Tanner Roark’s Early Struggles

I woke up and took a shower. My parents phoned me. I watched CBS Sunday Morning, which had segments on Renée Zellweger and Mark Knopfler. I walked over to the BART station and took the train to the Coliseum. There was a long line of A’s season ticket holders lined up to get onto the field. I joined them and saw that the person in front of me was named Sheldon Cooper. I thought that it was a Big Bang Theory joke until I saw that someone named Spencer Cooper was standing next to him. The long wait was nearly worth it, as I got photos of Matt Chapman, Liam Hendriks, and Mark Canha. I headed for the table for the season ticket holder promotion package, which was three bobbleheads and a t-shirt. I went to the food trucks and bought a gyro and a scoop of mint chip gelato. I went to my seat. Tanner Roark was the starting pitcher facing the Rangers on this afternoon. He gave up a huge home run to Shin-Soo Choo on the first pitch of the game. The ball went into the plaza level seats beyond the center field fence. It was the third time this season that I’ve seen a home run ball reach those seats. Mike Trout and Matt Olson were the others I’ve seen accomplish the feat. After a pop out, Roark gave up another home run to make the score 2-0. After a walk, a force out to Chapman at second base was the second out. On the next pitch, Roark gave up a third home run, making the score 4-0 and causing the crowd to groan. After another hit on the first pitch, although a single, Roark got the third out with a force out. The A’s were unable to do anything in the bottom of the inning. Roark gave up a single to start the second inning, but then he got a double play ground ball and a fly out to left field. The A’s again were unable to do anything in the bottom of the inning, with Seth Brown and Khris Davis striking out. In the top of the third inning, Roark allowed a fourth home run, making the score 5-0. He got the next three hitters out, but the fans were thinking that the game was getting away from the A’s. In the bottom of the inning, Jurickson Profar singled and Sean Murphy was hit by a pitch, but Robbie Grossman struck out and Marcus Semien flied out. Matt Chapman walked to load the bases, but Matt Olson struck out, and so a chance to get back into the game went by the wayside. A.J. Puk replaced Roark in the top of the fourth inning. Puk gave up a double to the first hitter. After a strikeout and a fly out, Puk allowed a single, and the score became 6-0. A stolen base and a wild pitch put the runner at third base, and a single pushed the score to 7-0. A ground out finally ended the inning. In the bottom of the inning, Canha doubled. Brown and Davis both struck out again. Profar doubled to give the A’s their first run, but Murphy struck out. Ryan Buchter went out to pitch the top of the fifth inning. I had the feeling he was going to give up a run, and he did that on his first pitch with a home run. The Rangers got several big hits on the first pitch in this game. Buchter did get three consecutive outs. In the bottom of the inning, Semien doubled with one out. After Chapman struck out, Olson singled and Semien scored the A’s second run. Canha singled, and a wild pitch advanced the runners. Another hit would have put the A’s within reasonable range, but Brown struck out again. In the top of the sixth inning, Chris Bassitt took the mound. He hit Choo with a pitch with two outs, but that was all. Rickey Henderson won the Big Head race again. Bassitt pitched a clean seventh inning. In the eighth inning, he allowed a single with one out but nothing more. It looked as though Melvin might want to use Bassitt as a relief pitcher in a playoff game. In the bottom of the inning, Khris Davis finally got a hit, a double with two outs. However, Profar flied out, and so that run never came in. Liam Hendriks pitched the top of the ninth inning, and he had a clean inning. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Murphy struck out, but Grossman doubled. Semien doubled to make the score 8-3. Chapman flied out for the second out, and Olson grounded out to the first baseman to end the game. It wasn’t a good way to end the regular season at the Coliseum, but a bit of good news from the scoreboard was that Tampa Bay had lost their game. Cleveland was in the early innings of their game. Our game had started at 1:08 with a game time temperature of 70 degrees, and it ended at 4:23. The attendance was 38,453. There was no guarantee that the A’s would return to the Coliseum for the wild-card game on October 2, but they were in a good position. I took my tote bag with me and made my way home. I heard that the Raiders were unimpressive in Minnesota. I watched the Rams and the Browns on television. I listened to Robert Hilburn’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Times radio program on KCSN. The music was by Bruce Springsteen, Ray Charles, St. Vincent, Ben E. King, and Jerry Lee Lewis. I watched part of a Martha Stewart program before I felt very sleepy. Some of the people who died on September 23 include Sigmund Freud (1939), Pablo Neruda (1973), Cliff Arquette (1974), and Bob Fosse (1987). Today is a birthday for Jason Alexander (60) and Bruce Springsteen (70). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for September 23, the Walker Brothers reached Number One on the singles chart in the U.K. with “Make It Easy on Yourself” in 1965. In 1969, the first episode of “Marcus Welby, M.D.” aired on ABC. In 1979, “Archie Bunker’s Place” debuted on CBS.

