Eric Surkamp’s Stellar Performance

I watched the CBS This Morning chef segment.  Some of Brad Miller’s signature recipes are Tomahawk chop, Corn elote, Grilled vegetables with sunflower seed pesto, Avocado and heirloom tomato toast, Coffee cake with burnt cinnamon ice cream and butterscotch, and a Peach julep.  I looked up the American Top 40 playlist for the weekend.  The Top 10 songs on April 2, 1977 were “Maybe I’m Amazed,” “I’ve Got Love on My Mind,” “Hotel California,” “The Things We Do for Love,” “Southern Nights,” “Love Theme from ‘A Star is Born,’” “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” “Don’t Give Up on Us,” “Dancing Queen,” and “Rich Girl.”  I went out to do my laundry.  I left it all on my bed to sort out later as I went over to the BART station to get to the Coliseum.  I didn’t know that the time that its name had changed to the Oakland Coliseum at least for now.  I walked to the season ticket holder line and stood in front of an old man who told me that he had spent three hours getting to the stadium from Monterey.  Like other old people, he let some personal details spill out, like his painful hip surgery and the death of his wife.  He sounded like he had some time left in his life, but I don’t know if he was spending it well.  Other fans in line talked about the bad season they expected from the A’s, and they made bad jokes about their pitchers.  After the gates opened, I walked around but didn’t want to buy a hot dog or a pizza.  I went to my new seat in my new section and was reunited with one of the ushers from years past.  We were informed that it was Stomper’s 19th birthday.  He seemed like a new Stomper with a new personality.  I felt sleepy in the sun.  It was a beautiful afternoon.  The starting pitchers were Felix Doubront for the A’s and Matt Cain for the Giants.  Doubront allowed a two-out walk in the first inning, but he would unexpectedly leave the game after the one inning.  The A’s did nothing on offense for their first two innings, but we would see that Kara Tsuboi was back.  We heard that the team shot some baskets in the Oracle Arena, having free throw and three-point shooting contests.  Chris Bassitt did well with the three-point shots.  Doubront had some sort of injury, and so Eric Surkamp took over in the second inning.  He would allow a double to the first batter he faced, but then he got 18 of the next 19 batters out.  Only an error by Marcus Semien broke that streak.  We saw a cupcake eating contest before the A’s came up to bat in the third inning.  Khris Davis gave the crowd an exciting moment with a home run for the first run of the game.  Yonder Alonso drew a walk, and Semien hit into a 1-6 force play.  Billy Burns was out on a ball hit to first base, with Semien going to second base.  Jed Lowrie hit a fly ball to center that the bounced off the glove of Denard Span.  Semien scored, and Lowrie was waved home after Span dropped the ball.  What looked like it could be an inside-the-park home run was a play with two errors on the centerfielder.  The score was 3-0, and things were looking good for the home team.  As the innings went on, both teams brought into the game players with unfamiliar names, reminding us that this was a spring training game. The new players who came into the game were Matt Chapman, J.P. Sportman, Chad Pinder, Matt McBride, Chris Coghlan, and Franklin Barreto.  We would also see Mark Canha, Josh Phegley, and Coco Crisp, and Ryan Dull would pitch the ninth inning.  Before the seventh inning, we would see the first Big Head race of the year, and Rickey Henderson edged Rollie Fingers at the end.  During the seventh inning stretch, we heard James Brown’s “Get Up Offa That Thing” before “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”  In the bottom of the inning, the A’s loaded the bases with three consecutive walks.  However, they failed to score, as Barreto fouled out, and Canha hit into a double play.  We thought that that was the A’s last chance to score runs in this game.  With one out in the eighth inning, Surkamp got into a little bit of trouble with a walk and a single, but then he got a 4-6-3 double play to end his afternoon.  He was really quite impressive on this day.  Chapman was the first batter in the bottom of the inning, and he gave the home fans something to talk about as he took a mighty swing at the first pitch, sending the ball deep into the left field bleachers, almost reaching the suites at the rear.  Sportman followed with a double, but that was all the A’s would do for this game.  Dull got the first batter of the ninth inning out on a ball hit to center.  He went to a 3-2 count to the next batter before making a mistake that went over the fence.  He got the second out on a fly ball to left, and then he ended the game with a strikeout.  A 4-1 win was a good way for the A’s to end spring training, although now there were questions about Felix Doubront.  The game started at 1:08 with a temperature of 60 degrees, and it ended at 3:31.  That was a good pace for an exhibition game.  We felt that we were now ready for Opening Night.  Attendance was 29,157.  The weather forecast is calling for hot days this week.  I headed for the BART station.  I got on a seven-car train.  I got off at 12th Street so that I could get to my ATM before going over to Trader Joe’s.  I bought some onion dip and chips.  I intended to go out for a beef burrito, but I fell asleep.  An afternoon in the sun really drained me.  Apparently, I missed the Star Trek episode “The City on the Edge of Forever” on Me TV.  That was a good episode, and I liked Joan Collins.  KQED was showing “The Remains of the Day.”  Another channel was showing “Days of Heaven.”  Some of the people who died on April 3 include Jesse James (1882), Johannes Brahms (1897), Kurt Weill (1950), Warren Oates (1982), Sarah Vaughan (!990), Graham Greene (1991), and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (2013).  Today is a birthday for Eddie Murphy (55), Alec Baldwin (58), Wayne Newton (74), Jane Goodall (82), and Doris Day (94).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for April 3, the BBC banned the Coasters song “Charlie Brown” in 1959 because of the word “spitball.”  In 1992, the movie “Beethoven” was released.

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