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Keeping Score

Walk around the Coliseum during any given game and you’ll likely see a couple dozen fans keeping score. They’ve got their score-keeping notebooks on their laps, headphones on to listen to the radio broadcast and a keen eye for plays, errors and the minutiae of the game.

Why do they do it? The answers vary… I’ve heard everything from “it’s a habit” to “it keeps me focused on the game” to “it’s a nice souvenir to remember the day” to “it makes watching a baseball game a little less boring.” I personally have never tried it. I don’t think I sit down for long enough periods of time or am able to pay enough attention on a consistent basis. Maybe after I “retire” from the hosting job!

Long-time A’s fan, Michael Leslie, recently dug through his parents’ boxes of old score-keeping notebooks and found a particularly cool card from the A’s 1986 season: his very first A’s game at the Coliseum when the team happened to be playing the Baltimore Orioles! He scanned it and emailed it me as a neat piece of fan memorabilia.

Michael's 1986 ScorecardMichael’s parents, Richard and Kathy, have been longtime A’s season ticket holders who fastidiously kept score at every single game. If you look closely at this card from August 31, 1986, you’ll see that both Jose Canseco (his rookie year) and Carnie Lansford hit homeruns for the A’s and that Cal Ripken Jr. was in the starting lineup for the Orioles.

I asked Michael what he remembers from that particular game and nothing specific came to mind, but he adds, “I almost want to think you could smoke in the Coliseum.” 1986? Probably. He does remember especially likely the Orioles that season since that was his Little League team and idolizing Ripken Jr.  

Thanks to the Leslie family for sharing this cool piece of their A’s history with us. And let’s hope for a repeat of that 1986 game today, our 4th and final against Baltimore. An A’s 7-0 win over the Orioles sure would be nice! Let’s Go Oakland!

A Great Day to be an A’s Fan!

There are two truths about the Oakland A’s right now:

1.) The games are NEVER boring
2.) You can NEVER underestimate the team in the bottom of the 9th

We saw both of these factors at play in today’s exciting game against the Baltimore Orioles. What a fantastic win for the team: a dramatic, walk-off finish, their 3rd win in row, a win in the series over the Orioles and a great showing for A’s longtime broadcaster, Roy Steele.

Going into Game 3 against the men from Baltimore, we knew it’d be a special one for the sheer fact that today was Roy Steele’s day at the ballpark. He’s been the team’s broadcaster since the A’s arrived in Oakland back in 1968. If you’ve been to any game since, you can hear why John Miller complimented Roy as having the “Voice of God.” The nickname has stuck around and so has Roy, earning himself the first ever bobblehead for a PA Announcer. Quite a distinction!

Roy Steel Bobblehead #1Roy Steel Bobblehead #2

Roy kicked off the game by throwing out the first pitch to Chester Farrow, a long-time friend and fellow employee in Diamond Vision. From then on out, he and Dick Callahan announced the rest of the game. The A’s sure are fortunate to have two dynamite voices backing them up!

Roy’s presence must have brought the team some luck, as they pulled from behind and eeked out a fantastic win in the bottom of the 9th. Go Ryan Sweeney! Seven home games, three walk-off wins!

Coming tomorrow, a really cool piece of fan memorabilia… And finally, one last picture of Stomper and Finn, a young A’s fan enjoying the beautiful day game and another special win from the Oakland A’s!

Finn, the fan and Stomper

10 Games, 11 Days… Here We Go Oakland!

Fans, tonight kicks off a long homestand, and we need you at the Coliseum to rally on our boys in green and gold. The A’s return from the road with a 6-4 record, and while they’re still hanging on to 1st place in the AL West, it’d be nice to cushion our lead.

We kick off the 4-game Baltimore Orioles series tonight with an awesome giveaway: the “Sluggie.” Yup, these are those cheesy things you see advertised on late-night TV, but this one looks somewhat more stylish with the A’s motif scattered about. I had my misgivings when trying the thing on, but I have to say, it sure was warm and comfortable! And if you’re not totally digging the open-back, hospital gown style, it can still be used as a large blanket.

Be sure to be one of the first 10,000 fans through the gates tonight and you’ll receive your very own fleece Sluggie. Check out these photos from a promotional video shoot with Stomper and the Herd and note how easily Stomper fits into his Sluggie!

See you at the game tonight, fans. And then again next week for the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians. Let’s Go Oakland!

Sluggie 1Sluggie 2

Sluggie 3Sluggie 4

Off to a Great Start

Drummerboy with A's table

As the A’s travel south to Anaheim to take on the Angels, they leave
with a 3-1 record, 1st place in the AL West and lots of momentum. From
the fan perspective, we couldn’t be happier!!

