Author Archive

Oakland A’s Shoe Collection, Round 2

From their caps to their toes, A’s fans rock some awesome green and gold style in the stands.

I most love checking out the fancy footwear of our diehards (and I’m not even one of those women with a shoe obsession!). You see, there’s only so much fashion liberty one can take with a team jersey, jacket or hat. But with shoes, there’s so much room for creativity!  My eyes light up at the sight of custom-designed gems or hand-crafted beauties. For example, those sparkly baby toddler shoes (below) are just about the cutest things ever. But it’s also pretty terrific when fans find happy accidents of the green and gold in one fortuitous pair. Hello, rockin’ cowboy boots!

Which pair do you covet from the selection below? Have any awesome green/gold A’s shoes you’d like me to include in the next round? If so, send me the photo in an email: kara@oaklandathletics.com

Happy trails, A’s fans. See you — and your kicks — in the stadium soon!

Sizzling Bacon on a Rainy Tuesday

 

Image

By now, most of you have probably heard a little something about “Bacon Tuesday” last week at the Oakland Coliseum. It was magical. And it represented one of the best parts of baseball: the chance for fun interactions between fans and players. In this case, the crew in the Right Field Bleachers were celebrating a player from *another* team: Jeff Francoeur from the Kansas City Royals. Click this link to check out my live, in-game interview with the organizers behind Bacon Tuesday.

Our dedicated A’s fans in the RF Bleachers even created t-shirts for the whole crew to wear (photo at left). Rumor has it, that Francoeur himself even donned a shirt after the game!  As a thank you to the fans for their enthusiasm on Tuesday night, Francoeur arranged for the delivery of twenty personal pizzas and a signed bat at the start of the game on Wednesday morning. While I haven’t had the chance to meet Francoeur in person, I admire his attitude and perspective on the game. Here’s a quote he gave to the Associated Press after last week’s festivities:

“Baseball is fun. We can take it too serious sometimes,” Francoeur said before the game. “This is something more than just baseball. That right-field section are here every game, they cheer for every (A’s player). They are diehards. I just enjoy them out there. It’s a lot of fun. You don’t get to build relationships like that every day.”

Later in the game, I met up again with the RF Bleacher crew for the 7th Inning Stretch. Here’s a link to my second chat with Omar about what’s in store for “Bacon Tuesday 2013.”  Notice how it’s gotten progressively wetter and those bacon strips, soggier and soggier. On a night like last Tuesday, the rain didn’t seem to matter. Honestly. We were all having too much fun!

The final component to the success of “Bacon Tuesday” was the mutual enthusiasm from the Diamond Vision crew (the team that’s responsible for the big screen, scoreboard and stadium entertainment in general). Hats off to Jeremy Wesler-Buck for creating such fun scoreboard messages so quickly! All of a sudden, cap caper was sponsored by Jeff Francoeur, and strips of bacon seemed to appear between every inning! I especially love this screen (photo below, courtesy of Jeremy) that hints to more fun times next year.

Truly Green Collar Baseball

Without a doubt, Dog Day with the A’s is one of my favorite special events during the Oakland A’s baseball season. I love dogs and obviously I love baseball, so it’s the perfect combination for the fan who wants to catch a game with his/her best friend. Despite the gloomy July weather, this year’s event on July 29 lived up to all expectations. In fact, there were more dogs than ever packing the second deck in the outfield — close to 700 pups!

For me, the fun part is seeing the enthusiasm of our A’s fans and the love they pour into making their dogs’ costumes. From a cutie decked out in hula gear (complete with a coconut shell bra!) to Cooper, the Daschund named after Cooperstown, we’ve got some of the best dressed dogs in baseball.

Oh and did I mention, historically, the A’s record is 5-1 on Dog Day. Yet another reason to have a couple more of these a season!

Below is a slideshow of some of the photos I (and my mom!) collected through the evening. Click through — maybe you’ll see your pup! Can’t wait to see you next year for Dog Day with the A’s, 2012.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Also, check out this cuteness — and cleverness — from A’s fan, Cathy. I think Hideki “Shih Tzu-i” is my favorite. Hilarious. Thanks so much for sharing, Cathy!!

