Yankees at the A’s, Memorial Day: Match-sorry-Game Report

Take me out to the ball game,

Cassie got some tickets from work for the Yankees game at the Oakland Athletics’ (“The A’s”) stadium. They were good seats, behind the home plate, and they came with a VIP parking pass and $40 spending money. She pocketed the cash and gave me the tickets.

Take me out with the crowd;

I suggested I go with my new official brother-in-law Don and his two oldest boys, George and Bennett. It was pretty busy – Memorial Day, so Monday off. Beautiful weather – I caught the sun, unexpectedly. Memorial Day is like Remembrance Sunday, so the deification of the military continues.

At halftime, they had a singer murder God Bless America, complete with that weird croaky noise that these singers always start phrases with – there must be a name for it. Maya Rudolph did a great version of halftime singing on SNL. After that the whole stadium sang Take Me Out To The Ball Game, with the lyrics up on the big board – very affecting.

Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,

There were snacks a-plenty. Don got the boys ice cream and cotton candy (which I helped them eat). I got a hotdog and some Cracker Jack – this is caramel coated popcorn and peanuts. There were about 3 peanuts right down at the bottom of the bag, and the corn tasted burnt (in much the same way that Hershey’s “chocolate” tastes like it was made with sour milk. An American Tradition™!) We drank super-sweet and super-sour lemonade, and the boys had snowcones, aka slushies. We also had peanuts, roasted in the shell with salt on the outside. I looked around for somewhere to put the shells, then saw that the floor was an inch thick with crushed shells… join ’em.

I don’t care if I never get back.

Don drove us there, but I got the BART back to San Francisco. Very straightforward and easy journey, even if it took half an hour to cross the pedestrian bridge to the Coliseum station because of the crowds. It’s good to see so many people using mass transit.

Let me root, root, root for the home team,

(Replace “home team” with “YANKEES!” according to the lady sitting in our row with the multiple margaritas.)

I wasn’t really rooting for anyone, but since I’ve married into a Yankees family, and Don and the boys were all wearing NY gear, I was cheering along for A-Rod, Jeter and the rest. The fans were all mixed together, but it was all very friendly, with good-natured ribbing all round. The A’s fan behind me said if I continued to cheer for the Yankees, he’d see to it that they’d “deport my ass”. I don’t own any livestock, so I don’t know what he meant. Sorry for that last sentence. I said that I had to pretend to like the Yankees so my new family doesn’t have me deported themselves. Rock and a hard place.

I’m not into sports, so I can’t really compare the atmosphere of a football match in the UK to a baseball game. But based on what I’ve seen on TV, there’s no constant chanting. Very civilized (despite all the littering).

Also because I’m no sports fan, I don’t really care enough to follow a team, much less buy a hat with the team name on it. I bought a San Diego cap to wear while playing softball down there. It’s the only cap I own, and one day I was walking on the beach by the Cliff House in San Francisco, wearing the cap against the sun, and some guy called out that I was in the wrong place. Twat. They do seem to be very tribal and territorial – I want none of that, so no slogans for me.

If they don’t win, it’s a shame.

The home team didn’t win. New York got 2 points in the first inning, and then finished with 5 to Oakland’s 0. Booyah, how you like me now etc.

For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,

I actually started to understand the game I was watching – not enough to be able to play myself, you understand. Knowing when to run and where everyone is seems to be the trick. But whether I could play it or not, it was a great time, and I know that given a choice between American Football, NASCAR, basketball, or baseball (or frickin’ golf god I hate golf), I will always prefer to spend my time –

At the old ball game.