Pat Venditte’s Loss

I watched CBS This Morning and its chef segment. Rick Bayless’ signature recipes included skillet tacos, “sturdy greens” salad with mango and habanero, tacos of creamy roasted poblano, corn and zucchini, Mexican red rice, coconut bread pudding, and a mescal margarita. Jason Isbell was a guest on the show, and he showed a lot of talent. I went into the coffee shop and looked over the American Top 40 playlist for the weekend. The Top 10 songs from August 23, 1975 were “Please Mr. Please,” “At Seventeen,” “Someone Saved My Life Tonight,” “How Sweet It Is to Be Loved By You,” “Why Can’t We Be Friends,” “Rhinestone Cowboy,” “Jive Talkin’,” “Get Down Tonight,” “One of These Nights,” and “Falling in Love Again.” Over at work, I had conversations about the Disney Store during the holiday season, and the movie “Jupiter Ascending.” I read the news that Melody Patterson, who was Wrangler Jane on the “F Troop” television series, had died at age 66. I returned home and had a late lunch. I went over to the record store and bought a Generation X album on CD. I made my way over to the Coliseum. I felt like going to sleep. Star Wars characters were out on the field. I thought the Dennis Eckersley big head behaved strangely during the national anthem. Many fans in the stadium were dressed in assorted Star Wars clothes. I saw myself on the big screen briefly. Sonny Gray was the A’s starting pitcher, and he would be very good in this game but for three mistakes, which would increase his ERA from 2.04 to 2.10. Instead of “Come Together,” we heard “All Along the Watchtower” as Gray took the mound. Marcus Semien made a good play to get the first out, which was encouraging. Gray walked the next batter, but then he got out of the inning with a double play. In the bottom of the inning with two outs, Reddick reached base on catcher’s interference, which was scored as an error on the catcher. Mark Canha doubled, but the Rays managed to throw out Reddick at home plate. The play was not close. Gray gave up a home run in the second inning. The count was 1-2. The A’s answered in the bottom of the inning with one out, as Brett Lawrie singled and Josh Phegley doubled to tie the game. Eric Sogard walked, but Semien and Burns both followed with outs. During Semien’s at-bat, a foul ball was headed towards the A’s bullpen when the ball boy made a diving catch of the ball. The play had to be the greatest that any ball boy has ever made in baseball history. Unfortunately, Gray couldn’t provide a shutdown inning for the A’s, as he gave up a home run with two outs in the third inning, making the score 2-1. The A’s got only a single from Reddick in the bottom of the inning. Gray gave up a single with one out in the fourth inning, but Sogard fielded a ground ball for a 4-3 double play. Lawrie doubled with one out in the bottom of the inning, but the A’s weren’t able to bring him in, although Sogard drew another walk. In the top of the fifth inning, the Rays repeated what the A’s just did, with a double with one out and a walk with two outs, and the inning ending with a strikeout. The A’s did nothing in the bottom of the inning. Gray had his only clean inning in the sixth, and after the third out, the umpire ejected the Rays’ first baseman from the game. The bottom of the inning was productive for the A’s. Mark Canha hit a home run to tie the score at 2-2. Stephen Vogt made an out, but Lawrie doubled, and Phegley doubled to make the score 4-2. We witnessed another Big Head race. Rollie Fingers won a close one, as he crossed the finish line just ahead of Dennis Eckersley. In the seventh inning, Billy Burns made an impressive diving catch for the first out. Gray gave up another home run on another 1-2 count. He finished with five consecutive outs, keeping the score at 4-3 through eight innings. The A’s did nothing in the bottom of the seventh inning, and again in the bottom of the eighth inning. Pat Venditte, the switch pitcher, started the ninth inning with a strikeout, although he went to a 3-2 count on the batter. He allowed a walk on four pitches, and then a fateful double that prompted Bob Melvin to bring in Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz’s first pitch was hit for another double, suddenly giving Tampa Bay a lead at 5-4. After a stolen base provided more trouble, Pomeranz got outs with a ground ball and a strikeout to end the inning. We saw the Belushi video clip from “Animal House.” The A’s went down quietly in the bottom of the ninth, however. Semien made the last out. The game began at 6:07 and ended at 10:00. The game time temperature was 65 degrees. Attendance was 35,067. Ken Korach earlier in the evening described the game as one of the most entertaining in front of a sell-out crowd in a long time. He said that Billy Beane would definitely address the relief pitching problem after the season. I wondered if Venditte was tired after appearing in so many recent games. We heard the Star Wars theme during the seventh inning stretch. I couldn’t stand to watch a fireworks show after the A’s had just lost, so I headed for the shuttle bus to take me to the BART station. Many fans were Star Wars fans, and so they wanted to stick around. I got onto a train at 9:05. Back at home, I watched the end of a Star Trek episode called “Whom Gods Destroy.” Yvonne Craig was a guest in the episode. I went to buy a burrito. It was really an unproductive day. Some of the people who died on August 23 include Rudolph Valentino (1926), Oscar Hammerstein III (1960), Alfred Eisenstaedt (1995), Kathleen Freeman (2001), Peter Maas (2001), Bobby Bonds (2003), and Maynard Ferguson (2006). Today is a birthday for Shelley Long (66), Rick Springfield (66), and Barbara Eden (84).

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