Debate? …What Debate?

Somewhere in my closet I have one of these baseball hats. Over the years, it’s earned me sneers and catcalls from both sides of the bay rivalry. Blasphemy is the word that most often sputters from the lips of diehard partisans. I might as well have a picture of Mohammad perched on my empty noggin.

It don’t matter to me. I’m just thrilled to see both teams in the play-offs again. If, by some miracle, they both end up in a bay bridge series again (and the Almighty doesn’t smite us like he/she did the last time ) I’ll be rooting for the little guys from the East Bay. I’m a sucker for the underdog.

I doubt that I’ll be as enthusiastic as I was in ’89, when I strutted around the local watering holes wearing a puke-green jumpsuit over a baby-poop yellow jersey with an A’s cap sporting spring antennae topped with styrofoam A’s balls. It was horrible enough, but I had to make it even more disgusting by taking a marker pen and scrawling FUCKIN’ A’s across the back. I like to think I’m a little more mature in my doddering years. I can’t run as fast as I used to either.

But what the hell…The hat will get me in enough trouble, and you can bet I won’t be wearing it when I go to San Francisco during the outbreak of Giant’s fever. The Alternative Press Expo opens on the 13th just a long ball away from the stadium. If the boys in black and orange are still at bat by then, the neighborhood will be a madhouse, and anyone wearing the wrong colors will be drawn, quartered, and used for chum by kayakers in McCovey Cove.

Giant’s fans have long memories, and they’d like nothing more than to avenge the four-game pummeling they got last time. (But it was sweet for A’s fans who had to endure the humiliation of Kirk Gibson and the hated Dodgers the year before.) As gratifying as whipping the A’s might be, I’m sure they’d like to have a rematch with the Wankees…I mean the Yankees, who crushed the dreams of  young Northern California baby boomers back in ’62.  Vengeance is a dish best served cold.

Either way, it’s more fun than enduring the lies and zingers of the presidential mudfest. For a few weeks at least, we can root for someone worth rooting for.

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34 Responses to Debate? …What Debate?

  1. Not being a year ’round baseball fan, I’m finally beginning to take an extra interest since one or two ‘local’ teams may wind up in the Series, which is really the only baseball that Jo Ann and I religiously watch. Your pre-Series coverage is most likely the only sports commentary we’ll read on the subject, so keep it coming.

    I’m saddened though by your assessment that neither candidate is worth rooting for in the coming election. In that I think that you are only half right; but hey, I hear that batting 500 is outstanding 😉

  2. Tom Betterman says:

    ” FUCKIN’ A’s” proves you are local vintage 1964, and to be sure, add in “Fuck me, I’ll never smile again.” Sierra College Rocklin, the early years.

  3. Tom Odachi says:

    Like I mentioned once, I have not seriously followed baseball for years. I grew up a die hard fan of the game, but ever since the players and the owners began their own rivalries and put their needs ahead of the fans, they lost me. I once vowed never to attend another game, but then my son became of age, and not wanting to spoil his enthusiasm for the game, we would follow the Cardinals and occasionally go to Busch Stadium. When we moved here, we would go see the As play; and also the Giants (when St. Louis was in town).

    But inside, I still protested — and still do!!

  4. Ryan Mount says:

    > four-game pummeling they got last time.

    A highlight of my life, to be honest. My Pop missed the Oakland freeway collapse by 30 minutes (he worked in the Oakland Southern Pacific train yard at the time) because he snuck out early to make it home to watch his A’s play. Another reason to be thankful for the A’s. When he got home, in true crusty form, he was less concerned about the earthquake, and more pissed-off that the TV was out.

    Speaking of Dad, growing up in the East Bay my Father had a disdain for anything on the Peninsula. He refused to take us to Marine World because he “hated that god-damned 101 traffic.” Giants games were a no-no even if we got free tickets from the railroad. “That god-damned wind of Candlestick ruined the game,” he’d opine. To put an exclamation point on that, he had season tickets throughout the 70s. And had great seats for the 72-74 World Series.

    However the A’s are repeating their oft used, modern game plan:

    – Play above average during the year
    – Play exceptionally well in the last few games
    – Make it to the play-offs
    – Play like 13 year olds at clutch moments and lose.

