Just a thought… There are only two seasons: winter and baseball. [Bill Veeck]
Ah, well…at least it was a beautiful day to be sitting outdoors. Sunshine, 20C and we enjoyed every second of it. The weather, that is.
After a 12-minute walk to the North Berkeley BART station from our hotel in this university town, our trip to the ballpark took about 35 minutes. We had opted to stay outside Oakland and San Francisco, as it allowed us easy transit to the ballgame yesterday and to tonight’s concert.
I couldn’t resist taking this man’s picture when I saw him on the train. With Rob’s encouragement, I got up and went to talk to him.
Turns out Robert is an usher at A’s games and I think, judging by that moustache, maybe a big Catfish Hunter fan, too! He was lovely.
We got there an hour early, in time for us to watch the grounds crew hose down the field…
…the Jays take some pre-game stretches and do some other exercises….
…and to catch up a bit with Sportsnet radio’s play-by-play and call-in host Mike Wilner. He saw I’d tagged him in a tweet and arranged to come down to our seats to say hello before the game began. I’m a big fan of Mike and it was really good of him to take the time to come and visit.
Now, here’s something that happened at the game that I’ve never experienced: a safety announcement. We were told, section by section, what our evacuation route was. In our case, we were to go back into the Coliseum and go through to Gate C to exit to the outdoors. I’m sorry, but if the “big one” hits and I’m 8 rows from the field, you’d better man that wall, because I’m going onto the field. I don’t care if the Jays are executing a triple play, move over Morales, ’cause this gal’s getting into open space.
Of course, the only disaster that happened yesterday was an 8-3 loss at the hands of the A’s, completing the sweep as the Jays head into Seattle. We followed one group of Jays fans to our gate; they’d driven down from Alberta.
The midday crowd was sparse (peppered by about 800 children on Camp Day, which was fun to be a part of) and talk about phoning it in: after having anthem singers on Monday and Tuesday nights, they just played an instrumental version of “O Canada” and a recording of a men’s a capella rendering of “The Star Spangled Banner.” Gee, the least they could have done was have the kids sing, or put on a PA announcement asking if there was an anthem singer in the house. I totally would have done it (for a Randal Grichuk hug)!
The run-down area in which the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum is situated, which is also where the NFL’s Raiders play, has all of the charm of a country dump (without the hope of getting free stuff when you leave). You get off the train and traverse a long walkway over what really does look like an industrial waste site (I’m sure it’s not), but it had all of the same sad ambience.
Then you get to the tired, faded, drab olive green stadium where once gold and green flags that have bleached to a peach colour fly in the outfield breezes. Yes, the grass looks great and there are two high-def screens, but oh, this place needs a makeover – or a take-under.
By comparison, there’s a lot of concrete and not a whole lot of old time charm to the Rogers Centre, but if team spirit and support at home (and away, for that matter) made for wins, Jays fans would guarantee at least a wild card spot every season. We sat among several Jays fans but our cheers didn’t help and the team just couldn’t come from behind all game long. Social media rumblings had yesterday as Gibby’s last game as Jays’ manager; as you read this today, you’ll know if it’s true.
Down 7-0, we left in the 7th and got on the BART to go home. So goes another “away” game for Erin and Rob. Counting last year’s two wins out of three in Seattle, we’ve now seen them win as visiting team twice out of…let’s see, Boston, Cleveland, Seattle and Oakland…six games. Sorry guys; I’m about as lucky as a rabbit’s foot on the Titanic captain’s key chain.
I can’t say we were disappointed: our hopes weren’t too high, given the fact that our DL is about as long as the actual players’ roster. Sigh. There’s always next year (or the year after, once they finish tearing down and building up).
Tonight – it’s off to the concert. I don’t know what tomorrow’s journal will be, as we’ll be getting in pretty late, but come on back and find out. Maybe we’ll both be surprised!