My baseball adventures of late may not be up to the standards of those who hit the spring training circuit over the break, but they’ve been fun.
Last Wednesday, two of my classmates organized a trip to watch the A’s beat up on the Chicago White Sox on Dollar Dog Day at the Oakland Coliseum (that place changes names faster than AT&T park!). At $2 a ticket, it’s hard to beat.
For those who don’t know it, the Haas family owned the A’s for 15 years and really turned the team around. If you look out to right field, you’ll see the Haas name on an A’s jersey, the only non-player to have such an honor with the A’s.
After class, 7 folks met up at Haas, then moseyed down to BART. I caught up with them at an Oakland stop and 6 others joined us at the stadium. First things first, we found a Dollar Dog stand, serving Miller’s dogs. (Miller’s is a local company and used to have a place down the block from me until it was torn down for some high-end condos.)
The Dollar Dog Champ ordered 5 dogs, to be washed down by 2 beers. I feel ill just thinking about it. My 3 dogs, 2 beers, and box of Dibs played havoc with my digestive system.
The game started off with a bang and the A’s took a quick lead. For the next several innings, not much happened, so we chatted away, discussed vendor tactics, and enjoyed the day at the park. That was until Chicago’s Jermaine Dye scored a 2-run homer in the top of the 8th to tie the game. The Sox then took the lead by a massive 3 runs at the top of the 9th and that was it.
While the A’s lost, we managed to get out early enough for folks to make their 4:30 classes. I, however, headed home to work off the ballpark food.
Enjoy Dollar Dog Day while you can because the A’s are up for a move (and possible name change) to Fremont sometime in the future. Don’t stress it too much, as the Giants have a much better park.
The next day, I tagged along with the Careers in Sports class as they headed down to San Jose to watch the Giants’ home opener. No, not the Giants, but the Giants, the Single-A farm team for the other Giants.
Minor League games are wonderful. The tickets are cheap (although $2 tickets for the A’s are hard to beat), the seats are close, the families are in full force, and the players try harder. Besides, the team names are much better, like the Kooky Quakes.
OK, I made that last one up. They’re really the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, but admit it, the Kooky Quakes sound better.
The seven of us arrived, grabbed our food (they have surprisingly great food at San Jose Municipal Stadium!) and found some seats just in time to watch the National Anthem and the Navy fly-over. (Proper etiquette for US citizens: ball caps off, hand over your heart during the National Anthem.)
Speaking of food, the urinals are all outfitted with extra-large red cupholders, perfect for holding that fresh ballpark beer while you discharge the previous one.
The game was entertaining to watch, especially the contests and entertainment mid-inning. Kids running around the bases, changing clothes, musical chairs, and erotic dancing.
Yes, erotic dancing. They had a dance-off between two kids and one of them looked like she belonged on a Vegas stage. And this was supposed to be a family-friendly environment. At least she has a BATNA.
Anyway, there was a flash of excitement as the Quakes took the lead and the Giants tied the game between the 6th and 7th innings, but then it settled down again. In between the excitement, we watched the foul balls fly over the walls into the adjacent parking lots, playgrounds, and food courts. We also caught up with a recent grad and passed on class selection advice to the first years (hint: read my entries).
We eventually became worried that we might be around for a while when the Giants failed to score, despite having the bases loaded three consecutive innings. So after the 11th, we departed, having lost faith in my rally beanie.
Shortly, things got exciting again in the 13th inning, when each team scored, but the game didn’t finish until the Quakes scored in the bottom of the 16th.
Luckily I caught the end of the game. Having left the game, we headed north to Berkeley and dropped off three people, then headed home, where I turned on the internet broadcast and immediately heard the Giants score. It was an exciting finish to those dedicated fans who remained.
More words of advice:
1. The Oakland Coliseum can get awfully hot and there usually isn’t a breeze when you need one, so buy tickets in the shade or for games at the ends of the season (to take advantage of the cool weather).
2. San Jose Municipal field can get chilly at night, so be prepared. Follow the white footsteps to left field and you’ll find the best food in the park.