OAKLAND, Calif. - The Oakland Athletics prevailed Tuesday night, winning their seventh game in a row in dramatic fashion, amid what appears to have been a symbolically successful "reverse boycott" by fans disappointed by the team's possible move to Las Vegas.
Nearly 28,000 dedicated fans were in attendance at the Oakland Coliseum, a number far above their average daily attendance for home games this season.
Pinch-hitter Carlos Pérez broke a tie with an RBI groundout in the eighth inning and the A's beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1.
A's fans geared up to hold this evening's boycott in an effort to send a strong message to the baseball team's front office.
The organizers of this unprecedented event called on all fans to pack the Coliseum for the game against the Tampa Bay Rays, defying the usual dismal Tuesday night attendance trends.
That plan seems to have paid off, as far as filling seats is concerned. The A's recorded attendance at the Coliseum tonight was 27,759 – the largest crowd in Oakland so far this season. Chants of "Sell the team!" broke out during the game.
The ongoing discussions about the future of the Oakland A's have yet to reach a conclusive decision. The team's leadership has expressed interest in relocating the franchise to Las Vegas, prompting concerns among loyal fans.
As the A's fans packed the Oakland Coliseum, a competing stadium financing bill aimed at drawing the team to Las Vegas cleared a major hurdle Tuesday after being approved by the Nevada Senate.
The 13-8 Senate vote marks another step as the bill moves through the Democratic-controlled Legislature while reviving the national debate over public funding for private sports clubs. The bill, which has the support of Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo, must now be considered by the state Assembly.
Fans are particularly upset with the team owner, John Fisher, and the leadership for allegedly using low stadium attendance as a justification to move the team away from Oakland.
Many arrived hours before first pitch to tailgate in the parking lot, with the first 7,000 receiving fan-funded "SELL" shirts made by local company Oaklandish.
Stu Cleary, one of the organizers of the reverse boycott, voiced his discontent, saying, "The attendance is the result of his actions. He doubled ticket prices, traded away the best players, let the Coliseum fall into disrepair, and has been telling us for 20 years that it's a terrible place to be. Why would any customer go to a place of business like that?"
The reverse boycott idea gained momentum on Twitter and has since snowballed into a significant movement among A's fans.
Just ahead of the game, Mayor Sheng Thao shared photos of herself in attendance, at least for the reverse boycott. She tweeted the following: "I am inspired by the dedication of Oakland A's fans. They've organized for weeks to make this happen and it shows just how strong our city is connected to this team. The A's truly belong in Oakland."
Proceeds from tonight's game will go to two local community organizations, the A's said in a news release. All ticket revenue will go to Alameda Community Food Bank and the Oakland Public Education Fund. In an update, the team tweeted $811,107 in total went to the food bank.
Associated Press contributed to this story.