Lowe to start on Opening Day for Braves

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Derek Lowe, the pitcher the Braves were hoping to move in the offseason before parting with Javier Vazquez instead, was named the Opening Day starter by manager Bobby Cox on Sunday.
“He was our winningest pitcher,” Cox said. “Last year against Philadelphia [Opening Day] he pitched eight shutout innings and gave up two hits. And he’s a veteran.”
Lowe did finish 15-10 last year, but it came with a 4.67 ERA. No. 2 starter Jair Jurrjens, who might have been considered for the opening assignment if not for a shoulder injury that’s limited him in camp, went 14-10 with a 2.60 ERA.
Cox also said that Tommy Hanson would start the third game of the season ahead of Tim Hudson. Lowe is expected to be brought back for the fifth game, with Kenshin Kawakami drawing the nod in the sixth game of the season.

Giants fans will have to pay a surcharge to park at Athletics games

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Athletics president Dave Kaval is ready to take full advantage of the interleague series between the Giants and A’s this season. While the two teams customarily play a few preseason “Battle of the Bay” games each year, they’re also scheduled to meet each other six times during the regular season; once for a three-game set in San Francisco, then for a three-game set in Oakland. On Saturday, Kaval announced that any Giants fans looking to park at the Coliseum this year will be charged $50 instead of the standard, general admission $30 — an additional “rivalry fee” that can be easily waived by shouting, “Go A’s!” at the gate.

This isn’t the first time that a major-league team has tried to keep rival fans at bay, though Kaval doesn’t seem all that intent on actually driving fans away from the ballpark. Back in 2012, the Nationals staged a “Take Back the Park” campaign after people began complaining that Phillies fans were overtaking Nationals Park during rivalry games. They limited a single-series presale of Nats-Phillies tickets to buyers within Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia in hopes of filling the stands with a few more friendly faces. Washington COO Andy Feffer told the press that while he would treat all guests with “respect and courtesy,” he wanted Phillies fans to feel irked enough to pay attention to the Nationals. In the end, things went… well, a little south for all involved.

Whether the Giants are planning any retaliatory measures has yet to be seen, but it’s not as if this is going to be an enforceable rule. The real travesty here, if you’re an A’s fan or just pretending to be one, is that the parking fees have increased from $20 to $30 this season. Unless you’re a season ticket holder with a prepaid $10 parking permit, it’s far better to brave the crowds and take advantage of local public transportation. There are bound to be far fewer irate Giants fans on BART than at the gates — even if the gag only lasts a few days out of the year.