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August 25th, 2009

The Oakland Adventure

Last weekend, Paul and I celebrated the anniversary of his birth by hopping in the car, driving up to Oakland and watching the Detroit Tigers play three games against the A’s. We had a great time eating, laughing, riding the BART (being from LA, public transportation is novel to us) and watching some baseball. Paul was even nice enough to let me visit Feldman and his sister, and also have breakfast with my college friend Rita, who I haven’t seen in forever and missed a lot.

Naturally, because I was having a ton of fun, I only took about six pictures. And one of them, unfortunately, is this:

Why yes, marine science buffs, that is a smeared pile of zalophus californianus (California Sea Lion) crap. I apologize. But… I have a little brother who thinks these things are hilarious.

Fine. I think they’re hilarious, too.

So that leaves five more photos from the trip. Lest you start to think any of them have any actual importance or sentimental worth, allow me to show you another:

Ah, the sun-seared, hairy neck fat of an Oakland A’s fan. And PS, everyone, what’s that on his hat? In my defense, the reason this photo is so pathetically blurry is that I was laughing so hard I couldn’t hold the camera steady. I thought that little bit of backstory would add some charm to the photo- as if it needed any more, right?

This does bring me to a wonderful tale. Have you ever sat in the bleachers at a baseball game? It’s anarchy, right? Well, try sitting in the bleachers at a stadium that is home to some of the lowest attendance in Major League Baseball. The nice seats aren’t exactly pricey, so those who only wish to pay for bleacher seats at the Oakland Coliseum are like the crazed peasants that line up outside the palace to watch beheadings in old movies. It actually is anarchy. That there were any children in our section is a miracle. Paul and I, crazed peasants that we are, were happy to experience the bleachers- I’d never had the pleasure, and he finds it delightful.

Just to give you an idea of what it was like, four rows in front of us, just to the left of Corporal Neckfat (pictured above), was a small group of very loud fellows. One of them, a marine, we eventually found out, had brought a conga drum and was beating it senseless. Another man, seemingly addled by years of Crystal Meth abuse, was fully decked out in Oakland Raiders gear and referred to himself as Raider Bob. Joining them were a man known only as ICEMAN (pictured below), and his companion Gimpy (not pictured).

The drummer led the section in chants that covered just about everything. Some were in zealous support of the A’s, some highlighted their deep hatred of Detroit’s Ryan Raburn. Mostly, though, he just chanted people’s names: Raider Bob, a boy named Sam who was sitting behind him, Steve, the “hardest working vendor in sports,” who came by to sell us churros. They even had a chant meant to attract the guy selling Dreyer’s Dibs. The drummer would whack his instrument several times and shout “DIBS GUY!” -Bang! Bang!- “DIBS GUY!” Raider Bob held up a homemade sign featuring a picture of a carton of dibs and the words “HEY DIBS GUY” The chant was accented by the guttural cries of Raider Bob: “I WANT MY DIIIIIIIIIIBS, MAN!”

And that was just the second inning. Later on, there were fights, drunken yelling matches and unrepeatable cheers. It was a terrific night, by far the highlight of the trip, if not the entire baseball season.

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