A 2-5 road trip was not what the Royals had in mind when they hit the road last week, especially after winning 2 of the first 3 on the West Coast. The weekend in Oakland was even more frustrating, of course, getting swept by Oakland. It was even, well, ludicrous, you might say…or should I say “Ludacris?”…More on that in a moment…
Thought I’d share a few shots from Anaheim and Oakland. One beautifully renovated ballpark, and the other park, well, let’s just say it’s not beautiful or renovated. The A’s have a new ballpark planned for 2012 in Freemont, California, which is closer to San Jose than it is to Oakland. But they have had a lot of success in the home they share with the Raiders…and they had a lot of success there over the weekend.
The rapper “Ludacris” was on hand Saturday, taking batting practice and throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. How did I live so long and not hear of Ludacris before Saturday? Well, I’m not a teenager, and I don’t have kids who are teenagers. That was the explanation I got. He, as I’ve learned, is the rapper with the most Top 40, Top 25 and Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 Hits of all time. He was born Christopher Brian Bridges…I certainly saw a lot of bridges in the Bay Area…and he made one more….but seriously folks….
Sam Abrarmson of the Royals’ TV crew enjoying the pool at our Southern California hotel. After so many frigid stops, it was nice to finally be somwhere warm. Sammy enjoying the pool with all his friends (just kidding, Sam).
Royals Sr. V.P. of Business Operations Kevin Uhlich oversaw the renovations of “The Big A” several years ago. Although it’s not a new park, it looks like one. They did a great job. And as he’s reminded us, the Royals renovation has twice the budget, which means what we’ll see at Kauffman Stadium next year really will be something special.
First game this year (other than in the Metrodome) in which I didn’t have to wear a coat. Very pleasant atmosphere at Angel Stadium, where the Angels now draw better than 3 million a year. The three Southern California teams combined to draw 10 million fans in 2007.
The Rock Pile in left center field. A fountain shoots out of it when something good happens.
When the Raiders returned to Oakland from L.A., “Mount Davis” was born. Those upperdeck seats, covered for baseball, took away what used to be a nice view for baseball.
The scoreboards are on top of the upper deck in either end zone. Waaay up there. You can see the years Oakland won the World Series (72, 73, 74, and 89). Kansas City A’s fans saw some of those young Athletics when they first came to the big leagues, before the team moved west.
There he is…Ludacris. He’s sold more than 13 million albums in the United States alone. I can’t find any in my collection. I’ll keep looking…
They gave him his own special jersey. He was able to hit a single during batting practice. When his first first pitch didn’t make it to home plate, they gave him another chance. I’m so old school, I remember when MC Hammer was the A’s favorite rapper. He had been a batboy for the Athletics as a kid. Reggie Jackson claims to have given him the nickname “Hammer,” because he closely resembled Hank Aaron. Hammer’s real name is Stanley Burrell, but I digress.
Travis Buck knew who Ludacris was. In fact, Travis stole the show Saturday. It was Travis Buck Bobblehead Day. He wasn’t in the lineup, a little banged up. But he did sign his likeness for the fans.
While we’re on the topic of Oakland employees-turned-celebrities….Tom Hanks sold peanuts, popcorn and soda at the Coliseum while in high school. He grew up a big A’s fan. Perhaps these guys will one day win an Oscar…if not, they’re assured of getting their share of Oscar Mayer products….hardy har har…