My First Day of Summer

IMG_2311Some may remember my piece about my Giants experience, so I figured it was only right I do one about Oakland. Especially since two nights ago was the single most dominant performance the A’s have had all season … and your boy was there!

Thanks to my boss at 95.7 The Game I was able to take my Dad to both of our first A’s game of the summer, which was a bit sentimental considering my family heavily considered boycotting the Coliseum after Billy Beane traded everyone and their mom off last years squad. Although not all is forgiven, I think the 16-2 rout helped ease a bit of my old man’s pain.

IMG_2291Once we landed via BART, both of the side entrances closest to the train were packed to the brim so we ventured down into the parking lot, which of course is where all the quality pre gaming occurs. As I looked across the blacktop, there was plenty of drinking, grilling, laughing, and overall good vibes. Then I looked at my phone and realized it was 6:56pm (meaning we were about to miss first pitch) and so I kind of wondered why so many fans were still outside. I understand it happens at every sporting event, you just want to finish that last burger or more importantly, that last brew, but then something jumped out to me. There was more orange and black than I’ve seen – being a non Bay Bridge series – in the parking lot and walking into the Coliseum. Then I remembered a schedule packet I had been looking at earlier in the day to see what kind of giveaway or theme was on for that night and of course, it was LGBTQ Pride Night. That explains everything.

2218602259_41f6c8ceedOnce walking through the all-familiar Gate D with the best-looking baseball mural I’ve ever seen, I was set for the next three hours. I had my Costco turkey jerky, chili-lime spitz sunflower seeds, and MVP infield level ticket placed perfectly in the brim of my EBay bartered 7 ¼ A’s fitted cap. Next step was getting through to the seats down in section 122, meaning we had to go through two guest services members. Now normally I’m not a fan of them because as a younger fellow, they look at me like there’s no way in hell I could afford a ticket in their section, but these guys were approachable. The first guy let me through without hesitation the moment I went for my ticket and the second guy I got to give a shout out to. If you’re every in Section 122, holler at the guest service guy Charles for me (I don’t actually know him), who set the tone for the game. Apparently, Charles just got back from Hawaii while the A’s were on the road and he said that whenever he comes back from vacations he brings good juju with him.

At first I thought it was just a fans typical talk, but after the first inning I couldn’t doubt Charles. Burns led off with a double on the first pitch of the game and then after he came around on a Zobrist, Billy “Big Country Breakfast” Butler went deep to essentially put the game away with a 4-0 first inning lead.

Anybody worth talking on the Padres about from Justin Upton to Matt Kemp was made absolutely irrelevant by the career-high 11-strikeout performance from my favorite A’s pitcher, Jesse Chavez (I pronounce it Hesé). If you want to learn more about him, check it out here. You could tell he was poised for a great night after he fanned the side in the first inning, all looking. A part from a solo shot he gave up in the sixth, he was flawless, primarily due his changeup. That thing would dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge all over the place and Chavez said after the game he, “felt it down in the bullpen.” If that’s the case Jesse, I would suggest keep on ‘feeling it,’ meaning grab a gallon a lube before your next start and make sure you rub up each and every baseball you can find. While that may be a little extreme you get the point.

I’ll tell you what has become extreme at the O.Co: The new $10 million video screen.

90f26211ea252cf5a99de9b288715ecc8cbd2368Oakland has finally taken one step into this millennia (only took 20 years) and I think it showed the most in their new racetrack for the time-honored tradition of dot racing. I don’t have much else to say about it besides always pick the white dot. No, but seriously I can’t remember the last time I’ve gone to a game and white hasn’t won. Also, the new screens give a great visual to the Hall-Of-Fame race, which features big ass Rickie Henderson, Dennis Eckersley, and Rollie Fingers mascots sprinting from one foul pole to the other. I was kind of pissed because Ricky couldn’t participate due to a bummed hammy – that’s what they wanted us to believe – although I personally thought it was because Ricky knows he’s too damn good for this race. Rollie won, but Eck wasn’t a bad sport about it, in fact he went and celebrated his Silver Medal with the die-hards out in the right field bleachers. Don’t see that too often.

As for the game, it was truly the definition of an ass kicking, I mean it was so bad that in the 8th inning after the A’s had scored 7 runs, the Padres had to bring in their shortstop Alexei Amarista to finish the inning. By the way, I felt bad for the Cory Mazzoni who they brought Amarista in for because he probably had his worst experience ever on a baseball field. The dude gave up 8 hits and couldn’t have prayed for an out. This guy must’ve thrown the slowest 95mph fastball I’ve ever seen, but he was getting beat like a drum. It was like watching ‘Major League II’ when everything Rick Vaughn throws gets sent everywhere but a glove.

Literally anyone – pinch hitters included – who stepped to the plate for Oakland recorded a hit. Even Sogard was peppering the ball. Now I like Sogard and he’s actually a pretty good hitter, plus my dad has a soft spot for anyone whose ever played second base for the A’s. But I’m going to be honest, I cannot take this dude seriously. Maybe it’s the glasses. Maybe it’s the fact that I feel like I’m watching the 9-hole hitter on any Little League team and because everyone in the ballpark thinks he can’t hit, the pitcher just grooves one right down the pipe. Then the kid shocks even the Lord himself by spraying one down 9yAkYREthe line and pigeon-toes his way to second base after ignoring the first base coach screaming at him to stop, topping it all off with an atrocious headfirst slide like Ian Kinser’s (Look Here) —> But hey, he almost won the ‘Face of the MLB’ competition two years ago; so he’s got to be pretty cool.

To top off the night, your boy had his very first IPA at the ballpark and after the game, in support of the hard-working BART track entrepreneurs, purchased my very own Warriors 2015 Championship T-Shirt. And for only a hefty sum of $10, looks real right?! … doubt it.IMG_2316

You just can’t beat ‘The Town’

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