I am trapped in my own thoughts–trapped in a no man’s land between feeling and articulation. The air is stale and dry. I’m watching the Athletics and the White Sox on the tube when Brandon Moss strikes out on a wicked “Uncle Charlie.” (Hitting coach Chili Davis didn’t see Moss as a “Punch and Judy” hitter, taught him to open up his hips and the power came naturally. Now he’s a dead pull hitter and one of the better home run hitters in the A.L.)
“Goddamn it!” I say as the remote hits the ground with an uncommon zeal. Why do I care so much? Is this a character flaw? I know that the owners are egregious little shits that want to extort the most money they can from municipalities. (and nothing is worse than the person who magically becomes broke the second they have to spend money on something that isn’t to their immediate and unequivocal satisfaction) I know that stadiums don’t return their investments to their communities. Yet, despite my contrarian attitude…I still care. Perhaps because adult life consists of boredom, routine and petty frustrations that I enjoy this form of entertainment and escape. Perhaps I am like most Americans and I like to celebrate the inane. Perhaps I am just bullshitting myself to give this one-sided conversation some “lather.” I get tired of these tedious romantico-absurdist soul-searchings and it makes me feel like an incorrigible sack of shit.
I watch this game because it makes me feel safe for a moment. No amount of information regarding ice melting in Antarctica can faze me. (and no amount of dipshit Republicans denying it either) This game brings back memories of people that I have lost. Some people feel like they don’t deserve love. They enter empty rooms and close the door of the past behind them.
Daric Barton is the player every Athletics fan loves to hate. He was put on waivers TWICE in one week and not ONE team claimed him! (not even the Mets) Welcome to the first installment of Daric Barton, churro vendor:
I pull into the parking lot, pay my 1.50 for parking, and proceed to fill my large cup with some vodka and orange juice. I finally park after 15 minutes of driving around and about 15 minutes of arguing with complete strangers. Welcome to the West Wind Coliseum Swap Meet in Oakland, Ca. Everyone loves the swap meet, yet I don’t know whether to love or hate this place. It’s dirty, many of the vendors are lacking in English language skills, and I haven’t really found anything useful here. It’s an interesting cultural experience, to say the least. If you want cheap slutty clothes, funky gaudy jewelry, electronics that may or may not have “fallen off the truck” or strange kitsch from south of the border, you may find yourself in heaven here. Personally, I go there for the vintage video games and baseball memorabilia (and the big booty mannequins). When it comes to selling junk (or clutter if you prefer) most of the stuff here looked like leftovers from a dumpster. This place was reminding me of a Daric Barton at bat on a sunny day: the only thing you’re going to leave with is a sunburn and a little less dignity than you had before.
On the positive note, they also have multiple booths throughout, selling beer or micheladas at reasonable prices. I’m done with the vodka and purchase a Dos Equis from a vendor. The day is reasonably cool and I’m getting a slight buzz on. After a couple of puffs from my vape pen, I’m feeling rough and ready. I’m stumbling around at a slow pace and trying to ignore the constant yammering from the vendors. It sort of reminded me of “the alleys” in downtown Los Angeles. This conversation between a kid and her grandma had me snickering all the way back to my car:
Abuela: Do you want it? I’ll buy it for you. I had one in my room when I was your age.
Kid: Uh…who is it?
Abuela: Whaddya mean, who is it? Don’t you know who the Virgin is?
Kid: Oh sure. I know who she is.
Abuela: (Turns to vendor to pay for portrait)
Kid: (Turns to me shrugs her shoulders and mouths ‘Who is that?)
Daric Barton, churro seller season stats: 48 AB’s, 0 HR’s, .146 average.
We lost to the Tigers in game 5 AGAIN….and sure, it hurts… yet I was prepared for this. Sure, like every other fan there was self-induced bravado and the predictable ” Justin Verlander isn’t as good as he used to be” sort of talk. But deep down in my decrepit soul I knew better. The A’s are 1-12 since 2000 in elimination playoff games. That’s A LOT of nail-biting, fist clenching, teeth gnashing and over all screaming your head off until you feel like an asshole…all for naught. So I felt a bit at peace. I accepted the Japanese word “Shoganai,” which if translated means “it can’t be helped.” The philosophy states that if something is out of your control it is better to accept it and move on. This was the ONLY was to watch this game in a semi public setting without looking like a psychopath, so I accepted the philosophy, drank a beer, and sat down to watch the game that was being played in the concrete monstrosity where I first pissed in a trough.
