Six years ago, not long after the Oakland Athletics last made the playoffs, the upper level at the O.co Coliseum was tarped off -- because no one was buying the seats. It reduced the seating capacity for baseball there to about 34,000, which, on most days, was more than enough for A's games.
Now, with the A's back in the playoffs, demand, as you might imagine, is higher. There are over 20,000 additional seats they could sell for postseason games, but the team refuses to do so:
A smaller crowd, A's managers said, would create a closer, more intimate environment for the American League Division Series.
"The fan experience is better without spreading fans out over more seats," A's executives wrote in an e-mail. "The energy in the park and the fan experience over the last week (when the seats were tarped) was incredible."
Smaller? Sure. More intimate? Yup. But it would seem that having up to 20,000 more fans in the park would provide even more energy for the home team. As one fan put it:
"Here's a team that says they need to leave Oakland because there's no support. Yet here you have thousands of people who are begging to put money in the A's pockets, and they tell fans, 'Sorry, you have to watch it on TV,' " said Doug Boxer, a former Oakland planning commissioner and organizer of an A's fan group called Let's Go Oakland. "It doesn't make any sense."
The SFGate.com article says the A's will consider removing the tarp if they reach the World Series.