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A’s crowds plummet with team officials again in Las Vegas

A day after attracting their smallest home crowd in 42 years Tuesday, the Oakland A’s went even lower Wednesday afternoon.

The A’s announced 2,703 watched the team lose 1-0 to the Baltimore Orioles at RingCentral Coliseum.

Perhaps it was no coincidence that owner John Fisher, President Dave Kaval and other high-ranking A’s officials were in Las Vegas at the same time for additional meetings with landowners as the MLB club continued to pursue a new domed stadium in Southern Nevada.

The crowd of 3,748 that watched the A’s defeat the Orioles on Tuesday was the most sparse to attend an Oakland home game since 1980, when the A’s drew 3,180 against the Chicago White Sox. On Monday, the A’s opened their home season with a 5-1 in over Baltimore in front of an announced crowd of 17,503.

Except for COVID restrictions, that turnout was the A’s lowest for a home opener in 30 years. Wednesday’s attendance might have been affected by the A’s moving the game time three hours earlier to avoid forecasted inclement weather.

The small crowds combined with the A’s dignitaries in Las Vegas increased speculation the situation at the fading Coliseum has become untenable. The A’s are pursuing a potential mixed-use project centered around a $1 billion waterfront ballpark at the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal while concurrently seeking a deal in Southern Nevada.

The behind-the-scenes negotiations have left officials of the Las Vegas Aviators, the A’s top farm club, in a sensitive position.

With the Aviators’ future directly tied to what eventually happens (or doesn’t) in Oakland, team officials had little to say before Wednesday night’s game at Las Vegas Ballpark against the El Paso Chihuahuas.

“We want the A’s to be successful no matter where they are,” Aviators president Don Logan said.

Former MLB player Eric Thames, who hit 31 home runs for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2017 and grew up an A’s fan in Santa Clara, California, was slightly more talkative about the situation in Oakland.

“It’s tough,” Thames said. “The A’s have a very die-hard fan base … those fans bleed green and gold.

“But ultimately it comes down to money, a sold-out stadium, a brand new stadium and stuff like that. But I do feel for those people who went to every night game in Oakland. They’re out there in the freezing cold cheering on the team.”

At least they were out there.

Thames was stunned upon being told the Aviators’ Tuesday night crowd of 5,607 was nearly 2,000 more than what the A’s drew.

“Really? Wow,” he said, echoing the sentiment of a lot of baseball fans familiar with the situation in Oakland.

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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