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The Oakland A’s may be penalizing their own players for backing an anti-ownership brand, according to some on the internet

Oakland Athletics’ Esteury Ruiz rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Colorado Rockies during the second inning of a spring training baseball game, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, in Mesa, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

After a recent roster move by the Oakland A’s, the internet is convinced that the team is punishing specific players for supporting calls to sell the team.

Oakland A's outfielder Esteury Ruiz

Matt York/AP

The Oakland Athletics recently made a roster change, leading some people online to believe that the team is punishing particular players for supporting efforts to compel the ownership to sell the team.

On Monday, the A’s announced they had sent outfielder Esteury Ruiz back down to the team’s Triple-A affiliate just five games into the season. Despite the team’s 1-4 record, Ruiz had the best start on the team with a .429 batting average.

The move left A’s fans confused and angry, with many questioning why Ruiz was demoted after such a promising beginning. Some quickly speculated that it might have been done out of spite by the team's ownership.

Ruiz, along with other players who have faced similar consequences, has sported gear from an organization called Last Dive Bar.

Since team owner John Fisher has publicly announced his plan to relocate the team from Oakland to Las Vegas, A’s fans have urged him to sell the team instead. While ownership has stated that the move is motivated by low attendance, fans have argued by pointing out that the current product isn’t worth watching due to the lack of a competitive team. At one point, fans even organized “reverse boycotts” and filled the stadium to chant, “Sell the team,” during games.

Then, Last Dive Bar started selling merchandise expressing the same anti-ownership standpoint. Last Dive Bar has clarified that it was established to honor the history of the Oakland Coliseum. The organization’s Opening Day collection includes several clothing items that allude to the recent boycotts.

Keen-eyed fans observed that Ruiz and others have worn wristbands from the organization. The wristbands only bear the name Last Dive Bar.

Outfielder Brent Rooker was benched; outfielder Cristian Pache was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies last March; and pitcher James Kaprielian was released in November. All of them have expressed support for Last Dive Bar.

Last Dive Bar has also endorsed the theory and has been using the hashtag #WristbandGate on social media.

The A’s have not acknowledged the theory.

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