Monday’s
Opening Night started off strong. There was serious tailgating action
in the Coliseum parking lot where the excitement for new season was
palpable. After all, we fans had waited 6 long months for this day to
arrive! I visited a few pregame parties, including the one in the
picture to the right, hosted by the fans in the bleachers. That’s Andy,
aka Drummerboy from the right field bleachers showing off his
impressive, homemade beer pong table. It’s a seriously awesome display
of Oakland A’s love!

Amongst the Coliseum staff, we too were
giddy with anticipation, looking forward to another season working
together in the marathon that is 81 home games. To celebrate the day, I
baked some decadent Salted Peanut Brownies, decorated with our colors, green and yellow M&M’s. It’s a fantastic, crowd-pleasing recipe — perfect for hungry fans!

Kara's Opening Night treatsOpening
Night’s final score (5-3 Mariners) was more than a tad upsetting. You
want to win your home opener in front of a packed house to kick off the
season in a positive direction. When we fell short to the boys from Seattle by a
couple of runs, there was a palpable disappointment in the stands.
Opening Night

Regardless,
there were a lot of other great elements of the night to be
proud of. For starters, Stomper looked fantastic!! He was all suited up
in a snazzy, custom-made tuxedo. Wherever he went that night, he set
the tone of a Championship team — it’s truly amazing what kind of
impact he has without saying a word!

Furthermore, that same fan enthusiasm we saw in the parking
lot pregame, we saw in the stands. The fans on the right were part of a
group of a dozen or so friends who all show up to A’s games wearing
crazy, green and gold, zebra striped pants. Love it! Thanks to you guys
from Santa Rosa for keeping it fun! And true fans will of course
recognize the fellow in the picture on the right: Banjo Man! I don’t
know the inside scoop, but he sure doesn’t seem to show up at as many
games as he used to, so his presence was even more appreciated on
Opening Night.Stomper in a tuxFans in crazy pantsBanjo Man

Finally.

The moment we’ve all been waiting for is upon us: OPENING DAY!  Despite the gloomy Bay Area weather and head-scratching roster moves, there are a lot of reasons to be excited for tonight’s season opener vs. the Seattle Mariners, and in fact, the entire 2010 season. Here’s what I’m most looking forward to:

  • A healthy team. How great to have Chavy back in the lineup and Duke on the mound?! Of course, the Coco Crisp and Michael Wuertz injury news is disappointing, but we’ve got to expect and anticipate hiccups like these along the way.
  • New fan favorites. Kevin Kouzmanoff, Jake Fox and Adam Rosales to name a few…
  • Fresh, young talent. After watching Chris Carter and Michael Taylor at Spring Training, I’m optimistic for what’s coming down the pipeline. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing these two in the Coliseum before the All Star break.
  • FANS. It’s people like you who make the A’s fan experience as special as it is. From our die-hard, 81-gamers to our youngins’ out to see Stomper, it’s you the team is playing for and you who makes my job so meaningful.

And speaking of fans, here are 2 pictures I snapped at Saturday’s game vs. the Giants that just make me smile! It’s going to be a great season everyone — I can’t wait to spend it with you at the Oakland Coliseum!

Fans on BBQ terrace

Cute fan with Stomper

In 24 hours from now…

Coliseum

…serious A’s fans will be gathering at the Coliseum for the first time in 2010, but for the last game of the 2010 Spring Training season. Can’t wait to see everyone after a loooong off-season!

I was at the Coliseum earlier this week to meet with the folks from Diamond Vision and couldn’t help but snap this photo of our pristine, gorgeous field. The Oakland A’s grounds crew is one of the finest in the league, but the field never looks better than now, before it’s even been played on. Here are some other photos from the Coliseum to show off where they placed Rickey Henderson’s retired #24 and one of the other banners at the stadium. See you tomorrow, fans!

Henderson.jpg
houseofhustle.jpg

We Heart Tuesdays

Tuesday. It’s a day of the week that sort of gets lost in the middle. It doesn’t get the cheeky moniker like Wednesday “Hump Day,” nor is it a precursor to Friday. Yup, Tuesdays can be pretty ordinary…unless you’re an A’s fan!

Here’s why:  During select Tuesday home games this year (and there will be close to a dozen of them), Chevy is presenting FREE PARKING in the Coliseum lot. That’s a savings of almost $20…and admit it, sometimes parking is the make-it-or-break-it factor when deciding to go to a game. 

The deal gets even better for Chevy drivers. Bring your keys to the box office and you’ll score a nice savings on Field Level tickets.

