Fan Loyalty

I don't know about all of you, but I am a very loyal person. My best friend in the world has been my best friend for the better part of my life. We have gone through a lot together. Break ups, deaths, High School, College, boyfriends who screwed us more ways than one. The point is that through all the hard times we were there for each other. We supported each other and working through those times made the happy times that much sweeter!

The point I am trying to make is that I see the A's as one of my best friends. The A's have been part of my life for the better part of my 25 years. There have been some rough patches. A lot of rough patches. But they were always there for me. Sure, they didn't always come through when I wanted them to, but when it came down to it, they were there for me when I needed them. They got me through one of the roughest periods in my life and I will never forget that.

As a thank you, I have been a loyal season ticket holder for 3 years. I am loyal to my team, I spend money on my team, and when they are experiencing their big moments, I am there for them, cheering them on, sacrificing body, voice and sleep to support them. Just as I would do for ANY friend.

What is perplexing to me is when I see a fan, who calls themselves "loyal" or "devoted," turn their back on their team.

Tonight I was watching the news and the lead story was the 49ers moving to Santa Clara. It took up the first 10 minutes of the news broadcast. They interviewed a woman who claimed to be a season ticket holder for the 9ers for the last 18 years. They asked her if she would stop being a fan if they moved to Santa Clara. She said, "Absolutely! I am not going to Santa Clara to see them, no way!"

Now, this woman is not willing to travel 30 miles to see her team play 8-10 times a year?? How is that possible? How does this woman call herself a fan if she will not do the absolute minimum of driving for a half hour to see her team? How does a woman like this look herself in the mirror and call herself a 49ers fan?

I travel to Oakland 40+ times a year to see my team play. Which is only slightly shorter in distance than SF to SC! Then I also travel to SF 3-4 times a year to see them when they play the Giants. Add that to the trips I plan once a year to see them on the road, and you have a LOT of miles under these short little legs, all for my boys in the Green and Gold.

Of course, much of my traveling has to do with the love of the game, not just my team. (I am planning to go to NY to see Yankee Stadium before it is replaced with the new one, I am just planning my trip for when the A's are there!) But that isn't the point I am trying to make tonight.

The point I am trying to make is, I just don't understand these people. These people who will follow a team for years and years, spend thousands and thousands of dollars on them, and call themselves "LOYAL" will just turn on their team for doing something that will make the organization stronger and more successful.

They are not changing the name, the colors, the mascot, the history. They are simply shifting the location of the game itself. By making this change, they are almost certainly going to make more money, they are going to make the viewing experience better for the fans, and give the organization some long over due national recognition and respect.

Many fans will be inconvenienced, I can understand that. I can even understand if this woman had said, "I won't be able to have season tickets any longer, but I will still watch them on TV and get to as many games as I can." If the situation had been reversed and The A's were moving to say, Walnut Creek, I wouldn't be able to go to as many games either.

I admit, I am lucky to have them moving to my back yard, and for that I may be a little bias about this situation. But the fact remains, I would still be an A's fan regardless of where they play the games. If I moved to Seattle or LA or somewhere totally random, I would still be an A's fan. I would not be able to see them as often as I would like, but they are still my team.

I am loyal to the team. As much as I love the history of Oakland, the memories I have in the Coliseum will never be replaced, I also realize that the Athletics history also extends far beyond Oakland. How quickly many have forgotten that this will be the THIRD move in franchise history. There was rich history and tradition in each of those places. This time we are lucky that the team is not moving out of state, or changing its colors! All the history that we had in Philly and KC is carried with us from Oakland to Fremont. We are not leaving that history from 50+ years ago, why would we leave the history we created in Oakland? The answer is we are not! So why are people bailing on this great team because of this move?

Why are these so called loyal fans running for the hills? If your best friend said to you, "I got a job in LA, I need to move next month. I will be getting a lot more money and my career will finally be moving in the direction I always dreamt it would. I am very excited about this, I hope you will support me!" Would you run? Would you stop talking to her just because she moved? Would you not call her anymore and remain bitter and jaded just because she did something that made her life better? No! You would never do that! Sure, you wouldn't get to see her as often as you would like, and most of your communicating would be by phone or internet, but you wouldn't stop being friends!

So why is it ok for you to stop being a fan? Why is your loyalty shaking just because they are moving? Why can't you see that it could be worse! They could be moving out of state, totally changing everything about the organization (Expos) or god forbid, shutting down all together! We should be thankful that our team is finally doing something to make life better not just for the team, but also for the fans.

Ultimately this comes down to the fans. They are doing something to improve this game for the fans. It may be a long process, it may be confusing and hard on many of us, but in the end, this is what is best for our team. As a loyal fan, we should all be able to see that and accept it. It may not be ideal, but those are the sacrifices we have to sometimes make for friends.

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