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A Conspiracy Theory About the Oakland A’s Emerges — Here’s Why Fans Are Mad

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Two baseball players slap hands in a dugout with orange Gatorade jugs in the background.
Esteury Ruiz of the Oakland Athletics (at right) greets Brent Rooker in the dugout before a game against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on May 22, 2023. (Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Ask any lifelong Oakland A’s fan about the dubious things we’ve seen in recent years, and you’ll get a novella’s worth of some of the worst atrocities seen in modern sports.

There was the whole marsupial fiasco — when possums overtook portions of the Coliseum and, according to Bleacher Report, prevented visiting team’s announcers from using the broadcast booth.

There’s the time the lights went out at the Coliseum during a game on Teacher’s Appreciation Night — in which the start time was delayed and most teachers, ironically, didn’t get to watch the game. (I was a teacher at the time; we all left before the first inning because we had young people to teach early the next morning).

And let’s not forget the time that ESPN reported how the New York Yankees were “victimized by plumbing issues” at the Coliseum, in which human feces, overflow and a mop were involved in the guest dugout.

You’d be forgiven to wonder: How could it possibly get worse for the Las Vegas-distracted team that is now looking into a temporary Sacramento relocation? (Update: It’s official — they’re leaving Oakland after the 2024 season.)


How about demoting two of the team’s statistically best performers for — wait for it — allegedly wearing fan-made gear? Yes, I’m talking about — wait for it again — #WristbandGate.

Esteury Ruiz — who as of this writing wields the team’s highest batting average, and led the A’s in stolen bases last year — was sent down to the Minor Leagues this week. And Brent Rooker — who, admittedly, has struggled to start of his 2024 campaign — has been benched.

In Ruiz’s case, the move seems especially confounding, since he’s a fan favorite and one of the franchise’s sole luminaries. But The Last Dive Bar — a fan-owned online merch shop that was involved in organizing this year’s Oakland Fan Appreciation Day in Jack London Square — thinks they know why both players were penalized.

In a recent Tweet, The Last Dive Bar posted a photo of the players wearing their store’s popular wristbands, which are notoriously associated with a sweeping effort to convince current owner John Fisher to sell the team.

They’re not the only players to wear the wristbands and get let go — or demoted — by the team, either. Somewhat facetiously, The Last Dive Bar also posted photos of other former Athletics wearing the yellow wristband with the caption reading “Pache gone! Ruiz sent down! Rooker benched! Kap gone!… The truth is out there!!!!”.

If you think this sounds like a conspiracy theory (which many fans and baseball writers nationwide are suggesting), then I will kindly remind you that nothing in the warped upside-down netherworld of the John Fisher-owned Oakland Athletics makes sense, ever (see: no lights in the stadium, territorial possums, human feces).

If you’re asking me — and I’ve seen everything imaginable at the Coliseum, including sexual acts and violent encounters — I think it’s a little more than a tongue-in-cheek theory. Simply put, there’s a reason why it’s believable: A’s management have neglected their duties for far too long and their egos are more fragile and untenable than ever.

As a former season ticketholder who until recently attended A’s games religiously, I simply want the basic respect any loyal fan deserves. And yes, I want the basic condiments — I’m talking about having simple access to ketchup and barbecue sauce — inside my favorite team’s stadium. And I know I’m not alone.

What the Oakland A’s have become under the soulless oversight of Fisher is hard to describe, unless you’ve sat in those rickety bleacher seats or in that mountainous concrete upper deck. But at this point, if you hear a wild-sounding conspiracy theory from A’s fans who’ve endured so much, at this point there’s probably a reason to believe them.

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