Bang the Drums loudly and constantly

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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.

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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.

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Matt Chapman rounds the bases after his 12th home run of the season

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.

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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.

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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.

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