Sunday, June 8, 2014

Home Attendance Matters

After Sunday's 11-1 win in Baltimore, the Oakland Athletics' road record stands at 22-12, best in the majors and significantly better than the club's home record of 17-12. Now, 17-12 is nothing to sneeze at -- only two teams have fewer home losses than the A's -- but given what's been said, by A's manager Bob Melvin and by some of his players, about how much the club values and feeds off of large home crowds, I decided to go back and see how the A's have fared when they've drawn robust numbers at home.

The official carrying capacity of the Coliseum is listed at 35,067. I decided to define a “large home crowd” as one that fills at least two-thirds of the stadium. (That's in a sense an arbitrary figure, but I think not an unreasonable one.) Two-thirds of 35,067 is 23,378. So how have the A's performed in home games with an official attendance figure of 23,378 or more?

The numbers are eye-opening. Ten of the 29 A's home games to date have drawn more than 23,378, and Oakland's record in those ten games is a glittering 8-2. That is to say, they've got an .800 winning percentage in front of large home crowds (which far exceeds their overall .619 winning percentage to date). Equally striking is the A's home record when attendance drops below 23,378; in those contests, the A's are a lackluster 9-10. To repeat: the A's are 8-2 when they draw large home crowds and 9-10 when they don't.

There are, of course, many ways to slice and dice a club's performance. But the crowd-size factor cited here indicates that less-than-robust home attendance just might be the weak link in the A's season to date. And it makes one wonder: How good, how much better, could the A's be if they consistently packed the Coliseum?

Posted by C.S. Soong

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Oakland Raiders Welcome Rookies and Un-drafted Free Agents

                        Oakland Raiders Welcome Rookies and Un-drafted Free Agents

Although no games have been played yet the 2014 - 2015 football season is definitely under way. Now that the draft is done fans are anxiously awaiting to see if their team made the pick that will put them over the top and/or bring them back to respectability.

Today marked the beginning of mimi-camp for the Oakland Raiders rookies and un-drafted free agents. After several years of disappointing draft picks it looks like this year the Raiders have drafted wisely and found players who can make immediate and positive contributions, like linebacker Khalil Mack, the Raiders’ 1st round pick, selected at number 5 overall. They’ve also prepared for the future with the 2nd round selection of quarterback Derek Carr, who many believe could develop into one of the premier quarterbacks in the NFL. Head Coach Dennis Allen spoke about Carr saying, “Derek Carr was a guy we thought very highly of going into the draft. We thought he’s a first round talent as a quarterback. You never really know exactly how things are going to work out, but it worked out in our favor.” 

Another draft pick of note is offensive lineman Gabe Jackson, a 3rd round pick who could step in and provide immediate help. After the first day of mini camp Coach Allen noted “Gabe Jackson, I thought, did a nice job inside.”

Another name garnering a bit of attention at the rookie mini camp is George Atkinson III, the un-drafted running back from Notre Dame who is also the son of Raider legend George Atkinson. When asked about the running back, Coach Allen remarked “He’s a talented athlete, he’s got a lot of speed, and he has the ability to help us on special teams also. I think any time you have a chance to get a legacy, somebody who has Raider bloodlines... those guys understand what it means to be a Raider. We were pleased that we were able to bring him in here.”

The first day of practice didn’t reveal much, but Coach Allen was pleased overall, stating “...first day of practice I was impressed with the way the guys came out here to work. We’ve still got a couple of more days to work and we’re looking forward to it. I’m excited about the acquisitions that we made in the off season.”  “We’ll go back, we’ll look at the tape. We’ll evaluate it. We’re not making any quick decisions here; this is an evaluation process. We feel good about the guys we’ve acquired We feel like they’re gonna be able to come in and help us this year” 

---- Greg Bridges