Posted in Sports | Leave a comment

Marcus Semien’s Big Night

The Today Show mentioned the Earth, Wind and Fire song “September,” with the lyrics “Do you remember the twenty-first night of September?” After I was done with work, I took the 80 bus to the BART station, and I headed to the Coliseum. It was 2:52 when I got to the Coliseum station, and I took a slow walk over to the season ticket holder line. I watched a bit of batting practice, and then I headed for the food trucks. I bought the tuna poke bowl and later bought a creamsicle shake. As I headed to my seat, one of the ushers told me that it was her last game of the season and that she would miss me. The A’s had a ceremony for this year’s inductees into their Hall of Fame: Walter A. Haas, Jr., Bert Campaneris, Vida Blue, Mark McGwire, and Tony La Russa. The A’s starting pitcher facing the Rangers on this night was Sean Manaea. He walked the first batter of the game but got a double play ground ball. He allowed a double before getting the third out on a fly ball. Mark McGwire joined the radio announcers in the booth and ended up having a lengthy discussion about the beginning of his career. The Montreal Expos drafted him in 1981, but they didn’t want to pay him much money. He made critical comments about today’s players being trained to be sprinters instead of marathoners, and he wanted to see games with ten-run margins called after seven innings. McGwire talked for a long time partly because twelve hitters came up to bat in the bottom of the first inning. Marcus Semien, Matt Chapman, and Matt Olson all singled, producing the game’s first run. Mark Canha grounded into a force out at third base, but a throwing error allowed Olson to score. Ramon Laureano doubled, and the score went to 3-0. Khris Davis walked, and Chad Pinder also walked to load the bases. Sheldon Neuse hit a sacrifice fly, and the score was 4-0. Josh Phegley singled, and Davis came in to make the score 5-0. The Rangers made a pitching change, and Semien came up to bat for the second time, and he walked to load the bases again. Chapman singled again for two runs and a 7-0 score. Olson struck out to finally end the inning. Manaea didn’t pitch a clean second inning, giving up two singles with one out, but he didn’t give up any runs. In the bottom of the inning, Canha singled and Laureano walked. Davis and Pinder both struck out, but Phegley walked to load the bases, but Neuse singled for one run. Phegley walked to load the bases, and Semien walked to make the score 9-0. After a pitching change, Chapman struck out. McGwire said goodbye to the radio listeners. I wondered if he would mention Jose Canseco at all, but he did. He mentioned doing eye exercises, and he referred to persons who have died as being “upstairs.” Manaea had a clean third inning with the help of Laureano and Chapman, who made great defensive plays. In the fourth inning, Manaea hit a batter with a pitch with one out, but then he struck out the next two. He had a clean fifth inning. In the bottom of the inning, Semien hit a home run, and with two outs, Canha also hit a home run, making the score 11-0. In the top of the sixth inning, Manaea gave up two home runs, although for only two runs. After allowing a third hit in the inning, Bob Melvin called on J.B. Wendelken to get the third out. Rollie Fingers won the Big Head race, although it wasn’t on the level. It was like one of those marathon scandals. Jesus Luzardo pitched for the first time at the Coliseum. He walked the first hitter of the seventh inning, but then he got the next three out. Ryan Buchter went out to pitch the top of the eighth inning. He gave up a home run with one out, making the score 11-3. In the bottom of the inning, Phegley singled for one last run for the A’s. Daniel Mengden went out to pitch the top of the ninth inning. He allowed a single, for a force out and a double play ended the game. This game started at 6:07 with a game time temperature of 81 degrees, and it ended at 9:24. The attendance was 29,896. The winners of the jersey giveaway went onto the field. I was kind of envious of them. I got into the line to get onto the field for the fireworks show. Some of the music was “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “MMM Bop,” and “I Want It That Way.” A couple of fans nodded at me as if they recognized me as I made my way out of the stadium. When I got home, I saw that I had missed the two movies that KQED had shown, “Witness” and “Stand by Me.” I watched the news and went to bed. Some of the people who died on September 22 include Dan Rowan (1987), Irving Berlin (1989), Dorothy Lamour (1994), George C. Scott (1999), Isaac Stern (2001), Marcel Marceau (2007), Eddie Fisher (2010), and Yogi Berra (2015). Today is a birthday for Bonnie Hunt (58), Andrea Bocelli (61), Joan Jett (61), and Debby Boone (63). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for September 22, The Band’s self-titled second album was released in 1969. In 1986, “ALF” had its television premiere on NBC. In 1994, “Friends” debuted on NBC. In 2003, Gordon Jump of “WKRP in Cincinnati” died of lung disease at age 74.