The first 3 innings go by pretty well, goose eggs across the board. It all turns into a giant shit sandwich when Miguel Cabrera takes Sonny Gray deep into the left stairwell for a 2-0 lead. This is the point in time when you get that “oh fuck, not again” feeling. Ok, buck up buttercup…it’s only the 4th. Verlander is on fire…he’s spotting pitches and also getting a strike zone a foot off the plate outside by umpire Tom Hallion. I know we’re fucked…and we are. Verlander pitches a perfect game until a Reddick walk in the 6th, and a no-hitter until Cespedes base hit with 2 outs in the 7th. Detroit had already scratched another run across to make it 3-0 by then. I know the game is pretty much over, yet I fancy myself a super fan, so I listen to announcers Don Orsillo and Dennis Eckersley (sorry Eck) suck Verlanders dick for the next hour. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I heard, “he’s really on tonight” or “he’s got so much in his arsenal.” Usually when I watch a game I prefer the Vin Scully approach…some tidbits of information about the city the player grew up in, some inside baseball information or perhaps a joke or two. Couldn’t you lay off another “his breaking ball is devastating” and perhaps tell us where Jed Lowrie grew up!? Or maybe the hardships Yoenis Cespedes had growing up in Cuba? A lot of the people watching playoff baseball are fair- weathered fans, and I could only imagine their boredom when these guys talked about Verlander ad nauseam. Fuck, it bored me and I’m a diehard.
There is much debate by the announcers as to if Justin Verlander is the second coming of Jesus Christ himself. Apparently Jim Leyland doesn’t think so, as he brings in Joaquin Benoit to close it out in the 9th. A couple of guys get on, and suddenly Seth Smith is up with 2 guys on and 2 outs. A homer ties this one. One brilliant, deep, soaring tater into the Oakland night, and this game is tied. I’m paying attention now, I’m imagining what I am going to do WHEN it happens. He then proceeds to hit a lazy fly to Torii Hunter as I watch worthless GM Dave Dombrowski celebrate behind the Detroit dugout. The disappointment doesn’t sink in for a while. I’m not angry, just quiet. I go to get some of that organic pizza that all the kids are talking about. Congratulations TBS, you got what you wanted…a RedSox/Tigers A.L.C.S. We’ll be back again though, trying to fuck up your television ratings …like we always do.
Game 4 of the A.L.D.S. between the Oakland A’s and the Detroit Tigers upset me like no baseball game ever has in recent memory. There was a complete meltdown in all aspects of the game, whether it be Ryan Cook being wild and ineffective, Josh Reddick‘s HUGE strike-out with the bases juiced on a crap pitch, or Sean Doolittle, well, living up to his name.
It seems a lot of readers of the facebook page of this very site thought a certain play completely changed the momentum of the game. With the A’s leading 4-3 in the bottom of the 7th, the newest most hated man on the planet according to Oakland fans, Victor Martinez hit an opposite field drive:
Reddick seemed to think, even after the game, that he had a chance to catch it, and one reader even sent the rules to Bud Selig and umpire Joe West, getting a nasty response back from Mr. West’s representative, “Hank.” Here are the rules as follows:
When there is spectator interference with any thrown or batted ball, the ball shall be dead at the moment of interference and the umpire shall impose such penalties as in his opinion will nullify the act of interference.
APPROVED RULING: If spectator interference clearly prevents a fielder from catching a fly ball, the umpire shall declare the batter out.
Rule 3.16 comment: There is a difference between a ball which has been thrown or batted into the stands, touching a spectator thereby being out of play even though it rebounds onto the field and a spectator going onto the field or reaching over, under or through a barrier and touching a ball in play or touching or otherwise interfering with a player. In the latter case it is clearly intentional and shall be dealt with as intentional interference as in Rule 3.15. Batter and runners shall be placed where in the umpires judgment they would have been had the interference not occurred.
