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Volume 26 No. 206
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A's See Record Crowd For Wild Card Game, But Miss Bigger Opportunity

Fans arrived early for the game but saw the A's lose their 9th straight winner-take-all contest
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Fans arrived early for the game but saw the A's lose their 9th straight winner-take-all contest
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Fans arrived early for the game but saw the A's lose their 9th straight winner-take-all contest
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The A's last night "set a record for a Wild Card game" with an announced crowd of 54,005 on hand at RingCentral Coliseum to see the Rays' 5-1 win, according to Ann Killion of the S.F. CHRONICLE. The crowd also was the "second most for a playoff game in Coliseum history." The A's "rarely play in front of more than 20,000 or so committed fans and don't often see the kind of atmosphere they had" last night, as fans "started filling up the parking lot" hours ahead of the 5:09pm PT first pitch (S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/3). ESPN's Jason Benetti said, "They lined up starting at like 11:00 in the morning local time to watch the A's play." ESPN's Eduardo Perez: "I thought this was 'Monday Night Football' the way they were out there just tailgating. A lot of fun, a lot of excitement and as advertised, the fans are out and they're out by the bunches." ESPN's Karl Ravech: "I've never seen a crowd like this ready for a baseball game" ("Baseball Tonight," ESPN2, 10/2). But in S.F., Scott Ostler writes last night's loss was a "huge opportunity squandered ... to light a fire of support under fans, citizens and politicians, in support of the team's efforts to build a new ballpark and keep the team in Oakland" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/3).

TWO PEAS IN A POD: ESPN's Jeff Passan noted it likely was "inevitable that the baseball gods ... would gift the world a postseason matchup" between the A's and Rays, the "originators of Moneyball principles versus those who stretch sabermetrics to their extreme end points." The teams "inhabit the two unsightliest stadiums in baseball, live on miniscule payrolls (and) scratch and claw and grind for every win." Benetti said, "These are two very fascinating teams. They come in with low payrolls and high intelligence" ("Baseball Tonight," ESPN2, 10/2).