If the Yankees represent too much media, tabloids, and back pages of newspapers, the Oakland A's represent the total opposite. The A's are irrelevant. It's like a witness-protection program for Major League Baseball.
Oakland is where players go to rot away and leave the spotlight.
That is because the A's don't receive any coverage nationally, or even locally. The A's don't get coverage on sports talk radio.
The only sports station in the Bay Area is 50,000-watt station KNBR, and they are the San Francisco Giants' flagship, and they give the A's no attention, adding to the A's irrelevancy. To top it off, half of their games aren't even on TV.
The A's aren't covered like a major franchise. They are covered and treated like a minor-league team. They aren't even on the major-league landscape.
Oakland is a place where major leaguers can play without any pressure. It is unlike other teams, where players are closely tracked. Barry Zito saw how hard the transition is from Oakland to a team that actually gets coverage—the San Francisco Giants.
When Barry signed with San Francisco, he immediately changed his pitching delivery. The outrage he took on KNBR forced him to immediately change his delivery back. If he was still with the A's, this story would have died and got no mention whatsoever.
Barry Zito was stunned by how much attention he received, because the A's were, and still are, second-class citizens to the Giants in the Bay Area.
When Barry started 0-8, he felt the pressure of the fans and the media. This was tough for him to deal with because he never got this amount of attention and criticism in Oakland.
If this had happened in Oakland, it would go largely unnoticed. That is why he worked out of so many slumps in the past.
Need more proof that the A's are way, way off Major League Baseball's radar? Look at these quotes by Rich Harden: "Everybody's been telling me how much fun I'll have here and how great it is," he said. "It was good to come in a few days before my start and kind of get a feel for it...[The Cubs] get a full house here every day, which is great. Coming from Oakland, we're getting 12,000 to 14,000 paid attendance in the middle of the week, unless they're giving something away...It's a lot different, a lot more exciting."
Guess what Harden said after his first Cubs start? "You know how I felt?" he confided in a Wrigley Field tunnel afterward. "I felt like I was back pitching in the majors for the first time."
If that doesn't prove the A's are irrelevant, nothing will.
The A's are clearly off the national radar.
They better do something about it.
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