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Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Updated: September 23, 12:04 PM ET
No. 61: Oakland Athletics

By Rachel Ullrich
ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 98
Title track: 49
Ownership: 120
Coaching: 31
Players: 23
Fan relations: 71
Affordability: 13
Stadium experience: 116
Bang for the buck: 30

The A's saw big rankings jumps in players and coaching this year, and that's without anyone on the roster most casual fans could name. (Be honest: You hadn't heard of Yoenis Cespedes before the Derby either.) The A's had exactly two All-Stars this year, and one was named only as a replacement for the other. But in Oakland, these guys are getting more popular by the day. After all, fan support comes more easily when the team is winning, and over the past two seasons the A's have done just that. Division winners after an emphatic final win against the Rangers in 2012, the A's made the playoffs for the first time since 2006 and are well on their way to returning in 2013. Bob Melvin's AL Manager of the Year award surely encouraged the fans to up his ranking, from 84th last year.

But it's also no surprise to anyone that Oakland still ranks close to last in stadium experience among all sports -– and, in fact, dead last in MLB. In a new low, the A's were forced out of their locker room and clubhouse after a sewage leak filled the rooms on the lower level of the O.co Coliseum. No number of Coco Crisp cereal bowls or Grant Balfour gnomes can hide the stink of 47 years at O.co.