Wednesday, June 5, 2013
"Sell-out the Coliseum when it's not Opening Night, a game against the Yankees, Giants, Red Sox or a playoff game? Good joke."
If that's not what most people are saying, that's what most are thinking. But imagine with me for a moment the same fans that came together to defend our Coliseum against the ignorant statements of Jon Heyman (what a shame #shame), the same fans that have come together to start a voting campaign to get our arguably most deserving All-Star candidate, Josh Donaldson to the 2013 All-Star Game through #BringTheRainToTheCiti and the same fans that have come together to keep the A's in Oakland coming together once again to hush the haters, shut-up the skeptics by selling-out the Coliseum on June 28th against the St. Louis Cardinals!
No one expected all of us to come together as a fan-base and a city to defend the place we call home, the Coliseum, no one expected us to win the division last year, no one expected us to be known as the "toughest [stadium] I've ever played in..." according to Justin Verlander, but WE DID! In saying that, I don't see why we couldn't do the unexpected again and #FillTheColiseum. It's not a premium game, a fireworks game, a promotional giveaway game, or a rivalry game. It's a Friday night game against an inter-league opponent we only have a 9-game history with (Oakland is 2-7 vs St. Louis all-time).
The #FillTheColiseum campaign was first started by one of our very own, Steve Zink. A die-hard A's fan living in the Bay Area. He started a campaign that I was first introduced when I saw him promote his Instagram page (@Project_Sellout_) on a picture posted by the official Major League Baseball Instagram (@MLB) commenting on the picture to inform the fans of his intention to #FillTheColiseum. I jumped on this right away. The idea of doing something the Coliseum hasn't seen in years motivated me so I let Steve know he had my full support and partnership. We gave it a trial run and created a buzz but realized there was so much we should have or could have done to spread the word better and make it possible. This is where you come in:
Why do this?
For one, our players deserve a sellout crowd in June not only October. While we have been about quality and not quantity over the years at the Coliseum, it's time we come together as fans, to give the players an atmosphere that they haven't seen at a June game at the Coliseum in decades. Another reason is, showing the whole country and Major League Baseball that we don't need slides, large field-side bars, waterfalls to attract us to go to a game. All we need is our Oakland Athletics.
How are we going to do this?
It's gonna take a little more than a few retweets or flyers. It's going to have to be a extraordinary effort by you as a fan and supporter of the Oakland Athletics. Tell your friends, call your doctor to set up your next appointment at the ballpark, tweet to 95.7 The Game (@957TheGame), @Athletics, Comcast SportsNet (@CSNAthletics & @CSNAuthentic) using #FillTheColiseum persuading them to spread the word and give this some media attention, call-in to 95.7 The Game and most importantly BUY TICKETS!
Remember when we all thought someone would never hit a home run into the "O" of the Overstock.com sign in left field? I believe the same applies to #FillTheColiseum. Let's do the impossible! Let's #FillTheColiseum!
This is Where I Walk-Off,
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Plain and simple the Athletics are coming off their worst stretch of games we've seen so far this season, where the squad went 3-7 in their road-trip, were on the losing end of one of the worst calls baseball has ever seen (sidenote: Angel Hernandez, you have and will never gain my repect as an MLB umpire, sorry I'm not sorry) and consequently fell under the .500 mark for the first time since April 3rd. The Seattle Mariners are as close to taking over second place in the division as Josh Reddick's facial hair is to his face, Coco, Young, Anderson, and Reddick are all on the DL and you can see the frustration on Bob Melvin's face after every bobbled ground ball, botched pop-up and home run given up by one of the men on the hill. It's been tough to watch and I could imagine even harder to play but this is where we get back to the grassroots of the Oakland Athletics, Green Collar Baseball!
Starting as a mere advertising campaign four years ago by the Oakland Athletics and Hub Strategy of San Francisco (What the what?! A San Francisco company that wants to support the A's?!), which launched a Mcfury of "fully-integrated program[s] featuring television commercials, and print, outdoor and digital advertisements"(MLB.com) that described this group of Moneyballers with witty commercials and banners of players accompanied by a pun only the genius' inside the Athletics Marketing Department could come up with (HOLY TOLEDO that sounded a lot like brown nosing). Green Collar Baseball as described by Jim Leahey, A's vice president of sales and marketing (via Jane Lee of MLB.com),"Coming off a season in which the campaign themes of hard work, gritty play, and unconventionality were brought to life so magically on the field, we are excited to continue Green Collar Baseball in 2013." But it's so much more.
Hard work. Two words that describe exactly what it takes to do A-mazing things, such as win 94 games and the AL West Division crown when "experts" said this group of "young guns and no-names" would win no more than 60. Gritty play. Two words that the A's thrive on. Stealing here, diving there, going for the extra base when other teams would be content with a one-bagger and facing hitters that can't be put-out, only fuels the fire for this team. It's gritty play that got them into position to win the AL West in the last game of the season and it is what eventually won it for them. Unconventionality. If that word doesn't scream Moneyball I don't know what does. Babe Ruth ran on hot dogs and beer, the Oakland Athletics run off a few dollars and a system that takes joe-shmoes and turns them into quality ball players. At the start of the 2012 season you could have asked most Major League Baseball fans to name at least four players on the A's and 9 times out of 10 they would tell you Brandon McCarthy, that big Cuban guy, *pause*... and then give up. It was an unconventional group of rookies, new faces and guys that didn't even now how they ended up in Oakland. It's that unconventionality that brought that group together who eventually silenced the skeptics, hushed the haters and shocked the world.
