From the sublime to the ridiculous. That is from beautiful Oracle Park to miserable Oakland Coliseum. Or maybe today it is RingCentral Coliseum (yes, all one word with a capital sort of in the middle). Or officially Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Whatever name you use, it is a sorry excuse for a big league ball park. Yes, I know I previously hung that title on Tampa’s Tropicana, but the Coliseum is like a morgue in the concourse. There is nothing in the stadium identifying the park – as you can see from the picture, the space above the Jumbotron where the park name would normally be has all the panels removed. The field itself is fine, but that’s where it stops. Whoever thought luxury boxes in the outfield (all empty, by the way) were a good idea is now selling used cars.
This game was important for the A’s since they’re looking for that second wild card, but you wouldn’t know it by the crowd – a modest 15,000, though I must admit they were enthusiastic. The ticket seller assured me I’d be in the shade on the first base side and gave me a bargain seat for $15. Naturally, it was smack in the sun and only going to get worse on a very hot day. So finally, after being directed to three different places, I found a helpful attendant who got me to the interior ticket office and I got a seat on the third base side for $25 more. Oh well, it was a good seat.
The heat – that was a factor in this game. It started out looking like a pitchers duel – no score through the very quick first three innings. Then the fun began. Alex Bregman hit a two-run dinger for the Stros in the top of the fourth, only to be outslugged by Matt Olson who hit a three run tater in the bottom of the fourth. It got crazy from there. Every run in the game came via the long ball – ten total home runs, five for each team, with two from each team hitting two apiece. Matt Chapman’s second, a solo shot in the bottom of the eighth, won the game for the A’s 7-6. Of course it was the warm evening that allowed those fly balls to carry. A true home run derby.
I know Oakland is a diverse city, but who knew there was an upswell of interest in baseball in the Indian community? Someone apparently thought so, because it was Indian (and I don’t mean Native American) Heritage Night. Here are some of the kids who danced in the outfield before the game.
Another oddity is the “Holy Toledo” sign in center field, a tribute to the late A’s broadcaster, Bill King. It lights up when the A’s do something special. Its lights are probably burned out after all those dingers.
I have to show you a picture of Yordan Alvarez, the Astros DH, who came up on June 9 and has been tearing up the league ever since. He came into the game hitting .339 with 17 homers. I spotted him a couple years ago in the low minors in Davenport, Iowa and predicted he’d go far. Look back at my Davenport post and you’ll see my prediction. Naturally, in this game he went 0-4!
The food selection was meager, but the prices were not. I had a polish dog which was indistinguishable from a regular hot dog except for its slightly bigger circumference and its price.
Auxiliary food note: if you’re in the area, go to Tucker’s Super Creamed Ice Cream in Alameda. It’s an old-timey ice cream parlor and the ice cream is first rate. The Chocolate Fantasy is to die for.