Did you go to the home opener? Any thoughts about the in-house experience you want to share? How did you get to the game? Where did you sit? Did you meet any other ANers? Food, drink, merchandise, behavior of other fans, ratio of witty remarks and enthusiastic support to obnoxious drunks and annoying teenagers trying to start The Wave? For my answers to these and other questions, read on -- and add your own.
I arrived via BART, just before the gates opened. There was an excellent mariachi band in the north parking lot so I hung out and watched them for a while until the crowd subsided and I could get inside. Or maybe it wasn't a mariachi band-- I'm fairly ignorant on this genre; it was a brass band with Spanish-language vocals anyhow, and thank you for coming, whoever you are.
Almost immediately I ran into OaklandSi, who I'd seen just a few days before at Chez LaVal's. Other than that, no other ANers, although a few people complimented my Bill King shirt and I saw someone else wearing one on the other side of the stadium.
I bought a new cap, and a BBQ pork sandwich. Supposedly there were some new food items this year but I didn't see them. The concession lines before the game were manageable, but the BBQ stand didn't have the soda machine connected and the hat stand's credit card machine was down. There are some seriously ugly new hat designs.
I mislaid my original ticket, so had gone online this afternoon and bought a single in the right field Loge Box, someplace I've always wanted to sit. I loved this section. With the shabby-chic wooden floors, it felt like the old pre-Mt Davis Coliseum -- which I was only in once, so I could be wrong. Although the ceiling overhang is very low, the acoustics were good -- I could hear the left field drums very clearly, even to the beginning of the Kiko.......Calero! riff.
About 6 PM we got a blast of nostalgia with a video montage of The Streak -- it was good to see Tejada, Hatteberg, Wash, Zito, and Mulder. This was followed by the moderately cute animation on Inappropriate Behavior, the same Real Good-Lookin' Boy montage from last year -- not that I'm complaining -- and the announcement that this year, some lucky fan would win free LASIK surgery at each home game. The phrasing made it sound as if the surgery is going to be PERFORMED at each home game. Insert obligatory umpire joke here. The Gold Glove and Western Division trophy were presented, Roy Steele threw out the first pitch, the jets flew over, Nessa somebody sang the anthem pretty much in tune. The visiting Chicago White Sox were introduced, with a mixture of applause and boos for Jermaine Dye, lusty and vociferous booing for Ass Jack. The A's were introduced to waves of applause, with the biggest for Scutaro, Ellis, and Duke.
The best ad I saw was in the ladies' room, for EBMUD's Bay-Friendly Gardening program. Root for the A's, Grow for the Bay.
I went out in the sixth inning to get coffee and fought my way through the largest crowd I've ever seen in the West Side Club. There were tons of cops and security in there, but it seemed fairly convivial. Sadly, the espresso cart that was briefly stationed outside the West Side Club has been replaced with more stands selling hard liquor. The coffee at the regular concession stands continues to be really nasty. Think airplane coffee circa 1982. Paging Peets, even Starbucks would be an improvement.
About half the stadium left after the A's failed to score in the 8th. Those with little kids, bad hips, etc. get a pass from me. The rest of you are bush! It's Opening Night, for God's sake!
(Speaking of God, MLB, would you cut it out with the God Bless America thing already. Please. If the Yankees want to carry on with their Irish cop tenor tradition, fine, don't make the rest of us suffer through it. Or next year I WILL start singing "God bless my underwear, my only pair". )
However, their leaving early meant that those of us who stayed until the final out did not face the usual jam on the BART bridge. The usual $5 cap vendors, the guy with light-up pins, and "The Town" shirts were all out in force.
It was a great night even though we lost. My next game is Friday and I can't wait!