Green Collar Baseball is so much more than an advertising campaign. It is the heart and soul of Oakland Athletics baseball. It's what sets this team apart from all others. It's a group of players that fans want to cheer for. It's something that attracts the baseball senses and forces you to stare and admire it. It's not a fancy stadium or giveaways that attracts fans, it's a clubhouse full of bernie-leaning, home run-tunneling, bash bro baseball players that don't play for the cash or the notoriety but for the love of the game. This is why we love this team and this is what the Athletics need to get back to after this rough patch. It's time for players to step up like Johnny Gomes did in the previous season and be clubhouse leaders reminding everyone what Green Collar Baseball is all about. When Coco is gone, Donaldson needs to be a voice in the clubhouse. When Reddick is struggling, Lowrie needs to slap him on the butt and tell him to pick his head up. It needs to be a group of nitty, gritty ball players that realize they aren't the underdog anymore, they are the team that all others circle on their schedule. Everyone is going after the Division Champs.
There is no doubt in my mind that this is just a funk and something that is only temporary but it is important to be reminded of what this team is known for. That is why, from now on, the collared-shirt underneath the apron will now be colored green. There is no such thing as white collar in A's country. We're a whole new brand of baseball, this is Green Collar Baseball.
This is where I Walk-Off...
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Let's preheat this first blog post with an intro. He was first coined as the "Walk-Off Pie Man" by Ray Fosse, then the "Oakland A's Culinary Captain" by Ben Bolch of the LA Times, a "Walk-Off Wacko" and "A's FANatic" by many fans of the green & gold, and has even been called a "Super Hero" by some young fans at the ballpark even though he wears his cape in front and calls it an apron. He's a die-hard Oakland Athletics fan that is outfitted in baker attire and goes by the name, "Oakland A's Pie Guy".
ENOUGH WITH THIS 3RD PERSON CRAP!!! Whoops! Sorry about the BALFOUR RAGE there... It's me the Oakland A's Pie Guy! Now that this post is all warmed up, I thought it was about time I wrote something more than 140 characters. I want to explain to you all how I cooked up the idea for Pie Guy, how being a fake, bernie-ing baker has blessed me with opportunities that I never thought were possible and just plain and simple "wip" up a blog about the team that I go Banana Cream Pie for, The Oakland A's.
And Here. We. Go! It was the last day of July and the smell of Walk-Off Pie was in the air. It was the night before the A's were going to play the second game of a three game series against Tampa Bay, which my brother, dad and I were planning on making a special appearance for. We watched as Jemile Weeks hit a sac-fly in the 12th inning that scored Brandon Inge for their 12th walk-off of the year. Players were jumping around, fans were screaming and Reddick was ready to pie his next victim. It was the cherry on top of an exciting game and then the idea hit me like a pie to the face, I should do something crazy at the A's game tomorrow! But what should I do? What is the first thing you think of when you think about pie, actually what's your top 3? Walk-Off, Reddick-Wip and.... A BAKER! By the beard of Reddick! I'll dress up as a baker and go to the game! I had no idea that I would need a name for my innovative get-up, that I would get interviewed by MLB.com, do a combination of the Call Me Maybe dance and Bernie Lean in front of thousands of fans or get called out by Fosse and Kuip that if I was a real fan that I would show up the next game, and I did!
It wasn't like I had a bakers hat and apron lying around so I pulled out whatever yellow construction paper I had at my house (fun fact: I live in Sacramento. Big River Cats fan) then I watched a YouTube video of a six-year-old show me how to make a paper bakers hat step-by-step. Heck, if a six year old could do it so could I! It took me three tries until i finished it around 1am... It obviously was my first rodeo. Then I borrowed an apron from my neighbor who I told I was using it to bake a cake or something. I don't remember what i said but it was by far the least believable lie I've ever told. My brother kept shaking his head watching me cut letters out of felt and staple them to the apron that I was supposed to give back to my neighbor the next day.
This is how it turned out with a touch of Reddick-Wip:
It was game day and I parked a few blocks away from the Coliseum. I'm petitioning for Chevy Free Parking Wednesdays. Tuesdays is just not enough. From the moment I walked out of my stylish soccer-momish '92 Volvo station wagon began a recipe of, interviews, pictures with fans, the start of a Twitter account, Facebook page, a mention in an LA Times article about the A's Walk-Off magic (http://articles.latimes.com/2012/aug/06/sports/la-sp-0806-surprising-oakland-athletics-20120806) and a chance to use my voice that has been used at a few karaoke nights at the most to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame". I've been living the dream ever since.
But I tell you this not to gloat or add extra wipped cream to my ego pie but to show how much this has and still means to me. Interacting with and meeting fans that share the same passion for this team that runs on a few dollars and players that create more excitement that any one fan ever could has been the best part of this whole journey. I don't consider myself a super fan or more of a fan than any other. I only consider myself another fan that loves to show his passion for the team he's loved since he came out of his mom's oven. Sorry for the 3rd person again. I can feel the BALFOUR RAGE coming on from a lot of you. I don't need or want any special recognition but if I continue to be recognized for this Reddickulous form of fanism (I just made that word up © Oakland A's Pie Guy) I hope that all of the day-in day-outters, the season ticket holders, the Right Field Bleacher crew, the Left Field bleacher FANatics, the drummers, the Banjo Man and all of those who have become such an essential part of Oakland A's baseball know that what I do should never take away from what you all have done and continue to do for this ball club. I can never stand up to what you all do and I am proud to be a part of the best fanbase in baseball. It's not about quantity in Oakland but about quality. You can't find a fan base that cares more or shows more passion for their team than the fans in Oakland and I am proud to a part of it.
Be on the lookout for more blog posts explaining more aspects of the outfit and much more! If you have any questions about the inspiration behind the outfit, what my favorite pie is, when the bakery is open (Hint: All home games) or anything A's baseball I'd love to chat it up!
This is where I Walk-Off... Thanks for reading! Bye!