Big Expectations

Chris Carter

All of a sudden, with the call up of Chris Carter before Monday’s game vs. the Seattle Mariners, the final 51 games of the season are starting to look a lot brighter.

Rationally, I know that might not make total sense. How can one rookie make that much of a difference? And to be fair, the starting pitching staff and regular A’s lineup has been looking pretty sharp recently. Case in point, taking 2 out of 3 in the last series against the AL West leading Rangers. But there’s still something about the addition of the Carter that has everyone buzzing…

For starters, there’s the hype. You just look at this guy’s numbers, from both his bio and his on-field performance, and it’s hard not to be impressed. 6’5″ and 230 pounds with 27 home runs in just four months in Sacramento. It’s pretty common knowledge the A’s need some pop in their lineup, and hopefully, this guy can lend his strength and contribute.

I had the chance to meet Carter during Spring Training. Initially, it was tough to coax out detailed answers from our curious questions, but his shy smile won us (the Diamond Vision crew) over. Once we post that interview, I’ll be sure to link to it here.

Fans, what do you think? Excited the Chris Carter wait is over? Wish Billy Beane had called him up earlier? Or maybe it doesn’t make much difference to you one way or another?

From Big to Small, They All Had a Ball

Dog Day 2010 #7

The A’s wrapped up a fantastic homestand yesterday, beating the Sox off the boys from both Boston and Chicago. We began both series with losses and then came from behind twice to win the next two consecutive games. Great pitching and awesome bursts of hitting!

Sadly, one of the losses had to come vs. Chicago on Friday night, Dog Day with the A’s. With a final score of 1-5, the action on the field wasn’t nearly as interesting as the fans we had sitting in the Plaza Reserved section of the outfield.

If you’ve been reading my blog or following me on Facebook and Twitter, you know that I had very much been looking forward to this event for the entire season and that it ranks up there in my Top 5 games of the season. Despite the loss, I can happily say that the 2010 Dog Day didn’t disappoint!!

Dog Day 2010 #5Dog Day 2010 #2Dog Day 2010 #6The event began in the Northeast parking lot with a costume contest and mingling session (basically, a chance for the pups — all 600 of them! — to meet each other and get a feel for the craziness ahead). As a judge for the contest, I helped award Enzo, the “Poochador” (above left) win for “Best Overall Dog.” Very deserved.

Dog Day 2010 #3Dog Day 2010 #4Dog Day 2010 #18
The pre-game festivities also gave the dogs a chance to sniff out the biggest animal in attendance: Stomper. I’d say it was 50-50 for dogs who responded well to him and those who didn’t. Luckily, my parents’ dog, Lucy, was mellow enough to pose for a family photo with the big fellow! I can only imagine what was running through her mind…

Dog Day 2010 #1After the pre-game contest, dogs and their owners got the chance to parade around the Coliseum field. This photo to the left is one of my favorite of the night as it represents such unbridled doggie instinct to roll around on that pristine field! Such a happy time!

Dog Day 2010 #17

From a dog’s perspective, the only good thing about a low-scoring game and a loss meant the nine innings flew by so fast on Friday night. Those 54 outs officially clocked in at 2 hours, 16 minutes. For me and my Diamond Vision crew, that meant we had to run around in warp speed, trying to capture all the dogs and their costumes on camera.

Dog Day 2010 #11

Most of the fans I spoke with agreed that Dog Day could be held every month during the season and no one would tire of it. I couldn’t agree more. The event is so novel, so entertaining and such a fantastic combination of people’s passions: baseball and their pets. What do you think, Avoderm Natural? Want to sponsor another one?!?

Dog Day 2010 #8Dog Day 2010 #13Dog Day 2010 #9Thank you to all the fans and their four-legged friends who helped make another Dog Day with the A’s so memorable. When you get your schedule for the 2011 Oakland Athletics season and start planning your summer, be sure to save Dog Day on your calendar. Win or lose, it’s going to be another not-to-be-missed game!

