For years, every Wednesday home game for the Oakland Athletics has been a discount ticket opportunity. While the price doubled a few years back, and seats are now only available in the furthest reaches of the outfield, Two Dolla Wednesday and its One Dolla hot dogs remain the best deal in baseball. Much like the Masters, Two Dolla Wednesday is a tradition unlike any other. It's a tradition of drunkeness, of erratic defensive play, of smuggled alcohol, and of the ill-advised Rally Mustard plan, all of which may be coming to an end this evening. Let's look back on the year that was in Two Dolla Wednesday baseball.
April 19 - Detroit 11, Oakland 4.
A's record: 7-8.
The A's lost to Detroit lefthander Kenny Rogers, who upped his career record to an astonishing 24-4 at the Athletics' home ballpark. Zembla predicted the A's would have trouble besting Rogers, due to his unique bond with the ballpark.
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
At the time, the outcome looked like a disaster. Losing a series to the hapless Tigers was a terrible sign. If they couldn't beat a crappy team like Detroit, what hope did the A's have of beating the real contenders in the American League, like Toronto and Cleveland? The Tigers went to 8-7 on the season, and I figured it was the last time they'd see the good side of .500 in 2006. I am an excellent baseball prognosticator.
Economic note: The two-dollar ticket price worked out to 50 cents for each Oakland error.
May 3 - Cleveland 14, Oakland 3.
A's record: 14-13.
Surely, this was the first step in the Indians' inexorable march to the AL Central crown. The loss snapped a five-game Oakland win streak, and the team went on to lose their next three series. Things looked bleak for Oakland, and more importantly, they were down 25-7 on aggregate for Two Dolla Wednesdays.
Kiko Calero gave up four runs, 20% of his entire season's total, in just one-third of an inning. Joe Kennedy gave up nearly half of his year's earned runs in just one-third of an inning. Throw out this game, and Calero would have an ERA of 2.72, and Kennedy an ERA of 1.28.
My three highlights:
1. Five guys ran around with "GO A'S" painted on their chests. Yes, one guy had to be the apostrophe.
2. Of Nick Swisher, one fan said, "Best hitter, worst beard."
3. Two of my friends attended wearing customized A's t-shirts. One said "Marco" on the back, while the other said "Scutaro". I am going to venture that these are the only customized Marco Scutaro partner t-shirts in existence.
Economic note: Fans paid 25 cents for each Oakland hit.
May 17 - Oakland 7, Seattle 2.
A's record: 20-19.
The A's got their first Two Dolla victory of the year. Barry Zito, the official pitcher of Two Dolla Wednesday, handled the Mariners with ease. It was almost too easy, as if the A's had some sort of insurmountable psychological advantage over the Mariners. This was their fifth consecutive win over Seattle, but the law of averages says Seattle would turn the tide eventually. Right?
It was a rough game for baserunning: two pickoffs, and three runners thrown out at home. Longtime fans could take comfort that the A's were reverting back to historical form: strong pitching, lots of walks, and piss-poor baserunning. I ate five hot dogs.
Economic note: One dollar per sacrifice fly.
June 14 - Oakland 7, Seattle 2.
A's record: 34-31.
A bit of Two Dolla Deja Vu for the A's, as they again handled Seattle on a discount baseball Wednesday. It was Oakland's sixth consecutive victory, and their eighth win in a row over Seattle. The overcast, rainy day did little to make the Mariners feel at home this evening, nor did it diminish the Two Dolla crowd. Surely, Seattle was due for victory against Oakland sometime soon.
Bobby Kielty had two hits for the third Two Dolla Wednesday in a row, making him this year's Marco Scutaro, a low-priced player who raises his game to new heights during low-priced games. Perhaps the discount yellow sun of Two Dolla Wednesday gives Kielty unlimited powers.
Economic note: In honor of Two Dolla Wednesday, I drank two beers, which cost seven-and-a-half times as much as my tickets.
July 5 - Detroit 10, Oakland 4
A's record: 44-40.
Oakland got smoked by the Tigers in an afternoon game, making Detroit officially the toughest Two Dolla opponent of the season. Of course, with Kenny Rogers on the mound, the outcome was a foregone conclusion. If The Gambler had re-signed with the A's after the 2000 season, he might be on his way to the Hall of Fame. Bobby Kielty continued his Discount Dominance with three hits, raising his Two Dolla Average to a ridiculous .450. These humans are beginning to bore him. Not to be outdone, Marco Scutaro hit his first home run of the season.
Economic note: Two dollar admission works out to five cents for every cigarette Tigers manager Jim Leyland smoked during the game.
August 9 - Texas 14, Oakland 0
A's record: 62-52.
Another afternoon game, another trip behind the woodshed for Oakland. Barry Zito, the official pitcher of Two Dolla Wednesday, got rocked, as did the entire bullpen. The game was not at all indicative of how Oakland had been playing during August. They'd won six straight games heading into the game, and won their next six subsequent games, including the next discount Wednesday game.
The A's got seven hits, all singles, but three of them came from Two Dolla Ubermensch Bobby Kielty, now 12-for-23 in low-priced Wednesday action. Kneel before Kielty! But only during Wednesday home games not against New York or Boston!
Antonio Perez, the defensive anti-Kielty, picked up his third error in Two Dolla action, an impressive total for such a little-used player.
Economic note: Fans paid 33 cents for each of Mark DeRosa's RBIs, or ten cents for every fan who brought a broom in misguided anticipation of a sweep.
August 16 - Oakland 4, Seattle 0
A's record: 68-52.
The Seattle Mariners became the official sacrificial lamb of Two Dolla Wednesday, falling to the A's for the 15th straight time, a losing streak that is still alive. More than anything, dominance of Seattle has been the key to Oakland's success this season. Against the rest of the league, the A's winning percentage is .536, roughly the same pace that second-place Anaheim wins at. Against Seattle, the A's are 15-1.
The A's own Seattle so completely, they might as well soak a flannel shirt in Starbucks coffee and burn it on top of the Space Needle, while the referees from Super Bowl XLI take turns slapping Bill Gates across the face with fish from that market in Seattle where they throw the fish.
None of Oakland's four pitchers walked a single batter, while Seattle's Gil Meche balked in a run, much to my baseball-neophyte companion's confusion. I tried to explain what a balk was, got sidetracked, and settled for explaining the infield fly rule instead.
Economic note: $2 = A penny for each of Adrian Beltre's postgame tears.
September 6 - Oakland 9, Texas 6.
A's record: 80-59.
With a six-run sixth inning rally, the A's proved they could beat a non-Seattle Two Dolla opponent. Disgracefully, Bobby Kielty sat on the bench for the second discount game in a row. Is there no one on Two Dolla Wednesday to even challenge Kielty? Ken Macha, in return for your obedience you will enjoy Kielty's generous protection. In other words, he will go for 2-for-4 against a left-handed starter.
Economic note: One dollar for each of starting pitcher Joe Blanton's chins.
September 20 - Oakland vs. Cleveland, 7:05 PM
A's record: 87-63.
It's the last Two Dolla Wednesday of the year. The team's magic number is down to 6, putting the A's in position to clinch the division this weekend. More importantly, Oakland is looking for some Two Dolla revenge. Given the price increases and seating reductions for Wednesday baseball in the past few years, there's no telling if you'll have a chance to see a major league game this cheaply again. We've got extra tickets and so does the team, so come on out to enjoy what may be the last discount Wednesday ever.