Oakland Athletics Active Roster

#

Pitchers

B/T

Ht

Wt

DOB

40

Andrew “Beagle” Bailey

R-R

6’3″

240

May 31, 1984

50

Grant “Fetch” Balfur

R-R

6’2″

195

Dec 30, 1977

56

Craig Breslowchen

L-L

5’11″

190

Aug 8, 1980

53

Rover Cahill

R-R

6’4″

225

Mar 1, 1988

60

Fautino De Los Santos Bernados

R-R

6’2″

225

Feb 15, 1986

33

Joey “Bones” Devine

R-R

6’0″

235

Sep 19, 1983

57

Brian “Fido” Fuentes

L-L

6’4″

230

Aug 9, 1975

47

Gio Gongrowlez

R-L

6’0″

205

Sep 19, 1985

18

Rich “Hound Dog” Harden

L-R

6’1″

195

Nov 30, 1981

32

Brandog McCarthy

R-R

6’7″

200

Jul 7, 1983

48

Michael “Mutt” Wuertz

R-R

6’3″

210

Dec 15, 1978

31

Briard Ziegler

R-R

6’4″

205

Oct 10, 1979

#

Catchers

B/T

Ht

Wt

DOB

11

Landon Howl

S-R

6’3″

265

Mar 19, 1982

8

Kurt Saluki

R-R

5’11″

195

Oct 4, 1983

#

Infielders

B/T

Ht

Wt

DOB

2

Ruff Pennington

S-R

5’10″

215

Jun 15, 1984

7

Adam Rollover-sales

R-R

6’1″

195

May 20, 1983

29

Scotty Dog Sizemore

R-R

6’0″

185

Jan 4, 1985

19

Pawmile Weeks

S-R

5’9″

160

Jan 26, 1987

#

Outfielders

B/T

Ht

Wt

DOB

22

Chris Car-chaser

R-R

6’4″

245

Dec 18, 1986

4

Cockapoo Crisp

S-R

5’10″

185

Nov 1, 1979

12

DaVizsla DeJesus

L-L

5’11″

190

Dec 20, 1979

28

Conor Jackson Russel Terrier

R-R

6’2″

215

May 7, 1982

15

Ryan Sweiner Dog

L-L

6’4″

225

Feb 20, 1985

16

Josh Woofingham

R-R

6’2″

215

Feb 17, 1979

#

Designated Hitter

B/T

Ht

Wt

DOB

55

Hideki Shih Tzu-i

L-R

6’2″

210

Jun 12, 1974

A’s fans make a memorable first half

44 home games completed, 37 more to go. Believe it or not fans, but we are more than halfway through the season. How does time fly so quickly? Non-baseball fans lament the season’s length, stuffed with a game count that’s well into the triple digits. But for a true baseball fan — and I know you’ll agree with me — there’s no such thing as too many games.  Judging by the effort you all make to catch Fall League games and Cactus League games, I think a lot of us wouldn’t mind a bit if we could watch some sort of baseball year-round.

While the team has their own kinks to work out in the second half of the season (let’s try to find some hot bats and an error-less defense), one thing that has impressed me over the first half is how our fans have turned out and represented the green and gold. From the dedicated families showing up on school nights to the elderly couple sticking it out through the rain to our Left Field and Right Field (aka Matsuiland — see the photo to the left when the gang let me hold the letter “A”. I was so honored!) bleacher crews, we have some of the best fans in major league baseball. Fans, thanks for making the first half of the season so memorable. Even though I don’t want the season to end, I’m already looking forward to the second half and the next homestand.

A’s fans sport their love

As I wander the steps of the Coliseum during an A’s game, I am always looking for the diehard fans. A good way to spot them is by looking down to their shoes! When I was a partial season ticket holder several years ago, the man with seats next to me wore white, chunky-clunky sneakers with a simple A’s logo on the outside. I was impressed with his true love for the team, but knew there must have been more fashionable options out there.

And I think I found a solution: design my own. Check out these beauties! I created them on Converse’s “Design Your Own” website and had a super cool, green and yellow pair of kicks in less than 5 minutes. With two shades each of green and yellow, the color combinations are endless. I think I may go “Pine” green for my next pair… One of my favorite parts is the optional lettering on the side. Now, if only they had room for the “Let’s” as in, “Let’s Go Oakland!”