Dog Day 2010 #15Dog Day 2010 #14

Photo credit (for just about all of the photos I’m in): My mother and o
wner of Lucy Tsuboi, the cutest and sweetest Springer Spaniel around. She didn’t seem to mind wearing the A’s shirt, but the cap was another story… Fans, if you’ve got Dog Day photos to share, send then to me and maybe I’ll use them in my blog post next year! Email: kara@oaklandathletics.com

Dog Day 2010 #10Dog Day 2010 #12

Dog Days of Summer

Dog Day 2009 #1

Get ready A’s fans for one of the most entertaining games of the year: Dog Day at the Coliseum. This Friday, July 23, the A’s welcome their fans of the four-legged variety to enjoy an evening of pre-game fun, the chance to socialize with their fellow canines and of course, great baseball on the field.

But fans, don’t delay buying your tickets!! You have until Monday to purchase your seats for you and your pet. Click this link to be redirected to the A’s ticketing page.

As an animal lover, Dog Day is easily one of my favorite games of the year. The event kicks off with a pre-game costume contest that is beyond adorable. One of the most memorable from last year was a pup dressed in fishing gear, pretending to be his version of a “Catfish Hunter.” Cute, clever and A’s related.

Dog Day 2009 #5After the contest, it’s on to the pup parade, where dogs and their owners get to circle the warning track. So many smells! So many new friends in meet! Once the game starts, I spend every inning break with the dogs in the Plaza Reserved section (the second deck in the outfield, above the bleachers). It’s endlessly entertaining to visit with the dogs of all breeds and sizes, trying to find the most unusual or the best tricks to show on camera. It also puts a smile on my face to hear the bark of the dogs in a quiet lull during the game; definitely a different noise in the typical soundtrack of a baseball game!

Here’s a schedule of events for the not-to-be-missed 2010 Dog Day, Friday, July 23:

5:30 – 6:15   Pre-Game “Pup Rally”
6:20 – 6:35   Pup Parade on the field
7:05             Dogs take their seats, A’s take the field

Dog Day 2009 #3Dog Day 2009 #4Dog Day 2009 #2

Oh — and to answer a question I get a lot, YES, the Coliseum does hire extra help on Dog Day to keep the stands and field pristine…if you know what I mean.

Starring You: the A’s Number One Fan

Moneyball CoverSince we’re taking a small break from baseball, I’m going to use this time to chat up my latest baseball-related obsession: Moneyball, the movie.

Yes, that’s the book about how Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane built a winning team in the early 2000s based on numbers…the statistics kind, not the dollar sign kind.

And yes, that’s the movie based on Michael Lewis’ book that will start filming at the Oakland Coliseum later this month. The best part? You can play…yourself!! The A’s number one fan!

The easiest way to sign up to be a “Moneyball” extra is to go through this website: www.beinamovie.com. You can also try calling their hotline from 10AM – 4PM PST for more information: (818) 985-8811. Since the movie is trying to recreate the A’s 20-game win streak in 2002, shooting times are late at night. Really late. For example, 10:30PM to 5:30AM. Hopefully the free snacks and hopes of Brad Pitt sightings will make a long night go faster.

Moneyball, the movieSo about that Mr. Pitt… He’s slated to play Billy Beane and rumor has it, has attended several A’s games over the last month to do research on the team, the stadium and the overall vibe of the organization. No word on Angelina sightings… Also cast is Philip Seymour Hoffman to play manager Art Howe and Jonah Hill to play Paul DePodesta, Billy Beane’s assistant.

The castings that really took me by surprise, however, are Scott Hatteberg (photo below left) and David Justice (photo below right) playing themselves. And why shouldn’t they?! Both were definitely stars of that 2002 team.

