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Image 1 of 1 Oakland Athletics' Matt Chapman returns to dugout after scoring on Jed Lowrie's 2-run double in 3rd inning against Seattle Mariners during MLB game at Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Calif. on Monday, August 13, 2018. less Oakland Athletics' Matt Chapman returns to dugout after scoring on Jed Lowrie's 2-run double in 3rd inning against Seattle Mariners during MLB game at Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Calif. on Monday, August 13, ... more Photo: Scott Strazzante / The Chronicle A’s Matt Chapman pushes for bigger crowds at Coliseum 1 / 1 Back to Gallery

The A’s have hired a bunch of marketing people to try to sell their team and sell tickets, but their best marketing person is their third baseman.

Matt Chapman has gone public to encourage more fans to attend games. The A’s are in the heat of the American League playoff race, and just 10,400 came to the Coliseum for Monday’s homestand opener.

“Last night was a playoff-type game, and it should be a playoff-type-crowd atmosphere,” Chapman said in the A’s clubhouse before Tuesday’s game.

After the A’s held off Seattle 7-6 on Monday, their 16th win in 22 games since the All-Star break, Chapman was interviewed on the team’s televised postgame show, and before the interview ended, he had this message for fans:

“I just want to use this time to encourage people in Oakland to come out, man. All the fans and support we could get, we would really appreciate it. Tonight, we were fighting until the very end against the Mariners, and I just wish we could get some more people out here, man. We’re fun to watch, and we really want our fans to come out and support us. It would be great.”

A’s fans, Matt Chapman has a message for you pic.twitter.com/wrNg5OxJTm

— Martin Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) August 14, 2018

Speaking with reporters Tuesday, Chapman said the message simply came out, that he didn’t spend a long time mapping out talking points.

“I just said it,” Chapman said. “It’s how I feel. It was all positive. I want the fans to just come out and support us. We’re out here playing our butts off, playing as hard as we can. A game like last night, for there to be that many people, it’s just sad.

“We want to play in front of our fans. We have faithful fans. We love all the support we could get. We’ve had games where this place is rocking, and it’s unbelievable. Late in the season, it can only help us. I would just encourage them to come out.”

Chapman wasn’t complaining about A’s fans or criticizing them for their absence — A’s attendance is third lowest in the majors — but simply encouraging more to come to the park, an organic plea to enjoy playoff baseball and support the local team.

The attendance jumped to 17,419 on Tuesday and 17,078 on Wednesday afternoon. Free parking was a factor Tuesday. But Tuesdays generally get about 1,000 fans buying walk-up tickets, and Tuesday’s count was 4,000. The Chapman effect?

“I’m not saying anything bad,” Chapman said. “It’s all positive. I just want the support, and I know our teammates do, too. It’s not like something we talked about or anything. I just said what I felt.”

Manager Bob Melvin welcomed Chapman’s thoughts, citing the positive vibe felt at the well-attended games, including during last month’s Giants-A’s series, one game drawing 56,310, a Coliseum baseball record. In large part, fans have stayed clear of the Coliseum in recent years, neglected by a franchise with relatively tiny payrolls that has traded star players and repeatedly failed to secure a ballpark deal.

“Guys just like playing in front of big crowds,” Melvin said. “I don’t blame him. He’s just trying to encourage the fan base to come out and support us. When we have a full house here, it inspires us. Our fans are as loud as anybody in baseball. I think that’s what he’s referring to.”

Chapman wasn’t alone. Pitcher Sean Manaea, who got Monday’s win, wrote on Twitter (@BABYSMGIRAFFE), “Crazy game tonight, but we got the W! Oakland, we can’t do this without you! Come and watch the kids play, you won’t regret it!”

Crazy game tonight, but we got the W! Oakland, we can’t do this without you! Come and watch the kids play, you won’t regret it!

— SEAN ANTHONY MANAEA (@BABYSMGIRAFFE) August 14, 2018

John Shea is The San Francisco Chronicle’s national baseball writer.

Source : https://www.sfgate.com/athletics/article/A-s-Matt-Chapman-pushes-for-bigger-crowds-at-13156518.php

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