It can now be crossed off the bucket list. Admittedly, it wasn't at the top of the bucket list, and such bucket list doesn't really exist, at least not in written form. It was still cool, though to attend two major league baseball games in one day, separated only by a few hours, and a mile or so of bay water.
The San Francisco Giants and Oakland A's were both home this weekend. That's something that used to never happen, but has occurred three different times this year. It won't happen again in 2019, and only Saturday was it physically possible to attend both contests. I debated, hemmed and hawed, and since I woke up early Saturday morning without setting an alarm, I decided to go for it.
Leaving before 9 would have been best, but it was 9:30 when I departed Marysville heading for the Bay Area. The Giants were taking on Milwaukee at 1pm. The drive is less than two hours, but with no tickets in hand, you have to get there early. Also, the plan was to drive to Berkeley, ditch the car at the BART station, ride to the Embarcadero, and then walk (riding MUNI was also an option, but I hoofed it) to 24 Willie Mays Plaza. With some construction delays on Interstate 80, I almost turned back on a couple of occasions, but proceeded on. Once over the Carquinez Bridge, it was Baseball or Bust.
Things actually went fairly smoothly until I got to Oracle (formerly A-T-and-T) Park. The line at the ticket window was short, and I bought a seat upper deck behind home plate. I did get tripped up in the security line, stood in the wrong one, and was re-directed a couple of times. I was not in my seat by first pitch, but I was in the ball park, so that counts, right? The Brewers went down in order in the first inning anyway, and I was settled in a comfortable-but-not-crowded Section 318.
The Giants smacked a couple of hits in the first inning but did not score. Madison Bumgarner was the starting pitcher for San Francisco. His first two innings were good, but it was a little disappointing that he didn't bark at catcher Manny Pina after he homered in the third. The Brewers scored three in the fourth inning, and Milwaukee led 4-0. They would lead 5-1, but the Giants would come back to win. No Giants homered in the game but catcher Stephen Vogt had two triples. San Francisco had an 8-6 lead in the ninth, closer Will Smith gave up a home run to Christian Yelich, but the Giants prevailed 8-7 for their fourth straight win.
One of the things about the Giants facing Milwaukee is I felt that I didn't really care who won, which would make going to San Francisco more palatable. I still couldn't root for the Giants, especially Bumgarner, but I politely applauded when they made a nice play. I was also sitting near several Brewers fans, which also made it fun.
They announced the Saturday afternoon crowd at 34,560 which seemed about right. Their sellout streak is long over, but my guess from high behind home plate was that the park was 60 percent full. The game officially lasted three hours and six minutes, which meant plenty of time to head east, and over to Oak Town.
It was a very San Francisco-like day. Cloudy, cool, and windy, but not too bad. The back wall of the park serves as a nice wind break which makes things comfortable inside. If you go to the concession stands or use the rest room, you are reminded right away how cold it can be. I was prepared and brought a sweatshirt, but didn't wear it during the Giants game. Oakland at night was a lot colder than I anticipated, and the sweatshirt went on for the duration in the third inning.
Getting to the Coliseum is easy. I hoofed it back to BART, then under the way to the Coliseum, over a foot bridge into the park, bought a ticket, walked around outside for a bit, and was in my seat by 5:30 for a 6pm game—the Oakland A's against the Seattle Mariners.
I had a hot dog, a pretzel, and a small beer while in San Francisco ($23.25), so I thought I would comparison shop, and eat again before first pitch ($21.50, but more than I expected). One of the cool things about an A's game, is that you can call the ball park a dump if you want to, but a second deck behind-the-plate seat at the Coliseum is cheaper than a third deck behind-the-plate seat at Oracle.
The moment I sat down, I realized that I was in prime foul ball territory, and I should have brought my glove. Sure enough, in the bottom of the first inning, Mark Canha whistles a foul ball just over my head and to my right. A gentleman four rows behind me, who brought his glove, made a nice grab reaching to his right, to the applause of the fans in the entire section.
The game was a blowout. The A's scored three runs in that first inning, and went on to win 11-2. The foul ball might have been the highlight of the night, except for the fourth ininng when Mariners manager Scott Servais was ejected. Kyle Seager was called out on strikes, and proceeded to argue with plate umpire Carlos Torres. Even though it looked like Seager was done arguing, Servais interceded in order to save his player. The manager reached down, held is hand parallel to the ground only about a foot-and-a-half high, indicating where the pitch was. Torres apparently didn't like that. Marcus Semien homered, Frankie Montas got the win to go to 9-2, and the announced crowd of 14,846 got to go home happy.
The BART trains were packed, but gradually thinned out before reaching my Berkeley stop. The drive home didn't feature any construction delays, and I was home just shy of midnight, getting to watch two major league games in two major league parks, in just a few hours.
If you think doing something like this is kind of nuts, I'm happy to report that I am not the only one. Many of the Brewers fans I sat with in San Francisco showed up in Oakland, still wearing their Milwaukee jerseys. A father and grown son sitting in front of me at the Coliseum had Giants hats on. They were at Oracle Park a few hours earlier as well. It is odd that the Giants and A's were home on the same day, and it won't happen again this year, but several seized the opportunity to double their baseball enjoyment.
Trade winds: While I made it through the day. My cell phone didn't. Using the GPS on my walk from BART to Oracle Park (the thing had me walk in a circle on Market Street), taking pictures at both games, and checking scores from time to time, the battery had it about midway through the A's game. The last note I saw, though, was that Mariners 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion had been traded to the Yankees. I had wondered why he wasn't in the starting lineup.
More trade talk: I did not see, however, that the Lakers made a mega-trade with New Orleans for Anthony Davis. I didn't know that until just before I went to bed last night. That makes the Lakers contenders again?
Double championship points: This last week was Championship Week, with the St. Louis Blues winning the Stanley Cup in seven games, and the Toronto Raptors winning in Oakland, and taking the Warriors in six. It was weird walking around the entrance of Oracle Arena Saturday, knowing the Warriors will never play there again. They are moving to a new arena in San Francisco next year, a building I wanted to check out if I had gotten to the city earlier.
:00.9: Watching game six of the NBA Finals gave me a reminder of why I really don't enjoy watching pro basketball as much as I used to. With neither team having a time out remaining, the final nine-tenths of a second of the deciding game took eight minutes. The Warriors called a time out they didn't have, the referees didn't really seem to know what the penalty for that was, then there was a turnover, and after endless deliberations, they decided no time went off the clock. Then the Raptors won it, and the game, and season, finally ended. Sheesh..
They may call it a dump, but it's really not a bad place to see a game. The
atmosphere is a lot more lively than San Francisco, even if the crowds are smaller.
Oakland's version of the mascot race, like the Presidents in DC, or the sausages in
Milwaukee. The big heads are those of Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, and Rickey Henderson.