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Fan boycott or not, sentiments about on Oakland A’s Opening Night

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Fan boycott or not, sentiments about on Oakland A's Opening Night

OAKLAND — Whether or not this will be the A’s final Opening Night lineup from the Coliseum, and whether or not this is their final season here, manager Mark Kotsay is not ignoring fans’ feelings of abandonment.

“My heart is with the fans,” Kotsay said while many were protesting in the parking lot rather than enter to watch the A’s host the Cleveland Guardians.

“I understand the emotion and the impact, not just from this organization’s history of being here 55 years or more of being here,” Kotsay added. “Their emotion and passion to want to keep this team here, and the way they express it, is with passion. I wouldn’t express anything less from Oakland A’s fans. When they come out, they come out with support and love, and they do it full force.

Echoing those words in the opposing dugout was Kotsay’s counterpart, Stephen Vogt, who’s making his managerial debut in front of some 30 friends and family from his native Visalia. Vogt played for the A’s from 2013-17 before returning two years ago to make a storybook exit — hitting a home run in his final plate appearance in a 3-2 win over the Angels at the Coliseum.

“Obviously I’ve followed the Oakland news closely and my heart goes out to the fans and the people of Oakland and obviously the organization as well,” Vogt said. “They’re in a tough place right now and hopefully they get some answers and clarity soon.”

After back-to-back seasons with over 100 losses, the A’s are at a crossroads, in that they look to improve this season while unsure where they will play next year and thereafter until relocating to a new stadium in Las Vegas, presumably in 2028.

During Vogt’s farewell in the 2022 finale, a scoreboard showed some of his Oakland highlights, including a walk-off single in Game 2 of the 2013 American League Divisional Series against the Detroit Tigers when he was a 28-year-old rookie.

“The playoff atmosphere here is better than any in baseball,” Vogt said. “I’ve experienced a number of different playoff atmospheres, but the Oakland Coliseum packed at playoff time, it’s tough to beat.

“Just those memories of those teams and what we went through together — from being one of the best teams in baseball, to going through a rebuild, to seeing people go to seeing people come — you become a family here in Oakland,” Vogt added. “That includes the fans and the stadium workers. All the people here in this organization mean the world to me.”

As Kotsay enters his third season as the A’s manager, he knows the franchise’s relocation efforts are a familiar storyline to him and most of his players. “The key to my messaging is to focus on what we have control over, and that’s how we play the game, night in and night out,” Kotsay added.

A’S STARTING LINEUP

1B Ryan Noda (#49)

2B Zack Gelof (#20)

CF J.J. Bleday (#33)

DH Brent Rooker (#25)

LF Seth Brown (#15)

3B J.D. Davis (#5)

C Shea Langeliers (#23)

RF Lawrence Butler (#4)

SS Nick Allen (#10)

LHP Alex Wood (#57)

* * *

GUARDIANS LINEUP

LF Steve Kwan

3B Jose Ramirez

RF Ramon Laureano

1B Josh Naylor

DH David Fry

CF Tyler Freeman

2B Andres Gimenez

C Austin Hedges

SS Brayan Rocchio

P Shane Bieber

 

* * *

OPENING-DAY ROSTER 

The A’s opening day roster:

PITCHERS (13): Austin Adams, Paul Blackburn, Joe Boyle, Lucas Erceg, Dany Jimenez, Michael Kelly, T.J. McFarland, Mason Miller, Kyle Muller, JP Sears, Mitch Spence, Ross Stripling, Alex Wood.

CATCHERS (2): Shea Langeliers, Kyle McCann

INFIELDERS (6): Nick Allen, J.D. Davis, Zack Gelof, Darell Hernaiz, Ryan Noda, Abraham Toro

OUTFIELDERS (5): JJ Bleday, Seth Brown, Lawrence Butler, Brent Rooker, Esteury Ruiz





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