March 2009

Phoenix Fly By

Hard to believe the Spring Training season has just one week remaining. Over the past few weeks the A’s have played some great baseball, upping the ante in the American League West. Since we’re mostly focused off the field perhaps you’d take a stroll with us around Phoenix Muni and even on a road game?

Triplets Sela, Ari, and Alex, better known to fans as TripleFire!, jam outside the main entrance to Phoenix Muni as guests enter. You can see them play again this Friday, March 27 around 6pm as the A’s host the Padres at Muni for a rare 7:05pm night game.

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Inside the ballpark a couple of the newest A’s take batting practice. Nomar Garciaparra and Orlando Cabrera fist bump when they exchange spots in the cage.

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Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame pitcher Ferguson Jenkins visits with Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Joe Torre in the visiting dugout prior to the game. Jenkins later signs autographs on the concourse for donations to his charitable fund. Joe Torre signs copies of his new book for Jenkins’ fund.

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Glen, A’s fan of the game, tosses the ceremonial first pitch. Steee-rike!

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Visiting the A’s on a road game, we watch Mark Ellis take a pitch inside for a ball at the Indians’ ballpark in Goodyear.

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In the seats we spark up the conversation with friendly A’s fans. Sue and Tom from the Bay Area share some of their experiences at Spring Training.
Tom tell us, “Our trip to see the A’s in Arizona is our first robin of the spring — we try never to miss it.We love the associations and friendships we’re building — and the instant camaraderie a team jersey supplies with friend and baseball foe.We stopped at a restaurant in Palm Springs and immediately struck up a conversation with some young guys in Dodger Blue — the common language of baseball made the introductions automatic and the friendly exchange irresistible.Or the Rockies fan at the motel who came over to tell us what a steal we got in Matt Holliday. We also enjoy the head start we get on seeing the team’s prospects — “the young talent”as Sue says –because the stats alone just can’t substitute for seeing them ‘live.'” Thanks Tom and Sue! We’ll see you in Oakland.

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And speaking of die-hard fans. Who should we find in left field? The Oakland Left Field Bleacher Crew. With flags and all. Thanks for A’s love folks.

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See you back in Oakland before we all know it. First game at the Coliseum is Saturday, April 4 @ 1:05pm. The Giants visit for the annual Bay Bridge Series.

The home opener is a Friday night game! Pretty sweet, no? The Mariners come to town on Friday, April 10. Game time at 7:05pm.

Finally, this will eventually be a separate blog entry, the A’s host a free event on Sunday, April 5 from 11am to 3pm. Fan Appreciation Workout Day features the full A’s 25-man roster before the team departs to Anaheim to start the season. Parking and entry are complimentary to all fans. A great way to jump into the A’s baseball season.

Update from the Road

Major League Baseball is in full “swing.” Though not locally just yet. A’s Spring Training is seven home games deep at Phoenix Municipal Stadium in Arizona. The United States has two wins in the World Baseball Classic. And A’s Ticket Services is involved with both. 

Travis is the Spring Operations Manager at Phoenix Muni. He is responsible for most items not player or press related. He sends this report from the road: Hello. Games are underway. People ask me how the team looks and how much baseball I’ve seen. I really don’t see much of the games. Mostly watching the crowd, observing the stadium PA booth, checking on parking, etc. But from what I’ve seen the team looks solid. I’m very excited for this club. Young guys throwing well. New additions in the batting cage. The sun is warm, people friendly, it’s hard not enjoy the experience. Phoenix Muni is a great ballpark. Close to ASU, it’s an open ballpark. A lot of blue sky. Team on the field wears pretty colors. Cheers! 
Matt, who you may remember from his many seasons as a teenage (and 20-something) bat boy is the Co-Equipment Manager for the United States WBC team. This is his second stint in that roll. Matt shares this report from Toronto: The week in Clearwater was a lot of work, changing stadiums and clubhouses four days in a row, making a lot of last minute roster changes, and just the overall organizing of our equipment. It was definitely our own little Spring Training before the tournament. The team came together on March 2 and all seem to be having fun playing next to each other and just watching each other in how they prepare and play. It’s very cool to see these guys respect each other and play for each other because of the USA on their chest. Toronto, needless to say, has been fun. Great city, we’re 2-0 and we’re looking good. The games are very intense with a lot riding on every pitch. I can only imagine a World Series game being like this. These guys are up for the challenges ahead as they have one thing on their minds and that is to win the WBC! 
Thank you Travis and Matt. Best of luck while out of state (and out of country!). We look forward to seeing you both in Ticket Services again soon… though not too soon.  
 
Travis includes some photos from Phoenix: 
The A’s home dugout and field top prior to the start of Spring Training.
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Grounds crew adding the “Athletics” script to the field.
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The view from right field with Papago Park hills in the background.
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Catcher Kurt Suzuki in practice with a coach.
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The view from atop Camelback (he has to leave the ballpark at some point). 
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