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Oakland Athletics fans stage reverse boycott in protest of ownership

<i>Jed Jacobsohn/AP</i><br/>Fans hold signs inside the Oakland Coliseum to protest the Oakland Athletics' planned move to Las Vegas.
Jed Jacobsohn/AP
Fans hold signs inside the Oakland Coliseum to protest the Oakland Athletics' planned move to Las Vegas.

By Thomas Schlachter, CNN

(CNN) — Just hours after Nevada took a big step toward approving the Oakland Athletics’ move to Las Vegas, A’s fans held a “reverse boycott” during a game at the Oakland Coliseum.

The Nevada state Senate passed a bill which will help to fund the new stadium being built to house the franchise – if the proposed move is finalized.

However, this didn’t stop Oakland fans from turning up en masse Tuesday night to protest the owner’s desire to relocate the MLB team.

Many of the 27,759 fans donned signs in opposition to the ownership team, in particular John Fisher.

A common theme among the signs were fans urging the owners to “sell” the franchise. One sign was emblazoned with “sabotage,” while another issued a warning: “Vegas Beware.”

“The grass could be greener somewhere else and so, if it can happen to us it can happen to you, it can happen to anybody,” Stu Clary, who came up with the idea for the reverse boycott, told KNBR.

“The whole community loses out on something special if the A’s leave,” he added.

Throughout the game, chants of “Sell the team” could be heard reverberating around the stadium as fans voiced their frustration.

Many wore green T-shirts with “SELL” written across the front.

CNN has reached out to the Oakland Athletics for comment from Fisher.

In front of the packed-out Coliseum, the A’s beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 and continued their unlikely win streak – stretching the run to seven games.

The Rays are the best team in baseball with a 48-22 record but this did not dissuade the A’s from sealing the win in front of their home crowd to improve to 19-50 – no longer the worst record in the MLB.

“Tonight was as close to a playoff crowd as I’ve experienced managing. The energy and atmosphere was everything that this stadium can be,” said A’s manager Mark Kotsay, per MLB.com. “For that to happen and for us, to play a good game all around in front of that crowd, I couldn’t be happier.”

“It was cool. It was really fun,” added A’s designated hitter Brent Rooker. “The fans came out and made it very clear how passionate they are about the city and this team, which was cool to see. We fed off that energy all night.”

Despite the jubilation after the win, fans continued to make their feelings clear. As Athletics pitcher Trevor May recorded the last out, A’s fans threw trash onto the field to highlight their anger toward Fisher.

From ticket sales, the Athletics raised $811,107 which will be donated to the Alameda County Community Food Bank and the Oakland Public Education Fund.

The Athletics reached a binding agreement with Bally’s Corporation, along with Gaming and Leisure Properties (GLPI), to build a stadium on Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue, Bally’s Corporation announced last month.

The new ballpark is expected to accommodate nearly 30,000 fans and bring in 2.5 million spectators annually, according to Bally’s.

The agreement is contingent upon MLB relocation approval and the passing of public financing legislation.

The Athletics have played in the city of Oakland since 1968.

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