Posted in Sports | Leave a comment

Mike Fiers’ Rebound

As I made my way from Emeryville to the Coliseum, I saw people returning home from the global warming rally. I got to the Fruitvale BART station and headed to the stadium. I arrived early and took a seat on a bench in the shade. I listened to a CD of The Clash and waited for the doors to open. I listened to the radio and heard the news of the Patriots releasing Antonio Brown. When the line was growing twenty minutes before we were going to be allowed inside, I headed to take a place. The giveaway was a Mike Fiers bobblehead. I went to my seat to watch batting practice and write in my scorebook. I went to the food trucks and bought chicken fried rice, and then an ice cream sandwich. It was Filipino Heritage Day. Billy Beane and Dave Kaval were talking about the state of the team. They weren’t going to reveal any plans they had for the playoffs. One of Bob Melvin’s flaws is his following of superstitions. Mike Fiers left his last game early because of some sort of numbness that he felt. On this night against the Rangers, he pitched a very impressive eight innings. He gave up a single with his first pitch of the game, but that was followed with a double-play ground ball. He gave up a single with one out in the third inning, but he picked off the runner at first base. That was all the Rangers did in the eight innings that Fiers pitched, as he faced only twenty-four batters and got sixteen consecutive outs. The A’s scored in the second inning. Ramon Laureano singled. After Khris Davis struck out, Sean Murphy walked, and Chad Pinder hit a home run for three runs. In the third inning, Matt Chapman walked, and after Matt Olson grounded out, Mark Canha doubled to make the score 4-0. In the fourth inning, Murphy walked again, and he would score again, this time on a double from Marcus Semien. In the fifth inning, Canha would have another big hit, a home run to make the score 6-0. Rickey Henderson won the Big Head race. In the seventh inning, Olson and Canha walked with one out, and Laureano singled for one more run. In the eighth inning, Chapman walked, went to third base on a single by Olson, and scored a run on a wild pitch. Chris Bassitt went out to pitch the top of the ninth inning. He struck out the first batter. He came close to walking the second batter, but he got another strikeout. On the next pitch, a ground ball to Chapman was the last out of the game. The A’s needed the win to remain two games ahead of both Cleveland and Tampa Bay. For a while, it looked like the A’s would gain ground on Tampa Bay, but it turned out to be a walk-off win for them in extra innings. The crowd went home happy on this night. The game began at 7:08 with a game time temperature of 74 degrees, and it ended at 9:46. The attendance was 29,579. I listened to the radio on my way back home. Several people during the day saw me in my A’s jersey and cap and commented on the team and asked me questions about how they were during. Back at home, I watched the news and some of the Stephen Colbert show with highlight footage.

Posted in Sports | Leave a comment

Downton Abbey

I had to decide between “Downton Abbey” and “Ad Astra,” and I chose “Downton Abbey.” The theatre was dark, and the staff forgot to turn on some machines, and so the screening couldn’t start. We were led to another screen, and the employee told us to go to the customer service counter afterwards for free passes. I have seen only the first season of the television series, and so I don’t really know what went on with the show. I thought the material was thin, especially the small rebellion by the servants. I didn’t believe that they could pull it off. This estate looks like it is ready to crumble. I didn’t see how the king and queen could waste their time visiting these places. There were mentions of missing items that I knew would be part of the story later, but I was impatient with all of it. A scene with Barrow reminded me of “Prick Up Your Ears.” I thought there was at least one too many meaningful close-up of Maggie Smith. Some parts of the plot point towards a sequel. I wondered if they used CGI with Downton Abbey. I could believe that the place could stand for another hundred years if some wealthy person bought it. The movie was like an episode that ran a bit too long. The audience on this afternoon seemed fairly satisfied with it. One woman afterwards said that it felt good to escape reality and watch this film. Some of the people who died on September 21 include Virgil (19 BC), Walter Brennan (1974), Jaco Pastorius (1987), Florence Griffith Joyner (1998), and Alice Ghostley (2007). Today is a birthday for Liam Gallagher (47), Luke Wilson (48), Bill Murray (69), Stephen King (72), and Fannie Flagg (75). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for September 21, “Perry Mason” had its television debut in 1957. In 1963, Bobby Vinton was Number One on the singles chart with “Blue Velvet.” In 19968, Jeanne C. Riley was Number One on the singles chart with “Harper Valley P.T.A.” In 1970, Monday Night Football on ABC had its premiere with a game featuring the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets. In 1979, various media reported that The Beatles were considering a reunion to benefit Vietnamese boat people. In 2001, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, U2, Neil Young, and Billy Joel performed for the benefit concert called America: A Tribute to Heroes. In 2004, a plane with Yusef Islam on board was diverted to Bangor, Maine because his name was on the No Fly List.