Thumbnail image for Kara's tailgateHere’s a video that explains a bit more. 

And here’s a photo from my birthday tailgate last August to show how fun the Oakland Coliseum parking lot can be for a party! Green and yellow balloons, flowers and yummy treats was the best way to kick off the pre-game celebration!

Whether for the Mariners, Angels or Rangers, we’ll see you out here at the Coliseum for free parking, a sweet tailgate and of course, and A’s win!!

Let the one-week countdown begin…

Thumbnail image for Kara with mic

It’s finally here. The official start to the 2010 Oakland A’s season is only one short week away!! This is the time of year when there are so many possibilities, so many hopes, so much optimism for a dynamic team and a great year.

For me as a fan, this is the time when I really start to analyze the schedule and the opponents in the early weeks of the season and to see if a game falls on my birthday this year (it doesn’t, unfortunately!).

As the team’s in-game host, this is the time of year to start shopping for sensible footwear to huff up and down the stairs of the Coliseum (although you’ll still find me in 3-inch heels!), to start coordinating my green and gold outfits and to really familiarize myself with the new guys on the team.

Speaking of… As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, while the Diamond Vision crew was at Spring Training, we interviewed several of the players and coaches. I wanted to share a couple of the videos of the newer members of the roster. Find out what exactly makes me blush in my interview with the ever-charming Michael Taylor or how Kevin Kouzmanoff relaxes on a day off.

Enjoy these two videos — more to come as we count down to Opening Day on Monday, April 5. I’m looking forward to seeing you at the ballpark, fans! Let’s Go Oakland!

Go Green (and Gold) !!

Hey A’s fans, Happy St. Patrick’s Day! None of you have an excuse for
getting pinched today since I know your closets are filled with green
(and gold) clothes! Really, this is the perfect holiday for A’s fans.
In case you find yourself shamrock-deficient or would like to spice up
your wardrobe with more cute Oakland A’s gear, check out this video for some ideas.
And even better, if you’re at the Phoenix Muni right now for Spring
Training, you have to visit the team store — there’s a great display
of A’s / St. Patty’s gear on sale.

Here are some fun behind-the-scenes photos from our St. Patty’s day gear shoot down in AZ:

St. Patty's day shoot
Feeling Lucky T-shirt shoot

Let’s Go Oakland! Beat the Giant’s today… and fans, have a great St. Patrick’s Day holiday.

Spring Training Miscellany

Hi fans, Kara here with some more fun tidbits from Spring Training. Before we get to the photos, I’m proud to introduce my very first video post to this blog. Check it out by clicking right here. The fantastic Diamond Vision team, Troy, David, Jon and Jeff work so hard to create awesome multimedia content, so thanks to them for posting this link so quickly. More to come in future blog posts!

Vida and BertFans visiting the Muni during the second week of Spring Training were lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet some of Oakland’s greats: Vida Blue and Bert Campaneris (Rollie Fingers was also there, but I didn’t see him when I took this photo). In typical ST fashion, these guys were so casual, signing autographs and joking and chatting it up with fans. You can really tell that both of these two guys still love to be around the game of baseball and are committed to giving back through the sport where they made their names and established their legacies. Both Vida and Bert are also avid golfers, so I very much look forward to seeing them at the next A’s Community Fund Golf Tournament later on this Spring.

MLB video game head scanningFor all you gamers out there, I know the fun of playing MLB games is the startling accuracy of the way the video game players look compared to the real ones. In this photo to the left, you can see some of the technology at work. During the early days of Spring Training, players (in this case, Kevin Kouzmanoff) would visit a corner of Phoenix Muni and sit in a special chair that can lift and lower and rotate. While they were moving around, tilting in different angles, a dozen or more cameras would capture their every facial detail. The whole process would take fifteen minutes or less — can’t wait to start playing with my 2010 Oakland team!

Thumbnail image for Bob Geren ST commercial shootBe sure to keep an eye out for the new series of Oakland A’s television commercials running this season. In typical A’s fashion, they’re hilarious, some with more subtle, dry humor and some that hit you over the head with silliness. The photo to the right is from a shoot the Diamond Vision team did with Bob Geren. In this picture, Jeff is holding the boom mic while Troy feeds Bob lines to — you can see what a production just a short scene can be!

Fans, enjoy the rest of Spring Training — soak up that Arizona sun while you can! And have fun at the Phoenix Muni — here’s one last photo of me at the fastball contest in the breezeway behind the seats. Pay a dollar, get three throws. Yikes! I was horrible. My fastball came in at 38 miles per hour. I have a whole new respect for our starting rotation…

Kara throwing fast ball

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