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The Oakland A's Sent Down Esteury Ruiz, Who Was Hitting .429, and It Seems It Could Be Because He Wore a Wristband From a Company the Team Doesn't Like

The Oakland A's made headlines yesterday when they sent down Esteury Ruiz, who had an outstanding opening series. Ruiz went 3-7 with a double and a triple in Oakland's first three games before promptly being optioned back to Triple-A. He also set the American League rookie record for steals last season and hit .305 in September.

The original prevailing theory was that the A's simply don't want players who could accidentally win them a few games, but it seems there may be another reason for Ruiz's demotion and it's much juicier.

There's a group of A's fans who started a brand several years ago called Last Dive Bar, an originally endearing reference to the dilapidated Oakland Coliseum. The group at one time had a partnership with the team, doing all sorts of charity missions and fan events, but the relationship eventually soured and Last Dive Bar became persona non grata to official team personnel. The Twitter thread below and this article give a fuller picture of where everything went wrong, but suffice it to say that LDB is no longer beloved amongst those in the A's front office.

So what does all of this have to do with Ruiz? Well as you can see above, A's players had been seen in merch from Last Dive Bar in previous years, but were presumably instructed to not do that anymore, given that the team somehow doesn't like this organization that still wants to help the A's look good. And in the first series of the 2024 season, Ruiz was sporting an interesting wristband.

Normally, I would say it's borderline insane to believe a Major League Baseball player was sent down for wearing a wristband, but this is the Oakland A's and there really isn't another reason to explain it. Ruiz was sent down in favor of Tyler Nevin, a career .202 hitter. At this point, it seems like sending Ruiz down to make the team worse is actually the less petty and ridiculous of the two most plausible scenarios.

I feel so badly for A's fans. They're stuck in a lame duck period until their team leaves and the organization is run by the worst owner in sports who seems hellbent on ruining whatever relationship the team had left with Oakland. I hope for their sakes that this move was just another one of incompetence from the A's rather than malice.