Oakland A’s FanFest 2017

I woke up early and watched CBS This Morning.  I looked up the American Top 40 playlist for the weekend.  The Top 10 songs on January 28, 1978 were “Love is Thicker Than Water,” “Just the Way You Are,” “Come Sail Away,” “How Deep is Your Love,” “We Are the Champions,” “Slip Slidin’ Away,” “You’re in My Heart,” “Stayin’ Alive,” and “Short People,” and “Baby Come Back.”  I took the buses out to Jack London Square and walked around to see what was going on at the Oakland A’s FanFest.  It was about 9:20, and people in the booths were getting ready for the official starting time of 11:00.  I found the memorabilia sale and stood in line until the place opened at 10:00.  The bowling shirts were $75, and a lot of the bats had Danny Valencia’s name on it.  I bought a helmet and a spring training cap.  The helmet had the number 46 on it, and the cap had the number 40 written inside.  It was 10:20 when I was done, and I got into the line for taking photos with the World Series trophies.  I noticed that Ruby Lopez was ahead of me in the line.  They had a camera hooked up to a color printer.  The photographer took my picture twice, telling me to lower my chin.  I was pretty happy to get so close to the trophies that Catfish Hunter, Rollie Fingers, Reggie Jackson, Rickey Henderson, and Dennis Eckersley all touched.  After I got my photo, I already felt that I had done enough at this event.  By this time, the lines for the player photos and the player autographs were long.  There were food trucks, and the food was free, but I wasn’t there to eat.  I headed for the Q&A sessions.  Bob Melvin said that he would find a way to get Ryon Healy in the lineup every day.  David Forst took a lot of questions about what the A’s would do to retain their players instead of trading them away.  The team is counting on a new stadium to change their financial situation, which is kind of alarming, because it means that we’re going to see high ticket prices.  I took a walk around at 12:15 and found it hard to get around because the place was so crowded.  At the information booth, I picked up a magnet schedule.  The second Q&A session included John Axford, Sean Doolittle, Kendall Graveman, Sonny Gray, and Stephen Vogt.  Axford gave us his opinions on the movies “Moonlight,” “Manchester by the Sea,” “Hell or High Water,” and “La La Land.”  He said that he would not give the Best Picture Oscar to “La La Land.”  Someone asked Doolittle what his favorite Star Wars movie was, and he said it was “The Empire Strikes Back.”  He said that his primary goal for this season is to stay healthy.  Most of these pitchers admitted that Mike Trout was one of the tough hitters in the majors to deal with.  I took a seat and watched Kara Tsuboi talking with the crew.  FanFest was winding down.  At 1:30, the last Q&A session began, with Mark Canha, Chip Hale, Trevor Plouffe, Adam Rosales, Marcus Semien, and Jake Smolinski.  Canha told us what his three favorite places to eat in Oakland are, but I didn’t take note because I probably wouldn’t go to any of them.  Plouffe flattered the fans by saying that they were better than the fans in Minnesota.  Some of these players should ease up on such comments because we know that in reality Oakland A’s fans are far from the best fans in the majors.  I watched Rosales nodding along to some of the answers the players gave about the influence of parents on their careers.  A lot of the help they got was getting driven to the games.  Semien seemed to be a favorite of the fans.  We didn’t get to see Khris Davis.  The last question was about superstitions.  Chip Hale talked about driving to the stadium the same way during a winning streak.  Everyone noted how superstitious Bob Melvin is, and they mentioned green candy.  The key statement we were hearing during this FanFest was that this team was not talking about going outside Oakland to build a new stadium, and that the plans for that new stadium were likely to be announced later this year.  What wasn’t said out loud was that the Warriors had broken ground on a new building in San Francisco and that the Raiders had applied for relocation to Las Vegas.  Not many people took the bus out of Jack London Square.  I took a seat on the 72R and headed home.  I thought about catching a movie, but I was rather tired.  I heated some fish sticks and macaroni and cheese.  I watched part of a Wonder Woman episode about a woman who thought she was a jinx, and then the Star Trek episode “The Mark of Gideon.”  Some of the people who died on January 30 include Betsy Ross (1836), Mahatma Gandhi (1948), Stanley Holloway (1982), Lightnin’ Hopkins (1982), and John Barry (2011).  Today is a birthday for Phil Collins (66) and Gene Hackman (87).

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