Rough Weekend For The Yankees… And Me!
Weekends like this one are a lot like those periodic bad hands you get when you’re playing cards. You play it as best you can, all the while thinking the deck’s got it in for you, then tuck the memory into your rear view mirror and get on with it. It started innocently enough Friday afternoon when my relief called off for her shift, giving me the opportunity to remain in place for an additional three hours. Its’ not my first choice for how to spend a Friday evening after a long week, but what can you do? It doesn’t happen that often and you go with the flow.
Saturday held a great deal of promise, however, with plans to have lunch with a pal, maybe do some shopping and in general enjoy a relaxing day. These plans were disrupted by a 5:10 am phone call advising there was an emergency at work and could I please come in? So much for going with the flow. There went my Saturday. Sunday was going to be better, right?
My Sunday plans were to go to the Oakland Coliseum to see the Athletics host the New York Yankees. I had purchased two tickets on line Thursday night, even treating a pal to his ticket. But Sunday morning unfurled a downer shortly after 9 am when my pal called to say his sciatica was acting up, he could barely walk, couldn’t go to the game and was sorry. Okay, these things happen. So I called my back-up pal, a physician, and he said he had just been called into the hospital on an emergency and couldn’t go. Strike out.
Although I don’t like going to ballgames alone, off I went. It was already 10 am and it was going to be a hot one, so I made sure to wear a white t-shirt, light-tan khakis and a tan baseball hat (thanks, Utchie). One of the great things about San Francisco is that you don’t need a car to get around, so I caught the N Judah and after an uneventful streetcar ride downtown got off at Powell and switched to BART for the trip to the East Bay. The train was just a couple of minutes away, then it was at Civic Center, due at Powell in one minute. Then another minute. And another. And another. Then came a booming announcement over the PA advising there was a BART delay at Civic Center due to a police action. With their track record, this could only mean that the BART police responded to an incident, or they caused it. Twenty minutes later, the incident was resolved and my train arrived.
I got on a car that had a homeless guy on it, a scary looking type who was openly smoking a cigarette, which is against the law. Maybe this was the guy who caused the delay? If not, I don’t know how the BART police missed him. So it was off to another car, this one an empty one, and when I got in I realized the heat and not the air conditioning was on. Off to the next car and finally to the Coliseum.
It was nice to see the new Catfish Hunter gate. The Hall of Fame pitcher was an eight-time All Star for his career, and during his ten seasons as an Athletic went 161-113 with a 3.13 ERA. In his Cy Young season, 1974, Hunter went 25-12 with a 2.49 ERA and a 0.986 WHIP. Nice.
Upon entering things started looking up as it was Marcus Semien Action Figure giveaway day, so I put mine away knowing that I would be giving it to my friend Sierra at work on Monday. The young lady’s Oakland Athletics collection is growing with me on the scene and now includes a Bob Melvin bobblehead and several choice Rickey Henderson baseball cards.
The East Bay is significantly hotter than San Francisco, where I live, and upon finding my seats I realized they were baking in the unrelenting, blistering sun, which was directly overhead. Well, I can’t sit here for an hour until the game starts, I’ll never make it, so I’ll find my way to Client Services and see if I can trade the unused ticket for a future game.
I’ve never been to Client Services before, so after inquiring and going down a ramp like a member of the Coliseum staff directed me, I found a second member of the Coliseum staff who sent me up a different ramp where I found my man, Michael, of the Client Services staff. I stated my case and was told “no.” However, he did give me his card and said maybe he could get me a parking pass for a future game, so at least there’s that. Now all I need is a car and maybe I can use that parking pass!
The game was a good one. Yankees DH Matt Holiday started the scoring in the top of the second with a deep, towering solo home run. This one was a real no doubter. The Yankees tallied again in the top of the third when Brett Gardner led off with a double and was driven in by Aaron Judge’s hard hit single to right field. Yankees 2 to 0.
The bottom of the third brought something quite unexpected, a hint of a breeze. Good, now I’m only sweltering. I’ve already become pals with the lemonade vendor and at the rate I’m drinking it’s either his kid’s education or his villa in Greece that I’m paying for. The Athletics put a rally together, cobbling a single, double, double and home run together to score four runs. Hey, it’s a lively game! And talk about no doubt! Kris Davis blasted a mammoth shot to deep center field, way up in the stands. It was a mighty blast! Athletics 4 to 2.
In the top of the fourth Didi Gregorius hit a home run down the right field line, and that concluded the scoring for the day. Athletics 4 to 3. The game played itself out, and that was the end of the four-game series the Yankees played in Oakland. The Bronx Bombers lost all four. Imagine that. The Oakland Athletics swept the New York Yankees; there’s something that doesn’t occur very often.
By the end of the game I was spent. The overwhelming heat wiped me out, and worse, diminished the enjoyment of a close, well-played game. By the time I got home, I was ready to pass out, and that’s exactly what I did. Next weekend is bound to be better, because I’ll be attending a free baseball card show in a local air-conditioned mall.
I’m feeling better already.