I got to the stadium just before the gates opened at around 11 o’clock for yesterday’s game. The Giants were taking batting practice, and Joe Blanton was on the A’s bullpen mound throwing some pitches. I noticed that one of the young woman ushers from last year looked more than one year older, with a harder look on her face and a bad hairstyle. None of the friendly ushers was working the section where I was sitting.
The skies were cloudy, but it didn’t rain, and a slight bit of sunshine did peek through at brief moments. The scoreboard still needed some fixing up, and I saw some cobwebs on the backs of a few seats. You sometimes see them after the A’s are away on a long road trip. The crowd was pretty sparse. I didn’t even see that many Giants fans. Their interest must have faded with the absence of Barry Bonds.
The A’s starting pitcher was Justin Duchscherer, and he quickly got into some trouble, giving up a walk and a scoring double in the first inning, but he got into a groove and pitched well for the remainder of the afternoon.
During the game, I looked at the people sitting in the All You Can Eat sections to see if they were all fat people. That didn’t seem to be the case. I didn’t see too many children, though. How many hot dogs and nachos can you stand to eat in three hours?
As I listened to the game on the radio on 1550 AM, there seemed to be some sound leaking into the broadcast from someone’s microphone, and it was distracted. I guess they need to get the bugs out before the season starts. I heard a woman saying, “This is getting frustrating.”
The A’s did not get a hit during the first three innings, but Mark Ellis got a walk in the fourth, and Emil Brown got the hit that started the team on its way to a win. It was a nicely hit line drive home run that went over the left field fence. I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Emil Brown so far this season. Perhaps he’ll be a key player for this year’s team.
The game was decided in the sixth inning. Bobby Crosby hit a very high fly ball that the shortstop and third baseman tried to catch, but the two collided, allowing a run to come in. A wild pitch allowed a second run to come in, and Jack Hannahan hit a single that made the score 5-1.
The next Giants relief pitcher, Valdez, wasn’t impressive either, allowing another run to score after a walk, single, and sacrifice fly.
Meanwhile, for the A’s, Lenny DiNardo had a good seventh inning after Duchscherer left, and then Keith Foulke came into the game in the eighth, walking his first hitter and going to 3-0 with the next, but he made good pitches after that and kept the score at 6-1. I was somewhat surprised that he even made the team, but so far he’s been doing well. I kept thinking how it was a shame that Foulke didn’t come back in 2004. With some better relief pitching early in the season, they could have won the division championship that they lost on the day before the season ended. I have bad memories of Arthur Rhodes.
The one A’s relief pitcher who did allow a run was Huston Street. I heard some fans grumbling about him, particularly the way he allowed those runs in the first game in Tokyo. He has the appearance of a star who is fading, and he’s still very young. However, he did manage to finish this game after five batters and about 20 pitches.
The attendance was only 14,011, so the walk back to the BART station was pretty smooth going. I heard that there were 100,000 fans at the Los Angeles Coliseum for an exhibition game between the Dodgers and the Red Sox. I listened to the postgame show on the radio on my way out. I brought along a soda cup with the 2008 home schedule on it. I didn’t see any people selling hats or bootleg DVDs outside the stadium. I went over to the Safeway near the Rockridge station to buy some groceries before I went home.
I heated a pizza in the oven and watched the end of the UCLA-Xavier game. I thought that the way the Bruins struggled to beat Stanford and Cal at the end of the season, they wouldn’t make the Final Four, but I was wrong about that. I watched Ebert and Roeper. Roeper and Michael Phillips both recommended “Chapter 27” and “Flawless.” Roeper’s video pick was “The Good Night,” and Phillips’ was “Sweeney Todd.” Roeper’s Three to See were “21,” “Snow Angels,” and “In Bruges.”
I watched Billy Wilder’s “One, Two, Three” on KQED. It had James Cagney as McNamara, an employee for Coca-Cola in Berlin in 1961. One of the company bigwigs from Atlanta has a daughter who is a wild young woman who falls in love with any young punk who crosses her path, and McNamara is given the hopeless task of looking after her. He’s looking for a promotion to become the head of European operations in London, so he can’t say no. The daughter is named Scarlett, rather like Scarlett O’Hara, and she gets into worse trouble than expected. There’s a bit of “Irma la Douce” in this story. In the end, everything is resolved with McNamara’s snapping his fingers any yelling out his orders and getting a ridiculous situation cleaned up in the nick of time.
I’d seen the movie before, of course, perhaps two or three times before over the years. I was a little bit surprised at how funny James Cagney was. The key bit of music used on the soundtrack is Khachaturian’s Sabre Dance, which I associate with Charlie Chaplin and is very funny as it’s used in this movie. Perhaps it’s repeated a bit too much, though. I felt as though this music was being hammered into my brain, just like the song “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.” That song was worse torture than the tickling in “Ball of Fire.”
The late movie was “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.” Rex Harrison was in it, but I can never think of him as being anyone other than Professor Henry Higgins. I was just too tired to stay up and watch this movie.
I watched part of CBS Sunday Morning, and David Edelstein reviewed a Rolling Stones concert film, and there was a segment on R.E.M. Did I ever mention that I don’t care that Michael Stipe is gay? In today’s San Francisco Chronicle, the Little Man is sound asleep for the new R.E.M. album. Did I ever mention that I can’t stand Aidin Vaziri?
This morning’s edition of Brunch with the Beatles was about their EP releases, like the songs from “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Magical Mystery Tour.” As I returned home from Trader Joe’s, an A’s fan named Russell saw me walking down the street, recognized me, and chatted to me for a couple of minutes about Emil Brown’s poor baserunning, and the horrible rescheduling of Wednesday’s game to accommodate the Red Sox.