedes "dove for another preposterous defensive gem, the decibels seemed to push each man the final few inches to grab each ball." AT&T Park "can be quite noisy for Giants' games but seldom if ever crosses the pandemonium bar." Yesterday, O.co Coliseum "did that about five times" in the "first inning alone" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 10/10). The S.F. CHRONICLE's Slusser writes A's players were "unanimous in their praise for the rowdy Coliseum." P Grant Balfour said, "They're awesome. You saw how loud they were, how pumped up they were" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/10).
The Orioles are in the midst of their first postseason appearance since '97, and Owner Peter Angelos "is encountering more public good will than he has in 15 years," according to a front-page piece by Childs Walker of the Baltimore SUN. Even "past critics say this season has boosted a legacy that had soured over years of losing." Angelos has "mostly chosen to remain cloistered in his downtown law office or his suite at Camden Yards, eschewing the spotlight as much as he did when his team was losing." A postgame clubhouse appearance after Monday's ALDS Game 2 victory over the Yankees "was his first on any public stage during the playoff run, and even then, he politely declined interview requests." Both Orioles Exec VP/Baseball Operations Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter "have praised Angelos as an encouraging presence throughout the year." Duquette said, "I can't speak for him, but I know that he's enjoyed the team being in the pennant race. You know, his focus is on the fans and the community. To the extent that we can give back to the fans and connect with the fans, I think that's very gratifying to Mr. Angelos." Duquette "describes an owner who barely resembles the man once derided for overruling his baseball executives and rashly pursuing faded free agents." He said Angelos has "been very supportive in encouraging us to find solutions." But Walker writes, "Despite all the fun of this season, the story of Peter Angelos remains a mixed one for many Orioles fans." There is "little question they have dialed down their vitriol toward the owner, but many say they have not forgiven him for the club's long downturn" (Baltimore SUN, 10/10).
BIG FAN OF THE FANS: In Baltimore, Kevin Cowherd writes for two "wonderful nights," Orioles fans "showed the entire country this could still be a great baseball town, no matter how big the Ravens are." The scene at Camden Yards for Yankees-Orioles ALDS Games 1 and 2 "was this mass exorcism of 14 years of losing." Cowherd: "On the two biggest nights of this magical season, you were among the best fans on the planet" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 10/9).
After advancing to the NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals last season, the Pacers "seem to have begun digging themselves out of a deep financial hole several years in the making," according to Anthony Schoetle of the INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. Pacers officials said that season-ticket renewals “are near 90 percent, overall season-ticket sales are up 30 percent, and sponsorship sales are up almost 20 percent and climbing.” Pacers Sports & Entertainment Senior VP & Chief Sales & Marketing Officer Todd Taylor said that "suite sales -- super soft for more than five years -- are on the rise, too.” He added that all 28 suites on the Founders Level “are sold out, as are about half of the 43 suites on the Club Level." Taylor also noted that increasing season-ticket renewal "was the first step in making gains." The next step was "ratcheting up advertising at least 10 percent this off-season -- especially for six- and 11-game packages." Taylor "declined to predict specific attendance" for the '12-13 season, but said that he is "confident the team will nearly double the six sellouts of last year." Pacers officials "expect average home attendance to approach 16,000 -- a number that hasn't been eclipsed" since the '05-06 season. But better ticket sales "aren't the only selling points for sponsors." A new scoreboard and sound system "will blast out sponsor messages, and the team will be on national TV seven times this year, compared with once last year." FS Indiana will "televise the remainder of the games, making this the first season every Pacers game will be televised." The team also has "signed seven new sponsors, including Ford Motor Co., IUPUI, Mitsubishi, Roberts Camera, Great Clips and Stonegate Mortgage." Taylor "anticipates signing up to seven more in the weeks after the season opens." He added that the "massive" new scoreboard has created a "buzz with current and potential sponsors." The team "will not use the scoreboard and new sound system until the regular-season opener"(INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/8 issue).
SUPPLY & DEMAND: In Indianapolis, Michael Pointer wrote “things are looking up” for the Pacers. But Fanfare Tickets Owner Renny Harrison said that it was “hard to tell how much that enthusiasm has carried over to the ticket marketplace.” Harrison: “I would say overall that for the marquee games … those seem to be selling a little better than in past years. With that being said, it's still too early to say what overall demand is going to be like.” Taylor said that the Pacers “do not benefit directly from the money spent on the secondary ticket market but ... he does follow it." Taylor: “It’s potentially a big positive. When people are buying and selling our tickets above the price we assign them, that tell[s] us there’s a demand out there, sort of a third-party strength and a demand for our brand” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 10/9).
D'Backs Managing Partner Ken Kendrick "knows that some of the comments he's made this season didn't win him universal approval," but yesterday suggested "there were things happening behind the scenes that prompted him to speak," according to Nick Piecoro of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Kendrick twice "made waves this season with candid interviews on local radio stations." In June, he "criticized shortstop Stephen Drew for his slow return to health and called right fielder Justin Upton an 'enigma' for his sluggish start at the plate." Last week, he "took aim at pitching prospect Trevor Bauer, painting the right-hander as obstinate and immature." Kendrick's "outspokenness is refreshing." His comments "can give voice to the frustrations of fans." Kendrick "leaves no doubt about the passion he has for his team." But Piecoro asks, "In the end, what good does it serve?" For an organization that "prides itself" on being named one of the Best Places to Work by the Phoenix Business Journal, "having the owner criticizing employees on the radio doesn't seem to foster a positive work environment." Kendrick said, "At the end of the day, I think the fans deserve honesty more than political correctness. I want the fans to know the person who is speaking really cares and is honest, as I have tried to be." He added it is "one of the things that's maybe a difficult part of being in an ownership position, does that mean that you abdicate your right to make any critical comments of your team and its performance? ... I would prefer an owner of a team that I'm a fan of to be more honest about what he feels is going on with his players" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 10/10).