I had a great time at the Coliseum yesterday, mostly just wandering around the ballpark and sitting in the glorious sun.
I started as usual by heading to the Treehouse for a five-buck beer. On my way there I saw a group who were all wearing Michigan State and Detroit Tigers gear, so I stopped to say hello. Turns out they were all from Rochester, which is about 30 minutes from where I lived in Holly. We had a nice time doing the old ‘Go Green!’ ‘Go White!’ thing and then went our separate ways.
The Treehouse was busy but by no means overcrowded. Every time I go to an A’s game I think the same thing: there seem to be a million people walking over the BART bridge to get to the game. And then you get through the gates and it’s half-empty. The crowds are enthusiastic and loud. It’s just too big a place. I chatted for a while with a couple who were there with their two-month-old son, who was at his first game and slept through all of it, as far as I can tell. They were having fun. The dad mentioned that the kid always slept when they were out and was awake while they were home. I helpfully suggested that they just needed to go out all the time. They both liked that idea. Not sure if the kid liked it. He was sleeping.
After seeing my man Matt Chapman crush a line-drive home run to center, I wandered. My plan was for an Impossible Burger, but the concession stand where I think I got one last time wasn’t doing tater tots; only fries. So I passed. I saw a Philly Cheesesteak stand and decided on one of those, since I hadn’t tried it before. It was pretty good but the steak was a little overcooked in places so it felt a little gritty inside. I was hungry at this point, though, so it was definitely satisfying. A kind usher in the first level section near home plate allowed me to sit in one of the back rows while I ate it. Nice views from there, and in the shade too.
Around the sixth inning, with the good guys beating the M’s 6-3, I headed over to the right field bleachers to see if I could bang on my cowbell with the rest of the drummers. If you aren’t that familiar with A’s games, there’s a group of diehards who bang on stuff pretty much through the whole game. It kind of has a soccer crowd feel, right down to the guy in the front row with a vuvuzuela. I talked to Robert for a while; he bangs on what is basically a floor tom without a bottom skin. He mentioned that he needed to tighten his drum head and wasn’t sure how to do that, so I offered to bring a drum key with me next time. “Oh, THAT’S what that’s called!” he said.
Basically, anyone can show up and start banging away, assuming there’s room in the bleachers. Everyone is super friendly and obsessively loves the A’s. It’s sort of like being at a college football game: there are specific beats and cheers and chants for different events. There’s a song that gets sung after each A’s run, which I don’t think I had heard before. A few of the drum beats are actually a little complicated, so I listened along for a while before clonking my cowbell. I chatted with Darryl, a fellow drummer who was sitting next to me; he brought TWO cowbells, so you knew he was not messing around. Darryl is a longtime fan, who’s been going to games for decades. He told me how admission used to be a buck on Wednesdays, so you could basically go to an entire season’s worth of Wednesday games for about $12. “Then they raised it to TWO bucks,” he said. I don’t think that went over well with the Wednesday crowd.
The A’s held on in a tight one, 6-5. Closer Blake Treinen gave up a couple runs in the ninth to put a scare into everyone, but it eventually turned into the team’s seventh win in a row. And I’ve now been present for two straight victories, after an ugly string of five consecutive losses to begin my Coliseum season.