Posted in Movies | Leave a comment

Beauty and the Beast

I went out to see “Beauty and the Beast” again. The ticket cost only five dollars. I kept thinking how stupid Gaston was, because he could have had three blonde girlfriends he probably didn’t have to marry, but he must pursue what he couldn’t have. I thought that from her constant reading of books, she would quickly get bored of the Beast. There was no future there. When you look at it by today’s standards, Gaston’s biggest offense was sexual harassment, although he was also responsible for some false imprisonment, trespassing, breaking and entering, and attempted murder. I wasn’t too sure that the Beast was a good alternative to Gaston. Could any woman fall in love with someone who had fangs and claws? Jerry Orbach sounded exactly like Maurice Chevalier. David Ogden Stiers was one of the voices, and I was glad to hear Jo Anne Worley. One of the violent actions at the end was hot tea being thrown into someone’s face, which was disturbing and reminiscent of Gloria Grahame in “The Big Heat.” I found it hard to believe that Hermione of the Harry Potter movies could play the part of Belle in the live-action remake. I think that a more believable ending to the movie would be the Beast going crazy with anger and swiping Belle with his claws, causing massive bleeding from her neck and her painful and horrible death. I think that this movie is the closest to the high quality of the classic animated Disney films that I ever saw in my lifetime. It’s incredible that 28 years have passed since this movie was released. I thought it was good to hear Angela Lansbury’s voice again, although seeing her in her advanced age in “Mary Poppins Returns” last year was a bit difficult. I don’t know if Gaston deserved what happened to hm. He was obnoxious and selfish, but I didn’t think that he deserved to go through those last moments of terror. Some of the people who died on September 20 include Jean Sibelius (1957), Jim Croce (1973), Steve Goodman (1984), Roy Kinnear (1988), and Jack Larson (2015). Today is a birthday for Sophia Loren (85). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for September 20, the television series “Burke’s Law” with Gene Barry made its debut on ABC in 1963. In 1973, Jim Croce died at age 30 in a plane crash in Louisiana. In 1976, “The Captain and Tennille” premiered on ABC, with the first episode featuring Jackie Gleason, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Gabe Kaplan, Penny Marshall, and Ron Palillo. In 1977, the spinoff series “Lou Grant” premiered on CBS. In 1984, the first episode of “The Cosby Show” aired on NBC. In 1985, the Robert Urich television series “Spencer: For Hire” debuted on ABC. In 1986, the television series “Matlock,” starring Andy Griffith, debuted on NBC.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


I fell asleep while watching television. When I awoke, Match Game PM was ending, and I didn’t see whether the contestant had won. I sat down to watch “Lincoln” again. One thing I hadn’t noticed before was Adam Driver in the scene with Lincoln talking about mathematical logic. I can’t say that I liked the first scene with the soldiers reciting the Gettysburg Address. There was too much Spielberg in there. It was interesting that a president could take that amount of time to sit and listen to these men in the rain. Liam Neeson initially was going to be the star, but it was fortunate that Daniel Day-Lewis eventually took the role, as his performance is truly great. As far as audience appeal goes, the flaw of this movie is its focus on the workings of Congress and how votes are won. We don’t really want to hear about it in the present day, and the wheeling and dealing isn’t exactly fascinating to us. When the dramatic climax is a vote, it seems that the subject matter of a movie is less than great. Seeing the divided country of the Civil War era makes you think about the divided country of today. If the country was able to recover from this destructive war, it makes you think that anything is possible. Thaddeus Stevens’ statement about equality under the law was a key statement in the movie. If you’re looking at various single characteristics, people are unequal. Spielberg doesn’t show Lincoln being shot. It seems like the current practice of the media not giving publicity to the killer. The moment of Lincoln’s death is deeply sad and hard to forget. The scene stands out in all of Spielberg’s career. Daniel Day-Lewis is the biggest reason to see this film again. His performance as Abraham Lincoln was one of the greatest in the history of the movies.

