June 29, 2013
The Cardinals opened the series Friday night in Oakland. With Shelby Miller on the mound we watched the game unfold at an Emeryville eatery, not far from our hotel in the East Bay.
Like last year, PK shared some of his prized baseball cards with the group, including a full set of the 1982 World Champs and a rare Texas League prospect card – a ’97 Jeff Davis in mint condition! Drafted by the Rangers in the 28th round, JD was a Top Prospect with a 7-2 record before tearing a rotator cuff in Spring Training. It’s gonna take a lot to top that one next year!
In another move, the CDO grad presented me with a copy of Sports Illustrated’s cover photo of the 1968 Cardinals, lined up in the clubhouse. It was the inspiration for this year’s SI Cover of the Cards’ pitching staff titled, The Cardinal Way. Perfect for the Redbird Room back home, my friend.
We found a good spot with a big screen TV in the food court nearby and convinced the security guard on duty to switch channels to the A’s-Cards game. Unfortunately, by the second inning Miller was in meltdown mode giving up five runs in 1 2/3 innings and the A’s were on their way to a 6-1 win. The loss knocked the Cards out of first place for the first time in nearly two months.
Marty texted me from the ballpark. “I never give up hope,” he said, “Hopefully, your game doesn’t start like this.”
Our game was Game 2 on Saturday and the Coliseum was packed for Coco Crisp bobble head day. A’s fans lined up around the ballpark hoping to score one of only 10,000 bobble heads available for the sold-out crowd.
As we made our way thru the crowd an old timer… a Redbird fan in his ’80s yelled over to us, “Go Cards!”
So we stopped for a quick high five the guy tells us he’s Daniel Descalsco’s grandfather. That’s Double D, the Cards’ infielder. How cool is that!
We entered the stadium on the first base side and Oakland fans started booing us as we approached our seats in Section 209. Amazing!
“Hey Cardinal fans, be careful,” one guy called out. “You could get something thrown at you!”
BillO was quick to respond. “That’s okay, it’s gonna come right back at ya!”
In the end it didn’t take long before we all became baseball buddies after the usual derogatory banter, packed in tight among the sold-out crowd.
No doubt about it, Oakland fans have a lot of spirit. They’re flag waving, drum pounding, cape-wearing, bearded, and masked fanatics that chant, “Let’s Go Oakland” the entire game.
They’re also quick to show their hate to opposing players like Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran, two guys that left Bay Area teams to join the Cardinals. Both were booed throughout the game while fans in the left field seats on Mount Davis chanted, “Holliday sucks, Holliday sucks!”
With Wainright tossing zeros and still no score in the 3rd inning, an Oakland fan greeted me in typical fashion.
“That’s great,” he said. ” I finally get here and there’s a f###ing Cardinals’ fan in my seat!” Pointing toward Kyle, I snapped back.
“Come on man, there’s kids here!” That was just enough to break the ice and we became interleague friends in no time.
Despite being bobble head day for Crisp, Coco didn’t have much luck at the plate or in the field. After a diving attempt for a ball that got away to the outfield wall, Billly yelled out. “He couldn’t make the catch ’cause he’s got too many bobble heads in his back pocket!”
The Cards finally got on the board with 2 runs in the 5th and then exploded for four more runs in the 6th, led by Matt Adams 3-run homer. “Big City” hit another home run late in the game and Wainwright went the distance to get the complete game. That’s a winner! A Cards winner, 7-1.
Back at the Hyatt House in Emeryville, we cooled off in the pool before heading out to dinner at the Black Bear restaurant. Celebrating another Cards victory, Bill was lucky to hear there was still a Prime Rib end cut available tonight. Actually it was a huge piece of gristle gently placed under a small slice of prime.
“Hey, this isn’t an end cut!” Bill complained.
It must’ve been the Oakland cut!
Go Go Cards!