If you’re interested in designing your own pair of green and yellow A’s shoes, try Adidas, Nike and your other favorite shoe brands. It seems like most have customizable options these days. But really, sporty, spiffy, color-appropriate shoes that show your A’s love don’t need to be expensive or laborious to design; just keep your eyes out for a good investment when you see them. Below is a gallery of photos of A’s green and yellow shoes that I’ve collected over the last two seasons. I’m impressed with the variety and creativity out there, but then again, these do belong to A’s fans!

If you’ve got a pair that you’d me to include in Round 2 of the A’s shoe collection, please send me a photo: kara@oaklandathletics.com

A’s Japanese Heritage Day is all-around success

One of the highlights of this young 2011 Oakland A’s baseball season was without a doubt, Sunday’s Japanese Heritage Day. I loved the pre-game festivities, the attendance from the Japanese community (both from the Bay Area and elsewhere), and the relevancy of the day in light of the recent disasters in Japan. Exciting action on the field and the team’s first win didn’t hurt either.

The A’s had been planning on a Japanese heritage day ever since they acquired Hideki Matsui in November 2010. While they hosted a similar event last season, now that Matsui was on the team, they’d really have important reasons to encourage a bridge between the two cultures.  As the planning kicked into high gear, I was asked to emcee the pre-game reception for the team’s Japanese sponsors and Matsui’s family. I readily agreed, even though I call myself the worst half-Japanese girl since I don’t even speak a word of the language!

Here are some photos from the reception in the Coliseum’s East Side Club:

 

Consul General Hiroshi Inomata holding Matsui’s foul ball that he coincidentally caught on Friday’s Opening Night

 

The lovely Cherry Blossom Queen, Arisa Hiroi and me

 

Masao Matsui addressing the crowd. Also representing Hideki’s family were his wife, mother and brother. Lovely family!

 

 

 

The Emeryville Taiko drummers performing a couple of their songs.

 

 

Before and after pictures of a cask of sake from Berkeley’s Takara distillery. True to Shinto tradition, Matsui San, Inomata San and A’s owner Lew Wolff cracked open the barrel for good luck.

 

 

 

Fundraising for Japan’s disaster relief fund was one of the main focuses of Sunday’s game, and I’m proud to say that A’s fans collected more than 65-thousand dollars. What wonderful generosity. Just as touching were all the displays of love and hope from people in the stands.

Also, I knew that the Japanese people loved their baseball heroes, but I didn’t realize to what extent. The Kagawa family (photo below) flew in from Hong Kong, where they currently live, to catch the A’s/Mariners series. Now that is dedication!

On top of all the festivities indirectly in his honor, Matsui didn’t disappoint and had a truly special game. Not only did he break his season’s short hitting slump, but a shot down the left field line in the bottom of the second inning was his career hit number 2500. It was a beautiful site and the crowd respectfully and eagerly gave him a standing ovation.

Who knows how long Matsui will be sporting the green and gold (hopefully for the rest of his American career!), but I hope the A’s continue to honor our friendship with Japanese fans. In this case, baseball is one of the best cross-cultural bridges I can thing of.

Hello, Old Friends

Welcome back to my blog and my first post of the 2011 Oakland A’s baseball season. It sure has been a while! This time of year is one of the most special in the cycle of the Major League Baseball calendar: Spring Training when the future looks bright. Hey, at this point in the season, anything and everything is possible! 

Matsui at Spring TrainingBut back to Spring Training. I started this blog one year ago during my very first Cactus League experience. I loved interviewing the players and learning the ins and outs of Phoenix and Scottsdale. This year was no different, but yet better… There was an unmistakable buzz in the air, a feeling of hope and confidence. After talking to the players and hearing their excitement, I fully believe that 2011 is the year for the green and gold.

Here’s my collection of player photographs taken last week (February 21 – 25, 2011) while I and the rest of the Diamond Vision crew interviewed them at Spring Training. Enjoy!

Balfour 

Grant Balfour, #50
Right Handed Pitcher

If you get a chance, definitely chat with Grant so you can hear his fabulous Australian accent. Just hope he doesn’t drop any profanity on you! But despite his rep on the mound, this guy is polite and friendly. Did I mention that accent?

