Results tagged ‘ Spring Training ’

Goodbye Bob Feller

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I don’t care much about autographs. An A’s employee for almost 9 full years, I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of current and former baseball players, such as Lenny Dykstra in a restroom, Mudcat Grant’s chauffeur at a golf tournament. More recently I ran across actors like Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill. I didn’t ask for their autographs, they didn’t ask for mine. One day last Spring Training, however, I did ask for an autograph. Hall of Fame Cubs pitcher Ferguson Jenkins visited Phoenix Municipal Stadium to draw awareness and raise funds for his charitable foundation. He’s been to Phoenix Muni multiple times the past couple years. He brings with him former baseball players. On March 27, 2010 he brought Bob Feller.

I wasn’t a sports fan when young. Then, in my teens, I became an A’s fan. Baseball has the greatest history of all American sports. For over a hundred years, thousands of men have taken the field. There’s equally as many stories, some more unique than others. Bob Feller was a unique story. Making his debut for the Cleveland Indians at 17-years-old, he pitched his entire 18-season career with the Indians, which was interrupted by three years of military service. Most astounding to me, he was enshrined in Cooperstown on his first ballot in 1962. For 48 years he lived as an active member of the Hall of Fame.

We were honored to accommodate when Jenkins’ group asked if Feller could throw the ceremonial first pitch. At 91 Feller was unable to walk the stairs to the field. Our stadium operations coordinator offered to drive him around the ballpark and onto the field through the outfield fence. As Feller took the mound he was announced by an exuberant Mark Andrews. To cheers, Feller tipped his cap and fired a strike to home. I would not have believed a man of 91 could do such a thing. In good shape, sharp mind, and kind spirits, Feller talked a bit with guests and staff on field, recorded a short radio interview, and headed off the field on the cart that brought him on. Amazingly, our vintage stadium gate usher, Chet, 90-years-young himself, was at Bob Feller’s 1940 Opening Day no-hitter (his first of three career no-hitters). Chet recounted the events of April 16 in Chicago with Feller, agreeing on the batting order and how the outs were recorded. Chet attended that game rooting for the White Sox. Chet departed the ballpark in 1940 with a lifelong respect for Bob Feller.

As that afternoon’s Spring Training game continued I reflected on Feller’s contributions to the game of baseball. How much he enhanced the game and how much baseball meant to him. I fetched a clean baseball and troubled Bob Feller, with a donation, for an autograph. Sitting in my office, just over my shoulder, it’s the only autograph I keep on display.

Travis LoDolce, Digital Ticketing Operations Manager & Spring Training Operations Manager

 

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 (Photos copyright Travis LoDolce)

Play…

Ball! Almost. The man in the photo has been working on the pitching mound at Phoenix Municipal Stadium almost nonstop the past two days. phxpitchingmound.JPG

The offseason is rounding third. Spring Training and the Major League Baseball season are almost here. The A’s signed All-Star pitcher Ben Sheets today, who will soon be pitching off this very mound. Exciting times for baseball fans. If you haven’t renewed your season ticket plan, especially your Fielder’s Choice plan, now is the perfect time. Individual game ticket sales commence this coming Saturday morning at 9 a.m. Renewing right now ensures your games of choice will be seated before the general public can purchase seats online at oaklandathletics.com, phones at (877) 493-2255, and the A’s Coliseum Box Office. Visit oaklandathletics.com/2010 to renew and select your 22-game Fielder’s Choice plan. 

OK, now… Play Ball! 

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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Deadline Day

A friendly reminder… today is thefinal dayto guarantee your reserved seat location for the 2009 A’s baseball season. Renew your A’s ticket plan today to ensure you receive the commemorative ticket stock which arrives bound in a booklet featuring all of your season tickets (another year of the commemorative tickets looking great!).


Accounts that renew online receive free MLB.com Gameday Audio! That’s right, FREE.Beginning in March, this premium package provides audio internet access to every game of the 2009 regular season plus select Spring Training games.

Purchasing your A’s Season Tickets has never been easier. To access your My A’s Tickets account to renew online, simply visit My A’s Tickets and enter your account number and password.

Give us a ring at Ticket Services at (510) 568-5680 or drop us a note with any questions. Can you believe Spring Training games begin is less than one week? Play ball!

Cactus Crazy, A Spring Training Update

We’ve received a number of questions in the past few weeks regarding requests for Spring Training information. Love it! Phoenix Muni is a terrific ballpark in an outstanding area. It’s not far from downtown Phoenix, about a mile from the heart of ASU in Tempe, and a very short drive from Scottsdale. The Papago Park training facility is just a mile or two up the road from Phoenix Muni. And the A’s, with a wealth of young prospects, should be a ton of fun to watch. It’s no wonder fans are already excited for Spring Training. Here’s where we stand on Spring Training…

* We’re awaiting a complete schedule. Expect A’s games in Arizona to commence Wednesday, February 25, 2009, with the first home game at Phoenix Muni on February 27. Arizona games will end Wednesday, April 1. Hope to have a complete schedule to share by mid-October. Expect about 18 home games.

* There is no change in pricing for A’s Spring Training in 2009. Prices will remain the same as 2008. Season Tickets are available for the full Spring Training duration. Group tickets (at least 20 guests) are available, often at a discount. Luxury Suites and a pre-game BBQ area are available for rent too. Current Spring Season Ticket Holders should receive renewal information in early November. Email spring@oaklandathletics.com or phone (510) 568-5600 with questions.

* The A’s do not book travel packages directly with the team. Sports Travel and Tours can assist you with all of your travel package needs at sportstravelandtours.com.

Does this information help? More is on the way soon! So start dreaming of springtime Arizona weather as rain permeates the Bay Area forcasts for this weekend.