Spring is in the air. Birds are singing, the sun is shining for two hours a day, and the leather daddies in my neighborhood are taking the assless chaps out of storage. Still, it's not officially spring until the Oakland Athletics are playing baseball, and the fans are watching for just two dollars. The waiting ends next Wednesday, April 19th.
One quirk of the discount baseball plan is that not every Wednesday is a Two Dolla Wednesday. Games against the Giants, Yankees, and Red Sox are always full price, regardless of what weekday they happen to occur. This is because, unlike the A's, these teams have an actual fan base outside of the immediate area, though I like to think the refusal to give discounts is Oakland's tribute to the salary excesses of Boston and New York. A mediocre seat at the Plaza Outfield level might not be worth $14, but Jason Giambi's not worth $20 million per year either.
The second Wednesday game of the season, and first Two Dolla Wednesday, features the visiting Detroit Tigers, a team whose mascot is far more fearsome than its players. The cameraman-shoving, non-chicken-roasting Kenny Rogers takes the hill for Detroit, in a stadium where he has been nearly unbeatable. Rogers has a career record of 23-4 when he pitches in Oakland. Maybe the ugliness of the ballpark appeals to the ugliness in Kenny's soul. Or maybe it's an even deeper connection between Kenny and the McAfee Coliseum.
Baby, when I met you I was on the Rangers
The Oakland A's lineup was fraught with danger
When I stood on that mound, there was something going on
You do something in here that I can't explain
The way you throw that changeup makes right-handers insane
Every single start, you got something going on
I once had a rib removed to improve my circulation
If someone takes your picture, there'll be an altercation
And we ride it together, uh huh
Making A's hitters suffer, uh huh
Islands in the stream, that is what we are
23 and 4, how can we be wrong?
Sail away with me
To the West Side Club
And we rely on each other, uh huh
A jackass and a concrete structure, uh huh
Game time is 7:05, the hot dogs are a dollar, and the rendezvous point is the pedestrian ramp from BART. This could be the year for the real thing, so don't miss it.