Suzuki at Spring TrainingKurt Suzuki, #8
Catcher

Kurt made a lot of changes this off-season. He lost the puka shells, grew a beard (or scruff, I should say) and made a baby! His wife, Renee, will deliver their baby girl sometime this Spring. Congrats, Kurt!

Kouzmanoff at Spring Training
Kevin Kouzmanoff, #5
Third Base

It’s always a delight to spend time with Kevin. He’s low-key, thoughtful and not afraid to reveal his off-the-field persona. The hardest sport he has ever tried? Diving. That’s right, Kouz splashed around in a speedo! 

Coco Crisp at Spring Training

Coco Crisp, #4
Center Field

Coco was so not in the mood to spend 20 minutes with the Diamond Vision crew. It was the end of the day and he was exhausted. But as soon as this guy stepped in front of the camera, a switch was flipped and Coco the performer emerged. We have never laughed so hard or had our jaws drop so many times… Unfortunately, the subject matter is off-limits and not exactly, shall we say, family friendly. Oh Coco…

Cahill at Spring Training

Trevor Cahill, #53
Right Handed Pitcher

Trevor is always shy, sweet and professional. Hard to believe he was competing for the fifth starter spot at 2010′s Spring Training! I think it’s safe to say he’s a shoo-in this year! 

David DeJesus at Spring Training

David DeJesus, #12
Right Field

David is a loyal guy, having spent his entire career with the Kansas City Royals. But during our interview, he was quick to praise the A’s chemistry and easy-going-attitudes in the clubhouse, remarking that he’s never experienced that before. Oh yeah, that and a winning season.

Ziegler at Spring Training

Brad Ziegler, #31
Right Handed Pitcher

Brad is the consummate professional: always courteous, cooperative and friendly. He’s also really bright and has a lot of interesting passions outside of baseball. After starting his Pastimes for Patriots foundation last year, he visited the troops in the Middle East this off-season. But I’m pretty sure he didn’t visit a submarine…he just throws them! 

Willingham at Spring Training

Josh Willingham, #16
Left Field

Josh is a true ‘Bama boy, as in an Alabama boy! He lives there in the off-season with his wife and two young sons, Ryder and Rhett. When this guy is not playing baseball, he says you can find him huntin’ and fishin.’ Welcome to the team, Josh!

Fuentes.JPGBrian Fuentes, #57
Left Handed Pitcher

Brian Fuentes has a demanding job. And that wouldn’t be a relief pitcher. More like taking care of his four children under the age of four! This Merced, California native is psyched to return to Northern California and start playing ball to get a break from the exhausting workouts at home!

Gio at Spring Training

Gio Gonzalez, #47
Left Handed Pitcher

Gio may corner the A’s market on goofiness, silliness and good times. We couldn’t have kicked this guy out from the interview room, if we had tried! From stories to laugh fests to truly thoughtful answers, it’s clear why Gio is a fan favorite. 

Count It: Seven Home Games Left

Karen, the A's super fan #2
Time is running out. Fans, our Oakland Athletics 2010 season is winding down…

Starting today, Monday September 20, the A’s begin their final 7-game homestand with three games against the Chicago White Sox, followed by four games against the division-leading Texas Rangers.

I’ve said this now for a month, but fans, it’s time to stop procrastinating and putting off your visit to the Coliseum. With only seven home games left, the time is now to show your green an gold pride!

Here’s a short collection of photos from the last month, showing off some of our Super Fans at the ballpark…

Cute A's fansT-shirt Dan

A berth in the playoffs would be nearly impossible for the A’s to achieve at this point in the season, but that doesn’t mean the 2010 campaign has been a disappointment. We’ve seen an impressive showing from all five, improbably young pitchers in our starting rotation and some great hitting and base-stealing efforts from the lineup. Also, let’s not forget how the 2009 season ended and how far we’ve come. Last year, we finished last in the division, 22 games behind the division-leading Angels.

David's attempted catchDavid, the superfan #2

This fan, David, in the two photos above comes to every game as if the team is playing for a playoff berth. A serious A’s follower, he’s always decked out in green and gold, his special, superstitious pants, and of course, his glove to catch homerun balls. In the photo to the right, you can see David diving for one of Coco Crisp’s long balls. Awesome enthusiasm! The crummy part is that he didn’t even get the ball!! Better luck next time, David.

