Monday, April 27, 2009

Live be Seen to Be Believed

Yes. Live Dot Racing. Dot People. Running around on the field. Saturday.

The A's introduced something new on Saturday, a perfect day for baseball, the perfect game played by the A's. A wonderful day.

Just for the record, I don't like dot racing. (But, just to be clear, I always bet on "white.") It's old, people forget for what purpose they're really there, and yell too much. They didn't yell all that much for the live dots. Most of us were just dumbfounded.

I have no idea if it's a permanent feature. I just hope they're getting paid well.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The State of Baseball in the Bay Area

Okay, no wasps in the trap, so I have to talk about other things.

I went to the A's game last night in the bleeping cold weather for two reasons, well, maybe three: (1) the tickets were half-price on Goldstar; (2) it was fireworks night, and (3), hey, it's A's baseball!

They announced 20,000, but I don't think that was the number that came through the turnstiles. There were rows and rows on the field of empty seats, and several more like that in the plaza infield. You can see the demarcation in plaza between infield and outfield. The infield was empty, the outfield was crowded. That line represents about $6-$10 per seat in cost.

The A's young pitcher last night was in trouble from the start. For some reason, the balls he threw were all up, not sinking like normally. Trevor Cahill was shelled in the 3rd inning when the Tampa Bay Rays let loose and scored 5 runs, just in that inning. The good news is that Giese, the pitcher we picked up from the Yankees who lost two games for us single-handed during the last out-of-town trip, went several innings in long relief, saving the bullpen, and only gave up one run.

Today, in about half an hour, I'm going out again to the park. It should still be cool, especially when I have to stand in line for a good 30 minutes, but the temperatures won't get nearly close to the 50 degrees it was last night.

I attended my first Giants game on Wednesday with George, and it was a thoroughly pleasant affair. The park had its lowest attendance since it opened, which meant I could actually see home plate. We're going again this Wednesday for another day game.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It's Wasp Time!

And no, I don't mean White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. Which is an acronym I heard over and over as I was growing up.

Nope, it's time to catch wasps! Since Honey Do was going to be here anyway, I had Larry install the two traps, one in front and one in back. We had a discussion about attractants (don't you love THAT word...), and I decided to go out and get some raw hamburger.

It turns out that ham, or turkey ham, is even better, but I couldn't find a small amount of that. It seems that wasps have a finely-tuned smell mechanism, and the smellier the better. They even suggested fish.

So I climbed on a ladder, unscrewed the trap with both hands as I hoped I wouldn't fall, and inserted the hamburger. I think it'll take just a few hours in this miserable heat to get that smell out there.

Let the games begin!

Sunday, April 12, 2009


I walked into the Genova's Deli on 51st and looked at my options. It was Passover 2009, which meant I couldn't have a sandwich.

I saw the fried chicken off to the side. I can't have fried chicken, because there's breading on it.

So I decided to take my problem, my issue, to the counter. When my number came up, I explained to the young woman. "I'm Jewish. It's Passover. I can't have bread. What are my choices?"

She looked at me like I was an alien. And I don't mean one with a green card.

Then she said, "Huh?" She really didn't understand a single thing I said. I tried to explain more, but leaving out the "Jewish" and the "Passover" stuff. "I can't have bread. I can't have a sandwich. What else is there?" She still stared at me.

This is the problem I face every day. I can have fruit, and I can have salads. And I've discovered omelets, although I usually don't want to eat them. But they're now a choice.

The best choice often feels to be: just eat at home.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A's Workout Day, 2009

Rather than a fanfest in February, the A's tried something new this year: a Workout Day available to the public. I can testify that it was very good.

They offered interviews with players on the field (and broadcast up on Diamond Vision), free autographs (first for the first 1300, then they opened the autographs up to everybody), photos with the World Series trophies, photos with players, team shop open selling game-used memorabilia. In short, it was pretty awesome, and most of it was free.

