Since Oakland was so kind as to give me a free jersey during the last Twins game I went to, I decided to go to an A’s game where I could wear it and cheer for them. Thus, tonight I headed across the Bay to enjoy a baseball game, meeting up with two friends-of-a-friend who are big sports fans. As it happens, it was also fireworks night, so we hung around to see the Elvis Presley themed explosions in the sky while sitting on the outfield grass. Bert Blyleven likes to talk about the Oakland foul territory — well, tonight I sat directly on the foul line and noted how far away the bleachers were.
But Bert wasn’t there tonight; he was back in Minnesota watching the Twins clobber the Yankees (and I don’t get to say that often). Instead, the A’s were hosting our neighbor to the North, the Toronto Blue Jays. They didn’t sing “O Canada” before the game, which I thought was odd, and perhaps the lack of a national anthem threw the Blue Jays off their game. They scored a quick run in the first, but after that, A’s pitcher Gio Gonzalez was unstoppable, striking out 9 in 8 innings of work. In the meantime, the A’s answered quickly with a run of their own in the bottom of the first and another run in the 4th to go up 2-1. This score held until the 8th when the A’s generated some two out offense including a two run homerun in a nine pitch at bat for Josh Willingham, who was pinch hitting for David DeJesus. After a quick 1-2-3 9th, the A’s were victorious with a score of 5 to 1.
Having now gone to non-Twins games in both Oakland and San Francisco, I think I might prefer the A’s. AT&T Park is clearly superior, and at least for me, the location can’t be beat. But much the way it was with Fenway, you have to plan ahead to go to a Giants game and there are a lot of pink hats and people not actually watching the game. Because the Giants just won the World Series, starting to cheer for the Giants now feels a little like jumping on the bandwagon. By contrast, we got our tickets at the gate tonight (upgrading from some free seats Chris had from work) and they were dirt cheap. Pretty much everyone at the game was actually watching the game (except maybe the drama filled section in front of us that resulted in multiple ejections — we still don’t know what was going on there). And the A’s aren’t doing so hot these days, so I’m in no danger of front-running. Plus, I’ve always been an American League fan… going to National League games just feels a little off to me.