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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

 

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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.

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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.

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