The Oakland A’s are usually associated with low attendance, but that wasn’t the case Saturday night. They packed the house with a whopping 56,310 fans, which is a record for a baseball crowd at the Oakland Coliseum. It’s also the highest single-game attendance for any MLB game this season.
The Giants are in town from across the Bay, and in any year the local rivalry between the two teams is enough to bring out the fans from both sides. The stakes are raised this summer, though, as both teams have winning records and are within reach of making drives toward the postseason. On top of that the A’s are the hottest team in the sport right now, having won 21-of-27 heading into last week’s All-Star break. That success, along with some admirable marketing efforts by the front office, has helped reengage the green and gold faithful after three tough, last-place seasons.
On Tuesday, with demand for this weekend already high, the A’s announced they would open Mount Davis for Saturday’s game. It’s the first time in 13 years they’d utilized those seats high above center field, so named for the late Raiders owner who slapped them up there. With the extra space, the stadium’s total capacity rose to 56,782, giving them a chance to break the record of 55,989 set back in 2004 (also against the Giants). After over a decade of staring at a tarp up there, it was great to see an ocean of people instead.
Not only did the A’s set a record for their own stadium, they also managed to attract the biggest crowd in all of MLB this season. The previous high of 53,904 was set by the Dodgers on June 26 in a game against the Cubs, reports Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle. That’s quite a distinction for an A’s team who ranks 28th out of 30 in average attendance this year, especially considering they’re so far averaging their own lowest total in 20 years.
The A’s moved to Oakland in 1968, and attendance has frequently been toward the bottom of the league. On this night, though, their 50th anniversary season added yet another memorable moment, with a reminder that the Bay Area loves its baseball. Best yet, the A’s finished the night with a victory in a wild, exciting game.