Tag Archive | Oakland A’s baseball

Take Me Out With The Crowd

IMG_8034I’m headed out of town with David today. We’re going to St. Petersburg, Fla., for the weekend to watch my beloved Oakland Athletics play the Tampa Bay Rays. Last year we went to a doubleheader. The year before that we took the kids to a single game. It’s become a tradition for us to attend at least one game of the series when the A’s are in Florida.

I love being out with the crowd. The noise, the pristine field mowed perfectly. (OK, so the Trop is a dome and therefore an artificial surface, but a girl can dream, can’t she?) I’ve never caught a foul ball. I hope one comes near us this time.

There’s nothing like the roar of the crowd when a batter hits a home run. Do you know how far those little white balls have to travel? A football field is 100 yards, that’s 300 feet.IMG_8029 Most home runs have to clear a fence that is nearly 400 feet away from home plate.

That’s pretty far.

There’s strategy and mystery (ever try to figure out the signs the managers and coaches are flashing?) and joy and sorrow (ever had your slugger strike out when the bases are loaded?).

The lyrics to the iconic 7th-inning-stretch song fit me well.

 

Katie Casey was baseball mad,
Had the fever and had it bad.
Just to root for the home town crew,
Ev’ry sou
Katie blew.
On a Saturday her young beau
Called to see if she’d like to go
To see a show, but Miss Kate said “No,
I’ll tell you what you can do:”

Chorus

Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd;
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
I don’t care if I never get back.
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win, it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game.

Katie Casey saw all the games,
Knew the players by their first names.
Told the umpire he was wrong,
All along,
Good and strong.
When the score was just two to two,
Katie Casey knew what to do,
Just to cheer up the boys she knew,
She made the gang sing this song:

(Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer, 1908)

IMG_8041

 

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No Bandwagon Fan

IMG_8043It’s baseball season, in case you didn’t know. And my team, the Oakland Athletics, is in the thick of a pennant race.

At the beginning of the season, nobody thought they would be able to do anything, especially against the powerhouse 2017 champion Houston Astros. But, the naysayers were proved wrong and we are neck-and-neck with the Astros.

I’ve been an A’s fan since 1968, the year both the team and my family moved to Oakland. Being 2,000 miles away has been one of the hardest things for me about living in Florida. But, thanks to modern technology and a little thing called the internet, I am able to remain loyal to my team, watching nearly every game on MLB.tv.

I’ve also been a Golden State Warriors fan forever, even when they were perennial cellarIMG_8028 dwellers. When they started their winning ways several seasons ago, I was thrilled.

Does it bother me that some “fans” just like to jump on the bandwagon of a winning team? Yes, yes it does. If you can’t stay with them in the hard times, why should you suddenly care when they become winners?

I’m thinking Jesus had some bandwagon fans. When he was the hero, healing people and doing other miraculous works, they were yelling their “hosannas.” But the minute he was arrested and nailed to that tree, suddenly they were nowhere to be found.

Don’t be a bandwagon fan.

 

This post is a part of the Five-Minute Friday link up. Join the fun!

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It’s Baseball Season (And Why I Love it So)

I have plastic Oakland Athletics cups that I’ve had since before I got married 21 years ago. 

Does that say anything about how obses–I mean loyal I am to my team? I grew up in Oakland, Calif., and much of my youth was spent at the ball park or listening to games on the radio. Televised games were still a thing of the future. I have autographs from the glory days of the A’s of the 70s, and can still remember attending the celebration parades in downtown Oakland after a World Series win.

I even got to go to game 1 of the 1988 series between the A’s and the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. You know, the one where Kirk Gibson, gimpy as he was, came in against Dennis Eckersley in the bottom of the 9th. A’s fans thought we had it in the bag. Well, what did Gibson do? Hit one out of the park, over the right field wall if I remember correctly. I’ve never heard a place erupt as loudly as that stadium that day.

And I still have a VHS tape of the Earthquake game, in the 1989 series between the A’s and the Giants. What a sight that was.

Ah, those were the days.

My team hasn’t made the playoffs in a while, but that doesn’t dim my love for them. Players have come and gone, and I’ve been sad to see them go, but I usually end up loving the ones who replace them. What I’ve been asked by my kids, who have not inherited my love, is why I like it so much.

I actually have no idea, but here’s my attempt to figure it out:

There’s strategy and strength

I loved to watch Ricky Henderson steal bases. Now Jemile Weeks and Coco Crisp are filling that need. But I also love the beauty of a blast over the wall. The sheer strength it takes to hit a ball that far is completely beyond me, but Reggie Jackson, Frank Thomas–for the season we had him–and even the bash brothers, Jose Canseco and Mark McGuire, brought awe to the ballfield. Ever see a suicide squeeze in real life? You feel like your heart is going to burst right out of your chest.

It’s slow-paced, like summer

Some people would say it’s boring. I like the leisurely pace that allows conversation. Most baseball fans can talk about statistics and players with the best of them. I’m not for numbers, I just love the beauty of the game. With the advent of lights, baseball lost some of it’s summer-like qualities and became more of a money maker, it seems to me. Living on the east coast as a west-coast fan has been hard when the vast majority of games are at night. A reasonable 7:00 game on the west coast means 10:00 here for me. So I subscribe to MLB.TV and watch the archived game the next day, reliving my youth as it’s hot outside and I’m listening to the calls of “hot dogs! Get yer hot dogs here!”

There’s nothing like the intensity of two out in the bottom of the ninth, tie game, runners at the corners

OK, I admit it, when I’m watching a pre-recorded game I have been known to take a peak at the box score when the game is getting close to the end and the outcome is up in the air. I’ve got heart issues, remember? The hand-squeezing, heart-pumping thrill of batter against pitcher can be so intense, I’ve nearly had palpitations!

A baseball park is like nowhere else on earth

Whoever wrote the words to the 7th-inning-stretch classic, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” was a true fan. “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks. I don’t care if I ever get back.” Nowadays the fare is much fancier than just peanuts and Cracker Jacks. There’s nothing like a ballpark hotdog, cheesy fries, nachos. Whatever. It’s better at the ballpark. More expensive, too, but that’s another story. The sun, the smells, the hecklers: there’s nothing like it.

I don’t live anywhere near a ballpark anymore, and I miss it. On my bucket list is to visit every major league ballpark in one season. Don’t know if it will ever happen, but I’m hoping.

It’s spring. Baseball is in the air. Anyone want to go play some catch?

Thankful today for:

90. baseball

91. spring

92. mlb.tv