Scott HattebergDavid Justice in Moneyball

In my opinion, all of the raw elements are here for a great movie: a great book for inspiration, talented actors, and just an overall, feel-good story about an under-appreciated team. Come on out and join the fun…and let’s hope the experience adds up to a positive public relations campaign for the A’s. See you there!

If They’re Going to Beat the Pants Off Us…

…they might as well be A’s pants

Kara and Carrie and A's jeansA's jeans pocket detail

Yeah, yeah, we got our butts kicked by the team in pinstripes. A sweep, no less. It stinks.

But hey, if they’re going to beat the pants off us, we might as well be wearing some cute pants…and let that be a segue for promoting the coolest jeans in baseball: the A’s jeans. I wear mine every homestand because they are so comfortable and so awesome. And every time I do, fans ask where I got them…

Well, here’s the scoop:

Alyssa Milano (of “Who’s the Boss” fame) designed these jeans for the A’s and other MLB teams (she had a thing for ballplayers, if you’re not up to date on who’s who of players’ girlfriends). Anyway, she did a great job. They’re comfortable, durable and have the A’s insignia on both rear pockets and on the mini fifth pocket on the front right.

Here’s the best part: they’re still for sale and they only cost $30. I know, amazing deal!!! You can find them at the team’s “Value Stand” behind the Left Field Bleachers. And while you’re there, be sure to check out all the other great A’s merchandise on deep discount.

A's Value Stand #3A's Value Stand #1

Top left photo credit: Francis, a long-time, diehard fan and husband to
Carrie, the gal in the photo with me. She’s the one who found the jeans
first and tipped me off to them last season. Thanks again, Carrie!

Goodbye Bronx Bombers

Tonight’s game marks the last visit the Yankees will make to the Coliseum during the 2010 season, and I think most A’s fans will agree with me when I say that I’m not sad to see them (and their fans) leave. In the five games played in Oakland so far this season, we’re 1-4. A win tonight from Gio Gonzalez and the rest of the boys will help the team avoid the sweep and put us in a better position to face our division rivals, the Angels, this weekend.

"Stick it A-Rod" signThe A’s fan presence in the Coliseum over the last two nights has been a bit bleak. It’s common knowledge that when the Yanks (or BoSox) come to town, their West Coast fans come out in droves. This season has been no different. Here and there, however, you will find some examples of Oakland A’s fan awesomeness. Case in point, Jeff and Kris channeling Grandma Braden and their homemade A-Rod sign above. And below, some diehard fans and their elephant ears and Quintona (aka “Wiggi”) showing off her true green and gold love.

Elephant EarsQuintona "Wiggy" the super fan

I wish the boys on the field the best of luck tonight. Please, please, please, let’s not give the (occasionally obnoxious) Yankee fans the satisfaction of a sweep. And A’s fans, I want to feel your presence tonight. Get loud and let’s show our team some support! And thank goodness the two teams don’t meet again until the end of the summer…

Far Out Fans Feelin’ Groovy

From an energized crowd to the 1970s inspired costumes (both on and off the field) to a satisfying win against the Pittsburgh Pirates, throwback night at the Coliseum was a wild success.

The A’s have a lot of wonderful history to celebrate from that decade,
so it was great to see the organization recognize some of the stars from
another generation. One of the sweeter moments was watching Joe Rudi and his fellow
teammates take to the mound to throw out the first pitch. Judging by
the number of fans who quickly donned the giveaway Rudi jersey, there
was a lot of love coming from the stands too.

70s Night #3I had a lot of favorite moments from the night (Saturday, June 26, in case you missed it) and tried to capture some digitally.

70s Night #1070s Night #2Above, posing with Stomper who wore one of the grooviest costumes in the Stadium. Inspired by “Saturday Night Fever,” this elephant had the bell bottoms and sideburns look down. And speaking of costumes, there was much ado about choosing the right looks for me to wear. In the end, I choose two outfits I already owned. My mom sewed the green dress back in the 70s, so it’s a true vintage piece. The two-piece yellow number also dates back to an earlier, uglier time… And for the record, I was wearing a wig that night — that is not my real hair! Right, snapping a pre-game photo with the one and only Glen Kuiper, the A’s television announcer. Love the wig, the jacket and the ability to not take yourself too seriously!!

