This weekend I discovered the time and place for interleague — when two teams actually have a rivalry built up based on both geography and a previous grudge (in this case, the 1989 World Series). I went to two of the Oakland-San Francisco games held this weekend in Oakland at the O.co Coliseum. The stadium was split pretty evenly with people sporting green and gold and people sporting orange. No matter what happened, somebody cheered and somebody groaned. Unlike the Red Sox-Yankees glory days, while still a serious rivalry, the Bay Bridge allegiances cross friendships. Thus, the atmosphere was closer to that of a friendly family feud than a blood sport — not unlike when my grandmother’s house gets split for Vikings-Packers games and then we all eat turkey together afterwards. (I’ve been told that the Giants-Dodgers game happening down the street from me tonight is what the Giants fans save their true hatred for. The A’s fans don’t seem to really hate anyone, except for Red Sox and Yankee fans who takeover their stadium.)
Saturday it appeared that the Giants were going to massacre their hosts, up 9-4 going into the bottom of the 9th. Most of the A’s fans left early and the Coliseum became AT&T Park East. But the A’s battled back and brought it within a run. With two outs, they loaded the bases… and Jemile Weeks popped out to shallow right in what turned out to be the longest nine inning game in Oakland history (4 hours, 15 minutes). The multitude of Giants fans around me actually hugged the one A’s fan left in the bleachers and told him “Better luck next time!”
On Sunday I went with a bunch of curlers and we tailgated in the parking lot before the game. It reminded me of our family roadtrips to County Stadium in Milwaukee, except that this time I drank a beer with my freshly grilled bratwurst. Inside the stadium, the game was much tighter than the previous day’s game — and I sat next to quite possibly the world’s biggest A’s fan. (Jeff Francoeur bought her pizza earlier this year.) Thus, I decided that unlike my neutral cheering on Saturday, I’d be an A’s fan this time.
Once again, the game came down to the bottom of the 9th. The A’s were down 2-1. Cespedes and Inge singled their way on base, but Seth Smith and Brandon Moss struck out. This left it up to Derek “not the son of Chuck despite similar heroics” Norris, who at this point had all of one major league hit — a single in Saturday’s game.
His second hit was much more memorable: a no-doubter three run homer to left field to give the A’s their first win of the weekend. It was a good day to be wearing my A’s jersey.
(And then, because we are curlers, we all went to the bar and resumed the tailgate, including grilling some steaks in the outdoor patio at the bar. It’s nice to know people who are in with the bartenders.)