(Also see A's vs. Tigers, 4/19/06.)
On May 3rd, the Cleveland Indians were in Oakland, and the discount baseball was in full force. As a tribute to the respectful and completely not-offensive mascot of the Cleveland baseballers, the A's made many seats available for two dollars - little more than the price of a handful of beads. Even Chief Joseph would think this was an unfair deal!
Though our tickets gave us a reservation, we were seated behind the left field foul pole - the least fertile land in the ballpark. It's weird. Luckily, hot dogs were still only a dollar, and they are guaranteed to be 100% smallpox-free. Use of firewater and peace pipes appeared to be abundant throughout the stadium. Considering their defense, there might have been some illicit activity in the Oakland clubhouse as well.
I scalped our extra tickets fairly easily before the game started. My last sale was stopped by security, so I simply gave the guy his ticket for free. After I entered the stadium, free ticket guy chased me down and handed me two bucks.
The A's bungle a few ground balls, but only give up one run. Meanwhile, Nevin and I make it through the shortest hot dog line in recent Two Dolla memory and get back to our seats before the A's finish hitting.
Bobbly Kielty has gone 0-for-April. He gets his first hit off the season, and the crowd erupts in sarcastic applause. This won't be the last time this happens.
Jeff speculates about the elaborate lawnmower pattern in the outfield grass. What must the groundskeeper's lawn at home look like? Does he devote hours to keeping it at major league quality? Perhaps he is like an absentee father to the lawn, spending too much time at work and neglecting his grass. I like to think that the groundskeeper has a miniature riding mower, so he can do the same fancy pattern on a much smaller scale.
The A's continue to make defensive gaffes, playing as if they paid only two dollars for their gloves. Amazingly, the official scorer has not assigned an error yet. Bobby Kielty misplays an RBI single into a triple, and I start to heckle the official scorer. The A's are down 4-0, and down 15-4 on Two Dolla Aggregate.
In the bottom of the inning, Frank Thomas hits a sacrifice fly before Bobby Crosby homers to cut the lead to one run. Though the Big Hurt only delivered with a Big Productive Out, and he's hitting below .200 on the year, Paul observes that, "No matter what Thomas is hitting, [DH Frank Thomas] just sounds so much better than, "Designated Hitter, Scott Hatteberg."
The White Dot wins Dot Racing in a disgraceful performance, knocking Red Dot off-balance and out of contention in the home stretch. For shame, White Dot.
BART is the sponsor of Two Dolla Wednesday. Officially it's "Double Play Wednesday", but that name hits a little close to home when Jason Kendall is in the everyday lineup. There's an animated BART "race" where BART rips automotive transit for being expensive an inefficient. Kettle, meet teapot. The pormtion's use of "Come On, Ride the Train" is predictably dated, though it's nice to see that someone's helping keep the children of the Quad City DJs in college. Interestingly, the winner of the race is not the animated public transit-loving commuters, but rather BART itself.
Gabe wants to get a Cap'n Morgan's shaker, but not until the A's take the lead. Five shirtless guys jog around the cheap seats. They have painted their chests to spell out, "GO A'S". Yes, one guy had to be the apostrophe. The apostrophe is also backward on his chest, so it looks like there's an accent mark on the "A", as if he didn't want people to read their chests as "GO AHHHHHS".
The A's use some kind of technical enhancement when they do the Smile Cam between innings. I think it's supposed to make the fans' teethy look extra gleamingly white, but the artificial glow looks like they've been brushing their teeth with radioactive waste.
What is the lowest-quality company or product to have a stadium ad at McAfee Coliseum? Valero, the discount gas station, and the mysterious "Shad" (I think Shad does investments) are both obscure sponsors, but not as obscure as Totalsportsstore.com.
Cleveland scores another run thanks to some shoddy Oakland defense. The game has been a montage of anti-Web Gems - Web Cubic Zirconiums. Even the fans aren't catching foul balls.
Was Frank Thomas actually issued an A's cap, or did they just give him a batting helmet?
This inning lasts forever. The Indians score nine runs and the A's use three pitchers. Speaking of pitchers, Gabe amended his promise to get a Cap'n Morgan's Shaker either if the A's took the lead or fell behind by more than ten runs. Twenty minutes into the top of the seventh, Casey Blake sent Gabe scurrying to the booze line with a three-run homer, making it 14-3. Cleveland did have the decency to put the game away just before alcohol sales were cut off, allowing A's fans to drink away the memory of that inning.
Sarcastic cheers come out for the struggling pitchers, with whoops for called strikes, or for successfully catching return throws from the catcher. It's interesting that the A's still throw the ball around the horn after a strikeout, even down by more than ten runs. The inning finally ends on a fly ball to center. Mark Kotsay attempts to toss the ball to a fan, but misses by roughly thirty feet. The ball lands in an abandoned area of the center field batter's eye, and Kotsay jogs in looking genuinely ashamed of himself.
Paul nails the holy trinity of scoreboard gambling, successfully wagering on the Cap Dance, Dot Racing, and Guess the Attendance. It is really weird to watch Guess the Attendance after 90% of the fans have left in disgust. Of the official 18,242 paid attendees, maybe 1,500 are left.
Two Dolla Hero Marco Scutaro lines up in left field, though sadly he will not bat. Nick Swisher moves to center, meaning that the A's have a second baseman and first baseman playing left and center field, respectively. Swisher can be summed up with an overheard comment from a few rows back: "Swisher: Best hitter, worst beard."
We speculate as to the next stage in the evolution of Two Dolla Wednesday. This year, management closed the third deck, sending Two Dolla Wednesday to the outfield. Tarping off the upper deck is the baseball stadium version of trimming your pubes; it's supposed to help things seem more intimate, but in reality, they do it hoping it'll make the crowd look bigger.
Would the A's move the discount seats to an even smaller area next year? We thought the change might be to limit the promotion to individual seats, randomly scattered around the ballpark. Sure, you're not with your friends, but shouldn't you be focusing less on conversation and more on the game?
Bobby Kielty's two-out single raises his batting average 122 points. Gabe struggles to finish his drink. The A's lose.
On the first Two Dolla Wednesday, the A's gave up 11 runs. This time, they're actually down by 11 runs. It can't get much worse, can it? If you're curious, the next Two Dolla Wenesday is May 17, 2006, versus the Seattle Mariners.