2023 Oakland Athletics
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2023 Oakland Athletics / Franchise: Oakland Athletics / BR Team Page
Managed by Mark Kotsay
History, Comments, Contributions
Over the first two months of the season, the 2023 Oakland Athletics ranked among the worst teams of all time. At the end of May, their record was a putrid 12-45, which would average out to 34 wins over a full season if they maintained that pace. This was largely the result of trading a number of established players over the last two seasons, most prominently 1B Matt Olson, 3B Matt Chapman, C Sean Murphy and Ps Sean Manaea, Chris Bassitt and Frankie Montas, and obtaining little of value in return. Both their hitting and starting pitching were awful over those two months, with a team batting average of .219 and an ERA of 6.63. They were last in the majors in just about every pitching category, including runs and home runs allowed, walks and hit batsmen. Their run differential was -195 and they had scored just 200 runs, earning them comparisons with the infamous 1899 Cleveland Spiders. The only bright spot was CF Esteury Ruiz, who was leading the majors with 28 stolen bases.
After this awful start, the A's began to play better in June: after losing their first four games that month, they reeled off six straight wins starting on June 6th. The first five of these wins came on the road, then in a home game on June 12th they defeated the Tampa Bay Rays, holders of the best record in the majors at that point, 4-3. There were only 4,848 spectators present to witness the game however, and this was far from the worst attendance of the season: it had reached a nadir of 2,064 in another Monday night game, that one on May 15th against the Arizona Diamondbacks. This was not solely due to their poor play: the team had announced that it had thrown in the towel in its attempt to find a new home in the Bay area and had signed an agreement to build a new ballpark in Las Vegas, NV. While that agreement appeared to be less ironclad than originally announced, it was becoming more and more clear that the team would be leaving Oakland, CA in short order, thus further irritating a fan base that already had to endure a terrible on-field product. Yet, with the winning streak, the A's were now within striking distance of the next worst team in the majors, with a record of 18-50 compared to the Kansas City Royals, who may not have been losing as spectacularly as the A's, but were hardly better at 18-48.
On June 13th, the A's fans staged what they called a "reverse boycott", i.e. packing the stadium as a show that there was still a fan base in Oakland in spite of attendance woes. The outing was successful, as the 27,759 fans who showed up for the game were easily the biggest crowd since the start of the season. The A's then made it seven wins in a row by defeating the Rays again, 2-1. The fans position was that the current ownership group should sell the team to a group that cared about winning and making the team a success in its long-time home - a rather forlorn hope with the Las Vegas proposal moving forward quickly. The A's were only the third team to win seven consecutive games starting with a sub-.200 record, the other two instances having come in the 19th century. But before anyone could get too excited about the sudden turnaround, the A's sank back into their losing ways and capped the month by being the victims of the 24th perfect game in major leagues history at the hands of Domingo Germán of the New York Yankees, 11-0. Interestingly, the A's had not been the victims of a no-hitter since 1991 - the longest active streak in the majors at the time.
Awards and Honors
- All-Star: Brent Rooker
- Martín Gallegos: "A's win 7th straight in feat unseen since 1895", mlb.com, June 14, 2023. 
- Janie Mccauley (Associated Press): "A's fans come out en masse for reverse boycott and tell owner John Fisher to sell", Yahoo! Sports, June 23, 2023. 
- Alexandre Pratt: "La pire équipe depuis le XIXe siècle", La Presse, June 1, 2023.  (in French)