It was quite a night at the Oakland Coliseum last night!!! My friend Sandy and I left my house around 5:00 pm in the pouring rain, arrived at the Oakland Coliseum in a drizzle, and dodged raindrops on our way to the Westside Club inside the stadium to have dinner and wait out the rain. It looked doubtful that the A’s and the Florida Marlins of the National League would be able to get the game in.
Around 6:45 (scheduled game time was 7:05) the skies lightened and the ground crew (augmented by some people from the front office, Dave Rinnetti, for one) began to take off the tarp, squeegee up the standing water in the outfield, and put at least 50 bags of sand on the non-grass part of the infield and all around the warning track, except directly behind home plate for some reason as yet to be determined.
When the rain had completely stopped around 8:00, we decided to go down to our seats in the 2nd row by 3rd base. We were afraid it might rain again at some point, and we wanted to see at least 2 or 3 dry innings. I had the forethought to bring a towel to wipe off our seats. We then settled in to watch however many innings of baseball we would be granted before the heavens opened again. With my luck, that was a foregone onclusion.
The 1st pitch was finally thrown at 8:17, 1 hour and minutes late. There couldn’t have been more than 2000 people in the stands to witness one of the best pitched games I have ever seen. Javier Vasquez, the Marlin’s starting pitcher, has always owned the A’s. They’d never beaten him. And he was definitely on last night, except for the 1 run he allowed in the 2ndinning.
But Gio Gonzalez was on fire, allowing 1 hit and 3 walks over 8 innings, while striking out 9, against the team he grew up rooting for. He could have pitched the 9th inning as his pitch count was no higher than the low 90’s. But Manager Bob Melvin sent Andrew (“Boom Boom”) Bailey in to close it.
Unfortunately, the A’s 3rd baseman, Scott Sizemore, airmailed a throw over first-baseman Conor Jackson’s head to put the first batter of the 9th inning on 2nd base. There he died, as Boom Boom mowed the next 3 guys down, striking them out with authority and fist pumps. Everyone in the stands stood for the 9th inning. The place was electric.
Even though it was close to 11:00 pm, the crowd lingered to cheer the guys while they were celebrating on the field after the final out. It was an amazing experience! And miraculously we didn’t get wet.
I was particularly happy as last night was the first game I have attended this year that the A’s won. And what a game it was! I can’t wait to go to my next game on July 5th against the Mariners.
[N.B. There is something messed up with the program and the way the pictures are displayed. My apologies.]
A quick post to let you all know that Bob Geren was “relieved of his duties” today. That doesn’t sound like “fired” to me so he may not in fact be gone from the organization. He is Billy Beane’s BFF after all. Anyway I wanted to share the good news with all of you. Yahoo!!!!!
Almost any warm body would have been an improvement over Geren, but Melvin’s record is not the stuff of legends. His overall record as a manager is just under .500 (493 wins to 508 losses), but he has had 3 winning seasons since 2002: Seattle in 2003 and the Diamond Backs in 2007 and 2008. Let’s hope that he can turn the morale in the clubhouse around and the players can start playing up to their potential.
Compared to Geren, however, Melvin looks good. Geren managed 711 games with the A’s from the 2003 season through yesterday. He compiled 334 wins and 376 losses for a winning percentage of .469. But Tony LaRussa who managed the A’s from 1986-1995 and had a .572 winning percentage, so there is lots of room for improvement for Melvin.
Let’s not forget that Melvin is the interim manager. The team will engage in a manager search later this year, which may produce someone other than Bob Melvin. In the meantime, he’s what we’ve got and let’s keep our fingers crossed and this long-overdue event with a familiar song that hasn’t been heard much of late:
Here is part of the press release:
Athletics’ Manager Bob Geren Relieved of His Duties
Former Major League Manager Bob Melvin to Serve as Interim Replacement
OAKLAND, Calif.—Oakland Athletics’ Vice President & General Manager Billy Beane announced today that Bob Geren has been relieved of his duties as manager and former Major League manager Bob Melvin has been named interim manager for the remainder of the 2011 season.
Geren, 49, was named the A’s manager on Nov. 17, 2006. He registered a 334-376 (.470) record in four-plus seasons with Oakland, including a 27-36 mark and last-place standing in the American League West this year.
The Arizona Diamondbacks’ all-time winningest manager, Melvin arrives in Chicago today and will assume his managerial duties tonight when the A’s open a four-game series against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. The 49-year-old Palo Alto, Calif. native has compiled an overall record of
493-508 in seven previous seasons as a Major League manager from 2003-09 with the Seattle Mariners (156-168, 2003-04) and Diamondbacks (337-340, 2005-09).
In his rookie managerial season, he directed the Mariners to a 93-69 record in 2003. Four years later, he won National League Manager of the Year honors after piloting Arizona to a league-best 90-72 mark and the NL West Division title in 2007. Melvin also served as the Diamondbacks’ bench coach on Bob Brenly’s coaching staff from 2001-02, when Arizona won the World Series in 2001 and the NL West Division championship in 2002.
In addition, he held positions as Phil Garner’s bench coach for Milwaukee in 1999 and Detroit in 2000. Prior to those bench coach roles, he spent three seasons with Milwaukee in various capacities, serving as a scout in 1996, roving instructor in 1997 and as assistant to General Manager Sal Bando in 1998. Most recently, Melvin had rejoined the Diamondbacks as a special baseball advisor to President & CEO Derrick Hall last month, assisting the baseball operations department and other business divisions of the organization.
Melvin graduated from Menlo-Atherton High School in Menlo Park, Calif. in 1979 and later attended and played baseball at the University of California in Berkeley. Detroit selected him as its first choice in the secondary phase of the 1981 January draft and the former catcher posted a .233 batting average with 35 home runs and 212 RBI while playing in 692 games during his 10-year Major League career with the Tigers (1985), San Francisco Giants (1986-88), Baltimore Orioles (1989-91), Kansas City Royals (1992), Boston Red Sox (1993), New York Yankees (1994) and Chicago White Sox (1994).
Geren first joined the A’s organization as a minor league manager in 1999, serving one season at Single-A Modesto before being promoted to Triple-A Sacramento in 2000. After three years with the River Cats, he was named to the major league coaching staff, where he was bullpen coach from 2003-05 and bench coach in 2006. His best season as Oakland’s manager came last year, when he guided the A’s to an 81-81 record and second-place finish in the AL West. He led the team to finishes of 76-86 in 2007, 75-86 in 2008 and 75-87 in 2009.
Melvin becomes the 29th manager in franchise history and 18th in Oakland annals.