70s Night #170s Night #7

The same can be said about Vince Cotroneo, Left. As one of the accomplished A’s radio announcers, this guy may not get television air time, but wow — that’s quite an outfit. And again, I love how different 70s hippie is from 70s corporate businessman. Two great looks from one era! Above right, Mark, Christiane and Matt from the Herd show off their wigs and ‘staches. Their enthusiasm was infectious that night!

70s Night #970s Night #8
70s Night #6

One of the most satisfying parts of 70s night was spotting fans who took the time to dress up. Whether it was a righteous ‘stache and chops combo, an outrageous wig, homemade tie-dye or true vintage duds from the back of the closet, it was all groovy!

70s Night #470s Night #5 Finally, the in-stadium entertainment that night was particularly far out! The music was fun and funky, and I loved seeing the player’s zodiac signs on their headshots every time they came to bat. Other highlights include the Swingin’ A’s straw hat band that used to play regularly in the Coliseum back in the day. We should bring them back more often! Another hit with the fans was the old school dot racing game from that decade. Wow, we sure have come a long way with technology!

Thanks to everyone who made the night so memorable. And get ready A’s fans, word on the street is that we may celebrate the 1980s next season. Start shopping for that costume…

A Great Day on the Green

What do A’s players do on their days off? Well today, I can tell you that more than a dozen players and coaches volunteered their time at the team’s annual Community Fund Golf Tournament. As I type, Ryan Sweeney, Mike Gallego and Vida Blue (just to name a few from the current and former A’s roster) are swinging their clubs, drinking some adult beverages and taking in the sun at the Castlewood Golf Course in Pleasanton. Below, Gabe Gross, First Base Coach Todd Steverson, Cliff Pennington, Daric Barton and Brad Ziegler get ready to hit the links.

2010 A's Golf Tourney2010 A's Golf Tourney

I popped over earlier this morning to host the longest drive competition between Dallas Braden, Michael Wuertz and Gabe Gross. Dallas came in 2nd last year (against Vida Blue and Bullpen Coach, Ron Romanick), so I knew the lefty had a strong swing. After two rounds and *much* heckling, Wuertz emerged the champion. Dallas took second again (in his words, “always the bridesmaid, never the bride”) and Gross came in third. With these characters, it’s always a fun way to begin a day of action! Below, me taking a photo with the winner, Michael Wuertz, Jerry Blevins warming up his cart and Tyson Ross and Adam Rosales ready to drive the beer cart (no really, that was their assigned duty!).

2010 A's Golf Tourney2010 A's Golf Tourney2010 A's Golf TourneyThe money raised today through golf fees and auction items benefit the A’s Community Fund. This year, 10% of that total will be directed toward Craig Breslow’s charity, the Strike Three Foundation which raises money for childhood cancer research. I took a few minutes to chat with Craig about how the charity got started and what auction item he’s donating, so look for that video on the A’s website sometime soon! Photos below, taking a photo with Renaissance Man, Craig Breslow and an A’s fan showing off his particularly awesome golfing outfit.

All in all, an enjoyable day off for the A’s staff, filled with friends, silliness and a good cause. If you missed it this year, we’ll catch you next June for another round of fun.

2010 A's Golf Tourney2010 A's Golf Tourney

I’ve Got my 70s Costume…Do You?!

I’ve always loved a good excuse to dress up in costume. That’s why for
me, throwback day at the ballpark is one of the highlights in the
81-game calendar. Last year, the theme was 1929 in honor of the 80th
anniversary of the Philadelphia Athletics’ 1929 World Series win. We’re talking flapper
costumes for the girls, Model A Fords and a black and white big screen.