No interference shall be allowed when a fielder reaches over a fence, railing, rope or into a stand to catch a ball. He does so at his own risk. However, should a spectator reach out on the playing field side of such fence, railing or rope, and plainly prevent the fielder from catching the ball, then the batsman should be called out for the spectators interference. Example: Runner on third base, one out and a batter hits a fly ball deep to the outfield (fair or foul). Spectator clearly interferes with the outfielder attempting to catch the fly ball. Umpire calls the batter out for spectator interference. Ball is dead at the time of the call. Umpire decides that because of the distance the ball was hit, the runner on third base would have scored after the catch if the fielder had caught the ball which was interfered with, therefore, the runner is permitted to score. This might not be the case if such fly ball was interfered with a short distance from home plate.
other reactions: The fan who interfered said ” He’s glad he didn’t cost the Tigers a Home Run” if you didn’t do anything wrong, why are you glad you didn’t COST them something…..stupid fuck.
Man, we better win. I’m really starting to hate the Tigers. Especially their bandwagon fans in Seattle
That call caused an emotional and momentum swing. That being said…..bases loaded nobody out. Why the hell are you swinging out of your shoes?!? All we need is a bloop, fly out, hard or soft ground ball to the first base side- just don’t strike out!
I’m pissed that I have to see Miguel Cabrera‘s shit eating grin on my TV again.
and finally: GODDAMMIT THE MLB AND NFL HATES OAKLAND!
Did the play cause a minor momentum shift? Definitely. Did Bob Melvin make some questionable pitching changes? certainly. Yet, I am not the type of fan who feels comfortable making excuses as we had MANY opportunities to put this game away. Sure, I had Jeffery Maier flashbacks; and I fucking HATE the Yankees more than the goddamn Tigers, yet the Tigers really aren’t the great team that they used to be the past couple of seasons, so I don’t feel threatened. I don’t have that ominous feeling of defeat when facing Verlander in game 5 that I had the past. Felix Hernandez has clearly passed him as the best pitcher in the A.L. That being said, there is still a game 5 to be played. I’m going to have to remind myself to be calm, enjoy the game and not get too stressed out.
Awwwwwww, fuck it: LET’S GO OAKLAND!!!!!
I drag my Dodgers loving girlfriend down to Anaheim once a year to see the A’s play the Angels because, well, the A’s are the greatest team on the planet, so fuck you. We do our usual pre- game routine of buying bottled water, sunflower seeds and other assorted bric-a-brac and then we’re off on the 45 minute drive south of Los Angeles to a place known as Anaheim. I’m not going to get into it here about my feelings on the O.C. (we get into that later) but let’s just say I think it’s homogenized crap.
We get to the stadium rather uneventfully and I say to the gfriend, “hmmm…the parking is much easier here than at Dodger stadium.”
“That’s because it’s in the middle of a city, this is a suburb!” she shoots back. Fair enough.
It’s 80 degrees outside. A perfect California night, and I’m feeling good as we begin to take the escalators to our upper deck seats. Now, there is a back story here. (Although readers Scott, Katrina, and Don “the cheese” will make fun of me unmercifully for this one.) I almost ALWAYS buy the cheap seats, wait the unwritten baseball rule of 3 innings, and then move to a better seat of my mood and choosing. (this has worked in Seattle, Oakland and San Diego) So I do this, buying 5 dollar seats off of some cynical asshole on stub hub and then pat myself on the head for a job well done. Dear readers, for future reference….THIS DOES NOT WORK IN ANAHEIM OR LOS ANGELES. These stadiums are not as “fan friendly” when it comes to common sense. Ahem. So my plan failed. Fuck you.
The game starts and the A’s scratch across 2 runs in the 2nd, and then a Howie Kendrick jack in the bottom half of the inning makes it 2-1. Ok, we got a ballgame.
gfriend: (who is proud of her Salvadorian heritage, mind you.)
” The vibe is different here, and the crowd is so…..white. All this red reminds me of Republicanism.”
No doubt, sweetheart. I hate the Angels and John McCain too.
Top of the 3rd: Jed Lowrie golfs a three run tater off Garrett Richards that barely clears the out of town scoreboard in left center for a 5-1 lead. I notice then that the Red Sox aren’t playing tonight. Tommy Milone does his best job of fucking it up in the bottom half, giving up a bases drunk double to Howie Kendrick to cut the lead to 5-4. I’m upset and even say a few un-choice words about Tommy boy under my breath, but I want to seem cool in the enemies ballpark, so I let it go. A few innings go by, and we make fun of everyone around us who seem to be checking Facebook on their phones.