Posted in Movies | Leave a comment

Mark Canha’s T-Shirt Day Walk-Off Double

It was still raining lightly when I left for the Coliseum. A lot of students were on their way to the A’s game on a field trip, and they didn’t seem ready for college. I made it to the season ticket holder line. The giveaway of the day was a Mark Canha t-shirt. I took my seat to fill out my scorecard, but there was no batting practice on the field, as there was a Q&A session on sports careers going on. A bit of repeated advice was to appreciate your family for their support as you might find yourself in faraway cities on the road a lot. I went over to the food trucks and bought a gyro. I returned to my seat to eat, and I saw Bob Melvin check with the grounds crew out at the outfield warning track. With no pitchers warming up and a video of a Cardinals game on the scoreboard, it was apparent that the start of the game would be delayed. It was nearly half an hour of sitting around as the sun came out and dried many of the seats, although the concrete under my feet was wet for most of the afternoon. The performance of the national anthem was a recording by Huey Lewis and the News. The A’s starting pitcher in this last game with the Royals was Homer Bailey. He had a clean first, and in fact over the first four innings, he allowed only a single in the second inning. He allowed only two singles over the first six innings. In the top of the seventh inning, he allowed a double with one out. After a strikeout and an intentional walk, Chad Pinder made a great catch in left field, saving two runs. The A’s didn’t do much with their bats during those first seven innings. Marcus Semien reached base three times, on an error, a double, and a single. Khris Davis walked in the fifth inning, and that was it. Yusmeiro Petit replaced Bailey for the eighth inning, and he had a clean inning, although Ramon Laureano had an uneasy moment with the line drive hit to him. The A’s did nothing in the bottom of the inning. Petit continued his strong pitching with three strikeouts in the top of the ninth inning. In the bottom of the inning, Jurickson Profar pinch-hit for Sheldon Neuse, but he struck out. Marcus Semien also struck out. Matt Chapman walked. After a pitching change, Matt Olson swung at the first pitch and popped out to the shortstop, so it was on to extra innings. Jake Diekman replaced Petit for the tenth inning, and he struck out two batters on 3-2 pitches. J.B. Wendelken came into the game, and he also got a strikeout. In the bottom of the inning, Mark Canha and Ramon Laureano both singled, but Khris Davis struck out. Sean Murphy grounded into a force out at second base. After a pitching change, Robbie Grossman swung at the first pitch and grounded out, so it was on to the eleventh inning. Wendelken went back to the mound, and he allowed a single on a 2-0 pitch. A sacrifice bunt put the runner at second base. The next hitter lined out to Canha in center field. After an intentional walk, Wendelken unintentionally walked the next hitter to load the bases, bringing up the Royals’ big home run hitter, Jorge Soler. Wendelken got out of the jam with a strikeout. Former A’s pitcher Jesse Hahn took the mound for the Royals in the bottom of the inning. Profar walked on four pitches. As Marcus Semien struck out, Profar stole second base. Matt Chapman was called out on strikes. Matt Olson was walked intentionally. On a 1-2 pitch, Mark Canha hit a ball down the right field line that went for a double and the winning run, the only run of the game. The fans were joyful, and they knew that neither Tampa Bay nor Cleveland could gain ground on the A’s on this day. The fans didn’t want to see another loss to a team that had 96 losses. The A’s record was now 92-61. After a 28-minute delay, this game had started at 1:05 with a game time temperature of 72 degrees, and it ended at 4:14. The attendance was 16,714. I headed home. I thought about stopping at the theatre and seeing “The Farewell” again, but I was too tired. I took a nap. Some of the people who died on September 19 include James Garfield (1881), Robert Casadesus (1972), Gram Parsons (1972), Gram Parsons (1973), Hermes Pan (1990), Orville Redenbacher (1995), and Ann Doran (2000). Today is a birthday for Trisha Yearwood (55), Lita Ford (61), Twiggy (70), Jeremy Irons (71), Randolph Mantooth (74), and David McCallum (86). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for September 19, “Ordinary People” was released in 1980.

Posted in Sports | Leave a comment