    And I *like* the uniforms. Always have. 🙂

  5. Michael Anderson says:

    Ryan,

    I was OK with everything your dad was saying until this bat-shit crazy line: “That god-damned wind of Candlestick ruined the game.” Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. One of the highlights of my younger life was watching other National League teams standing out in the field with the fog swirling around their pretty little heads at 30 knots, wondering what sort of icy blinding hell was being visited upon them, and why. I have a couple of Croix de Candlestick pins in my mementos box, reminding me of those extra-inning games we toughed out in the bleachers while drinking Schlitz from plastic milk jugs. Those sure were the days. Veni, Vini, Vixi!

    http://southofheaven.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451960269e2013488b20fa5970c-popup

    http://www.croixdestick.com/?page_id=10

    Michael A.

    • Tom Odachi says:

      Michael, I definitely give you and other Giant fans credit. I think Candlestick defined who the Giants (and their fans) were. The weather conditions actually seemed to be a plus for them.
      On another note: My dad and I watched history being made in 1963 at Dodger Stadium, Sandy Koufax pitching a no-hitter against Juan Marichal.

    • Ryan Mount says:

      Michael-

      I genuinely do not want to disrupt your nostalgia for Candlestick. To each his own. Obviously we have differing opinions of pitchers balking due to high winds. And then there was the constant wet (soaked) field. Garbage flying in player’s faces. (OK, we had that in Oakland too, actually, lots of it because we were slobs). Croix de Candlestick? I rest my case. My family wore spilt, stale beer and sauerkraut home from the games. In the mid-late 1970s we keep quite quiet on the drive home as to not incur Dad’s wrath.

      I guess it’s part of the game too. And like all well indoctrinated children, I followed my Father’s hatred for all things Peninsula. So feel free to discount my musings on that fact. This is probably some kind of working-class venting therapy.

      It’s really more of a dislike I have for the National League in general and its purist, conservative nostalgia. Again, perfect for the Peninsula. Give me the American League, liquor (they invented it in the parks) and fighting (also invented that due to liquor) in the stands. That’s a snarky judgement of taste, and less a criticism of the inherent value of either League.

      Just don’t count on me to join in on the “both teams in the playoffs” Kum-ba-ya. The only team I dislike more than the Giants, are the jerk-off KC Royals. They might as well be the Des Moines Giants. 😉

      • Michael Anderson says:

        The flying garbage at The Stick was my favorite part. And this was before everything came in plastic bags. It would be even better today!

        But American over National? With the DH? Seriously? Hey, I have a rule, only the 3 best hitters have to hit, over and over and over again. Wouldn’t that be swell?

        We have liquor over at AT&T Park, but it’s usually something like Macallan instead of Teachers.

        BTW: Texas Toddlers 5 – Oakland A’s 12, in the top of the 9th. Go A’s!!

  6. Ryan:

    I guess you have never set foot in Oracle Arena, since Oracle is a Peninsula company.

    And I guess you’ll be saying good-by to the Warriors when they move to San Francisco and the A’s if the Giants let them move to San Jose. But you’ll still have the sorry-ass Raiders, who tried to escape to L.A. but was sent packing.

    As Herb Caen used to say, they make you pay a toll to cross the bridges to San Francisco and the Peninsula, but they let you cross the bridges to Oakland and the East Bay free of charge. Makes sense to me.

  7. Ryan Mount says:

    Hi George. Hope the day finds you well. It’s well for me.

    > I guess you have never set foot in Oracle Arena, since Oracle is a Peninsula company.

    Not sure how’s that’s relevant other than a veiled and passive-aggressive ad hominem. Anyhow, what the hell does this have to do with the A’s? But yes, I have been. [shakes head].

    It will always be the Oakland Coliseum to me. For the record, being an IBMer, I instinctually despise Oracle and all of their products, with the exception their Database which is still king of the hill, even though I think DB2 is better.

    > And I guess you’ll be saying good-by to the Warriors when they move to San Francisco

    Not a Basketball fan. So no comment. Nor do I care.

    > sorry-ass Raiders,

    We had Al Davis toilet paper growing up. I challenge you to proclaim that in the Coliseum on game day. Just once. Let us know what beer tastes like when you’re wearing it.

    > A’s if the Giants let them move to San Jose

    Not sure what you mean by this. Last I heard the A’s are might be moving to that slough in Fremont next to the abandoned Solyndra plant. (have you been there? I have, It’s gooey.) Maybe we we can call it Solyndra Field? Anyhow, if Fremont fails, then they might come to Sacramento. Which would be groovy. More chances to go to games. I’ll buy you a ticket George, but not the beer. I’m now suspicious of your demeanor.

    You’re ruining my A’s buzz, damn it.

