From that headline, you may infer that I was in Oakland watching the Mariners play the A’s. And those who inferred that would be correct. I am fortunate to attend school close enough, but not too close, to Oakland so I was able to take in Opening Day live. What follows are my observations on the games, including weird things I noticed and stuff like that.
If anyone reading is an A’s fan, likes the Oakland Coliseum or really will be offended while I insult almost everything Oakland, they should skip this paragraph. Oakland sucks. Their fans, sports radio announcers, stadium and team all suck. Almost half their fans left by the seventh inning in the first game of the series. Are you kidding me? Yes, the stadium was pretty full, but it’s the home opener, of course it will be full. These fans are more interested in insulting the other team than cheering for their own players. They ooohh and ahhhh when any ball is hit in the air, even if it is an obvious out, which shows their complete inexperience when watching a baseball game live. Their sports radio station claimed that Colon had a chance against the M’s because he has 15 wins against them in his career. Do they not realize he is super old? I could get 15 wins against the M’s if I pitched for long enough. Their stadium is small, ugly and gross. It is a football stadium and is designed for that end only, which is obvious just trying to walk to your seats.
Now that my Oakland rage has been sated, we can talk about baseball. Woo! The M’s won both their games this weekend, which is awesome. They scored 15 runs, also awesome. But before you crown these guys world champs, realize that this is the Oakland A’s. This is a terrible team; Brendan McCarthy is their “ace” and their best player strikes out 50% of the time (so far). Take these results with a grain of salt. Not even a grain, a boulder of salt. As Patrick showed, it is really easy to think Figgins is back, Saunders is going to be great and Kawasaki can fill in when the glass shortstop, Brendan Ryan, is injured. Guess what? They have played four games! Be patient and wait for a larger sample size. If Figgins is hitting .300 in May and Saunders is making people hesitate about bringing back Guti, then I will be convinced that those two have turned a corner. Not until then, but in the meantime it is a nice thing to see.
Yoenis Cespedes is fun to watch like Bucky Jacobsen was fun to watch. He has had 14 at-bats this year. He has struck out in 7 of them. That is really bad. Sure he hit the ball a mile and has hit homeruns in 75% of the games he played in. One was against a player in AAA right now and another was on a 2-0 fastball that Delabar had to throw since he couldn’t get ahead of him. You want to see how to beat Cespedes? Watch Delabar put on a clinic in the first game. It was beautiful. Here is a hint for all MLB pitchers reading this blog: throw Cespedes fastballs sparingly. He looked silly in Japan trying to hit Felix’s curve. He also has a pair of batting gloves he wears while hitting and when he gets on base, he removes them and puts on a different pair. He also admired a 462 foot homerun, which Vargas didn’t like. Who cares if he watches a homer un for a second or two, as long as it is a shot like that one, which was pretty awesome to see in person.
Here are some other unimportant notes I took during the game that are fun, interesting or otherwise noteable.
• It is tradition for rookie pitchers in the bullpen to have to carry a backpack on the walk from the dugout to the bullpen in pregame. In past years there has been an R2-D2 backpack, a military camouflage one and a Dora the Explorer. Since there are THREE rookies in the bullpen this year, Luetge, Delabar and Ramirez, there are three backpacks. There is a Yoshi, a Donkey Kong and a Pink Princess one.
• Scientific Fact, everything tastes better when eaten out of a souvenir helmet. I will prove this fact in my PhD, but that will be in a few years. Just take my word for it.
• Jesus Montero runs super weird. Some say its like he is trying to not wake up someone, others that he has a pulled hamstring. Anyway, he is super slow. Shocking news! A catcher is slow!
• Bob Melvin loves platoon splits. He played two different guys at the infield corners and a different DH in both Japan and Oakland when Vargas and Felix were pitching. I understand it, but still, it didn’t really help.
• The best in-between inning entertainment was a 70-year-old peanut guy dancing to LMFAO. It was more awesome in person. I guarantee it.
• Felix showed some fastballs at 93 but was more in the 91 range. As long as he is just as effective, I don’t really care. But he was not very effective. Give him another shot, and then maybe start to panic. Thank god the offense forgot that they were supposed to suck this year. Go M's.