Kara in flapper costumeDick in 20s costumeplayers in 20s costume
On top last year’s fantastic costumes and clever details (for example, PA announcer Dick Callahan doing his broadcast from the field — just like teams used to do back in the day!), the team won on a walk-off hit from Mark Ellis. If you don’t recognize those players walking off the field (center photo, above), it’s because they too were wearing throwback uniforms to look like the white and blue of the Philadelphia Athletics.

This Sunday, the A’s are rolling back the clock once again. This time,
the theme is 70s day to commemorate the three World Championship titles the
team earned in 1972, 1973 and 1974. The cool thing about honoring the
70s is that a lot of fans have vivid memories of the “Swingin’ A’s” and
the players from that decade are still alive and healthy. Expect to see a handful of favorite names parading around the stadium and in the stands that night!

Thumbnail image for Kara's 70s outfit #5Thumbnail image for Kara's 70s outfit #2Thumbnail image for Kara's 70s outfit #3Both the A’s and the Pirates will be wearing throwback uniforms from that decade, but for me, finding the perfect outfit for 70s day has not been as simple as picking up a flapper dress for last year. For one thing, there’s a wide range of 70s costumes: disco 70s, sporty 70s, glamorous 70s and of course, hippie 70s. These photos document a recent shopping trip I took to the used and vintage stores along Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue. Which will I choose? You’re going to have to show up on Saturday to see for yourself. And remember, please come in costume!!

Game Details:
Saturday, June 26, 2010, 7:05
vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates
15,000 fans will receive a replica Joe Rudi jersey

Click here for great ticket deals!

Kara's 70s outfit #1Thumbnail image for Kara's 70s outfit #4Thumbnail image for Kara's 70s outfit #6

Photo credit: My friend Sarah, a big A’s fan and expert costume historian.

A Sweep for a Sweep

A's "sweep" broomWhile I love the history and tradition that surrounds the Bay Bridge series, I have to admit, it’s always a relief when it’s over. You too probably have tons of Giants fans for friends who love to rub in the fact that they have their fancy-schmancy stadium and…well, that’s all they got. One of my absolute favorite T-shirts I see in the stands is, “Zero Splash Hits, Four World Titles.” Yup, that pretty much sums it up!!

The A’s sweep of the Giants in May at the Coliseum was so, so, so satisfying. The stadium was packed, the weather was beautiful and A’s fans felt a real sense of pride. This 2010 team has beaten expectations and they’re an absolute delight to watch. Below left, fans hang their pithy banner off the left field bleacher wall: “Got Trophy?” Love that. Below right, the team celebrates the win — and sweep — after the third game.

While the 3-game sweep was exhilarating, I knew that when it came time to play the Giants in San Francisco, they’d come at us with a vengeance. And sure enough, they delivered.

Thumbnail image for "Got Trophy?" bannerA's sweep Giants!

A sweep for a sweep.

It doesn’t get more fair than that. Of course I would have liked to see total A’s domination and our bats really come alive. Believe me, I would love any reason to really smack-talk back to those smug fans in orange and black.

But let’s face it, the teams are decently well-matched this season.

Dad and me at the A's/Giants gameAT&T view 1

Every year during the Bay Bridge series, I make a point to go to at
least one game in San Francisco. I don’t love the fan experience in San
Francisco (expensive, obnoxious drunks, etc…), but feel weird missing
the chance to see my team play when they’re so close to home.

AT&T view 2A friend and his family hooked me up with tickets (thank you Facebook for getting my need out there!), so I dragged my dad along for a day in the sun. He actually grew up a Giants fan in California’s central valley, but my brother and I slowly brought him over to the bright side over the years. Now, he proudly wears his green and gold! While we had a fantastic dad-and-daughter day, we left disappointed with the loss, but comforted that the series ended in a draw.

Fans, what did you think of the series? If you made it to games on both sides of the Bay, how did the experiences differ? I’d love to hear your feedback!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.