    > As Herb Caen used to say[snip]

    Well sorta true. But I sense you trying to out-snark me with the Herb Caen comment, which is fine. However that’s not true for the the other bridges out of the Bay Area. The general rule is this: if you want to leave the East Bay, you have to pay a toll.

    • rl crabb says:

      Ryan, I too have dreamed of the A’s moving to Sacratomato (or is it Sacra-ta-MAH-to?) but if the King’s can’t get a new venue, what makes you think the taxpayers of the capital city will pony up the dough for a baseball team? Ah well, we can dream…

  8. Ryan:

    I hope you caught Larry Ellison’s interview on CNBC yesterday. He said he needs a $4 billion line of credit in case he goes shopping and something catches his eye.

    • Ryan Mount says:

      Ugh. He might buy the A’s and put them on his boat. The end is near.

      And, for the record, I was serious about the A’s Tickets. And the beer.

      • Michael Anderson says:

        Time to stop being serious about a Bay Bridge series?

        What a mess of a baseball weekend for the Bay Area. Ick.

        If our 2 teams fail, I’m going for Baltimore.

  9. petek says:

    MLB will not aprove another franchise in northern Calif. and the A’s will most likely never move to Sac. As i’ve mentioned before, thier best bet would to somehow build a waterfront stadium in or very near Oakland. Maybe this years sucess will pesuade the investors to get it done.

    • Michael Anderson says:

      Exactly Pete. Next to Jack London Square is the spot. Not the slough in Fremont (hat tip to Ryan on that call). The cows in cow town, and all rest of the Democrats, will have to be satisfied with the Rivercats. Which is not such a bad deal, considering they won their 6th-in-a-row Pacific Coast League division championship this past August.

      • rlcrabb says:

        If Sacto has done one thing well, it was Raley Field. Being able to have a great dinner in Old Sac, then amble across the Tower Bridge to a baseball game is a real joy. The folks in Oaktown should take notes, although if they couldn’t get behind the team after the thrilling years of LaRussa and the Bash Brothers, I don’t know what will tickle their fancy.

        • Michael Anderson says:

          “…I don’t know what will tickle their fancy.”

          An end to the kind of gun violence that makes them the 4th most dangerous city in America?

          Here’s an idea. Since Mitt Romney now seems to be so hot and bothered about the 10th Amendment, that only states should be allowed to decide how to set up health care systems, how about the same regard for the War on Drugs? Get rid of the federal laws on maryJ and the gun violence in places like Memphis and Detroit will plummet, not to mention the savings when we reduce our incarceration rates.

          I’ll support the repeal of PPACA the minute Romney declares he will end the War on Drugs, both supposed violations of the 10th Amendment. Not holding my breath.

  10. Michael Anderson says:

    After a weekend of really crappy and disheartening baseball, suddenly the Bay Bridge Series is once again a possibility. Never give up.

    I didn’t get to watch the Giants game today since I was working, but I followed it pretty closely on my iPhone with my handy MLB app which gives me an excellent graphical game summary/play-by-play. Zito started and Timmy (The Freak) was the middle reliever–Boch was pretty much just throwing pitchers against the wall to see who stuck. The final Cincy – SF game is tomorrow at 10 am and it should be a real barn-burner. It’s rumored that Bochy will be attempting to best his regular season record of 11 pitchers in one game tomorrow.

    I did get to watch the A’s – Tigers game on TBS tonight and there is nothing finer than witnessing a come-from-behind walk-off victory delivered by Coco Crisp. Just some incredibly excellent baseball playing, it gives a man hope.

    Best sports column of the week so far, Scott Ostler in the SF Comical last Saturday:
    “KNUCKLEHEADS OF THE WEEK
    Oakland A’s owners Lew Wolff and John Fisher
    Wolff waded into the A’s clubhouse celebration Wednesday. As players sprayed Champagne, he seemed to feel right at home, and why not? All that tarp!
    Fisher, as usual, was nowhere in sight, leaving minority owner Wolff to represent ownership that long ago gave up on Oakland. The owners need losing and sparse crowds to bolster their case for fleeing Oakland.
    Conveniently, the owners will continue to tarp off thousands of seats this week, even though those seats could be crammed with delirious fans, thus adding to the A’s home-field advantage.
    The team’s explanation for the tarp job would make Yogi Berra’s head explode.
    Wolff was drenched as he left the clubhouse. Champagne? Or was he sweating out this new and disturbing development – A’s winning, fans flocking?”

    The tarps were still in place tonight, except for the “Value Deck” behind home plate in the AL-ps (Mount Davis). Flippin’ pitiful.

