The Oakland A’s started their season on a record-breaking pace that no sports franchise much less a baseball one would want. They finally snapped a nine-game losing streak, but based on home attendance, it seems most of the fanbase doesn’t care.
Barring the games that had COVID-19 attendance restrictions, the A’s have made the news for all of the wrong reasons due to the apathetic fans in Oakland. Last month against the Baltimore Orioles, attendance was announced at 3,748, which at the time was the lowest recorded amount since Sept. 9, 1980 in a game that Oakland faced the Texas Rangers.
Then the team played a home game in front of only 2,703 fans. Not surprisingly, even though attendance has improved, the A’s have the worst attendance in Major League Baseball.
With the Oakland A’s defeating the Detroit Tigers 2-0 on Monday night, maybe MLBbro, Tony Kemp can not only spark a rally in the standings but a possible reunion between the fans and his team. Against the Tigers, Kemp hit his first home run of the season in the third inning to get the team off to a good start offensively.
— Oakland A's (@Athletics) May 9, 2022
From his statement to ESPN, Kemp shows that he is one of the clubhouse leaders who wants to turn things around for this franchise.
“I just saw a changeup and I got my foot down and tried to put the best swing on it I could,” Kemp said. “I’m just happy (Austin) Meadows didn’t rob a home run for me. Feels good to contribute to the team.
“When you’re on a losing streak, it feels like it’s never going to end. So to slap hands with guys today felt really good.”
Even though Kemp has started slowly at the plate with a batting average of .217 with one homer and four RBI, baseball fans know that this MLBbro’s calling card is in the field at second base and left field every once in a while.
But to win back the fanbase, Kemp can continue his outstanding work in the community which includes giving back through the Players Alliance program. The organization is made up of major league players creating a culture promoting racial equality and extra opportunities for the black community in the surrounding areas of Oakland.
The program is also working to create a buzz for more Black players in baseball which has declined sharply since Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Our MLBbro talked about his passion working with the program…
“We’re trying to get Black players to mentor kids who can’t afford equipment to play baseball,” Kemp said. “Black kids look up to us and we’re trying to help these kids understand that they can succeed in Major League Baseball.”
Not only is he trying to introduce the game of baseball to Black kids, Kemp is stressing the importance of education as well.
“I got out a book and a baseball. I asked the kids to stand on each one and see which one provided more stability, they got the message. I told them that getting a degree is always the end goal.”
Kemp’s baseball introduction is important based on the lack of Black players in professional baseball.
According to the information tallied by the Society for American Baseball Research, the percentage of Black players which peaked at 18.7 percent in 1981, had declined to less than 10 percent in the new millennium bottoming out at 6.7 percent in 2016. There were 7.2 percent Black on 2022 Opening Day rosters.
With the A’s currently in last place in the AL West due to their long losing streak, our MLBbro Tony Kemp’s leadership could be key in getting the A’s back in the thick of the playoff race and back in the hearts of their fans.