Outfielders adjusting to electric atmosphere

Outfielders adjusting to electric atmosphere

Outfielders adjusting to electric atmosphere
OAKLAND -- The outfield fans at the Coliseum have their own reputation: They're a small group, but they're vocal, and they'll interact with players. Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur bought pizzas for a group of them in April.

There was no such interaction Tuesday. There was just a roar, and none of the Tigers outfielders could make out what anyone was saying. That says plenty about the difference between a typical A's crowd and the huge crowds they've been getting lately.

A's vs. Tigers

With so much foul territory, nobody on the field gets as close to the fans as the corner outfielders, who are almost right under the fans when they reach the warning track.

"When you notice individual people the most is when there's not many people at the game," said Andy Dirks, who started in left field Tuesday before moving over to right for Game 4 on Wednesday night. "Traditionally, you come here and [there are] 10,000 people, and a lot of them sitting behind home plate, and you'll always have a hundred people behind you. And there are always a few guys you can hear.

"When the crowd is going, it's like a constant noise. You can't pick out what people are saying, and that's a big difference. That's why I think I enjoy it more. You don't have to sit and get ragged on. ... Traditionally, you've got five guys behind you talking to you the whole game. But not in this situation."

Pretty much every Tigers player noted how loud the crowd was for Game 3. A few of them said it wasn't a surprise, that they expected a playoff atmosphere.

Manager Jim Leyland acknowledged the atmosphere the crowd created, but downplayed any impact. The Tigers didn't take two from the A's in Detroit, he said, because of the crowd.

"Well, I think you're seeing the atmosphere in Detroit, atmosphere in Oakland," Leyland said Tuesday night. "If you look around, all the teams have great atmosphere at this time of the year. Cincinnati had the pom-poms going or whatever it was. And [Oakland's] got the yellow towels."