So fans, I hope to see you at the Coliseum this week. Let’s send our team off for the final roadtrip with love and support from our fan base. And hey, you never know…we’re only nine games back!!

One of Baseball’s Greats

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0
0

Kara and the Law familyOne of the
highlights of the last homestand was a special visit from Vern Law, a pitcher
for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1950-1967. Law lives in Utah but was in the Bay
Area for special church events and outings, including the ballgame on Thursday
night. During the third inning, I had the lucky opportunity to chat with him,
his son Vance, also a Major League ballplayer who played for the A’s for a
season, and his grandson, Andrew.


Vern Law's baseball card

During Law’s
career, he was twice named to All-Star teams, a Cy Young Award winner and a
1960 World Series champion. Any baseball historian will tell you that the 1960
series between the Pirates and the Yankees is one of the most famous in the
sport’s history. It’s the only time a World Series has been won on a walk-off
home run in the bottom of the 9th inning in game seven. Imagine the
drama, the thrill!

As a
starting pitcher, Law pitched in games one, four and seven of the series. When
I chatted with him on Diamond Vision, he told me that he liked to rib the
series’ hero, Bill Mazeroski, the walk-off run hitter, that if he hadn’t been
pulled as the pitcher earlier in the game, there would have been no need for
his heroics. Of course, he’s only kidding. In my brief interaction with him,
Law came across as kind, humble and a true gentleman. Someone who represents the game with dignity.

 

Richard with Vern Law's autograph

My story
could end there. After all, it’s not every day that the Coliseum hosts one of
baseball’s greats. However, what made that Thursday night truly memorable in my
mind was connecting a lifelong admirer of Vern Law’s and the man himself. After
I finished my interview with him, Richard, a longtime season ticket holder and
serious baseball historian, stopped me and asked if he was dreaming. Was that really THE Vern Law sitting in the Oakland Coliseum?!?


Vern Law's autographVern Law signing autographs













You see,
Richard grew up in Pittsburgh, rooting for the Pirates. Vern Law was one of his
favorite players, and he was lucky enough to watch him throw in game seven of
that 1960 World Series.
In fact, on Richard’s drive to the Oakland Coliseum
last Thursday, he was listening to the old play-by-play radio recording of that
famous game. It was such an eerie coincidence that Law happened to be sharing
air space in the stadium that very same night. When I interviewed Richard on
Diamond Vision in the eighth inning, he was still trembling from meeting one of
his childhood heroes and marveling at his good fortune to connect with a
baseball legend. In Richard’s words, “magic really does happen here in Oakland.”

Three Homestands, Twenty-Three Games to Go…

Kara, fans and StomperIt’s really hard to believe, but the 2010 season is starting to wind down. I hate to be the one to break the bad news, but I’m just wondering how the last four and a half months disappeared so quickly?!? To me, Spring Training feels like last week. And Dallas Braden’s perfect game could have been yesterday.

So here are the facts, fans: starting today, Monday, August 16, there are only three more homestands and twenty-three more home games left in the 2010 campaign. We’ve only got about a quarter of the season to go, and you know it’s going to go by in a green and gold blur!

SuperfansFans with Suzuki sign

Because of this sad news, I urge you and your friends and family to make these next few homestands count! I know summertime is busy with vacations, camp,
parties and the like, but procrastinators, it’s time to start making
A’s baseball a priority. Click here to visit the A’s website so you can pick up your tickets today!

Fans celebrate 11th birthdayCute fans in matching tie-dye

In my opinion, there are a lot of factors that have made this season zip by (at least in comparison to last year). For starters, the team has been playing well and we all know it’s a lot more fun to watch a winning team. Instead of dreading upcoming series, we’ve been looking forward to them, thus the schedule appears to fly by.

Thumbnail image for Kara, Dan and his "Kara" t-shirtAlso, it doesn’t take a meteorologist to tell you that this summer has been positively Arctic. Where are those bright, sunny days and warm evenings? It’s been feeling a lot more like earlier May than mid-August. Yet another reason why it’s hard to believe the season is coming to a close.

So fans, get out your green and gold, make those homemade signs and come on out to the Coliseum for the remaining days of A’s baseball in 2010. I can’t wait to see you there!

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