Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Rockies @ A’s

I got a late start this year, but finally got to my first baseball game of the season. Last night, we made the trek down the East Bay to the Coliseum to see the Rockies play the A’s. So here’s my usual bulleted list recap of the game:

  • This is the first game I’ve been to in Oakland since we moved to the bay area, and my second time visiting the coliseum. (I went last year for an A’s-Phillies game.)
  • I got tickets in the 116 section, which is the first section just to the right of home plate. There was a small section of suite boxes between us and the field, and we were slightly up, but otherwise we were extremely close.
  • We drove, which was no sweat – just a couple of miles down the 880 from our new place. Parking was $15 and no difficulty. The parking lot is set up for football games with three times the attendance, so there was no problem getting a spot.
  • Against better judgment, I wore a Rockies jersey, and was waiting for the sea of tailgaters to beat the shit out of me like it was a post-Iranian election riot. But amazingly enough, nobody gave me shit at all for it.
  • The promotional night was Beer Fest – one of the clubs was open with like 30 different microbreweries, and for $10 you got a free mug and three “tastes” of beer. (Given that a regular beer costs $8, I would guess a “taste” would be like a shot-glass.) All of this started at 4:00, and the game started at 6:00. We didn’t go to the beer fest, given that neither of us drink. See also the thing about getting beaten to a pulp by a drunken Oakland fan.
  • We got there a bit after 4:00 and headed right for our section, to watch batting practice. When we got there, Oakland was batting, but most of the Rockies were sitting in front of the dugout, and doing stretches with those big rubber band resistance things. Our section was pretty damn close to where they were exercising, although not as close as it would be at AT&T park in San Francisco.
  • The tunnel ran right under our section, so if you were standing at the front of it (our seats were 17 rows back), you could watch players go in and out of the clubhouse. Unfortunately, that meant that all of the pro autograph seekers were hogging this space, and they piss me off. It’s impossible to talk to a player before a game, because you’re going to get shut down with a pushy guy holding a binder of crap that’s all going straight to eBay. But I did at least get to see pretty much every player up close, and I got some good pictures.
  • During BP, Troy Tulowitzki came up and talked to a bunch of the people at the rail. He’s a lot taller than he looks on the field, and his voice is a lot deeper than I’d expected. Also, he has one of those stupid lines-shaved-in Brian Bosworth haircuts right now, which is hilarious.
  • The Rockies played their own music during BP, including their unofficial theme song, “Streetcar Symphony” by Rob Thomas. That one song instantly brings me back to every game I saw at Coors Field in 2007, which I absolutely love.
  • The Rockies are on a pretty decent run right now, enough that even SportsCenter (ala “The Red Sox/Yankees and occasionaly maybe another team News Hour”) is even giving them a split-second of coverage. (Although Sabermetrics genius John Kruk said something to the effect of “Well, winning 17 out of 20 games doesn’t really say anything.”) The A’s are currently last in their division, and with the trade deadline looming, they’ll probably start parting out their entire team in short order. I’m glad we got to see them play before the deadline, because in August and beyond, it’s going to be nothing but Jason Giambi and a bunch of fourth-string freshman prospects.
  • There aren’t many people going to A’s games. We watched Friday’s game on TV, and large sections of the stadium were empty. When we sat down before the game, there was virtually nobody in our section. Then a guy came up and had the seat right next to me, and it turned out he was from Colorado and a Rockies fan, so it was good to see him there. He was in the Air Force, and worked tracking space junk on radar. We ended up talking quite a bit during the game, and he was pretty up on his stats, so it was good to have an unofficial scorer for the game.
  • I had my iPhone and the new MLB At Bat app, which lets you listen to the away team’s radio broadcast, but I spent the whole game talking to the guy next to me, so I didn’t listen. I did use it to check a few scoring details during the game though, which was handy.
  • The game got broken open early, with a Rockies home run in each of the first four innings. I had worries that De La Rosa’s pitching would be all over and give them A’s a chance to catch up, but by the 6th inning, it was 11-2. Also, every Rockies player ended up getting a hit by the end of the night.
  • Because the game started off fast, I did not go explore for any food. Sarah went back and got me a bratwurst, which was pretty decent. (Of course, it’s not as good when you don’t get to see them run in a footrace first.)
  • This was the second game where Matt Holliday, the former Rockies MVP, was playing against them for Oakland. He’s not doing a stellar job with the A’s, and probably won’t remain there long. The play that got the biggest number of boos was when he tried to get home from third with two outs on, and got thrown out at the plate by Carlos Gonzalez (who was one of the A’s traded to Colorado for Holliday.)
  • After De La Rosa left the game in the 6th, it looked like they would lightly graze the bullpen and not use a closer. But three bullpen pitchers ended up blowing it, and by the 9th, the score was 11-8.
  • After the 7th inning stretch, the strangest thing happened – this plague of little bugs descended on the stadium, all over the stands. They were these little gnat-like fly things, and they were EVERYWHERE. I looked up, and everyone in the lower deck was madly swatting away at these bugs. I had just bought a diet coke a minute before, and of course it had no lid, so it quickly became a $5.50 soup of bugs.
  • Said plague came while they were playing a Michael Jackson song. The guy in front of us was joking that the TV announcer was probably looking at everyone swatting away bugs and said “look, everyone is dancing to Thriller as a tribute to the late Michael Jackson!”
  • Huston Street came in once it became a save situation and quickly shut down the 9th. But it never should have been that close of a situation.
  • The announced attendance was 18,624, but about half of that left before the 7th inning stretch, and many more left during the 8th inning plague of locusts. We had no problem at all getting out of the parking lot and going home. The only big issue was that I felt like little bugs were crawling all over me when I got home, and had to take some Benadryl to get to sleep. In fact, I still feel like bugs are crawling on me.

And that’s the game. We just booked a trip to Denver for a long weekend in August, and we have tickets for two of the Rockies-Cubs games, which should be a lot of fun. I will eventually get around to posting some of the photos, although I am currently in a quandry about where to put photos these days, because rumored.com is bouncing against its quota, and my accounts on dreamhost, despite having no quota, are not that speedy.