Paul Blackburn’s Great Debut

I woke up and watched CBS This Morning and their chef segment.  Some of Tom Douglas’ signature recipes include Chop salad with corn, snap peas, and bacon, Barbecued Baby Back Ribs, “Right on the Grill” Corn on the Cob, Cornmeal shortcakes, and Etta’s pit-roasted salmon.  I looked up the American Top 40 playlist for the weekend.  The Top 10 songs on June 30, 1973 were “Shambala,” “Right Place, Wrong Time,” “Long Train Running,” “Playground in My Mind,” “Pillow Talk,” “Kodachrome,” “I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little Bit More,” “Will It Go Round in Circles,” “My Love,” and “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth).”  I got on a BART train to the Coliseum and got to the season ticket holder line early.  There weren’t too many people in front of me in the line.  I listened to a Joni James album as I waited.  The giveaway was the dual Miguel Tejada-Barry Zito bobblehead.  I went over to the food trucks and ordered a chicken waffle sandwich.  I also bought a mango smoothie.  I didn’t see Dave Kaval waiting for a kimchi taco, as someone on Twitter did.  I made my way to my seat and fell asleep for a few minutes.  I saw Barry Zito and Ramon Hernandez out on the field signing autographs for some fans.  Zito threw out the first pitch.  Paul Blackburn was making his debut as a starting pitcher for the A’s against the Atlanta Braves on this afternoon.  He hit the second batter of the game with a pitch and also gave up a walk with two outs, but allowed no runs in the first inning.  In the second inning, a bad throw by Franklin Barreto put a runner at second base, and the Braves scored their first run on a double.  After the double, Blackburn allowed only a single in the fourth inning and a single in the fifth inning, as thirteen of the last fifteen batters he faced out.  Because the run he allowed in the second inning was unearned, he ended the day with a 0.00 ERA.  The A’s scored their first run in the fourth inning, as with one out, Khris Davis walked, and Yonder Alonso and Ryon Healy both singled.  Matt Olson singled to load the bases, but Josh Phegley grounded into a double play.  In the Big Head race, Rollie Fingers and Dennis Eckersley joined hands to block Rickey Henderson’s way, but Rickey would still win.  Sportsmanship is not part of these races, apparently.  In the top of the seventh inning, Sean Doolittle took over for Blackburn.  Doolittle got the first out quickly, but then in facing the eighth and ninth hitters in the Braves’ lineup, he gave up a single that resulted from Franklin Barreto not hearing Matt Joyce calling for the ball, and after two stolen bases, Doolittle gave up a double, giving the Braves a 2-1 lead.  After a strikeout, Bob Melvin brought in Ryan Madson, who got the third out.  In the eighth inning, Madson allowed a double.  A ground out moved the runner to third base, and a sacrifice fly to left field gave the Braves a 3-1 lead.  In the bottom of the inning, Jed Lowrie walked on a 3-2 pitch.  Khris Davis hit an impressive home run that hit the concrete above the suites behind the outfield fence.  The score was tied at 3-3, and there were still no outs, but the A’s managed only a single from Healy for the rest of the inning.  Healy had three hits and a walk.  Santiago Casilla pitched the top of the ninth inning.  After a strikeout, Barreto misplayed a ground ball that was absolutely routine.  After a stolen base, that ninth hitter hit another double for a big run, putting the Braves ahead, 4-3.  Casilla then caught a line drive and threw the ball to Barreto to catch the runner off second base for a double play.  Jim Johnson, the former A’s pitcher who had a horrible season with the A’s a while back, pitched for the Braves in the bottom of the ninth.  He struck out Barreto, who drew some boos for the bad game that he had, with two errors and another costly mistake.  He had reached base on an error and struck out twice, but he did get an infield single with his speed on a play that was reviewed and overturned.  Jaycob Brugman pinch-hit for Rajai Davis but also struck out.  Matt Joyce was unable to do anything, as he hit a ball to left field that was caught to end the game.  It was a sloppy game and a discouraging defeat, although the promising bright spot was Blackburn’s very good performance, which the crowd applauded.  We heard some music from 2002, like “The Way You Move,” during the game.  On This Date in MLB History in 1941, we saw that Joe DiMaggio got a hit in 44 consecutive games in a rain-shortened game.  We saw a root beer float eating contest.  Ken Korach interviewed Ramon Hernandez on the radio.  Hernandez called the Coliseum a beautiful stadium, and he had a son who was born in April of 2002.  He talked about his famous walk-off bunt against the Red Sox in the 2003 playoffs.  Ken Korach expressed his appreciation for Ramon’s professional behavior all those years ago.  Korach told us that John Axford took control of the music playing in the clubhouse, and his selections were from Canadians, such as Gordon Lightfoot.  We also saw a dance-off to Backstreet Boys music.  The winner was wearing a Zito shirt, and his prize was a watch.  I saw myself on the scoreboard video screen at one point.  The fan next to me on my left blamed Barreto for the loss, although the runs that scored after his mistakes all came on a double that followed, and from hitters whose averages were .221 and .225 to start the day.  The game had started at 1:08 with a game time temperature of 66 degrees, and it ended at 4:24.  The attendance was 22,230.  Despite the presence of Scott Hattebird, a flock of seagulls was ready to swoop into the stadium once the fans left the premises.  Susan Slusser suggested the name Bird Campaneris.  I thought of Paul Blackbird Singing in the Dead of Night.  On my way out of the stadium, the usher in my section told me that she wouldn’t be seeing me again until after the All-Star Game break.  On the radio, Zakariah said that the seagulls made me think of “The Birds,” but he didn’t know that “The Birds” was a Hitchcock movie and not a Stephen King book.  I thought that Zakariah was a Cal graduate.  I went home and fell asleep while watching the game between the Yankees and the Astros.  I watched a Police Story episode called “Requiem for an Informer.”  Some of the people who died on July 2 include Amelia Earhart (1937), Ernest Hemingway (1961), Betty Grable (1973), George Macready (1973), Vladimir Nabokov (1977), Franklin J. Schaffner (1989), Lee Remick (1991), Fred Gwynne (1993), James Stewart (1997), Mario Puzo (1999), Jan Murray (2006), Beverly Sills (2007), Michael Cimino (2016), and Elie Wiesel (2016).  Today is a birthday for Margot Robbie (27), Lindsay Lohan (31), Jose Canseco (53), and Larry David (70).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for July 2, “Anatomy of a Murder,” starring James Stewart and Lee Remick, was released in Los Angeles and New York in 1959.  In 1977, “Gonna Fly Now (Theme from ‘Rocky’)” by Bill Conti was the Number One single.  In 1997, “Men in Black” was released.

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