29 May 2009

Nothing better than a doubleheader

Of course, I'm referring to the rare bird that is the natural doubleheader (one admission, two games), not the commerce-driven bastardization known as day-night. The old fashioned double dip was often reserved for lazy midsummer Sunday afternoons. For A's games it usually meant a matchup with a low-draw Midwestern team. Those were the days of balanced scheduling, when fans didn't have to worry about seeing a certain team for only a single three-game set at home per year.

My only experience with a doubleheader came on July 5, 1988. I was transitioning between junior high and high school. The summer was spent at an advanced learning program for kids at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills. I took Introductory Pascal and Algebra, plus an open gym session. The lengthy bus rides were filled with A's games on the radio when available, or tapes procured via a newly opened Columbia Record Club subscription.

July 5th fell on a Tuesday, which meant it followed a lengthy holiday weekend. You could probably forgive a teenager's disinterest in voluntary summer school due to the weekend. That morning, while awaiting the transfer at San Antonio Shopping Center, I decided to cut class and head to Oakland. Mind you, it wasn't a spur-of-the-moment decision. I figured it was a good time to do it, so I took another long set of bus trips to Fremont, then took BART to the Coliseum.

As satisfying as the original $1 Double Play Wednesdays were in their heyday, nothing beat the $3 bleacher seat for that A's-Indians doubleheader. Despite the A's being swept by Cleveland, I have a hard time recalling a better experience at the ballpark than that day. The sky was as clear blue as any I've ever seen, and it was quite warm. Perfect conditions, and the young A's were playing well, July 5th notwithstanding.

I watch today's rain-caused doubleheader with a little sadness for today's kids. As a child of immigrants who couldn't care less about baseball, I didn't have the extensive baseball rearing system inherent in a typical nuclear American family. My immersion came through friends, little league, and radio/TV. Maybe there's a child of immigrants in the DFW area whose passion for baseball might get an everlasting boost from attending today's doubleheader in Arlington. But to know that institutionally the doubleheader is dead for most MLB fans around the country, I despair just a tiny bit. Frankly, it sucks.

Also: Tommy Craggs has the first in a series of articles on Deadspin called "Why Your Stadium Sucks." The first target? AT&T Park.


nathan said...

It's funny that you refer back to childhood memories in this last post. Because, I had a childhood. And, much of that childhood was spent rooting for my hometown team, the Oakland A's. That's something you never consider in your charts & grafts. That's something that Lew Wollf & Bud Selig never consider in their feasibility studies. But, it means something to me. And, it means something to the good people of Oakland. That's right. There are good people in Oakland, and the East Bay, despite your diatribes. I am a lifelong Oakland A's fan who has boycotted my favorite team, because of the actions of an ownership that has shown no interest in staying in it's current location. And you can go on about how much they tried to stay here, but it's a lie. And, you know it. They think Oakland is dead, and they may be right. But, they won't just come out and say it. You know why? Because, they are spineless cowards. They are the people that hide behind numbers and stats. They are the people that attempted to ruin this country. Are you one if them ML? If you refuse to post this comment, I will have my answer. And, even if you do there will be people who call me a crackpot. That's fine. Because they know what time it is too. It's all about M-O-N-E-Y. And, that's it. Congrats San Jose.

Marine Layer said...

Thanks for agreeing with me on the original point of my post: money has ruined baseball.

And yes, you are a crackpot.

Jesse said...

My very first A's game ever was a double header against the Indians at the, i'm not joking.

only it was 1990 and the A's swept the double header Stew and Welch won each game, and Eck saved both. Canseco hit 2homers and his brother Ozzie made his ML debut. I'll never EVER forget that, just me and my dad and 35,000 others on a Wednesday afternoon.

I just remember feeling so happy to see TWO games. WOW, TWO GAMES. LOL

gojohn10 said...

I remember watching the A's lose two to the yankees, I believe, in '98. If I remember correctly, Billy Taylor came in to save 2nd game and gave up a grand slam in the top of the ninth.

Another memory I will never forget is the day/night bay area double header. The bay area teams only play on the same day once or twice a year. I saw the Giants at Candlestick during the day, and a night game at the Coliseum. I remember sitting in Henduland during a moth infestation. Both teams won. Good times.

Jeffrey said...

Nathan- wow. You either haven't been following or are just completely self absorbed. More power to you.

Jesse- I was there tooo!!!!!! so your dad, me, my brother and uncle... there is 5. Now we just need to hunt down the other 34,995.

Go A's!

Jesse said...

I remember that Yankee game, it was Strawberry who hit the slam. I just remember a TON of yankees fans at that game, and that was really the first time I can recall going to an A's yankees game and seeing so many Yankee fans. In years past I just didnt see that many Yankee or Sox fans at the coli.

Jesse said...

LOL cool Jeff. That's great.

Anonymous said...


The self-absorption evident in your post is really somewhat nauseating. You have these great childhood memories, therefore you expect some billionaire to come and subsidize them indefinitely, whether it makes economic sense or not, whether it's in the best interest of the team or not.

Personally, if there's a billionaire out there with excess money to burn who wants to own a baseball team, I'd rather he not run it as some kind of public sports charity. I'd rather he run it like a business, and then give his excess money to a REAL charity. You know, like abused children, Iraqi war veterans, that sort of thing.

You and Navigator seem to think your self-pitying navel gazing is some kind of virtue, but it's quite the opposite. Vsmoothe nailed it when he said the Oakland-only crowd has an elephantine sense of entitlement.

Jim said...

Jesse and Jeffrey, we're up to 7 at that double header. My buddy and I were there (he had summer school and met me for the second game). July 18, 1990.

I remember it for Welch and Stew getting wins and Eck saving both, but especially for the three home runs in the first inning of the second game. For some reason I thought it was Hendu/Canseco/McGwire back to back to back, but looking at the boxscore it was Canseco/McGwire back to back, Felix Jose single then a two run shot by the great Jamie Quirk.

I also remember some dude smoking in the stands and it burning my eyes for a couple of innings.

Here are the boxscores for both games:

Jesse said...

Awesome memories man.

Jeffrey said...

What I remember most was two nights later v. the Blue Jays. The batting practice hitting group was Canseco, Canseco and McGwire. Flippin' line drives into the second deck abound...

Bill said...

A bit off topic, but has anyone besides me noticed that Lew Wolff hasn't been in his seats? My season tickets are several rows behind his and I have not seen him there yet. Maybe he's there on the days I'm not; maybe he's just incognito. Makes one say hmmmmm....