OAKLAND, Calif. — About 54,000 people showed up here Wednesday night to watch the A’s in their first home playoff contest since 2013, more than double the team’s average regular-season attendance.Fans in costumes danced high up among the typically tarp-covered Mount Davis seats, and time-stained concrete surfaces around the Coliseum were contrasted by neon rally towels waving in the air. Even the optimists among the rows of green- and gold-clad supporters, though, should not have been entirely surprised by what happened next. By the third inning of its eventual 5-1 wild card loss to the Rays, Oakland trailed 4-0 and had allowed three home runs. It was around then that the fans seemed to realize they had paid money to attend another funeral.Oakland is 1-15 since 2000 in playoff games in which it is able to eliminate its opponent. Its latest defeat carried additional stakes: The club failed to hold onto the spirit of a city that just lost an NBA team, is about to lose an NFL team and seemingly desires a place to funnel its enduring non-corporate, non-reformed, non-San Francisco persona.The A’s have had so many opportunities to carve a full-time place in their community despite an outdated stadium and inability to retain stars once they hit free agency. The franchise has failed at that task time and again. The potential for a breakthrough becomes obvious during short-lived playoff appearances, and that makes it all the more frustrating to the organization when it fails to produce.”Yeah, it’s disappointing,” manager Bob Melvin said. “(The fans) were engaged from the first pitch of the game, they were engaged from the anthem, it felt like. … It’s disappointing that we couldn’t put on a better show for them.”Added third baseman Matt Chapman: “It seemed like today we didn’t really give them anything to cheer about. I’m sorry to our fans that we let them down.”MORE: Nationals break October funk with comeback winA year after the Yankees needed nine pitches to hit their first wild card home run against the A’s, Rays first baseman Yandy Diaz led off the game with a dinger to right field on the fifth pitch. Diaz said before the game that the crowd would not intimidate him; where he grew up in Cuba, he told reporters, there were people with guns hanging around baseball diamonds. He slugged a second home run in his next at-bat, extending Tampa Bay’s lead to four runs.The A’s, meanwhile, possessed none of Diaz’s on-field edge. They pitched worse than usual. They could not hit for power after their offense carried them for large chunks of a 97-win regular season, stranding the bases loaded in the opening frame and mustering little else the rest of the game.They tried to use the crowd’s vibe to their advantage, but there were no defining moments to celebrate. They were forced to channel their energy toward slamming batting helmets down after double plays and challenging umpires after borderline Strike 3s.Such a tepid performance in front of a packed house was difficult to take for those who have been critical of sparse attendance during regular-season play.Right-hander Chris Bassitt, for instance, complained to teammates about the issue, sometimes in explicit terms, in the clubhouse this year. He’s not alone, of course: Others over the past two decades have felt similarly and at times have made their thoughts public. Oakland has averaged fewer than 25,000 fans in 14 consecutive seasons. While there has been a limited carryover effect on attendance after regular-season success, since 2005 those gains have not been enough to promote the team out of the bottom 10 of MLB.Bassitt was one of many impressed by what they witnessed Wednesday night. It was a startling improvement from weekday contests in mid-August. “Yeah, the crowd was crazy,” Bassitt told Sporting News. “Obviously, they all came out and supported us. Unfortunately, we just didn’t get it done.”It will be at least another calendar year until A’s players get another crack at turning those playoff fans into year-round fans. As they vie for a 2020 wild card or AL West championship, they’ll likely have to play in front of underwhelming regular-season crowds again, in some part because of their abrupt elimination by the Rays.Big-picture issues like ballparks and front-office spending obviously still matter to attendance. Winning at this time of year does, too. The A’s should try it sometime.