    • Ryan Mount says:

      Typically, the A’s aren’t smart enough to know how to win a playoff game. This year, they’re not smart enough to lose. It makes for a great game.

      I’m with you regarding the third deck. It’s f’ing stupid.

  11. PeteK says:

    Let us hope “The Comeback Kids” Do their parts again today. I don’t know why the tarps are still on at O.co(formally the Oakland Coliseum), that is the most upsurd thing I ever saw…they might have made some money back from all the tickets they didn’t sell during the regular season. Don’t they remove them for Raider games anyway??(Major blunder for A’s management for sure)
    Any who, this is exciting baseball! Both the Giants and A’s will have to dig deep within to pull out the last and final game today.

    • Michael Anderson says:

      Bottom of the 9th, Giants ahead 6-3. Three outs away…hope I didn’t just jinx it.

      • PeteK says:

        Phew!! thankfully no but don’t let it happen again with your premature posts!!! lol

      • Michael Anderson says:

        Can’t wait for tonight’s game. Go A’s!!

        • Michael Anderson says:

          Pete, I’ll try to stay away from the computer this evening (-;

        • Michael Anderson says:

          Crap. No Bay Bridge Series this year. Perhaps if Lew Wolff did not have a terminal case of recto-cranial disease, things might have been different.

          Let it be known that the top three players in Detroit made as much money this year as the entire A’s squad. Yet another reason why Lew Wolff should be sitting at the bottom of the potato patch shoals with some cement galoshes. This guy needs to find another part of the country to inhabit, perhaps in a house built of discarded tarps. He is not a west coaster…just a poser.

          Go away, Lew. Bring on the tar and feathers, please.

      • Michael Anderson says:

        The Washington Nationals, with the best regular season record for both the American and National Leagues in 2012, just lost Game 5 to the playoff-seasoned Cardinals at home, 9 – 7. They’re done.

        The Nationals dominated the game in the beginning, leading by a whopping 6 – 0 at the end of the 3rd. But the Cardinals understand that the playoffs are different than the regular season and the Nationals clearly didn’t–you never give up in the playoffs and you have to “believe that you will win.” A 6 – 0 lead after only 3 innings clearly was a challenge to the Cardinals players and they found the holes in the Nats’ defense to tick away at them.

        But still, it looked like a done deal to win for Washington D.C. in the bottom of the 8th when they added an insurance run to to make it 7 – 5 in their favor. But then came the top of the 9th.

        The Cardinals slammed 4 runs across the plate in a post-season scoring frenzy that was pure art. Why did Davey Johnson, the Nats’ manager, not do what Bochy does, which is basically throw in a new pitcher at each threatening batter in the late innings? It shuts down the offensive momentum and messes with their minds.

        But Johnson left in Drew Storen after he delivered 2 consecutive walks (which is also how most games are lost in Little League, BTW), and all the citizens of our nation’s capital fell off a cliff at once. As King Lear so clearly stated: “O, that way madness lies; let me shun that; no more of that.”

        It has been 79 years since a Washington D.C. baseball team won a pennant, and 88 years since they won their only World Series. Back then they called ’em the Washington Senators, which they no longer do since it seemed a bit inappropriate that the people rooting for the Senators are ineligible to vote for any senators.

        So, I am predicting that this loss will have some sort of effect on the presidential election. What that may be I have no idea, I will leave that for Nate Silver to determine. But I do know this…what I saw on the faces of those Nats fans was deep anger, sadness, and frustration. I just hope they don’t take those frustrations out on the rest of us in a way that makes us regret that we have presidential elections at the federal level.

        Oh wait, sorry, horse-already-left-barn. Oh well.

        • Sid Heaton says:

          “That way madness lies…” Love it when you get a little Billy Shakes mixed in with your baseball. Nice!

          The Nats are suffering the wrath of the baseball gods for shelving Strasburg. If he pitches in that series, I think they win it going away. Instead, management has a whole lot of players — Strasburg included — angry that their shot at the World Series was compromised.

          There are no guarantees they even get this far again in the near term. They should have gone for it and pitched Strasburg.

          Ah, but the Giants fan in me thanks them for taking a powder. The Nats have had serious ownage on the Giants this year…I’d rather see the Cards.

  12. rl crabb says:

    We may not get a bay area World Series, but there’s still hope for a Giants/Yankees rematch. (The Yanks squeezed out a narrow victory in ’62. The loss traumatized a generation of fans and the G’s didn’t make it back to the series for decades.)
    As for Oakland, maybe it’s time to “occupy” the colosseum. Nature abhors a vacuum, and empty seats.

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