The game-used memorabilia consisted of jerseys, hats and bats used by players. But most of the names on the backs of the jerseys were players who never made it to the major league level for the A's, like Hiram Bocachica and Dan Meyer. Most, however, I had never heard of. However, you had the opportunity to pick up a Meyer-worn green jersey for $10. That is a pretty awesome deal for a jersey, even if you don't know who Meyer is or was.

I stood in the autograph line at Gate 101 for about half an hour. We didn't know who would be autographing for us. There were 6 stations (we were only one of those), and you had no idea who would show up. The kid behind me kept pleading with his adult companion (not his father, apparently) to "please let it be Garciaparra!" It wasn't. Instead it was Trevor Cahill, who is one of the phenom arms and who, at the tender age of 22, will be one of the A's starters this year. Unfortunately I had nothing for him to sign, so I asked him to sign my fanfest program. He barely looked at me, but said "thank you" when I congratulated him and wished him luck in the new season.

Kurt Suzuki was a bit more interactive. I got in line at the Westside Pavilion after climbing all those plaza-level steps to get up there, and stood in line, not knowing who the photo would be with. It was my luck, our luck, that it was catcher Kurt Suzuki. This is his second season, the first as the no-questions-asked starting Catcher. He was very friendly, shook my hand, and said thank you when I wished him good luck. I also said something rather stupid, like, "I had no idea you were this tall." Apparently I say that to every player I meet.

I listened to some of the player interviews, particularly Ryan Sweeney, Matt Holliday and Jason Giambi. The first two are soft-spoken individuals, and were answering questions until Mr. Personality, Jason Giambi, could show up after his autograph session. I heard only one boo among the cheers from the crowd, some idiot who shouted "Giambi, you stink!" He also said that about the A's.

My only disappointment is that the interview sessions this year didn't include the GM or assistant GM. Their sessions are always interesting. The players give the same studied answers; Billy Beane and David Forst do not.

The concession stands seemed to be going pretty well, but I wanted ribs, so I left the Coliseum for Emil Villa's. I didn't need to see the players work out on the field, as I will see plenty of that when I show up early for a game, starting next Saturday. It's going to be an interesting year.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The A's Boosters Welcome the New Season

I went to the first A's Booster luncheon of the 2009 season. It's up to $18 now, but well worth it.

I sat at the end of one table, and my tablemate, Larry, immediately introduced himself and started talking. About everything. His job. His mother. Spring training. Politics. He was very friendly, and I appreciate that.

Bob Geren was our guest today. It was really nice of him to show up and greet us; apparently he was the first guest last year, too. He talked about his young pitching staff, how he's going to juggle Garciaparra, Barton and Giambi, without revealing if Barton will still be on the roster on Monday.

The interesting part: most of the crowd cheered when Jason Giambi's name was mentioned. Bob told us that you could hear scattered boos at AT&T Park last night, "but those are Giants fans," he smirked.

I won a Stomper puppet. And Larry won five prizes, most of them very worthy. But, then, he had purchased a lot of raffle tickets.

Shirley and Candi said they need volunteers for a couple of staff vacancies on the club. I sent Shirley an email, volunteering. We'll see what happens.

Bring on the season!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Taking the BART Train

You never know who you're gonna meet on a BART train. I sat down on the Oakland 19th Street Pittsburg train, and -- lo and behold -- there was a women's wallet in the next seat over.

I looked around. We're in motion. Nobody's near it. It's a lost wallet.

I searched inside. Credit cards. Driver's license....belonging to a young woman who lives on the Peninsula. Cash, but not a great deal. I finally find a business card. Her name isn't on the card, but the email address is her initials. So I call the phone number and leave a message. And, with my phone, I sent an email.

Right after George and I had had breakfast in Lafayette and were motoring to the Reservoir for our walk, she called. Gush, gush, gush: lots of thank you's. She's coming over to my house tonight even though I said I'd mail it to her if she wanted.

Hey, I'd want my wallet back right away, too.