Thursday, June 30, 2011

Oh Say Can You See Any Fans In Attendance?


Yeah, me neither.

This is my required panorama of the stands at first pitch. I will acknowledge that there were about 5k by the end of the (40 minute) first inning. That Moscoso sure knows how to slow a ballgame down. There is not a chance that the announced attendance of 17,006 (48.5% full) is anywhere close to accurate. The $2 BART seats weren't even close to sold out. We sat in special half-off seats- the A's honored the Cal Baseball team yesterday and gave a special price to people who used a Cal code on ticket orders, and those seats weren't filled. There were entire empty sections.

And yet, the A's "Guest Services" were quick to kick anyone sitting in the wrong section out of their seats. Although you can see that no one was sitting pretty much anywhere, no one was allowed to move a few rows around. The banal anal retentiveness of this boggled my mind. We all payed to get in, and clearly no one paid to sit in those empty seats, but "Guest Services" person after person moved person after person out of vacant seat. It was bizarre and unfriendly. I've been to Giant's games- sold out games- where the Guest Services (not in quotes, because they provided a service, and treated fans like guests)- were less anal about seating, and much kinder, in the process. I sat in my own seat, but watched these people do their jobs in a letter of the law manner.

And I saw the A's play craptastic baseball. Against a craptastic team. Cliff Pennington made his 10th error of the season and Kurt Suzuki made his 5th. I'm not quite sure what's going on with these guys- they both were excellent defenders in the past, and I don't know if injury is to blame, or can be to blame, for piss poor defense. Guillermo Moscoso seemed determine to allow a full minute elapse between each pitch to ensure that the fielders behind him were even more slow and indolent than usual. I saw Ryan Sweeny stifle a yawn at one point. Seriously. And he was absurdly focused on the Marlins that got on base. He could not, however, hold them, and they ran on him and Suzuki all night. The A's seemed to be hitting the ball hard, at least from my angle, and directly to outfielders. The one ball that almost actually landed was caught, and of course the A's left the bases loaded and Suzuki hit into a double play the one time the crowd stopped stifling yawns. If Bob Melvin was managing, I couldn't tell. Sure looked like Bob Geren was back. It was a sad night.

I highly recommend reading Baseball Oakland's great piece on the A's ownership and how we got here.