Like a gift from God, the Angels snared first baseman Albert Pujols in free agency last week. To the surprise of nearly everybody in baseball, Pujols leapt to the American League West, spurring several teams’ offers, chiefly among them, the incumbent St. Louis Cardinals and the Florida Marlins.
And though A’s starting pitchers, catchers, managers, pitching coaches and even outfielders may cringe at having to formulate defensive game plans for the most dominant right-handed hitter in the game, A’s fans—particularly those in the left field bleachers—will be excited at the prospect of watching Pujols play in Oakland (or San Jose) for three separate series for several years to come. As a result, the Oakland Coliseum’s turnstiles will no doubt see more rotation during this upcoming season and beyond.
This is great news for Oakland A's management. Their revenue for next season just jumped a few dollars with the actions of one of their chief divisional rivals. And yet through all Oakland's nothingness, the A's will surely see a spike in their attendance next year.
Congrats, Lew Wolff.
For the past several years, the vacant Coliseum has echoed with cheers and chatter, as the A’s have drawn some of the poorest attendance records in baseball. Last season, Oakland ranked last in attendance, enticing a mere 1.48 million fans.
But with the addition of the mighty Pujols to the AL West, A's fans will get to witness one of the best hitters the sport has ever seen; a player who has visited the Coliseum only once in his entire 11-year career (2007). Though Oakland fans have not seen Pujols play in person all that often, they will now get to see big, bad Albert potentially destroy some of baseball's most hallowed records in their own ballpark. How rad would that be?
While the Angels have made it be known to everyone on Earth and in the heavens above that by signing Pujols they are contending for a World Series for the next decade, the A's have parsimoniously gotten themselves ready for a fire sale of players.
Beginning with the offloading of right-handed starter Trevor Cahill, Oakland is in the midst of trading all of their valuable commodities this winter in an effort to save money for their potential new stadium project in San Jose. In fact, rumors continue to swirl that their two other star pitchers, Andrew Bailey and Gio Gonzalez, are on the trading block as well. As a result of all of the turmoil they have found themselves in this offseason, the A's will likely be without a star player on their roster next year.
But no fear—the most superlative of superstars will be playing in the Coliseum on several occasions. That, in and of itself, will likely be the Athletics' marketing campaign next season: Come see Albert Pujols!
While Oakland's front office has done nearly everything in the book to deter and prevent fans from attending baseball games at the O.Co Coliseum, auctioning off their overstock of good young players for nothing, it is one move by their divisional archenemy that helps the Athletics' attendance woes for some years to come. How ironic.
No matter how many more players leave, and how many more lethargic personnel changes the A's make this winter, one thing is sure: there will be more fans next year.