Touring AT&T & Seeing a Game at McAfee
Coming to ya straight from the edge of wine country, Fairfield, CA. We just rolled into town after watching the A's take down the Mariners 2-0 behind a strong pitching performance out of Joe Blanton and a solo shot from Jay Payton. Finally the home team gets a win.
The day kicked off with a tour of AT & T Park. We went to the game there on Sunday, but had such great seats that we didn't get up and walk around the park. The tour was it's usual informative self and we were lucky to have a guide that really loved the game and her job. There isn't a bad angle in the entire stadium. We'll get the writeup done here in the next day or so, but overall we were very impressed.
The highlight of the day came after the tour as we exited the team shop. Our tour guide was standing outside and informed us that the man sitting in the corner of the team shop was none other than 1971 AL MVP/Cy Young Award Winner Vida Blue. Vida was good enough to take a picture with us and spent about 10 minutes asking us about the trip and the current state of affairs in the NL West (which he dubbed as a horesesh!t division). Dan happened to be wearing a "1973 Oakland A's" shirt, which made Vida happy since he was apart of that team. Our tour guide told us that Vida works for the team, although we didn't find out in what capacity. We also have no idea why he was hanging out in the corner of the team shop at noon on a Monday when the team is out of town or why he took off walking down 3rd St, but we don't ask questions of a guy that won an MVP award. One of those experiences that we could never plan, but makes the trip that much better.
After the encounter with Vida, we headed down to Pier 39 to try and get over to Alcatraz, but all the tours were sold out until 4pm. We couldn't do that and make it to Oakland in time for the game so we decided to head across the bay before traffic got to crazy on the bridge. We stopped at In-N-Out in Oakland for what might be our last Double Double until August. Once we got to the stadium we played some catch, talked to the locals, and caught up on some Z's in the car.
We were disappointed that they open the gates only 90 minutes before game time instead of 2 hours before. By the time we got in the A's were already off the field and the Mariners first group (which includes Ichiro) was halfway through their session. Considering how many people (relative to the total attendance) were down at the ballpark early I would think they would open the gates earlier.
We got the $10 bleacher tickets and sat in the first row of the overhang in right field. They are fairly high up, but right at the wall and offered a good view of the entire field. It's always fun to see Ichiro go about his business in the field as he never stops stretching his legs and arms.
Even though we saw a well pitched game with some exciting moments our overall feeling about McAfee is that it is a depressing place to watch a game. It's old, dark, and run down. Simply put, baseball should not be played there.
We can't blame anyone for not wanting to go out there, except Al Davis, they should force him to sit through every inning of every game played. A team with such a long history that has been as consistently good as the A's have been over the last 8 years deserves much better. Much more than a team such as the Marlins and at least as much if not more than the Twins. I hope they get it done soon or they will miss their window with the group of young players they have now.
Tomorrow we trek to the Pacific Northwest and will be staying in Portland for the evening before heading up to Tacoma the next day for the Rainiers game.