Top 7th: “Boss” Moss hits one of the HIGHEST jacks I have ever seen into the Angels right field “shit dump,”
(I have no idea what it is…but it looks ghastly) to make it 7-4. I don’t know about you, but to me, this guy will be long remembered as one of my favorite Oakland A’s. Raw power and passion with a fucking red George Michael beard = bad ass mother fucker. The A’s bullpen effectively holds the Halos down, and they scratch together a few more runs to make it 10-5 as the Angels fans leave en masse to our delight (parking issues,dog!) Grant “gives me a fucking heart attack or puts me to sleep” Balfour comes in, walks a couple of guys, throws a shit load of pitches (his innings always seem as long as the first 8) and finally ends the game by striking out Hank Conger. There was a strange feeling that Angels fans had conceded. Even the victory was sort of bitter-sweet as I couldn’t wait for the playoffs, ergo the passion to start. We pass the strip club down the street and listen to oldies the rest of the way as the gfriend asks me about who I think the Dodgers will play in the playoffs.
sidenotes: Angel dogs are infinitely better than the Dodger dog. I will fight you if you disagree.
Tommy Milone has 12 wins. I can’t remember a pitcher who had so many wins and received so much criticism because he had “lost it” so quickly. The baseball gods are a fucking trip, man.
Howie Kendrick with a jack and 4 RBI’s. Always thought that dude was solid.
Josh Reddick has 55 RBI’s in a year that was a DISASTER with injuries. He’s going to be a special player when he gets right.
Daric Barton hasn’t been Mr. “look at a bazillion pitches” lately and he’s a better hitter for it.
A.J. Griffin was supposed to start this game. I was disappointed when he didn’t.
Two words: NO YO. bummer.
When the Rally Monkey crap started on the scoreboard, 2 Angels fans behind me said, “yeah, we’ll start our rally….in spring training next year!” Hilarious.
Mike Trout K’d 3 times. I’m lovin’ it.
Well, It’s the All Star break and the A’s lead the West as predicted on this site. I’ve watched quite a few games this year in person and on T.V. through a haze of pot smoke, and I can tell you that I have been entertained this season more than any other season I can remember. (of course, the present ALWAYS seems more exciting when it comes to sports) I’m not going to give you a midseason report because, well, I’m lazy, and I’m not going to insult your intelligence as a fan. (unless you love the Giants) Besides, the report would be ladened with so many “I told you so’s,” that you would want to puke on your grandmother’s best quilt. Enjoy the All Star game and I’ll see you in few.
It’s a slow day and I’m sitting around drinking beers and watching bad television as my girlfriend gets some work done. So, I figure I’d have to do a spring training update since every other crappy/boring blog is doing it. You know what they say: opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.
The cactus league is getting a bit tedious and meaningless as the managers at this point in time know who is who, what is what, and who is playing where. Daric Barton seems to be shit out of luck as the A’s signed a guy who noone wanted; Nate Freiman (not to be confused with Travis Fryman) who is an impressive 6’6, but seemingly can’t hit for shit. We here at the “‘Fro” are going to have to trust Billy Beane on this one….. Jemile Weeks was sent to AAA because he can’t hit. (kind of like his brother) His only saving grace being that he plays the 2 bag. He’s no Mark Ellis and never will be. Still not sold on Scott Sizemore, he has all the talent in the world and still can’t put it together; I can see why the Tigers dumped him. I’d like to see Eric Sogard get some AB’s at that position considering he’s proved he can hit on every level….. The outfield is full of studs, no gripe here. (not to jump on any bandwagons, but Josh Reddick is my fave player on this team. He’s amazing, got a GUN, and got that crazy passion that I love.) Same with the pitching….. I’m comfortable with Josh Donaldson at the hot corner even though he had a bad spring, and Brandon “Boss” Moss is a solid player at first….. (atleast platoon-wise) The John Jaso/Derrick Norris platoon behind the dish seems ample as we don’t need much production from that position….. (despite Jaso’s defensive faults, he is clutch) It’s a bit comical that A’s fans want to see “set” positions, yet I don’t feel as if that would lead to success. This is a true “team” and I don’t expect any less than an A.L. West title.