Today was the first time our owning season tickets for both the California Golden Bears and the Oakland A's were in conflict. The A's, battling for a playoff berth, took on the Chicago White Sox at 1:05, and a scant two hours later, the Bears were set to kick off play against the Portland State Vikings, in what was sure to be a laugher of a contest. To give both contests their due, we opted to stay through the first six or so innings of the A's game, through 3 p.m., and then leave to take BART and head north to Berkeley, hopefully before the game got too far out of hand.
I can say we had a great deal of fun, but not having seen 100% of both contests definitely had its drawbacks.
The A's game started off auspiciously, as supposed-ace Barry Zito couldn't find the strike zone, walking a career-high seven, and being hit by a two-run home run off the bat of potential league MVP and former A Jermaine Dye. The White Sox extended their lead to a 4-1 margin, and by the sixth inning, as we made plans to take off, it seemed the A's were not going to be victorious. But in our final frame, Frank Thomas put a "Big Hurt" on his former team, with a 2-run homer himself, which closed the gap to 4-3. After that, we really, truly, had to go, but were feeling better about the team's chances, as we changed allegiances in mid-stride.
We dashed out of the Coliseum, and to the parking lot, where I exchanged my A's hat for a Cal alumni cap, and traded an A's sweatshirt for a Cal sweatshirt. We also tossed our A's ticket stubs and picked up our Cal tickets. The transformation was complete. Then we grabbed our BART tickets and set off North toward Berkeley.
On the BART train, I tried to follow along with the A's game we had just left, and saw them challenging back. With 2 outs in the bottom of the 7th, Mark Ellis tied the contest 4-4 with a single. Then the wheels fell off for the White Sox, as walks started to pile up, giving the A's two free passes with the bases loaded, including one to the aforementioned Thomas, making the game 6-4. Then, as an exultant colleague called from her seat in the Coliseum, Jay Payton made the crowd roar with another single, making the game 7-4, its final margin. As she put it, we "missed all the fun". But we knew the team was in good shape, even if they played better without us. (AN Recap by Baseballgirl)
After arriving at Berkeley and making the traditional uphill walk to Memorial Stadium, we found the Bears up 21-3 against their overmatched foes. As we approached our seats, leading rusher Marshawn Lynch, a supposed Heisman Trophy candidate, busted out a 71-yard scamper, making the game 28-3. By halftime, the Bears had tacked on two more touchdowns, and the Vikings tried to stay close with two scores of their own, making it 42-16.
While we had visions of continued offensive mayhem, and pretty scores in the 80s, it was not to be. Surprisingly, as Cal had put in their second string players and swapped quarterbacks, there was no scoring the rest of the way by either team, making the halftime score the eventual final score. All told, we had seen the Bears only outscore Portland State 14-13 while in our seats, though we stayed for the final three quarters. Tack that on to the 4-3 deficit the A's had when we left the game, and our heroes only matched their opponents 17-all while we watched, while both won handily. Makes me think we weren't exactly a luck charm.
With that said, we enjoyed the two-sport, two-city march to victory, and hope to await similar challenges in the future, as the A's look increasingly likely to challenge in the playoffs, and those tickets should be here any day now. It's a tough life being an East Bay sports family.
Go A's and Go Bears!
Listening to ''Kyru vs. Albert - Velvet Morning'', by Armin Van Buuren (Play Count: 4)